Arts & Entertainment

Chickpea in the City: City Harvest Cafe

Chickpea-in-the-CityWhile walking through Lakeview, looking for somewhere to grab breakfast and passing a dozen coffee shops, I found City Harvest Cafe (2931 N. Broadway) a few blocks away from the Wellington Brown Line stop. With a small sign placed in front of the window reading “Organic Healthbar,” I knew I had to drop in.

With the word “Healthbar” in the window, I expected to see a large array from raw juices, healing elixirs and teas — all organic and hand-crafted — and that was exactly what I got. As I stepped inside the small wooden interior, I immediately noticed a black chalkboard menu hanging behind the register with superfood blends (smoothies) and raw juices.

City Harvest is located at 2931 N. Broadway.
City Harvest is located at 2931 N. Broadway.

Out of the numerous options, owner Angela Maicki told me the fan-favorites are the house green, a raw juice including kale, cucumber, celery, carrot, apple, parsley and lemon cold-pressed ($10) or made in house ($8.50), and the Incan warrior smoothie ($8.50) featuring coconut oil, raw cacao and housemade almond milk.

Along with the regular menu options I noticed two featured fall items near the cash register: date caramel & gala apples ($5) and the pure pumpkin blend ($8.50) with raw pumpkin, hemp seeds, house made almond milk, cinnamon, ginger, dates and bourbon vanilla bean.

Despite these seasonal options, I wanted to try one of the two goji bowl selections. Goji bowls are a blend of superfoods and fresh fruit, topped with goji berries — a tiny immune-system-boosting berry from Western cultures that contains 18 amino acids, iron and vitamin C. They taste similar to raisins.

I’ve had acai bowls in the past (a thick blend of acai berries with granola and fruit toppings), so I assumed that the goji bowl I ($10) would have a similar thick consistency. Maicki recommended the goji bowl I to me, describing its texture as similar to thick yogurt due to the almond milk. The second bowl option, the goji bowl II, in contrast, was lighter from added water. After ordering goji bowl I, within moments another worker behind the counter handed it to me. To my surprise, it came in a cup and had an extremely thin consistency, which made it difficult to eat with a spoon.

The goji bowl included Thai coconut meat, house-made almond milk, chia seeds, banana and goji berries.

With each goji bowl, customers have the option of adding two extra superfoods, such as medjool dates and raw Sicilian almond butter, for no added cost. Despite a small portion size and the texture not being as thick as I would have liked, I was pleased with my choice of hemp seeds and trail mix as toppings. The trail mix featured exotic berries and nuts, while extra dried goji berries added a nice squishy bite to each spoonful. If you’re a banana fan, you’ll love this bowl because of the creamy texture brought out by the coconut and fresh milk.

Wall of snacks at the cafe
Wall of snacks at the cafe

 

What I enjoyed most about City Harvest Cafe was the “healing elixirs” portion of the menu. Sure, most juice joints such as Jamba Juice have wheatgrass shots, but at City Harvest, you can purchase a 2-ounce shot of liquid chlorophyll and young Thai coconut.

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Juice cleanse options at City Harvest

Liquid chlorophyll is known for rebuilding red blood cells and boosting energy, and with the flavor of coconut to balance it out, it is definitely worth stepping out of your comfort zone for. If you’re not interested in grabbing one of the drinks, City Harvest also offers homemade truffles ($2.50 each or $8 for four) made of raw cacao, dates and nutrient-dense snacks.

For being open only six months, City Harvest Cafe is slowly but surely sneaking into the lives of juicers across the neighborhood. As I finished my goji bowl, three customers had stopped in to grab boxes of juice. I look forward to coming in again to try out one of the many juice and superfood options.

If you’re interested in juice cleanses, you can decide between three options: the juice ($48 per day for five juices), the reboot ($48 per day for five superfood smoothies) or the detox ($60 per day for three juices and two superfood smoothies). Cleanses can be scheduled for pickup with a 48-hour advance notice. But if you’re in the Lakeview area and need a superfood boost, be sure to stop in and treat yourself.

City Harvest Cafe is open Monday – Friday from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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