Did you know the USDA got rid of the food pyramid? Yup, they've replaced it with a "food plate" (how utterly boring). And half of that plate, they advise, is supposed to be full of fruits and vegetables -- about 2 to 3 cups of produce per adult, per day.
In this town full of carne asada fries and other greasy stoner food, that can be a tough proposition. Fear not, Angelenos. These five cocktails have come to the rescue, bringing a sizable dose of iron, vitamin C and antioxidants -- with a side of booze. They're not too sweet, seasonal and a bit out of the ordinary. Make those drinkable calories count. You aren't getting drunk, you're staying healthy, right?
The new A.O.C. is an ode to the outdoors, with patio spaces and lemon trees, open windows and wood floors that seamlessly connect diners to nature. That theme continues on their cocktail list where they make ample use of maple, citrus, apple -- and arugula.
The Green Goddess is a viridescent cocktail of chamomile-infused vodka, lime juice, cucumber, jalapeno and wild arugula syrup. The arugula and jalapeno give your tastebuds a little jolt, while the tea-flavored base soothes what ails you. Head in at happy hour (5-7 p.m.) when the cocktails are just $10. A.O.C.: 8700 W 3rd St., Los Angeles; (310) 859-9859.
Now that Pitfire Pizza has added a full bar to their Fairfax location, you can take advantage of some seriously well-priced and well-balanced cocktails for $8 a drink. On the current bar menu you'll find I Got Beet -- a mix of Ford's Gin, beet simple syrup, lime juice and bitters.
One of the healthiest vegetables around, beets have natural detoxification properties that will directly counteract the gin you're drinking with it. (Note: this is not scientifically proven.) This drink has a beautiful magenta color and a nice citrusy zing to it. Be careful -- this one goes down a little too easy. Fortify yourself with one of their autumn pizzas: pumpkin, sausage, or Brussels sprouts. Pitfire Pizza: 801 N. Fairfax Ave.; Los Angeles; (323) 544-6240.
The Dante Bellpepper at Picca, crafted by master barman Julian Cox, is a deep orange, pretty as a pumpkin in fall. The cocktail gets its gorgeous coloring from carrots, but don't expect something sweet: It's mixed with Mezcal, red bell pepper, lemon and cracked pepper.
If that's not enough kick for you, the drink is topped with a foam of sorts -- called carrot habanero "air" -- and if you're trying to take dainty little sips to impress your date, you'll end up with a mouth full of fire. Ask for a straw to get to the good stuff, or tip it back with enough force to get drink and topping. It's a cocktail that'll make you sweat -- but hey, that boosts the metabolism, so this one is extra virtuous. Picca: 9575 West Pico Blvd., Los Angeles; (310) 277-0133.
New to barman Derrick Bass' fall menu at Willie Jane is the aptly named Garden cocktail -- picked from their little plot out back and full of herbal bitterness and citrusy brightness. Bass uses gin infused with fennel and dill, citron geranium-infused vodka, lime juice, simple syrup and Lillet Blanc (an apertif wine made with orange peels).
It's light and refreshing, but if fennel's not your thing, give the Floral a try: It's made with rosemary, thyme, cucumber and vodka. All the spices of Thanksgiving in a low-calorie cocktail -- how could that be bad? (If you want something simpler, just get a bourbon with a shot of pickle juice -- only $5 at happy hour and great for muscle recovery after your workout.) Willie Jane: 1031 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Los Angeles; (310) 392-2425.
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Sure, you could drink one of the gazillion Bloody Mary options in town -- but you'd also end up with a full day's worth of sodium. Keep it light and fresh with The Smokey Pueblo at Goldie's, served up by bartendress Brittani Rae.
The cocktail is as bright as a Caprese salad (minus the cheese, thankfully): muddled basil, tomato water, sea salt, white balsamic syrup and vodka, punched up with coriander for sting and mescal for smokiness. A skewered tomato is the cherry on top. Pair that drink with Goldie's grilled cucumber and you've got a perfectly farm-fresh night. Goldie's: 8422 W 3rd St., Los Angeles; (323) 677-2470.
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