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Picking a Main Squeeze in the Juice Wars

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We've mentioned this before, but we're still amazed at how we take our juice and smoothies so seriously here in sunny SoCal. We aren't sure if we remember when the craze began, but we do have a fondness in our hearts for the simpler days of going to the Surf City Squeeze booth at the mall (and a time when "Wanna go to the mall and get a smoothie?" said in a Valley Girl meets flaming queen way was, inexplicably, a hilarious in-joke). Now we can't remember when there wasn't a Jamba Juice every eight square miles, and we're half-certain this is a little unique to our geography. Fruity juices blended with ferocity and poured into tall cups with straw-punctured lids have a sort of sunny optimism on par with the stereotypical image of California; the hypocrisy of the seemingly healthy but actually loaded with sugar and carbs reality also seem to stand for the plastic posing nature of our fair city. This March, in the heart of Gothamist territory, we strode past a bright and cheerful Jamba Juice glimmering in the midst of the highrises and fast crowds, and noticed it was empty, a sad fresh-squeezed ghost town amidst the carnivalesque chaos of Times Square. Clearly, no one, including us, wanted a frosty Mango-a-Go-Go on a frosty day. In fact, not so long ago, when we realized we would shell out something in the ballpark of four bucks for something in the ballpark of 400 calories and 100 grams of sugar, we opted to make our own at home, which cuts the convenience factor, but ups the quality, healthfulness, and eliminates the wait. But the homemade remedy is really just a symptom of the juice epidemic...

So we wanted to put in our $3.95 worth on the juice scene, and to chime in with a definitive winner, based on years of sipping. See what we think of the city's top three after the jump, and, as always, get ready to blend in with your berry own juicy opinions.