The Golden at Prasad ($6.50)
Attached to the fancy Yoga Pearl studio is Prasad, one of the more beautiful places to relax with a smoothie in town. Beautifully designed dark wood and a view of one of a quiet pocket of the Pearl district let you keep your yoga buzz even as you sip your way through a post-workout snack. The smoothie menu has an extra focus on functionality, with many of the all-organic smoothies featuring some sort of boosting extra, like spirulina or chia seeds. With house-pressed carrot-ginger juice as a base, the Golden is rounded out with a comforting combination of banana, housemade hemp milk, and lots of cinnamon and topped with a generous heap of bee pollen. The result is an at once cozy and exotic drink. Creamy, enticing and quite filling, I could happily drink one every day.
It’s Always Sunny at the Greenleaf Juicing Company ($5.95)
After falling into some bad habits working long hours in the financial industry, Greenleaf owners Matt and Garrett turned to juicing to get them back on track. They loved it so much, they decided to make it their lives, moving in 2009 from Chicago to Portland to open a smoothie and juice bar. Their smoothie menu is fairly split between fruits and vegetables, and there are no fillers—like yogurt or milk—in any of them. Our favorite, the It’s Always Sunny includes tangy, sweet and quite spicy pineapple-jalapeno-carrot juice as a base. A little green pepper and banana give heft and a pleasant vegetal component that brings out the green of the jalapeno. It's a surprising combination, in the best possible way.
The Diehard at Sip ($5)
This cheery white cart is part of a small local chain that includes one other Sip cart (on southeast 21st) as well as a shiny new brick and mortar outpost called Canteen. Parked in a little courtyard amidst Alberta’s art galleries and boutiques, this cart has a small, classic juice-and-smoothies menu. The Diehard, a veritable veggie bomb, is aptly named. Kale, spinach, parsley, cilantro and celery are tempered only by a squeeze of lemon and a dash of sea salt. They’re whizzed up in a Vita Mix and served in all their verdant glory. Ice lends a satisfying heft, and a refreshing coolness. The drink tastes exactly the way it looks: positively green. Parsley, cilantro and kale dominate, but the sea salt helps draw out the natural salinity of the celery and adds a nice complexity.
Maca Madness at Sip ($5)
Something this creamy and delicious shouldn’t be allowed to be thought of as health food. And yet, it’s dairy-free, organic, and full of nutritious things, so its undoubtedly high calorie count is at least counteracted by something. The brilliant combination of almond milk, bananas, and almond butter create a supremely smooth and soft serve-like texture. Vanilla and dates give the drink a home-y sweetness, reminiscent of a malted milkshake.
Grand-Daddy Purple at Kure Juice Bar ($9)
Everything about Kure’s SE Hawthorne smoothie cart feels like an escape. The bustling foliage, the sunny, lime green of the cart itself, and the fun, energetic smoothies make a visit feel like a mini, mid-day vacation. The Grand-Daddy Purple perhaps most of all. A power-packed, juicy-sweet behemoth, this smoothie has a triple-whammy of acai, goji berries, and strawberries as a base. Coconut yogurt give it a delicious hint of something tropical, and a little kale evens out the sweetness. This one goes down easy, though, so beware the ice cream (/smoothie) headache!
Hangover Helper at Kure ($5.50)
While I can’t promise that this will cure your hangover, I can promise that it tastes pretty darn good. The curative claims are based on added amino acids and gingko, but we like it for its classic flavor. Fro-yo is the base, with lots of puckery pineapple and sweet strawberries whizzed in. A little fresh orange juice and ice give the drink body and oomph. Beachy, sun-drenched days in a cup, something every Portlander could use more of.