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Fave 4: Acai Bowls

Top left, clockwise: JuiceRX, 24Karrots Juice Bar, Graze at Studio Three, Aviato Eats

JuiceRX
The OG JuiceRX location is in Old Town, but lucky for me, they’ve opened up a small shop on Damen Avenue. As you could guess by its name, JuiceRX is known for its juices; however, it’s their acai bowls that I’m after. With just three bowls, they keep it simple, but these bowls are anything but basic. Not only are their ingredients fresh and tasty, but their bowls also look like miniature works of art. Plus, JuiceRX is adding on some innovative toppings, like whipped coconut cream, and they add extra ingredients into their acai base other than your standard berries.

24Karrots
Known for its super foods, 24Karrots describes itself as a juice bar that provides “golden nutrition.” While I’m not totally sure what golden nutrition is, one thing I am sure of is how tasty their acai bowls are. With just three bowls to choose from, each is made with an almond milk acai base and is topped with pumpkin flax granola and fresh fruit. The best bowl? The CB acai. “CB” standing for cashew butter, which is generously portioned throughout the bowl. The nut butter isn’t the only thing that’s generous, though; the bowls from 24Karrots are by far larger than most acai bowls in town.

Graze from Studio Three
Graze keeps it pretty standard when it comes to their acai bowls – berries, banana, granola, coconut – you know the drill. But they do color outside of the lines with their pitaya bowl.  What really sets Graze apart, though, is the tastiness of their acai. Not only does it look more vibrant, but also it tastes fresher and more flavorful than most. While these bowls are probably some of the smallest in the city, they’re certainly not lacking in flavor. With the tagline “#DamnGood,” you know you’re in for a treat.

Aviato Eats
Hailing from the guys who brought you Aloha Poke, Aviato is no different when it comes to super fresh, super delicious ingredients. Tucked away in the French Market, Aviato is the perfect spot for a quick lunch or even an afternoon pick-me-up. With three varieties available – acai, matcha or Brazilian – you can choose a base and build from there, or you can opt for one of Aviato’s signature bowls. The best part? The nut butter. I don’t know where it comes from, but it’s the tastiest nut butter I’ve ever had. Bonus: You can scoop all of the deliciousness into your mouth with one of their color-changing spoons.

 

 

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best burgers: top 4

Top Left, Clockwise: Flip Burger, Small Cheval, bopNgrill, Mott St. 

Flip Burger
There’s a new burger joint in town, and people are saying it rivals the famed Au Cheval. And I’m here to tell you, they’re right. Flip Burger is an unassuming dive at the corner of Ashland and Division, with a block-lettered neon sign reading “HAMBURGER CHILI” to announce its presence. The smell of butter on the griddle hangs in the air and greets you upon entering this small counter service spot. With five burgers to choose from, all weighing in with double patties, it’s hard to go wrong. The burger that put them on the map, though, is their flagship “Flip Burger,” cloaked in American cheese and topped with grilled onions, pickles and aioli. Their patio is quaint and surprisingly quiet given its location. But the best part? There’s a Conniption ice cream truck tucked in the back corner of the patio that serves up decadent hand-dipped milkshakes.

Small Cheval
Mostly everyone knows Au Cheval, which got its claim to fame when Bon Appetit named their burger the best in the country. Which in turn ultimately resulted in 3+ hour-long waits to get a table at the dimly lit, French diner. Serving up thousands of burgers a week, Au Cheval clearly isn’t hurting for business. However, not everyone is willing to hold out that long for meet and cheese. Luckily, owner Brendan Sodikoff decided to open a casual sister spot, Small Cheval. This counter service spot serves a limited menu, but offers up exactly what you want: The famed double patty cheeseburger, fries, milkshakes and of course, booze. The main difference on this burger is that the bacon (if you add it on, which you should), is much thinner and therefore crispier than Au Cheval’s thick-cut bacon. This adds a nice textural contrast to the patties. The other difference – two hours and 45 minutes off of your wait time. Winner winner, burger dinner.

bopNgrill
You know any spot with the DDD seal of approval is going to be drool inducing, and bopNgrill stands up to that test. This fast casual spot brings you something not too many are doing: Asian fusion burgers. Made from a 100% fresh custom blend of short-rib, brisket and chuck angus beef, bopNgrill’s patties are cooked to a perfectly juicy medium. With flavor-packed toppings like caramelized kimchi cooked in rendered pork fat, it’s hard to go wrong. The burger you can’t afford to miss, though, is the duxelle burger: truffled mushroom duxelle, sun-dried tomato confit, togarashi mayo, bacon, and smoked gouda. Order it now, thank me later. Bonus: On the weekends, bopNgrill bangs out Philly cheesesteak eggrolls. But go early; they run out quick!

Mott St. 
While Mott St. seems to have blown up recently, I’d like to say it’s been on my radar for years. But that’s neither here nor there. The main point here is that everything at this Asian fusion restaurant is on point – from the murals on the restaurant’s façade, to the Chinese lanterns hanging inside, to the lime green chopsticks that accompany your dinner plate. And of course, the food. Mott’s burger isn’t your typical cheeseburger, and I welcome that. This double patty bad boy is topped with American cheese, sweet potato shoestrings, pickled jalepeños, hoisin aioli, miso butter and dill pickles. If you’re not on your way to get one already, something’s wrong with you. It’s important to note, you can only order the burger in three scenarios: 1) While seated at the bar 2) From 6-7 p.m. 3) During brunch.

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