On the ground floor of a natural healing center on Northeast Alberta, via a door once obscured by waist-high grasses and overgrown hedges, a new community center is taking shape.
Carioca Bowls and Full Lotus Yoga, two sister operations sharing one seriously blissed-out space, are the creation of Richard Matusow and Matthew Lau, former execs at Sambazon Acai, the pioneering company that brought the ubiquitous acai berry trend to fever-pitch levels in America. The pair fell in love with the superfood and the Brazilian culture that inspired it, and looked to create a healthy lifestyle that could bring acai to the people on a smaller scale.
A few soul-searching trips to India and ashram residencies in the Bahamas later, Matusow joined 20-year Portland resident Lau in the Rose City, ready to bring their love of acai to its authentic, community-based next level.
At Carioca Bowls, acai lovers can indulge in a veritable buffet of toppings and add-ins to the cold, refreshing berry base, as well as smoothies and juices, organic coconut water on tap, oatmeal blended with amaranth and pepitas, toast with house nut butters, kombucha, Stumptown cold brew nitro, and more. At the adjoining Full Lotus yoga space, donation-based meditation and yoga (both kundalini and hatha) are taught by a rotating roster of teachers for all levels. Classes take place in a cozy indoor studio and in Portland's first year-round outdoor yoga platform, perched over permaculture-inspired garden plots growing artichokes and blackberries and a patio space surrounded by a reclaimed-wood boardwalk.
So how do the two sides of the business come together? "Yoga is a lifestyle, and nutrition is an important part of that lifestyle," explains Matusow, and the mixed-use space is already gathering a loyal neighborhood following, thanks to a diverse lineup of guest speakers, weekly by-donation community dinners of Indian comfort food, and Saturday morning Brazilian culture hours—complete with music and capoeira demonstrations. If you ask us, it sounds like Brazilian berries and Indian bliss blend even better than coconut water and acai. For more information (like menu details, yoga schedules, and a special event calendar) visit Carioca Bowls' website, or pop by to check it out for yourself.
827 NE Alberta St.