Many thanks to Joan Deering, Paradise Café owner, chef and head wrangler, for her nutritious green event last Friday eve. She gathered some Friends of the Smoothie and created Juneau’s first bike-powered blender drink contest. Six smoothies competed, and the charming café rippled with one hearty laugh after another. Before a cheering crowd, the smoothie masters introduced their ingredients and then assembled them in the blender attached to the back of a large stationary bike. Then they climbed aboard the former pedicab workhorse. To avoid knocking the blender off the back, all riders chose a front step-through mount. Each contestant then took a few pressured moments to situate their feet on the peddles and wait for the stop watch and crowd countdown. All were judged on how many blending seconds each drink required. Foot placement proved critical because test riders had demonstrated that the blender could slightly lurch and feet could be bucked off the peddles. Each contestant demonstrated their own style of keeping their seat through the first few sprocket turns as the blender fired up with each stroke. The standing room only crowd watched the metal blades slice through a vortex of juices, fruits, ice and nuts. Nothing proved unblendable. Given the leg power and fitness of Juneau, Joan will not need to upgrade to the non-electric VitaMix set up. Each drink was also judged on presentation, originality, taste, color and health benefits. The crowd roared as ever more complex and textured items met their match in the “Fender Blender” created by Rock The Bike, a Berkeley small business. Ask us about the delicious liquid pizza smoothie with feta. And it’s also important to note that contestant footwear included high heels, extra tuffs and hiking boots, and observers reported that all seemed adequate for the athletic event.
Two adults and three children judged the contest. Huge thanks to Christopher Clark and Chloe Lee, and to the future smoothie aficionados, Jonah Brown, age 9, Micah Brown, age 7, and their sister, Lola Brown, age 4. As a contestant, I had not anticipated that children would need to like my fruit-forward spirulina drink, but these kids easily opened their taste buds to the blue-green algae and to lots of adult veggies, fruits, pea protein powder plus nuts and cheeses. In the world of skilled judges, they should be scored 10 out of 10 for taste-bravery and contest focus. The modest entry fee for the contest went to charity, and prizes were: movie tickets from Gold Town Nickelodeon, Jeff Brown’s 2012 magazines and Tony Tengs’ Chilkat Cones.
For the health of it, here’s hoping more Juneau folks come to love fruit and veggie smoothies. Paradise Café says they will continue to offer these healthy foods and they invite you to come on in and blend away.
Juneau resident and 25-year Friend of the Lunch Smoothie