PROFILED: Midtown Lunch’er “Ruth Reichl” (PLUS Citymeals on Wheels’ “Global Street Food Festival” Ticket Giveaway)

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 I couldn’t be more excited to have Ruth Reichl, the Editor in Chief of Gourmet Magazine, which just so happens to be the media sponsor of “Street & Savory: A Global Street Food Festival” on Monday night to benefit Citymeals-on-Wheels. The event is in Rock Center and will feature street cart inspired fare by a long list of famous restaurant chefs as well as food from some of our favorite street vendors, like The DessertTruck, The Treats Truck, Red Hook Ballfield Vendors and (the one I’m most excited about) the Los Angeles based Korean taco truck: KOGI BBQ. Get more info about the event, plus register to win a pair of tickets (valued at $1200!) after Ruth recommends her favorite spots to eat lunch in Midtown.

Name: Ruth

Age: 61

Occupation: Eater, Editor, Writer

Where in Midtown do you Work?: Conde Nast

Favorite Kind of Food: There is almost nothing I won’t happily eat.

Least Favorite Kind of Food: The only thing I won’t eat is honey.

Favorite Place(s) to Eat Lunch in Midtown: The Mysore masala dosa, saag paneer, and brinjal bhartha at Minar (on 46th btw. 6+7th.) White rice, chicken, all the vegetables, no white sauce at the Halal Chicken Curry Cart (on 43rd and 6th.) Kalbi, bibimbap, yukgaejang, and soondubu from Kang Suh (on B’way and 32nd.) The spicy tendon from Wu Liang Ye (on 48th btw. 5+6th.) Ma po tofu and twice cooked pork belly from Szechuan Gourmet (on 39th btw. 5+6th.) Spaghetti neri with squid, crudo, fried blowfish tails, grilled fish, fish soup from Esca (on 43rd & 9th.) Chawan mushi with uni and omakase sushi from Sushi Zen (on 44th btw. B’way+6th). Lasagna, pasta, and salads from Insieme (on 7th Ave. and 51st.) And Le Bernardin (on 51st btw. 6+7th) is pure luxury; everything is fabulous.

“Go-To” Lunch Place You and Your Coworkers Eat at Too Often? We order in from Grand Sichuan. I’m addicted to the peppers in black bean sauce.

Place(s) you discovered thanks to Midtown Lunch? Taj Delhi Chat (now called Khodiar Chaat, on 6th Ave. btw. 37+38th) — how did I miss this?

If you could work anywhere (just because of the lunch) where would it be and why? Singapore. Need you ask? Best street food on earth. I could eat carrot cake (no carrots, no cake, spicy not sweet), every day.

Is there anything you’d like to ask the Midtown Lunch readers? Is there any great Mexican food in midtown? After 10 years in LA, I’m always hungry for real Mexican, and I have yet to find it.

Alright… before we get to that- let’s talk Street Food inspired fancy food tasting event! “Street and Savory” takes place on Monday night, June 8th inside Rockefeller Center. To win a pair of tickets to the event, recommend some Mexican food to Ruth in the comments- or wax poetic about what dish you would be most excited to try from Citymeals-on-Wheels’ “Global Street Food Festival”. A complete list of chefs and the dishes they will be serving can be found here. (I’m most excited for Korean tacos from Kogi BBQ Truck in LA, and Donald Link’s boudin from Cochon in New Orleans!)

Tickets start at $600 each, but using this discount link from Serious Eats: New York you can purchase tickets for $450. I know it’s expensive, but all the money goes to a great cause (Citymeals-on-Wheels), it’s tax deductible, and this lineup of food is probably the best you’ll see at one of these events all year long. If you can afford to go, consider buying tickets to support this great charity. If you can’t afford  the $450, but you really want to go to the event, and support the cause in some way, call the City Meals on Wheels event line at 212-687-1290. I’m sure they will be happy to try and work something out.

The comments will close, and the winner will be contacted at Noon EST on Friday (6/5).

