Acai Bowls: They’re the best and I don’t want you missing out

Let’s stop pretending we know how to pronounce the darn thing. If you’re saying ‘acai’ right, it sort of rhymes with ‘how about me?’

As for where you’ll find it — not in Whole Foods ‘Fresh Picks.’ Acai can’t be bought in its true form, a berry from palm trees that grow in the Amazon rain forest in Central and South America. When an acai berry is picked, it’s taken to a lab, processed, sometimes frozen, and then sent to the United States.

Why is it healthy af?

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That’s simple. Acai berries are high in fiber and antioxidants which are known to help balance cholesterol levels.

If you’re anything like me, of course you care about long-term health benefits, but what really makes you happy is knowing what foods and drinks are good for your body almost instantly. Acai does that. Its energy boost is just what you need to get going in the morning.

Acai bowls and all their glory… kind of.

The good news is that acai bowls are packed with protein. Shops and cafes add granola, seeds and butters to almost every bowl. Most are topped with berries other than acai like blueberries and strawberries which makes them “a nutrition powerhouse,” said Sandy Livingston, a registered nutrition and licensed nutritionist in Palm Beach County.

The bad news? Some acai bowls are high in sugar and sodium content.

I’ll put it like this: Sambazon, Acai Roots and Tambor are three popular brands of acai that are shipped to the U.S. and used in nutrition-conscious businesses like Jaya Nutrition in Juno Beach and Celis and The Bee in West Palm Beach. Half a cup of Acai Roots acai sorbet in a bowl has about 65 mg of sodium and 16 grams of sugar. That doesn’t include the sugars your body will consume from the added layers of almond/peanut butter or yummy honey that top a standard acai bowl.

To put this into perspective, a woman should only consume 25 grams of sugar a day, while a man should have 37.5, according to AuthorityNutrition.com.

Still interested despite the devilish side?

That’s okay. Me too. Between you and me, acai bowls make up 50 percent of my “eating out” budget! I love them all, from the healthier bowls (low in sugar content and 100% organic) served at Jaya Nutrition bar to the sugar rush I get from a bowl at Field of Greens in downtown West Palm.

Check out this guide to my 5 favorite bowls around town.

Fill up for a few hours at The Bee

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Fruity Acai Bowl at The Bee in Downtown West Palm Beach. Corvaya Jeffries / Palm Beach Post

Toppings like homemade granola (to die for) and fresh raspberries please me more than the acai does. This is because it’s blended with banana and mylk (milk substitute) so the taste of the tart berry is not as potent and melts really fast. Trust that you’ll be served a hearty amount of deliciousness, though. More than enough to fill you up until your next meal.

Location: 123 Datura St, West Palm Beach

Cost: $12 or $13

Satisfy your sweet tooth at Field of Greens

Lil Root is my go-to bowl at Field of Greens. It’s cheap and small enough to eat on the go. The nutella on top of the freezing cold acai is all the sweet I need, so I usually skip the drizzle of honey on top.

Location:  412 Clematis St, West Palm Beach

Cost: Between $5 and $10

Have a healthier bowl over conversation at Jaya Nutrition Bar

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Dakota, server at Jaya Nutrition Bar making an acai bowl. Corvaya Jeffries / Palm Beach Post

Jaya Nutrition Bar is as beautiful and welcoming as its owner, Cecile Alfonzo-Antoine, who designed the place herself.

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Cecile Alfonzo-Antoine, owner of Jaya Nutrition Bar. Corvaya / Palm Beach Post

Your acai bowl will be served in a white paper container with a handwritten, motivational phrase on it — a conversation starter for anyone. The bar’s acai has no coloring agents and is low in sodium. All of these elements make me happy.

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Location: 869, Donald Ross Rd, Juno Beach

Cost: Between $6 and $10

Up your immunity at Juice Buzz

I upgraded from the Cacao Crunch Bowl to the Green Cacao Crunch Bowl. You know, something a little more green with added superfood powder, kale or spirulina. It’s not as sweet as some of the other bowls on this list but still tasty and undeniably healthy.

