OPEN HOURS: 8:00am – 6:00pm tues – sat 9:00am – 6:00pm sunday
Almost 2 years after Abraço has opened, it is still a daily stop for friends, food, coffee and conversation. A true New York City experience, where the chatting is as delicious as the fare. If you’re in New York, do yourself a favor and swing by!
Abraço brews the perfect cup of Coffee. Thanks to proprietor and main man Jamie, the coffee is so good we gave up on home brewing and gave away our coffee machine! The food is absolutely divine. In the mornings, brioche (baked at Abraço), olive oil cakes, Pain Perdu (a slice of french toast folded with home made ricotta!), sconces, rose Cookies….. and whatever other lovely creations dreamed up that day are all there for your palatial pleasure.
As an egg aficionado, I will make special mention of the frittata. It is extraordinary, light and fluffy. This masterpiece from Abraço has changed my entire concept of the dish. I now know that I had NEVER had a quality frittata- airy, soft, savory, sweet- until I ate one here. The bar has been raised, and no one else has come close. (yes, I really really love it!)
From noon -4pm Chef Elizabeth Quijada creates 3 different delicious lunch options which usually includes a seasonal soup, that can be garlic almond milk or saffron corn chowder, a vegetable plate like baby roasted carrots and eggplants with caramelized onions and a toast like topped with ricotta, roasted and marinated vegetables… or the best grilled cheese with marinated peppers and topped with avocado tomatillo salsa.
The food is allways vegetarian (Abraço does not advertise the vegie factor) and they only use organic dairy.
Entering the market of Basurto in Cartagena is like stepping off the edge of society and dropping into the abyss of humanity. Inside one finds all aspects of our species; from destructive abundance of the fish fields- with machetes raining down, flashing, sending scales scattering, raindrops smattering on your feet – To the endless aisles of fresh vegetables softly lofting their sweet smells, purging the air of the impurities imposed by the countless butcher blocks and their carcass stench. And the heat, one can never forget the heat.
A respite is grabbed in the shadows aside a mountain of peppers, in the shadow of the mountains of dill, cilantro, leeks and yerba buena. Scattered between and ringed around these bales of sustinance destined for the bellies of a million souls, one finds, well, everything and anything: Pots, keys, sting blenders and Rosaries; Mangos and hammers, Summer skirts and shock absorbers – and everywhere there is people – Gesticulating, selling, buying, story telling, people. Men with fish, boys pushign wooden carts for tips, old men packing charcoal and woman brewing witches pots of stew .. It is only the elasticity of the human minds cushions the shock of Basurto!
One navigates the labyrinth of this old world market and knows that they are inside the engine that the rest of the world is powered by.
Blurring over the green on green expanse of countryside below me I contemplated the glittering jewels sparkling up at me from 30,000 feet below. What were these glittering fish in this expanse of growth? Cognitively I knew them to be Man, though what construct of the beast I was not sure; these reflecting lights bedazzled over the landscape, scattered like a child using the made-for-tv tool.
I hadn’t gotten a handle on the space between these domiciles – trying to decide if it was a lot of emptiness or a landscape uniformly full of Man-Life – when we hurtled past and descended to El Dorado International Airport, Bogota, Colombia. Where I proceeded to have a remarkably civil, if un-eventful, 5 hour layover for my flight to Cartagena.
El Dorado Airport Bogota
Now this is a far cry from my first trip through El Dorado a dozen years ago; when navigating the corridor like terminal was more akin to wading through a souk then engaging in modern era jet-travel. Not today – today I calmly pulled money out the ATM, drank an espresso cortado with condensed milk from the Juan Valdez Coffee shop (always a shameful delight in Colombia – the national obsession with the sweetened condensed milk), purchased minutes for my cellphone at the pharmacy and sat down at the food court, being waited on by an ultra-pleasent late year teen who did his absolute best to help me achieve gastronomic satisfaction.
He was successful, bringing me a toasted arepa (a flat corn biscuit like bread made out of corn) smothered with Guiso. Guiso is a delight of stewed onions and tomato that is found throughout Colombia, though under different names. Guiso in the interior, Hogao on the Caribbean coast, and who knows what its called in the places I haven’t yet been! This was followed by one of the traditional Colombian soups – Changua; a milk, and egg soup that has a flavor and happiness all its own. With floating chunks of soft bread and green flecks of Cilantro, Changua has the beauty of being completely comforting, filling and at the same time feeling oddly healthy. That is until you hit the melted cheese hidden underneath – when the comfort starts to out way the health!
The food is like the service – Simple, but having the overall feeling of being made with local ingredients that have yet to be corrupted by the world at large.
So Welcome to Colombia, and as they now say – The only risk is that you’ll want to stay!