Archive for 'New Orleans'

We’re in the Mood For a Po’Boy Today!

Don’t know about you guys, but after last night’s game how could you not be in the mood for a po’boy today!  You could go to that place with the weird muffuletta on restaurant row, or that place on 9th Ave. that serves rice and beans (rather than beans and rice), but for us the best place in Midtown for some hot po’boy action is the Grand Central Oyster Bar lunch time take out window. It’s not as good as, say, Crabby Jack’s… but it’s as good as you’re going to get in Midtown. And considering this site’s long history with New Orleans (Zach got married there, took Ralph Brennan to Kwik Meal, and live blogged the food at Jazzfest a few years back) don’t be surprised if you see some Profiled Midtown Lunchers waiting on line with you.  (Not in the mood for a Po’boy?  Popeye’s, on 40th btw. 7+8th, would be an acceptable replacement!)

Celebrate Fat Tuesday With a Fried Oyster Po’Boy

“Real Cajun” Book Giveaway (And Citymeals-on-Wheels Benefit Recap)

Citymeals on Wheels Benefit

Last night was the Citymeals-on-Wheels “Global Street Food” benefit at Rock Center that we gave away tickets to last week.  Midtown Lunch favorites like the Dessert Truck and the Treats Truck parked themselves alongside famous chefs from all over the country who were all serving “street food” inspired fare.  With a ticket price of $450+ it’s too expensive for most of us, but all the money went to benefit Citymeals-on-Wheels and I have to say- if I had money, this is what I would spend it on.  It’s easily one of the best food events of the year (although admittedly this years street food theme catered more to my personal tastes than previous years.)

Citymeals on Wheels Benefit

It was also funny to see all these rich folks sidling up to one of the Red Hook Ballfield Vendor trucks for pupusas and fried plantains, and the Kogi BBQ table for kimchi quesadillas (most of them completely unaware of the madness that took place yesterday.)  I overheard one lady ask her son what kimchi was, and listened to him confidently explain that it meant “to cook something in the proper way.”  (It’s actually fermented Korean veggies, most commonly cabbage, but close enough guy.)

Of course none of this really has anything to do with finding lunch in Midtown, so for humoring me reading this useless post I’m going to give away my favorite new cookbook! (Which also has nothing to do with eating lunch in Midtown, but whatever.)

Read more »

Cafe Du Monde is Coming to Midtown


That headline is cruel to anybody who has ever been to the real Cafe du Monde in New Orleans. I’m sorry… but I couldn’t help it. Clearly New Orleans’ Cafe du Monde is not opening up on 37th btw. 5+6th in Midtown. There is no mention of beignets on the sign, and the logo is terrible. I kind of have to wonder- are these people idiots? I know technically it just means “Cafe of the World”, and there is no fear of anybody confusing a generic Midtown deli with one of the greatest coffee shops/fried-dough-covered-in-powdered-sugar makers in the world. But is this legal?

Beignet lovers… I’ll make it up to you after the jump Read more »

My Typical Midtown Lunch with Ralph Brennan

At the beginning of the week, I put the question out there:  Where should I take New Orleans Restaraunteur Ralph Brennan for the best sandwich in Midtown.  The owner of Bacco, Red Fish Grille and Ralph’s on the Park, and member of the famous Brennan family- who collectively own some of the best New Orleans food institutions (Commander’s Palace, Brennan’s), was in town promoting his new cookbook, and challenged me to take him out for the best sandwich in Midtown.

I love and revere New Orleans (and the Brennan’s restaurants), and didn’t want to look like an ass, so I took your suggestions and gave Ralph a choice of 5 places that in theory, could serve the best sandwich in Midtown (this way I could blame it on you guys, or even him- since in the end, he chose.)

