Archive for April 2012

Flatiron News: Openings and Closings

Here’s a bit of Flatiron Lunch news before we lay this week’s review on you…

Openings: So the good news is Eataly is opening a lunch-only spot on Monday, April 30. Ready to hear more? Sorry, bad news. Pranzo will cost $25 for a two to three-course prix fixe meal. Since it is part of La Scuola, lunch includes cooking demos, so if Educational Development is part of your lunch budget, you should be fine. To apologize for getting your hopes up, I am here to remind you that Eataly has several ML-budget friendly options: here and here.

Closings: Ultra Clay sent me a tip that Sirtaj Indian, a place he reviewed, has closed. While we are never happy to see an Indian restaurant in Flatiron close, we can only hope this will lead to an even better Indian restaurant. Stay tuned…

Simon Sips is a Great (Hidden) Starbucks Alternative

Is “your” Starbucks the one on 47th and 6th, in the 1185 6th ave office building? We’ve been tipped off to a new spot for your morning ritual that is in the same building, but tucked away. In fact, you’d most likely never know this 2-week-old coffee bar existed if you didn’t work there.

Simon Sips has set up a small shop in the back of this office building. If you don’t work there, walk to the pedestrian area behind the building, and enter through the revolving door across the walkway from Ustav. Immediately turn left (which is the only direction you can go if you don’t have building access). There you will find Simon Sips, an unassuming place to grab your morning joe from staff who are just the kind of people you want to interact with in the morning: calm, extremely nice and helpful.
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Gyu-Kaku’s Chicken Garlic Noodles Will Satisfy Your Noodle Craving

Last week Gyu-Kaku Times Square started serving lunch. When I read their menu online, I was not surprised to see that one of  my favorite dishes, chicken garlic noodles, was within the ML price range, as it usually costs $10. I was surprised to find, however, that the dish’s price was slashed during lunchtime. Score!
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From the Twitter Tracker: Today you'll find both Domo Taco and Bian Dang on 53rd and Park, Crisp and Big D's Grub are at 50th bw 6th and 7th, Eddie's Pizza can be found at 47th/Lex, Palenque at Park and 51st, Wafels & Dinges are waffeling at both 52nd bw 6th and 7th and at 46th bw 5th and 6th. We're still waiting to find out where Urban Lobster Shack will be, but we sure hope it's somewhere close. Be sure to double check the Twitter Tracker before heading out.

Grand Gourmet is Back and We Have 2 VIP Tix to Give Away

Amazing this happened a year ago already! Grand Gourmet: The Flavor of Midtown is returning to Vanderbilt Hall in Grand Central on Thursday, May 10 from 7-9:30pm. The event is hosted by the Grand Central Partnership and will feature tastings from over 30 restaurants in the surrounding area, like Tulsi, Beer Table Pantry, and The National. Proceeds will benefit the Grand Central Neighborhood Social Services Corporation. Check out the website to purchase tickets and find out a list of the vendors. Tickets are a little out of ML’s usual price range – $100 and $350 for VIP – but once again we’re giving away a pair of VIP tickets to one lucky reader. All you have to do is leave a comment stating which dish or restaurant you’re most excited to try. The winner will be chosen at random and announced on Thursday, May 3 at 3pm.

Contributor Stalking (The “Crunchy Crustacean” edition)

Do you wonder what the ML contributors do when they’re not eating lunch in Midtown? (We’re actually pretty easy to stalk!)

Soft-shelled crab with kale and spring garlic. Cooked and photographed by Donny.Soft-shelled crab with kale and spring garlic. Cooked and photographed by Donny.

Blondie had grapes on a pizza and really liked it, Brownie explored Philly’s food truck scene, Brian talked beer making at Greenpoint Beer Works, Donny made that delicious looking Soft-shelled crab, above, Rachel had a peanut noodle salad from Republic and I’m heading to Tulum, Mexico next week.

Elsewhere in the ML universe… Andrea checked out a generic deli turned Chinese restaurant downtown, Jamie found all sorts of Mexican deliciousness at Archie’s in Philly, and Zach recommends six great lunches near The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA in Los Angeles.

At Lunch Now: The Treats Truck Is In Midtown!

While rushing back to the office from lunch, I stopped dead in my tracks (to take a photo, naturally) when I spotted the Treats Truck in their old Midtown spot on 45th & 6th. You’ll have to hurry, though — according to their twitter, the truck will be there only until 3 p.m.

Grab A Cafe Zaiya Bento, And Eat In The Park

I never remember at lunchtime that Cafe Zaiya has an outpost nestled — almost hidden, if you don’t know to seek it out — on the second floor of the Kinokuniya book store on the west side of Bryant Park. As a Japanese food lover, I should be there every day of the workweek! But, alas, my Midtown Lunch posts would become repetative. Point being, I don’t go often enough, but the other day — one of those nice ones that was sunny and in the 70s — I became inspired to grab a bento and eat in the park.

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Street Vendors Keeping Fingers Crossed After City Hall Hearing

I had never been to City Hall and certainly never sat through a hearing before. But as I mentioned yesterday morning, I attended one in which the Street Vendor Project (the organizers of the Vendy Awards) and their representatives attempted to pass two bills (Intro. 434 and 435) into law regarding the unreasonable $1000 fines that food vendors are susceptible to.

I was there representing Midtown Lunch and our perspective as food cart lovers. It was a fascinating and eye-opening afternoon. In the morning, the Council Board questioned the five departments that regulate food carts (Mayor’s Office, NYPD, Department of Health, Department of Consumer Affairs, Environmental Control Board) and then testimonies were given from many different perspectives – everybody from vendors, lawyers, historians, and food writers like myself. I actually was the last one to testify at 3:30pm (I guess I was the lowest on the totem pole) and was proud to support the vendors and their plight.

Sean Basinsiki, the Director of the Street Vendor Project, told me it might be a few months before the bills are actually voted on and the outcome is determined, but the turn-out and arguments were compelling and the hopes are high in favor of the vendors.

Choice Streets Brought Some Old And New Favorites Together

Choice Streets, the food truck version of Village Voice’s Choice Eats happened on Pier 86 just below the Intrepid last night and I was happily there to check out all the goods.

Usually at these food truck affairs, it’s always the same trucks over and over again. But I was pleased to see some new offerings aside the expected Wafels & Dinges, Frites ‘n’ Meats, and Red Hook Lobster Truck. Quite a few vendors who very rarely make the trip to Midtown proper showed face. Solber Pupusas and Souvlaki GR served up their Vendy Award winning deliciousness.
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