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So many juice bars have popped up around L.A., with so many additives and weird flavor pairings, that juices are more like smoothies these days. What if you’re just thirsty, not yearning for a panacea liquid meal? 

That’s why we like Wild Poppy juices, available in five flavors at Whole Foods. They’re all made from citrus and other fruit biodynamically grown in California. The combinations are interesting (blood orange chili, grapefruit ginger), and they come in pretty bottles. But most thankfully, you don’t need an owner’s manual to understand them, as is often the case with snooty juice-bar beverages. (Just what does cardamom do in a juice, exactly?)

Our favorite Wild Poppy variety is the peppermint lemonade, which tastes like a freshly made drink you’d find at a health-foods store--light, with just a touch of sweetness from agave. The orange and grapefruit juices are more flavor-forward, with powerful heat and spice notes. 

And finally--don’t tell the juice-bar zealots!--we really like the peach vanilla and the plum licorice as vodka mixers. All together now: To your health!

Whole Foods, 2201 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica; 310-315-0662 or wildpoppyjuice.com

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