acai

Healthy Fast food: Backyard Bowls

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       There is plenty of healthy plant based food in LA so I knew it would be a satisfying discovery for each meal coming here, but I was also sure that I'd go back to Backyard Bowls. I discovered it 2 years ago when I was staying for the first time in LA, and I would walk more than 1h back and forth just to go to their place in WeHo!! Haha, yes I like to walk, but I also love their food. Is it an extraordinary culinary experience? Probably not. But it is exactly the way I conceive food: healthy, abundant, plant based and simple but still with lots of flavors.

They have several locations and the pictures in this article are from their Santa Monica location which is the area I am staying.

 

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       The Menu

       Is simple: smoothie bowls (acai, pitaya, green bowls), smoothies, porridge bowls, toasts and grain bowls. That's it. The bases of a plant-based diet. I told you I like to eat a "high carb low fat" kinda diet and I feel like that's what I can easily get without thinking about it too much at Backyard Bowls because the carbs are in the center of everything (and carbs are definitely life). And you have quantity on your plate (actually in your bowl) which is also one of my criteria when I go to a restaurant: how much food will I have on my plate?

The other thing I like is that when you eat in, you get a proper bowl, a proper spoon: no plastic and no waste. It's something I was missing when I tried to have acai bowls in New York. Maybe the next improvement would be to also give a proper cup for the water fountain but I know it's not always easy to organize it.

Finally, it's fast food: you order at the counter and wait for your food that you can eat in or take away. It's really nice to know that you have healthy and yummy options when you are in a hurry.

 

       What Do I personally order?

       I generally go for a large (yes large, and the portion is huge! but we know as plant-based eaters that we tend to eat a lot more in quantities, especially on HCLF) Island bowl, which is my favorite of their smoothie bowls: there is mango in it, which is one of my favorite fruits, and coconut milk! It's a simple tropical bowl and I love how they aren't cheap on the granola compared to other places! It's very hot in LA so I love how a smoothie bowl cools me from the inside.

I was also very curious to test their grain bowls because macro bowls are really my favourite way to eat, and I am always more attracted to savory meals than sweets. So I built my own: green rice, hummus, hot sauce, cauliflower + chickpeas, sweet potato puree, shaved carrot, avocado, shallots and pickled beets, sprouts, micro greens and toasted almonds. And it was delicious! Like, really delicious! I really felt like I am going to make efforts to cook the same way at home because it is accessible and it is a way to eat that I would like to share.

 

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Santa Monica Neighborhood

Santa Monica Neighborhood

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Backyard Bowls

Website. They have many locations so check if there's one close to you!

 

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The Best Acai Bowl in Miami

 

One of my favorite food to have when it's hot is acaï bowl, but I sometimes get disappointed if it's not good enough compared to the few great ones I had traveling. So as I came to Miami for a few days, I wanted to check out the best Acai Bowl places in town and make my own review so I know where to come back next time. Overall I didn't have a bad experience in any of the places, but some were really standing out for my taste.

 

4. Lilikoi organic living

 

This place is a mix between modern and cute with loads of white and pop colors mixed with old-looking wood. They have a lot of indoor and outdoor seating which is nice when you want to eat there as in some places you can't find a seat once your food is ready. I love the fact that they choose local and organic ingredients for their menu and that they don't add unnecessary ingredients like sugar. The food isn't tasting extraordinary but it's nice, healthy and they have many choices and vegan and gluten free options. The downside is that it's a little pricey.

About the acai bowl: it was good, healthy and satisfying. All what you expect from an acai bowl, with refreshing fruits on top. I liked that the granola was homemade and had mainly toasted oats which makes it lighter on the stomach.

 

LILIKOI ORGANIC LIVING

500 South Pointe Drive, Miami Beach, FL 33139

 

3. DIRT

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Dirt has a very modern atmosphere, a bit like an LA juice bar. They have a nice breakfast and lunch menu and they focus on the quality of the ingredients, the farm-to-counter and "clean eating" so they have a lot of simple but tasty dishes, and they have plenty of vegan, paleo and also gluten free options depending what you eat like. Their bread is pretty good (and it's a french saying that!)

About the acai bowl: a bit sweeter than the other places as they mix it with mango and 1/2 a bulletproof ball, and they add less fresh fruits on top so it felt more like a yummy dessert than a breakfast. Their granola was the best because it had chunks of chocolate which added to the dessert-like side. if you have a sweet tooth but you want to make the healthy choice, this is your place!

 

DIRT

232 5th Street, Miami Beach, FL 33139

 

2. Pura Vida

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To be honest, when going to Pura Vida I was expecting something that would be good but not amazing, thinking it would be just "another juice bar" with a few simple OK meals. I was happily surprised by the quality of the food (I tested two other things on the menu with my acai bowl) as their hummus is homemade, the food is fresh and tasty, and I also liked their portion sizes that are big enough to satisfy you. Not everything is vegan in the menu, but there are plenty of options, such as salads, grain bowls and wraps.

About the acai bowl: I loved the taste that wasn't too sweet so it felt refreshing, especially good when the weather is hot. It has more fresh fruits on top than the other places and also mangoes instead of just strawberries and bananas, which I like for the same reason: I feel it more refreshing to have more fresh fruits than sugary granola (even if I LOVE granola!). The granola is simple and nice, and they also have nice coconut shaving. It was overall very very satisfying and refreshing.

 

PURA VIDA

110 Washington Avenue, Miami Beach, FL 33139

 

1. Under The Mango tree

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This place is my favorite! It feels like a hidden gem as it's a very small shop, with a small sign and you don't expect to find what is behind the door: a very cute place, decorated more simply and less modern than all the other places. It feels more authentic. They are acai/smoothies/juices oriented but have a few other things on their menu. But I would come here only for the delicious juices (I had a mango juice that was so refreshing I though they mixed some melon in it, but nope) and the bowls, because sometimes it's all you need.

About the acai bowl: of course it's my favorite one out of the 4 places I tested. I went 2 times and tested the classic acai bowl and the superfood acai bowl. The acai tastes more like cold acai puree than "ice cream" and you feel that it was made with very riped bananas, which I found so comforting as I love this satisfying texture. It's the perfect guilt free treat to me, naturally sugary and comforting but healthy. The granola wasn't my favorite one but I liked it and the bananas are ripe like I like them! I loved the superfood one because the few goji berries felt sticky under the tooth, like a candy. It's not 100% plant based as there is honey but you can ask without it if you want.

 

UNDER THE MANGO TREE

714 6th Street, Miami Beach, FL 33139

 

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