I am not a fan of chain restaurants and I seldom spend my money where food is franchised. As a [wife of a] small business owner and restauranteur, I like to support local whenever I eat out. But this time, I went off-script. I stumbled over Playa Bowls merely by accident while researching another food project.
I was intrigued by their menu, curious about their ingredients, and blown away by their marketing. Most of all, I loved their pineapple theme. (If you know me intimately, you’re smiling as you read this. And no, I’m not a swinger.) As a chef, pineapples are my spirit food. And if reincarnation is real, I hope to someday come back as a pineapple plant. So, I couldn’t resist checking out a restaurant in St. Pete Beach whose tagline is, “Welcome to Pineappleland.”
Why Playa Bowls
Playa Bowls was founded by a surfing duo whose worldwide travels inspired their massive menu of mix-and-match ingredients for bowls, smoothies and fresh juices. Jumping on the açaí food wagon, Playa is known for their blended smoothie bowls featuring fresh fruits, homemade granola, protein powders, and sweet garnishes.
Choose from a blended base of banana, açaí, pitaya, kale, coconut, or oatmeal. I opted for an Electric Mermaid bowl ($13) — a blindingly-bright, magenta-colored bowl with blended pitaya (dragonfruit), granola, kiwi, pineapple, mango, coconut flakes, and honey. It burst with as much flavor as it did color. I also tore up a Coco Craze bowl ($12) with blended raw coconut, banana and coconut milk, topped with granola, mango, banana, pineapple, honey, and more coconut. Holy hell it was good.
By no means would I tout these bowls as ‘healthy.’ For instance, Playa’s granola is made under their own label but has 27 grams of added sugars — as much as an 8-ounce regular RedBull. But it’s delicious.
Since the bowls are huge, I froze all of my leftovers and used them in my morning smoothie. And if it’s game day, I add rum. After all, if a Bloody Mary is a socially acceptable breakfast, why not a liquor-laced pitaya bowl?
Juices and Smoothies
In addition to bowls, Playa offers a variety of smoothies, from sweet to green and everything in between. Whether you’re vanilla and like a traditional fruit smoothie or you step outside the box with kale, matcha and spirulina, the selection is vast.
Jazz up your smoothie or bowl with a myriad of extra add-ons including bee pollen, wheat grass, goji berries, and hemp seeds ($1-2 each). I opted for a 20-oz Green Smoothie ($9.99) with kale, pineapple, banana and coconut milk. Yum. (It didn’t taste like the bottom of a lawnmower, either!) There’s also small selection of fresh juices that are fantastic. I sampled the Endless Summer ($9.99) with carrot and fresh ginger and loved every drop it.
If you’re jonesing for something light and fresh or you want a quick cool-off from the beach, Playa Bowls has you covered. Go crazy and eat the rainbow!