Monday, December 23, 2013

ABC Cocina

ABC Cocina is a restaurant opened by the parent company ABC Carpet and Home and located next door to their Manhattan store in the Flatiron district (not to be confused with ABC Kitchen).

It's not too often that furniture stores open restaurants (I don't think Ikea and the Ikea food court counts...) but when you step inside ABC Cocina it sort-of all makes sense. The decor is -for lack of a better (and less corny) word - beautiful. The light fixtures include little glass globes that dangle from the ceiling and the back of the restaurant is separated from ABC Carpet and Home by large ornate French doors.

As for the food, it is a Jean-Georges collaboration, but unlike ABC Kitchen (his other collaboration with ABC Carpet and Home) and unlike most of his other restaurants, the theme of the food is Spanish/Latin.

The menu is tapas-style:

To start, Daniella and I ordered the guacamole with sungold tomato salsa and warm crunchy tortillas. The salsa also had some red grapefruit in it. Based on appearance I expected it to be sweeter in flavor than it actually was.

Next we had the  raw shaved fluke with green chili dressing and crunchy rice and herbs (one of my favorite things that we ordered):

We also ordered the sautéed mushroom tacos with mole, kale and lime:

 And baby calamari stuffed with chorizo, celery root, chickpeas, and basil:

Last but definitely not least was the crunchy Mexican spiced French toast and roasted apples. This was one of the best French toast dishes EVER. Crispy on the outside, and warm and soft on the inside. Yum yum!

Before we started eating, Daniella and I had plans to stop by the Union Square Farmer's Market (just a few blocks away) for apple cider donuts for dessert, but by the time brunch was over we were too stuffed. There's always next time...

We did however stop by the Union Square Holiday Market, where we found some new hats! Well... not entirely... since despite my aggressive peer-pressuring Daniella didn't decide to buy this one 

As for ABC Cocina - I will definitely be back for another serving of that French toast! Probably soon :D

Rating: 8/10

ABC Cocina
38 E. 19th St
New York, NY 10003

Monday, December 9, 2013

The Brooklyn (Holiday) Cookie Takedown

It's been a while since I last blogged, but this weekend Daniella and I went to the Cookie Takedown in Brooklyn, and it was too sweet an opportunity to pass up

Just like the Chili Takedown, Hot Sauce Takedown, and Bacon Takedown, it's a competition for local peeps to show off their cooking skills. The winners get Cuisinart kitchen appliances and tons of cheers from the audience.

Unfortunately, the Universe seems to be punishing me for my long negligence of my blog, and 90% of the photos I took of the yummy cookies at this competition were "damaged or unsupported." I'm currently shedding internal tears of sadness for the 25 photos that have melted into technology's black hole

Anyway.... we shall have to make do with what survived.

The competition was a two-day event (spanning both Saturday and Sunday) with a total of 50 competitors.

Daniella and I had plates piled high full of cookies, and even though we tried not to take more than one or two bites of each, we were stuffed full before we even reached the half-way mark:

Some of the people near us made more head-way:

Daniella and I had the same favorite cookie - which was a sweet potato flavored one with a cake-like consistency and cream cheese frosting. That baker took 3rd place overall. If you look at the left of the pic above, it's the cookie that is furthest to the left on the plate second from the back. *Sigh* Complicated I know... but none of my individual cookie pictures survived (*more tears*)

And after Daniella was such a good sport about modeling all of them too :D

Well... almost none:

The one pictured above was a chocolate chip oatmeal cookie with cranberries and chocolate ganache. It was a bit toooo sweet and didn't make it into the top 3.

My second favorite cookie was a Bourbon-pumpkin one, also with cream cheese frosting (in the previous picture (two above us) it's the orange-colored one with obvious cream cheese frosting and a bite taken out of it: on the same plate as my favorite cookie)

The venue was a pretty neat place - The Bell House in Park Slope, and it was a pretty large turn-out. I guess no one can resist free sweets!

It was starting to snow as we left, and we couldn't resist a holiday-themed photo-op. Thank you again to my favorite model