Archive for September 2008

Midtown Links (The Monday Free Pie Alert Edition)

Midtown Happy Hour: Liquor Filled Watermelon at Pocha 32

If you like to eat, chances are you like to drink (read: a lot of you are freakin’ lushes), so I thought maybe it was time to introduce a happy hour column to the site.  Every week we’ll post about a different bar in Midtown that fits the Midtown Lunch mentality: unhealthy food, not lame (unless it’s lame in a cool way), and most importantly… cheap.  This week’s bar is Pocha, a Koreatown bar from Profiled Midtown Lunch’er Kate.  Not surprisingly the photos are kind of blurry…

Midtown Happy Hour: Pocha 32

I knew the first Midtown Lunch Happy Hour Post needed to be somewhere unusual- a hidden gem that perhaps was less familiar. As much as this post should be about value, it should also be about the unknown to a certain extent, right? After all, this site is about sidestepping typical Midtown- one of the best-trod sections of the world. If it included drinking out of a hollowed out fruit, even better!

My search led me to Koreatown, on the southern edge of the Midtown Lunch boundaries. I’ve been to a few bars around this area, yet none of them are as engaging as Pocha 32. A quick walk up one flight of steps leads you into the one room dive bar/eatery. The room is painted a forest green with fisherman’s nets and Christmas lights slung on all the walls and across the ceiling. On closer inspection the nets are heavily ornamented with pictures and mementos that customers have left from their visits. The nets on the ceiling are a constellation of soju caps… hundreds and hundreds of soju caps.

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(For Some Unknown Reason) A Halal Cart Posts Calorie Info

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It’s been all carts all the time this week!  But this one was too good not to post… “How many calories is there in a plate of street meat” is a question I get pretty often.  I guess there are a lot of people out there who are interested.  I am not one of them. Unfortunately, I spotted this (accidentally, of course) posted on a cart in Midtown East. It might be worth noting, the calorie laws that went into effect earlier in the year, only apply to chain restaurants… not carts. I’m not sure whether the white sauce is included in the 680 calories that make up a lamb over rice platter.  A good reporter would have asked… but like I said before- I really don’t want to know.

UPDATE: A savvy commenter pointed out that those numbers are for 100 grams, which is less than a quarter pound of food.  I feel like an order of street meat weighs at least half a pound… which means that sign is kind of misleading!

Related: Basic Math Blows Holes in Chipotle’s Absurd “Calorie Range”

Rickshaw Dumpling Truck Hits the Streets!

According to Eater, the Rickshaw Dumpling Truckhit the street for the first time yesterday, parking at 51st and Lex.  Anybody see the truck or get a chance to sample?  Today they’re parking on Wall Street for lunch (what’s up with that?!?!)  Secretly, I guess I’m grateful- the last thing I want to be doing in this weather is stalking a dumpling truck.   

Eater says “they’ll be serving an abbreviated menu including six dumplings (for $6), watermelonade, and sides like chili sesame noodle salad” which kind of begs the question- why would anybody who works downtown pay $6 for dumplings, when there are so many other cheaper dumpling options. As with most of the new trucks in the city, you can follow their location on twitter. If anybody gets a chance to taste, let us know what you think.

Will Biryani Cart Be Able to Cope With Its Moment in the Spotlight?

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We Midtown Lunchers have known about the Biriyani/Biryani Cart on 46th and 6th for awhile now, but with its recent Vendy Award nomination it looks like the word is now filtering up to the “real” media.  When I walked by today a New York Daily News reporter was there taking pictures just after Noon as the line began to swell. You could blame the line on the Vendy announcement, but it’s kind of like that every day (although today it was definitely a little crazier than normal.)  You may say the secret ingredient is disorganization.  As much as I love their food, the Biryani Cart may want to rethink their ordering situation.  With four guys in the cart, things would move a lot smoother if each guy took charge of one facet of the operation (i.e taking orders, cooking, packaging up, taking money.) 

