PROFILE: Midtown Lunch’er “Elisse”

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 Elisse, a college student/summer intern who doesn’t drink coffee (!?!) and is looking for some bagged lunch recommendations.


Age: 19

Occupation: Marketing intern, also blogging here about food and other aspects of life in NYC

Where in Midtown do you work? 5th Ave. near Bryant Park

Favorite Kind of Food: Indian, Thai, and Italian. Sometimes I get a stomachache after eating spicy Indian curries but I can’t stop myself because they taste so good!

Least Favorite Kind of Food: I don’t really like takeout Chinese food (I do like more traditional dishes that are less oily, like at dim sum restaurants) but in general I’m really open to everything. I don’t drink soda or coffee.

Favorite Place(s) to Eat Lunch in Midtown: I love the Chopped Chickpea sandwich at ‘Wichcraft, especially when I get to eat it outside in Bryant Park. I am also obsessed with Panera (on 5th btw. 39+40th), which recently opened a couple blocks from my office; for years I have always gotten the “you pick two” deal with the Mediterranean Veggie sandwich and Asian Sesame Chicken salad. I hope they never get rid of those two items. Also, I used to intern near Certe in the West 50s and I love their soft shell crab sandwich.

“Go-To” Lunch Place You and Your Coworkers Eat at Too Often? The Green Pea deli (on 5th btw. 38+39th) is close by and cheap – sometimes I get bored eating just one thing for lunch, and at this place you can fill up a box with any variety of things from the salad/hot bar and it’s priced by weight.

Places you have discovered thanks to Midtown Lunch? I had heard about ‘Wichcraft before, but after reading about it on Midtown Lunch I decided to give it a try.

If you could work anywhere (just because of the lunch) where would it be and why? I was originally going to say Thailand, so I could eat Thai food every day, but eventually I would get bored of it. This will sound cliche but I would want to stay in NYC because there are just so many options close by. If I could add a Sweetgreen location here in the city, that would really be perfect. Their salads are fresh, delicious, and filling.

Anything you’d like to ask the midtown lunch readers? Do all of you Midtown Lunchers actually buy lunch every day? I would absolutely love to but I’m on a budget so sometimes I try to bring food from home. It’s never quite as satisfying and since my lunch is sitting on my desk I always end up eating it too early and then I get hungry while I’m working during the afternoon. Any suggestions for yummy dishes I can make and bring to the office?

Got an answer for Elisse? Put it in the comments. Want to be next week’s Profiled: Midtown Lunch’er (or know somebody you’d like to nominate)? Email


  • I am stealing fred’s line this week…..

    FREAK OF THE WEEK “you gotta be able to legally buy a beer to enter Profile Edition….”

    19….when I was 19, you were less than zero. This is truly depressing…

    You should bring some pot brownies to work. They will make the time go by faster and you will be full–yet still hungry enough for dinner when you get home! Uncle Goats told you it’s ok….

  • Spam and kimchi fried rice. It has 3 ingredients, is delicious and is stupid easy to make. Fry up the spam first until it’s crispy and sticking to the pan, add kimchi (the juice deglazes all the delicious bits) and fry it with some leftover rice.

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    I get jars of sun dried tomatoes, roasted peppers and artichoke hearts from Fairway, keep some goat cheese in the fridge at work. and on the way to work go by Amy’s bread or a similar bakery and get bread. It’s like having a picnic at your desk and the resulting sammiches are so tasty. Although the oil from the jarred veggies does get a bit messy.

  • Go easy on the girl, gramps.

    I actually bring my lunch 3-4 days a week. Every friday I treat myself to the pleasure of a ML.
    I usually bring cold cut sandwiches since most delis suck. Plus, no one likes the person who stinks up the kitchen using the microwave. But if you want to be somewhat creative, I do these two things:
    1) spice up the condiments (ie roast garlic, mash it up and mix with mayo & chives to make a spread – goes awesome with trukey or roast beef)
    2)try various chicken salad recipes. I like adding curry to the mix, or throw in craisins.

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    Make a large portion of stir-fry noodles or rice on the weekend. If you like ‘outside’ so much, buy a large sandwich combo and have it for two lunches. Now that the weather is getting warmer, cold soba (which you could totally make at home) would be great. Simple and nourishing. I love mezzes, so I would have pita bread or bread bought from the greenmarket and use them to dip into hummus or other dips (that you can blend easily at home if you have a blender or buy the premade kinds from TJs).

  • you should probably skip lunch and just go down to two meals a day to save money since there is a 1% chance you will find a job after graduating.

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    In terms of making things I haven’t had the time to cook as much this past year, but I make sandwiches. Now that I am getting my food share again and I don’t want all of the veggies to accumulate in my fridge I spend Sundays cooking. I make salads, tomato sauces, veggie dips, pestos, veggie fritters, veggie curry, desserts, croquettes, slaws, and whatever else I can do to get rid of as many vegetables as possible. Also, it helps that making such a big helping of it will help spread it out for the week.

    One recipe I do recommend trying is garlic scape pesto unless you aren’t a big fan of garlic. Get some from the farmers market while they are still in season and add some olive oil, almonds, and cheese and food process it. You can put it on anything and it’ll make it taste great. I also recommend getting some potatoes and making veggie croquettes or meat croquettes. If you add meat and veggies and some cheese one little croquette will be your meal for the day.

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    If you like salads, try Just Salad. The salads on the menu are a bit expensive (for salad), but they’re fantastic. If you buy their bowl, you get two free mix-ins every time you go (or you can combine them for a cheese). I tend to do the “make your own” salad w/o meat, and then I supplement it with leftover roast chicken, a hard-boiled egg, or whatever I have kicking around at home.

  • FREA…….err………


  • Sorry Fred—I couldn’t help myself. The first minor profile I believe….what is the world coming to…..

  • I don’t mean to sound snarky but you’ll get a hell of a lot more value for your money if you never, ever go to any chain place in NYC again. Ever. To be fair I say wean yourself off of that generic crap deli. If you have to, get delivery – you still get the better product in the end.

    As to extending takeout, make your own hummus and futz with ingredients each week – I brownbag it at least three days a week and throw in a metric ton of baby carrots as snack replacements. The hummus at least helps balance things out with new flavor stuff.

    I’m definitely going to take a thought at curry chicken salad, though – sounds like a good alternative.

    Anyway, check out Pitopia for falafel, 37th and Broadway, not a terrible walk from the Bryant Park area. Also, if you’re on the 5th Ave side, run – do not walk – to Cafe Zaiya and/or Sunrise Mart on the same block, on 41st St. Inexpensive, REAL Japanese food in the guise of bento boxes, onigiri, curry, baked goods (don’t miss a chocolate cornet at least once in your life) and you’ll have relegated the generic-deli, fast-casual-chain crap into the boneyard in no time at all.

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    Hey, thanks for all the feedback everyone! I know that I am really young, and originally I was going to lie and say I was in my 20s, so at least I’m being honest right?
    Thanks for all of your great ideas. This morning I made Asian noodles with a spicy sauce and vegetables for lunch. But, the reason I love this blog is of course because I love going out to eat in Midtown for lunch, so I’ll also take your suggestions for places to eat. to MJP, I know that chain restaurants are not the best value – I have actually been going to Panera recently because I have a gift card! That will run out of money soon so I will be exploring other options. I think I have passed the Sunrise Mart, so I will definitely check it out.

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