I’ve been back in NY for two weeks now and in love. There has always been something about the energy in New York that makes me giddy and anxious at the same time. The city has an intensity that makes a good day a sensual experience. When I first moved to New York, it was the early 90’s and I was living my own version of the movie ‘Wall Street’. I was working towards an MBA in Finance at New York University, with no intention of working at an investment bank. But I enjoyed its benefits.
Our hang out was an outdoor garden restaurant in trendy Soho called Barolo. I enjoyed countless evenings with this rich, lush dark red wine that was the restaurant's namesake and accompanying carpaccio with arugula. I often stayed until the close of the restaurant with friends who were in what was at the time, a very prestigious investment bank training program. I never saw a check–it was always expensed, and when we were ready to leave at 2am; a line of town cars and vouchers were parked out front, waiting to take us home. Ahhh–the good old days.
Whole Wheat Trumpet Mushroom and Egg Pizza
I’m older now, and think back to those days fondly. But I realize that was not a mature relationship, but rather an infatuation. I was addicted to the high of excess; to my own pleasure without a thought to my impact on society. Along with the many boyfriends of the 90’s, I realize none of these relationships were sustainable.
I am back in a very different New York; but one that is still the exciting vibrant place I remember. It didn’t take me long to fall in love again. But this time it isn’t the two week ‘relationships’ of my past; this time its real. I found my zen at a magical place that has been a New York institution for almost 20 years, but along with me, ABC Home and Carpet has also matured and transformed a store made up of various and distinct boutiques into a cohesive, almost meditative place. Every piece in the store thoughtfully placed with its own story to tell. The result of the visionary CEO, Paulette Cole–who can tell you where in the world a piece originated; from the Congo village of women she visited years ago and provided a micro loan and orders to (now they have a community water well and TV) to the re-purposing of burnt forests in Brazil and Southeast Asia to create one of a kind wood sculptures. It is six floors of conscious living. And its not just the furniture. A new restaurant opened the week I was there–famous restauranteur, Jean Georges has translated the eco-conscious designs of the furniture at ABC Home to food and the result is ABC Kitchen.
Its simple, yet gourmet. ABC Kitchen stays true to Jean Georges original book, ‘Simple Cuisine: Easy Recipes for Four Star Food’, in which he takes a minimalist approach to four-star dishes, and deconstructs gourmet tastes to a few simple ingredients and techniques. Almost all the recipes take under 1 hour to prepare. It really is about combinations of flavors that aren’t always intuitive.
At ABC Kitchen, all the ingredients are locally sourced; with a roof top garden in its early stages that will eventually grow the restaurants’ micro greens and herbs.
On the first evening of Spring-like weather, a friend and I enjoyed what I would describe as a sophisticated rustic dinner.
- Roast Carrot and Avocado Salad, crunchy seeds and citrus
- Whole Wheat Trumpet Mushroom and Egg Pizza
- Chili-herbed black sea bass, red bliss potatoes and spinach
- Meyer Lemon Meringue Tart
- Vodka Thyme Lemonade
We polished off every morsel on our plates. The food was light, airy, and had a complexity that left a me with a different subtle taste sensation with every bite. By the end of the meal, my friend and I were satiated and satisfied; but not stuffed and sleepy. It was as though the food literally gave us energy–a happy content feeling without any heaviness.
Roast Carrot and Avocado Salad, crunchy seeds and citrus
Usually, I can deconstruct flavors and ingredients, simplify them and make them at home. Tonight, though the ingredients were few and limited to in season/locally sourced near New York; the combinations were so unique that I was stumped. I was able to come close to re-creating my favorite dish of the evening:
I used this same recipe to cook up local wild sea bass filet and organically farmed salmon that I ordered from Fresh Direct:
Wild Sea Bass in a Pan
- 1 Tablespoon of Butter
- 1 large shallot (chopped)
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1 cup of white wine
- 1/2 lemon (juice)
- 2 Teaspoons of Thai Sweet Chilli Sauce
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat.
- Add crushed garlic and shallot to the melted butter and brown for 2-3 minutes
- Pour in the white wine, turn up the heat, and let it reduce so that it just covers the bottom of the pan (about 4 Tablespoons / 1/4 cup).
- Reduce the heat and add the fish. I season each side of the fish with equal amounts of salt, pepper, lemon juice, and the Chilli Sauce. For the bass; season and cook the skin side first.
I am sure Jean Georges creates a broth using fresh herbs, tamari, yuzu juice, fresh thai chillis and spinach jus for the dish I had at his restaurant, which may be why they serve it in a bowl and with a spoon, but limited to my New York corporate apartment kitchen space and ingredients, I substituted lemon or the citrus; salt for the tamari and the sweet thai chilli sauce (for a little glaze) for real chillis. I steamed some broccoli with mine; sauteed spinach would make a great side as well.