And as always if you want to be next week’s Profiled: Midtown Lunch’er (or know somebody you’d like to nominate), email me at


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    Aach Pelaccio’s Pork Belly Satay sounds awesome.

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    Best spinach burrito hands down is at El Portal on Elizabeth Street. Excellent tomatillo salsa too. Hungry need tickets!!!

  • Holy Comments Batman! This post probably had the fastest rate of comments to date.

    Which post has had the most comments on ML?

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    I can’t afford 450!. I want to try
    King Crab Summer Roll from gotham because its one of my fav places.

  • Singapore? Despite it being a super-clean city, Yea I need to ask why? Haha. Isn’t street food better in a dirtier city? LOL.

    Oh, Carrot cake. You mean this:

    It’s similar to fried turnip cakes that they serve for dim sum.

    Man, I so wish we had a KOGI here. The lines would be unbelievable. Bring an In ‘N’ Out Burgers too while they’re at it.

    I don’t have any authentic Mexican places either since what I usually eat would be considered Tex-Mex.

    And no honey? Why not?

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    Tehuitzingo’s as good as it gets in midtown, and Sunset Park wins the prize for the five boroughs. Now, about those prizes….

  • It’ll take a while to get there, so perhaps you might be lukcy enough to have summer hours and get out early one Friday afternoon (or just play hookie!) and head out to Jackson Heights for Tacos Guicho’s in Jackson Heights (84th St. and Roosevelt Blvd.). Re: fast food tacos in NYC – I’m glad Baja Fresh has made its way here!!!

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    Kimchi Quesadilla? As a Korean and a lover of all things quesadilla, this is a combination I can’t miss. Although I have to admit, cheese and fermented cabbage has never topped my list of things to try – but that’s only because it was something I never dreamed up!

  • Love your tastes, Ruth!

    Mexican in Hell’s Kitchen is sadly tough, but my go-to place is El Centro on 9th Avenue & 54th St. Same owners as Hell’s Kitchen (I think!)… I love the chorizo & goat cheese quesadillas, and the pozoles and chilaquiles are nice. Good margaritas, too (a necessity in my book!).

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    Pampano on 3rd Ave and 49th in the basement. Also, since you work next to the 7 train, you can just take it to queens for a long lunch! ;)

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    The tamale lady in front of the Mexican consulate. Always hits the spot.

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    Come up to 116th St! Tamarindo, horchata, and elotes stands line the streets on Sunday mornings, and the carnitas at Taco Mix may be LA-worthy. If only there were decent carne asada to be found anywhere in this city…

    Spicy tendon is such a great yet largely overlooked Sichuanese dish. Grand Sichuan’s version is the best!

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    My Midtown “to do” list just multiplied, OctoMom style. Like Blitz, I feel like the best Mexican food of my life happened when I lived in Austin, but only in New York have I had the fun of trying grasshopper tacos–Toloache. The service is refreshing, very relaxed. I’m a loyal follower/commenter and freelance food writer (which means I totally can’t afford tickets to events like this)–it would be a huge thrill to go to Street & Savory!

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    Um…This sounds amazing:
    Strip House Goose Fat Fries with Gorgonzola Fondue

    I’m not sure how you’ll pick the winner for this fabulous prize, but I promise, if selected, to eat with fervor, with passion and with the true dedication of a street meat devotee.

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    El Rey de Sabor & Pampano Taqueria, hands down.

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    I like the Mexican food along Roosevelt Ave. :)

  • Pork Belly Satay from Cabrito/Fatty Crab???

    Ummmm….yes please!!!

  • that citymeals pink is quite shocking! very happy to see donald link on the list among mostly nyc chefs. i wish i had a good mexican suggestion for ruth, but unfortunately i’m still searching myself.

  • Mmmmm…fatty crab. That sound crazy delicious!

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    definitely tehuitzingo. i like chicken or carnitas tacos. and the huitlacoche quesadilla.