Archive for July 2006

Yum Thai

The measure of a good Thai restaurant is not necessarily from their Pad Thai… but for some reason it’s the first thing I order when trying a place out.  And, when I say “That Thai restaurant is great” it’s usually because I liked their Pad Thai.  It’s sort of silly, but it’s something people do all the time.  You recommend a place, based on what you like (and always order)- not necessarily taking into account what the person you’re telling, likes to order.

For some it’s the curries, or spring rolls, for me, it’s usually the Pad Thai.  Don’t get me wrong, I like a good green curry or Pad Si Ew, just as much as the next guy.  But Pad Thai is what I start with.  The go to guy.  If you can’t do Pad Thai… I’m probably not going back.

When I started this blog, I got a lot of comments urging me to go to Yum Thai, and I have to say I was not disappointed.  A small, hole in the wall place- it’s the kind of place you walk by 100 times, not sure if you want to try it out.  It looks sort of dirty from the outside, and they’ve got pictures of food in the window (never a good sign).  All you need is that one recommendation to get you to try it out.  Well, consider this your recommendation.

You order at a counter, and then can sit down at one of their 10 or so tables or you can take it to go.  They cook the food right behind the counter, just a few feet from the tables, so it can get kind of hot in there- especially during the summer.  So, taking the food to go might be the way to do it.

The +/- and a picture of my Pad Thai, after the jump… Read more »

1:15 PM, Wait Time for Burrito = 50 minutes

The pandemonium continues on 48th st.  I asked a few people how long they waited…. In line at 11:20 AM, got their Burrito at Noon.  Got in line at 11:55 AM, got their Burrito 12:45 PM.  My boss said f this, and walked to the Chipotle on 42nd to pay for his Burrito.  Apparently the suits in the area, weren’t willing to do the same…

Scenes from the Apocalypse, Midtown Edition:  Midtown in Manhattan, where $400,000/year Skadden associates and $4 million/year Lehman partners stand in stifling heat, waiting for a freaking free burrito from Chipotle.  [Curbed]

Hilarious… I couldn’t have said it better myself.

***UPDATE*** A little after 3pm, I was told by someone I work with, they only had to wait 15 minutes to get their burrito… but that ended pretty quickly.  By 6pm, the dinner crowd was starting to arrive, and it was back to a 30-40 minute wait… and by 6:40, I heard the line was back to the same length as the peak lunch line (1 hour wait).

11:01 AM, 48 st. in Front of Chipotle, Midtown NYC

At 11:00 AM this morning, Free Burrito Day began as Midtown apparently decided their time was worth less than $8.00.  We couldn’t get inside- but were told there were about 150 lined up inside… bringing the total count of people to about 250.

Btw…. the Chipotle backlash has already begun.  We recieved this comment earlier this morning from NOSHER:

You just lost another fan of the blog. The free burrito news was great the first time, but four days in a row is overkill. Good luck.

Well to her, and everyone else, I apologize… but don’t blame the messenger.  People love free food.  For people who enjoy eating at good places- we’ll have a review of Yum Thai tomorrow!  Thanks for your patience while we examine the true nature of most of the people eating in Midtown…

Free CHIPOTLE is the only good CHIPOTLE

It’s funny.  This will be my fourth post about Chipotle since Friday… and I’m embarassed.  Not just for my blog- but for Midtown too.  Why is everyone in my office so excited for Chipotle?  And why did I get so caught up in it?  I don’t even like Chipotle!  It just goes to show how starved we are in Midtown for good food.  So sick of the same things day after day, a mediocre overpriced McBurrito is like some sort of Holy Grail of dining.  Here’s what I said about Chipotle a month ago, when I heard it was opening in my building:

For me, Chipotle is like a bad Chinese Buffet.  I have to go back once every three months, and feel sick, to remind myself why I only go once every three months.  See, I distinctly remember what my brain told me the last time I ate Chiptole… “Never eat here again”.  But that was three months ago, and my burrito starved body is wondering, “Maybe this time it will be different…everyone seems pretty excited… maybe I was wrong about Chipotle.” 

Well, it hasn’t been three months… but last night I finally discovered a way to enjoy Chipotle.  Eating there for free.  Free food always tastes better… it’s just a fact.  And Chipotle proved that once again last night.  We got one of those passes for free dinner on Monday night, and decided to check it out then, rather then wait on line today during free Buritto day (which is from 11am to 8pm by the way).

What we ate, and the Chipotle +/- after the jump… Read more »

Less then 24 hours until Free Burrito Time!

Free Burrito Day!

More Chipotle Confusion…

Just to add to the confusion, Chipotle invited various V.I.P.’s and people who work in the area to eat for free today (Friday)… For people not lucky enough to be on the invite list- you get a card good for free dinner at the pre-opening event Monday night between 5 and 8pm.

Confused yet?  Here’s the deal:

  • Today (Friday):  Free Lunch, Invite Only.
  • Monday, July 17: 5 to 8pm  Pre-Opening Event.  You can only get in with a pass.  To get your pass go to Chipotle right now.  They are giving them out, right outside the door (While supplies last, and as of 1:45pm they were running out)
  • Tuesday, July 18: Free Burrito Day.  Open to everyone.  11am to 8pm
  • Wednesday, July 19: Chipotle Open to the public!  Fun fun…

Pass for Monday Night 

Pics from Inside:

Tuesday is Free Burrito Day in Midtown

Every once in awhile a dilemna arises in life, that not only shakes you to your core, but defines you as a human being.  Who you are.  What you believe in.  Yesterday, I received some information.  Valuable information.  Information that you all clearly want.  And it is that knowledge, that information, that has led me to the crossroads that I am at now. 

