The Best Thing I Ate This Week: Chocolate Pitaya Smoothie Bowl

As the snow fell, I found myself longing for the warmth of my former home on Oahu, Hawaii. The temperature quickly reminded me that I much preferred living as a beach-bum than as a snowbird. Refusing to stay cooped up by the fireplace any longer, I braced the icy roads on a quest to find a taste of paradise.

My search landed me at Town Center Cold Pressed in Virginia Beach, an urban-style café that began as a small kiosk in the corner of former coffee shop, The Daily Grind, in 2014. Today, the brand has expanded into a fully functional storefront and cultivated a menu that extends far beyond their signature cold pressed juices.

A quick scan of the large menus displayed behind the exposed brick bar reveals bright images and short descriptions of various oatmeal bowls, waffles, salads, juices and more. These seemingly ordinary dishes, however, are far more unique than a buttered bagel or simple cup of joe. Try instead a banana avocado latte, activated charcoal chicken and waffles or bagels loaded with marshmallow cream cheese, chocolate and graham cracker crumbs.

Among the unconventional listings I discovered an old-time favorite—a pitaya smoothie bowl. The memory of indulging in the bowl’s cool, fruity goodness as refuge from the heat of Kailua Beach’s summer sun quickly surfaced in my mind. Battling nostalgia and an eagerness for the dish’s promise of tropical flavors, I placed my order.

The deep magenta of the pitaya, apple and mango blend was hidden beneath three rows of tasty toppings and a fresh, floral garnish. Atop the pitaya smoothie bowl were thinly slivered almonds, banana slices and crunchy, chocolatey granola. As a huge granola fan who prefers large, crunchy clusters over flaky oats, I was pleasantly surprised by the texture of Town Center Cold Pressed’s mix, as well as its grainy and nutty flavors. The portion size was decent too, offering just enough fruity spoonfuls to transport me back to the islands—even if only for 15 minutes on a snowy afternoon.

Thanks to Town Center Cold Pressed, I am now comforted knowing that I am no longer separated from the islands by a 10-hour plane ride, but that the distinctly tropical flavors are blended and served mere minutes from my doorstep.

Town Center Cold Pressed’s two cafes are located at 168 Central Park Ave., Virginia Beach and 1902 Colley Ave., Norfolk. Visit for further details.

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Grace Silipigni
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Grace Silipigni is an elementary school Spanish immersion teacher based in Virginia Beach and a regular contributor to Coastal Virginia Magazine, covering a wide range of topics such as health and wellness, education and learning, food and drink, happenings and events, travel and getaways and more.

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