According to GQ, Abbot Kinney is the coolest street in the United States. But just a few steps away lies Rose, which until recently, was a semi-deserted grungy strip that separated Venice from the slightly more conservative Santa Monica.
But Moon Juice, LA (and soon to be NY’s) best juicery, seemed to change that on a dime.
There was the legendary and now revamped Rose Cafe. There was Fiesta Brava and there was Venice Beach Wines. But otherwise Rose Avenue felt pretty much dead.
And then Amanda Chantal Bacon came along and opened shop. Soon after Cafe Gratitude followed suit. And now Rose is a destination. Much like Los Angeles itself.
If LA has always been the epicenter of health and wellness. Remember Annie Hall, Woody Allen’s famed mockery of mashed yeast? But it’s never quite been taken seriously until now.
For a very long time, LA was the but of the cultural elite’s joke, an instant snark accelerator.
But things have flipped and it seems New York is now knocking on LA’s door.
And in many ways, Moon Juice represents this shift, as evidenced by the founder herself.
Amanda was born and raised in Manhattan, savvy to its sophisticated palate. Her international travels and innate intelligence and curiosity landed her in Los Angeles. Mentored by arguably LA’s most celebrated chef, Suzanne Goin and schooled during her stint as a LA Times Food Editor, she found herself drawn to juicing, which, at the time, was quickly gaining ground as the new health trend.
But the thing that set Moon Juice apart from the beginning was Amanda’s culinary skill and deep knowledge. In that regard, she is unparalleled. And she is, undeniably, a powerful tastemaker and influencer.
But she’s not alone.
Los Angeles has, over the past decade, upped its restaurant game. No longer limited to Spago and Dan Tana’s, it’s landed on the scene in a very big way, as confirmed by the recently announced James Beard nominations. Last year, Bon Appetit named Venice’s Gjusta the 2nd best new restaurant in the nation, with Petit Trois, another LA restaurant, coming in third.
The same can be said for the arts scene, which boasts the newly erected Broad downtown in addition to MOCA, Hammer and LACMA. LA is no longer second fiddle. It’s a serious contender for America’s most culturally rich and diverse city.
And that’s in large part due to its willingness to embrace the new and avant garde. So while juice may be fully embraced now, it wasn’t always.
And yet, Moon Juice is about so much more than that. It’s about healing from the inside out, about connecting to the earth and to spirit and about noticing the ways in which we nourish and heal ourselves.
It’s more than it seems at first glance.
Just like LA.