PROFILE: Midtown Lunch’er “Christina”
Every Tuesday we 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 Christina, a communications pro who eats gluten free.
Occupation: Communications Professional
Where in Midtown do you Work?: Currently I’m working in the Garment district on Broadway in no-man’s land smack in between Timess Square and Penn station at LaunchSquad, NYC
Favorite Kind of Food: First of all, any combination of carbs and cheese is a win in my book. I started eating gluten free last summer which makes my passion for melted dairy a challenging one. Other favorites? Tacos (corn tortillas please!), halal (lamb, chicken or falafel I am not picky), burgers (In-n-Out or bust), and ice cream. I just went to the Village Voice’s Choice Eats the other week and was surprised by the huge variety of gluten-free friendly options available. Quick tip for fellow gluten-free readers: I was chatting up Sarah Jenkins of Porchetta and Porsena and she said that she always keeps a good corn pasta around in the kitchen. They also sell some really great gluten free stuff at Eataly imported from Italy. It keeps an al dente toothsome texture after cooking which is a real challenge with rice pasta.
Least Favorite Kind of Food: Since I eat gluten free I guess wheat is on the top of the “least favorite” list. Other pet peeves of mine? Poorly prepared pre-made sandwiches and salads – Subway I’m talking to YOU and bad grocery sushi.
Favorite Place(s) to Eat Lunch in Midtown: Okay so this was a tough one to answer but I’ve boiled it down to a few. Lena Latin Grill (on 35th btw. 5+6th), particularly for their sauces and sides. I highly suggest going smoky chili pepper for your sauce. For sides? Check out their plantains, butternut squash (smoky and delicious when in season) and sinful coconut rice. For halal I’m really into Rafiquis for a quick bite of halal when I’m in a rush. Mostly I go to make jokes with the husband and wife chefs and indulge in the many free samples they always dish out. For Indian, my go to is Biryani Cart (on 46th and 6th) where I rotate whatever they have featured over rice, usually veggie or chicken Briyani. As you can tell, I’m really big on rice right now. For lunch meetings, I’m a huge fan of Market Cafe – the omelette du jour never ever disappoints and it’s a great cozy spot on a cold day. Be sure to have some of their cucumber water – so refreshing! Who knew?
“Go-To” Lunch Place You and Your Coworkers Eat at Too Often? So this is pretty lame but we frequent Pret a Manger often just because it’s close and easy. Other repeat offenders? Chipotle and Hale and Hearty.
If you could work anywhere (just because of the lunch) where would it be and why? Queens with my awesome Italian grandmother, Nonna. She grows fresh produce in her Glendale garden and whips up everything from manicotti to croquettes from scratch. I’d like to think she’d be willing to explore some of the awesome, local, Queens-cuisine but she’s not exactly an equal opportunist when it comes to food. But with a woman who makes her own tomato sauce, a gal can’t complain about variety.
Anything you’d like to ask the Midtown Lunch readers? Any of you fellow lunchers gluten free and have some tips on some scrumptious goodies in the area? I frequent Macarons a lot for, well, their Macarons but I’m always exploring new bites.
Anybody have a suggestion for Christina? 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 email@example.com.