PROFILE: Downtown Lunch’er “Tom”
As is customary here on Midtown Lunch, every Tuesday we’ll profile a different lunch’er and get their recommendations for places to eat in Downtown NYC. This week, we have Tom who works in the dead zone of the World Financial Center, but ventures over to the FiDi for some Caribbean and has a very short list of food dislikes.
Where you work: World Financial Center
Favorite Kinds of Food: Kind of everything, but some highlights are pork buns, moules frites, ramen, herring, cheeeeeeeese, bacon, and dessert pizza. What’s dessert pizza you ask? It’s when you go to an Italian place like Franny’s and eat a bunch of cured meats, pizza and pasta and when the server brings you the dessert menu, you ask for another pizza. I also like having ridiculous food parties for things that I would probably never make otherwise. This has included gypsy bacon and kimchi skewers, totchos, and waffles stuffed with cheese/bacon/fried apples/pancetta and topped with fried chicken/gravy/whipped mascarpone.
Least Favorite Foods: I try to like everything and if there’s something I don’t like, I figure I just haven’t tried hard enough. Bitter melon probably took the most effort, and it’s the one I’m still not sure about.
Favorite Lunches Downtown: People sitting near me may not like the smell of the fried anchovy banchan, but Se Ja Meh on Greenwich St. (at Carlisle) has some pretty good lunch specials that I’ll get once in a while. Veronica’s Kitchen cart on Front St. (at Pine) is a long time favorite (the starch and starch side combo of mac n cheese and provision). Once in a while when I’m feeling it I’ll get the pizza and beer special at Dona Bella Pizza on Church St. (at Chambers).
The “go-to” lunch place you and your co-workers eat at too often: I’ve only eaten there once or twice, but tons of co-workers go to the AmEx Cafeteria in WFC or places in the food court like Yushi, Devon & Blakely, or Cosi. My go-to is the Halal Fast Food cart on the southwest corner of Greenwich and Murray St. Solid chicken and lamb over rice, and the guys there remember the stupid jokes we have.
Places downtown you discovered thanks to Midtown Lunch: Basically everywhere I eat I discovered from Midtown Lunch. I used to work in Midtown and was absolutely spoiled by the options, down here it’s a little tougher. Most thankful for the Eritrean $5 Lunch Truck on Ann and Nassau, and of course Veronica’s.
Dream job location, purely for lunch purposes, and why: The Lower East Side / East Village border. A few blocks south and there’s Vanessa’s Dumpling House (duck sesame pancake and pork buns!!!), Xi’an Famous Foods on E. Broadway (at Forsyth), Cong Ly on Hester (btw. Bowery & Chrystie), Congee Village on Allen (at Delancey), Lan Zhou on E. Broadway (btw. Pike & Rutgers), and a billion Fujianese places that I want to try. On the border you’ve got Bereket, Russ & Daughter’s and Katz’s Deli. And going north it’s impossible to even list: Caracas, Porchetta, Motorino, coffee at Abraco, and on and on and on.
Anything you’d like to ask the downtown Midtown Lunch readers?: Is there anywhere near the World Financial Center where I can get really really good bread? One of my favorite lunches when I worked in Midtown was the tangy sourdough boule, cheese biscuit and cup of coffee at Amy’s Bread on 9th Ave. It was $4 and approximately a million calories, just the way I like it.
Tom, I am with you 100% on the bitter melon, the ingredient that made me not like Filipino food. As for the bread, I don’t know if you’ve tried Takahachi Bakery on Murray St. (at Church), but they had some really good looking bread and tastu pastries. And as always, if you would like to be next week’s Profiled Lunch’er (or know somebody you’d like to nominate), email us at email@example.com.