Today It Ends Where it Began 3 1/2 Years Ago… At Hing Won
So as painful as it is to say, this is my last week of full time Midtown Lunching. Don’t worry… the site isn’t going anywhere, but I’m moving to L.A. so this week I’m making sure to hit all the places I’ll miss the most. A “Farewell Lunch Tour” if you will. Here’s where I’ll be today…
For me this day is bittersweet. I’m excited to move to the west coast and start Midtown Lunch: Los Angeles, but I’m also sad to leave Midtown. That’s right. Next week I won’t be working in Midtown anymore, and I’m SAD about it. When I first started this site it was about “Finding Lunch in the Food Wasteland of Midtown Manhattan.” Well, after almost four years of eating lunch here I can tell you… this is no wasteland. In fact, I would venture to say there is no better 400 block area to eat lunch in the entire country. The amount of variety crammed into such a small place, there for the taking- provided you’re willing to walk more than 2 blocks away from your office.
And isn’t that what separates us from them? A willingness to walk somewhere (an activity that is good for you) to stuff our faces with amazingly tasty lunches (an activity that is decidedly not good for you.) This week was especially tough because I couldn’t fit all my favorites into one week. Margon, Cafe Cello, Cafe Zaiya, Woorijip, Newsstand Indian, XPL, all the new school carts (Cravings, Schnitzel & Things, Treats Truck, etc.), Hallo Berlin, Cer Te, Yakitori Totto, all the ramen spots (Sapporo, Menchanko Tei, Men Kui Tei), Crisp, Olympic Pita, El Sabroso in the freight elevator hallway… the list could go on and on.
It was tough choosing my final week of lunches… with one notable exception. There was never a question as to where I was going to end the week.
Hing Won (on 48th btw. 5+6th) was not just the very first place I posted about on Midtown Lunch. It also embodies everything a Midtown lunch should be. Cheap, fast, delicious, authentic, kind of hidden, and dirty! You could easily poke your head in to this place and dismiss it. With their by the pound steam table of Americanized Chinese food (which for the record, I also love), and their weird Chinese version of banh mi (which I also wouldn’t kick out of bed), there’s plenty to be turned off by. But if you take a few steps in, you might notice the second line. The one where the serious lunchers jostle their way to the front counter to order soups…
…like the pork and Szechuan pickles noodle soup.
Roasted meats over rice (hello roast pig!!!)
My original go-to dish (sauteed udon with pork) and more.
Today, I will be ordering all of it! And I’ll sit in the back, and won’t be bothered by the roaches or God knows what else… because I’ll be too busy eating my delicious lunch and thinking about all the people in Midtown that are eating at Cafe Metro and Chipotle and McDonald’s and whatever other generic lunch spot is at the bottom of their building. I’ll be thinking about how much happier they’d be if their lunch hour decisions went beyond which 6 toppings they were going to choose for their salad today, or whether or not that turkey sandwich should go on white or wheat.
Of course this isn’t really a goodbye. It’s more of a see you on Monday. I’ll still be here in the comments, and the forums, moaning about all the great lunches I’m missing out on. Plus I hope you’ll follow my lunch adventures in L.A. when that section launches next week. What I’m trying to say is, I might be leaving, but Midtown Lunch isn’t going anywhere. It will still be here next week, continuing (hopefully) to inspire people to do more with their lunch hours. Whether it’s in Midtown, Downtown, Philly, L.A. or beyond.
Thanks for 3 1/2 amazing years, and here’s to 3 1/2 amazing more!