Archive for September 2007

PROFILE: Midtown Lunch’er “Mike”

All week long I’ll be in England, so every day I’m turning over the site to a different Midtown Lunch’er.  Today, it’s Mike.  Mike is in Finance.  Mike loves vegetarian food, but his profile picture has him towering over a nice looking whole lobster.  Let the weirdness begin… 

Name: Mike

Age:
25

Occupation:
Finance

Where in Midtown do you Work?:
45th & Park at Grand Central

Favorite Kind of Food:
Indian (naan, rice, curry, meat, sauce, stop me please), and vegetarian/vegan (equal opportunity eater)

Least Favorite Kind of Food:
Turkey or Ham sandwiches with American cheese with embarassing iceberg and a green tomato on a stale white bread hero (especially if it’s not a crusty hero). Food that makes the bread/pita drip with oil and fall apart. Can we stoop any lower?.

Favorite Place to Eat Lunch in Midtown:
Joy Curry and Tandoor (46th, 3rd+Lex). One Meat One Vegetable (Chicken Korma and Spinach for me) combo for 7.95 (with naan and rice) and Ras Malai for $2.50 on special days (special for me, but they have it every day). When I get stuffed from the Indian and need redemption, I head to Amish Market on 45th east of Third for a salad from the salad bar ($7).

The “go-to” lunch place you and your co-workers eat at too often: My coworkers obsess over Dishes on 45th (i.e. $10+). Myself: Bistro on Lex (btw. 45th+46th). Dependable deal for a choice of two of the following (small salad, soup, half sandwich, or half burrito) and a soda (ask for bagel chips for free at the counter)($7). The cream of tomato with chicken and orzo is killer, chicken pot pie soup rocks, and they will stuff your burrito (whole wheat, even) to your gut’s content with guacamole, rice, chicken or steak, pico de gallo, vegetables, etc.

Place you discovered thanks to Midtown Lunch: The $1.25-after-2pm pizza slice at Naples 45 on 45th btw. Mad+Lex. (is it more now?).  (I believe it is $1.50 now.  -zach)

If you could work anywhere (just because of the lunch) where would it be and why? East Village/Alphabet City, since I live there and have a good grasp of the little places to eat like a king for 5 bucks (or a little more).  Nicki’s Vietnamese Sandwich (2nd St & Ave A) for a $4.50 chicken or pork bun with carrot, mayo, fresh crusty just baked bread, cilantro, and spicy peppers.  Café Rakka (Ave B btw. 3rd+4th) for their falafel sandwiches, vegetable platters, and some baklava for dessert for under 10 bucks.  Gracefully (Ave. A btw. 2+3rd), for their fresh deli with fresh baked breads to choose from, should you want.  Get the Hummy (hummus, avocado, sprouts, lettuce, tomato, and cucumber on seven grain).  That, or Cape Cod / Hamptons / Montauk.  Per my picture, and per one of the previous ML’ers featuring a lobster roll in front of her face, I likewise would love to savor fresh cod in a Fish ‘n’ Chips or a meaty lobster roll at a roadside shack.

Anything you’d like to ask the Midtown Lunch readers?  I am clearly a conflicted luncher, going from powerful Indian to vegan fare, and wish to expand either side of my palate. Anybody have any midtown east gems around Grand Central?  What about a great street cart in the area?

I have yet to explore the various street meat options on the East Side of Midtown.  Rafiqi (w/ multiple carts in Midtown) is obviously on my list.  Anybody like to add to that?  Post it as a comment below. 

And as always, if you want to be the next Profiled: Midtown Lunch’er, email me at zach@midtownlunch.com  (Back on Monday!  Have a nice weekend…)

PROFILE: Midtown Lunch’er “The Amateur Gourmet” (Plus another book giveaway!)

