PROFILE: Midtown Lunch’er “Kelly Choi”

Every Tuesday we turn over the site to a different Midtown Lunch’er for his or her recommendations for the best lunch in Midtown. Two weeks ago we had James Oseland, this week it’s Kelly Choi- who Chris H. ran into at a Korean food event at Bann. (His favorite lunch + his favorite girl? I’m surprised his head didn’t explode!)

Name: Kelly Choi

Age: 35

Occupation: TV Producer and Host

Where in Midtown do you Work?: I don’t! But I’m a Wannabe midtown luncher, does that count? I love your site. (My office is near City Hall and the lunch possibilities down there are, except for Chinatown, really dearth). [Editor's Note: You need to check out our Downtown Lunch section!]  I’m all over the city on any given day featuring and checking out restaurants for my TV shows, Very Appetizing with Kelly Choi and also Eat Out with Time Out magazine, which both air on nyc life.

Favorite Kind of Food: I love tasty, comfortable, home-cooking kind of meals best. Foods I can eat with my fingers are also tops in my book…like creamy garlicky hummus I can scoop up with plush warm pita breads..thick stews (yuk gwe jang, a korean spicy shredded brisket stew I adore), slippery toothsome spicy noodles, and hearty voluptuous sandwiches…dumplings! (pork & chive steamed dumplings @ Food Gallery 32 are simple and fabulous, I tried them couple of weeks ago and I want some now). And rice! I love rice dishes. I love creamy textures – not necessarily cream-based foods, per se, but the mouthfeel of a food, the weightiness on the tongue is important to me (like chunky, delicious guacamole or coconut pudding). This drives up the crave-ability factor! And spicy foods! Oh god, I love spicy sweetness.

Least Favorite Kind of Food: Fondue. I can’t stand fondues, it’s too precious for what it is

Favorite Place(s) to Eat Lunch in Midtown: At the moment, i’m loving Pure Thai Shophouse (on 9th ave. btw. 51+52nd), Totto Ramen (on 52nd btw. 8+9th), Blue Dog Cafe (I love their chicken tarragon sandwich with havarti cheese and avocado slices paired with their luscious carrot ginger soup). And any good bagel joint, I can never resist. I love bagels with tuna salad and egg salad, together in one sandwich.

“Go-To” Lunch Place You and Your Coworkers Eat at Too Often? N/A…my cameramen are pretty specific about what they will eat and how, and I’m usually the only one who’s willing to try anything once.

Place(s) you discovered thanks to Midtown Lunch? I read about a new Vietnamese place in Hell’s Kitchen that’s opening called Cha Pa (on 52nd btw. 8+9th), and I can’t wait to try it.

If you could work anywhere (just because of the lunch) where would it be and why? I’d work in the basement of one of the major department stores in Seoul, Korea. There you can find one of the glorious and vast food courts with many different cuisines. Where else could I get fresh-out-of-the-oven breads and pastries, sweet & spicy pork, spaghetti bolognese and pizzas, hearty korean soups, & great Japanese bento boxes all in one spot…and all at the same time! Eating like this is definitely best with a couple of other diners, though, so we can get a lot of different dishes and share everything.

Anything you’d like to ask the ML readers? Where do you guys like to go for delicious, casual Indian? I’m constantly searching for my go-to spot for this cuisine

Got an answer for Kelly? Put it in the comments. And, as always, if you want to be next week’s Profiled: Midtown Lunch’er (or know somebody you’d like to nominate), email


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