Archive for December 2006

The Best of Midtown Lunch 2006 (and my dreams for 2007)

Midtown Lunch is taking the week off between Christmas and New Year’s (back on Jan. 2nd) so this is the last post of 2006.   I thought about making a Best of 2006 list, but then I thought, why bother?  Every place I’ve ever eaten lunch at in Midtown is in this blog- so some list isn’t going to tell you anything you wouldn’t find out from reading the archives.  But I can tell you the most read post of 2006.  And that is hands down Kati Roll.

More people have read the Kati Roll piece than anything else I have written, and it is still the most searched for lunch on the site.  (And it’s delicious to boot).  I feel like the purpose of Midtown Lunch is summed up by a place like Kati Roll (well, that and so you can see pictures of people lined up for a free burrito at a Chipotle grand opening).

For 2007 I have a few dreams for Midtown Lunch’ing.  And here they are:

  1. We need a Momofuku Ssam Bar in Midtown.   Are you listening David Chang?????  Have you seen the lines of people paying $8 for crappy Mexican burritos.  These are the people who will pay $8 for your delicious pork buns and Korean/Chinese burritos!
  2. Somebody open a cheap/take out Vietnamese place in Midtown.  So much Indian food.  So much Chinese. Koreatown is very close.  A few places for Thai (although there could be more)… but no cheap Vietnamese!
  3. We need a good Chinese All You Can Eat Buffet (for under $10).  There is one on 8th Ave. in the 40s, but even I’m scared of that one.  Come on people.  Actually, we need more buffets all around… and not the $13.95 Indian buffets.  I’m talking about under $10, all you can eat buffets!  I have a dream, people!
  4. And finally I have a New Year’s Resolution for everbody.  Forget about exercise… eat more.  And do it at lunch time.  And don’t settle.  We work too damn hard in Midtown Manhattan to run down to the nearest crappy deli, for some garbage sandwich that costs $9, just to run back upstairs and eat at our desk.  You get an hour.  Take it.  There’s plenty of good Midtown Lunch’ing if you’re willing to walk 5-10 minutes in any direction from your office.  You need a break!

That’s it for this year.  Midtown Lunch will be back on January 2nd with a whole week of Profiled Midtown Lunch’ers, and their dreams for Midtown Lunch’ing.  If you are interested in being profiled, email me at zach@midtownlunch.com

Finally, a special treat.  Midtown Lunch 2006 a year in thumbnails, after the the jump.  Looking at everything in one long photo makes me sort of embarassed I ate all that.  It’s a doozy…  click on the link (and see why my wife is disgusted by me). Read more »

Midtown Lunch: Snapshots

Here’s some great shots uploaded to the Midtown Lunch Flickr Photo group in the past week.  To join the group, and post your own pictures of Midtown Lunch’ing, click here.

 


3 Burgers & Fries @ Burke in the Box @ Bloomingdales (59th btw. Lex. & 3rd
Posted to the Group by Slice (from A Hamburger Today)


Cod Roe Onigiri @ Oms/b (45th btw. Lex & 3rd)
Posted to the Group by Bloozorez

More pics after the jump…

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Sullivan St. Bakery Pizza @ Dean & Deluca

I should probably have my head examined trying to eat lunch near Rockefeller Center in December… but I found out that Dean & Deluca has Sullivan St. Bakery Pizza- and had to check it out.  The actual Sullivan St. Bakery is on 47th st. btw. 10th & 11th, right around the corner from where I live. (The name comes from the original storefront on Sullivan St. in the West Village).  The current location on 47th is where they make all their bread… and delicious flat bread pizzas.  Unfortunately, 10th ave. is a little far to walk for lunch- so when I found out they’ve got the pizza at Dean & Deluca I was pretty excited.

Unfortunately, the closest and best known Dean & Deluca is smack dab in the middle of Rock Center (in clear view of the Christmas Tree).  Ah… the wonderful tree.  You find me someone who works in Midtown, that doesn’t hate that tree… and I’ll prove to you that that person doesn’t work in Midtown.  It’s almost like the tree has this magnetic force that only pulls at ”I Love NY” sweatshirts, and really bad fanny packs.  Lucky for me, I found a hidden Dean & Deluca, for those of you who work on the West Side of Midtown, far enough away from the tree to get your Sullivan St. bakery pizza fix in December.

Pics of the pizza, the hidden location and +/- after the jump…

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PROFILE: Midtown Lunch’er “Julia”

Every Tuesday I turn over Midtown Lunch to a random Midtown worker, for their favorite places to eat lunch in Midtown. This week, it’s Julia- the current leader for most jobs listed by a Profiled Midtown Lunch’er (including a stint at Burritoville!). She likes all-you-can-eat Chinese buffets, so she’s alright with me!

