Los Angeles: Moon Juice
Words by Joanna Han Photographs by Chantal Anderson
An interview with Moon Juice owner Amanda Bacon.
We’re big fans of Moon Juice, a cold-pressed juice and nut milk shop using 100 percent organic ingredients with locations in Venice and Silver Lake. We chat with owner Amanda Bacon about how her neighborhood shop came to be.
Where does the name Moon Juice come from?
I was in Northern California standing on the beach one morning when an old-school bus came rolling up through the fog. It had this hippie mural of the moon painted on the side. Moon Juice came to me in that moment.
Can you tell us about your background?
After traveling throughout Europe and doing a stint in South America, I landed in Vermont to study at the New England Culinary Institute where I had the pleasure of working in several artisanal bakeries and local dairies. The promise of sunshine and amazing produce brought me to Los Angeles, where I was fortunate to work alongside Suzanne Goin at Lucques, and found a mentor and inspiration in her. I moved on to become the assistant food editor for the Los Angeles Times Magazine when it first launched, but ultimately I missed being in the kitchen. I actually had no idea I was going to open Moon Juice—it was an organic evolution of my professional cooking experience mingled with my passion for health and wellness.
What kind of work goes into preparing your juices?
We get daily deliveries from our certified organic boutique suppliers—the freshest, most beautiful produce, most of which is grown right here in California. Everything is washed, weighed and prepped that afternoon, and by early morning the following day the produce is cold-pressed and hand poured into Moon Juice bottles. The bottles then get loaded into a refrigerated truck and delivered to each shop by 7:00 a.m.
How do you come up with the recipes and different combinations of fruits and vegetables?
I make all of the juices like I would a salad. I pull from years of cooking in professional kitchens, as well as eating all over the world. When making juice, I put all the culinary knowledge through a medicinal filter.
Your version of the date shake is delicious. What goes into it?
I was initially inspired by living in California and by the beautiful dates grown in the desert outside of Los Angeles. I was also influenced by my time spent in Lebanon—each afternoon I’d enjoy an espresso that had cardamom seeds ground into it, with a little date on the side. That combo—the coffee, cardamom—stuck in my mind and I later learned is an ayurvedic practice to reduce stomach acid. I took all these elements, plus the phenomena of the California date shake and put them in a sprouted almond milk base with a medicinal dose of maca.
Your juices are on the pricey side, but there’s a good reason for it. Can you explain this a bit for those who might be wondering?
We strive to make our products as affordable and as sustainable as possible. Everything on the menu is medicinal strength and always 100 percent organic. To source the absolute best and nutrient-dense ingredients, and to cold press on a daily basis rather than use easier methods of extraction is a labor of love and one that is simply more expensive. You can certainly find other juices at lower prices, but they can’t meet these same standards.
What kind of food items do you offer?
On the savory side we have everything from live-culture, sprouted raw nut-milk cheese and pâté plates to an array of crackers, chips, crisps and nuts (Spicy Nori Twigs, Cabbage, Dill and Lemon Chips) to active fermented vegetable plates (Fennel, Juniper Berry, Arugula and Green Apple). On the sweet side we have puddings, yogurts and mousses (Dark Chocolate Mousse with raw cacao, avocado, wild California honey, cracked and sprouted hazelnuts, a pinch of Maldon), as well as granolas, fruit bars, jam cups and cookies. Our Cream Sandwiches are quite popular; we have flavors including Santa Rosa Plum and Earl Grey and Orange Blossom and Pistachio. I created all the recipes based on my years in fine dining but seen through the prism of health and wellness.
Who helped with the design of your buildings? What was the intention behind the look and feel?
Josh Kritzer of Rewire Gallery and I worked with Eric Lamers, who is known as the “wood whisper.” He has restored Schindler, Neutra and Lautner houses all over Los Angeles. We really wanted the Silver Lake shop to pay homage to the modernist architecture that originated in the east side neighborhood in the 1950s, while keeping a warm vibe throughout the space.
What is the food culture like in Los Angeles?
Los Angeles is home to some little gems that are real labors of love from chef/owners—these are the places I choose to dine. We have the best fruits and vegetables in the world grown by the most intelligent farmers in the world, which creat chefs can present in a simple, sophisticated way
Where do you go to eat in Los Angeles when you want a fresh, healthy and high-quality meal?
Axe, Gjelinas Take Away, Cortez, Canalé.
You have locations in both Venice and Silver Lake. How do the two shops feel different in atmosphere and feel?
I lived on the east side and as an urban dweller, the idea of Venice appealed to me with its walking and bike culture. This was pre-juice bar craze, but it seemed to me like a community that would support juice. I chose Silver Lake as the second Moon Juice location so I could bring juice to my friends! I picked a spot that I wanted to show up to every day and serve a community that I know and love.
507 Rose Avenue
2839 Sunset Boulevard