MealPass! Like ClassPass, but food.

For those of you that don’t obsessively scan the NYC food blogs, YUUUGE news on the weekday lunch beat: MealPass is coming and it could very possibly change your life. If you work between 10th St and 34th St, between 3rd Ave and 8th Ave, LISTEN UP. You work in the MealPass zone. (Those outside the zone are welcome to keep listening.)

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MealPass is a lunch subscription service brought to you by the creators of ClassPass. You pay $99/month and get access to one lunch per day at over 120 restaurants in the Midtown/Flatiron area. Each restaurant offers one option each day, and the following day’s menu is posted at 7:00PM the night before. As long as you order by 9:30AM that day, you can waltz into the restaurant, skip the line, pick up your item from the cashier, and sashay out like queen of the world. If the service works the way MealPass claims it should, some potential pros and cons:

The Pros:

Price. The most exciting part of MealPass? The cost. For $99/month, with five weekday meals included, that breaks down to about $5 per meal if you use it every day. This is significantly cheaper than newly launched lunchtime players Maple ($12), Fastbite by Caviar ($15-$17), and UberEats ($16-$20). Put all that extra money in your Roth IRA like the millennial your parents wish you were.

Speed. Have you ever waited in a sweetgreen line a few weeks before peak #croptopseason? Brutal. Your meal will be ready at a designated time and you can get back to work faster.

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Options. MealPass currently has 120 restaurants in its roster, and that’s just for the initial launch. Stand out selections include Blue Smoke, Choza Taqueria, Joe’s Pizza, and ilili Box.

The Cons:

Options. Wait, wasn’t this just a pro? Having 120 options each day can lead to choice paralysis, or what I call “The Cheesecake Factory Effect”. Maybe you want the Tex Mex Eggrolls, but shittttt what about the Louisiana Chicken Pasta, but damn the Factory Nachos look good oh FUCK IT just bring me ten loaves of the brown bread.

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Timing. You have to decide what you want for lunch either after 7:00PM the night before, or before 9:30AM that day. Good luck remembering to make your choices during the times you’re least likely to be by a computer.

Portions. MealPass launched in Boston and Miami in January. If you can get past the impassioned bickering about the size of a normal cheeseburger, this Boston Chowhound thread shows some early complaints about portion sizes being significantly smaller than advertised.

Delivery. Per the laws of physics, my body at rest in my desk chair tends to stay at rest. I’d actually have to get off my lazy ass and go outside with the masses to pick up the food.

The Verdict:

Who knows! The service launches today and my office is in Soho, so I’m not a great candidate. I’m doomed to $13 turkey sandwiches from Dean and Deluca and $8 pureed raspberries from Joe and the Juice, but if you’re in MealPass’ sweet spot, sign up here: https://mealpass.com/

Read more here:

MealPass, a ClassPass-Style Lunch Service, Launches in NYC This Week – Eater

Mealpass is a money-saving Classpass for your weekday lunch – Time Out NY

A tradition continues: LGBM and family try Japanese KitKats

My brother recently traveled to Tokyo, and knowing my fascination with foreign junk foods, he brought back some treats: purple sweet potato KitKats:

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Apparently purple sweet potatoes are served whipped in a wonton wrapper?

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Ooohhh ahhhh presentation…

I first subjected my other family members to the confectionery experiment:

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And then summoned all of my bravery to try myself:

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See the full videos with all of the giggles and facial expressions here:

BREAKING NEWS: TRADER JOE’S IS COMING TO MURRAY HILL

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I’ve lived in Murray Hill for over 5 years. I’m not proud of it, but I’m not NOT proud of it.

When I first moved in, there was an overpriced, cramped D’Agostinos and a smelly, generally upsetting Gristedes. Times were bleak.

In 2012, Fairway arrived like a shiny beacon of prepared food-laden, produce-stacked hope. The subterranean space revolutionized my grocery game. But the cheap frozen foods and cheery Hawaiian-shirt clad staff of Trader Joe’s was still 13 blocks away. Much too far for a Little Girl with Big Bags of food.

(Also there was this one time where a Trader Joe’s checkout guy asked me out via a note in my bag of apples and we went out once and he told me his hobbies included drawing graffiti in subway tunnels but that is neither here nor there.)

EVERYTHING IS ABOUT TO CHANGE. Trader Joe’s is moving into the old Food Emporium space on 32nd and 3rd Ave in fall of 2016. Looks like I’ll be staying in my apartment in Fratty Hill for the rest of my life. Check out the original article below for more details:

Trader Joe’s Coming to Kips Bay – DNAinfo

We’re just waiting on you now Wegmans.

A Short Video Series: LGBM and Family Eat Weird New Zealand Gas Station Treats

While traveling with my family through New Zealand, we picked up some traditional and newly developed Kiwi snack foods at a local gas station. This gas station wasn’t quite as special as the one in Australia because that one had kangaroo tails in the freezer next to the ice cream.