Name: Julia

Age:
29

Occupation:
Part-Time Receptionist/Music Industry Drop-Out/Yoga Teacher Trainee

Where in Midtown do you Work?:
53rd & Madison

Favorite Kind of Food:
Sushi, until I became Vegetarian. Still Asian food probably- Udon Noodle Soup, thai peanut sauces, Pad See Ew (wide noodles) and chinese eggplant. Plus anything Italian. I like noodles and rice and tofu alot.

Least Favorite Kind of Food:
Mexican. I used to work at Burritoville… no horror stories at all, they’re fantastic- but I burnt out on Mexican food in high school. Also, I don’t like Papaya very much. Smells like armpits to me.

Favorite Place to Eat Lunch in Midtown:
Bunchberries on 53rd btw. 2nd & 3rd. Scallion pancakes and mac & cheese. And I hate to say it but I’ve been trying to bring lunch from home lately. (Editor’s Note: I usually will only go as far as 3rd Ave. But for a place that serves scallion pancakes and mac & cheese… I might be willing to go the extra half an avenue!)

The “go-to” lunch place you and your co-workers eat at too often: I don’t really have one… but my boyfriend’s is Woorijip on 32nd St. btw. Broadway & 5th. They go there so much they’ve already collected enough stamps to get two aprons!

Place you discovered on MidtownLunch.com: Indian Cart on 53rd and Park, lots of noodle shops, and Ho Yip (actually, I might have found that myself, but you endorsed it)

If you could work anywhere (just because of the lunch) where would it be and why? Scarily enough, I kind of loved working at 40th and 6th ave. There was a salad bar place Cranberries that made a million good things, and there were all these tolerable carts and pizza shops and soup places and such. If I picked my real favorite good lunch spot, it would be my natural supermarket Perelandra in Brooklyn Heights — I feel healthy just smelling the place. Or Houston Street / West Village. There’s a lot there…

Anything else you’d like to say? I’d like to thank everyone who helped me get this honor today. My ex-boss Patrick, for being so impossible to work with that I was lead to my true calling, and sent my ass temping around the city in the interim. My Long Island Jewish family who dutifully introduced me to Chinese buffets. Jonah for introducing me to Woorijip. My data-entry temp co-workers of the summer who put me onto Midtown Lunch. Thank you Midtown Lunch. My life is forever changed.

Um… thanks, I guess? By the way… if Woorijip is you boyfriend’s “Goto” lunch, I’m super jealous. I wish I worked in Koreatown. Pics of my last lunch from Woorijip (plus how you can be one of the new year’s first Profiled: Midtown Lunch’ers- after the jump).

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Chanukah Potato Pancakes in the Super Secret “Diamond Dairy”

It’s Chanukah everyone!  And in honor of the Holiday, I decided on Friday to go out in search of some Latkes (or potato pancakes) for lunch.  I had gotten a few emails from people over the past week asking me where they could find these delicious fried patties of potatoey goodness in Midtown- but I was embarrassed to admit that I didn’t really know.  The last time I had latkes in Midtown was a billion years ago at the Stage Deli, and I don’t really remember them being that good.  But even if I had fond memories of those touristy, over-priced potato pancakes- I don’t think I’d be caught dead eating at the Stage Deli this time of year.  The same goes for the Carnegie Deli. 

Actually the same goes for every place within walking distance of the tree in Rockefeller Center.  Is there any worse place in the world to be in December then Midtown?  I’m pretty sure the answer is no.  So, to avoid the hoards of tourists, I decided to try and find this hidden Kosher place on 47th St. btw. 5th & 6th called the Diamond Dairy that I’ve read about a few times.  A Kosher luncheonette, hidden away in some Jewelry shop, with the best blintzes in town…  but this week it’s not about the blintz.  It’s about the latke.

More pics and the +/- after the jump…

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Breaking News: No more $8.99 Indian Buffet in Midtown…

After a tip from reader “Dani” I went and saw for myself the sad shell of a place I once loved…

Midtown Lunch spots are dropping like flies as 2006 draws to a close. First Aron’s, now my favorite cheap Indian buffet Rangole, on 46th btw. 5th & 6th. That’s right… no more $8.99 all you can eat Indian Buffet. I guess I’ll have to upgrade to the $10.99 Sukhadia buffet on 45th btw. 5th & 6th. No word on what happened to the chef- but I’m sure he’ll be ok. After all, if you ever read the menu, you’d know he once cooked for Indian Royalty.

