Archive for March 2007

Midtown Links… and the end of the week wrap up

Taco Cart on 50th St btw. 6+7th, A view from above.
Posted to the Midtown Lunch Flickr Photo Group, Coutesy of Coco Guillotine



Next week…  a full write up of Sophie’s Cuban- plus the Midtown Lunch “guide” to lunch’ing during Passover!  Have a nice weekend…

Ask Midtown Lunch: Americone Dream

“Has anybody seen Stephen Colbert’s Americone Dream anywhere in Midtown?” -Rob C. (on 49th btw. 6+7th)

Ah yes… the elusive new Ben & Jerry’s flavor.  Vanilla ice cream with fudge-covered waffle cone pieces and a caramel swirl.  Who wouldn’t like that???  (Liberty haters apparently)  Interesting you should ask this Rob… I just got an amazing tip.  Both Midtown Locations of Ben & Jerry’s just received Americone Dream shipments today!!! The Times Square Location (8th Ave. & 43rd) has about 12-15 as of 2:45pm (They got in about 25, but half of them were immediately purchased by The Colbert Report, which tapes in Midtown West).  The Ben & Jerry’s below Rockefeller Center has them in as well.  They only come in the pre-packaged pints though, so you may want to get a friend or two together to share!  I smell afternoon ice cream break… see you there!

Anybody else seen the flavor in Midtown?  Possibly in Midtown East?  Ben & Jerry’s website has a “flavor locator”, but none of the 2007 flavors are listed…

Got a question for Midtown Lunch?  Email me at

At Lunch Now: Menchanko Tei

What the hell is going on? Yesterday it was 70 degrees, now it’s 40. Only one thing for lunch on a day like this! Not too many options are better than the Hakata Ramen at Menchanko Tei. We’re at the one on 55th btw 5+6th, but there is also one on 45th btw. Lex+3rd.

Out of Bounds: Boi to Go

It looks like Banh Mi has finally come to Midtown!!!  Well, sort of.  It’s on 2nd Ave., which is technically outside of the Midtown Lunch range but- come on!  It’s Banh Mi.  If you’ve never had Banh Mi, it’s a Vietnamese Sandwich made with some sort of meat (usually pork) and pate, topped with shredded carrots and cilantro, and served on a french bread type of roll.  They also make vegetarian versions that usually come with glass noodles.  Really delicious, and possibly worth the trip to 2nd Ave.  Here’s the early word on this place from tipster Dan:

“Just wanted to let you know about this new Vietnamese shop that just opened on the east side of 2nd Ave between 42nd and 43rd. They boast some pretty great Vietnamese Banh Mi sandwiches, with a bit of a twist. I ended up getting the banh mi ga, which had chicken and arugula rather than pork. They also allowed you to make your own sandwich, bowl, or burrito type meal, but i didn’t pay much attention to that because i went there for one reason.

The Banh Mi was good, and when i brought it back to my office people were asking about it because of how good it smelled. I just don’t know if it was $7.50 good. The staff still seemed to still be fairly new at it and the space is really empty– no tables or anything, despite the fact that there’s room for at least a few. hopefully they’ll get their act together.” 

$7.50!!!  Isn’t that just a bitch.  Leave it to Midtown to take something cheap and amazing (they are usually between $2 and $3 in Chinatown), and turn it into something “chic” and expensive.  I guess I can’t say I’m that surprised.  I’ll probably still check it out… while secretly praying that somebody opens a cheap Banh Mi cart in Midtown proper!  Here’s the menu.

Boi to Go, 800 2nd Ave (btw. 42nd & 43rd).  212-681-1122

Pick a Pita (aka My Quest for the French Fry Stuffed Shwarma)

A little over a month ago, this photo was posted to the Midtown Lunch Flickr Photo Group by joshbousel:

For un-fat people not looking to stuff various foods with french fries, a picture like this might be hard to decipher.  I am not one of those people.  Thanks to Josh, I became aware of the very exciting information that Pick a Pita (on 38th btw. 7+8th) will stuff your falafel or shwarma sandwich with french fries.  Immediately this place went from “that shwarma place I heard was good and should probably try out” to “Pick a Pita.  The greatest place ever invented in the history of mankind”.

Apparently stuffing your shwarma sandwich or falafel in pita is commonplace in many countries in the Middle East… but for some reason I have not seen it done at any of the places in Midtown.  I’m sure there are places I have been to that will put french fries in your sandwich if you ask, but Pick a Pita doesn’t force you to figure this out for yourself.  They suggest it for you:

50 cents is a small price to pay for the greatest sandwich condiment of all time.  Sure, you can order french fries anywhere and put them on top yourself, but then people might think you are fat and disgusting.  Pay someone else to do it, and now it’s not your fault!  “Honey… it wasn’t MY idea.  They put them in the sandwich BEFORE they gave it to me!”  If that doesn’t work, I just go with the more accurate ”I’d be crazy NOT to get the fries stuffed into the sandwich!”

More food porn, and the +/- after the jump… Read more »

Profile: Midtown Lunch’er “Nancy”

Every Tuesday I turn the site over to a Midtown Lunch’er for their recommendations of places to eat Lunch in Midtown. Today it’s Nancy, a self described hater of “healthy” foods who not surprisingly, loves the street meat…

Name: Nancy


Print Designer

Where in Midtown do you Work?:
52nd btw. Madison & 5th

Favorite Kind of Food:
It’s a tie between anything Asian and pizza. Asian definitely includes ghetto wok Chinese like Yips. I’m Chinese and I think I’m not supposed to admit that, but I’m brave so it’s okay.

Least Favorite Kind of Food:
Anything “fresh”, “light”, or “healthy”, euphemistic terms used only to describe those under-dressed salads usually consumed on Mondays that trick my mind into thinking my body didn’t gorge on delicious fried or cheese-covered nastiness over the weekend.

