Super-foods and super-fruits are becoming more popular in everyday foods and beverages. Acai is one of the most common super fruits that we hear about in the US where our preferred way of consuming the dark-purple berry is in a bowl, frozen and mixed with other ingredients into a creamy, icy texture.
Dan McCormick has invested in the acai bowl phenomenon as a business and a way of life. Knowing the healthy benefits of the fruit – and other super fruits as well – he pioneered Bowl of Heaven, a chain of stores focused on acai bowls and other super-food products.
I met with Dan in the Huntington Beach location to learn more about Bowl of Heaven and why his acai bowls were so different than the others.
More Than Just Acai
During our conversation, I learned that the mix used at Bowl of Heaven is not just acai; it also includes a proprietary blend of acai and six other super fruits known as their “Maq 7 Blend”.
Dan explained that each of these fruits has their own health benefits. Here are the fruits and a few of their beneficial qualities:
- Acai (pronounced ah-SIGH-ee) – High in antioxidants; supports healthy immune system and digestive system functions; and rich in protein, calcium, and vitamins A, E, and B6
- Maqui Berry – Rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory substances
- Gac – helps support cellular rejuvenation and eye health.
- Alaskan Blueberry – Higher in antioxidants then blueberries from drier climates
- Chinese Lycium – High in antioxidants, vitamins, and amino acids, supporting kidney and liver function.
- Siberian Pineapple – Natural source of carotenoids, vitamin C, and flavonoids, supporting immune function.
- Cili Fruit – Contains 60 times more vitaman C than an orange, improves antioxidant capacity
It was interesting to learn how these fruits from around the world were packed with so much good stuff. I wondered, why haven’t we heard about them before now?
“It has a lot to do with the media”, Dan explained. “When Oprah had Dr. Oz on some years ago talking about acai berries, there was an explosion in interest. Additional research in the other fruits – like the gac fruit of Viet Nam – have shown that these fruits are super-dense in antioxidants.”
Sounds like it’s all “good for you”. But how does it all taste?
The Bowl of Heaven Menu
The basic menu consists of six bowls; each includes acai, the Maq 7 juice, and a variety of toppings depending on the bowl.
Bananas and organic granola (made from hemp and flax seed) are standards on three of the bowls, along with a drizzle of honey or avgave nector. The agave option allows for a purely vegan dish, as the bowls contain all plant-based ingredients and no dairy.
Other toppings include coconut, strawberries, and blueberries. Bowls can be made-to-order with combinations of other fruits and vegetables.
The aptly named Popeye Bowl includes kale and spinach.
The flavor of the acai mixture was strong, and creamier than the base of other acai bowls I’ve tried. The kale and spinach didn’t overcome the sweetness of the berries but added a nice tang to the dish. The granola was light, and crispy and added a nice crunchy texture to the cool, refreshing treat.
I was glad to get the Bowl of Heaven experience but was sad when I realized I would have to drive to Huntinton Beach to get it. I had to ask: When are you coming to the South Bay?
Dan mentioned that Bowl of Heaven has started franchising and is currently looking for partners in the South Bay area. Their goal is to add twelve new stores in 2013 and the South Bay is one of their target areas for expansion.
Presently, three Orange County stores are serving up bowls of heaven in Rancho Santa Margarita (the first location), Huntington Beach, and La Verne. Follow the links to find address, hours, and contact info for each store. All stores are closed on Sunday.
- Bowl of Heaven
* Some items mentioned in this article were provided on a complimentary basis for the purpose of this review. Prices and menu items mentioned are subject to change without notice. This story was accurate when it was published and reflects the uninfluenced opinion of the reviewers.