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Juicing is So Hot Right Now: The Gem

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Inside the space at DUO: All Things Culinary (7721 Inwood Road), co-owners Leslie Needleman and Mary Kathryn Bass opened The Gem somewhat quietly about a month ago. Mainly a juice bar, The Gem serves organic smoothies, fruit-flavored draft kombucha, organic coffee and tea and, of course, lots of juices.

This place is so much more than just a glorified Jamba Juice. It's a friggin' hippie heaven. First of all, it features a solid organic menu. Second, everything is juiced up fresh using what I can only describe as the HOLYSHIT juicer. It's big and shiny and it looks like it could take down a human leg in about 1.7 seconds. (A human vegan's leg even faster.) I ordered a blood orange Holy Kombucha and chatted up Sarah, who was working that great big juicer real good. She was making some Green Glow juice, made up of apple, kale, cucumber, lemon and ginger (hold the leg). It'll run you $6.50, which seems like a fair price for something that looks like liquefied Kermit, tastes surprisingly good and makes you feel good about drinking your veggies.

Backing slowly away from the giant juicer, it was time to get to the food. Lunch at The Gem is light, and the menu changes often. There are always just three food items, all organic and made fresh. Yesterday's offerings included a bright and slightly sweet green pea hummus, a vinaigrette-dressed kale salad with golden raisins and pistachios and a quinoa salad with diced red peppers and cilantro. You can have all three of them for $12. And if you're hungry, you'll probably need to. Perhaps a smoothie too.

The über chic space at DUO is dotted with high tables, most of them displaying beautiful, culinary-themed items for sale. But at a few of them, lunchers chat while they sip smoothies and scoop up hummus in high style on cute rectangular trays. I heard talk of The Gem pushing out to occupy a few more of those tables soon.

Overall, The Gem would make a great quick lunch when you must get back to the office or the gym. And it's absolutely perfect for Meatless Mondays, Whitney. And the any of staff will happily offer advice on how to get you started on the path to a juice-powered existence.

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