I am away in England for the week, so every day I’m turning over the site to a random Midtown Lunch’er.  Today, I’m pleased to welcome Adam Roberts aka The Amateur Gourmet, and author of the new book “Amateur Gourmet: How to Shop, Chop, and Table Hop like a Pro (Almost)”.  He doesn’t actually work in Midtown, but he eats here occasionally, and while he might not give you any good ideas for lunch’ing in Midtown, he is giving away copies of his book, which is a really fun read for anyone who likes eating…

Name: Adam

Age:
28

Occupation:
Writer

Where in Midtown do you Work?:
Midtown’s very own Park Slope. Ok, I don’t work in Midtown. But I’ve had lunch there before!

Favorite Kind of Food:
I really like pasta and I really like dessert. I guess, then, you could say I love carbs. I’m the anti-Atkins.

Least Favorite Kind of Food:
I like everything. But if I had to pick something, I’d say really stinky cheese… though even that is beginning to grow on me. Literally!! I need a doctor!

Favorite Place to Eat Lunch in Midtown: The best lunch I ever had in Midtown was at Le Bernardin—a $48 prix fix lunch of food so extraordinary, it made lunch look like dinner and dinner look like breakfast. Huh? But I know Zach doesn’t like these snobby high-end places, so for his sake I will mention Sapporo (49th btw. 6+7th) for excellent Soba noodles.  (I don’t like Cafe Metro & Chipotle.  Le Bernardin, I like.  Especially when someone else is paying.  -zach)

The “go-to” lunch place you and your co-workers eat at too often: I don’t have any co-workers. I work alone. And my go-to place is in Park Slope; why am I on your blog again?? (Um… I thought it was obvious? To give away free stuff to my readers… -zach)

Place you discovered thanks to Midtown Lunch: Hmmmm… the dark empty cavern in my soul?.

If you could work anywhere (just because of the lunch) where would it be and why? Purely for lunch purposes, I’d love to work in Paris. Baguettes with French butter; stews; macaroons, pastries…was this question limited to New York? (Definitely not. Although, lately a lot of Lunch’ers have been giving a lot of New York centric answers. Do I need to re-word this one? -zach)

And now… the reason Adam is here.  Free copies of the “Amateur Gourmet: How to Shop, Chop and Table Hop Like a Pro”, a really fun and down to earth book for anyone who loves food, but has felt like an idiot at a restaurant, or trying to cook at home.  Want one?  Post your funniest story about an eating out mishap, or the time you screwed up a home cooked meal in the comments section.  Obviously these stories will be from a long time, since I know all of you guys are food pros at this point.  Best 5 take home a copy of the book.

And as always, if you want to be the next Profiled: Midtown Lunch’er, email me at zach@midtownlunch.com

PROFILE: Midtown Lunch’er “Mark”

I’m in England all week long, so every day I’m turning over the site to a different Midtown Lunch’er.  Today, it’s Mark- a Digital Media salesperson who digs the raw fish, but doesn’t eat Lamb.  Looking at his photo, I never would have guessed…

Name: Mark

Age:
49

Occupation:
Digital Media Sales

Where in Midtown do you Work?:
37th and 7th

Favorite Kind of Food:
Sushi/Sashimi

Least Favorite Kind of Food:
Lamb, don’t do it, no sir.

Favorite Place to Eat Lunch in Midtown:
Homefront Deli – 41st btw. Park+5th.  The Grilled Pastrami & Swiss is to die for! (and WOULD probably kill you if you ate it too often!)  Burgers are great, and their cold sandwich packs some real heft without costing $10. Or try the “Roman” sandwich, which is basically an Italian Hero. Get it with the hot cherry peppers. You can get out with that sammy and a drink for like $6 or so. I guarantee you’ll be full. Also awesome is Turkey, swiss, bacon, L&T with Russian dressing, either on a hero or on an “everthing” bagel. The Greek salad with chicken is popular too – lots of chicken.  Damn, now I’m really hungry! It gets crowded, it’s a little hole in the wall. There are two lines, one for hot & one for cold, so make sure you’re on the right one.

