Archive for September 2007

Pure Food & Wine’s Matt Kenney Opening Free Foods NYC Today

Free Foods NYC, the brainchild of Chef Matt Kenney from Pure Food & Wine, is opening today on 45th btw. 5+6th.  They are putting the finishing touches on the place this morning, and plan on being open by Noon for lunch.  I caught a partial glimpse of the menu on the wall, and with Salads & Entrees all over $10, it looks like Midtown Lunch might be priced out of this one.  The sandwich menu was on the far wall, so I couldn’t see the prices… Either way, the place looks pretty nice and I’m sure will be a welcome addition to all the well paid Midtown’ers who are looking for a more upscale deli experience.

Any rich Midtown vegetarians or organic food enthusiasts want to be our guinea pigs?  Check it out and report back…

PROFILE: Midtown Lunch’er “Zack” (Not me)

Every Tuesday I turn over Midtown Lunch to a random worker, for their favorite places to eat lunch in Midtown. This week it’s Zack (not me, as you can tell by the spelling), a 27 year old software developer who has discovered the holy grail, just outside the boudaries of Midtown Lunch’ing.  A Chinese/Cuban combo restaurant on 60th btw. Lex & Park…

Name: Zack


Software Developer

Where in Midtown do you Work?:
59th & Lexington, the Siberia of Midtown

Favorite Kind of Food:
Cheeseburgers and beer. Particularly those from Paul’s on 2nd Ave (in the East Village) or Burger Joint in Le Parker Meridien.

Least Favorite Kind of Food: Sun-dried tomatoes. There is no limit to my loathing for their nastiness.

Favorite Place to Eat Lunch in Midtown: Gotta go with the “C4″ Shrimp and lobster sauce lunch special at Sabroso Cuban+Chinese on 60th btw. Lex and Park. For $6.95 you get Chinese and Cuban cuisine coming out of the same kitchen. Some of the best egg rolls I’ve ever had. All lunch combos automatically come with a distinctly Cuban version of fried rice. Nice little pork chunks in there. If you’re not feeling the Chinese, go for the half of a fried chicken or the pork cracklin. Most lunch specials under 10 bucks.

The “go-to” lunch place you and your co-workers eat at too often: Go Noodle! on 1st ave btw. 58th and 59th. The soup is awesome. Especially when it’s cold out. I get excited just thinking about this place. Fresh noodles and veggies make the ramen and other noodle soups the best on the menu. They are slow as balls to deliver, but well worth it. I can’t wait for winter so I can get me some of this good good hot soup.

Place you discovered thanks to Midtown Lunch: Rafiqi’s cart. Booya. Lamb & Chicken combo please.  (I actually still haven’t written about Rafiqi’s.  I know… it’s shameful.  But I know other people have mentioned it on the site, so I’m happy to take credit for it!  -zach)

If you could work anywhere (just because of the lunch) where would it be and why? I’d have to go with Tribeca for many reasons.

1) Cookies from Columbine.
2) Shrimp baguette and coffee from Franklin Station Cafe
3) All drumstick hot chicken box from Bon Bon Chicken
4) Fried Dumpling on Mosco St. (6/$1)
5) Peking Duck house on Mott
6) Coconut rice and Pad See Mao at Pongsri on Bayard.
7) Bacon & Beer Mussels or the burger @ Le Petite Abeille
8) Beef-short-rib-and-kimchi Sandwich served on mantou @ Province – Church St.

Anything you’d like to ask the Midtown Lunch readers? I’d like to know what your theories are on why there are so many crappy-ass delis in midtown. Do people really like paying $8 for a turkey sandwich on stale flimsy bread? The once exception to this is Madeline’s Cafe on 56th between Lex & 3rd. Good sandwiches here. Fresh ingredients, good bread, place is clean, good baked goods too.

Um… isn’t it pretty obvious?  Because people are lazy!  Well, that- and because the majority of the people who work in Midtown suck.  If you haven’t noticed, just look around your office (if you are reading this, you know you’re not one of them.)  But either way you look at it, it’s our fault.  We are the reason these lame places are still open.  Stop eating at crappy Midtown delis, and they will start closing (or at least add better and more interesting options.)  The revolution starts here!

Actually… wait.  I take that back.  We need crappy Midtown delis to distract the others from the good places.  Imagine what the crowds would be like at our favorite lunch spots if there weren’t places like Chipotle to keep the herds occupied.  Yes.  We need these places.  Keep doing what you are doing Cafe Metro!  You are my heroes after all…    

Next week, I will be in the UK- so I’m handing over the site to you!  Every day next week, a different Profiled: Midtown Lunch’er will take over Midtown Lunch (and be rewarded with a prize for their efforts).  Want that person to be you? Email me at

Takoyaki Comes to Midtown @ the 47th St. Japanese Convenience Store & Deli

When you say “Convenience Store”,  good lunch’ing is not really the first thing that pops into my mind.  Sure, I like a Drake’s Apple Pie just as much as the next guy, but old hot dogs and a slushy don’t really make an appealing lunch in my book.  Take “Convenience Store” and add the word “Japanese” to the front, and now you’re talking. 

