Lunch today is at Abraço in the East Village, a neighborhood favorite, one seat at the bench facing onto 7th Street. The woman behind all the sweets and savories at Abraço, Elizabeth Quijada, also creates what must be, hands down, the best Olive Oil Loafin all of Manhattan. Elizabeth also turns out sandwiches and frittatas (both $6) that makes for a ideal, light meal. The most remarkable part of all is the tiny, tiny size of her kitchen. It must be magic.
Sandwiches change daily, always on Sullivan Street stecca bread. It may be ricotta with provolone and tomatoes; or perhaps cabbage, celery root, and fresh mozzarella on one day; or a remarkably light egg salad on yet another. This is a particularly special egg salad, dotted with pickled vegetables—which come from Elizabeth's parents' garden, and she pickles them herself.
Don't overlook the frittatas, either; also a daily affair, served by the wedge. It was sweet potato and cauliflower one morning, with sweet potatoes sliced razor-thin, layered both around the exterior and through the center of the frittata. I've yet to find a restaurant (much less a cafe) that serves frittata this wonderful, this creamy and satisfying.
For dessert? One can never tire of the Olive Oil Cake ($3), but should you spot slices of the fresh baked Gingerbread loaf ($3), you may have to get both. So dark and generous with molasses, I initially mistook it for chocolate cake. The gingerbread finishes off with a crunchy surface, powdered sugar-dusted top. And while you're at it, might as well pick a few more goodies to go. You never know when an afternoon sugar craving will hit...
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