The “go-to” lunch place you and your co-workers eat at too often: Delmonico’s and/or Old Bridge Deli – 2 practically identical “we serve everything” delis across the street from each other on 41st & Lex. The only saving grace about Delmonico’s is that they make a brown rice Spicy Tuna roll and they don’t use mayo in it, just tuna & Sriracha sauce. I know, “healthy” sorry! :)

Place you discovered thanks to Midtown Lunch: 99 cent pizza - whats not to like? Especially on days when the wallet is feeling a bit “light”

If you could work anywhere (just because of the lunch) where would it be and why? Soho / Village – Chinatown, little Italy, Nobu (as a guest!)

Anything you’d like to ask the Midtown Lunch readers? Any good recommendations for Korean take out in K-Town area?

My favorite Korean Take Out place, after the jump… Read more »

PROFILE: Midtown Lunch’er “Shauna”

I’m in England, so every day this week I’m turning over the site to one of you.  Today’s Midtown Lunch’er is Shauna, a fashion research editor who would rather be lunch’ing Queens…

Name: Sha-Sha-Sha-Shauna

Age:
26

Occupation:
Research Editor, Fashion Credits Extraordinaire

Where in Midtown do you Work?:
On 50th Street wedged between 6th and 7th Aves, the heart of corporate America…

Favorite Kind of Food:
Chesapeake Bay seafood, Lebanese delicacies, and big ass Southern breakfasts

Least Favorite Kind of Food: Capers, pint nuts, and fennel *shudder*

Favorite Place to Eat Lunch in Midtown: It’s on Ninth Avenue (btw. 52+53rd), but Wondee Siam rocks the Thai fried rice with chicken, basil and chili dish (their peanut sauce is scrumptious, so I drizzle it on top).  I’m also a sucker for the Jamaican Dutchy cart (51st & 7th)– the jerk chicken mini plate slathered in (recently toned down) crimson jerk sauce + crispy beef patty + the wonder that is Ting soda, and mama’s a happy camper.  Also, Mondello’s (37th Street just east of 5th Ave) has a banging $6 chicken parm and Margon‘s aptly potent cafe con leche (two heaping spoonfuls of sugar) always hits the spot.

The “go-to” lunch place you and your co-workers eat at too often: I drop bank at Cafe Duke (51st btw. 6+7th) in the a.m. for their fresh buffet of blueberries/raspberries/blackberries by the pound, but always find myself lured back on indecisive afternoons for $6.50 spicy ramen or udon with deep-fried tofu, pork and veggies. Weak, I know.

Place you discovered thanks to Midtown Lunch: That Bi Bim Bap counter at Ambrosia Deli, where occasionally I can scam an extra container of kimchi.

If you could work anywhere (just because of the lunch) where would it be and why? Sunnyside, Queens — seriously, just hear me out. If only my job could be located mere blocks from the best Irish deli in the area (Butcher’s Block, 41st Street just off Queens Blvd), where fresh sausage rolls permeate the air and a bounty of imported crisps, meats, and chocolates line the perimeter; the Colombian juice lady on Greenpoint (Pecas Y Mas,Greenpoint and 43rd Street) who churns out the creamyicyfruitygoodness that is the Super Cholado as well as a rockin Guanabanasmoothie; Alpha Donut (Queens Blvd and 45th Street) for the hugest, most tantalizing French cruller I’ve ever laid lip on; and El Shater Arabic deli (43rd Street and 43rd Ave, just a block off of the Blvd),where crispy schwarma, fresh tabouleh, and honey-drizzled sweets are made with love and sold for cheap.

Anything you’d like to ask the Midtown Lunch readers? I’d kill for a luscious non-Jamba juice bar in Midtown.

