- Category: Volume 87 (Fall 2015 - Spring 2016)
- Published: 02 March 2016
- Written by MEAGHAN WHEELER | CONTRIBUTING WRITER
When you think of food at college the first word that comes to mind usually isn’t “healthy.” Late night snacks like microwavable popcorn or ramen are not often the best options, but they sure are convenient. It seems easier to grab a cookie or two in the dining hall than it is to grab an apple. French fries go better with a sandwich than spinach and cucumbers, right? If only there were a trendy, fun place to eat with your friends that was not only delicious, but healthy.
Your prayers have been answered. Welcome to playa bowls. A store front beautifully decorated and located on Ocean Ave in Belmar. This eatery is less than seven miles away from Monmouth University’s campus. You may have seen their colorful photos on Instagram or heard about this deliciously organized fruit cup, but playa bowls is a place that needs to be experienced by everyone.
The foundation of these fruit bowls are two super fruits: Acai and Pitaya. They blend these up with different juices and berries to create a delicious smoothie textured bottom. The next layer in the bowl can be created with fruit, granola, nuts, coconut, protein, almond butter, and even bee pollen. You can create your own cocktail of fruits and toppings! The last layer is topped off with Nutella, honey or peanut butter. It is a new, unusual and healthy option for a daytime meal or snack. This beach cafe is open year round in Belmar.
Yes, Juniors at 1 a.m. is delicious ,and Shadows’ fries are always a go-to, but a playa bowl is an alternative that makes you feel good, tastes good and it is good for you. Healthier options are important when trying to live a happy, nutritious as well as busy life. These exotic fruit bowls aren’t easy to find and they are filled with antioxidants. Providing unusual ingredients is beneficial in gaining a nourishing product that customers love and these bowls do just that. They are tasty whether it is a sunny summer afternoon or a cold morning during a blizzard.
The owners have created an assortment of bowls to make playa bowls season friendly. At first, playa bowls was a summer treat, limited to the months of May through September. Now when autumn comes around, so does the pumpkin spiced acai bowls filled with blended acai topped with pumpkin flax granola, banana, pumpkin pie spice and a drizzle of pumpkin butter. It is as good as it looks.
For those cold November days they created the caramel apple bowl. Blended organic acai topped with sliced apples, banana, granola, chopped peanuts, cinnamon and a drizzle of caramel apple butter. ‘Tis the season to eat playa bowls in December with their North Pole Bowl. This bowl contains their signature acai blend topped with banana, organic granola, crushed peppermint, dark chocolate salted caramel drizzle and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Feeling lucky? Try their Leprechaun green power bowl with blended kale, pineapple, banana, coconut milk then topped with banana, kiwi, coconut flakes and peanut butter.
University students have been raving about this establishment. Junior, Kaylie Mazza said, “Playa bowls was delicious! I loved the ambiance. The music was perfect for the relaxing environment. I could see myself just hanging out there doing homework.”
“The bowls were so good. I liked the vibes of the store. I would go again and again,” sophomore, Alyssa Cosentino said. “I wish I had a car on campus so I could go all the time. They should start to accept declining dollars because I do not have $10 for breakfast.” The only con about this healthy eatery is the prices. Bowls are between $7-$10 and some college students are on a tight budget.”
No matter the season, no matter the day, playa bowls is a convenient, healthy and unique eatery for students to enjoy. Instead of grabbing that cookie or ramen noodles, why not grab a fresh playa bowl instead?
PHOTO COURTESY of Meaghan Wheeler