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I was walking to work the other day and got handed a menu for the Tuck Shop, an Australian Meat Pie shop hidden away in an Internet Cafe that I wrote about a little over a month ago. In the menu I saw an item that I hadn’t noticed before… “The Floater”. Any Aussie pie of your choice, covered in pea soup made by Madeleine the Crepe Lady (a little old French lady who makes crepes in the same Internet Cafe). It sounded like a marriage made in heaven… and with the weather starting to get gross- the perfect winter lunch.
Now, I will admit that “The Floater” is an unfortunate name. While it may be an Australian term for a pie covered in soup- it has come to mean something far grosser in our frat boyish American culture. (As a matter of fact, when I told one of my co-workers what I had eaten for lunch… he joked that it was also what I “would be making in a few hours”) But you can’t blame these guys… they’re Australian! And it’s still a catchy name, even though the heavy pie doesn’t really float in Madeleine’s hearty pea soup.
The picture of “The Floater”, after the jump…
I think I’ve said this before, but I’m going to say it again. I love food courts. What’s there not to like? It’s like 20 cheap restaurants, all under the same roof. Sure I always get the Chinese food, or the Chinese food knock off (bourbon chicken I’m looking at you)… but having the options (whether you use them or not) is great- because if you go with other people, everyone can get what they want. So when I want Chinese food (which I always do), my wife and I can go to a food court even if she doesn’t want Chinese food, because there’s other things for her to get! It’s a fool proof scheme…
There aren’t many food courts in Manhattan (you’ve gotta go to a mall in the suburbs for that), but there are a few. And one, that seems like it should be amazing, is the Grand Central Terminal Food Court. One walk through this place, and you’ll think you’ve died and gone to food court heaven. No wasted space on generic fast food joints like McDonalds or BK, and they have all the requisite food options (Chinese, Sushi, Indian, Cajun, Caribbean, BBQ, Pizza, and more.)
And yet, for a food court- with a ton of options- right in the middle of Midtown, it’s not nearly as crowded as you would think. None of the places have lines, and we didn’t have too much trouble finding a place to sit. To top it off, I get emails all the time recommending places to eat in Midtown. Very few “good” (a relative term of course) or popular places have gone unrecommended. And yet, nobody has ever recommended the food court, or singled out any of the choices in an email.
A superficial look at the options, more pictures, and a call to arms… after the jump.
Continuing our Fashion Week theme, I decided to give the full +/- treatment to a place I discovered on Friday, and mentioned briefly in yesterday’s post. Walking back to work from taking pictures of ‘wichcraft for my Fashion Week guide to Midtown Lunch, I randomly stumbled upon this weird little soup place- and based on the name alone, and what was going on half a block away in Bryant Park, I figured I had to check it out. As big and strange as NYC is, it really is a small world. Coincidentally enough, I ran into a friend of mine from college who I’ve maybe seen twice in the past 7 years, who was picking up lunch in the weird soup place.. so I asked him if it was any good, and on his recommendation I decided to check it out.
Whatever pre-conceived notion you might have about a place called “Fashion Soup Corp” it’s definitely wrong. There’s nothing about this place that is fashionable (unless you count the fashion magazines strewn around the counter for patrons to read). It’s actually so bare bones, you wouldn’t be surprised to hear that they opened up just for Fashion Week attendees once a year (like those Halloween stores in the mall)… but that is not the case. Fashion Soup has been on 41st St. btw. 6th & Broadway for years- and the brother and sister duo who run it make a delicious array of homemade soups, sandwiches, quesadillas and empanadas for a menu that changes every single day.
What I got, and the +/- after the jump…
If you are a regular reader of this blog then you know I’m not a huge fan of the “Midtown Deli”. You know the place I’m talking about- salad bar, pre-made sandwiches, there’s one on every block. So when my friend Joanne emailed a link to a New Yorker article about one of these very places, I was pretty surprised. The New Yorker was writing about a Midtown Lunch deli??? I expected more from you, oh high-brow’d New Yorker…
In their defense Dishes is a little more “high brow’d” then your typical Midtown Deli, but still a deli nonetheless. The article is more about some sort of staff issue then about the food- but they did slip this intuitive observation into the opening:
“A decent midtown lunch spot—not the expense-account sort but a good, clean sandwich shop, with a fresh salad bar, and maybe some seafood tom yum, if that’s your thing—can be hard to come by. Once you find one, you tend to stick with it. You learn the hourly cycles, in terms of both customer flow (twelve-forty-five equals chaos) and servers’ shifts, and you begin to time your visits accordingly.”
True enough. Well, against my better judgement, I decided to head over to Dishes at 12:45pm yesterday and check out the chaos. I’ve walked by this place a million times (usually on my way to Oms/b) and thought it looked like an above average deli. It’s been recommended to me by a few readers- but it wasn’t until the New Yorker described it as a “a sleek, vaguely Asian-themed cafeteria”, I decided it was time for a visit… after all, I love the Asian food. Of course, I saw only “Asian”, and missed the “vaguely” part. Very important distinction.
Pictures, what I ate, and the +/- after the jump…
If you read this blog every day, I’m sure you get the general idea of my taste. I’m not really into those delis that litter midtown with their “choice”. Choice to me is
“Do I get my combo with the pork fried rice, or lo mein?”. I consider most sandwiches kind of boring, and I never imagined I could eat a salad for lunch. That is, until I met the Variety Cafe… and I let my guard down. I allowed myself to fall in love with this Variety Cafe place, and their wonderful salad bar for fat people… only to have my heart ripped in half by their disregard for serving said salad without rodent droppings.
“I’ll never eat at a deli/salad bar place again” I said to myself (I use slashes when I talk- that’s pronounced “deli slash salad bar”), that is, until I found Cafe Duke. From the outside it looks like your typical Manhattan lunch place. The name, the decor, the salad bar, buffet by the pound, rotisserie bar, sandwiches and paninis, wraps and of course the sushi bar. But, hidden in the back left hand corner is the real gem of the place… The Korean Food station!
That’s right, Bi Bim Bap, Bulgogi and Korean soup, being served in the back of a Midtown deli. Bastards! I can feel myself falling in love all over again…
The food porn, and +/- after the jump… Continue to the rest of the post…
In my last post, I made brief mention of the new ‘wichcraft location in Midtown that just opened last week… but I’m aware that most people don’t read posts all the way through. So for all you lazy bums who missed it the first time around, rather then punish you by allowing you to go through life not knowing about the new ‘wichcraft, I have chosen to post about it again- with pictures (I know how much you like those!). A new ‘wichcraft location just opened up on 46th st. just east of 5th avenue. The front of the building is kind of covered in scaffolding, so it’s easy to miss. Here’s your first look:
Many people feel the sandwiches here are not worth the price, unless you’re enjoying them outside in Bryant Park. But it’s been fricking hot out lately- so maybe you’d like your overpriced sandwich in the air conditioning. Don’t let the picture fool you… the no line, empty tables thing isn’t going to last for long- and they don’t have the online ordering up and running yet, so get it while the gettin’s good.
‘wichcraft, 555 5th Ave. (entrance on 46th St. btw. Madison & 5th)