Archive for February 2007

When they say “Bulgogi Sandwich”, they mean “Bulgogi Sandwich”

Well, the mystery of the infamous $1 Bulgogi Sandwich has finally been solved.  The Korean Cart on 49th St. btw. 6th & 7th was back this week, and finally had the sandwiches.  Now that I know what it’s made of, it’s hard to understand what took them so long.  My guess is they hadn’t received their “special machine” from Korea.  The pictures on the cart were totally mysterious, but now that I know what it is, it makes a lot more sense.  Here was the picture on the cart:

 

The sandwich is made up of two pieces of white bread, with bulgogi in the middle.  The whole thing is put into this “Special Korean Machine” that presses the sandwich, and cuts it into the circle you see above.  (Tomatoes not included)

Shots of the actual sandwich, after the jump… Read more »

The Midtown Lunch Valentine’s Day Spectacular!

It’s Valentine’s Day… and whether you look forward to it (you are a woman with someone special in your life) or whether you dread it (every man alive), there is no reason you shouldn’t treat yourself, or the person you are with to something special.  And who says that special meal can’t be lunch?!  That’s right… there are plenty of romantic Midtown lunch options for that special Valentine’s Day meal.  Dinner is a total cliche…  Romantic lunch during work is where it’s at!  So, here is my list of Romantic Midtown Lunches, divided into two groups… the first is places for guys to take that special woman in your life- and the second list is where the ladies should take their men (if they want to keep them!).

For your lady:

 

1. Oms/b (45th btw. Lex+3rd).  Rice balls.  The perfect little romantic meal.  The place is small too, so you are practically sitting on top of each other while enjoying these tasty little treats.  Each rice ball is like a work of art, so you can claim it as a trip to a museum as well…

2. Bouchon Bakery (Time Warner Center, Columbus Circle).  Beautiful sandwiches and salads crafted by Thomas Keller.  Lord knows you’re not taking her to Per Se for dinner, might as well give her the closest thing to it (and at 1/1000 the price).  Eat in the dining room (under the romantic Samsung sign), or just order your lunch to go, and eat at the tables in front of the counter.  The hard part will be getting out of the Time Warner center without her seeing the Coach store…

 

 

3. Dishes (45th btw. Mad+5th).  It’s like the fancy Metro… for the girl who has to have a salad for lunch.  Take her there, and tell her she can have whatever she wants!  (Even the super expensive Buffet by the lb.) Such a treat!  What a great boyfriend you are…

Ladies… now it’s your turn.  The perfect Valentine’s Day lunch places to take your man, after the jump… Read more »

PROFILE: Midtown Lunch’er “Corey”

So it’s Tuesday… which means I turn over the site to a Midtown Lunch’er for their recommendations of places to eat in Midtown.  Yesterday I wrote about the Gourmet Deli Milant.  Today’s Profiled Lunch’er is the guy who recommended it to me.  Here’s Corey, an Accountant who is looking to start a Midtown Lunch “Happy Hour”…

Name: Corey

Age:
33

Occupation:
Accountant

Where in Midtown do you Work?:
44th & 5th Ave.

Favorite Kind of Food:
I’ll eat almost anything, especially the spicier cuisines. My favorites right now are Thai, Indian, Korean, Cuban, Japanese, Mexican and, of course, Italian. Who doesn’t love a good red sauce?

Least Favorite Kind of Food:
Not a big fan of Middle Eastern food because I find most dishes to be on the dry side. Although I do occasionally hit up lunch carts. I have them drench the goods in hot and white sauce. And I do like late night shawarma. Did I mention that I’ll eat most anything?

Favorite Place to Eat Lunch in Midtown:
I have many but one of my all-time favorites is Milant, a small sandwich shop on 39th btw. Lex & 3rd. It’s a bit of a hike from where I work now but is totally worth it on a nice day.  Order the #13. It rocks. Every sandwich comes with a free cup of soup, if you like soup…

The “go-to” lunch place you and your co-workers eat at too often: Food Exchange on Madison bet 41st and 42nd. It’s our all-purpose stop for salads, paninis and personal pizzas. And the Grand Central Food Court. Totally overpriced but convenient for eating with a bunch of people.

