Archive for February 2015

Help Street Vendor Project Lift The Permit Cap

Food truck lovers mourned last week when we discovered Cinnamon Snail would be calling it quits for good. The big reason for this sad news is because it is next to impossible to obtain a permit to legally vend in New York City.

As we’ve mentioned on this blog before, the permitting system for mobile food vendors is broken. Since the 1980′s there has been a strict limit on the number of permits available for vendors. And unless you were lucky enough to purchase one back then, you basically have to rent one from somebody that was. While the DOH only charges $200 every two years to renew the permit, the actual permit holders are charging food vendors well over 100 times that amount. It makes for a next to impossible task that both criminalizes vendors and limits the opportunities for new immigrants.

The good news is the Street Vendor Project is working on a new campaign to lift the caps. You can sign the petition online, but tomorrow the SVP will be at Cinnamon Snail talking to people about the situation and signing a petition to gain support for the campaign. The truck will be parked a little outside of Midtown on 21st and Fifth Avenue, but it’s worth the walk to support the situation and to get one last vegan doughnut before the truck closes for good on Saturday.

Rhong-Tiam Opening Soon in Midtown East

Midtown East will soon get a new dose of Thai food, as the Rhong-Tiam Burger truck is opening a brick and mortar shop on Lexington Ave. and 39th. There’s no word yet on the menu, but by the looks of their website, it’ll be more than just Asian-inspired burgers and will focus on Thai food. So we know very little, but at least we have something new replacing Desi Shack. What do you all think? Excited?

Wasabi Sushi & Bento Celebrates Anniversary With Free Onigiri: Wasabi Sushi & Bento (on 7th Ave. and 40th Street) is celebrating their first NYC birthday. To commemorate the occasion – through February 28th – they'll be giving away one seaweed or salmon onigiri to any customer who tags @Wasabi_NYC on any of their social media accounts (Instagram/Facebook/Twitter).  All you have to do is show your post at checkout. Freeloaders, engage!

No Need to Wait at Sprawling Relocated Kunjip

Ktown mainstay Kunjip reopened on the south side of 32nd street a few months ago, slightly closer to 6th Avenue than before. I will admit to dining here regularly at 3 or 4am after drunken nights out. The worst part was always waiting for a table. Why so many people at that hour? We all knew it’s one of the better restaurants opened at that hour. But look at this new space of two sprawling floors!

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Nutella & Dominique Ansel Team Up to Celebrate International Pancake Day

AKA Mardi Gras, you know, Fat Tuesday.

From 11am until 4pm today at Vanderbilt Hall in Grand Central Terminal, there will be complimentary samples of Nutella with pancakes, a custom Nutella pancake bar, and photo opps with Nutella props. Chef Ansel also designed the limited edition Pancake Cone (pictured) to help celebrate. Freeloaders, engage!

Update: At 1:25pm, there was no line for silver dollar pancakes with Nutella nor the pancake bar with customizable toppings. There was a line of roughly 50-75 people for the Pancake Cones being served by Chef Dominique himself, and I was told there were about 350 more to go (Chef will leave once they’re done). I think if you ask nicely, he’ll even pose for a picture with you…

Japan Week at Grand Central Means Food Samples: Starting Wednesday, Japan Week comes to Vanderbilt Hall. It's mostly an event to drive tourism, but what we care about are the foods on offer in their version of a Japanese department store food market. You can sample ramen and mazeman noodles, miso soup, tofu and takoyaki, as well as some sweets. Hours are 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday, and 1o a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday, but you might want to go early to avoid the masses and ensure you get some samples.

The Cinnamon Snail Truck is Closing For Good At the End of the Month

We got some very sad news over the weekend. Adam Sobel, the owner of four-time Vendy Award winning Cinnamon Snail, announced on Facebook that after five years on the road, the truck will be closing for good.

Their Mobile Food Vendor permit expires at the end of February and they have not been able to secure another permit. This is one of the biggest hurdles food trucks and carts must deal with. Since there are no more permits available through the Department of Health, you must find another way to obtain one which is next to impossible. It is very expensive and often times not completely legal.

We will sincerely miss this very special truck. Their mission was to bring tasty vegan food to an audience that might otherwise never try it. And considering the carnivorous writers here at Midtown Lunch have donated so much bandwidth and coverage to a completely meat-less truck, I think we can safely say that they have accomplished their mission.

This will not be the last we see of Adam and his terrific food. He has a cookbook coming out in May and is actively searching for another food project, either under the Cinnamon Snail brand or a new vegan concept. Either way, we just ask that he considers Midtown and we can’t wait to see what he does next!

In the meantime, you have two weeks left to enjoy those vegan donuts and spicy seitan sandwiches!

Post Blizzard, Culture Espresso Bulks Up Its Meat Hook Menu


Remember that epic, historic blizzard that we experienced a few weeks ago? Yeah, the only thing I remember about it was that it was the same day that Culture Espresso debuted their Meat Hook sandwiches. Thanks to faulty weather forecasts, the sandwich debut got off to a very slow start.

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Plywood Up at Dos Toros in Midtown East

Ever since Baja Fresh suddenly shuttered on Lexington btw. 45th + 46th streets, there has been something of a void in quick Mexican food options, although there is Oaxaca to the north, and Tacos Grand Central to the south (and Chipotle, which I don’t count). Lo and behold, we have a location of Dos Toros coming to Midtown East! It’s the Cali-style Mexican food mini-chain that five years ago Zach said was worth taking a subway ride to the Union Square shop for. Well, now you’ll only have to endure a short walk, or order for delivery to partake in one of their carnitas burritos.

Dos Toros, 465 Lexington Ave. (btw. 45+46th)

Holy Rollers Kosher Sausage Truck Opens; Trouble Immediately Ensues


Finding a spot is always a difficult task for any new food truck or cart. But one of the first rules of the street is you shouldn’t set up near another cart, truck, or restaurant selling the same kind of food.

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