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Bowled over by this acai


After taste testing donuts, cookies, and burgers, we’ve opted for a healthier option: acai bowls. Although they often consist of the same or similar ingredients- a fruity smoothie topped in granola and a variety of colorful fruit- we found Paso Robles has a surprisingly wide and tasty variety of options. This time around, we visited three different locations: Jamba Juice, Twisted & Glazed, and The Neighborhood. Though each establishment offered unique options, each with its own delicious ingredients, we ruled The Neighborhood as the best place for one of these bowls.

Jamba Juice

Our first location was the well known and widely loved Jamba Juice. Located less than a mile from school, it’s the perfect place to grab a cold smoothie after a long day. Because of its popularity, the lines can go out the door, but their acai bowls (which Jamba has dubbed Energy Bowls) are worth the wait. These bowls are often overpriced at other establishments –sometimes reaching

Jamba Juice offers bowls that are, while not as creative as others, noticeably fresh and definitely worth trying.

over $10– but they are sold at Jamba  for a reasonable $6.29. Their Energy Bowls are available in three variations: Island Pitaya, Acai Primo, and Chunky Strawberry. We tested all three and concluded that Acai Primo is a viable classic, but Island Pitaya reigns supreme. Topped with strawberries, blueberries, banana slices, and coconut shavings, the mouth-watering tropical smoothie is perfectly complemented and completed. These toppings could be more exciting and attempt for a wider variation, but the quality of the fruit makes up for this. The atmosphere is consistent throughout their 800 locations, so it’s definitely not a novelty, but it is clean and cute, with fresh fruit on display and a setup that allows customers to watch their smoothie as it’s made. As for the taste, these bowls aren’t particularly unique or outstanding, however, we can’t deny that they’re the perfect choice if you’re looking for a classic bowl at a reasonable price.

Affordability: 5/5

Service: ⅘

Taste: ⅗

Atmosphere: ⅘

Overall: 4

Twisted and Glazed

Next, we returned to the locally famous donut shop, Twisted & Glazed, and tested all three of their bowls. Their flavors include: Brazilian Beauty, Tropical Brazilian, and Brazilian Protein. Three small bowls cost $9.00 each, and larges are $11.50 a piece. These prices are a bit steep, but if you pick the right bowl, it may prove absolutely worth it.

Twisted and Glazed offered some of the most elaborate toppings, varying from fresh blueberries to vibrant kiwi.

After trying each bowl we decided that Tropical Brazilian is the winner of this test, with Brazilian Protein as a close runner up. Our winner was clear from the moment it arrived in all its glory topped in kiwi, strawberries, granola, shredded coconut, and blueberries. While each bowl essentially tastes the same (with the exception of Brazilian Protein, which includes peanut butter), the topping vary between each bowl. The service here can be slow (there was only one employee working when we visited), but we have to give them props for handling the high demand they receive for donuts, smoothies, coffee, rolled ice cream, and acai bowls all at once, and despite the stress this may cause, the employees were friendly and kind, and even offered us an additional bowl.

The novelty decor and cute setup make this a one-of-a-kind business, and the perfect place to grab a bite and spend a couple hours. There truly is no place quite like it in Paso, making Twisted and Glazed a must-see location.

Affordability: ⅖

Service: 3/5

Taste: 4/5

Atmosphere: 5/5

Overall: 3.5/5

The Neighborhood

Having opened shop in Paso Robles less than a year ago and gaining a reputation as the best place in town to buy a smoothie or juice (and the only local place

that specializes in acai bowls), it came as a shock to Paso residents when The Neighborhood closed shop here in early November. However, acai fans have no need to worry, as this business maintains a second location in San Luis Obispo. They definitely offered the widest variety of food, with five smoothies, nine juices, and eight acai bowls available when we visited, in a unique setting decorated with grass, succulents, and wooden tables and chairs. The prices aren’t incredibly low, but they’re reasonable, and certainly worth it at $7.75 for a 16oz bowl and $9.50 for a 24oz

The Neighborhood proved to have the best atmosphere and backdrop for photos as well as bowls.

bowl. Employees here are cheerful and patient, and finish your order within minutes. Through this entire taste test, the service here proved to be the best.

Another category this location irrefutably reigned supreme in was taste. Acai bowls tend not to vary in taste between each “flavor”, but these definitely did. We ordered their Palm Street, Peach Street, and Pirates Cove bowls, and each one included unique toppings and ingredients, varying from vibrant mangos to crisp nectarines to sweet strawberries. Each smoothie underneath was thoroughly unique, which can be a difficult thing to achieve with these bowls, but the Neighborhood was able to perfectly capture individual flavors. This was overall the best location tested.

Affordability: 3.5/5

Service: 5/5

Taste: 4.5/5

Atmosphere: 5/5

Overall: 4.5/5


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