Years ago, when I lived in beautiful Monterey, California, I became acquainted with two things that Pittsburgh didn't have at the time: coffee shops & smoothie shops. I spent many, many hours in the former and as for the latter? I met my civilian boyfriend at the smoothie shop he worked at and we often would grab a smoothie to go after he got off of work. When I returned to Pittsburgh a couple years later, coffee shops were just arriving. Smoothie shops were no where to be found.
Pittsburgh is sometimes a little slow compared to other cities but I waited patiently and soon enough I was rewarded. Planet Smoothie in Shadyside opened its doors in August 2011 to welcome old smoothie junkies like myself and also many new fans. I jumped at the chance to attend a tasting event that Planet Smoothie hosted for local Pittsburgh bloggers.
They offer thirty 300 calorie or less smoothies and an additional thirty five smoothies with two grams of fat or less. Or, if one prefers, Planet Smoothie will customize one to the customer's specific desires. Personally, I like to start with one of their flavor combinations and then 'pump' it up a bit. Planet Smoothie offers different 'blasts' to add to your smoothie to increase its nutritional content. Immunity, Multi-Vitamin, Fiber, Energy, Fat Burner, Workout, and Protein Blasts are all available to add to your smoothie. I'm always looking to add a little extra protein to my diet and like to add an additional Protein Blast which is 6 grams of lean, non-fat whey protein. Unlike those barrels of powdered protein you can buy at your local vitamin shop that taste like chalk, Planet Smoothie's Protein Blasts blend tastelessly into the smoothie.
Planet Smoothie uses LeanLeaf which is a blend of Agave & Stevia for a low calorie sugar alternative. It's a good source of sweetness and has a low glycemic index for people who need to watch their sugar intake but I like it because it helps reduce calories in the smoothie.
The Acai smoothie features acai, apple, strawberries and bananas and helps support a healthy immune system. The apple disappears a little in this smoothie but the blend of the other fruits are a little bold for the humble apple. The Last Mango is chock full of mangos, peaches, bananas and orange sherbet and drinking it immediately transported me to a sandy beach on the ocean. The flavors were intensely tropical and though this smoothie is called The Last Morning I can't help but think it should be renamed to 'Good Morning, Sunshine!' and given one of those little drink umbrellas. Frozen Goat is a mix of coffee, bananas, cocoa, nonfat milk,yogurt and an Energy Blast. It's a perfect pick me up for those who like their coffee cold. I prefer my coffee hot but the blend of banana and cocoa reminded me of a popsicle I used to enjoy as a child. I wouldn't mind the Frozen Goat sans…the goat.
Chocolate Elvis. Mmmm. What's not to like? Cocoa, Peanut Butter and bananas blended with nonfat milk and yogurt and kicked up a notch with an Energy Blast. It reminded me of the King spiked milkshake at Brgr but a non-spiked healthier alternative.
The Leapin' Lizard has a Fat Burner Blast added to sweet peaches and strawberries that is delicious but simple enough for those trying out their first smoothie. The Planet Pro smoothie is a basic blend of strawberries and bananas but then a full meal replacement packet is added to the smoothie. It's high in protein and perfect for after an afternoon workout when dinner is still a long way off. This smoothie was a little thicker than the others but strawberries and bananas are my absolute favorite smoothie combination and I thought the thickness made the smoothie almost like a milk shake.
Planet Smoothie generously gifted us with coupons, a t-shirt and a 2 week pass for X Shadyside gym. And then, I won an additional 4 week pass to the gym. Do you think they know that I'll be unable to resist stopping for a smoothie every time I leave the gym? Probably? If that's their plan, it's a good one because the smoothies are delicious and by choosing the right smoothie and adding the proper blasts I'll really be able to maximize the effects of my workout. And I might just make a few stops in to grab a smoothie…without the workout. Shhh!