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Cake @ Batch…Pizza @ Artichoke…Eternal Happiness @ Abraço

March 30, 2008

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I. Batch

An afternoon pause between Sunday errands found me at the entrance of Pichet Ong’s new sweet shop, Batch.

Chef Pichet and two others were doing brisk business as I ducked in from the wind and into an interior of shiny deep red walls, a duo of chandeliers flecked in shimmering crystals, and an open kitchen. Half a dozen people crowded the counter, eyeing whimsical displays of dainty sweets – the shop flirts a fine line between cake studio and jewelry store.

Options are aplenty, running amok from rainbow of puddings, tiny cookies and biscotti, cupcakes aplenty. Flavours? Spiced chocolate, matcha frostings, sesame, calamansi, mango and chai. Also noticed that they carry organic milk from Manhattan Milk, a brand I’ve never seen before. Will make note to try on my next visit (hopefully on a warmer day :).

Ever the fan of caphe suda, I called a slice of the Vietmanese Coffee Cake my own, and took it to a bench around the corner. Tender crumb, studded with chopped walnuts and a tangle of sweet raisins, the cake was justly moist and a fine afternoon treat. However, the flavour of caphe suda was faint at best, barely noticeable save for a coffee-eque hint on the tongue – a slight disappointment.

II. Artichoke

Via a link from Kathryn (thank you! :), I made a late night trek with Shann and Darien to Artichoke up on 14th Street. The small storefront is standing room only, but that doesn’t haze customers who kept this place busy even near the midnight hours.

A few pies were out – plain slices and Sicilian pizzas. We even spotted a luscious looking tray of stuffed artichokes. At first I though it would be difficult to make a decision, but the second a fresh spinach & artichoke pie slid out the oven, there was no need for second thought. Half the pie was immediately bought by the two girls next to us, and I eagerly claimed a slice from the remaining half.

$3 buys a generous wedge, still emitting steam, with cheese oozing off edges of the paper plate. It’s a hefty pizza, the hearty crust nicely charred in just the right spots. Check out an upskirt shot here. I’ve never had a pizza quite like this. It’s not simply cheese pizza with a topping of spinach and artichoke but more akin to spinach-artichoke dip smooooothered, and I mean smooothered on top a wonderful dough. Every bite yields a crazy mass of hot melty cheese bathed in tangles of chopped spinach and artichokes, understandably competing for attention with the addictively crisp crust. One slice makes for a filling meal, and there could be no better pairing than an ice cold Coke, in a glass bottle of course ;)

III. Abraço

(photo by Don)

I think it’s fair to say by now that no weekend is complete without a minimum of three trips to Abraço.

It was the Sparkling Espresso for me this morning, made with Lurisia, while Darien enjoyed an Almond Milk Latte. Jamie’s upped the almond potency of this milk which should make everyone in the world a million times happier.

We only planned to come for morning drinks, but our taste buds were easily swayed when the fellows next to us offered a taste of the Olive Shortbread. An wedge of Olive Shortbread quickly evolved into shortbread and an order of the Ricotta Pain Perdu. The shortbread is quite possibly the best sweet I’ve had at Abraço, all at one encompassing the elements of sweet and savoury, crispy-light and buttery with little olive nuggets. I wish I could tuck an endless supply of this into my red coat pocket.

An afternoon return but a few hours later, yielded a savoury delight of Greenmarket potatoes, fried to order, with a sprinkle of salt much similar to Maldon. The highlight though, was Elizabeth’s house-made ketchup, sweet and tangy just so, positively luscious with a slightly chunky texture.

That’s Sunday for you – hope everyone is well :)

Batch
150 W 10th Street
NY, NY 10014
(212) 929-0250

Artichoke
328 East 14th Street
NY, NY 10003
(212) 228-2004

Abraço
86 East 7th St
NY, NY 10003
(212) 388-9731



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