PROFILE: Midtown Lunch’er “Niko”

Every Tuesday I turn over the site to a different Midtown Lunch’er for his or her recommendations for the best lunch in Midtown. This week, it’s Niko- a Healthy Promotion Director with a serious sweet tooth.

Name: Niko

Age: 39

Occupation: Day job: Health Promotion Director. Labor of love: Running

Where in Midtown do you Work?: 53rd & Park

Favorite Kind of Food: I view eating real food, including lunch, as simply something that stands in the way of eating dessert. A necessary evil to prevent my body from decaying from too much sugar and butter… but since this is Midtown Lunch, I’ll play along. I really like sushi, soba noodles and most other Japanese as well as a lot of Korean food, especially Bibimbap (it’s best when they burn the rice at the bottom of a cast iron pot). In fact, the ML post about the $7 fancy Bibimbap made my month. And then its on to dessert, where my true heart lies. Its great to see how many of your readers (like myself) are willing to skip a wholesome meal for a full-on, intended-for-after-dinner, dessert. The options for doing this in midtown have really blown up even in the last few months.

Least Favorite Kind of Food: After a few years without much red meat – the thought of steak just makes me want to laugh in technicolor. Also, anything with Chinese eggplant – I had a bad experience once and since I assume many of you are a) eating lunch right now or b) about to eat lunch, I’ll just leave it that.

Favorite Place(s) to Eat Lunch in Midtown: I love Oms/B (on 45th btw. Lex+3rd), Pret a Manger (for the cookies), and I sometimes rock the Ed’s Tofu from Whole Foods that you talked about in a feature- but Whole Foods is a marathon walk for me at lunch. The last 2 months I have hit the Dessert Truck, since it moved to right outside my work.

“Go-To” Lunch Place You and Your Coworkers Eat at Too Often? Dishes. Too expensive but good. Killer baked goods. But definitely will go BROKE eating at this place. You can barely get out of there under the $10 minimum.

Place(s) you discovered thanks to Midtown Lunch? Your feature on Oms/B is the how I first discovered ML. I had a mad craving for a good rice ball and I think I Googled something like “Rice Ball midtown New York” and then I walked there the same day. It’s about a mile round trip. I thought I was the only jackass who walked all over this island in search of palatable food, but then I read that ML is geared for people who were willing to walk to get good value or for a specific craving. I knew I had found a blog I would go to every day. The most important thing I discovered from ML is the Vendys. I was unaware of the event prior to this year and really enjoyed attending and reviewing the dessert trucks so – thanks Zach.

If you could work anywhere (just because of the lunch) where would it be and why? This might be considered “fighting the hypothetical” but I guess I would like to work as food street vendor in Provence because I know I could live a very good life eating lunch every day at their open air markets. They have everything from 200 different cheeses to fish to tapenades, bread vendors…fish etc.

Is there anything you’d like to ask the Midtown Lunch readers? If you had to spend the whole ML budget ($10.00) on a dessert or sweet dish, what would you purchase and where? Also if anyone has a suggestion as to the best chocolate chip cookie in New York that isn’t already on my list I would love to hear about it.

I think I may have the opposite philosophy as you Niko.  As much I love desserts (quite frankly, what fat guy doesn’t), I usually eat so much savory food I’m too full for dessert. That whole “stop eating to save room” thing that you dessert freaks have, doesn’t exist in my brain. That being said, a 3pm chocolate chip cookie break has been an on and off part of my repertoire for awhile now… and my favorite cookies may surprise you:

The chocolate chip cookie from Au Bon Pain (also acceptable is the m&m cookie from ABP).  Don’t get me wrong… there are some amazing cookies in Midtown, and if given the choice I will patronize the Treats Truck over a soul-less chain any day.  It may not hold up to some of the fancy, more expensive options out there- but the simple fact is, Au Bon Pain’s cookies are really freakin’ good.

