Saturday, March 28, 2015

Smoothie King: Vegan Smoothies powered by Sunwarrior

Months ago, Smoothie King generously offered to send me a gift card so I could try their then-new vegan smoothies "powered by Sunwarrior." Unfortunately, it arrived just as the weather was taking a turn for the worse and I was taking my annual hibernation from smoothies, so I've only just recently visited Smoothie King to have a go at the vegan options.

 

I was expecting two variations to choose from: mango kale and dark chocolate banana, but to my surprise there was a third listed: nutty super grain. I figured it must have been added sometime between now and when Smoothie King had first contacted me.

SK was empty when I visited late morning on a Saturday, and I was greeted happily. It turned out that the sign for the nutty super grain: Sunwarrior raw plant-based protein, almond milk, peanut butter, super grains, 100% cocoa, apple juice, bananas had preceded it's arrival, so I did have only two options to choose from. More importantly, I was happy to see that it was so easy to identify the vegan options on the menu. Two thumbs up on vegan branding, Smoothie King!


I asked the employee to tell me how much money was on my complimentary gift card and she gladly swiped it to let me know that it was loaded with $7.50. At $3.00/small smoothie*, I decided to get one of each. And, since there were plenty of vegan snacks available, I threw in a bag of salt & vinegar potato chips to use up the remaining dough.


*To my surprise, the total came to almost double of what I was expecting. Apparently I was reading the calorie counts as opposed to the prices. When I explained my surprise, the woman who was ringing me up said, "yeah; everyone does that..." which then begs the question: is it intentional? I eat out a lot and I've never before made this mistake.

I will say that while I wouldn't ordinarily pay $5.99 for a smoothie in the suburbs, weighing in at 20 ounces, it was of significant heft for a "small." However, I was shocked that the cups seemed to be made of styrofoam. I haven't eaten out of styrofoam since 1994 and I have to admit that I thought it had been banned. But, after spending $7.00 in addition to my entire gratis gift card, I decided to throw caution to the wind. Since I thought I recalled that drinking hot beverages out of styrofoam was the real health culprit, I let the environment be damned this time around.

I took these photos of the smoothies before trying them or leaving the store. There's just no prettying up a smoothie.


Since I'd gotten two, VM and I took them on the road with us as breakfast. I tasted both and decided that the dark chocolate banana: Sunwarrior raw plant-based protein, 100% cocoa, apple juice, bananas, acai sorbet was my preference. As it added more banana-y flavor the creaminess, I assume that the banana hadn't been frozen. I prefer things the other way around. But, I did unexpectedly enjoy the acai flavor mixed with the cocoa. Overall it was just okay.



VM, on the other hand, declared the dark chocolate banana inedible and said that if she had to pick one, it would be the mango kale: Sunwarrior raw plant-based protein, kale, mango juice blend, bananas, apple juice, almonds. She then promptly refused to take another sip of either. We agreed that there was something gritty about the mango kale; I'm not sure if it was the protein powder or perhaps the almonds hadn't been pureed smooth, but I couldn't drink much of that one. We ultimately had to deliver them both to OD, who will eat just about anything. But after a few gulps of each even he declared that he "didn't wanna." So, 2 smoothies + 3 people = this much down the drain.


Needless to say, it wasn't a success. Have you had a better experience with Smoothie King? Since it's smoothie season once again in the northeast (almost), what are your favorite smoothies?

16 comments:

  1. I've never tried Smoothie King. I took a winter break from cold smoothies, but in warmer months i love mango, strawberry, banana smoothies!

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  2. I read the line about having enough for two smoothies three times and I kept saying no you don't have enough money! I couldn't let it go and move on.
    I'm thinking I've never been to a Smoothie King?

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  3. I have wanted to try Smoothie King for many years, glad I havent missed out on much. You took one for the team. We appreciate it.

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  4. I've never seen a smoothie King. Jamba Juice is ok as a chain but they don't distinguish vegan smoothies as clearly. Also I...just don't really go there. It's cool that sunwarrior is being used at all... but I guess it didn't work out too well. it's an expensive brand, so I'm not surprised the smoothies are so pricey. Bummer it didn't seem to be blended well. Kale is tough to get smooth.

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  5. They opened a new one near me last week and had 50% off the energizer smoothies one day. I got the Mango Strawberry Recharge (also vegan according to the website) It was pretty good (I stirred in my own strawberry flavored pea protein powder), but I would never pay the normal price of $7.00 for it.

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  6. That's so odd. I thought smoothies were one of those things that it was just impossible to get wrong. I'd have been doubly hacked off having to pay for the privilege.

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  7. I've never been to a Smoothie King, and after reading your review, probably never will. But since I make so many smoothies in the vitamix, buying one somewhere else is less appealing than it used to be. The cost confusion seems like very uncool misleading information to me, and makes me wary.

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  8. I have never tried either of the smoothies you did (dark chocolate banana or mango kale). I would highly suggest going back to try the nutty super grain. I am hooked!!

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  9. I tried the nutty super grain and am totally loving the splurge when I can't make my own. It's not completely smooth, because of the grain mix, but it's super nutty and rich. I recently tried the dark chocolate strawberry. Very good, too, but I prefer the nutty super grain.

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  10. My green drink doesn't mix well with cocoa though (at least for my taste buds). The taste is as good as I'm assuming to be – though Green supplements does give amounts of everything that is in there.

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  11. Nutty Super Grain is the bee's knees. I get it without the apple juice to trick my brain into thinking there's far fewer calories and sugar... mmmmmmm

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  12. Nutty grain is the only one I will drink! I add kale to it on occasion.. Which has worked out great

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  13. I love the vegan nutty super grain as well. I add multi vitamin, extra peanut butter and extra sunrise cocoa. I used to drink the peanut power plus with extra peanut butter and skinny but when they changed the recipe it was ruined for me. So i found my new favorite and have stuck with it.

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  14. I have had the Vegan Dark Chocolate Banana Smoothie from the Smoothie King around the corner many many times and it never disappoints. The small is plenty. The medium is extremely filling. The large... well you better bring your appetite that is a lot of smoothie and I love it. I normally go for the medium but I could get by on the small. By the way I am 6'4" walking around at 280 lbs.

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  15. Addendum: All this talk of SK Vegan Drk Choc Ban made me run right out and get one. I went for the large and I just remembered that I have them add Almonds and Peanut Butter to mine. If memory serves I did not like it as well without those two items. However, when you have them add in those two items you get a great smoothie!

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