Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Summer of Lunch (in NYC)

In the summer, I have half-day Fridays, which means I get out of work at 1:30. But I don't get to go home right away. Instead, I have to wait around until 3:00 for the next bus home. To kill time, I like to grab lunch and try out new eateries in the city. Last summer, I didn't get to try many lunch places. But this summer, I was ALL OVER IT.

And I made a 2-page scrapbook layout about it using this layout as inspiration. The pictures on this layout were taken via Instagram, and I printed them out in 4x3 size using the Walgreens photo app.

The first place I visited was Toasties. I think they have multiple locations, but I went to the one in Chelsea. I had The Alice sandwich (minus tomatoes) and it was really good! Freshly made, too.

The second place I visited was a coffee and sandwich shop called Birch. I had the classic grilled cheese on sourdough with a chai latte. It was very good, too. Very crowded, though.

Next up was a German restaurant called Landbrot. I was super excited about eating here, but it was really kind of disappointing. I had a cheese pretzel, the Farmer's Brat, and sparkling apple juice. It was all fine. But none of the employees were German, which disappointed me, and the online menu differed a little bit from what was actually offered in the restaurant. Plus, the bread for the bratwurst was practically uneatable; it was so tough. Not a place I would revisit.

The fourth place was Piccolo Cafe. It has pretty much no indoor seating, so I had to get my lunch to go and eat in Port Authority, which wasn't ideal, but it was fine. If it wasn't summer, I would have tried a coffee beverage, but it was hot out, so I went for the prosciutto egg sandwich and an Italian soda. The Italian soda was not the kind of Italian soda I'm used to having. Instead, it was basically just an Italian brand of orange soda in a can. Still tasted good, though.

Roastown Coffee offered something I would definitely get again: a bacon cheddar ranch wrap. OH MAN. They make it fresh there, and then they grilled it, so the cheese inside was all warm and melty. They also threw some chips in my container. I wasn't really sure what to expect from this place. It's a jack of all trades, really. If you want frozen yogurt, salads, sandwiches, wraps, or sushi, this place has it all. Plus, a weird little upstairs seating area/bar. Despite some negative online reviews, I still tried it out, and I'm so glad I did. For $10, I got a really yummy lunch, and that's saying something in New York.

My sixth stop was Dig Inn Seasonal Market. It's definitely a place where you have to know what to do before you get there. I had looked at the online menu and thought I'd get a sandwich, but when I got there, the set-up was not what I expected. Instead, I had to choose a meat item and three sides that were all thrown into one container. I also ordered a peanut butter shake. The food was good but not something that I'd want to eat again. The shake was good, but I think I would have liked it better if it had not been made with bananas. Yuck.

Number 7 on my list was not planned. I had wanted to go to a burger place, but when I got there, I discovered that it was sit-down only AND there was a wait to be seated. No thank you. So I hopped across the street to Baja Fresh. Yes, I know it's a chain and not specific to New York, but I had never eaten there, so I thought I'd give it a try. Plus, it had a lunch deal. I got two pork soft tacos and chips plus a soda for under $10. The music in the restaurant (the Times Square location) was LOUD but the food was good, and I found a place to sit and eat.

For my eighth stop, I hit the food carts on the High Line, one of my favorite places in the city. Actually, probably my only favorite place in the city. There are lots of choices for food on the High Line, so I did my research before I got there. I got an Apple & Ginger soda from Brooklyn Sodaworks and The Mess sandwich from Delaney BBQ. Then I took my food and ate out in the sun in this cool elevated park. In hindsight, I probably should have gone for some gelato to cool me off because it was a hot day, but the BBQ sandwich was a yummy choice!

And last but not least, 9 and 10 go together. I've always wanted to eat at a place called Burgers & Cupcakes. There used to be a location on 23rd street, but it closed before I ever got over there. Then I discovered that there is another location on 9th. Honestly, I expected more from this place. I had a turkey burger to start and then a mint chocolate chip cupcake to finish. This place was sit-down, which I hadn't expected, and the service was so slow! I ordered my burger and cupcake at the same time but only got my burger. Then, after I had eaten my burger, the waitress came back over and asked if I wanted a cupcake. Uh, yes. I already ordered it and you didn't bring it! Then she tried to charge me twice for the cupcake, so I had to get that fixed before paying. AND the cupcake really wasn't that special. I've had MUCH better cupcakes elsewhere. Seems to me if the word "cupcake" is in the name of your restaurant, you should probably know what you're doing when it comes to baking cupcakes.

If you're ever in New York and looking for some good eats, hopefully these mini reviews have been helpful to let you know where to go and where to avoid.

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