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where we eat: Juicebox

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Last week, I was reminiscing with Danny about a tiny vegetarian restaurant in Seattle, one of my favorites in the 1990s. The Gravity Bar was triangled into the Broadway Market, in Capitol Hill, which at the time was a bit grungy and run-down. (These days, it’s all gleaming new condos and shiny restaurants.) The atmosphere wasn’t particularly calming but the food certainly made my body feel at rest. Brown rice bowls with steamed vegetables and lemon-tahini dressing — that was my comfort food for over a decade. Throw in a fresh juice, especially a carrot-ginger juice, and I was done for the day. Everything felt at peace after that meal.

The next morning, Danny made me a quinoa bowl with roasted vegetables, avocado, and lemon-tahini dressing. There was a blueberry-kale juice too. I love that guy.

Later in the day, I was in Seattle for medical appointments. (I can say it from this distance, after much worrying for a couple of weeks: I don’t have cancer. Thank goodness.) After an unpleasant procedure, I needed something good to eat. I have all my favorites but something told me to keep driving to 12th Avenue. I found a spot in front of a little place called Juicebox. The parking gods were trying to tell me something.

Juicebox is my new Gravity Bar. I felt at ease as soon as I walked into the tiny cafe and saw this wall.

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right here.

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It was early. My knees felt creaky. The coffee was still burbling through the filter. And I was in the kitchen, gathering ingredients to make gluten-free chocolate chip cookies.

The night before, Danny and I cooked a dinner for 4 wonderful people who donated to our Kickstarter. He danced in front of the stove, that little shuffle heel to toe he does when he’s boppipng around happy. We made soft pretzels with our guests — Grace requested them in particular — and watched them bob in the boiling water filled with baking soda, then put them in the oven to bake. There was a spring-green soup, then pretzels warm out of the oven, with mustard for dipping. Sauteed halibut with spring vegetable risotto on a mint-pea puree. Chicken roasted with goat cheese and asparagus with potato puree. And a roasted rhubarb and strawberry shortcake. Our guests left happy. We loved them and the experience of feeding them.

But I woke up the next morning feeling a litle worn. We forgot to put the mats down on the kitchen floor after sweeping, so Danny and I spent the entire evening walking on the concrete without that padding. Man, my knees are making it clear to me — I am getting older. I wanted nothing more than to sleep in on Sunday morning, drink coffee slowly, and read the paper in the sunlight.

Time to bake. We had an appearance in Seattle to make.

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