Place you discovered on MidtownLunch.com: Yum Thai, Kikku Sushi, Kati Roll, Taki Sushi, & Sophie’s Cuban.

Anything else you’d like to say to the Midtown Lunch readers?: This site has provided me with some tasty lunch ideas as well as being a great time killer. It’s perfect for a city that has such a serious foodie culture. Maybe there should be a Midtownlunch.com happy hour meet-up??? 

Actually Corey, I’m pretty sure there already is one… details on that, a preview of tomorrow’s post, and how you can be next weeks Midtown Lunch’er, after the jump…

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Milant Gourmet Deli

Some places you just know are going to be good.  It may be rare, but it happens.  I trekked over to Milant, a tiny deli on 39th St. btw. 3rd & Lex. after getting a tip from a Midtown Lunch’er named Corey.  I’m not usually a big sandwich guy, and I almost never write about “delis”, but when I walked into this tiny take-out only place, something said to me “This is going to be good.”  Don’t let the name fool you though.  Milant is tiny, and sort of dumpy, but I think that’s part of its charm.  Take the same place and dress it up in fancy Midtown duds, and it probably wouldn’t be as good.

I don’t know if it was the crowd (there were about 5 or 6 people cramped in there waiting for their sandwiches), the price ($5 to $6.50 for some pretty sweet sounding sandwiches), the free soup (you get a free cup of soup) or the fridges full of nice cheeses and assorted pates- but I was not leaving this place empty handed.  Corey had told me to get the #13.  No explanation, or description… just an ”Order the #13.  It rocks.”  When I saw it on the menu, I knew I had found a winner. 

The #13, more food porn and a +/-, after the jump…

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Update: Yum Thai

Does Yum Thai read Midtown Lunch? (Probably not, but a guy can dream right?)  They hung up a sign last week after my posting on Wednesday:

If you can’t read the writing it says ”We will open next week.  Please call to check before you come.  (Tel. 212-819-0884).  Sorry for this matter.  Thank you.”

FIRST LOOK: Kushi-Q, Midtown News & Links, plus the End of the Week Wrap Up

 

 

Got this great tip yesterday from Midtown Lunch’er “Sara” 

This space on 3rd Ave btw 45th and 46th is being made into some asian grill type restaurant called Kushi-Q.  The website, http://www.kushi-q.com/ has really nothing on it at all except a box… Some internet digging brought up the following:

“The fast-food seller of meat and vegetable skewers took space for its first New York location and inked a 15-year lease with a reported asking rent of $200 per square foot. The tenant, which uses a patented grilling system, operates stores throughout Asia and is expected to open as many as five new locations throughout Manhattan in the coming year. Locations being targeted include Midtown, Greenwich Village near NYU, and Times Square.”

I like meat!  I like vegetables!  I like meat and vegetables on sticks!

My response:

Omg.  You must keep me updated.  Will you email when it opens?  So exciting.” 

Yes it’s true…  Meat on a stick makes me type like a 13 year old girl.  I went and snapped some pics… looks like it’s going to be fast food Yakitori.  More on this one as it develops.

 

 

A few more tidbits of info arrived via email this week:

According to Midtown Lunch’er “John M.”, Chiyoda Sushi has raised their prices: 

The avocado and salmon tartare used to be the hottest deal in midtown. Now it’s like $5.75, a pretty big hike that seems to be spread to most of their other wares as well. Protest! Protest! Looks like Yagura is going to start hopping a bit more.

That’s a bummer… although sushi may be one of those things that you don’t want to be TOO cheap.  I don’t know if Yagura is quite the replacement.  I think I might stick with Cafe Zaiya.

SOPHIE’S CUBAN UPDATE #47:  Phone call yesterday… The new 56th St. location is opening “at the end of February”.  **Sigh**

And finally… I got this email from Lunch’er “Larry A.” in reference to the buttery biscuit comment on my Popeye’s Post:

The main ingredient in the biscuit is lard.

