PROFILE: Midtown Lunch’er “Joanna”

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 Joanna, a magazine marketer who is Taiwanese and love street food- but conspicuously leaves out whether or not she likes NYC Cravings (the Taiwanese fried chicken truck.)

Name: Joanna

Age: 24

Occupation: Marketer for Fortune, Money & Real Simple at Time Inc

Where in Midtown do you Work?: Time & Life Building on the corner of 6th and 50th

Favorite Kind of Food: I’m Taiwanese, so I’m really partial to all that is delicious and Taiwanese. I can’t narrow it down to anything specific, but Taiwanese street food is amazing. Sometimes I think my stomach is made of iron for all the street food I put into my stomach and not get sick from when I’m back on the streets in Taiwan… Other than that Japanese and Italian come in at a close second.

Least Favorite Kind of Food: Can I say none? Oh I know! Anything bland and unflavorful! (Cliche I know, but oh so true).

Favorite Place(s) to Eat Lunch in Midtown: I hope everyone in the Midtown West area has gotten out to Roberto Passon (on 9th Ave. 50+51st). It’s emptier and emptier each time I go, but please go and check it out! It’s such a great deal for a prix fixe. I’m always getting their caesar salad, salmon and tiramisu. Other great lunches includes Katsuhama (two locations) – delicious succulent pieces of pork? Yes please! In fact, you’ll find me there sometime this week because I’ve just made myself hungry. I’ll also add Aoki (on 48th btw. B’way+8th) to this list, their lunchboxes are big and inexpensive.

“Go-To” Lunch Place You and Your Coworkers Eat at Too Often? Cosi (you can find me there shamelessly munching on the bread samples) or Variety Cafe (in line trying to stuff as many things as possible into a salad).

Place(s) you discovered thanks to Midtown Lunch? I’ve discovered too many places! The little map in the sidebar has been the bible to finding all that is food in this part of town. I love food carts and I’m glad that Zach shares my love for food carts as well!

If you could work anywhere (just because of the lunch) where would it be and why? This question is too hard. I’d be a travel writer in Europe. Italy specifically. I visited Italy for the first time recently and fell in love with the country. There are so many food offerings! I’d love to take a long lunch everyday and just feel so satisfied with how much love is put into Italian food.

Is there anything you’d like to ask the Midtown Lunch readers? If you could bring any restaurant/cafe/food stand to Midtown, which one and why? I would bring Casa Mono, which is my new favorite place. I’d plop it right on top of the Time & Life building if I could!

Well, mine has already come true! How about you guys? Got a dream restaurant for Midtown? Put it in the comments.

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



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    Hooray! Someone who works in the same building.

    I highly recommend the Philly Cheese Steak from Shendy’s Halal Cart. It is a couple blocks to the North and only $4.

  • Torchy’s Taco truck from Austin.

    best tacos i ever had.

  • I left out the NYC Cravings truck because I had a horrible experience… Heh and I’m actually from a family that is in the food business… so I’m incredibly picky about Taiwanese food. Heh, I’m glad to see that I was profiled! YAY! :)

  • Joanna, I’m just happy you aren’t shilling a blog.

    I live with a Taiwanese guy who desperately wants to The Cravings Truck, but until recently worked in the Financial District. We’ll see.

  • I with you on the NYC Cravings truck, terrible, some of the worst pork chops I’ve ever had.

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    Nice job! My heart went all aflutter when she referenced “succulent pieces of pork.” Also may have been due to my high cholesterol.

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    Thank you for your honest opinion on the Cravings Truck. I’ve always wondered about that one. I keep seeing raves, but they’re generally from people who’s never eaten the stuff before. I will wait until I can get to go to Flushing.

  • It’s 5 blcoks away from me right now (the cravings truck). As usual, I will pass on it…since I hear they use curry.

  • If the cravings truck is the worst, I really want to try the best :)

  • Ok, so I didn’t try the Cravings Truck at the Vendys, but I had them once before and I was not impressed. Maybe the pork gravy was too salty for me, but the chicken wasn’t incredibly impressive either. I don’t know, maybe I should try it again, but for the line that was there, I was a bit let down.

  • Cravings uses curry? Huh? The meat sauce isn’t curry.
    As for the worst, I don’t think that’s true since it’s a truck. If it was a restaurant, then it’d be a different story.
    If anything, I don’t like their prices for the food, long lines for their food, and that’s why I wouldn’t eat them often but we’re in midtown. When I need variety, I’ll eat it once in a blue moon. Otherwise, I rather halal it up. That’s why Yvo can keep them in downtown if she wants…LOL.

    Chinese cart for sure in Midtown BUT without higher midtown pricing. Otherwise, what’s the point?

  • wow, so much hate for Cravings. Joanna, care to share your “horrible experience”?

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    Yeah, what’s wrong with the Cravings truck? I eat there whenever they’re in West Midtown and I have time to wait in line, and it’s always tasty…

  • Sure I’ll share? I don’t want to come off sounding like a complete snob… but several of my aunts make this for a living in Taiwan, so I’ve been eating the good stuff forever. If you haven’t had the real thing, don’t let what I say turn you off to NYC Cravings…

    I won’t say anything about the rice because they admitted that day they had undercooked the rice (extremely undercooked aka rock solid), at least they weren’t trying to cover that up…

    Pork Sauce – overly salted and over marinated. It was one soppy mess, the pork isn’t supposed to be gummy, rather it’s supposed to actually resemble little pieces of ground pork, mine was gloppy. :(

    Chicken – Maybe I just had a sad piece of chicken? It was ok, nothing to get all excited over.

    Pickled mustard greens – probably the best part of the meal, but alas, I ended up away the rest of my platter after polishing off the greens because of the inedible rice.

    I had high hopes, so that might be what threw me off in the end. I probably should give them another chance… but since I’m going to Taiwan next week, I think I’ll just wait for the real thing! :)

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    I hate Cravings Truck. Long wait lines, high prices, and horrible tasting food. Thank goodness they don’t park on 46th and 6th anymore, the smell of greasy oil in the air was driving me mad.

  • Being Taiwanese myself, I totally agree with joannie about the truck. Completely over-rated.

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    @adamprato, you should try the one in chinatown @Wah Mei. Its wayyy better tasting, and cheaper.

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    Masterb8ker, where is this Wah Mei?

    And Joanna, what are your fave Taiwanese restaurants in Queens?

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    I’m sure truck economics are tough for them to make “authentic” Tiawanese cuisine. The idea you can even get tea eggs from a truck in midtown is great.

    The smell of oil and grease from the truck as you stroll down 5th ave as in merges and combines with the odors that is NYC life is not appealing and is in many ways offensive. Worthy of calling 311.

    They need to add a simple item to their menu that would be easy for them to cook in batches and would sell out every day.

    3 cup chicken over brown or white rice with side of cold Tiawanese celery and pressed tofu and pig ear.


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