Favorite Place to Eat Lunch in Midtown:
I guess my guilty pleasure is Rafiqi’s, the halal lunch cart. My co-workers and I go to the one on Park and 52nd. It’s a gut bomb but totally worth it. Oh, but if one of us has a hangover, it’s Prime Burger all the way- with fries well done.

The “go-to” lunch place you and your co-workers eat at too often: Digby’s (@ 52nd b/w 5+6th). After about an hour of tossing around possible lunch options, we typically resign ourselves to Digby’s. We end up walking out of there several times a week with our $9 lunches feeling like total Midtown chumps.

Place you discovered thanks to MidtownLunch: FIKA Swedish Bar. (Is it still around? Haven’t been in awhile). It’s pricey but good, especially if you’re looking to mix up your lunch routine a bit. I would recommend their coffee to those who spend time and good money in a Starbucks line. It is damn good.  I’m all about their Swedish meatball sandwich with beet salad and dill dressing. (Ed. Note:  It is definitely still there, Swedish Meatball sandwich and all.  I’ve actually been meaning to get back there too, and try their smoked salmon wrap.  Looks delicious!)

Dream job location for lunch purposes only, and why?: Chinatown/Soho, preferably directly across the street from Vietnam Banh Mi So #1 on Broome. Their Vietnamese sandwiches are an ingenious combination of textures and flavors. I could seriously eat a couple for each meal of the day, every day. I usually break into one of them while I’m walking through Soho and people have stopped me mid-bite to ask me where to get one. That’s how seductive they look. I’ve tried a lot of banh mi sandwiches around town and I love them all, but I stick with Bahn Mi So #1. Oh, banh mi.  I love you.

Anything you’d like to ask the Midtown Lunch readers?: Does anyone know where to find decent falafel anywhere in Midtown? My co-workers were recently disappointed by Bread & Olive. The sad looks on their faces as they chewed their first bites was heartbreaking.


Yeah, I’ve heard a lot of Bread & Olive complaints lately… but I haven’t given up on it yet- although the falafel is my least favorite thing they serve.  There are so many great falafel places in Midtown, you shouldn’t have any trouble.  I’ll revisit my favorites, plus how you can be next week’s Profiled: Midtown Lunch’er, after the jump… Read more »

The Fried Calamari Sandwich, Tuesdays at the Tuscan Square Marketplace

***************THIS RESTAURANT IS NOW CLOSED**********************

There are no shortage of expensive sandwiches in Midtown.  Lenny’s, ‘wichcraft & Cosi have designed entire franchises around them, and all the upscale delis have followed suit.  Some use fresh baked bread to trick you into thinking it’s worth it, some use fancy ingredients, and some just jack up the price because it’s Midtown, and quite frankly- where else are we going to go?  It’s half the reason why I don’t even bother writing about most delis (that and the by the lb. buffets, which are always dangerous for us fatties.)

Occasionally though, I will come across one of these expensive sandwiches that deserves mention.  Something so unique or delicious, that maybe- just maybe it is worth that expensive price tag.  The Fried Calamari Sandwich at Tuscan Square just might fall into that category.  It’s actually a very simple concept, but most of my lunchmates couldn’t quite grasp it at first (“fried calamari what?”).  That’s right.  Fried Calamari, between two pieces of bread (hence the term sandwich).  Genius!!! 

A picture of the sandwich, and +/- after the jump… Read more »

Mandler’s Vindication, Midtown Links & the end of the week wrap up…

Posted to the Midtown Lunch Flickr Photo Group by joshbousel 

Last Friday, I reported that the opening of the new Mandler’s Sausage Co. in Midtown (8th Ave. btw. 39+40th) was going to be dealyed a week.  I was asked to take it down, and various NY blogs were assured by their PR company that they would open this past Monday as planned.  Well, not only did they not open, they are not opening today or even Monday the 26th as I had originally reported.

Now, due to a problem with ConEd the opening date has been pushed back even farther.  They are targeting April 5th, but I will keep you updated in case anything changes (which I’m sure it will).  Why do I care so much?  What’s the fuss, you ask?  Sausages with Zucchini Fries.  What more could you want in life (for lunch)?  Sausage Watch 2007 is on! (Everytime I write about this place it comes out sounding weird…) 

Fancy assed boxed lunch, Inside Edition comes to Times Square, and a preview of next week’s posts- after the jump… Read more »

Two Indian Food Carts… One Block of Midtown

When opening a new business, there are two ways of going about finding a location.  #1.  Find an underserved area, where your presence will fill a niche that is currently not being addressed.  Or there is #2.  Find a successful business that is similar, open up next door, and either benefit from their overflow, or crush them under the weight of your greatness. (Or fail miserably.)  Either way, I’ve seen #2 happen all over Midtown.  Kobe Club & Quality Meats, the M&M store & the Hershey Store… and now- Indian Food Carts!

Last July I wrote about “Indian Fast Food“, a cart on Park Ave. & 53rd St. serving up styrofoam trays of Indian food for $4 and $5 (depending on if you wanted the meat).  The cart is super cheap, and great if you work in the area, but with all the Indian choices in Midtown, the quality is not good enough to go out of your way for. Thanks to a tipster, I was informed that there is now another cart serving Indian food for $4 to $5 in styrofoam containers, and it’s popped up on the same block!!!

What this new cart is serving, how it was, pictures and a +/- after the jump… Read more »

At Lunch Now: Bulgogi Cart on 49th

Who says a cheap Midtown Korean Food Cart can’t have a website!? I have no idea what the header image is (I’m pretty sure it’s not Korea), and it provides absoultely no information about the cart- but hey, they’ve got a website!!! I wonder how nobody registered that domain already…