My first impression of acai bowls was that it was an L.A. thing. You know, some hipster trend that became popular when gym and yoga goers started barring them in their hands. I decided to give acai bowls a try because who wouldn’t want to spend $11.99 on chopped fruit that you can easily prepare yourself but were too lazy to? Kidding. But seriously, unless you have a jar full of bee pollen or blue algae that you can use to top off a delicately prepared fruit masterpiece, then, create one yourself.
I went to this place called SOHO Juice Co., which is some low-key, chill establishment that seemed to sell one of every item. Like, one packet of kale and one juice. The motto to SOHO Juice Co. is to join the obsession of eating healthy. SOHO Juice Co. prides itself on offering an escape from processed foods by offering healthy options such as cold pressed juices and vegan meals. The whole environment was laid back. The inside consisted of wood, metal, and limited seating. It seemed like a place where you grab and go. The preparer was very knowledgeable on the ingredients and possible substitutions.
Being that it was my first time visiting SOHO Juice Co., it only made sense to try the acai bowl that is named after the company. I know, safe choice. So, I tried the SOHO Acai Bowl which is gluten free, raw, and vegan, as are most of their acai bowls. The ingredients consisted of acai, banana, strawberries, almond butter, almond milk, and topped with homemade almond chia granola, banana, cacao nuts, coconut flakes, bee pollen, and a blue mijik drizzle. No, I did not remember the complete list of ingredients. Find the bowl and all the other bowls here. What got me interested in the SOHO Acai Bowl was the bee pollen. In my mind, I imagined someone with gloves using a small spatula to gently scrape the bottom of a bee’s foot. That’s the only thing that made sense to me. Regardless, it was an ingredient I probably could not find in stores, so, I decided to try it.
Visually, the bowl looked like it’s design was well-thought out and the color scheme just screamed nutrition. Yes, this is my way of talking about food as if it were home decor. Proceed. My original thought was, “Oh, no, how am I going to get to the granola at the bottom?” But, it all worked out in the end. Get it? When I initially tried the bowl, I was surprised to find that the purple base was cold. It was almost like a sorbet consistency.
The flavor was not sweet, probably because the acai in the base was not ripe. It flavor was kind of like grabbing a bunch of paint colors and mixing them together to get some grayish-brown color. It was kind of like that but with taste. There was no one flavor that stood out, they all kind of became one. The toppings were great and the overall texture was soft from the bananas and crunchy from cacao nuts and granola. The cacao nuts were actually extremely hard. The bowl was filling and any leftovers, I was advised, should be stored in a freezer because it will melt.
Round two. The Cloud 9 Bowl. When I saw the photo for this bowl, it reminded me of blue cotton candy. A flavor I am not too found of in ice cream. However, with a name like Cloud 9, it posed a strong selling pitch that this bowl would taste good and create a high experience of flavor. The Cloud 9 Bowl consisted of mango, pineapple, banana, blue algae, coconut milk, almond milk, and topped off with homemade goji granola, strawberries, banana, coconut, and blue maji drizzle. When I initially read the ingredients, I was like: What? Blue algae. I imagined a scuba diver scraping blue algae off a rock and then coming to the surface only for it to end up in my bowl. Probably the same person who scraped the bee’s feet in the original bowl I tried. Moving on. I was a bit concerned that the acai bowl would taste too much like mango because sometimes that can come off too tart. The preparer said that the bowl tasted more like coconut and a bit tropical, so I thought, sure, it’s a new bowl that just came out, so, why not? It. Was. Amazing. I preferred it more than the first acai bowl I tried. The ingredients completed each other so well and the taste of coconut was prominent. Everything was distributed evenly throughout and the combination of the soft banana slices, strawberries, crunchy granola, and roasted coconut-tasting base was great. The blue algae was subtly sweet and was a nice topping to the overall bowl.
The acai bowls I tried at SOHO Juice Co. reminded me that tasty food can can be healthy food. Just because a food item is labeled gluten free, vegan, and raw, does not equal bland or all one flavor. The acai bowls were carefully prepared and packed with protein and nutrition. I definitely recommend going to this place.