Unintentionally Eating in Midtown (sort of)
For the latter part of this week, I’ve been eating in Midtown. Some of the reasons are that it’s closer to my campus (I’m lazy) and there’s a few interesting things happening during that time during the week. (To note, I’ll write about all the other places on the next post.) The first place I went twice to is Bon Appétit’s Supper Club. I’ll explain why as you read.
The first time I went to Bon Appétit’s Supper Club is mainly to get a sense of the food. If it’s really tasty and it’s worth the media hype it’s gotten for the past week or two from NY Magazine’s Grub Street and The Times.
After reading and seeing the sandwiches, I ended up getting Govind Armstrong’s Tropical Rolls with Sambal Sauce. For $7.50, it isn’t too bad since it’s two per order. I did take a look at the dessert table but nothing really grabbed me into getting any.
After paying my food, the tables were nearly empty since it was early…it was 11:45 AM, and the lights weren’t functioning at the time. Since I can’t really take any decent food photo with nearly no lights in the seating area, I ended up taking the back of the room’s cushy seating since their spotlights and lamp were the only area that is lit besides the area where the food was sold. Besides the functioning lights, it also looked pretty damn cool. Thankfully, I lugged my IS lens with me…
Alas, they’ve found out what went wrong and the lights were on! The room’s pretty with the strung, reflective mirrors, clubby, but everything is so…BLUE.
The only thing that stood out from the room was obviously the demonstration kitchen that is set front and center. The only thing that popped in my mind is, “Would anyone pay attention to the chef when he/she is cooking?” I mean it’s Midtown, most of these people are in the publishing business or the sponsors (since most of the better tables near the demo kitchen were reserved for them) and they would basically do networking. They don’t necessarily care that much about food. I know it sounds cynical, but isn’t it true?
Anyways, going back to the food. Since the lights were back on, I grabbed a seat that has some decent lighting. The photo you see below is how the people in the front served my food. It’s not exactly arranged the way I would like it. So, I took the liberty of actually placing my food differently for the sake of my mind. I know, it sounds a little OCD but that’s just me.
How does it taste? It’s basically a healthy, vegetarian wrap. It’s rolled with a rice flour tortilla and stuffed with shredded carrots, shiitake mushrooms, watercress, and daikon. It’s pretty bland by itself that it really needs the sambal dressing that came along with it to give it some spice and salt. For what I paid for, I rather get something else.
After finishing those rolls, I went upstairs to check out what was given out since I heard and read that there’s food samples given away. Basically, you get an ice cream bar from Häagen Dazs, wine samples, what seems like a whole ton of Evian, rum cakes and some Ghiradelli chocolate.
The second visit yesterday, it’s really packed to the gills with people, and I was there only for the dessert (another ice cream bar) and the cooking demos. I ended up watching Cat Cora making a Greek chicken dish and I met Will Goldfarb!
As I walked up the stairs to grab an Evian, I saw Will Goldfarb! I didn’t expect him to be here since he’s not listed in their program. I said nothing since I’m doubting my eyes for the moment that it is him and the fact that I’m walking down the narrow stairs as he’s climbing up. But I left it alone and grabbed a seat to watch Cat Cora cooking.
No, I didn’t taste the chicken since it’s a demo, who knows really how long ago that chicken was done. It certainly looks and smelled good but I don’t want to bother. Then about ten minutes later, Will Goldfarb came downstairs with his family in tow, to the kitchen demo area.
To explain the photo above, I was sitting on the sidelines where the non-reserved tables were located. Since I was obviously holding my camera and my huge lens is not exactly going to be unnoticed, he saw me and I heard through the talking of the lunch crowd, he said to his daughter to look at the camera (which is me) so I could take a photo of them. Here’s the rest of Will’s family…
As the cooking demo started, he said he’s going to make his mother’s chocolate chip cookies. But actually, he’s making fancy pants chocolate chip cookies that are sold here as well as Michel Cluizel‘s boutique in ABC Carpet in Union Square. Instead of making it a bit boring like the other chefs had, Will had brought along his is daughter, Lulu, to be the entertaining part of the demo. The cuteness level was amped exponentially and people actually paid attention to the demo instead of hearing murmurs of talking in Ms. Cora’s demo.
In all the demo was funny, especially with the fact that Will keeps letting his daughter talk into his microphone for little comments. The most notable one was the time when she said that she has “goopy hands” after trying to roll the cookie dough into a log. The demo kitchen doesn’t really have a sink for her to wash her hands in so what they use was a stainless steel container and filled it with bottled Evian water. Will said as a joke that, “All restaurants uses Evian water to wash their hands with.”
After that lighthearted and cute demo, I went upstairs again and get an ice cream bar and said, “Hi” to Will Goldfarb since he went there with everyone in tow, his family and an older woman who seems to be the brains behind this whole production. Anyways, we exchanged greetings and he’s a really nice guy, who dotes his daughter. How sweet. Also Lulu almost make me want to have a kid, besides the fact that my maternal instincts are practically zilch.
To fill in the gap between those two visits of Bon Appetit, I actually had lunch at the recent opening of Five Guys.
Never in my entire life have I ever seen so many men under one roof for the sake of a burger in Midtown. It’s plainly weird to witness the fact that 98% of the people waiting are men. Anyways, this opening seems like a huge fanfare and since I love burgers, I have to know what Five Guys’ burger tastes like.
After waiting ten minutes on line, I eventually ordered a “Little Cheeseburger” and their regular fries. It ended up costing me a bit more than $8, which isn’t too bad.
Witnessing the chaos of opening day and the busy lunch hour, the craze of workers trying to keep up with the demand of hungry Midtowners was mind boggling. Also hearing one of the managers scream out every once in a while for everyone in the kitchen to speed up since there’s a huge group surrounding the pick-up area.
I eventually got my lunch. The telltale signs of greasiness is showing up on my bag that I’m worried that my fries will be soggy. Here’s what the food looks like.
The fries were fine. The good part that it’s actually a potato I’m eating since there were stacks of Idaho potatoes piling near the registers and it’s fried in peanut oil. Generally the fries were soggy and it needs a touch more salt.
The little cheeseburger I requested it to be filled with lettuce, fried onions, tomatoes, pickles, and ketchup. All burgers are made to well done, which is not my preference of how a burger should be cooked. Anyways, flavor-wise, it’s a bit bland. The patty needs more salt; and the bun is soggy and characterless since it’s the buns one can buy from a local grocery store. Given to the fact that it’s their first day, it isn’t so bad in terms of service but the food needs more time to iron out its flaws. It’s not a bad place to eat in…but I wouldn’t come back here too often either.
Bon Appétit’s Supper Club
221 W 57th Street
New York, NY 10019
43 W 55th Street
New York, NY 10019