You’ve probably seen these post-worthy treats on Instagram, Pinterest, and Snapchat, but what exactly IS an açaí bowl?
Common among surfers in Cali and Hawaii, this tropical treat has found its Southern roots at Alpharetta’s Luv-a-Bowl, not far from The University of Georgia (and you don’t have to be basic to be a fan).
Açaí bowls mix açaí with other frozen fruits instead of ice, making them thicker and less diluted than your typical smoothie. Unlike a smoothie, they also almost always include an artsy display of fresh toppings to dig in to.
#SpoonTip: Use a spoon. Don’t even think about using a straw, unless you feel like waiting a while for it to melt.
Known for their beauty inside and out, açaí bowls are naturally made from the açaí (pronounced ah-sigh-ee) super fruit, grown on trees in the Amazon. These Brazilian berries are rich in antioxidants although the health benefits for which they are often praised have not been proven.
Luv-a-Bowl swears by no added sugar, dairy, or questionable additives. For around $7 to $8, everything is made fresh-to-order with vegan and gluten-free options. You can even add some greens to sneak in a serving of vegetables.
Looking to satisfy your sweet tooth without feeling bad afterwards? Bowls are perfect as a light meal or substitute for dessert. I like to fuel up on a bowl before or after working out, because they fill me up while providing a boost of energy.
I have become one of Luv-a-Bowl’s devoted regulars. They aren’t kidding with their slogan, “welcome to your new addiction.”
The family-owned business sits in the heart of Johns Creek, surrounded by a movie theater and great restaurants, and it’s right down the street from the high school and suburban neighborhoods. You see a lot of people coming in just to hang out on the indoor couches or outside on the patio.
#SpoonTip: If you wish to avoid a large crowd, it’s always super busy right after classes let out on the weekdays (around three to four o’clock).
Their most popular Johns Creek bowl includes acai, banana, strawberries, blueberries, pineapple, and vanilla almond milk, and is topped with even more fresh fruit, crunchy granola, a drizzle of honey, and coconut flakes.
My all-time favorite is Dan’s Peanut Butter (with greens), and I’m pretty sure the workers start opening the jar as I walk in the door. If you love the taste of bananas and creamy peanut butter, Dan’s is definitely the bowl for you. Peanut butter connoisseurs can choose from Dan’s, Popeye, Neil’s Special, or the Chocolate Peanut Butter Bowl.
I also recommend trying the Pink Dragon (yes, it’s naturally bright pink from pitaya or dragon fruit), the PB&J bowl, or the Piña Colada Special.
They are more than accommodating when it comes to customizing your bowl with or without certain toppings and special ingredients (greens, extra protein, natural supplements…). Allergies and diet restrictions are not an issue here. The granola is gluten free and they only use non-dairy milk substitutes.
If you don’t want all the toppings, you can always ask for a bowl in a smoothie-form. Although I would never personally turn down granola, it’s great for taking your acai fix to go.