by Nikki Gardner
Run by Unmi Abkin and Roger Taylor, Coco and The Cellar Bar in downtown Easthampton features seasonal food and craft cocktails.
The scene is warm and lively with 32 seats and an open kitchen upstairs, plus 24 seats and a bar downstairs. You can watch the chefs in action right from your table.
If, like me, you’ve ever wanted to get a closer look behind the kitchen door at Coco, you’re in luck. I recently stopped by when Unmi, Roger, and Miranda prepped caramelized onion tarts for dinner service. A signature dish with bright, clean flavors, the tart begins with short-cut puff pastry then is topped with caramelized onions, arugula, fennel, olives, and feta.
Most of the ingredients are sourced locally from The Kitchen Garden, Red Fire Farm, Mountain View Farm, and Neighborly Farms of Vermont.
“Food is my form of art,” said Abkin. “The plate is like a canvas and I never know how it’s going to turn out.”
Nikki Gardner is a writer and photographer whose work has appeared in Artful Blogging, The Huffington Post, Smithsonian’s Food & Think, and The Daily Meal. She shares seasonal vegan and vegetarian recipes on WWLP’s Mass Appeal and in her cooking classes at Different Drummer’s Kitchen in Northampton. Find her online at Art & Lemons (ArtAndLemons.com) where she chronicles everyday life in food, photos, and stories.