Tell the world this info… and risk ruining it for the few people who happen to walk down 48th St. everyday (and their friends who they plan on telling).  Or, keep it to myself- and live with the shame of knowing I betrayed everything this site stands for, just to make getting my free burrito a tiny bit easier.

That’s right…. the day has finally arrived.  Wednesday (7/19), the Chipotle on 48th st. between 6th and 7th avenue is opening to the public- and to celebrate (as all new Chipotle’s do), Tuesday (7/18) is free burrito day.  That’s right.  On Tuesday, from 11am to 8pm, everyone willing to wait in line for god knows how long, will be rewarded with a free burrito and soda.

We could argue all day about whether or not the burritos at Chipotle are good.  What we can’t argue about is the intrinsic goodness of free food.  And free food always tastes good… maybe I’ll finally actually enjoy eating at Chipotle.

Check back Tuesday for pictures of the insanity… and updates.  Percentage of people in line who’s time away from work is worth more then a $7 burrito- 96.4%.  Effect that will have on the line.  Zero.

Chipotle, 49th St. between 6th & 7th Avenue. (Shit, you don’t need the address… just look for the gigantic line)

Free Overpriced Chocolat

Discovered a fancy chocolate loophole the other day while eating underneath Rockefeller Center.  After having a couple of slices at Two Boots (the +/- of which we can argue on a later date) my wife decided she wanted a little something sweet… little being the key word.  All weight issues aside, there are tons of choices to satisfy a sweet tooth.  Ben and Jerry’s 50 yards away, a chocolate dipped cone from Mr. Softee on various corners of Midtown.  But since small was what she was looking for, I suggested going upstairs to La Maison du Chocolat- an upscale chocolate boutique on the first floor of Rockefeller Center.

There’s no question this place is expensive… not just compared to a snicker’s bar or many other cheaper chocolate options- but even compared to some of the other (some may say better) upscale chocolate shops in Manhattan (the amazing Jacques Torres comes to mind).  But, this is Midtown… and the choices at lunch are a little slimmer- and my wife would rather pay $1.40 for something small, then less for something larger and more fattening.

So with that in mind, we went into La Maison du Chocolat, and she picked out a small round thing with hazlenuts in it.  When we went to pay (cost… $1.41), the cashier offered BOTH OF US free samples from a little platter he had behind the counter… and I didn’t even have to buy anything.

That’s 3 pieces of fancy chocolate- price to us $1.40.  Factoring in the two free pieces of chocolate made the price seem a lot more reasonable.  Now, I can’t guarantee that they do this all the time (and for everyone)- and there’s no question you have to buy something to get the free sample, but it was worth telling the story, just in case they do it all the time.  Let me know if it works for you! Good luck… and don’t tell them I sent you.

La Maison du Chocolat, 30 Rockefeller Center (at 49th St.), 212-265-9404

Tale of Two Signs: Variety Cafe Closes for “Repairs”

48th St. between 5th and 6th was a madhouse today at lunchtime as shocked (and not so shocked), but mostly confused lunch’ers attempted to eat at Variety Cafe… which has been closed by the Health Department.

The funny thing is, they hung a sign next to the Health Department notice, claiming to be “closed due to improve our service”.  The sign went on to implore eaters to “look forward to our updated look and quality service… We will re-open as soon as possible.”  Apparently “updated look” will be the Variety Cafe, without a Health Dept. Closed notice on the front.

Apparently the two signs worked on one lady who walked away shaking her head exclaiming “Closed by the Health Department.  I just don’t understand…”  What’s there to understand lady.  It means the big salad you ate last week, probably had more then just the 6 toppings you chose.

Nothing has appeared on the NYC Health Dept. website yet explaining specifics about why Variety Cafe was closed.  Their last score was a 7 in 2005 (28 and above is failing).

EDITOR NOTE:  We have created a new “Closed for Health Reasons” Category, which given our content, and location will probably have to be used more often then any of us would like.  Hing Won, you’ve been warned. (Why are all my favorite places so dirty!)

Cafe Cello

There are very few things I enjoy eating more then pork.  Any kind of pork really, but my favorite is definetely the roasted kind where the skin gets super crispy.  It usually comes from the shoulder, and you can get it at Cuban restaurants, or Christmas parties in Miami (my hometown).  But I have had delicious roast pork in other places too (if you’re ever in Bali I can recommend a great place for roast suckling pig).

On Friday, with Margon closed (great Cuban food on 46th between 6th & 7th) I headed to Cafe Cello- a similar type of place recommended to me by numerous people… The sign out front was not exactly reassuring. It had clearly been dumbed down to attract a less then adventurous New York food crowd, who would be more likely to go into a place if it sees the words ”cafe”, “deli” and “American”.

But, once inside, my fears disappeared.  The food looked really fresh and delicious (in contrast to Margon, which for all it’s positives, can sometimes not look so great depending on the day.)  All the food is in trays under glass, so ordering is as easy as looking, deciding and pointing.  The day I was there, it wasn’t too crowded- but I’ve heard you want to get there early, because once they run out of something, they don’t make more.  And by something, I mean the maduros (fried ripe plantains) which apparently are the first things to go!

Anyway, once I laid eyes on the roast pork (with the crispiest most perfect skin), ordering was pretty easy.  Along with a nice size portion of pork (pulled with tongs off what appeared to be a shoulder), they give you your choice of white rice w/ black bean soup, or yellow rice with pinto beans already mixed in, and maduros (there was still some left at 1pm)- all for $7.  PLUS, they threw in a piece of the skin on top.  Delicious!!!  And the skin was perfect.  If you love roast pork, then Cafe Cello is your new favorite place.

The rest of the menu, and a +/- you’ll definetely want to read, after the jump… Read more »