Prior to this year, the only way for a Notre Dame student to secure a delicious bowl of blended acai was to take a walk down to Purely Pressed on Eddy Street. Now, there are two places on campus that sell smoothie bowls: Rollin’ and Bowlin’ at the Hagerty Cafe in Duncan Student Center and Flip Kitchen in LaFortune Student Center. I have taken it upon myself to try each of the smoothie bowl places on and near campus so that you don’t have to. For the basis of this comparison, I have selected the bowls that are most similar to each other from each respective place: Flip Kitchen’s “Acai Banana Berry,” Purely Pressed’s “Acai” and Rollin’ and Bowlin’s “Super Monkey Bowl.”
Flip Kitchen offers two smoothie bowls: “Acai Banana Berry” and “Acai Peanut Butter.” While one of the smoothie bowl options has peanut butter blended into the base, it is unfortunately not an option to add this as a topping for either bowl. In my mind, this is a strike against them, but for most people, a lack of peanut butter isn’t a dealbreaker.
The “Acai Banana Berry” is topped with granola, strawberries, banana and a honey drizzle that adds a sweetness to the bowl, which I surprisingly enjoyed. The base is banana tasting, but the honey overpowers most of the other flavors.
I have had smoothie bowls from Flip Kitchen on two occasions, and each time there was one major issue: the consistency of the smoothie. Flip Kitchen blends the smoothie base to the point where it is so liquidy that the toppings sink to the bottom (see the photo to understand what I mean). The bowl basically turns into a juice after about 10 minutes.
The toppings were hastily placed on the bowl and arranged in the least aesthetically pleasing way, when compared to the other two locations. The banana was cut into four giant slices, making them harder to eat and less plentiful.
All in all, the smoothie bowls at Flip Kitchen, though not very satisfying, are about what you can expect from a sandwich place that happens to sell smoothie bowls. It gets the job done, but I definitely wouldn’t choose to come here if you are craving a really good acai bowl.
Though this is the least convenient of the three places, if you are looking for a guaranteed quality smoothie bowl experience, I wouldn’t advise against making the trip. The staff at Purely Pressed are very friendly, and they clearly take time when arranging their toppings. Of the three locations, Purely Pressed definitely has the best presentation.
The “Acai” bowl’s base flavor is the least strong out of all the places. It is a blend of acai, mango, strawberry, banana and coconut milk. Though I usually prefer more sweetness, the toppings make up for what is lost.
Rather than having pre-selected toppings for the bowl, a customer is allowed to choose whichever four toppings they desire. Thus, you could be more likely to enjoy a bowl at Purely Pressed because of the autonomy you have over your smoothie bowl destiny.
Rollin’ and Bowlin’
The flavor of the smoothie at Rollin’ and Bowlin’ is the best out of all of the bowls, in my opinion. It is a blend of acai, berries, banana, pineapple and coconut water topped with granola, coconut, banana, strawberries and chia seeds, but you can choose to omit or add on other toppings (including peanut butter!).
The toppings are the most plentiful at Rollin’ and Bowlin’, and, like Purely Pressed, the fruit was thinly sliced and fresh. Though the presentation was not as good as that of Purely Pressed, it was significantly better than Flip Kitchen’s.
When reviewing the bowl, I found that there were a few unblended chunks of acai. I wasn’t too bothered by this, though, as I would take a couple pieces of frozen acai over the liquid mess of Flip Kitchen any day. However, it is worth noting that sometimes, with the chaos at Duncan Student Center, orders at Rollin’ and Bowlin’ can be hastily completed.
Best Tasting Smoothie Bowl: “Super Monkey Bowl” (Rollin’ and Bowlin’)
Most Aesthetically Pleasing Bowls: Purely Pressed
If you go to Flip Kitchen, just get a sandwich.
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