Location: 6 NE 5th Ave, Delray Beach

Cost: $11

Enjoy every spoonful at Celis Produce

The freezing cold, perfectly textured organic acai is what I love about the bowls at Celis. Prepared with acai ahead of time, when you order your bowl, all they have to do is add peanut butter, hemp/flax granola, honey, bananas, strawberries and kiwi. It allows for a bit of everything in every bite.

“Customers love our bowls because of the quality of our ingredients. The fruit is always fresh, never frozen and the granola we use is airy and crunchy,” Alex Celis, Co-Owner of Celis Produce, said.

Bonus Points: Celis is just a few steps away from The Palm Beach Post building, which is a gift for my taste buds and a curse for my pockets.

Location: 2814 S Dixie Hwy d, West Palm Beach

Cost: Between $10 and $12

Get your superfruit serving Whole Foods 

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Servings of aca in drinks sold at Whole Foods. Corvaya Jeffries / Palm Beach Post

You won’t be able to order an acai bowl at Whole Foods, but you can get your acai fix through various drinks, bars and supplements.

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Acai supplements sold at Whole Foods. Corvaya Jeffries / Palm Beach Post

Personally, I can’t imagine skipping out on a bowl for a drink that costs just as much, but hey, that’s me.

For anyone who has been skeptical about the hype hovering over acai and acai bowls, I get it. Everything in the bowl can be thrown into a blender and taste just as good as a smoothie.

But it’s satisfying to spend a little more time with colorful (and healthy) variety of textures that melt in your mouth, airy granola that has the right amount of crunch or thick and handmade almond butter that sticks to the roof of your mouth.

A bowl from any of the locations on this list are at least worth a taste test, but don’t rush through it. Challenge yourself to pay attention to your tastebuds and your mood, then tell me what you think.

Sign at The Bee in Downtown West Palm Beach. Corvaya Jeffries / Palm Beach Post

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Acai Bowls: They’re the best and I don’t want you missing out

Local Beer of the Week: Belgian blonde aged in massive oak cask

Best Local Beer of the Week: Summer Wind Belgian ale

What it is

Summer Wind blonde ale was aged 3 1/2 months in foudre, a massive oak container used to age wine or beer. (Contributed photo)
Summer Wind blonde ale was aged 3 1/2 months in foudre, a massive oak container used to age wine or beer. (Contributed photo)

Take note when lifelong brewmaster Fran Andrewlevich, co-founder of Twisted Trunk Brewing and Tequesta Brewing Co., says he has finally created a beer he has spent his entire career trying to brew. Twisted Trunk aged a Belgian blonde ale in a foudre, a large wooden cask that holds up to 600 gallons of beer. After brewing the beer with Belgian malted barley and German yeasts, the beer spent 3 ½ months in the foudre with Belgian sour yeasts to give Summer Wind a singular, distinctive flavor. Expect notes of apples, pears and spice from the Minnesota white oak. Several kegs of this beer will be treated with other flavors (such as an upcoming peach-lemongrass concoction) to add even more depth. And expect a unique batch of beer every time it comes out of Twisted’s foudre. “The barrel has a mind of its own, and that’s the beauty of it,” Andrewlevich said.

Where to get it

The foudre will be tapped for the first time Wednesday at 4 p.m. at Twisted Trunk’s brewery in Palm Beach Gardens. Cost: $5 pints at the brewery taproom, $4 during happy hour, Tuesday to Friday, 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., Sundays 1 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Twisted Trunk Brewing Co., 2000 PGA Blvd., Palm Beach Gardens. 561-671-2337

Get Tapped In! Visit The Palm Beach Post's page, TAPPED, for exclusive coverage of Palm Beach County's craft beer scene
Get Tapped In! Visit The Palm Beach Post’s page, TAPPED, for exclusive coverage of Palm Beach County’s craft beer scene

Craft beer: Boynton’s Due South bottling exclusive brew on Saturday

Best Local Beer of the Week: barrel-aged Mariana Trench imperial stout by Due South

Due South will released it's bourbon-barrel-aged version of its Mariana Trench imperial stout on Saturday. (Photo contributed)
Due South will released its bourbon-barrel-aged version of its Mariana Trench imperial stout Saturday. (Photo contributed)