Eh-  I’ll still eat ‘em…

Koreatown, Ressie May’s, WNBC, Chipotle, Olympic Pita and more after the jump…

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Bread & Olive Redux

Everybody loves falafel!  So the second week of Midtown Lunch’s existence was dubbed Falafel Week- and each day I visited and wrote about a different Midtown falafel joint (I was made fun of by Gawker and everything… it was very exciting.)  Well, alot has changed in 8 months.  I still haven’t found Miriam’s Falafel, Aron’s has closed, and months after Falafel week, I found the best falafel deal in Midtown.  All those things aside, one of my favorite discoveries that particular week was Bread & Olive- and I thought it might be time to head back for some non-falafel eating, and a full +/-.

Bread & Olive is a Lebanese take out place on 45th btw. 5th & 6th ave.  They have both beef and chicken shwarma, kafta, delicious homemade breads, and an array of maza (Lebanese salads and dips).  There is a small seating area in the back, but most people take the food to go.  Everything is Lebanese style, so the spices are going to be different than the shwarma at an Israeli place, or the gyro from a Greek place.

What we ordered, food porn and the +/- after the jump…

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Popeyes Returns to Midtown and Yum Thai set to re-open

The hits just keep on coming in ’07.  I walked by this amazing sign last week on 40th btw. 7th & 8th:

That’s right, Popeyes is back baby!  When my wife first started working in Midtown, there was a Popeyes in the 40s btw. 5th & 6th (I think it was on 46th).  But by the time I had started working there, it had disappeared (literally… I think they tore the whole building down).  Very disappointing.  Sure, there are other places for fried chicken in Midtown- but none that are as cheap, spicy, or with biscuits that are so delicious, they leave you wondering whether the main ingredient is biscuit or butter. 

Anyway, if you are sick of your desk job, and looking for a move into the chicken and biscuits field, they are hiring.  Just call 347-534-5478.  A call to that number revealed that they plan on opening within two weeks.  I’ll be there on Day 1 with a bib on (you don’t want to get beans and rice on your work clothes).

 

 

There’s other good news in that same area of town.  I’ve gotten a few worried emails and comments about Yum Thai (44th btw. B’way & 6th) being shuttered.  Fear not cheap Thai fans- they were only closed for renovations and plan on re-opening tomorrow (Thursday). Though to be safe, I may wait until Friday or Monday before trekking over there.  

And now for my first installment of “Restaurant Tips from a guy who knows very little about the restaurant industry, but knows this”:

Tip #1:  If you are going to temporarily close down your business (for whatever reason), but plan on re-opening, put a sign up to let your customers know that you are not closed forever.  Even if the sign has poor grammar, and you get made fun of on a blog, you will still get your point across…

PROFILE: Midtown Lunch’er “Nosher”

So it’s Tuesday… which means I turn over the site to a Midtown Lunch’er for their recommendations of places to eat in Midtown. If you saw the article about Food Bloggers in the NY Times on Sunday, than you might recognize “Nosher”, the blogger responsible for NYCNosh (despite being incognito).  But what you may not have known, is that Nosher is also a Midtown Lunch’er!

Name: Nosher

Age:
37

Occupation:
Internet Social Networking Consultant (and author of the blog NYCNosh)

Where in Midtown do you Work?:
I work all over Midtown helping companies start blogging and utilizing online communities… but I have an actual office in Midtown West.

Favorite Kind of Food:
It’s a tie between Japanese and Italian.

Least Favorite Kind of Food:
Fast food

Favorite Place to Eat Lunch in Midtown:
I know by even saying this in public I’m screwing myself out of eating this dish more often (because they only make about 10 of them a day), but I have to give an emphatic thumbs up to the spicy tuna baguette at Cafe Zaiya.  It’s the same fish they use for spicy tuna rolls, just minced with a little bit of sweet mayo and finely diced shallots.  Mind altering… really. 

The “go-to” lunch place you and your co-workers eat at too often: Is it heresy to say Kati Roll?  It seems to suffer from inconsistency issues these days, now that it’s among the more popular lunch destinations.

