Now, before you all get excited, I feel like I should disclose that the drinking I’m referring to with this title is of the non-alcoholic smoothie kind, not the red wine, gin and tonic kind. While I will always love the latter of these options and be devoted to my ‘weird’ foods, I’ve recently become interested in this huge juicing/healthy/vegan craze that seems to be taking the world by storm. The companies that support these things, more so than many other companies around the U.S., generally take the time to let you know where the food is coming from and stick with seasonal options, something I think every restaurant should do. With all of this in mind, I decided to stop by Pure Fare on my way back from my internship one day and see what this place was all about.
When I stopped in, I ended up going for the Avocado Key Lime smoothie. This was a blend of avocado and lime juice, obviously, but it also featured baby spinach, apple juice, and raw agave. It was thick from the avocado, relatively filling, and had a nice sour kick to it from the lime. The flavors, though uninspired, were refreshing for a warm day. However, it wasn’t something for which I’d return, especially since the guy behind the counter seemed like he’d rather walk to Montreal and back instead of making my drink.
The other smoothie I tried was the Cilantro Grape, a major disappointment after my first one. I wanted something that was more inventive, but I did not want this poor juice that was presented to me. This one was a mix of fresh grapes, pineapple, banana, spinach, cilantro, and cucumber juice. Unlike the other, this was the consistency of water and surprisingly bland given the fresh ingredients, particularly the fairly polarizing cilantro. These lackluster drinks originally just made me sad, but when I realized that each small smoothie set me back $8.00, I was pretty annoyed. I have no qualms about paying $8.00 for a tasty drink every so often, but I spent $16.00 on two beverages that I would never order again.
Pure Fare is on of the places to avoid in Philly and I’m not sure why people flock to it. They have an array of more solid options like salads and a handful of sweets, though I don’t believe I want to come back and try them. The service was dished out with boredom, the drinks were lazily put together, and I left feeling like I had just visited the rich man’s McDonald’s. If you want to go vegan or go healthy and drop a lot of money on it, Vedge or HipCityVeg would do well; if you want a little more bang for your buck, Mama’s Vegetarian and Soy Cafe are the way to go. Philly has a pretty vibrant vegetarian/vegan scene, but there is no comparison between Pure Fare’s prices and quality to the other veg-friendly places in town. It doesn’t fall short because it doesn’t even make it onto the map.