Zach Brooks – Founder (and Los Angeles Editor)
Fat man, likes to eat. Sorry, is that not enough? After spending 10 years working in radio at WFNX in Boston, and Indie 103.1 FM in Los Angeles, Zach discovered his true calling while working at Sirius Satellite Radio in New York City’s Midtown Manhattan: finding good places to eat lunch. The blog Midtown Lunch was born in May of 2006 partly as a public service to help other office workers find good lunch, but mostly as an excuse for Zach to eat really fattening lunches every day. (“I had to eat at that buffet honey, it was for work!”) Overwhelmed by the surprise success of the site (apparently there are a lot of likeminded fatties eaters working in Midtown), Zach left Sirius in April of 2008 to work full time on Midtown Lunch, and as a food blog consultant for other companies. He is considering writing a book about how to be a food blogger without becoming morbidly obese; but wouldn’t know where to start. Maybe a guide to all-you-can-eat buffets is a better idea.
In January of 2010 he moved to the west coast where he now uses the new Los Angeles section of Midtown Lunch as an excuse to get even fatter.
A semi-native New Yorker (her family’s been stuck in the five boroughs for over a hundred years) Blondie had the classic case of “New Yorker who takes everything for granted”-itis. Typical symptoms include shooting down claims of who has the best pizza, and shaking your head at someone willing to travel straight across the city for a single cookie. All were demonstrated by her, until she landed her first job in Midtown, and kept wasting money on bad $15 salads and week-old pastries. Reading about the New York food scene on the interwebs awoke a desire to finally really get to know what’s available in her hometown. She’s now hell-bent on eating everything she can stomach, and won’t mind telling you when something’s not worth the time, energy, or money. After all, she is your typical sardonic New Yorker at heart. When she’s not Midtown Lunching, you can find her posting about her other adventures in eating and baking at Blondie & Brownie.
Brownie’s deep and abiding love for cart food was born of early trauma–as a child, her mom wouldn’t let her have a pretzel from a street vendor on a trip to see the Radio City Christmas Spectacular. She’s been making up for it ever since. Brownie’s worked in the Rock Center area for over seven years, but it was her former co-worker and partner-in-crime, Blondie, who introduced her to Midtown Lunch ala Zach Brooks. Born in New England and raised on New Haven pizza since birth–no really–her dad brought a Sally’s clam pie to her mom in the recovery room at the hospital, Brownie still has a soft spot for 99 cent slices. When she’s not Midtown Lunching you can find her posting about her other adventures in eating and baking at Blondie & Brownie.
Rachel would eat sushi for breakfast every day, if given the opportunity. Born in New York City, she moved to Tokyo at seven years old. For the next eight years she grew up eating sushi (obvs), tempura, udon, and more Japanese goodies, not realizing that her American counterparts were snacking on pizza. Although, her family did occasionally order from Domino’s Japan, which offered authentic toppings such as tuna fish, mayo, squid and corn. While living in Japan, her family ate their way through Asia, which explains why Rachel’s idea of comfort food is something from an authentic hole-in-the-wall Asian menu. Also, sushi. She’s thankful the food scene in Times Square has slowly improved over the eight years she’s been working there and has even found some worthwhile Japanese haunts in the area. In addition to here on ML you can follow her foodie musings on Tumblr and Twitter..
Chris arrived in New York by way of Seattle and San Francisco, though he was born in South Korea and raised in the Midwest. Due to his left coast and country upbringing, he sports a suspiciously crunchy granola outlook on life, and even once dabbled in vegetarianism (he’s since made a full recovery). Because of his corporate day job, he’s often described in food blogger circles as the “weird asian dude who takes pictures of food while wearing a suit”. While not in a suit, he can be found stalking Dan Barber in the Union Square farmer’s market, roaming the streets of Flushing looking for good Chinese and Korean food, or simultaneously embarrassing and impressing his friends with his thermal immersion circulator and other nerdy cooking tools (he once unsuccessfully tried to sous vide a Hot Pocket on a dare). Although Korean food is first and foremost his favorite culinary genre, he would do almost anything (except use the word ‘yummy’ in a write-up) for a proper banh mi and bowl of pho. Though he doesn’t have the time/energy/creativity to keep his own blog, you can follow his culinary musings and drunken rambling on his twitter feed.
A veteran of the tortilla wars of East LA, Mamacita’s upbringing in a traditional Mexican family has imbued in her a love of authentic home-style food and all things spicy. Her travels then took her to Northern Cali where she spent much of her college years on weekend food tours though the many districts of San Francisco. Before moving to New York she spent some time in North Carolina where she found her love of Southern food and a devotion to all things porcine. She has previously worked as editor and writer for the Brooklyn based Gowanus Lounge. Her beginnings at ML started with a strip joint but she has since extended her repertoire to dive bars and greasy street eating.
UltraClay a.k.a. Clay Williams started blogging years ago for the now-defunct Brownstoner offshoot Brooklyn Record. Since then, he has wandered the urban world blogging his adventures in food, drink and travel at ultraclay.com. He spends his days in midtown as a professional geek, taking breaks from resetting passwords and showing people how to print to stuff his face with new and interesting snacks in and around Midtown South. He doesn’t do favorites, but regularly goes through phases obsessing over Pizza, Katsu or whatever his favored food of the moment might be. Clay can nearly always be found with several cameras on his person and is an aspiring photographer. His photos are viewable on Flickr and on his Nightlife Photography Column on Examiner.com. If you’ve got the urge to read even more of his ramblings, feel free to follow his twitter feed.
Fun fact: Andrea grew up in the hometown of the “World’s Only Corn Palace,” then went to school at the University of Nebraska and became a Cornhusker. Yet, she’s not that big a fan of corn. The long and winding road leading to downtown Manhattan started with a South Dakota upbringing involving lots of mayo-based salads, casseroles and bratwurst. Then it took a turn to Idaho for a stint as a newspaper reporter who had to write about pet psychics, lumberjack competitions and murder trials, and found solace at the town’s one and only Thai restaurant. She discovered Midtown Lunch (and every other food blog known to man) during an ill-advised year working from home in the midwest, and was very jealous of the food cart culture. Two years after moving to the city for that same job and working in the Financial District, she finds herself somehow writing about food below Houston St. and having people read it. Her food tastes have evolved dramatically in the decade she’s been supporting herself, although her favorite thing to eat in NYC remains the $1 order of dumplings found in Chinatown, with a sesame pancake on the side to make it a “balanced meal.”
Poor student, likes to eat. Sorry, is that not enough? Born and raised eating on the spicy streets of Queens, Jamie has been training her whole life for this gig. As a born and bred food adventurer she attacked Korean buffets and basement food courts in Queens before becoming one of the most popular Profiled Midtown Lunch’ers of all time. She moved to Philadelphia last year, and was immediately enlisted by Zach to begin the search for the best Midtown Lunches the city of brotherly love had to offer.