What it is

Take Due South  Brewing Co.’s most complex beer, Mariana Trench — deep and dark in color like the eponymous Atlantic Ocean trench — which they make only once a year and which won a gold medal at the Best Florida Beer Championship; and now age it for almost a year in Woodford Reserve bourbon barrels. That’s how you make a beer that puts you — and keeps you — on the map locally, regionally and nationally. (It’s no surprise there’s an appetite for Due South’s brews in beer-crazy Philadelphia.) It’s a high-alcohol beer (about 10 percent alcohol by volume) brewed with cocoa and vanilla to give it intense and complex flavors, aged in one of 17 premium barrels that some adventurous Due South employee trucked down in an old pickup from Kentucky. This is Due South’s third year brewing and aging this beer, and they will continue to age nine barrels’ worth for future experimentation.

Where to get it

Due South will bottle only 1,300 22-ounce bottles of barrel-aged Mariana Trench, which it will sell exclusively at its brewery Saturday at noon. And when they’re gone, they’re gone — until next year’s batch. There will be a limit of four bottles per person. The beer will go on sale at exactly noon, though a line will be forming, guaranteed, hours before. For those who would rather not wait in line, the beer will also be on tap at the brewery and later at select bars in South Florida in limited quantities. Two of those are The Brass Tap in Boynton Beach and Tap 42 in Boca Raton.

Due South Brewing, 2900 High Ridge Rd. #3 Boynton Beach, 561-463-2337

Hurricane Matthew: stock up on these six fancy foods

Hurricane Matthew update: for all their drama, hurricanes can be drab affairs when it comes to their culinary consequences.

The dismal checklist usually involves the usual suspects: granola bars, canned chicken or tuna salad, Spam, Vienna sausages, generic crackers and peanut butter.

For the latest updates on Hurricane Matthew check our WeatherPlus blog.

In a storm and aftermath, chances are your pantry supplies will dictate what ends up on your plate – particularly if the aftermath involves a power outage.

So in the spirit of thoughtful preparation as Hurricane Matthew approaches — here are some pantry items that promise to lift your post-storm meals and mood, especially when consumed by candlelight.

FANCY TUNA

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My new favorite tuna is packed in a 6.7-ounce jar with olive oil. Tonnino’s Tuna Fillets in Olive Oil packs Costa Rican tuna that’s dolphin-safe, wild caught and hand packed.

These are pricey little jars, retailing at just over $5 each. But each serves two to three – even more, if used in a larger salad.

Find them, among other places, at Publix, Publix GreenWise and The Boys’ market in Delray Beach.

CANNED CANNELLINIS

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These versatile beans are delicious, even at room temperature. They’re lovely when tossed with olive oil and lemon or vinegar, and a sprinkling of herbs. Fold in some good tuna and thinly sliced onion for a full meal.

Such a salad invites a ton of variations: Add tomatoes, avocado, fresh herbs, even other bean varieties.

Find them at your favorite supermarket.

GOOD OLIVE OIL AND VINEGAR

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A drizzle of distinctive olive oil can add instant depth and a luxurious touch to a toss of greens, tuna and/or beans. Add a sprinkling of organic red wine vinegar or aged balsamic for balance and brightness.

I love a good, hearty Spanish olive oil, but in a pinch, a little bottle of Pompeian extra virgin oil fixes the craving for bold.

YUMMY PEANUT BUTTER

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Peanut Butter & Co. makes some terrific varieties of peanut butter, from Cinnamon Raisin Swirl (our favorite) to White Chocolate Wonderful. No need for jelly – these are good on their own.

Find them at Publix, Walmart, Winn-Dixie, Target and other local shops.

CRISPY CRACKERS

FancyPantryCrackers

My new favorite go-to cracker seems custom-made for everything from hummus to pimento cheese. Plus, Blue Diamond’s Pecan Nut-Thins are wheat and gluten-free. They’re made with rice flour and pecans and manage to maintain the lightest, most satisfying crunch.

Find them at Publix and most major markets.

CRUNCHY CHICKPEAS

FancyPantryChickpeas

Saffron Road makes delicious, crunchy chickpeas that are flavored by a variety of spices. (I love the falafel-flavored ones.) These are yummy alone, by the handful, or scattered atop salads and soups. Plus, they’re healthier than potato chips.

Find them at Publix.

Twitter: @LizBalmaseda

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