Sunday, October 2, 2011

The Planet's Greatest Smoothies & a GIVEAWAY!

Not long ago, a few fellow steel-town foodies and I were invited to check out the newest addition to Shadyside's Walnut Street, Planet Smoothie. I was pretty pumped because I've never reviewed a smoothie bar on this blog before!

Unfortunately I learned that Planet Smoothie is actually a national franchise and not a Pittsburgh-based establishment, but I really liked the concept of it complementing X Shadyside and their personalized workouts, training programs and boot camps.  John Byrnes, the owner of X Shadyside, decided it would be a great idea to open up a Planet Smoothie in the same building as his gym and, after trying some of the smoothies from their energy and weight loss smoothies, I tend to agree!

I've tried "health" smoothies before and they definitely lived up to the stereotype that health-foods don't really have as much desirable taste.  But at Planet Smoothie I was blown away by how much FLAVOR was packed in to every sip of these smoothies -- even the low-cal options! We each had the opportunity to try eight mini-smoothies during our tasting which was great.

It allowed us to really test out all of the unique flavors and "blasts."A "blast" is a flavorless shot added to certain smoothies on the menu (or by request) that help enhance the healthy aspects of the smoothie without altering the taste.  Blast options at Planet Smoothie include:
-Fat Burner

Especially paired with a workout (for those who are X Shadyside members or want to stop by after their own workout) I think these options are really great and I couldn't even tell the difference when a blast was added to my smoothie.

So here's the breakdown of the flavors I tried:

Acai -- this one was made of organic acai, apples, strawberries and bananas.  We were told that there is no sugar or corn syrup added to these smoothies and that all the flavor that hits you as you take a sip is completely natural and comes from the freshness of the fruit that Planet Smoothie uses.  I thought that the strongest flavor in this one was definitely the Banana and I was expecting a bit more prominence from the Acai, but it was still a completely delicious smoothie!

Frozen Goat -- Nope. No goat cheese in this one, despite what I was expecting (that's a good thing...). This smoothie featured coffee, bananas, cocoa, vanilla, milk and yogurt and featured an energy blast.  I loved the layers of flavors in it.  My first sip was delicious and chocolatey, and then immediately after the chocolate I got hit in the face with the flavor of coffee, followed by a hint of banana. It definitely made for a complex experience that certainly energized me!

The Last Mango -- This was my third smoothie of the day and the third one that had banana in it (it also featured mangos, peaches and orange sherbert). These bananas were starting to become the unwanted star of the show.  I was hoping I'd taste a bit more mango, but instead I mostly tasted orange and banana.  This wasn't my favorite, but for folks who like the taste of oranges and hadn't already had 2 banana smoothies, I'm sure it would be great!  I just think they either need to make the mango flavor more prominent or give it another name.

Leapin' Lizard -- My first smoothie with a fat burner blast and I was expecting to notice a change in flavor because of it, but definitely did not! The peaches and strawberries paired EXTREMELY well together and made the smoothie taste incredibly fresh. This was my favorite smoothie of the day so far...

Chocolate Elvis -- Exactly what you think it'll be and exactly as delicious, this smoothie featured cocoa, peanut butter, bananas (yep, again!!) yogurt and non-fat milk. This time, I tasted the bananas on a much more subtle level which was good.  The peanut butter had the strongest presence which made a lot of sense. One of my very best FORTs who accompanied me to the event tasted this smoothie and immediately swooned.  I have a feeling she'll be going back for more!

Planet Pro -- This was our opportunity to try a protein based smoothie that's great before or after (or both....) your workout.  I wasn't excited about it because I'm not much of a workout smoothie drinker, but I was completely pleasantly surprised when I took a sip!  The smoothie is blended with a full meal replacement packet which tastes....wait for it... just like a vanilla cupcake!  Not a knock-off weight loss shake vanilla flavor.  An actual delicious, smooth vanilla flavor.  You can choose any two fruits you want to mix into this smoothie. Mine had strawberry in it and I swear to you I felt like I was eating a strawberry cupcake. And, as some of you may know, I know cupcakes.

Key Lime Sorbet -- On the way out after our tasting event, a sorbet machine caught my eye and I had to stop and ask if I could sample the Key Lime flavor that they were featuring that day.  This may not have been a low-cal smoothie, but I couldn't resist.  This was, by far, the best sorbet I've ever had! So even if you're not in the market for a post-workout smoothie (or a health smoothie at all), you can stop in and give their awesome sorbets a try!  This proved to me that they cater to any crowd by offering delicious options across the board.

I did just want to point out a few things that I didn't try that definitely caught my attention on their menu:

1) In the fall, they feature a Pumpkin Smoothie.  WHAT?! This I've got to try.
2) More than 30 of their smoothies have 300 calories or less.  What a great and delicious way to squeeze a sweet treat into your diet!
3) There is a smoothie called the "Hangover Over."  What a great marketing decision that I can't wait to check out next Sunday morning....let's hope it lives up to its name!

Overall this event got me pretty excited about the smoothie scene in Pittsburgh.  I can't wait to go back and try more flavors!

Location Information
Planet Smoothie Pittsburgh
Address: 5608 Walnut Street just below X Shadyside. 
Phone: 412-925-6650
Reservations: Only for private parties (which they offer!)
Mon - Sat: 9 a.m. - 9 p.m.
Sun: 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.


Do you want your own opportunity to show your love for all things smoothie?  Here's your chance!  I'm giving away a small Planet Smoothie t-shirt, a coupon for a free kids size smoothie and a FREE TWO WEEK MEMBERSHIP to X Shadyside!

Each comment you make below on THIS blog will gain you an entry.  You can earn up to 6 entries!  Here's how:

1) Simply comment on this blog post, letting me know which Planet Smoothie flavor you'll try first OR which blast you would add to your smoothie.
2) "Like" Planet Smoothie Pittsburgh on Facebook
3) "Like" Taste of Pittsburgh on Facebook
4) Follow Planet Smoothie on Twitter
5) Follow Taste of Pittsburgh on Twitter
6) Write a blog post about Planet Smoothie and leave the link as a comment!

Be sure to leave comment for very entry you make below and leave a way for me to contact you so I can let you know if you've won!  I'll take a look to validate any claims of "liking" or following before I announce the winner.

This giveaway will close on Sunday, October 9 at 4 p.m. so get your entries in before then!  I will choose the winner via random drawing at

*Planet Smoothie supplied me with a few delicious samples free of charge in order to facilitate this post, however all opinions expressed within this review are honest and my own.

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