If you ever see any Midtown closings, please email me at zach@midtownlunch.com. As much as it hurts- it’s always better to hear it from someone you love…

The craziest thing a Sushi Chef can do with a banana, Midtown Links, and the end of the week wrap-up

There are very few things I won’t eat.  In fact, I’ll pretty much eat anything that a culture deems worthy of eating.  And to prove it, I present to you this story involving a very strange dish at a Midtown Deli.  I was walking by the Bagelfeller Cafe on 48th btw. 5th & 6th on Wednesday.  For those of you who have never heard of this particular place, it is a standard Midtown “Deli” with a salad bar, sandwiches, Burrito/Taco bar, sushi station and, as you can imagine, a bagel bar.  (I’m also pretty sure it’s owned by Asians… but that doesn’t mean they can’t have good bagels!)

I’ve gotten a few recommendations from people suggesting I check out this place, so I decided to pop in and see what they had.  Nothing really caught my fancy- until I noticed something very strange in the Sushi fridge.  A weird looking, nut covered sushi log/roll that was labeled “Banana Roll” $4.95.  I immediately asked the Sushi chef what is was.  His reply… “It’s a banana roll.”  My reply to that… “Oh… is it stuffed with banana tempura?”  Because in my fat guy mind, a slice of banana would have to be breaded and deep fried to belong in a sushi roll (that’s just my logic).

“Nope.  It’s just regular banana on the inside”, he said.  “Then we lay slices of banana over the top, and cover the whole thing with sliced almonds, and a wasabi mayonnaise.”

Hold the freakin’ phone.  Wasabi mayo?  You’ve gotta be kidding me.  The thing looked as disgusting as could be… but knowing that the goop covering the whole thing was made from mayo made it that much grosser. 

Naturally I had to try it.  Photos (plus Midtown Links and the end of the week wrap up) after the jump…

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Midtown Lunch Flashback: Larmen Dosanko

If you work on Madison near 49th St., you may have noticed this sign on the side of one of the buildings:

 

 

I noticed it the other day when walking back from my lunch at Fusion Grills.  Excitedly, I followed the big arrow to what I was hoping would be “The World’s Finest Noodle Shop”, but secretly I knew there was going to be nothing at the bottom of that arrow.  If there was an amazing noodle shop named Larmen Dosanko on 49th & Madison, I probably would have heard of it by now.

For those of us who are new to eating Ramen in New York City, Larmen Dosanko was a Japanese chain of noodle shops that were very popular in the 80s.  Apparently there was also one on 52nd & 5th, and one in Flushing (which it seems was the last one to close in the late 90s).  For some nostalgic Dosanko reading, check out this Google thing or this chowhound post.  (The google link has a New York Times article from 1981).  If you have any old pictures of this place (or any Midtown Lunch related photos) feel free to post them on the newly created Flickr Midtown Lunch Group.

Luckily there is no shortage of Ramen in Midtown.  Check out Men Kui Tei, either of the two branches of Menchanko Tei, or Sapporo for your larmen/ramen fix.

Aron’s Has Closed (aka “Don’t Mess With 47th St!)

Walked by this sad sight earlier this afternoon…

 

 

Aron’s (a sit down Kosher restaurant in the Diamond District that dared to try and succeed one street north of the best Kosher food this city has to offer) has closed.  Less than two months ago it was praised by the Village Voice… and now it’s gone.  It wasn’t the best Kosher place in Midtown- but it was the only one that sold assorted pastries (and kosher egg rolls) from a folding table on the sidewalk.  We’ll miss you…

(Cheap Chinese & Classical Piano at…) Fusion Grills

There are many reasons I choose to write about particular places in Midtown.  First is obviously the food.  If a place has great food (and is cheap), I’m going to write about it.  Unfortunately, we work in Midtown- so if I limited myself to only places with great food, my blog would be about 7 entries long (see My Favorite links in the right hand column)… and even some of those are just great “for Midtown”.  Barring great food, some places get written about because they are serving something out of the ordinary (a generic deli with Korean food, or a burrito stuffed with fried plantains).  I could also write about a place because it’s hidden, and not alot of people know about it… and sometimes I’ll just write about something because it’s funny.  Occasionally, a bunch of these reasons combine to form something that just can’t be ignored…

I got an email from a reader named Krista last week telling me to check out “the lower concourse of the building… on 53rd & 3rd, where Au Bon Pain is located… (they have an) ok sushi place with authentic green tea that I enjoy, and a brand new Chinese place that only charges $5-6 for chicken/beef/shrimp, noodles or veggies and choice of rice.”  Concourse?  That means food court right!?!?  Lower?  That means hidden right?!?!  Brand new Chinese place?!?!  That means I’m immediately interested, right?  I rushed over, and found a food court- as described, with one major omission…

(Pictures, +/- and more, after the jump…)

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