In between checking out the Steak Truck on 47th & Park, and meeting a friend for lunch on 47th & 3rd, I stumbled upon this little gem of a “Convenience Store” and wondered why the hell nobody emailed me about it!  Stop hoarding places from me people.  Especially Asian Food.  It’s not right.  (Even though discovering it myself made it that much more awesome!) 

What they have, Japanese Convenience Store Food Porn, and a +/- after the jump…  Read more »

Midtown Links

Belly Laughs: Dimitri Martin on NYC Pizza

Here is this week’s little bit of food comedy…


Fall Means Soup Specials from the Jamaican Dutchy Cart

Starting on Monday, September 24th The Jamaican Dutchy (on 51st btw. 6+7th) will be serving hot soups daily.  Top of my list to try… the Chicken Feet soup and the Goat’s Head Soup.  (I wonder if I can get Andrew Zimmern or Anthony Bourdain to come with me.) I’ve never been more ready for Summer to be over.  Bring on the cold weather!

Thanks to cocktailian for posting the photo to the Midtown Lunch Flickr Photo Group.  His amazing looking Cow’s foot stew (yesterday’s lunch special), after the jump… Read more »

San Francisco Lunch: International Food Center

It’s time for another installment of everybody’s favorite game: ”Make Midtown Lunch’ers Jealous!”.   Last time it was Yvo, taunting us with fried chicken from a truck in Downtown NYC.  Today, we travel all the way to the west coast, where it’s Nicole’s turn.  She’s a 23 year old Investment Management Associate who loves everything Asian, and is about to make us all very envious.

If there is one thing we are totally, 100% missing in Midtown, it’s some cheap Vietnamese food ($7 banh mi doesn‘t count).  A write up on that alone would be enough to make me jealous.  Tell me about some cheap Vietnamese food that is part of a *food court* in the Financial District of San Francisco, and you’ve got me looking for a new job in the Bay Area.

Downtown San Francisco is not much different than NYC when it comes to lunch.  Most people work the typical 9 to 5, so lunch options abound.  But just like in NYC, people seem all too content to settle for places that offer your run of the mill deli salads, sandwiches and soups.  I have one coworker whose favorite salad place costs her $10-12 everyday.  That is not the spirit of Midtown Lunch.  I read the site everyday and it has encouraged me to seek out the hidden lunch gems near my office. 

My all time favorite San Francisco lunch discovery is without a doubt “The International Food Center” or as I like to call it, “The Underground Food Ghetto”.  It’s pretty unassuming, with a slightly dirty looking green banner calling you downstairs from the sidewalk into an underground ethnic food heaven.  There is Japanese food/sushi, Burmese food, Filipino food, Mexican food, and the most popular: Pho Express, a place serving up French Vietnamese food.  It’s not the cleanest place, so it’s only for the lunch adventurous.  

Dirty Asian Food Court Porn, after the jump… Read more »

Ramadan Means Special Meal From the Midtown Biriyani Cart


Ramadan, the holiest month of the Muslim calendar, begins today and the Chicken Briyani Cart on 46th & 6th is offering special “Iftar Boxes” for those who are observing (pronounced “if-tar” or “fitoor”).  Muslims all around the world will fast from sunrise to sunset for the next 30 days, abstaining from food and drinks of any kind.  At sunset, a special meal known as “Iftar” (which literally means breakfast or break fast) is enjoyed, usually as a communal event.

The box from the Briyani Cart will include a scoop of Chicken Biriyani, 1 Kati Roll, a samosa and what the guys in the cart described to me as a potato kebab.  It costs $5 and will be available from 4:30pm to 6:30pm every night for the next 30 days (starting on Friday).

Celebrate the New Year at Cafe Edison

Tonight is Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year), and if you don’t have your Mom in town to cook for you (mine is flying in this morning), then you may want to consider Cafe Edison for lunch.  I don’t eat at too many sit down restaraunts, but they don’t have good matzoh ball soup at too many places that specialize in quick lunches.  Luckily Cafe Edison, despite being a sit down diner, is cheap enough (the prices probably haven’t changed in 20 years) to be included as a bonafide Midtown Lunch.

Situated in the Edison Hotel on 47th btw. B’way & 8th, Cafe Edison is a relic of the Old Times Square.  Stepping inside is like stepping into a time warp, and it doesn’t matter how old you are, chances are- if you are reading this blog, you will be the youngest person there.  Their ever changing list of daily soups are easily the stand outs of the menu, but they also have great blintzes, matzoh brie (I’ll be back for Passover!), a real nice corned beef sandwich, and kasha varnishkes (if you don’t know, you probably don’t want to know).

The best Matzoh Ball soup in Midtown, more old school deli porn and a +/- after the jump… Read more »

No Free Yolato Yesterday on Park Ave.

The Midtown Yolato location on Park Ave. just south of 42nd St. was supposed to have its Grand Opening yesterday (with free Yolato all day long), but as you can tell from the photo, they weren’t quite ready.  I got an email saying 10 more days, but I can’t imagine how they’ll pull that off.  I will keep you updated…

In the meantime, you’ll have to settle for Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory, which is available (when it’s not raining) from a table next to Pershing Square on 42nd & Park until the end of the month (and in the restaurant on the dessert menu all year long).