I've consistently stopped into Pret a few times a week since it opened at the base of our building complex last year. The coffee isn't half bad, the yogurts are great in the morning, and the lines are way more welcome than the intolerable ones at Starbucks next door. They also have a nearly monotone outfit of juices for purchase: honey tangerine juice, lemonade, orange juice, orange & pineapple juice, and, what we've come here for, grapefruit juice. When I say to the friendliest manager this side of your industry job fantasy, "just the juice, here", he says: "that'll be $3.30, please". This guy, whoever he is, runs an amazing check-out experience, always jumping in to ring folks when the other clerks are overwhelmed by a rush of customers. And he always thanks you, wishes you a good day, and welcomes you back the next.
So I've got this grapefruit juice in my hands, avoiding the outside world on a steamy 84-degree day, ready to march back upstairs and sit at my desk and type more stuff on the computer and do this and do that while trying to savor this delicate reminder of childhood under a warm, tender sun. And then I think about all those breakfasts and afternoon snacks where my mother prepared her two sons' grapefruit bowls the only way I'll ever know: halved with each half's fruit segments lightly propped out of their uterine cavities, membrane-free with a dash of powdered sugar.
Does Pret's grapefruit juice always send me down memory lane? Probably not. But shake that bottle well and you, too, will be tugged back to a cheery memory at least once. Few things other than a really good IPA could beat the strikingly tart and pulpy thirty-sip seranade of Pret's American Grapefruit Juice nirvana on a hot day (even if I wasn't ever outside). I know, it's 100% pure Florida grapefruit juice, so it's really just the product of a damn good juicing machine with a competent driver, but pure juice can be brilliantly rich, and in my mind, this one definitely fills a hole in my stomach.
Is Pret's masterpiece the juice-making apogee of all human sweat, blood, and agony? I can't say for certain, but I will admit it's a pretty good 430 mL plastic bottle of GFJ. Seeing as how it's 100% juice (and "nothing else"), pulp to juice ratio is the game to play here. There is a low-level of grapefruit pulp that gracefully clumps together at the bottom fifth of an unshaken bottle. Once shaken (note: shake carefully, the zip-tops have been known to weep sticky leakage from aggressive forearms), the pulp disperses evenly and stays put. If you like a little fruit flesh in your juice, you'll like this. If you despise anything floating around in your liquids, stay away. (Pret neglects to mention the presence of pulp anywhere on the bottle, an unfortunately poor and unfriendly design decision, so this is your warning, trepid buyer.) Regardless, the pulp isn't overwhelming, the tartness of the grapefruit feels like a 7 on a scale of 10, and the volume (14.5 fl oz if you didn't convert earlier) is just enough to hold you back until your next meal.
What have we learned today? Grapefruit juice is a good choice of beverage, especially in the summer, and especially as a stand-alone snack at mid-day. Pret's take on the classic (which, let me remind you, is just pure juice) is an overwhelmingly intelligent choice. You may wonder -- my, there are a lot of juices and beverages to choose from at 3:00pm on any given day, so why grapefruit? Besides it simply tasting better than other, lesser reincarnations of citrus fruits, grapefruit has gnarly benefits as a vessel for orally-taken drugs -- like alcohol. What? Yeah. Not only is the juice great for you (a delicious source of vitamin C, A, B complex, E, and K), but according to a Group of Canadian researchers, grapefruit juice interferes with an enzyme that "metabolizes many drugs, and toxins as well, into substances that are less potent or more easily excreted." So if you want to tastefully disguise a few shots of vodka or gin with that bottle of grapefruit juice, you'll likely get the funnies before 5:00.
Find your nearest Pret a Manger and enjoy.