Archive for October 2012

Contributor Stalking (The “Taco Heaven” edition)

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


Tacos from Tacos Leo in Los Angeles. Photo by Zach.

Brian tried Thai ice cream at Sky Ice in Park Slope, Rachel had Hong Kong street noodles at Grub Street Food Festival at Hester Street Fair, Blondie is going to be debating red velvet cupcakes next week, Brownie splurged on brunch at Talde and I looked back at the 12 course tasting menu I had at Astrid y Gaston in Lima.

Elsewhere in the ML universe… Zach tried out the taco options at a truck that specializes in al pastor in Los Angeles, Jamie got mussels for lunch at a beer bar in Philly and Andrea cured what ailed her with a carby, meaty soup at Soma by nature downtown.

Free Hot Chocolate Alert: Speaking of 'wichcraft, tomorrow (Thursday 10/25) they'll be switching their Byrant Park ice cream kiosk over to hot chocolate for the winter (in four flavors: classic, malt, spiced, or orange.) And to celebrate they'll be giving out free 4oz samples of hot chocolate from 2-4pm.  The hot chocolate itself will be available for purchase at all 'wichcraft locations starting tomorrow, but freeloaders will want to hit up the Bryant Park kiosk from 2-4pm.

‘wichcraft Updates Their Seasonal Sandwiches Menu

It’s no secret that I really appreciate ‘wichcraft and their seasonal sandwiches. I ate my way through the entire summer menu a few months ago, and now the sandwich chain has launched their new seasonal specials.  The new frittata is still $6.88 and includes leeks, caramelized onions, roasted tomatoes and aged cheddar on ciabatta. Also on ciabatta is the whole roasted chicken sandwich ($9.64) with red chilies cabbage slaw and crema. They’re also serving up slow roasted pork ($9.87), which is pork shoulder with pepper relish and fontina on grilled country bread. The red wine braised brisket sandwich will also run you $9.87 and comes with mushrooms, red peppers, onions and gruyere on ciabatta. Lastly, they’re offering a roasted pumpkin sandwich on grilled country bread with hazelnut brown butter, sage and mozzerella. As a huge winter veggie fan, especially pumpkin, that last sandwich sounded right up my alley!

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777 Third Ave. Building to Open Loading Dock for Food Trucks

Crain’s New York first reported yesterday that the 777 Third Avenue Building at East 48th street will open its loading dock to food trucks starting this coming Monday, October 29. Thus far, the lineup is Eddie’s Pizza, Luke’s Lobster, Comme Ci Comme Ca, and Frites N Meats, and the loading dock will feature one food truck each day. Midtown Lunch is pleased to note that the realtors, Sage Realty Corp., see the food trucks as an amenity to the building, and will even install a food truck camera so it’s easier for Lunchers to duck out when lines are short. We hope this will kick off a trend in Midtown, leaving more parking space for food truck vendors and less cause to worry about parking tickets from the PoPo.

Still Waiting for Dee Daa to Get Their Sh*t Together

I stumbled upon an advertisement in the Metro dated on the same day it was handed to me (Oct. 22) asking, “Have You Tried the New Dee Daa?” The ad had a full page spread of some sweet deals for a $5 entree or a $7 entree plus soup or salad (they call this a bundle). The fine print advertised that the deal expires on Halloween, October 31… so being the thrifty Luncher I am, I made my way to Dee Daa Balanced Thai (44th btw Lex+3rd) immediately. Early last year, Blondie gave them a shot just as it opened and really hoped they would work out the kinks. I was curious to see if they had.

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PROFILE: Midtown Lunch’er “PJ”

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 PJ, a carb lover who thinks Trini Paki Boys is the ideal lunch.

Name: PJ

Age: 41

Occupation: Retail IT Director

Where in Midtown do you work? For a well-known fashion designer on 40th and 8th

Favorite Kind of Food: I’m a total carb, so first pick’s gotta be Italian. But the flavors in Indian and Middle Eastern foods are just amazing – I’m a little late to the Halal party but I am definitely making up for lost time. Really, any good combinations of meat/bread/cheese with fresh ingredients and good sauce/seasoning complements and I’m there.