  • Best Quintessential New York Sandwich – When in New Orleans, you eat a Po’boy.  When in New York, you gotta have a gigantic pastrami or corned beef sandwich.  For that, we would go to the newly re-opened 2nd Ave. Deli on 33rd btw. Lex+3rd.
  • Best Bread in New York City – For the best sandwich, you’ve got to have the best bread- and although it’s out of bounds to the west (47th btw. 10+11th), Sullivan St. Bakery is arguably the best in town.  And even though their sandwiches are small, they are perfectly crafted.
  • Best Burger – Ralph is a burger man, so I had to include the Burger Joint at the Parker Merdien.  He had a car service, so I even suggested we could make the trip down to the Shake Shack if he wanted to see that craziness.
  • Best Street Meat – What’s more Midtown than the carts?  And the best street meat sandwich has got to be Kwik Meal’s lamb on pita (45th & 6th), right?
  • Best Midtown Lunch – And finally, the place that started it all.  I told him if he wanted the quintessential Midtown Lunch, the place that sums up everything this site stands for (cheap, delicious, unique- and usually ethnic), then we could go to Kati Roll (39th btw. 5+6th).  That counts as a sandwich, right?

Ralph admitted he could definitely go for a big corned beef sandwich- but felt like being taken to the 2nd Ave. Deli was like eating at the Central Grocery.  I assured him that Carnegie Deli was more like the Central Grocery of NYC, but he wanted something a little more unique.  With his Executive Chef Haley Bitterman on hand to consult, they both seemed really interested in seeing what Jim Lahey was doing over at the Sullivan St. Bakery.  So we headed west, for what I billed as ”the best bread in New York”.

But in true Midtown Lunch’ing fashion, the eating did not end there… Read more »

Where Do You Take New Orleans Royalty for the Best Sandwich in Midtown?

If you have been reading this blog from the beginning than you know that I am a big fan of New Orleans.  It may seem like a natural connection (fat guy like fried seafood sandwiches, dressed with tons of mayo), but there is a little more to it than that.  My wife went to law school in New Orleans, we were married there, and I’ve gained many pounds eating my way across the city (um… ok, I guess it is a case of “fat guy likes fried seafood sandwiches”).  I live blogged the food at last year’s Jazzfest, wrote about how disappointing the New York City Jacques Imo’s was (not surprisingly, it’s closed now), and we’ve had more than one profiled Midtown Lunch’er from the Crescent City.

So, you can imagine how blown away I was when I got this email last week from Blake Killian, author of the great New Orleans food blog Blake Makes, (and part time PR dude):

I’ve been a fan and a reader for a long time. I have a random request, and wanted to know if you’d be interested. One of my clients is a big fan of yours, and he is going to be in NYC March 25-27. He’s wondering if you would be available to go to lunch on one of those days to talk about his new cookbook.

You’d be meeting with Ralph Brennan about his first cookbookThe Brennans are a very old…

Uh- you can stop right there.  Are you kidding?  The Brennans?  As in Brennan’s, the restaurant in the French Quarter- Brennans?  As in, Commander’s Palace, home of the greatest dessert ever made in the history of the universe, the Brennan’s? (It’s the bread pudding souffle, by the way).  Yeah, I think I’ve heard of them.  The weird thing is, how the hell did this guy hear about Midtown Lunch?  And a “big fan”?  It’s a mystery, and I was afraid to ask “Why?” or “Really?”, too many times, for fear he would realize he had the wrong guy!  And while I’d much prefer having lunch with the dude in his city (NYC is great, but it can’t really hold a candle to lunch in New Orleans), I guess I can play host.

But here’s where I need your help…  Ralph has challenged me to take him out for the best sandwich in Midtown- a task made all the more difficult by the fact that he is visiting from arguably the greatest sandwich city in the country.  So I’m turning the decision over to you guys.  Post in the comments where you think I should take him, and whatever you guys decide- that’s where we’ll go.  Plus- everyone who posts a comment will be entered to win a copy of his new cookbook, “Ralph Brennan’s New Orleans Seafood Cookbook”.

My initial ideas, after the jump… Read more »

New Orleans Weekend Wrap Up and Midtown Links


I’m never going to eat again.  There are four reasons for this.

