How does a cart sell smoothies in rainy, tightfisted Portland? Any chump with a Cuisinart, bananas, Nutella, ice and yogurt can press "blend" in the warmth of his own home.
So Moberi has a twist. The Rose City Food Park cart uses Schwinn exercise bikes with spindles attached to blenders—one out front; a more powerful, finicky version inside—to make the smoothies. Owner Ryan Carpenter has been pedaling through customers' fruit and ice for over two years, but it's warmer to spend a minute spinning it for yourself. "You get a lot more control with the bike," he says as I pedal for a silky Peanut Butter Cup whey protein shake ($6).
But this isn't just some one-trick, two-wheeled pony. Classic smoothies, like the berry-and-yogurt Moberi ($5.75), are delicious. Kale, ginger and apple are the dominant flavors in the earthy but refreshing Turtle Power ($5.75). But the most ambitious of the bunch is the Uncle Jesse ($5.75), a mix of strawberries, mint, dates, avocado and coconut milk. Fresh and cold, it's low on flavor and filled with hard date chunks, but as it warms and the dates thaw, the taste becomes memorable if subtle.
Juices ($4-$6.50) and health shots ($2) are available as well, though none involve a velo-vortex, and ultimately that is Moberi's selling point. Pedal your own drink hard enough and these smoothies are refreshing in any season.
EAT: Moberi is part of the Rose City Food Park, 5221 NE Sandy Blvd., moberismoothies.com. 11:30 am-7 pm Tuesday-Saturday. $.