Least Favorite Kind of Food: Sushi, salad, mushrooms (it’s a texture thing, not a taste thing). And let me be clear here: I will never eat another turnip again. Ever.

Favorite Place(s) to Eat Lunch in Midtown: A chicken tikka masala and a double from Trini Paki Boys (on 43rd btw. 5+6th) is absolutely my perfect lunch in midtown. The non-veggie platter with Puri at Famous Dal Wagon (on 39th & 6th). The falafel at Pick-A-Pita (RIP). A cuban from Margon (on 46th btw. 6+7th). The provolone chicken sandwich from Previti Pizza (on 41st btw. Park+Lex). Just about anything from Cer Te on 55th btw. 5+6th (I once walked 16 blocks for one of their monthly sandwiches, and I’d do it again).

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Lunch’er Eric reports: Cafe Today Makes a Good Ramen

Got this note from Lunch’er Eric last week, and thought it was worth posting:

As an avid midtown lunch reader, I wanted to give you guys a heads up to one of the best dishes in this city that falls right in your wheelhouse.  The Cafe Today ramen soup!  Cafe Today is on 52 btw 3rd and Lex.  In the back right corner, they make this ramen soup.  Multiple choices of veggies, I go with onions, scallions, sprouts, and carrots (peppers, mushrooms, etc avail).  They crack an egg in there as well that cooks in the broth and tastes amazing.  Lastly, the key secret is a saracha broth!  It is VERY spicy and just so damn good.  I am in no way affiliated with cafe today and have no other reason to promote this soup besides t being spot on awesome.  Also runs you $7 and change.  Picture included — go have it for yourself!!  Enjoy!

So… anybody else tried the ramen at Cafe Today?  Let us know what you think in the comments…

3 Grub Street Food Fest Eats I’d Like to See In Midtown

For the past 3 years, the Grub Street Food Festival at the Hester Street Fair seems to top itself, both in scale and in quality. This was the 3rd annual fest, and it was even more delicious than last year’s Grub Street Food Festival at the Hester Street Fair. With so many vendors, there was no way for one person to try everything, but I made an impressive go at it. Foregoing Midtown favorites Korilla, Chinese Mirch and Kelvin Slush, which were parked just outside the entrance, I ate everything from okonomiyaki to lentils, and as it turned out, my 3 favorite meals had one thing in common: all hailed from Brooklyn. I’m hoping these guys make the journey to Midtown soon so the rest of you get to enjoy them as much as I did.
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With Bunch Mandoo Now Open in Food Gallery 32, a Dumpling War in K-Town is Imminent

Bunch Food Gallery 32

Ever since Food Gallery 32 opened in K-town almost 2 years ago, I’ve been a regular haunt whenever I’m in the area. Even if I’m not eating there, I’ll make a point to peruse the grounds, for the dynamics of the space are always in flux. To be cliché, it seems that the only constant at Food Gallery 32 is change – we’ve seen the unfortunate closure of Bian Dang and Crepe Monster, only to find that new food concepts spring eternal . The newest openings at Food Gallery include Bunch, a stall specializing in jjin (steamed) mandoo, located immediately at the front entrance. Open now is also Spot Dessert Bar on the 3rd floor, which carries most of line-up of its East Village location – pastries, bubble teas, coffees, and the like.

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Beacon to Close at the End of the Year

Even though we weren’t completely sold on the sandwiches vended out of Beacon’s Side Door, we were sad to read Flo Fab’s report that Beacon would be closing at the end of the year. The longtime midtown staple, best known for their wood fired steaks and pizzas, will be closing on Dec 29th after failing to reach an agreement with their landlord. We wish Chef Waldy Malouf, his business partners, and his staff the best of luck with their future endeavors.