I don’t remember exactly when I heard of the Acai Bowl, but it’s been several years now. The first one I tried was at Paradise Bowls in Manhattan Beach, which was started by two college friends and athletes. I remember waiting what seemed like a long time for my bowl to be prepared (everything is prepared fresh, after your order is placed) but being very happy and feeling healthy with the result. Acai (ah-sigh-EE) bowls feature the acai berry, which is an inch-long, reddish-purple fruit. It comes from the acai palm tree, which is native to Central and South America. It is rich in antioxidants, and is blended into a pretty purple slush as the base for these bowls. Then layered with a variety of fruits like bananas, blueberries and strawberries. Sometimes shredded coconut is added on top, or goji berries or a drizzle of honey or all of the above. It seems a bit of granola is always added for some crunch and texture.
Since that first experience I’ve enjoyed a few more of these bowls. From Palm Springs to San Luis Obispo to right in my backyard of Playa del Rey, I’ve shelled out $8-$10 for a delicious, healthy snack. Now I know some college students enjoy these bowls daily, probably more as full meals than as snacks. I love the colors and the entire presentation of the bowl, and the fact that I am putting healthy foods into my body. Although it seems quite expensive for a bowl of “fruit” I’ve noticed the portion sizes are plentiful (and are often best shared with a friend). So if you think about it, the price is almost comparable to two fancy cupcakes or two scoops of gelato.
Recently I’ve had several Hollywood tour guests inquiring where to find Acai Bowls in Los Angeles. So in a quest to incorporate more healthful eating into my TOURific food research, I’m going in search of some local shops to sample the goods. An article recently came across my desk about a new shop called Backyard Bowls on Beverly Boulevard. It was only a 7-mile drive from where my tour ends in Hollywood, so I paid them a visit. They got their start as a healthy breakfast and lunch cafe in Santa Barbara. On their menu are eight different “backyard bowls” as well as smoothies, porridge bowls and drinks, featuring their specialty house-made cashew milk. I ordered their Island Bowl, which you can see here is just beautiful to look at. I ate half and took the other half home for later. After perusing their menu more closely, I really want to go back and try another backyard bowl or even one of the porridge bowls. And I have to say that I am looking forward to going in search of more Los Angeles area shops that feature Acai Bowls. If you have any suggestions, please let me know so I can pass the good word onto my tour guests. Research is such fun!
By Trish Procetto