PROFILE: Midtown Lunch’er “Ian Jackman”… PLUS another book giveaway

Every Tuesday I turn over Midtown Lunch to a random worker, for their favorite places to eat lunch in Midtown. Today, it’s Ian Jackman, author of the book “Eat This! 1001 Things to Eat Before You Diet”. The book is pretty sweet, and is now top of my list of things I wish I had written. It’s one story after another of amazing food from all around the country, including some of our very own Midtown Lunch’ing favorites. I’ve got 5 copies of the book to give away at the end of the post…

Name: Ian Jackman



Where in Midtown do you Work?:
I used to work at Random House when it was on East 50th St.

Favorite Kind of Food:
My book lists more than 1,000 foods or individual dishes and it’s impossible to pick ten even. I love red and green chile over anything in Santa Fe; I love fresh fruit in season–cherries, yellow and white peaches, blueberries, raspberries. They have to be fresh. I think lamb is a very underused and underappreciated meat in this country. Greek places do wonderful things with fresh lamb. Very simply cooked–grilled–it has a lot of rich flavor. As I get older, I get a bigger kick out of ice cream. Had a couple of chocolate Brown Bonnets from Carvel this past weekend. Hard to beat. I’m glad Pinkberry is establishing a presence in NYC. I love gelato from Il Laboratorio del Gelato. Basil, Black Mission Fig, Toasted Sesame…

Least Favorite Kind of Food:
Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

Favorite Place to Eat Lunch in Midtown:
A South of the Border Burger at Islands Burgers and Shakes (9th Ave. btw. 51+52nd); a bauernwurst on a hard roll with sauerkraut, red cabbage and onions at the Hallo Berlin Cart (54th and 5th); anything with lamb at Molyvos (7th Ave. btw. 55+56th); the chopped salad at Patsy’s (56th btw. B’way+8th).

The “go-to” lunch place you and your co-workers eat at too often: I don’t have any co-workers anymore, but when I did, we would go to Zarela (2nd Ave. btw. 50+51st) sometimes for some excellent Margaritas… but I guess that wasn’t lunch.

Midtown Lunch places that you wrote about in “Eat This!”: Burger Joint, Brother Jimmy’s BBQ (There is one in the Grand Central Food Court), Cabana Carioca (which is now closed), Ess-a-Bagel (3rd & 51st), Gahm Mi Oak (32nd btw. Bway+5th), Han Bat (35th btw. 5+6th), & Hallo Berlin.

If you could work anywhere (just because of the lunch) where would it be and why? Somewhere overlooking the Mediterranean with my family, eating fish straight out of the sea. Why? Because we must be doing okay if this is the case.

Anything you’d like to ask the Midtown Lunch readers? What is your favorite food to eat from your hometown?

My favorite hometown food, plus a chance to win a copy of Ian’s book- after the jump…

Well- I’m from Miami, so I’ve got to go with Cuban food. Churrasco, covered in grilled onions and chimichurri, black beans, rice and maduros (sweet fried plantains). Luckily we have no shortage of that in Midtown. Got your own favorite hometown eats? Chances are Ian has eaten it, and written about it in his book “Eat This! 1001 Things to Eat Before You Diet”. But just in case he hasn’t, post it as a comment below, and you’ll be entered to win your very own copy (I have got 5 to give away).

And, as always, if you have news, suggestions, or you want to be next week’s Profiled: Midtown Lunch’er- email me at


  • Well, there aren’t many choices in Budd Lake, NJ… but just a short drive to Buttzville, NJ brings you to Hot Dog Johnny’s…. a great old school hot dog stand. Other fond memories of “hometown” eats (also involving hot dogs) include Orange Julius in the mall — when they served chili cheese dogs and doing the drive in at Stewart’s for a fresh root beer and dogs hanging out in the car.

  • I miss New England the most in the summer. I’m visiting my family this week in Rhode Island and I can wait to have stuffed quahogs ( a stuffed humongous clam for the rest of you), chowder, and clam cakes. Also, I can’t wait to eat at Pasta Beach in Newport! The owners only open the restaurant during the summer months and the rest of the time they are back home in Italy. The best italian food I’ve had since I lived in Florence. It’s a little café that’s great to stop at after a day at the beach. Insalata Mista, Prosciutto & Arugula pizza, and Bucatini alla Amatriciana. My perfect meal.

  • Wait, where can I get some good Cuban food in Midtown with some delicious black beans, rice and maduros?

    I’m from Queens but my favorite food is from my temporary hometown of Buffalo, NY during my college years… Ted’s Hot Dog. I loved their footlong dog grilled crisp over hot charcoals. The skin would pop as you bite into them but the inside would still be juicy. Add some ketchup, mustard & relish and you are set!

  • A Cheese Dream from The Good Steer in Lake Grove Long Island.
    Picture a char-broiled burger hidden under a ton of cheese sauce, with bacon, fries, slaw and perhaps a fried onion loaf. It is definitely a heart attack on a plate.

  • taiwanese hotpot! where you cook fresh vegetables, meat, and fish in a communal stockpot and then customize for personal preference with your own combination of soy sauce, vinegar, and chilies. dinner with friends and family lasts for hours…

  • Tommy’s chili cheeseburger!!
    A So. Cal. classic

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