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While we didn’t buy the frosty Aussie appendages, my family members were kind enough to sample their other New Zealand snacks on camera. Varying results below.

SPOILER ALERT – Pineapple lump face:

THE FULL REACTIONS:

Pineapple Lumps

Vanilla Shake M&Ms

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LGBM is going DOWN UNDER!

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G’day mates. As of this Friday, I will be embarking on a two week journey to Sydney and Ayers Rock in Australia and Auckland and Wellington in New Zealand with the fam. I will eat shrimp on the barbie and Vegemite (but not really) and whatever they eat in New Zealand. Are there kiwis in New Zealand or just the birds called kiwis? Is that an ignorant question?

Also, THIS:

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Baonana Split aka fried bao w/ice cream, fresh bananas, salted peanuts & Nutella from Belly Bao in Sydney. Yaaaaaaassss.

Any other reccos?

Grilled Cheese and Entrepreneuship: My article in the Cornell Alumni Magazine

In an unbelievable stroke of luck, the Cornell Alumni Magazine let me write an article about my favorite thing in the world: grilled cheese. Spencer Rubin ’08, owner of Melt Shop, spoke with me about his adventures in cheese grilling and what it takes to start a fast casual empire. This is what it looks like in print in the July/August issue, out now:

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You can read the full article online here: Earl of Sandwich

Celebrate America with Melted Cheese and New Restaurants

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You can’t blame Boehner for getting emotional – that is some sexy cheese. I also may have cried while eating it.

Get out of your backyard (if you’re lucky enough to have one) and head to one of these new or newish restaurants in NYC.


Santina

This new hot spot right under the High Line is always full of beautiful, trendy people. The palm trees and colorful dishware make you feel like you’re on the Mediterranean coast. The food is light but pricey – buyer beware.

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Cecina with avocado trapenese. Fancy words for chickpea pancake with Mediterranean guac.

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Kale salad

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Tortellini sorrentina – goat cheese tortellini

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Bonus round – Cocktail: Manganelli punch. Comes in a fun pineapple great for taking hilarious “Look I’m drinking out a pineapple!” pictures.

Get it here: 

Santina – 820 Washington Street


Upland

Everyone’s been raving about this new Flatiron place for dinner, but I actually liked it better for brunch. And the room glows with gold light so it makes you feel like your robbing the gold bar supply from a bank. A delicious, heavy breathing-inducing bank.

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Pastry Basket – house-made grapefruit pound cake, baguette, bacon and chive scones, cinnamon sugar donuts, lemon poppy muffin, butter + jam

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Spanish frittata – roasted garlic mayonnaise, espelette + chives. A Spanish tortilla masquerading as a frittata. Still good.

Get it here: 

Upland – 345 Park Ave South


Maman

I’m gonna start some shit when I say this: Maman is the new Levain Bakery. If you don’t feel like shlepping to the Upper West Side and waiting on a 20 minute line for a cookie, Maman’s are just as good.

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Chocolate chip walnut cookie

Get it here:

Maman – 239 Centre St


Gato

This is Bobby Flay’s newest Spanish influenced NYC restaurant. Most of my pictures from here came out really shitty because I had just gotten a new camera and didn’t know what the hell I was doing, so here’s one of the most popular and unique appetizers: scrambled eggs.

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Scrambled eggs, almond romesco, boucheron cheese, tomato confit toast

Get it here:

Gato – 324 Lafayette St


Root and Bone

Southern food is my favorite type of food. I have an unrefined palate and I don’t like sushi or clams or beef tartare or basically anything that “foodies” should like. I might be the worst, but Root and Bone is the best.

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Apricot and ricotti bruschetta

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Grilled peach caprese – gooey pimento cheese croquette, charred peaches, pickled green tomatoes, baby heirloom tomatoes, basil & molasses vinegar

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Macaroni and cheese – big pasta, crunchy cheese & biscuit thyme crust

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Fried chicken & waffle sandwiches – whisky maple syrup, pickled green tomato, watercress, on a cheddar cheese waffle. We didn’t even order this but they brought it to us by mistake and I wasn’t mad.

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Crispy chicken biscuits – tabasco pepper jam, jar of pickles & root chips

Get it here:

Root and Bone – 200 E 3rd St


Raclette

The mothership. This shoebox in the East Village has literally 6 seats in it. You order a plate of vegetables, potatoes, and meat, and they come by with this giant wedge of hot cheese and melt it on top of your food. They have a few other things here but why bother: you know why you came.

They’re doing a solid business in takeout, which I don’t really understand, because how does the cheese melting work? Does the delivery guy come with the wedge of cheese and the contraption that melts it and do it for you in your living room while you watch your 5th episode of Law and Order SVU? Or, much worse, is the cheese pre-melted? Just do yourself a favor and get here ASAP.

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Get it here:

Raclette – 195 Avenue A