From açai (ah-SIGH-e) to pitaya (just say its more exciting moniker, “dragon fruit”), antioxidant-rich superfoods are the cornerstone of the menu at The Bowl, the latest place encouraging us to eat better in the form of insanely delicious, nourishing frosty treats.
When I first heard a store was opening up dedicated solely to the next big food trend to reach here from our neighbors up north, I was skeptical—just açai bowls with smoothies, kombucha (fermented tea) and cold brew coffee on tap thrown in?
But one visit (and then repeat visits nearly every other day since) have erased any doubt in my mind about its staying power. Throngs of teens in bright Pink shorts and their moms in Lululemon’s latest activewear flow in and out, but so too do businessmen, athletes post-workout, and young professionals looking for something sweet yet satisfying.
The price is arguably steep: $8 for a small or $10 for a large bowl, but if you think of it the way the café’s owner, Kylee Brinkman, does, it’s easily justified. And I can say from personal experience, if I eat one for breakfast, hunger pangs hold off until at least 1:30 p.m.
“We don't use any fillers in our bowls, so no ice! Our bowls are 100 percent whole-food ingredients with a small amount liquid—all of our liquids are no-sugar-added—giving you that delicious meal in a bowl and a thick consistency. So the major difference is that you have a meal in a bowl with granola and all the toppings vs. just a blended smoothie,” Brinkman says.
Two of the most popular bowls are also among the most beautiful: AB&J (left) and Islamorada (right).
Take the most popular bowl, the AB&J. The blended base is pulverized frozen açai berries, bananas, blueberries, strawberries, almond butter and almond milk—it looks kind of like a smoothie, but you scoop it up with a spoon. It’s then topped with granola, hemp hearts (a source of protein), unsweetened coconut shreds, local honey, freshly sliced bananas and whole blueberries. There’s a balance of protein and carbs, and the calorie count is surprisingly low—the small is only around 300 and the large is 500, and it’s the most calorie-dense item on offer.
Anything with açai in the blend will come out with the telltale purple hue; the vibrant fuchsia bowls mean pitaya forms the base. These tropical treats not only look gorgeous, but also taste amazing: If you haven’t tried them yet, you must, but be warned—you might become addicted.
To plan a visit:
1427 Pine Ridge Road, Naples