Location: 106 W.1st St North Vancouver, BC (in the trendy part of Lower Lonsdale)
Environment: I really like what Buddha-Full has done with their space. They’ve been around Lower Lonsdale for years but recently (it could have not been so recent, it had been kind of a while since I visited this place) upgraded the inside and outside/patio of their shop. The new space is warm, cozy and inviting. Before the space was kind of blah – it mostly just look unfinished. It was a little dark and didn’t have a nice flow to the space, like it does now. It was more grungy new-age hippie than clean and crisp Hipster vibes.
They have a really great selection of Smoothies & Cold-Pressed Juices. They also offer tons of delicious looking Vegan food and treats. The Tofuino Salad looks bomb.com. So do the vegan cookies – yum! They have two large retail sections where they sell everything from Arnica oil, Cardamom infused honey to no-cheese, “Cheez-its” (the kind that the Queen of Vegan, Lauren Toyota, has been promoting on her social media lately).
I have to be honest with you. The service I experienced on my last visit was kind of bizarre. It’s usually great but not this time.
Let me give you some backstory. Every single time I’ve been to Buddha-Full over the course of the last (at least) 5 years, I’ve ordered a smoothie. Smoothies are my go-to as they are filling, fast and tasty. However, the past two times I’ve stopped by Buddha-Full have been post-brunch at the newly opened Lift Breakfast & Bakery next door. I’m never hungry enough to justify a smoothie but I can get a juice, drink a bit and then pop into the fridge to enjoy over the next few days. It’s convenient, it’s tasty – win, win. I’m saying this to state that I am not super familiar with how their Cold Pressed Juice ordering system works but I’m familiar with the smoothies, which are made to order.
Last time I went (the first time I ordered their juice) I ordered the “One Love” – a bright red, blood-like juice – simply because it was so eye-catching in the display fridge. This time, however, I ordered off the menu – a “Glow” juice with pineapple, celery, cucumber and cilantro. It sounded like a delicious combination and exactly what I was in the mood for. I placed my order with the cashier and specifically asked her “Is it alright if I just order whatever I feel like off the menu – it doesn’t have to be in the fridge already?” and she confirmed, yes that was fine.
So, I was a bit surprised, when she went to grab my Mom’s drink (Ganesha’s Greens) and then upon realizing there was no “Glow” juices in the fridge, she turned to me and explained that they were all out of the juice I had ordered (and paid for) but that she could offer me another one or refund the money. I explained that I was in the mood for the “Glow” juice specifically, so not a problem, she could just refund the money. I also explained to her that I specifically asked her if ordering any drink off the menu was fine – before I gave her the money. I think maybe it was just too noisy in there for her to hear me?
Anyways to make a long story short, I was totally fine with getting a refund and returning at a later date but someone else (the manager/owner?) offered to make me a fresh one on the spot. I accepted as it was a generous offer but (and maybe it was just me) there was something in her tone of voice that made me feel as if she viewed me and the whole situation as an inconvenience. To be fair, it was inconvenient but like I said, I would have just happily taken a refund. Anyways, I asked how long making a fresh batch of juice would take – not because I’m an asshole but because there are hella aggressive parking officers in the area and we were edging REAL close to our one hour time limit. She exclaimed five minutes – lol, no. More like 15 minutes (which she could have just said, at the beginning) and my poor Mom ended up going to wait in the car to make sure we didn’t get ticketed.
It seemed like it had been awhile so I went to ask where the drink was. At this point, I had no problem leaving without a refund or a drink. But – the manager/owner? exclaimed it’ll be done in just a sec – which it was. However, I was kind of surprised that there was no apology for the wait or the confusion or anything of the sort. Just odd customer service but then it is very characteristic of Vancouver behaviour so I’m not too surprised.
Trust me, I know how trivial all this sounds and I’m well aware that this is the definition of first world problem whiny bullshit (over an $11 juice, no less). But dammit this city is expensive and if I blow that money on a juice I – at least – don’t want to be treated like an inconvenience while doing so.
Anywhoodles – I digress.
(all of them were $10.50)
One Love – orange + beet + strawberry + pineapple + rosewater
REALLY tasty. Just a hint of the rosewater permeates throughout the incredibly well balanced drink. Not too sweet, quite refreshing and not “beet-y”, at all. 10/10 would order this again. I might even prefer this to any green juice I’ve ever had.
Ganesha’s Greens – kale + lettuce + spinach + lemon + celery + cucumber + apple
This was my Mom’s drink but she let me have a sip and it was perfect. Really well balanced, not too sweet – just right. It had a refreshing, crisp after taste and I can see this becoming my Mom’s new favourite thing.
Glow – pineapple + cucumber + celery + cilantro
Well, after all the fuss – it was definitely worth it. EXACTLY what I want out of a green juice. It was on the sweeter side – as pineapple is the main fruit – but well balanced with the cucumber, celery and cilantro (trust me, it works). I felt invigorated after drinking this and will definitely be ordering it regularly over the summer – which is when I believe there’s a better chance of it being in stock.
Final Thoughts: Excellent juice. Hit or miss service but it’s whatever. Great selection of vegan food, treats and products. Great space. Great location – terrible parking, unfortunately. Their retail product spaces are definitely worth a peruse.