Evolution Fresh

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Evolution Fresh is Starbuck's newest chain in their plan to take over the world.  I couldn't figure out why the name sounded familiar to me until I went here and noticed that they've been selling their bottled juiced in Starbuck's chains.
Now housed in the old Coffee Bean &Tea Leaf on Fillmore, this location makes a perfect spot for Evolution Fresh.  It's the third outpost and the only one in California with the other two in Washington.   
If you've ever been inside the old Coffee Bean you know that the store is tiny, well they make the area even smaller!  Even though there are tables with chairs and stools set up all over, it's best to take the food to go to avoid the cramped space.  I have been desperately searching for a SF version of Sprout (a super fresh custom salad bar), but the closest I've ever found was Blue Barn (see post HERE), so kinda hoped that Evolution Fresh would be a possible substitute.  
The juices are advertised as cold pressed, but they aren't juiced fresh in front of you,.  They are tapped from the wall like fresh flowing beer, which makes me question how fresh the juice is, especially at around $5 for an 8oz cup.  All the juice combinations are made from mixes of each of the wall spouts:  beet, coconut, carrot, cucumber, pineapple, mix greens, and apple.
The custom salads ($8) comes with a choice between 3 greens (kale, spinach, and spring greens), 4 toppings (julienned carrots, pea pods, grape tomatoes, fresh herbs, butternut squash, red peppers, grilled zucchini, black beans, feta, mixed seeds, scallions), and a choice of salad dressing (wild harissa, roasted garlic balsamic, lemon tahini, tamari five spice, and olive oil & lemon).  The protein choice (grilled chicken breast, soy protein, and egg crumbles) is $2 extra. 
The choices for salads aren't too appealing, but I went with the kale with grilled red peppers, grilled zucchini, fresh herbs, and scallions tossed with garlic balsamic.  The salad was nothing special and didn't have that super fresh just picked off the farm taste.  I noticed that almost every table had a salt and pepper shaker so other items must have been bland as well.

Along with custom and already prepared salads, they offer some signature noodle and rice bowls.  The Leanne's buckwheat noodle bowl (half size) will set you back $4.95 and only has 180 calories.  The menu has all the calorie information of all the food and drink items.  The signature bowl had roasted red peppers, pea pods, julienned carrots, grilled zucchini, baby spinach, scallions, fresh herbs with soba noodles and was tossed in their tamari five spice dressing.  Tamari is a gluten/wheat free soy sauce.  The bowl was more vegetables than noodles and also forgettable.
Organic gluten-free sriracha!  I never knew such a thing existed, but then again in San Francisco anything and everything can be made organic, vegan, and gluten free.  By the looks of all the almost empty bottles, the sriracha sauce seemed quite popular, but I'm not sure what you would use it for in a salad bar.  Just for fun I had a squirt to taste.  Not bad, some good kick and no weird aftertaste.  It almost passes for the real thing with a healthy vibe to it. 
Possibly trying to have a go at Jamba Juice's market, Evolution Fresh also makes a small selection of smoothies.  This one was mango, banana, strawberry.  I'm not sure if it may have been from the chaos of opening week, but this smoothie didn't taste like mango or strawberry at all, just banana.  Why do all smoothies that have some banana in it always taste like just banana?
At $5 for this glass of Coconut Zen, I almost feel guilty drinking it since I own a juicer and have a couple $2 young coconuts from Ranch 99 at home so I could probably make the same concoction for half the price.  The combination of coconut juice, cucumber, and pineapple was refreshing and thirst quenching.  I'll have to make this at home...
Address:                   Evolution Fresh
                                  2201 Fillmore St.
                                  San Francisco, CA
Type:                         American

Popular chomps:       coconut zen
                                   field of greens
                                   sweet burn

Chomp worthy:         coconut zen      

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