A comprehensive review of smoothie bowls around Notre Dame

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

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.

Purely Pressed

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.

In Conclusion:

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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Murder and Mediocrity Overshadow ‘Where the Crawdads Sing’

Topping the charts of Goodreads and receiving endorsements from the likes of Reese Witherspoon and Taylor Swift, Delia Owens’s 2018 novel “Where the Crawdads Sing” was an instant success. The much-anticipated release of its film adaptation, however, has not come without scrutiny.

“Where the Crawdads Sing” follows Kya Clark as she grows up alone in the North Carolina marshes, nature being her sole companion. The climactic event of the story occurs when Kya is put on trial for the murder of an ex-lover. Though Kya is declared innocent by the court, in a shocking twist at the end of the film, it is revealed that she was guilty all along (though the audience isn’t too upset about this, seeing as her victim was abusive and had attempted to rape her). Following Kya’s death, years after the trial, her husband discovers the missing necklace from the crime scene hidden in her belongings. Shocked, he destroys the evidence, the credits roll and the audience is left thinking: Yes! The marsh girl got away with it

Though the movie did a decent job of emphasizing the heroine Kya’s immense love for the natural world, it glossed over significant plot points that made the book unique. Most shockingly, the film completely scrapped the book’s reveal that Kya had secretly been submitting poetry to the local newspaper under the pseudonym Amanda Hamilton. This is important in the novel, as the poems, scattered throughout the book, reveal certain things about Kya that had not been explicitly told to the reader. The omission of these poems and other valuable plot points result in the film lacking much of the book’s zest and depth. 

Despite the film’s shortcomings, it received an immense amount of publicity. While some of this came from the film’s celebrity involvement (Taylor Swift composing music for it and Reese Witherspoon producing it) the movie’s release brought up decades-old questions regarding the author’s dubious past. 

The connections between the story and Owens’ real life begin to get suspicious when one examines Owens’ time as a wilderness conservationist in Zambia, Africa. Owens, her former husband, and his son, Chris, stepped over the line in their conservation efforts when footage of the murder of a Zambian animal poacher was broadcasted in an ABC documentary about the family. Though the perpetrator of the crime was not directly shown, after the incident, ABC cameraman Chris Everson asserted that it was Chris Owens who had fired the weapon that killed the poacher. Similar to Kya in “Where the Crawdads Sing,” the Owenses evaded capture for their crimes, returning to the United States before the Zambian authorities could investigate the situation. 

Owens has made it clear that much of the content of “Where the Crawdads Sing” is based on her real-life experiences. A naturalist like Kya, Owens spent much of her youth in the North Carolina wilderness. The title was inspired by her own mother, who, encouraging Owens to explore, would often say, “Go way out yonder where the crawdads sing.” 

The parallels between Owens’ life and Kya’s seem all too peculiar to exclude the possibility that Owens wrote Kya’s character and her escape from justice as a reflection of the former’s own evasion of the law. The book and film suggest the man Kya kills deserves his fate, and it’s entirely possible to assume that Owens feels the same way about her and her family’s victim.

Considering Owen’s spotty past, Taylor Swift and Reese Witherspoon’s support of the film raises questions about their own character. Is it right to support a film if the author of the adapted story is likely an accomplice to murder? Is the beauty of the story enough to disregard its suspicious inspiration? Does the author’s talent justify society ignoring her dubious past? I’m not sure that it does.

Title: “Where the Crawdads Sing”

Starring: Daisy Edgar-Jones, Taylor John Smith, Harris Dickinson, David Strathairn

Director: Olivia Newman

Shamrocks: 3 out of 5

Jane Miller

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