Finding juice bars, yogurt shops, ice cream and soda fountain shops around town is not difficult. They have sprouted up throughout Los Angeles and seem to attract customers no matter what the weather.
By spending a little more time, effort and money, however, some people have elected to make these goodies at home. Ingredient selection and taste control are two important considerations why they opt for the homemade route.
The juice extractor, as Robert Leo, president of Olympic Products Inc., sees it, "is no longer an appliance of the health nut. With the strong trend toward health and nutrition, Americans are now practicing preventive medicine, supplying their bodies with the necessary vitamins and minerals to help protect against possible diseases and ailments."
If you're serious about rewarding yourself with the benefits of "raw juice therapy," one of the best investments available is the classic and sturdy Olympic Fruit and Vegetable Juicer ($199).
"When making your own juice, you know what is in the juice and what is or is not lacking," Leo added. "Many bottled and canned juices only contain 10% actual juice." Economical to use, the Olympic Juicer extracts about 30% more juice than other brands, leaving a very dry pulp. Equipped with a stainless steel spinner basket, cutting blade and bowl, the machine cleans easily. It is also a lot quieter than most machines.
Formerly a seasonal appliance, ice cream makers have become a year-round business for many retailers. And consumers who buy the makers like to have personal control of the freezeable ingredients. Aside from ice creams and frozen yogurts, there's a trend toward ices and sorbets that are often used as palate refreshers in the course of a meal or as a light ending to a heavy culinary repertoire.
Judging by its price, the Gaggia Gelatiera ice cream maker ($600) from Italy is a serious kitchen investment, but it may be a wise one for an ice cream devotee. A commercial-quality appliance, this sleek refrigeration system was designed by Guilia Moselli, the man responsible for the design of the Maserati Turbo.
Although the machine is available only in white in this country, it comes in an array of bold and bright colors--bright lemon yellow, blue and reddish-orange--in Europe. Simple to use, it makes 1 1/2 quarts of ice cream in less than 30 minutes. The stainless-steel bowl is easily removed for cleaning. Available with the Gaggia is a recipe book filled with ideas for luscious frozen desserts. Some of the recipes may be too sweet for the American palate and may be adjusted by decreasing the sugar level.
Old-fashioned equipment works best for tried-and-true malts and shakes. The Waring Professional Drink Mixer ($260) has the same durable construction as mixers used in ice cream parlors, restaurants and bars. Its heavy-duty, two-speed commercial motor rotates a single spindle up to a speed of 19,000 revolutions per minute. The delightful no-fuss operation is triggered by pushing up the steel mixing cup toward the switch; removing the cup shuts off the motor.
Available in stainless steel and black gloss enamel, the drink mixer is one of the appliances included in Waring's new high-grade line, which also includes a professional kitchen blender, bar blender and juice extractor.
The Gaggia ice cream maker is available at Bullock's and Williams-Sonoma.
The Waring Professional Drink Mixer is available at Avery Fixtures, Los Angeles, Williams-Sonoma and the Broadway.
The Olympic juicer is sold through health-food stores and gourmet shops. To obtain the name of nearest dealer, call (800) 633-3401.