• Karen Seiger

Meet abcmkt: Where Food + Quality + Beauty Make For A Special Home

Entering abcmkt, the new food, kitchen and tabletop market at ABC Carpet & Home (Photo courtesy of Ed Lefkowicz)

Amidst the excitement and chaos of the holiday season last November, ABC Carpet & Home quietly launched abcmkt, a sanctuary of artisanal foods, splendid tableware and heirloom-quality kitchen tools.

As you may have noticed by now, I am prone to using superlatives when I am excited about something. But please trust me when I say that spending time in abcmkt gives us hope that real food + clear communications + a touch of beauty can — and will — change the world.

abcmkt has been a dream in the making for several years for Paulette Cole, Creative Director at ABC Carpet & Home. Every product in this retail market has a story, and the thread of commonality among them all is that they are somehow important to society as a whole in their own way, no matter how large or small.

The concept of the new market is a in line with ABC’s overall mission, “to serve by manifesting a shift in the retail paradigm—one in which beauty, experience, and magic are composed onto a revolutionary platform of cause-related products that guide creative expression, celebrate individuality, and cultivate the actualization of home as the sacred space.”

Let me tell you a few stories about some products that represent the real humans and real vision behind every item in abcmkt.

Sour Puss Pickles, deliciously made in Brooklyn (Photo by Ed Lefkowicz)

Sour Puss Pickles, Our Tangy Friends From Brooklyn

In addition to making excellent traditional pickles, Sour Puss Founders Evelyn Evers and Chris Forbes pickle some unusual and exciting veggies — long garlic scapes, fashionable ramps and the lovely ginger carrots and Thai peppers pictured. I know them from our other fine food markets, and seeing their pickles in abcmkt was like seeing a delicious old friend from Brooklyn.

Cortija de Suerte Olive Oils from a family estate in Southern Spain (Photo by Ed Lefkowicz)

Cortijo de Suerte Alta Organic Olive Oils from Ancient Spanish Trees

These beautiful glass bottles are filled with organic oils from a village in the South of Spain.  The family has been growing olive trees on their land for three generations. In 1996, they converted to organic farming, and today they tend almost 600 acres of trees.

A unique numbering system allows us to trace each individual bottle of oil to the exact grove of trees where the olives grew on the Suerte Alta Estate.  The Coupage Natural (left) has “rich flavors of green olives and aromas of green apples and fresh cut tomato.” The beautiful fuchsia bottle of Picual (right) is the richest oil they offer, made from olives in a 40-year-old family grove.

Amagansett Sea Salt is hand made from buckets of water straight out of the Atlantic (Photo by Ed Lefkowicz)

Amagansett Sea Salt Co. — Made By The Bucketload

There are perhaps a few times in the last 5000 years when salt has been in the spotlight as much as it is these days. But it has never been more beautiful or packaged as sweetly as the tiny glass bottles from Amagansett Sea Salt Co.

Long Island Salt Makers Steven and Natalie Judelson collect buckets of Atlantic seawater by hand, run it through a filter, and let evaporate in the sun. Left behind are salt crystals from the sea with all the rich and complex flavors and minerals we could want in our food. (Watch their lovely story in this video by Food.Curated.)

They have several varieties, including one infused with red wine and other glorious and surprising blends.

Hand-forged Iron Skillet from Borough Furnace (Photo by Ed Lefkowicz)

Borough Furnace, An Old World Foundry for a New Environment

I love a good cast iron skillet. It makes me feel like a cowboy out on the range. And in a pinch, they can serve as a weapon of self-defense, like when we had a serial mugger in our laundry room in DC. But that’s another story.

The heavy, handmade and beautifully designed skillets from Borough Furnace are top sellers in abcmkt. Founders John Truex and Jason Connelly built their own foundry, including a melting furnace, dubbed “Skilletron,” that is fueled by waste vegetable oil. They use only recycled iron in their products. Their goal is to bring back traditional cast iron in an environmentally responsible way. And to create perfect omelets. Oh wait – that’s my goal.

Provence Platters Made From Recycled Wine Barrels. Can you see the wine stains? (Photo by Ed Lefkowicz)

Provence Platters – Making Beautiful New Things Out of Beautiful Old Things

In the common spirit of recycling and reusing materials, Provence Platters uses aged wood from used wine barrels to create breathtaking serving trays.

Each one is uniquely different and reflects the life it has lead, not just as a tree originally, but as a working wine barrel. The artisans reverse engineer the barrels in New York City and turn them into these solid, wonderful platters with wrought iron, hand-forged handles.

