The açai bowl has become an increasingly popular health trend over the last few years, especially in my home state of California. In fact, it fits right in with the yoga-on-the-beach, super organic and healthy vibes of my hometown. When I came to college I was disappointed to realize that these delicious bowls are not as common on the East Coast. I missed this refreshing lunch option, until I discovered Pure Raw Juice Bar, which opened this past January in Federal Hill.
Pure Raw Juice Bar is one of the only places in Baltimore to grab this crunchy and refreshing treat. They offer a wide selection of açai and pitaya bowls. Similar in texture, açai and pitaya bowls have slightly different flavors but strikingly different colors. Pitaya, also known as dragonfruit, is bright pink, has a floral taste, and a more granular texture than açai. However, both fruits are superfoods containing lots of antioxidants and vitamin C.
The store is quite small, with only six stools around the bar where they make your tasty treat. However, it is likely to be crowded around brunch or lunch.
#SpoonTip: if you’re in a rush you can call in the order ahead of time and take it on the go.
All the bowls are made in clear to-go cups. This is a different vibe from many açai places back home in California, which serve the açai in unique ceramic bowls while you eat in the store on low pillow coaches. Although the Pure Raw Juice Bar is different, I happen to like the plastic bowls that allow you to see the layers: granola, then smoothie, and then artfully placed fruit, which creates amazing Insta-worthy pictures.
#SpoonTip: The best way to get all the flavors in one bite is working vertically. Try to get some granola, some açai, and some fruit in every bite.
If you are new to the açai expirence, you could try the traditional or the Hawaiian bowl at Pure Raw Juice Bar, which are both great representatives of what a classic açai bowl tastes like. Every bowl has the same granola on the bottom, then your choice of açai or pitaya, topped with different combinations of fruit. Often there is coconut or bee pollen sprinkled on top too.
I had the aptly named electric pink pitaya bowl topped with yellow bee pollen, mango slices, and everything juxtaposed with rich dark blueberries.
If you like the flavor and vibrant color of dragon fruit, then I highly recommend the pitaya bowl. My friend had the honey bee açai bowl, which is a sweet spin on a classic. The purple açai is topped with thinly shredded coconut, bananas and bee pollen before being drizzled with honey.
Although açai bowls are pricier than a typical smoothie they are definitely more filling. A 16-oz. bowl is $9, the perfect size for breakfast or lunch. You leave feeling full, but energized.