Archive for October 2008

Free Sandwich Alert: New Pret Opening on Friday?

DSC00219It looks like the new Pret a Manger (on 3rd Ave. btw. 44+45th) is scheduled to open on Monday, which means they should be doing one of their free sandwich lunch giveaways on Friday.  I say “should” because there is no official confirmation, but I’m hearing rumors from Pret employees that Friday is the day.  If you work in the area, it may be worth walking by in the morning to see if they’re giving out the free sandwich fliers they kind of require you to have- although in the past we’ve heard of people walking up during the promotion and still getting the free lunch. Usually they hand out the fliers between 8:30 and 9:30 a.m., and the free lunches are given away between 12:15 and 1:30 p.m. (with extras being given out around 1:30 p.m.) If anybody gets official confirmation (i.e. somebody standing outside the store handing out coupons/fliers) comment below or email

Free Kyotofu Samples: It's just out of the Midtown Lunch boundaries, but if you find yourself eating lunch on 9th Avenue today than Kyotofu (the Japanese dessert bar/bakery/tofu place on 9th btw. 48+49th) will be giving out free samples of some of their new desserts in honor of their one year Annniversary.  Enjoy freeloaders.

Get to Know Your Street Vendor: Meru Loves Country Music

I know it’s been almost two weeks since the Vendy Awards, but I totally forgot about this little nugget that I wanted to post.  You remember the “Food Cart Song” video posted in August that gave us a bunch of tongue and cheek tidbits about some of the street food vendors in Midtown (i.e. Amyn from King Tut ebays cabbage patch dolls).  I’m guessing none of those factoids were true, but at the Vendy Awards I read a little bit of info about one of our favorite Midtown street food vendors, Meru from the Biryani Cart.  From the Vendy Award Program:

“When I’m not working, I spend time with our daughter Tasnuva, who is five. I love to listen to country music by Alabama, Willie Nelson, Randy Travis and Kenny Rogers. Lots of people in Bangladesh love Kenny Rogers.”

There is something super awesome about that (and I don’t know why)…

Halloween Treats in Midtown: You already have heard about the Treats Truck's Halloween themed goodies, but there is also some crazy stuff to be had at Bouchon Bakery in the Time Warner Center (in Columbus Circle) and at a few of the places in the Grand Central Terminal Market (enter on Lexington & 43rd). None of them are as scary as the falafel sandwich I had at Crisp, but they'll do.

Best Lunchtime Steak Deals in New York City

The Zagat Blog writes about 5 steak deals in New York City between $20.99 and $31 and four of them are in Midtown.  You know I’d rather eat at a scary steak chain like Tad’s Broiled Steaks before spending $20 on lunch, but I know some of you splurge, so I’ll link to it as a public service announcement… although I still say you’re better off with the Del Frisco’s $11.99 steak tips bar deal, which Zagat somehow missed! They still offer this, right? (Admittedly I haven’t been back since they raised the price.)

Crisp Introduces New Exotic FrankenFalafel

Crisp, Midtown NYC

Speaking of Crisp-the overpriced falafel place on 3rd Ave. btw. 43+44th that I reluctantly admire for its boldness and tastiness-they’ve done a little menu switcheroo this week. They’ve gotten rid of the Milan (a falafel sandwich with roasted red peppers and feta) and added two new sandwiches. The first is the CLT. At $5.75 it is the cheapest option, and made with falafel, lettuce, tomato, and pickles. I admire them for trying to add a cheaper option, but how can you have a falafel without hummus (or at least tahini.) And, if you are going to get a standard falafel, Crisp is too expensive. There are cheaper options, that are good enough… like at the Prince Deli on the same block. If you are going to eat at crisp, you should get one of their special combos- like the Mexican (falafel with corn and avocado) which I’m kind of into.

Which brings us to their latest creation… “The Exotic”. Falafel with coriander spread, eggplant, cabbage, pineapple, and wasabi vinaigrette. I shit you not. How could I walk away without trying this monstrosity?

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“Flavors” To Take Over Former ABP Space Beneath the Fox News Building


The former Au Bon Pain space in the outdoor passageway underneath the Fox News Building, which has been empty since May of 2007 is finally getting a tenant. Flavors (yes, that is what the place is called) looks set to open any day now, and a quick looksee reveals that it is going to be another generic Midtown deli.  Need proof?  Let’s put the verbiage on their sign, through our Midtown Lunch calculator/translator combo:

Flavors is (Fresh + Healthy + Natural) + (Organic + Local)

And through the machine it goes………. ding!  Let’s see what we’ve got…

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3 Lunchtime Sandwiches Worth Traveling Downtown For: Today's New York Times $25 and under column is about three sandwiches "worth taking an entire lunch hour to venture downtown" for, and it's hard to argue with any of the choices... especially if you've seen them on Serious Eats: New York (the site I am an editor for). Porchetta (which Ed Levine wrote about, and I've tried, and is amazing), Dogmatic (which Joe DiStefano wrote about, and looks amazing) and New York Hot Dog & Coffee (which I actually wrote about.)

At Lunch Now: 8th Ave Food Court Mysteriously Closed

Any food court closing is a sad thing in my book, even though this particular one (on 8th Ave btw. 44+45th) could be better. It is, however, home to the only Church’s Chicken in Midtown- so for that reason alone, there is some sadness. No word on whether this is related to the past electricity problems this place has had, or a DOH issue… but if I were a betting man, I’d go with DOH. It would make sense that they were working their way up 8th Ave. Tips are always welcome at

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.

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