Stoked Coffee Co. & Acai Bowls
451 E. Main St. #8, Ventura

In Downtown Ventura, down El Jardin alleyway there sits a recently opened coffee bar dubbed Stoked. If the name doesn’t excite you, the menu certainly will.

Patio in El Jardin courtyard

Memorial Day weekend seemed like the perfect opportunity to check out the new joint. Alongside the many coffee offerings, including lattes, cappuccinos and pour-over coffee from Santa Barbara roaster Dune, the official brand of the popular French Press brunch spots, are the real stars of the show: the bowls.

Stoked offers two versions of the bowls: the Stoke Bowl ($8) is organic acai sorbet topped with strawberries and bananas plus locally made granola, seasonal fruit, chia seeds and honey. The Butter Bowl ($9) is all that plus your choice of almond or peanut butter, coconut and blueberries. Also on the menu are several versions of the now-trendy toast — topped with avocado ($7), almond butter ($6) or simply served with jam ($4.50).

We selected a pour-over coffee, iced soy latte and the Butter Bowl and took a seat outside in the alleyway, which has more the appearance of a Mediterranean detour than of having stepped off Main Street, Ventura.

The vibrant bowl in purple, red, white and blue was as patriotic-looking as it was tasty. The local honey gave the high-quality almond butter a bit of sweetness to balance the savory, and the berries all popped with fresh, juicy tartness. The chia seeds, while hard to find amid the cacophony of flavors, gave the bowl the appearance of having been freshly picked, like seeds on a watermelon.

With the coffee and a dollop of almond milk creamer, the pair proved not only delicious, but filling and refreshing as well. Certainly on that Monday, with the gloomy overcast chill rolling in, the bowl would have been better enjoyed under the sun, but there were no complaints from us; we simply enjoyed the unique flavors.

Stoked has the aesthetic of a Los Angeles boutique and an energy worthy of its name. Here’s to many more bowls to come.