He Eats / She Eats: Hotpot Smoothie Shop

Posted on 16 April 2013 by admin

Gretchen and Alex have different culinary perspectives, but both found something to like at Hotpot Smoothie Shop

 

By: Gretchen Daniels
-Copy Editor-

 

For our previous forays into the St. Louis dining scene, Alex and I have broken out the cutlery for breakfast and dinner. Therefore, our last quest for culinary excellence was, of course, for lunch. We wanted something easy, close and delicious. Luckily, we were not disappointed.

Since the campus dining options leave much to be desired—especially for vegans—it is important to explore the valuable food resources close to campus. Hotpot Smoothie Shop is located a mere 2.5 miles from STLCC-Meramec where Geyer meets Manchester, and it offers a relaxed environment and quiet study space seldom found in the cafeteria.

The restaurant is small—it only seats 30—but I immediately felt calm walking into the space. Light wood features, scenic paintings and photographs bring the delights of nature inside. However, the decor is eclectic rather than circling a theme. Prints of John Lennon and Marilyn Monroe line up with several pieces of pottery. But, most of the peripheral decoration fades in the background; the focus is on the smoothies and food.

One loss I mourned when I became a vegan was the joy of a well-made smoothie. Yogurt seemed to be a prevailing ingredient at most smoothie operations, and I am simply too lazy to carry my blender up from the labyrinth that I call a basement. I had written smoothies off, so one can imagine my bliss when I discovered no yogurt smoothies as Hotpot.

I ordered from the smoothie board rather than conjuring my own concoction because who would not want to try The Jedi? Seemed obvious. The Jedi is comprised of blackberries, raspberries and pineapple, plus the choice of a base. I went for the “green and sticky” which tastes better than the name sounds: green apple, kale, spinach, cucumber, celery and agave nectar.

The pleasure of this smoothie is slight tartness without actually being sour. I would eagerly try it again if it were not for the onslaught of seeds contained in the cup, and then annoyingly in my teeth. I guess I will have to return to try The Killer: banana, pineapple and blueberry. I am starting to worry this may become an addiction.

Hotpot serves salads and sandwiches, but I was only there for one thing: a hotpot bowl. This dish is perfectly tailored to each diner. To order choose: noodles, rice or sweet potatoes; meat, tempeh or tofu; one sauce; and a variety of vegetables. Mine was so good I remarked to Alex that I could eat it for every meal: Thai rice noodles, no protein, mango lemon curry sauce, scallions, carrots, broccolini, mushrooms, spinach, peppers and onion.

The winning element was the seasonal mango lemon curry sauce. I do not know how long it will be served, but I will always order it when possible. The sauce was light, refreshing and did not overwhelm the crisp vegetable flavors. The only downside was I felt compelled to continue eating even when I felt satisfied. It was too appetizing to stop. The upside was even though I should have saved some for leftovers I did not feel sluggish or tired after eating. I felt healthy.

At just under $15 for my small smoothie and hotpot bowl, Hotpot Smoothie Shop is not in my daily budget. But, I am sure I will find myself driving toward Manchester every few weeks. A student needs a great place to study, right?

 

By: Alex Kendall
-Photo Editor-

For our final escapade into the culinary world, Gretchen and I decided to take a lunch trip that was close to school so that students could grab a seat, eat a meal and still make it back in time for class. HotPot Smoothie Shop, which is just a few miles away from STLCC-Meramec, offers students — including vegans, vegetarians and

paleos — a delicious meal that is quick and healthy.

The restaurant is located in a strip off Manchester and Geyer and can be easily missed if you are not looking for it. Walking in through the screen door, the restaurant opens up to a welcoming environment with paintings and photos from local artists on the wall and business cards posted on the wall inside the door. The eating space is communal, allowing patrons to choose where they want to sit.

HotPot offers a variety of food choices including bowls, salads and sandwiches. Each choice can be customized to the patron’s likings including the choice of veggies, meats, sauces and grains. For my meal, I decided to go with a bowl. Piecing my meal together from the menu, I chose to mix udon noodles, char siu pork, yaki (which is an amazing blend of citrus and soy), spinach, broccolini, onions and tomatoes.

The menu also offers a variety of drink choices. The menu seeks to satisfy every customer with a list of coffees, teas, lemonades and smoothies, which can be ordered from the menu or custom blended. The smoothie menu allows the choice of one of two bases the “original agave” or the “green and sticky,” three fruits of your choice, including mango, strawberry, blueberry, pineapple and four others.

Nothing short of delectable can describe this meal. Served in a decorative ceramic bowl, the entire dish was well-seasoned and blended perfectly. The crunch of the broccolini stalks mixed with the tender pork and yaki sauce created a rich and savory flavor that kept my chopsticks full.

I decided to skip the smoothie, due to price, and finished my meal instead with cucumber lemonade. Normally, I try to avoid anything with cucumber in it, but I reluctantly took my first sip of the aptly named “lemoncucumberade” and I was thoroughly impressed. The cucumber mixed well with the tartness of the lemonade and gave it a sweet/sour battle for supremacy on the tongue.

The definitive element of HotPot Smoothie Shop is truly its food. There are other places that offer similar menu items such as Crazy Bowls and Wraps, but HotPot’s blend of flavors and concentration on fresh ingredients sets it above the rest.

Although the price may seem a little steep at $10 a bowl, HotSpot Smoothie Shop is definitely an eatery that every student would find something that they would enjoy.

For a place to study or a place to grab a bite between classes, this local restaurant will not disappoint.

 

 

 

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