I never thought I’d say this, but maybe they should take a cue from the Jamaican Dutchy cart on 51st and 7th.  They were dreadfully slow filling orders at first, until they opened a pick up window on the side of the cart.  Place your order in the front, go to the side to pick up and pay. With the Biryani Cart’s newfound fame, they are clearly going to have to do something.

UPDATE: The Biryani Cart ran out of food today at 2:30pm.  They’re sending out for reinforcements.

Brick Lane Curry House & Good Health Burger Join the Midtown Lunch Fray


Photo courtesy of the Hungry Commuter

A lot of action lately on 53rd Street btw. 2+3rd Avenue, a small “out of bounds” block that I’ve covered a little bit in the past. Spoons, the tiny Korean/American take out deli closed up awhile back, and a second location of the East Village’s Brick Lane Curry house has opened in its place. The Hungry Commuter gets the first taste and reports that “the phaal isn’t as hot as the original. But give them some time. They just opened…” I’ve never been to the original Brick Lane Curry House in the East Village, which nobody will argue serves some of the hottest curry in NYC. Whether or not it actually tastes good, is a whole different argument.

But wait. There’s more…

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Free Ice Cream Alert

Cold Stone Creamery is giving away free 3 oz servings of two special ice cream creations from 5 to 8 p.m. to support the Make-A-Wish Foundation. There are two locations in or close to Midtown (one on 42nd btw. 7+8th, and one on 9th Ave. btw. 50+51st). To find a different location, go to their website.

2008 Vendy Nominees Announced And Midtown Gets Two!

Chapati Roll/Biriyani Cart, Midtown NYC
Congrats to Meru and the Whole Team!

The finalists for the 2008 Vendy Awards were announced this afternoon, and Midtown is represented with two nominees!  Kwik Meal (on 45th and 6th) gets nominated for a second year in a row, but even more exciting is the nomination of one of my personal favorites… the Biriyani Cart!!! (On 46th and 6th)

Also nominated are Fauzia’s Delights in the Bronx, Soler Dominican in Brooklyn, and the Calexico Cart in Soho.  All 5 carts carts will converge in Dumbo on October 18th to determine the 2008 Vendy Champion!  Tickets are $80, and all proceeds go to benefit the Street Vendor Project.

Just like last year, there is a video introducing all the nominees. Check it out, after the jump…  

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Street Vendor Catches on Fire, Office Workers Come to Rescue

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Pushcart vendors outside the Time/Life Building. Photo by AntyDiluvian

According to Lunch’er Jill a street vendor on 50th and 6th Ave. in front of the Time Life Building caught on fire just after 5 p.m.  yesterday (not the cart, but the actual vendor himself):

[It] happened at the exact time I was leaving work on 50th and 6th Ave.  right outside the Time Life building.  I didn’t see anything but a big crowd. As I was walking through the lobby some lady ran into our building and told a security guard something was on fire.  Once I got outside, I asked someone what was up and he said someone was on fire.

The NY Post reported this morning that nearby office workers came to the rescue…   

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New Taco Cart Gone Missing?

From Lunch’er Lou about the new Mexican cart near Bloomingdales: ”1:30… 9/24… No cart on 3rd and 60th” Ay. No es bueno… although maybe it has something to do with the U.N. meetings?  Carts have been reporting problems all week. The Dessert Truck scrapped their lunch service this week, and the Biryani Cart on 46th and 6th said they didn’t get their chicken delivery until 1:30 p.m. the other day. They’ve also put off opening their second cart until next week.  All because of the street closings, and general mess in Midtown East. I’ll give it until Monday before I start worrying about El Rey del Sabor

UPDATE: One lunch’er reports eating there at 12:30pm today, calling into question whether or not Lou was in the right place.  60th Street, just West of 3rd Avenue.  South side of the street.  Were you in the right place Lou?  Taco fans need to know…