Here’s a shocker. I actually sort of like Jamba Juice. It’s something that happened when I moved to L.A. (before coming here to NYC). If the fat Chinese food buffet eating Boston me, had met the poor, drinking smoothies at Jamba Juice in L.A. me, I’m pretty sure the Boston me would have kicked the L.A. me’s ass all over the place. That being said, I’m not exactly a smoothie connoisseur. Anybody got any recs for Shauna? One of those fruit trucks must be good. Post them as comments below…

And as always, if you want to be the next Profiled: Midtown Lunch’er, email me at zach@midtownlunch.com

PROFILE: Midtown Lunch’er “Steve”

I am away in England this week, so I’m turning over the site each day to a different Midtown Lunch’er.  Today, it’s Steve, who has too long an occupation to type out twice, and doesn’t like condiments.

Name: Steve

Age:
26

Occupation:
Purveyor of Intellectual Property and Strategic Advisement (Also known as “market research”)

Where in Midtown do you Work?:
37th and 7th

Favorite Kind of Food:
If it has any of the following, it would qualify —Butter, Onions, bacon, meat, garlic.

Least Favorite Kind of Food: Free Side dishes or condiments of most types. Don’t dare think of putting that day old ‘slaw and pickle in front of me. I don’t want ketchup. I don’t want mustard or mayo. And you better watch it with that salad dressing too while you’re at it.  Pizza toppings from a questionable shaker near the garbage can though are ok, go figure.

Favorite Place to Eat Lunch in Midtown: Right now, I would say Go! Go! Curry (38th St btw. 7+8th Ave) ranks up there. This is probably only a phase though, so I will just stick with Bravo Pizza on 7th and 38th. There is just something about the pizza there I like and I can’t put my finger on it. It does vary in quality though, so be sure to go after the lunch rush as they seem to not put as much cheese on it and the overall quality is much better. Also Big Bowl Noodles on 6th and 36th. Not bad for your standard Chinese fare. Does tend to get pretty packed and you may need to help the wait staff pass people’s dishes over to them.

The “go-to” lunch place you and your co-workers eat at too often: It’s really sad to probably say this, but the Pax through our lobby is not all too bad. You can’t get any closer then that for a quick salad or soup. The staff who work there I would say are the redeeming quality as they do remember you and give the “in-building” discount without asking for it. Everything also seems pretty fresh too.

Place you discovered thanks to Midtown Lunch: 38th St. Restaurant & Bakery (Cheap chinese food) which just so happens to be next to Go! Go! Curry now. It is a very tough decision as to which door to walk through. No, I am not thinking of going into Spandex World!

If you could work anywhere (just because of the lunch) where would it be and why? As many of my fellow mid town lunch’ers have said before —my path to great lunch is due south towards Chinatown and TriBeCa. Where else can you find such a selection of food choices outside of Queens (or so I am told).

Anything you’d like to ask the Midtown Lunch readers? I would really like to know your opinions on where the best street vendor hot pretzel can be found. They vary so much and the only one I know of that really treats this as a craft is down by 23rd st and 8th ave. Too far for that sort of nosh for me for “lunch”.

Pretzels huh?  That’s something we’ve never discussed.  I’ve got nothing. Anybody have a pretzel recommendation? Post it as a comment below. And if you want to be the next Profiled: Midtown Lunch’er, email me at midtownlunch@hotmail.com

Midtown Links

Best Gut Busting Midtown Lunches Before the Fast…

 

Tonight at Sundown begins Yom Kippur, the Jewish day of atonement- and while I haven’t fasted since I moved out of my parents house 13 years ago, today actually represents my best chance at not eating for 24 hours. Why? Because if I actually chose to fast, this day is only going to last 19 hours (technically speaking). Tonight I’m hopping on a Red Eye to London, meaning I’m going to lose 5 hours in transition!