Feel free to post your resonses in the comments. And as always, if you want to be the next Profiled: Midtown Lunch’er, or you’d like to nominate somebody in your office email me at


  • Just need to add that 40 carrots is the [only] froyo, and that Lemon Cake from Del Friscos is damn good. Never would order such a thing until I had it there. Their cheesecake is good too.

  • i’m gonna focus not on the boxers but on the $10 dessert question…

    take the 7 to sunnyside. get a (pricy but awesome) $8 paht bing soo at starberry. follow up with the ($1ish?) french cruller to end all french crulls across the blvd. at alpha donut. tack on three-for-$1 guava paste bocadillos sweets wrapped in corn husk from miracali bakery on 46th st. BAM!

  • umm, laugh in technicolor..? Annoying. Oh, and DocChuck, those aren’t bangs…in the common parlance, it’s called a combover.

  • Comment from Rudy McBagel
    Time: October 9, 2008, 2:03 pm

    Samwich,All veggies should have their balls dipped in hot oil.

  • Boy, every time I think about submitting myself for a profile (mostly because I have so many burning questions I want you guys to answer) the haters come out and remind me that my self-esteem could never take such a hit. Come on, guys, of COURSE the boxers are a fashion statement. Geez. I think Niko looks fun, like someone I’d actually enjoy hanging out with — and that’s more than I can say for some of the other profiled lunch’ers!

  • geez, you guys are a tough crowd.

    mamacita, how does this make you feel: i used to pour half a bottle of 7up into my bowl of cooked instant noodles (with broth).

  • AHHHHH! Noooooes! MFC!

    hee hee!

  • “Going through life with whispy bangs, a taste for sweets and a name like “Niko” is an ironclad guarantee of failure with the ladies. Should you be so inclined.”

    I am pretty sure, being that he is a health coordinator with a sweet tooth who hates steak and mocks it openly and loves to show off his red boxers with dots means he is NOT inclined….though I bet many other men who hate steak, have a sweet tooth, and love to show off their underwear in public photos are inclined to meet Niko…

  • do people think it’s cool to insult someone by suggesting that he’s gay. that’s pretty much hate speech.

  • ooooh. I forgot. The cheesecake from Carnegie Deli is SO the bomb.
    Best. Cheesecake. Ever.


  • @codenamekaren: ooooohhhhh!! Ice cold!

    word to ya mother

  • Have you ever tried Malt Vinegar on a sugared Doughnut(note the correct spelling)?

  • Need I say more about “Chinese Restaurants,” so-called?

    HAMBURG, N.Y.—Health officials shut down a suburban Buffalo restaurant after an inspector found employees butchering a dead deer inside the business. Erie County Health Department officials said they got a tip Friday about a dead deer in the China King restaurant in the town of Hamburg, just south of Buffalo.

    An inspector soon arrived and saw the deer being butchered in the kitchen.

  • I’d totally eat freshly killed bambi!

  • Deer is a step up from what many of those establishments allow to masquerade as “meat”.

  • Beats the USDA ‘prime beef’ chucky professes to enjoy.

    He and his pig wife live off roadkill…. so his constant slamming of anything non american is a joke.

    Bit like themselves.

    Texas and Arkansas also has the highest instances of paedophilia in the USA.

  • Believe me, when the “Doc” as he calls himself isn’t busy being incarcerated, you can find him stuffing his face at the local Chinese Palace buffet. The only thing he won’t shovel in for some reason is their excellent crab rangoon.

  • I thought this was a good profile…people are mean! Oh by the way in Japanese “Niko” means cat.

    Also, does anyone know where to get a good lemon bar…I remember the first time i had one. My mom’s friend made it…i ate so many…they were so awesome…never had another one like it. Mind you, I don’t have a sweet tooth.

    Lemon bars…let me know????

  • Sigh, ABRAIN
    Are you calling Niko a pussy??

    Thats messed up. seriously, we don’t need that sort of commentary on here.

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