Archive for December 2009

Fight Back Against The Cold At The Country Cafe

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I don’t know if you noticed, but winter arrived. I’m not quite sure when exactly, but I distinctly remember the biting cold of the wind sweeping through any number of skyscraper-formed wind tunnels and catching my swiftly frozen ass completely off guard. I would let out a meek moan, turn my shoulder into the gust, and do my best not to slump over in submission to Jack Frost. That’s when I know it’s time to find some kind of piping hot liquid to pour down my gullet and warm me from the core. Soup is a very popular choice, of course, but to me it’s just not enough. There’s a reason why soup is almost invariably paired with a sandwich. It just doesn’t cut it. No, what I need is something meaty, something manly, something that makes me want to wear flannel and cut down trees. I’m in the mood for beef stew.

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The place that has come recommended to me for beef stew time and again is The Country Café and it was high time I checked this place out. It’s located in the public space accessible from either Pine St. or Wall St. between William and Pearl Streets, right next door to Deutsche Bank. Inside there’s a decent sized plaza with tables and plenty of seating. If you can maneuver your way into one of the tables, don’t get up until you’re ready to leave. Those things are valuable real estate as many of them are taken up by chess players during the lunch hour. The Country Café is located right in the middle on the east side of the space, if you’re good with directions. If you’re not, it’s on the side with all the shops.

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Swich’s ‘wiches Are a Notch Above the Rest

When I encounter restaurants that are trying to be cool, I usually turn and run for the hills. Fancy fonts, aggressive graphic designs, and cutely-named dishes are big red flags in my book, and I have a general rule that the more bells and whistles a restaurant has on its website, the worse its food is going to be. If you’re spending time on Flash animating a dancing cat in a chef’s hat rather than on perfecting your food, you need to get out of the restaurant business.

So by all rights Swich on Maiden Lane near Gold Street should have scared me off. The design screams “WE ARE A TRENDY PLACE TO GET A SANDWICH!” The menu offers “Deconstructed” sandwiches instead of salads. The website features a cartoon history of the place. Danger, Will Robinson!

But “the exception proves the rule,” as idiots are fond of saying. Despite the worrisome signs, Swich delivers interesting and well-made food that’s worth checking out.

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Downtown Extra: “Oinker” is the Frites N Meats Burger of the Week

Frites N Meats continues to make me jealous of Downtown Lunch’ers. As if their existence wasn’t enough, they’re doing a special “burger of the week”. This week? The Oinker: A Niman Ranch seasoned pork patty w/ bacon, gruyere and a spicy roasted red pepper aoli. Are you kidding me? I immediately sent one of our Downtown Lunch correspondents over to check it out. What Chris S. found is after the jump…

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Budtharasa Is My Goto FiDi Thai Spot

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I don’t know how many of you have noticed, but Zach gave us Downtown Lunch’ers a beautiful gift this holiday season: our very own section in the forums. We’re working on getting them up to speed, but boomshanka has already started a great topic of discussion regarding what our “Go To” lunch spots are in the Financial District. Since I work right in the heart of the FiDi, I’ve got a sizeable list going already, but managed to pick up a few new ones from this thread. One mode de cuisine that people seemed to be confounded by down here is Thai food. Well, consider this my contribution to that particular thread and let me introduce Budtharasa on Washington St. between Rector and Carlisle.

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