Let's Get Down To Business...About Smoothie Bowls!

Let’s Get Down to Business...about smoothie bowls, of course!

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past couple of years, you have heard or at least have seen a beautifully Instagrammed picture of a smoothie bowl. Just in case you are one of the unfortunate souls who has missed out on the beauty that is a smoothie bowl, I’ll fill you in on what it is: a smoothie bowl begins with a base that usually consists of fruit, veggies and other healthy mix-ins like oats, yogurt and coconut milk or water. It is thicker than a regular smoothie, and is therefore more filling and has a more ice-cream like texture. This base is then topped with things such as fruit, granola, nuts, chia seeds, Nutella, peanut butter, almond butter… pretty much whatever you’re feeling that day.

While they started off as a healthy breakfast trend, smoothie bowls have now become a good meal to eat at pretty much any time of day and are a nutritious (and filling) alternative to other foods you may eat during your hectic college schedule. Due to this rise in popularity, a lot of smoothie bowl places have popped up in towns nationwide -- including some right on UD’s campus. I will admit to being obsessed with these, and with them being so easy and fast to get, I will often run to grab one in between classes or at the end of one of my work shifts. Today, I’m going to share my favorite smoothie bowls that you can find right on campus, just in time for warm weather.

Playa Bowls

Visit: http://playabowls.com/

Located right on that strip of Main Street that houses Walgreens and Chipotle is Playa Bowls, which recently opened on February 3rd. This company is based out of New Jersey, but has rapidly expanded across the US - and thank goodness they chose to set up shop at UD. Playa is a quick, 15 minute walk from my classes and my dorm, making it a great place to stop and grab lunch. If you need a testament for how good Playa Bowls are, I have been at least once a week since they opened. Here are some of my favorite bowls that I’ve had so far:

Coco Craze

This bowl consists of a coconut blend base (which is a blend of raw coconut, banana, agave and coconut milk) and is topped with granola, banana, pineapple, mango, coconut flakes, and honey. I absolutely love coconut, so this was the perfect bowl for me. The coconut base is very creamy and thick with an almost ice cream like texture, making it a bit heavier and more filling than some of the other bases. The base contributes a strong coconut flavor, the granola adds a satisfying crunch and the different fruits give the bowl a variety of textures and sweetnesses. Overall, this bowl is creamy, refreshing and sweet and perfect if you want a more tropical taste.

Electric Mermaid

This bowl consists of a pitaya base (which is a blend of pitaya, banana, pineapple and coconut milk) topped with granola, kiwi, pineapple, mango, coconut flakes and honey. Pitaya, also known as dragonfruit, contributes a tangy and tropical flavor to the bowl. This base was lighter than the other bases I have tried and was more like a typical smoothie than the other bases. This bowl was absolutely packed with flavor, though the kiwi and mango stood out the most to me. The granola and coconut flakes added a nice crunch to the bowl and also added more mild flavors to balance out the sour, tangy flavors of the fresh fruit. This is my favorite bowl to date, as I just love how all of the flavors blend together and how each of the textures complements each other. It was also a very pretty and vibrant bowl, which just added to it’s appeal.

Nutella

I went back to the basics with this bowl. The Nutella bowl consists of a pure acai base and is topped with granola, banana, strawberry, coconut flakes and a Nutella drizzle. This bowl was the sweetest and most mild bowl I tried. The acai base was flavorful and in between the thickness of the coconut bowl and pitaya bowl. The banana and strawberry were very noticeable in this bowl, but were more mild flavors compared to the fruits in the other bowls. The Nutella drizzle was the perfect complement, as it added another level of sweetness that went perfectly with the strawberry and banana. Everyone already knows Nutella goes well with fruit, and this bowl just served to prove that fact. I would suggest this bowl to anyone who isn’t sure what to try first, or is worried about trying something new. It has familiar ingredients, isn’t too exotic, and is just the right amount of sweetness.

Overall, Playa Bowls gets an A+ from me. It’s close to campus, the staff is friendly, the bowls are delicious and affordable, the place has a really nice vibe and there’s a huge range of options. You can choose to mix and match bases and customize your own bowl -- if you’re not feeling a smoothie bowl, you can even get chia pudding, a regular smoothie, or oatmeal. There’s pretty much something for everyone!

Viva Bowls

Visit: https://www.vivabowlsde.com/

The next place I visited was Viva Bowls. Though it’s a bit further down Main Street, it is absolutely worth the walk! Viva is set back in the same shopping center as Blue Hen Comics and Axxiom Escape Rooms. The shop is small and adorable with employees that are incredibly friendly and down to earth. I would definitely recommend Viva Bowls if you are looking to customize your own bowl. Here is what I tried:

Bikini Bowl

This bowl begins with an acai base topped with granola, blueberries, strawberries, kiwi, coconut flakes and agave. It is light but still holds that smooth, creamy texture. The fruit adds a great variety of flavor and textures, and no single flavor outweighs the other. I would definitely recommend this bowl for someone who hasn’t tried a smoothie bowl before.

 

Customized Bowl

Viva is amazing for customizing your own bowl. Their menu explains what each ingredient is and they encourage you to create your own by providing a template to pick your base, pick three toppings, and then pick additional add-ins for $0.50 a piece. I chose a pitaya base with banana, mango and strawberries, and then added chia seeds and coconut honey peanut butter.

I personally loved Viva for the entire experience. The employees are nice and are very willing to explain all of the ingredients for you. I would go to Viva if you want to create your own bowl and are interested in adding your own spin to things by adding your favorite fruits and flavors. It’s also a small business on Main Street and I personally love supporting small, locally owned businesses!

Overall, I would highly recommend both Viva Bowls and Playa Bowls. Both locations are a short walk from campus, making them an easy and convenient option. I personally loved every bowl I’ve tried so far and it definitely helps me make healthy lunch and breakfast choices while also filling me up enough that my stomach doesn’t make dying whale noises because I’m hungry in class. While I should probably slow down in my consumption of them (all the fresh fruit and healthy toppings they put in can be a bit expensive sometimes!), I encourage everyone to try a smoothie bowl at least once this season. The weather is heating up which makes this food a delicious, refreshing option.  

All photos sourced from Playa Bowls and Viva Bowls websites