Archive for September 2009

Want Chinese Buffet? Midtown Buffet is Your Only Option


I love all you can eat buffets… and within that vast and wonderful realm the Chinese buffet is probably my favorite.  I don’t discriminate against any buffet, but sushi buffets tend to be too expensive, Mexican buffets don’t seem to stand up well to the steam table treatment, and Latin buffets are fine- but rice and beans and plantains always kill me in that equation!  Indian buffets are plentiful in Midtown, and I’m all about a good Indian buffet… but Chinese is my all time favorite.  Sadly Manhattan is practically devoid of Chinese buffets.  And in Midtown, there is only one option.  The “Midtown Buffet” on 7th Ave. btw. 40+41st.

It’s only $8 (and actually used to be cheaper) and I used it as the backdrop for the Midtown Lunch Guide to Beating the All You Can Eat Buffet a few years ago.  But it didn’t really get a full +/-, so yesterday on the holiest of holy Jewish days I hit up the Midtown Buffet for a little Yom Kippur lunch action.

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PROFILE: Midtown Lunch’er “Alexi”

Every Tuesday I turn over the site to a different Midtown Lunch’er for his or her recommendations for the best lunch in Midtown. I think it’s pretty well established that I am not exactly the healthiest eater when it comes to lunching, but I am well aware that occasionally some of you like to eat healthy. Every once in awhile a brave healthy eater will step to the plate and recommend some places for those Midtown Lunchers looking for a less gut busting lunch. This week it’s Alexi, a health and wellness coach that doesn’t like Chinese food (stick a dagger in my heart!) but likes rice balls.

Name: Alexi

Age: 28

Occupation: Health & Wellness Coach (plus I have a blog), but my day job is Office Manager/Receptionist

Where in Midtown do you Work?: Zelnickmedia – office is near Bryant Park

Favorite Kind of Food: I love creative food that is healthy and made from whole foods but doesn’t compromise taste. Basically, anything fresh and full of flavor – from Ethiopian to sushi.

Least Favorite Kind of Food: Not a fan of Chinese, or anything fried

Favorite Place(s) to Eat Lunch in Midtown: The dolce vita hummus salad bowl from Crisp, with whole wheat pita – SO tasty. Rice balls from Oms/B (on 45th btw. Lex+3rd) are really good. I also love picking at Free Foods‘ food bar, and their fresh shakes are juices are great. When I need a major boost I get the Curious George with cacao nibs, banana, coconut and espresso. You can’t lose. And the raw vegan macaroons are to die for. If I’m feeling uninspired I’ll hit up Dishes for a salad (but recently I was elbowed in the chaos of a lunchtime mass so I think I’ll take a break).

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Biryani Cart Sells Out of Biriyani: Looks like the Biriyani Cart was a little busier yesterday than we had originally suspected. The New York Times reported this morning that they sold out of biriyani at 1:20pm yesterday. Thinking of hitting up the Vendy Award winning cart today? You might want to get their early...

New Sichuan Spot is Just One of Many Changes to 39th Street


39th Street btw. 5+6th has been a hot bed of activity over the past month.  Colbeh, an out of the ML price range Glatt Kosher restaurant, moved into much fancier digs across the street, there’s a new sushi restaurant open called Soi, and Szechuan Gourmet (on 39th btw. 5+6th) might have some new competition.  Lan Sheng, a new “Szechuan” restaurant, is set to open across the street from SG in the next week or two.  They are undoubtedly hoping to get some of the overflow from the always packed during lunchtime Szechuan Gourmet, and based on their menu it looks like the food could go either way…

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Free Cookie Alert: The Street Sweets Truck will be parked in front of the Time Life Building (on 50th btw. 7+8th 6+7th) from now until 6pm, and from 12:20 to 2pm they'll be handing out free samples of two of their cookies. Freeloaders engage.

Today is 45 Cent Slice Day at Famous Ray’s

Slice has the big news that Famous Ray’s Pizza will be celebrating their 45th Anniversary today by charging just 45 cents for a slice of pizza from 11am to Midnight. A regular cheese or sicilian slice will cost you just 45 cents, plus additional toppings and soda will also be 45 cents. Not sure which of the seemingly infinite number of Famous Ray’s locations are actually participating? According to the list on Slice, both 7th Avenue locations will be participating (one on 49th and one on 53rd), PLUS the one on 55th and Broadway.

2 More Rock Center Chains Close Up Shop: From Lunch'er Nick: "The Sbarro underneath rock center has closed, windows blacked out. The one in the subway station, across from Cinnabon. Also, that Jamba Juice rip-off that was next to Ben & Jerry's is done too." (Cue the "Steam" song...)

The Monday Vendy Effect: Excitement or Fatigue?

vendy effect
Photo courtesy of Lunch’er Scott

What kind of effect does winning a Vendy Award have on Monday business? Not sure… although today’s line at the Schnitzel & Things Truck (who won the Rookie Vendy) was pretty damn long on 52nd btw. 6+7th. Was it the Vendy win, or the fact that today was the first day you could get the Schnitzel Burger in Midtown? The Biriyani Cart (which won People’s Choice for a second year in a row) had the same long line as always, while business at the NYC Cravings Truck (a Rookie nominee) was a bit slow. The real effect will probably happen once all the newspapers and TV stations start doing stories on the winners… the Country Boys Truck was on Fox 5 this morning, The Biriyani Cart is scheduled to be on WNBC tonight at 7pm, “Ricksaw” Dumplings will be on the Tyra Show tomorrow, and I spotted the New York Times snooping around the Schnitzel & Things today.

One thing is for sure, participating in the Vendy’s takes a lot out of you. Both the Schnitzel & Things Truck, and the Jamaican Dutchy were late to their spots today!

Diary of a 2009 Vendy Awards Judge

At Lunch Now: Atonement via Buffet?

Most people would think eating at an all you can eat Chinese food buffet (on 7th Ave btw 40+41st) while the rest of my people fast would make me the worst Jew of all time. But I think it makes me the best, because if Yom Kippur is all about feeling guilty about all the bad things you’ve done, than a buffet works far better for me than temple. In addition to guilt I’m also feeling severe heartburn. Well played God, well played.

Pick a Pita is as Close to Temple As I’ll Get This Week
The M.L. Guide to Beating the All You Can Eat Chinese Food Buffet

The Rest of the City is Going Fried Chicken Crazy

3 pc Spicy Chicken Meal w/ Cajun Rice & Biscuit, @ PopeyesFancy fried chicken is all the rage these days, with Eater, New York Magazine and Serious Eats both putting together lists of the best fancy (aka expensive) fried chicken in the city.  I can’t think of any fancy fried chicken  in Midtown that should have been included on these lists (can you?), but NYMag did put together a taste test of the best fast food fried chicken, and Popeye’s was crowned the king (completely deserved.) In fact, I think they’d even beat some of the fancy spots in a blind taste test. Popeye’s is (still open) on 40th btw. 7+8th.

8th Avenue is the Fried Chicken Corridor of NYC
Please Don’t Forget That Popeye’s is Still Open