Archive for November 2014

Shuka Truck Debuts As NYC’s First Mobile Shakshuka Source

Have you thought there was a hole in the street food scene of New York, perhaps one best filled with a truck devoted to a vegetarian egg dish? If you answered “Yes!” then I have good news for you: The Shuka Truck is coming Monday, and it’s starting in Midtown.  The truck is devoted to shakshuka, aka, eggs poached in tomato, onion and spices, which along with other fixings are stuffed in a pita or at least sopped up with it. It’s falafel’s less famous sister in the vegetarian sandwich family.

Three friends from Israel decided to launch the truck, and we’re told that it will be parked at 32nd & Park. As always, you might want to check their location on Twitter before heading out.

Gong Cha Classes Up Bubble Tea Near Bryant Park

Since the closure of Sweet Heaven, Midtown West has been deprived of any serious bubble tea options. Along comes Gong Cha, an international bubble tea chain, to inject some alternatives into your afternoon coffee/tea routine. Their lofty claims of “tea fit for royalty” and lack of neon colors immediately signal that this is not your run-of-the-mill teeny-bopper bubble tea cafe. But how do their drinks taste?

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Japanese Comfort Food Hidden Down a Flight of Stairs

Inconspicuously sandwiched between perennially busy Korean favorites Cho Dang Gol and Hanbat, you’ll find MEW Izakaya. Some of you are thinking, how authentic can a Japanese restaurant possibly be on this particularly Korean block of 35th St? Or why come here when there’s so many other asian options in the area? Well, their menu, atmosphere, and price have since won me over and made MEW one of my favorite spots when I have time to enjoy a sit down lunch.

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34th Street Partnership Responds to Street Food Post w/ More Misinformation

On Tuesday, when we wrote about the New York Daily News’ horribly under researched article about getting sick from street food we specifically called out Dan Biederman, the president of the 34th Street Partnership, for drawing incorrect assumptions from the misleading statistics printed in the article.  Yesterday he responded in an email to us (and in the comments of the post).  Here’s his response, plus our response to his response.

Dear Mr. Brooks,
Midtown Lunch, according to its credo, “loves street food, and the challenge of eating in places that most of our co-workers would consider ‘dirty.’” We understand that, but also believe that the proliferation of unsanitary and unregulated food carts serving ill-prepared food does not contribute to the quality of any diner’s experience.

Ok.  So I’ve got to stop you right there.  I feel like these two sentences sum up the entire issue I have with this article and Dan Biederman’s quotes.   Our credo, as you call it, doesn’t say that we like dirty food.  It says we like places “that most of our co-workers would consider ‘dirty’.”  (I can’t believe I’m about to give a lesson in punctuation, but…) the extra quotes around dirty are meant to signify that THEY’RE NOT ACTUALLY DIRTY.  THEY’RE DELICIOUS.  And many workers in Midtown simply think they’re dirty because they’re not chains, or they’re run from carts on the street, or in freight elevator hallways, or run by people who don’t speak English.  You, sir, are the “co-worker” we’re making fun of in our credo.  The sad thing is, as a public figure you have the ability to spread this stereotype on a larger scale than the average Midtown office worker.

Against my better judgement, I’ll allow you to continue.

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Gourmet 53 Celebrating 20 Years With Retro Prices Tomorrow: It's that time of year again, and this year they're celebrating a big one! After being in business for 20 years, Cowgirl Catering, aka Gourmet 53, on 3rd Ave. btw 52nd & 53rd streets is rolling back prices to 1994 levels on Thursday from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. You can get a "flashback lunch" for $3 (cash only), with hors d'oeuvres and a lottery where 10 people will win free lunch for a month. Go forth and eat on the cheap!

The NYDN Article About Street Vendor Food Poisoning is the Kind of Rat Shit You’d Probably Get Food Poisoning From Eating


I’ll try to make this short and sweet because we all have better things to do than read about how poorly researched a New York Daily News article is… but a lot’s been made of the report yesterday that between June of 2011 and June 2014 the city of New York received 359 reports of food poisoning to their 311 hotline. The article goes on to insinuate that this is because street food carts are dirty and unregulated, unlike restaurants which get regular visits from the Department of Health.

As a noted lover of street food, my initial response was to wonder if 359 is a lot.  On the surface it seems like that’s a lot of food poisoning… but in a city of over 8 million people, with 5000+ street food carts and 24,000+ food businesses covered under the department of health, is that number a lot?  There’s no mention in the article of how many complaints were received about brick and mortar businesses.  Just a lot of anecdotes involving tainted chicken, a green spotted hot dog, and the inexplicable chest hair “wafting onto the grill”.  (That’s some pretty long chest hair!)

Nobody likes chest hair in their food, but we’ve got some bad news for those of you who think street food is dirtier than food served underneath and roof, surrounded by four walls. It’s not.  And it wasn’t too hard to find the data to prove it.

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Midtowners Will Never Go Uncaffenaited Again


For the last few years, in our annual Readers’ Poll, the best coffee category has been the most difficult to narrow down the nominees. It keeps getting harder as we get more and more legit coffee shops serving specialty roasts brewed with all sorts of fancy methods.

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Smiles All Around at Midtown East Shake Shack Opening

We reported back in February that a Midtown East Shake Shack was to open in autumn. Since when has a New York restaurant opening been on schedule?? Leave it to the staff at Shake Shack to roll out on time, 11/11 @ 11:00am to be precise! But does Midtown East REALLY need another Shake Shack?

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Go East and the Wait for Totto Ramen is Much Shorter


One of the reasons I rarely find myself at Totto Ramen is because the lines are massively intimidating. The ramen is good, but who’s got time to wait in those lines? Don’t New Yorkers work?

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Sign This Petition and Help Save Cafe Edison

News and hearts broke last week when it was announced that Cafe Edison (aka the Polish Tea Room) would be closing soon. The Hotel Edison (which has been home to the restaurant for the last three decades) is kicking the tenant out to make way for a fancy, high-end restaurant. This is a travesty because it really is the last bit of authenticity in the Times Square area. Not to mention the food is just plain excellent. They serve hands-down the best matzo ball soup in the city.

We’re not the only ones who are up-in-arms about this. A petition has been started on to convince the hotel management to reconsider their decision. Many celebrities, such as Glenn Close and Martha Plimpton, have already given their support and testimonies. The signatures have reached over 5,000 people. I have signed my name and urge any Midtown Lunchers who care about the city (and their own lunches) to do the same. You can sign the petition here.