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Hovering in a hallowed space between food processor and John Deere backhoe is the virile Vitamix, the city's beloved blender, juicer, and nut-butter-maker. We find out if it's worth our precious kitchen-counter real estate and the price tag.

A $400-plus blender sounds bonkers. But somehow the Vitamix— with its revved up engine and friction cooking capability (we’ll explain)— seems to transcend the blender category altogether.

“Vitamixs are the super-turbo charged, rocket-fueled, Rolls Royces of blenders,” says New York City nutritionist and author Marissa Lippert. Vitamix owners from chefs to raw foodies and the kitchen-gadgetry-inclined discuss their blenders with the same reverence that Mac owners rhapsodize about their computers. And like a Mac, the Vitamix comes with a premium price tag.

So what makes the Vitamix 5200, which was introduced in 2007 by the company that literally invented blenders, cost four times more than a standard model? We asked some New York City experts:

“It’s simple and easy to use—a flip of the switch—and blends up pretty much anything, including nuts, which is essential if you want something completely smooth,” says Sarma Melngailis, the chef-owner of Pure Food and Wine and One Lucky Duck. Melngailis has commercial models for her restaurant and juice bars and one for home use as well. “The one at home I use to make green shakes or breakfast chocolate shakes for my boyfriend,” she says.

Integrative nutritionist Jeanette Bronee, director of Path for Life, concurs that the Vitamax is worth the splurge. “It plows through everything—I love it. I use it for soups, for bean spreads, homemade hummus, and also for making pureed vegetable sauces to put over fish.”

Time to get geeky. Here are five reasons why the Vitamax is more powerful than your $50 Oster blender that you thought was just fine until you read this piece:

1. It’s one piece, including the blades, and requires no Lego-like assembly or disassembly to clean.

2. The construction, from carafe to base, is super solid, reinforced materials, a very good thing for blending solids, like ice. The flipside: It weighs 10 pounds.

3. It has a powerful (and powerfully noisy) 2-horsepower (1380-watt) motor, which is half way to a lawnmower. You can grind grain in it, turn nuts into butter, and make a creamy, smooth juice from whole fruits and vegetables.

4. The blades spin so fast you can literally cook soup in it—a result of the friction they create.

5. It comes with a 7-year-warranty and seriously good customer service, say owners. Better than AppleCare, in fact. —Alexia Brue

To check out the Vitamix 5200 and other models, visit www.vitamix.com

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