All the chocolates on this table are handmade by amazing chocolate companies (Photo by Ed Lefkowicz)

The Chocolate Table

Don’t miss the chocolate table, where you can find some of the finest, handcrafted chocolate bars in the world. Locally made bars by Raaka and Fine & Raw, distinctive stacks of single origin bars by François Pralus and many more brands grace this table.

I recently interviewed Shawn Askinosie, whose Askinosie chocolate bars also have a place at the chocolate table. I’ll be publishing it shortly, but I will say that his story made me cry more than once. In a good way.

Kitchen Grease → Bio Fuel → Glycerine → Amazing Soaps, Lotions and Candles – by Further Soap Co. (Photo by Ed Lefkowicz)

Further: A Dish Washing Detergent That Started Out As Kitchen Grease

At the end of a party, the dirty dishes and pans are the worst. You can go to bed and dream of a clean kitchen, but the sink will still be full in the morning.

However, you may actually look forward to doing the dishes before your guests even leave with products from Further Soap Co. Owners Marshall and Megan Dostal make biofuel from waste grease they collect from restaurants in LA, including Mario Batali’s Osteria Mozza in Los Angeles. A bi-product of bio-diesel is glycerin.

So what do you do with all that leftover glycerin? You make amazing dish soap, hand soap, hand lotion and candles and put them in beautiful containers to decorate your kitchen, that’s what.

There is something sublime about kitchen grease ultimately being transformed into dish washing detergent that we can use to clean kitchen grease.

Antique flatware and utensils grace a lush and rustic table (Photo by Ed Lefkowicz)

Your Beautiful Table Top

Good food is good food. But when it’s presented on a beautiful table, it becomes sublime. So in addition to all the inspiring food items to be found in abcmkt, you can also find beautiful things with which to decorate your table.

There are hand-dipped candles, a wide range of napkins and place mats, vases and old glass bottles. The flatware is vintage and new. I am in love with all of the delicate, handmade plates and platters. You can imagine your next sumptuous dinner party.

Which reminds me – spend a few moments browsing in the hand-selected cookbook section. You will be inspired.

abcmkt is located on the lower level of ABC Carpet & Home (888 Broadway) (Photo by Ed Lefkowicz)

Visit abcmkt Yourself

Clearly, I could go on and on about the treasures to be found inside abcmkt. But I’d rather have you go there for yourself and let me know what catches your eye.

I encourage you to talk with the staff and ask for information and recommendations. And  do pay attention to ABC’s label icons to guide your healthy and conscientious shopping choices.

And make sure you sign up for news about upcoming events and tastings in the market.

Many thanks to Ed Lefkowicz of Ed Lefkowicz Photography. Check out his work in the New York Times.

I would like to thank Dondrill, Ann and Cody for being so wonderful to work with for this story. And a special thank you to Ms. Cole for making in not only okay, but absolutely wonderful to love the color pink.

~Karen Seiger, Markets of New York City

Follow the hot pink line to abcmkt (Photo by Ed Lefkowicz)

The pink line leads you downstairs and into this amazing food, kitchen and tabletop market (Photo by Ed Lefkowicz)

abcmkt carries a gorgeous line of Staub enamel cookware (If I were a hoarder, I would hoard Staub cookware.) (Photo by Ed Lefkowicz)

High quality cookware is not a luxury – it is an investment for the rest of your life (Photo by Ed Lefkowicz)

Find inspiration for your home and your next dinner party at abcmkt (Photo by Ed Lefkowicz)

abcmkt has a wonderful collection of cookbooks, like this one. I am not only a Jean-George fangirl, but good things always happen to me when I eat at his restaurants. (Photo by Ed Lefkowicz)

I spotted another of my cookbook (and design) inspirations, Lucid Food by Louisa Shafia (Photo by Ed Lefkowicz)

I find all the tableware irresistible, especially these pieces by Mud Australia (Photo by Ed Lefkowicz)

Add some colorful, vintage glassware to your entertainment collection (Photo by Ed Lefkowicz)

A splash of colored glass is always a good thing (Photo by Ed Lefkowicz)

Explore this shelf of beautiful cleaning and scrubbing products (Photo by Ed Lefkowicz)

Tea tastes better in a French enamel teapot by Staub. My basil green one makes breakfast feel luxurious. (Photo by Ed Lefkowicz)

Enjoy lovely teas in breathtaking tins by Paper & Tea from Berlin (Photo by Ed Lefkowicz)

Antique bottles uplit to decorate your kitchen (Photo by Ed Lefkowicz

Get inspired to turn on your oven in the baking section at abcmkt (Photo by Ed Lefkowicz)

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© 2020 by Karen Seiger

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