Archive for 'Columbus Circle'

Columbus Circle Holiday Market Might Be the Best Lunch in Town Right Now

Columbus Circle Market

I generally don’t get excited when a major establishment sends me a glossy press release about an upcoming special event. The ersatz nature of the Columbus Circle pop-up Holiday market smacks at my general preference for hole-in-the-wall places and secret spaces, whether they be in Midtown, the Village or Brooklyn. So I was more than excited to see some of my far flung favorites make an appearance, like Crif Dogs, Fatty Crab, and Pies n Thighs among others. Lingering questions remained though – would the quality of food be as good as the original? And is it possible to construct a $10 Midtown lunch in one of the most opulent areas of the city, right on the doorsteps of the house of Per Se?

The answer is Yes and Yes.

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Time Warner Center Wants to Give You Free Food

With the exception of Whole Foods, and the take out window of Bouchon Bakery, most of the restaurants in the Time Warner Center are outside the Midtown Lunch price range. But that doesn’t mean we’d turn down free food, right? The TWC in Columbus Circle has just launched a culinary club called “Circle of Taste”. Become a member (it’s free to join), and you’ll get special access to free events and exclusive tastings, like a smoked meats tasting at Porterhouse (on 11/16) or a mussels and beer thing at Landmarc (12/3).

The kick off event is a free dessert tasting this Friday at 5:30pm with free desserts from Bouchon Bakery, A Voce, Landmarc and more (hello double truffle brownies!) That one is completely open to the public, but in the future events will only be open to members. You can get more info and sign up now at

Tripie Crepe Truck Pops Up in Columbus Circle

Columbus Circle Crepe CartI’m not exactly sure how much “new Midtown truck!” news you can handle… but clearly this week we’re pushing the limits.  Got a few reports from Lunchers about this new crepe truck (known as “Tripie”?) parked in Columbus Circle. Lunch’er Mike tracked them down on Facebook and Lunch’er “Jonathan” was kind enough to send along the photo on the left via twitter. $4.95 for a crepe is kind of cheap by Midtown standards. Has anybody tried this cart yet, or know anything about it?  I’m curious how it stacks up against Madeleine the Crepe Lady (on 49th btw. B’way+8th) or the Le Gamin Truck (which parked in Midtown for the first time yesterday, and will be back in the same spot today.)

Will AQ Kafe Spell the End for FIKA Swedish Espresso Bar?


Zagat Buzz has more intel on the second outpost of AQ Cafe, on Broadway between 58th St. and Columbus Circle. “The sign outside spells the restaurant’s name as “Kafé” (rather than original’s “cafe”), and the otherwise similar menu presents one glaring omission: the popular Nordic Cuban sandwich.” The glaring omission we noticed on the menu? The prices. Does not bode well, considering the original AQ Cafe on Park Ave. btw. 37+38th is already teetering on the edge of being outside the Midtown Lunch price range.

We’re also wondering what this will mean for FIKA Swedish Espresso bar, our current Scandinavian fave in the northern reaches of Midtown. It doesn’t get mentioned too often on the site, and is a little pricey, but they deserve credit for serving swedish meatballs in sandwich form (an item also on the AQ Kafe menu.) Walked by today and they were pretty packed, but it will be interesting to see how they fare once the M. Samuelsson train rolls north.

Rotisserie Chicken Alert: But Wait There’s More!

Oops! Sorry Whole Foods… I posted a few weeks ago about the rotisserie chicken at the newly opened Brassierie Cognac Boulangerie (B’way btw. 55+56th), totally forgetting that you have a much cheaper option at your location on 8th Ave. & 58th St. in the basement of the Time Warner Center. A whole chicken in the prepared foods section is just $7.99 (compared to $13.95 at Cognac) and half is just $4.99 (compared to $7.99), plus there’s money left over to fill up on sides at their by the lb. buffet.  Damn that’s a good deal (and makes eating an entire chicken, well within your Midtown Lunch price boundaries!)

Related: Whole Foods is Hands Down the Best Generic Midtown Deli

Whole Foods Is Hands Down the Best Generic Midtown Deli

In the far reaches of Midtown, there exists a magical place whose enormity, and depth of choice, is only eclipsed by its price.  A wonderland of lunches, that makes Dishes or Variety Cafe look like a sandbox inside Disney World.  Where prepared meals circle ethnic food stations, and pre-packaged sushi is turned out fresh by the minute.  If only it wasn’t hampered by the anti-fat man, pay the lb. price structure, it could possibly be the Midtown equivalent of Willy Wonka’s Chocoate Factory.

This place I speak of is Whole Foods, and I finally got a chance to check it out last week for lunch.  It rests on the Upper West Side corner of the Midtown Lunch boundries, on 8th Ave. & 59th St., Columbus Circle, in the basement of the Time Warner Center.  It is easily the best “Grocery Store” in Midtown, and despite its high prices and questionable business practices, the food is undeniably fresh and of a much higher quality than any other place in our area.

The grocery store is nice, but for lunch purposes, we’re looking at the prepared foods area.  The gigantic section between the “store” and the registers.  What they’ve got, grocery store porn and a +/- after the jump… Read more »