It happens every two months or so. I find myself wandering around near the Broadway Market, looking for something to eat, considering and discarding possibilities, and suddenly it occurs to me that there's a reason I ended up in precisely this area, hungry and disoriented. It's because what I really wanted all along was an RV1 from Gravity Bar.

RV1 is health food at its most basic: a bowl of steamed brown rice, with steamed vegetables and sauce on the side ($7.50). I tried, once in my past, to maintain a diet like this, inspired by sort-of macrobiotic literature and facing the inevitable slow decline of my body. It turned out I couldn't keep it up: too much pasty brown food, too much time spent preparing it, not enough belly satisfaction.

But somehow RV1 doesn't make me feel like I'm sacrificing something that might taste better in order to add 10 minutes to my life. It is simply very good, and very good in a way that I can't duplicate at home. Believe me, I've tried.

It's partly the sauce. I always have my RV1 with lemon-tahini sauce (other options include spicy peanut, basil pine nut, Thai curry, and one or two others I've forgotten)--and the thing is, I don't really like tahini. Too pasty, too brown. But Gravity Bar's version is heavenly: smooth, liquid, tasting firmly of lemon and something else, something I've tried to approximate with gallons of olive oil and blended vegetables.

The steamed vegetables come in a colorful array (and we know now that variety in color means variety in vitamins), usually in some combination of peas, green beans, broccoli, some kind of squash, cauliflower, and kale, and they're all perfect. Perfect, in this case, means not underdone (the global misapprehension of "al dente") and not squishy/lifeless. Unless you steam each vegetable separately, this is nearly impossible to do yourself.

I think the heart of my unconscious journey to Gravity Bar every few months is some kind of toxic buildup that my body communicates through a craving. I don't go in for cleansing, or even, really, for taking care of myself any more. Which hit me all of a sudden on my last visit to Gravity Bar, when--while waiting for my life-giving RV1 and staring idly out the window at a homeless guy with his dog--the counterperson gave me a juice concoction on the house. I must have looked very bad. And the juice made me feel quite good.

Gravity Bar

415 Broadway E (Capitol Hill), 325-7186. Open 10 am-10 pm daily.

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