OPINION: Berry Divine offers a heavenly experience
Social media has got me hooked when it comes to food porn. I’ll spend hours scrolling through Pinterest looking at beautifully presented foods like chocolate drizzled crepes, hamburgers with cheese oozing out, and pink and white sprinkled donuts so vibrant it would be a shame not to take a picture.
As savory as the pictures may look, I’m a reasonable person when it comes to junk food, meaning I can’t even look at carbs. And that’s OK because there’s an amazingly healthy new restaurant in downtown Tucson with food that looks both delectable and Instagram-able.
The açaí bowls at Berry Divine, located at 245 E. Congress St. Suite 159, are a fast and healthy meal bursting with antioxidants, fiber and healthy fats. The açaí berry is known to boost energy, maintain youth, lower cholesterol, assist in weight loss, help in digestion and promote skin health, according to Berry Divine’s website.
All the bowls have a base of frozen organic açaí berry pulp, either blended the traditional way or soft serve.
The traditional way is hand blended with an assortment of frozen fruits, whereas the soft serve is mixed with apple, beet and lemon juice, along with organic cane sugar.
You can’t go wrong with either option, but depending on your time and taste, the soft serve is slightly sweeter and completed about five to six minutes faster than the traditional way.
Although it doesn’t seem long, there may be a line of orders ahead of you, so I recommend calling ahead for all orders.
Berry Divine has nine different açaí bowls, which are generously topped with different fruits and hemp seed granola. Gluten-free granola is available upon request. The Sedona Bowl is "your basic b*wl," topped with strawberries, banana, hemp seed granola and honey.
There are a wide variety of toppings you can add to your bowl, such as bee pollen, goji berries, lemon zest, and shaved chocolate, as well as blended add-ins like protein powder and kale. Berry Divine boasts its dairy-free ingredients and vegan and gluten-free substitutes.
The deep magenta açaí berry blend is topped with colorful fruit bits, making each bowl a mouthwatering masterpiece. If you are into frozen yogurt or sorbet, this is an excellent alternative because of its similar consistency and sweet taste.
The soft serve bowls range from $8 to $10 and the traditional from $9 to $11.50.
If you’re more of a drinker, Berry Divine offers açaí smoothies with gluten-free liquid such as coconut water or almond milk. Rather than using ice fillers like Jamba Juice, Berry Divine’s smoothies are packed with frozen açaí berries and other delicious fruit.
All items on the menu were created by the owner, Todd Shreve who has an extensive background in the culinary field after graduating from the Culinary Institute of America.
The location is small and intimate with a few tables and a bar. This isn’t a place to do homework and spend extensive time at, but rather a quick bite with a friend or a post workout meal. There’s no parking, so be prepared to look around for metered parking on nearby streets.
I tried their classic Sedona Bowl made with soft serve açaí berries, Volcano Bowl made traditionally, and their Rio smoothie. I enjoyed the traditionally blended berries better because of the creamy texture with a subtle natural sweet taste. The Volcano Bowl had coconut oil, strawberries, kiwi and hemp seed granola on top.
I froze the leftover bowl and ate it the next morning and found it surprisingly tastier after the granola marinated in with the other ingredients.
But don’t disregard the smoothies because they too are fantastic. The Rio was intriguing because of the veggie/fruit combo of spinach, kale, mint, ginger and mango. The liquid was a mix of coconut water, lime juice and an Amazonian soda called Guarana.
With just the right amount of sweetness, the flavors masked the sourness from the kale and the bitterness of the spinach.
I’m impressed to say that whatever item chosen on the menu will be inordinately delicious. The fruit combinations look immaculate, the flavors were delicious and it definitely beats frozen yogurt any day.
There are two other locations in Tempe and Sedona, so if you find yourself craving something cold and healthy when you aren’t in Tucson, you won’t be out of luck.
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