Archive for September 2009

Alfanoose is Baklavawesome

Alfanoose, located at 8 Maiden Lane between Broadway and Nassau, has been on the Downtown Lunch radar for awhile now. A quick search of the website has showed it popping up every year for the last few years. Lunch’er Lara recommended it to profiled Lunch’er “Tam” back in 2007. It was mentioned in the comments of the 2008 Readers’ Poll for Best Falafel. And most recently, Daniel was honing in on the place after visiting the Country Kebab. Seems to me it’s high time we made this puppy an official Downtown Lunch.

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Pasha’s Special Rice Platter

Months ago, one of my coworkers would not stop yapping about this street meat cart. It went missing for a few weeks and he maintained a strict schedule of lamentation every time lunch rolled around. “Oh how I wish the curry chicken cart was still here!” he’d moan. I found the prospect of a curry chicken cart rather dubious and told him as much. Maybe there was a cart that served chicken in something other than jerk or standard halal form up in Midtown, but certainly nothing like this existed in the Financial District. Did this keep him from his daily bitching? Hell no. I put up with that garbage for a month straight, and after that it was more a testament to my resolve not to seek out this curry cart (which had returned), just to spite him. Well, yesterday I broke down from my silent protest. I tracked down this curry cart to see if it was really worth all the anguish.

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Downtown Lunch: And We Shall Name Thee… "Frito Lay" Cart

Midtown workers shouldn’t have all the fun, so to even the score, I’ve brought on Daniel Krieger as an official Downtown Lunch Correspondent to write up some of the tasty stuff you can get in the lower half of Manhattan. He’s a great photographer (insuring good food porn), but more importantly he is a lover of cheap, unique and delicious eats (or as I like to call it- Midtown Lunch’ish food.)


First off thanks to Chris for covering my shift last week. I love lamb, and that cart looked pretty damn good. Anyway, on this week’s post… during a meeting with two recently engaged people to discuss their wedding, we started talking about one of my favorite topics, food. The groom-to-be told me he worked downtown so I asked what his favorite cart was. “Definitely the Halal truck right across from Men’s Warehouse on Broadway, they have the best chicken and rice downtown.” I had to check it out, so yesterday I headed to what I’ll name The “Frito Lay” Truck since they have no name or menu but several large Frito Lay stickers slapped around the truck. If the chicken was better than Musthafas Halal cart (aka Zak’s), which is about 20 feet away, I’d be a very happy camper.

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Get Your Real Lamb On at Michael’s Food Cart

Downtown Lunch: Michael's Cart

When Zach asked me to write the Downtown Lunch segment this week, I was ecstatic. Then nervous. Then petrified. I tend to be something of an imaginative fellow and despite having read this particular blog for a good long while and knowing that the readers are good people, the only thing I could really grasp on Monday afternoon was a sense of impending doom. See, the big, bad blogosphere is sort of like Rikers Island. You’ve got to come in swinging for people to take notice and know you mean business (not that I have a lengthy criminal record or anything, but I’ve seen a few episodes of Oz). So the only question left is “who are you gonna shank?” Do I choose the Mexican hole-in-the-wall with the steady clientele of Spanish speakers? Nah, too out of the way, nobody would notice. What about the greasy Chinese joint tucked down a dank alley? No, that might not pack quite enough oompf for my first go around. No, if I’m gonna do this, I’m gonna do it properly, Midtown Lunch style, and that means only one thing: Street meat.

Downtown Lunch: Michael's Cart

I’ve had my eye on this particular cart, Michael’s Food Cart, for some time now. Positioned on the southwest corner of Wall and South streets, I’d heard it was one of the select few carts in the city that actually did cubes of lamb. And I’m not talking about cubes of that big spiced cylinder of processed lamb that you get in your gyro (though, full disclosure, I am a fan of that). I’m talking real chunks of lamb, seasoned well and grilled over a hibachi. And I don’t know about you, but when I think about grilled meat, I start drooling more than all of Pavlov’s dogs combined. I had to see this for myself.

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Downtown Update: Picnick Smoked is Working on Daily Specials

Picnick Smoked daily special menu 001

Downtown Lunch’er Chris checked in this week with an update on Will Goldfarb’s new BBQ truck, (which Daniel wrote about a few weeks back).

Swung by Will Goldfarb’s Picnick Smoked BBQ cart on Monday, and saw a makeshift sign for daily specials. Check ‘em out: Monday, Pulled Chicken – $7. Tuesday, Ribs. Wednesday, Prime Rib. Thursday, BBQ Salmon. Friday, Smoked Sausage.

I talked a little with Kevin Pomplun and he said they’d just started this week. They’re still very much in the process of figuring out how it’s going to work, but said that the specials would be priced between $7 (for the chicken and sausage, for example) and to $15 (for the prime rib, or a half rack of smoked spare ribs). He hasn’t even sourced the sausage yet, but is looking to do it with Heritage pork and may even be making the sausage himself. He said he was doing his best to keep it as local and affordable as possible, while still keeping it damn tasty.

He’d actually taken down the menu on Tuesday, and ended up pushing the ribs to Wednesday this week (he wasn’t happy with the way Tuesday’s batch looked). Clearly, the sign I saw yesterday was temporary and they’re just taking this idea for a test run. If it’s still going well in a few weeks, he’ll make a permanent sign. Just thought I’d give Downtown Lunch’ers the heads up.

Downtown Lunch: “Picnick Smoked” Will Goldfarb’s New BBQ Truck