The Brazilian Breakfast of Champions
by stephanie dunn
Miami’s favorite new delicacy, the açaí bowl, receives star treatment on South Beach.
An icy frozen blend of açai and fresh berries, often mixed with granola or nuts, the açai bowl is a high-energy, antioxidant-packed fuel for on-the-go Miamians.
Barely-there bikinis. Beach-ready blowouts. Gisele Bündchen. It’s no secret that Miamians harbor an obsession with all things Brazilian. Yet the latest craze is less about what you put on your body and more about what you put in it: the açaí bowl. Popping up all across South Beach, the Brazilian treat is high in fiber, healthy fats, and coveted antioxidants.
At Sunset Harbour hot spot JugoFresh (1935 West Ave., Miami Beach, 786-472-2552), guests belly up to the counter for the Instagram-friendly It dish. Their version is based on the traditional recipe: Frozen açaí pulp is blended with banana, topped with fresh-cut fruit, and finished with a delicate drizzle of honey. Instead of the usual granola, the JugoFresh team crumbles Brazil nuts for a hit of heart-healthy selenium.
Up the street at Milk Gone Nuts! (1840 Alton Road, Miami Beach, 305-535-5000), a vegetarian-friendly “milk bar” located inside a Texaco gas station, mother-daughter duo Sara Tacher-Suarez and Brittany Fierman craft açaí bowls with the customer’s choice of homemade nut milk—almond, cashew, or coconut—before serving it “upside down,” using granola as a hearty base rather than a topping. “It gives a great crunch that comes as a surprise,” says Fierman.
At the Washington Avenue outpost of Juice & Java (1346 Washington Ave., Miami Beach, 305-531-6675), co-owners Cristian Medrano and Angeles Cordoba were among the first to bring açaí bowls to Miami after Medrano discovered them while surfing in Brazil. “Açaí is a phenomenal natural energizer,” Cordoba explains. “After a bowl, you’re basically good to go.” The husband and wife amp up their version with even more superfoods: chia, hemp, flax, and organic peanut butter.
With its 22-year history, Alton Road health market Apple A Day (1534 Alton Road, Miami Beach, 305-538-4569) has seen its share of food fads, but none have exploded on the level of the açaí bowl. “We have customers come every single day to have it for breakfast,” manager J.J. Medina explains. “It’s a great clean-eating option for any meal because it’s packed with omega-6, omega-9, and fiber.”
Mario Laufer of Carrot Express (1755 Alton Road, Miami Beach, 305-535-1379) offers his take on what he calls “the healthiest berry in the world.” Served in an oversize silver bowl, his version is topped with gluten-free granola.
photography by jeff crawford