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.
As soon as I walked in, I remembered that Juicebox is the brainchild of Kari Brunson, whom I first met the same year I started this site. (2005! Ten years ago!) Kari was a professional ballerina with the Pacific Northwest Ballet for years before she decided to quit to go to culinary school. I almost didn’t recognize her when we met. She looked extraordinarily well rested, her face far more open and calm, her skin glowing. Kari, this cold-pressed juice and cafe have served you well.
It served me well too. There were so many choices for this weary woman who wanted her comfort food. How about the quuinoa greens salad with quinoa, cilantro, avocado, cucumber, lime juice, and cumin pepitas? I could have chosen the coconut milk parfait with raw local honey and seasonal fruit. Or how about the St. Jude tuna sandwich with yukon potatoes, olive tapenade, soft-boiled egg, preserved lemon, salsa verde, and local lettuce, on gluten-free focaccia.
Wait, gluten-free focaccia? Juicebox is not a gluten-free cafe. However, it’s more than gluten-free-friendly. Everyone there takes great care to avoid cross-contamination with the small amount of items on the menu that contain gluten. There were gluten-free baked goods on the front counter from NuFlours, a sweet new gluten-free bakery in Seattle. (We’ll share something about that place soon.) And most of the menu was naturally gluten-free.
In the end, I chose that day’s salad: a roasted chicken salad with spring greens, pickled rhubarb, watermelon radishes, and fresh ricotta they had made that morning. And a vinaigrette made with the leftover whey from the ricotta. That an a fennel-apple-cucumber-mint juice left me sighing at the long wooden table, alone with my thoughts and good food. I was only 1/2 a mile from the old Gravity Bar and I felt at home.
If you’re gluten-free, or just have the taste for great food that leaves you feeling healthy, try Juicebox. It’s one of the places where we love to eat now.
1517 12th Ave Suite 100
Seattle, WA 98122
This is part of a new series called Where We Eat, a narrative guide to the restaurants and cafes that have served me safely and well. (We’ll also be sharing Where We Shop soon.) Remember that our experience may not be yours. You still have to ask about gluten-free food in a restaurant and make sure it’s safe for celiacs, everywhere you go. We make no claims that these places we love to eat will work for everyone.