    1. Two full days of eating at Jazzfest.  You can see the live photo-blogged pictures of the Crabmeat Po’boy, Daquiri & Gospel, Crawfish Monica, Patton’s Catering Combo, Cafe Au Lait, & Crawfish Bread.  And that was just from Friday.  On Saturday, there was the beignets from Cafe du Monde (seen above), Soft Shelled Crawfish Po-Boy, a fried shrimp po-boy, shrimp bread, and two mango freezes.
    2. An out of this world dinner at Cochon, the new’ish restaurant from Donald Link, of Herbsaint fame.  This place is the real deal, and should win the James Beard award for Best New Restaurant (even though I love NYC Nominees A Voce & Momofuku Ssam Bar).  I only wish the lighting had been better so I could have taken pictures of the food.  Highlights include: spicy pork ribs with watermelon pickle, wood fired oysters, fried gator with chili garlic aioli, smoked ham hocks with grits and brown gravy, and of course, the signature Louisiana Cochon (roast pork).
    3. Two dozen raw oysters (half at Felix’s in the French Quarter on Friday night, and half at Acme Oyster House in the airport right before I boarded my plane home).
    4. And finally, lunch at Panda Express in the Houston Airport during my layover. It’s been awhile since I enjoyed their orange chicken and delcious noodles, so I was pretty excited.  Have I mentioned we need a Panda Express in Midtown? 

Needless to say it was an amazing weekend… oh, and I saw a little music too.  It also means, I didn’t post any Midtown Links at the end of last week.  So, while I recover- here’s some Midtown stuff for you to enjoy from last week:


At Lunch Now (N.O. Edition): Cochon de Lait Po-Boy

5:15 pm.  A roast pork po-boy, dressed of course (in New Orleans that means mayo,
lettuce and tomato). Salty, smokey and amazing. A great way to enjoy
pulled pork. I think that may be it for today… even at Jazzfest I
think eating at 5:15 may be considered dinner.   

These photos were live-blogged from the 1st weekendo of the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival.  Check out previous entries: Crabmeat Po’boy, Daquiri & Gospel, Crawfish Monica, Patton’s Catering Combo, Cafe Au Lait, & Crawfish Bread.

Midtown Lunch is going to New Orleans!

Tomorrow is a very special edition of Midtown Lunch.  I will be live photoblogging my lunch (normal)… at Jazzfest in New Orleans (not normal).  And by “lunch” I mean everything I eat between 11am (when the gates open) and 7pm (when they kick me out).  It’s my first trip to Jazzfest, but anyone who has ever been knows that it’s all about the food.  Who cares about seeing Rod Stewart and John Mayer… there’s crawfish bread to be had!  It’s time to see how another city lunches… and I’ll be bringing it to you live tomorrow starting around 1pm.

“But Zach.”  You say.  “Jazzfest is not in Midtown.  Seeing those pictures will just make me jealous and angry.”  To that, I say- too bad.  It’s a friday, and that’s where I’m having lunch.  So you will be forced to read about it.  Midtown Lunch is going to New Orleans!!!  (Not quite as exciting as “The Simpsons are going to Japan!”, but certainly more exciting than “Where in the World is Matt Lauer?”)

When it comes to New Orleans food, I feel as if Jazzfest is my final culinary stone left unturned.  Beignets at Cafe du Monde, Boiled Crawfish, Raw Oysters, Muffallatta at the Central Grocery, Fried Chicken at Dunbar’s, meals at Bayona, Jacques-Imo’s, Dick & Jenny’s, Lilette, Mother’s, Casamento’s, Commander’s Palace, Clancy’s, Upperline, Camellia Grill, Crabby Jack’s, Emeril’s, and of course- the meal served at my wedding.  But I’ve never had crawfish bread.  Or crawfish monica.  Jazzfest, here I come!

Not convinced that the food is more important than the music?  Check out the list of food vendors they publish *in advance* on the website.  Right now my must-haves are crawfish bread, crawfish monica, fried crawfish tails, and the soft-shelled crawfish po-boy (what????).  I guess it’s going to be a crawfish kind of weekend.  Got any suggestions (besides ‘Don’t die from overeating’)?  Feel free to leave them as comments…  photos will start around 1pm EST on Friday, and go up throughout the day (as I eat stuff), and maybe on Saturday if I haven’t exploded.