Make me a smoothie: A quest for the perfect Ivy Room smoothie formula

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Almost a year ago, as excited as I was to become a Brown student, I had resigned myself to the fact that both the food and housing here could be a little better.

Coming in with lower than low expectations, I was pleasantly surprised during my first trip to the Ivy Room, where the pretty decent food is complemented by a full-service(ish) smoothie bar. But just as it was intimidating to navigate the open curriculum for myself, I found my autonomy in smoothie options overwhelming—how was I to know how guava juice or peach would affect the taste of my smoothie? Like anyone else, I just wanted to find a combo that worked and stick with it.

So, all in the name of my demonic food lust  love of investigative journalism, I decided to set out in search of the formula for the perfect Ivy Room smoothie. But, given the endless number of combinations, I knew I would never get there by myself.  So I decided to ask the people who know the ways of the smoothie best, the BuDS staff.

For five consecutive nights, I went to the Ivy Room and gave the person behind the counter the ultimate “that guy” request to make me his/her favorite smoothie. Check out what I found after the jump.

Day 1: 
Ingredients: Peach, strawberry, vanilla yogurt, guava juice
Notes: Not bad for my first time out. Being a pretty avid greek yogurt fan, I wasn’t loving the lighter texture from the vanilla yogurt. But the combination of the peach and the guava juice gave it a pleasantly sour touch. Not necessarily for me, but still pretty good.
Rating: Three stars

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Day 2:
Ingredients: Strawberry, banana, pineapple, vanilla frozen yogurt, pear juice
Notes: My server explained her true favorite smoothie called for all three juices (they were out of orange and guava), but she did more than fine without the trifecta. I can say without a trace of the doubt that this was one of the best smoothies I have had, Ivy Room or otherwise. The frozen yogurt (I didn’t know this was an option either) and banana gave it a great texture, while the pear juice added to the sweetness of the strawberries without changing the flavor.
Rating: Five stars

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Day 3:
Ingredients: Strawberry, banana, Greek yogurt, pear juice
Notes: Pretty close to my usual smoothie choice. I enjoyed this smoothie even though there really wasn’t anything about it that stood out. Then again, my tastebuds were probably a little overstimulated since I had just come from Soul Food Night.
Rating: Three stars

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Day 4:
Ingredients: Strawberry, peach, banana, Greek and vanilla yogurt, pear juice
Notes: Unfortunately, I made the mistake of arriving after the 10 p.m. rush, and my server had to substitute peach for her usual mango, which they’d run out of…but it was still pretty great. This smoothie’s flavor and texture were really well balanced. Despite the Greek yogurt and peach, there was almost no acidity, and the pear juice and vanilla yogurt sweetened it really well.
Rating: Four stars

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Day 5:
Ingredients: Strawberry, pineapple, peach, vanilla yogurt, pear juice
Notes: While the staffer on day 5 had yet to have an Ivy Room smoothie this year, and thus didn’t have a favorite, this was a pretty good improvisation. The pineapple and peach went great together, even if it made it just a bit sour, and the rest was pretty standard. Apparently, this was really similar to one of the options on the smoothie menu of the pre-2012 days of yore, with the added twist of pear juice, which was introduced just this year.
Rating: Four stars

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After five arduous days of tasting smoothies, I came away with some pretty valuable knowledge. For one, every BuDS staffer I talked to recommended pear juice as an addition to any smoothie, and most suggested mixing multiple juices. I can say from experience that this is a very good tip. Also, frozen yogurt is an option. Enough said.

But, at the end of the day, no one option is right for anyone. And this is Brown after all, so just trust your gut (no pun intended), and do you.

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