It’s tempting,  but I’m still not going to fast. What can I say? I’m a terrible jew.  Not eating also goes against everything this site stands for… or as some would call it, my true religion.  Plus, isn’t my guilt over eating on Yom Kippur enough to atone for my sins of the past year? That being said, here’s where I would eat lunch if I was going to fast:

  • International Food House Restaurant & Buffet (35th btw. 7+8th) - $8.95 gets you all you can eat pork (among other latin delights).  Wrote about it on Wednesday, just in time for the holidays!
  • Midtown Buffet (7th Ave. btw. 39+40th) – It’s not the best Chinese Buffet of all time, but it’s all that we cheap chinese food addicts  have got.
  • Al Baraka Turkish Buffet (55th btw. Lex+3rd) – It’s buffet day.  Don’t want Latin or Chinese?  Do it Turkish Style…
  • Any of the Indian Buffets – It’s the one buffet we’ve got plenty of.  Sukhadia, Curry Dream, or my new favorite Spice Fusion
  • Kosher Deluxe (46th btw. 5+6th) – It’s not all you can eat,  but the pickle bar is!  $9.75 gets you my favorite Chicken Schawarma Sandwich in Midtown (served on a giant piece of laffa).  Included in the price, a small plate to load up at their pickled veggie bar.  Don’t be shy.  It’s only hours before sundown… they’ll understand!

What’s your favorite gut busting lunch?  Post it as a comment below…

Belly Laughs: Dane Cook and the “BK Lounge”

This week’s food comedy comes from Dane Cook…

[mp3]http://www.midtownlunch.com/blog/wp-content/danecook_bk.mp3[/mp3]

Ahhh, the drive thru. Working in Manhattan makes me miss the lunchtime drive thru. (I also love Skid Row.)

Damn You Cursed Cosi Cookie!

 

Yesterday I walked into my boss’ office and spotted a giant cookie on his desk from Cosi, still in it’s plastic wrapping.  I looked closely at the cookie, and despite how tasty it appeared to be, I knew that he had not meant to purchase this particular cookie.  It had raisins in it.  And while many people enjoy a good oatmeal raisin cookie from time to time, there was something about this raisin cookie, clearly masquerading as a chocolate chip cookie, that said to me ”this was a mistake”.

Me: “Hey man.  What’s up with the cookie?”

Boss: “Awww yeah.  Looks delicious, right?”

Me: “Really?  I think you might have bought the wrong cookie.”

Boss: “What do you mean?  Cosi cookies are great.”

Me: “That cookie has raisins in it.”

Boss: “No.”  (looks closer at cookie) “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!  It was in the chocolate chip cookie bin.  Those bastards!”

It’s not hard to see how he made the mistake.  From afar it looked like a chocolate chip cookie.  Even one of the raisins had smeared up against the plastic wrapping, saying ”Look at me!  I’m like a melted chocolate chip!  Hahaha! You wanted a dessert, but now you’re eating healthy fruit!!!”

Is there anything worse than biting into a cookie you think is filled with chocolate chips, only to discover raisins?  Luckily I was  able to save my boss in time.  Let this be a lesson to the rest of you.  Never trust signs.  And never trust raisins. 

In a related story, the Treats Truck is on 38th St. & 5th Ave. today.  Got a favorite cookie in Midtown?  Post it as a comment below…

All You Can Eat Meat at the International Food House Restaurant & Buffet

Am I in the minority of people by not getting excited about IHOP coming to Times Square?  To me it just seems like another addition to an area that is quickly becoming an Epcot’ish oversize chain restaurant pavilion.  In all the excitement, I did however notice a little interesting nugget in this little posting by NY Mag’s Blog “Grub St.”

Search for IHOP in the Yahoo white pages (and on Citysearch and various other sites) and… you’ll find a listing on 240 W. 35th Street [which doesn't exist as an IHOP]. We know this because we tried to go there once and instead of being greeted by a Rooty Tooty Fresh ’N Fruity we found, of all things, the International Food House and Buffet, an all-you-can-eat Latin spot.

WHA?!?! All You Can Eat?  Latin food?  International Food House & Buffet?!?!  Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t this the exciting part of the story?  Who cares about an IHOP in Midtown.  I want to hear more about the buffet!

Well, yesterday I trekked down to 35th St. to find this fake IHOP that had disappointed so many, but was about to make me the happiest lunch’er in all of Midtown.

All the buffet-tastic glory, after the jump… Read more »