Archive for July 2012

ML Forums: Street Meat, Morocco, Hot Dogs

Ming Du Might Be Ming Done (Again)

The steam-table empire is down one today, as Ming Du, formerly Ying Du – serving up darn good and darn cheap Chinese steam table fare and steamed buns – has been shuttered by the DoH. You might be able to fake out the tax man, but you can’t hide from the Long Arm of the NYC Department of Health.

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Manganaro’s To Become a Brick Oven Pizza Spot

Manganaro’s, the 119-year old Hell’s Kitchen institution praised by the culinary Hunter S. Thompson himself, Tony Bourdain, closed recently to the lament of many an appreciator of fine red sauce cuisine. In its place rises not the balkanized nightmare of another generic deli, a former Yugoslavia-style breakup of food interests at war with itself by definition, but what we can only hope to be a united front against crappy pizza: Tavola.

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PROFILE: Midtown Lunch’er “Sarina”

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 Sarina, a lover of all things pork (and Alex Trebek.)


Age: 32

Occupation: Marketing Technology Coordinator & Blogger at

Where in Midtown do you work? 37th and Broadway

Favorite Kind of Food: Anything with French or Asian influence. I also have an unhealthy obsession with anything beginning or ending with pork.

Least Favorite Kind of Food: Salads in general; you don’t make friends with salad.

Favorite Place(s) to Eat Lunch in Midtown: Danji (on 52nd btw. 8+9th) because Hooni is a rock star! Those bulgogi sliders are heavenly. Totto Ramen (on 52nd btw. 8+9th) for some chicken paitan ramen; Tacos y Quesadillas (on 53rd btw. B’way+7th) for some kick ass al pastor, tacos. Alan’s Deli for my regular….roasted turkey breast with mayo, lettuce on whole wheat, Shake Shack (duh), Qi – I love Pichet Ong & Num Pang – the pork belly sandwich is bombdiggity. For more high end, I love the Bar Room at The Modern, Ma Peche and db Bistro Moderne. For bistro fare, I love Benoit. I spotted Alex Trebek there once!

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Okadaman Serves Up Great, Homey Japanese Breakfast

Okadaman, the relatively new Japanese truck specializing in okonomiyaki and other homey delights, started offering Japanese breakfast a few weeks ago. Ever since I saw them tweet about it, I’ve been dying to make a detour on the way to work to check ‘em out, and I finally got there on a slow summer Friday. As I walked up to the truck, I noticed the breakfast menu was not posted, so make sure you ask what the options are. I had the choice of two equally awesome-sounding egg-on-toast breakfasts … and, honestly, I almost ordered both.
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Watch The Olympics In Bryant Park

The Southwest Porch in Bryant Park is getting in on the Olympics action, offering up their brand new 55-inch screen for those who would like to get their Olympics fix. You can stop by during your lunch break to check out the action and eat a burger, and while you’re there, you may want to partake in their “Guess the Gold” game. Make your gold medal predictions via ballots available at the porch for a chance to win a pair of tickets on Southwest Airlines. Check out the Bryant Park blog for more info on how to enter, as well as the viewing schedule (it’s not daily).

Leon Bakery Expands Their Menu Post Rennovation

Leon Bakery

Good news for Midtown West lunchers in search of reasonably authentic Mexican (well, more authentic than Blockheads at least). Late last year, we noticed that Leon Bakery, which served some pretty good tamales was in the midst of renovating. And a recent tweet by our buddy, Bionic Bites, confirms that the renovations has brought an expanded menu, including tacos, tortas, and sopes.

Following a similar formula as Tehuitzingo, Leon Bakery has a small grocery section up front dedicated to latin dry goods and a smaller selection of wet goods. Mexican pastries sit in covered cubby holes, and slices of cake wilt in a refrigerated display case. In the back, there’s full line-up hot food items available for take-out and delivery. And while the menu (link to photo) has questionably authentic items, swaying slightly towards Tex-Mex influences, there are still plenty of appealing dishes, all within the ML price range. Certainly something worth an exploratory visit.

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Mr. Softee Battles Heat Up This Year in Midtown


Did you catch that article last week in the NYPost that uncovered the cut-throat (literally) business of finding a spot to park a soft serve ice cream truck? We’ve long known that aside from public property and the Parks Department, no vendor can actually own his or her spot. There is an unwritten “gentlemen’s agreement” that certain vendors have nurtured certain spots. There are thousands of street corners all across the city.

Ask the Street Vendor Project or the New York City Food Truck Association. When you start a mobile food business, you need to introduce yourself into the food truck community in a safe, gracious way instead of trying to push somebody else out of their spot. Disagreements still occur with trucks and cart owners who break that “vendor code.” We’ve seen the disputes on the street and more recently on Twitter.

But based on the Post article, fights over spots continue to occur and they are getting more and more violent.

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Lunch Links (The “Summer Cheesecake” Edition)

Photo courtesy of Serious Eats New York

  • Cafe Zaiya serves a soft and fluffy cheesecake [SENY]
  • Anti-ice-cream truck navigates the streets of New York [NYT]
  • Are these the best restaurants in Hell’s Kitchen? [FiTR]
  • Speaking of bests, are these the best tacos in town? [Grub Street]
  • Pax Wholesome Foods and Europa Cafe exec accused of theft [NYP]

Midtown Happy Hour: Jimmy’s American Grill And Bar Has $5 Drinks And A Big Menu

I’ve been really enjoying covering Midtown Happy Hour over the past month or so, but I’ve found that sometimes it can be very difficult to find what you might call an acceptable ML bar: good specials, good atmosphere, and at times what one might refer to as a dive. In part, it’s because we’ve already covered many of the good bars in Midtown, but also because lots of bars are either douchey or prohibitively expensive, and often both. So, I hope you don’t mind if I get a little creative with my quest and look for deals in places that might be somewhat … unusual. The first to make this list is Jimmy’s American Grill and Bar (6th Ave btw. 36th and 37th), not to be confused with Jimmy’s Corner, a favorite covered back in 2008.

I had passed by Jimmy’s a few times during lunch, and saw it fairly busy with people sitting in the sidewalk dining area. At first glance I thought it was something like a repurposed, privately owned TGI Fridays type of place, I suppose because of the red and white striped awning. I decided to stop by for happy hour after work last week, and I quickly found that I was wrong. Jimmy’s is part diner, part dive bar, and all sorts of odd.
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