Place you discovered on MidtownLunch.com: I had no idea there was a crepe cart on 53rd St. between 5th & 6th ave.  That scoop alone makes me love Midtown Lunch.

What would be your dream job location for Lunch purposes? I mentioned once that I wished I worked closer to Cafe Zaiya, but I like that it’s a little bit of a trek for me.  Walking through Bryant Park is never dull, and it’s even more rewarding when you can bypass the ‘wichcraft line on your way to something better.  But these days I wouldn’t mind being a little closer to Yakitori Totto.  (Editor’s Note:  I agree about the Yakitori Totto thing… unfortunately, all the amazing yakitori places, and izakayas in Midtown are only open for dinner!!!!)

Anything you’d like to ask our Midtown Lunch readers?  Anybody know where I could find a really high quality lobster roll (to go or eat in) in Midtown for lunch?  Even a great fish taco would do… I’d also like to suggest to Midtown Lunch’ers that they make the extra effort to walk a few blocks west once in a while and explore what’s available in the upper 30′s through 50′s on Ninth and even Tenth Avenues. Some of the best food in Manhattan is there, from Amy’s Bread to Tehuitzingo; it’s a real lunchtime paradise.

 

Well, I certainly can’t disagree about the Hell’s Kitchen thing.  If you work on the West side of Midtown, 9th Ave. is a treasure chest of lunch options.  Right now I only go as far as 8th Ave., but eventually I’ll probably cave and expand so I can write about Lucky Burger, some of the great thai places, Rice ’n Beans, Ariana Afghan, Old San Juan, Nook, Philly Slim’s, Island Burgers & Shakes, Azuri Cafe & Empanada Mama.

Speaking of empanadas, that crepe cart on 53rd btw. 5th & 6th also has empanadas.  Pics of those, my favorite crepes in Midtown, and how you can be next week’s Profiled: Midtown Lunch’er after the jump…

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Ressie Mae’s Soul to Go brings Harlem to Midtown

People,  I’ve got some big news.  You’ll probably want to sit down for this one (although chances are you’re already sitting- unless you have some sort of weird “stand while you work on your computer” thing going on).  I will now dispense my amazing information in the form of a photograph:

 

 

That’s right…  Chicken & Waffles has arrived in Midtown!!!  If you are unfamiliar with the concept, it’s pretty simple.  Take a waffle.  Put some fried chicken on top.  Cover the whole thing with syrup.  Enjoy!  (A final step of pounding on your chest to ward off a heart attack may be necessary)

I was first introduced to the Chicken & Waffle phonomenom at Roscoe’s Chicken & Waffles (an amazing L.A. institution), but apparently it’s a restaurant/jazz club in Harlem that takes credit for inventing the dish.  They claim it was created in the 30s to serve late night patrons who couldn’t decide between breakfast and dinner (would Gladys Knight lie!?!?)

From the moment I heard that you could get fried chicken served on a waffle, I knew it would be good.  How could it not be???  Fried chicken.  Good.  Waffle.  Good.  Syrup.  Always good.  I had heard that Amy Ruth’s in Harlem (116th btw. Lennox & 7th) is one of the best places to go for this amazing treat, but I haven’t found time to make the pilgrimage.  Well, I guess they got sick of waiting- and have now decided to bring the Chicken & Waffles to me!  The owners of the famous, always a line out the door Amy Ruth’s in Harlem, have opened Ressie Mae’s Soul to Go in Midtown, across from the Port Authority (on 8th Ave. btw. 39th & 40th.).

Surprisingly, there are some who are not with me on this chicken and waffles thing.  Those people are communists (I don’t even know what that means… but I’m sure it’s true.)  These are the same people who probably eat every last bite of their eggs and bacon before biting into their pancakes.  Craziness.  Lucky for them (and all of us for that matter), Ressie Mae’s serves up all kinds of delicious soul food, all made from the same recipes used at Amy Ruth’s… and their lunch specials are so cheap it makes me wonder how we got so lucky.

The rest of the food, more pictures and the +/-, after the jump…

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