Lefree Market

Forget mediocre food

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Hands shaping ball of dough on countertop

Photo: Laurence Mouton (Getty Images)

“March 2020.” Those words conjure up something in all of us. It’s a before/after delineation, the pinpointable moment when our lives all became very different. Naturally, one big way we experienced that change was through the food we shopped for, prepared, and ate. Whether your dietary decisions during this time have been driven by restlessness or grocery shortages or newly constrained budgets, chances are you’ve come away from a year in quarantine with some formative culinary takeaways. Here’s what we learned about our own relationships to food during that time.

Food is

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Seattle Times food writers Bethany Jean Clement, Jackie Varriano and Tan Vinh have eaten a lot — a lot — of takeout over the course of this past long year. It hasn’t all been great, but they’ve been accentuating the positive — from all different neighborhoods and price points — hoping to assist struggling local restaurants and bored local mouths alike. In honor of the year-old mark of the COVID-19 pandemic, they’re sharing their favorites so far to help you keep getting through. (Please, please let it end relatively soon!)

Xiao Chi Jie

278 106th Ave. N.E., Bellevue; 425-598-2184;

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We ride through the cold night, gray snow lingering in the bike lanes, toward a private yurt nestled next to a sprawling Southeast Portland warehouse and our first proper date night in nearly a year. As we lock up our bikes, a masked figure emerges from a dark doorway, digital thermometer in hand: The dreaded temperature check, a process that seemed like pure sci-fi a year ago, but one we’ve grown used to since sending our kids back to daycare six months ago.

We hold our breath.

The display turns green.

We can pass.

Inside, The Redd has never looked

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Last year, in early March, Kristjana Cook had a lot to look forward to. The 46-year-old Annapolis, Marylandbased runner had recently finished treatment for melanoma, and an elite local running team had offered her a place on its roster. The team would pay all her 2020 race entry fees. “It was my suburban mom dream come true,” she says. 

Of course, we all know what happened next: A global pandemic. A financial meltdown. And lots of canceled races. 

That’s what happened on a macro level, at least. On a micro level, Cook poured herself a glass of wine

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