I was blessed today to be in New York City on a sunny beautiful day to film some footage of me with my book in Union Square at the farmers market. I loved learning about all the wonderful initiatives that New Yorkers and Mayor Bloomberg are doing to recycle and compost kitchen waste.
Obviously, with all this work, one needs to have a lunch break and we happen to be steps away from ABC kitchen. My good friend Maura met up with Sandi, documentarian par excellence, and I for a memorable dining experience.
Since we were lacking the proper permission to film in the restaurant, we had to put down the movie camera and sit back to “allow the feast to begin”. It was truly a feast since our choices of shared menu items were complemented with additional dishes from the chef. I do believe that we have Ryan, adorable restaurant manager and recycling aficionado, to thank for all of our goodies.
Needless to say, from start to finish, the food was full of flavour and aromatic surprises. According to Maura, who did a stage at the restaurant, chef Dan Kluger likes to use local fresh produce from the market to create dishes that have a balance of flavours including spicy, sweet, salty and sour tons. He also likes to include a range of colour with both cooked and raw elements in each and every dish.
Once settled into one of the white on white wood tables, that feel as if they have been haphazardly placed yet nothing is haphazard in this establishment, the feast began.
A heirloom tomato, cucumber, strawberry and chevre salad with a red vinegar, chile vinaigrette was the palette teaser. The summer freshness of the tomatoes with the sweetness of the strawberries and the bite of the chiles created a harmonious flavour burst in all of our mouths.
My favorite whole wheat crusted mushroom pizza with a cracked egg on top was, as I remembered it, creamy and earthy to match the medley of sauteed mushrooms. The raw egg was cooked for me since I have an aversion to runny egg yolks! The staff was beyond accommodating and lovely to have mill around and take care of our every needs.
The chef’s choices of dishes to spoil us included a plate of fried calamari paired with fresh tomato and two mustard aioli sauces and a sweet corn sauté topped with local farm fresh cheese. When our bellies were full and we were unable to attempt another bite, the chef decided to finish off our experience with a market fresh strawberry salad served with a buttermilk basil lime sorbet and mini meringues. OK, so I was able to fit in more than a couple of mouthfuls to finally say I was 100% full.
ABC Kitchen and its new addition ABC Cocina are both fabulous restaurants that have decided to buck the big business trend and create a sustainable business that is out to make a difference no matter the cost. According to Ryan, having a second restaurant has made the recycling and composting aspect of the business even more viable. The reduction of waste has increased and the purveyors have now been trained in a new way of managing waste. It is a win win for everyone. Good food, little waste and fabulous service all in a days work.