It’s good to have friends… (who make Fried Calamari Sandwiches)
I hate people. Maybe hate is a strong word… but I don’t really like talking to people I don’t know. That can be a positive and a negative when it comes to Midtown Lunch’ing. On one hand, I can just get it in and out of a new place- eat my food, and take a few quick pictures, without getting influenced by a super nice cashier, or an overzealous manager trying to sell me on what they have to offer. It can be all about the food!
On the other hand, if I asked a few questions and made a few friends I probably would get some useful information about the place I was writing about. Here’s a perfect example of how a little friendliness will go a long way. A few weeks ago I wrote about the fried calamari sandwich at Tuscan Square Marketplace. I wrote that it was a good sandwich, but a little pricey ($9)- and only available on Tuesdays. It also could suffer a little bit depending on when you got there- because the sandwich comes pre-packaged and you don’t know how much time has passed from fryer to counter.
The sandwich came recommended to me by Joann, a woman who works with my wife- but the sandwich I ate, and the sandwich you might have eaten on the Tuesday after I wrote about this, was not the same sandwich she eats. She gets a special sandwich. And that sandwich is available any day she wants it. And I’m pretty sure her sandwich has more calamari. How does she do it? She’s nice. And she made friends with someone who works there. And here’s the best part… you can have that sandwich too! The “special” sandwich, and how to get it- after the jump.
I got to partake in this “special” version of the sandwich, last week and it had its advantages. As you can see, the bread is different and larger- so I’m pretty sure you get more calamari in it. They were also pre-ordered, and Tuscan Square was told when we would be there, so they were made fresh- and not wrapped in plastic. Maria, the lady who was in charge of making the sandwiches, came over while we were eating and informed me that *anybody* could have a calamari sandwich on any day of the week- all you have to do is call her, and be willing to order at least 4 of them (I guess that is the number that makes it worth it to fry up a batch of calamari).
In fact Maria said if you call her, she’ll be willing to “make you anything you want!” Not sure what that means… but it was a very nice offer. For now, I’ll stick to the calamari sandwich- although it does bring up a new dilemna. I think I like the original foccacia a little better… but the special slices of bread are larger so you get more calamari. Quantity or Quality is the question I face every day. In the end, it just goes to show that being nice pays. Gather up a few friends, give Maria a call- and ask for some freshly made Fried Calamari Sandwiches on whatever bread you want, served on whatever day you want. It’s still $9, and you’ll still have to find a way to justify the price to yourself- but it feels good to be special.
Maybe being nice does have its advantages. (For a full +/- on the sandwich, check out the original post.)
Tuscan Square Marketplace, 16 w. 51 St. btw. 5+6th, 212-977-7777