To Bowl or not to bowl? Playa Bowls holds its own amid the bowl craze

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ANUSHKA MAZUMDAR/THE REVIEW
Playa Bowls are often touted as “healthy” options, but are they as nutritious as everyone believes?

BY
Staff Reporter

Main Street provides students with an array of eating options, but it can be difficult to navigate through the many restaurants. This confusion may only be increased by the desire to be healthy and save money. Despite so many restaurants advertising these characteristics in their own food, only a handful actually fulfill their promises.

One such restaurant is Playa Bowls, a supposedly healthy smoothie bowl spot, particularly suited for those with a sweet tooth but who are not willing to add on the pounds. Although the restaurant is marketed for its superfoods such as acai, pitaya and goji, the smoothie bowls mostly consist of fruit and unnecessary sugars such as honey and agave. To make matters even worse, a few of these smoothie bowls seem to be much more of a dessert than a meal: they have decadent and fatty toppings like Nutella and white chocolate.

All of this does not come cheap, with each bowl averaging about $9 to $10. However, despite these downsides, I have to admit that the bowls are truly a treat for my tummy with sweet and surprisingly creamy bases. The toppings definitely add on to the experience and each smoothie bowl is topped off with crunchy granola and a variety of other healthy garnishes such as hemp seeds, blueberries, bananas and almonds.

I tried a variety of different bowls, including the acai, green and booster bowls. The acai bowl features pure acai with no other ingredients added. The green bowl contains kale, pineapple, banana and coconut milk. The booster bowl, as its name suggests, contains health boosting ingredients such as peanut butter, protein powder, cashew milk, spirulina, flax oil and bananas.

The classic acai bowl was one of the sweeter options with a bit of tartness to balance the flavors. On the other hand, the green bowl was much lighter in sweetness and made me feel somewhat healthy due to its green color from the kale in the mixture. However, despite the health halo surrounding this green beast, this bowl still managed to impress with its thick and luscious texture and touch of sweetness for those who cannot swallow down so much sugar in one meal.

If you want a truly luxurious and creamy base, though, the booster bowl is the clear winner. It was not only pleasing in taste but alluring in appearance with its shocking blue color, most likely from the spirulina, a blue-green algae that has potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

The toppings for each of these bowls varied depending on the flavor I chose, although I tended to prefer the bowls topped with peanut butter. However, one of the perks of Playa Bowls is that you can substitute some of the toppings for other options.

My experience at Playa Bowls was only enhanced by the trendy and stylish atmosphere within the restaurant. The countertop style tables, whimsical wall decor and pineapples randomly scattered throughout the room create a contemporary and happening vibe that is hard to resist.

Even though many of the options at Playa Bowls did not offer the most health benefits for my buck, there is still a great variety of healthy bowls that serve as a yummy alternative to your basic salad. Overall, my experience at Playa Bowls was a pleasurable one that was worth the somewhat costly price tag.

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