Breakfast: $3.75 Breakfast Burrito that Doesn’t Suck, Imagine That!

photo“How much is that breakfast burrito?” 
“How much is that vegetable omelette?”
        “$3.75. But the difference is, the potatoes go into the burrito and with the omelette, they’re on the side. They’re just there on the plate there for the display.”

So I’ve heard a couple of rumors of a breakfast cart in the neighborhood that does breakfast sandwiches with a meat option of real chorizo; I know where it is but I haven’t had the morning window of time to quite get there yet. 

So I had a soft spot in my heart already when I found this display at Amici 36 deli (which, if you check out the link, you’ll see I frequent on occasion) — despite the whole-wheat tortilla, which reminds me of a wrap in an unpleasant way. (And I don’t like wraps.)

I think I found a little gem: 

photo-1— First entry into the breakfast sandwich tag/category that hasn’t begged for a dribble of Mexican-style hot sauce. I think it’s just that right combination of egg, cheese, meat and potato in one bite. Mmm…

— If you want a sausage in your breakfast burrito, which would otherwise cost an additional $1.50 to any other breakfast, but comes optionally-included in the burrito… I think that’s called a loophole.

Amici 36, southwest corner of W. 36th Street and 8th Avenue, NYC


Lunch: Making Something Out of Nothing (aka the Classy Croissant Sandwich Post)

I truly foraged along Eighth Avenue at lunch today:

photoStart. It began with the scavenged remains of last night’s antipasto feast, frisee and a bit of arugula tossed in a sweet balsamic vinegar; a couple of roasted pepper slices; a couple of slices of salami. Out of this bedraggled mess I saw the potential for a sandwich.

Stop no. 1. A local deli salad bar, Amici 36, which, by 2 p.m. the offerings here are looking pretty sorry themselves. I scavenged some red onion slices in a pesto sauce, some roasted asparagus spears, more roasted peppers, two fresh mozzarella slices, fresh greens and a few other stray vegetables that looked appealing. ($2.25) The deli was out of croissants.

Stop no. 2. Hot & Crusty for a croissant, the last in the case. I asked the clerk if she could slice is lengthwise, “like a sandwich.” No plastic ware is going to slice through a delicate, flaky thing like that and not rip it to shreds. ($2.20)


Finish line. Back at the office, some assembly required, but look at the beautiful sandwich I turned out. A foraged masterpiece.

Lunch: The Opposite of Meat

photo(3)In anticipation of the barbecue dinner at Dinosaur BBQ in Harlem this evening that has the potential of being epic, I’m eating not meat for lunch:

Vegetable stir-fry from Amici 36, done Mongolian barbecue style where they pack noodles, vegetables and other savory flavors into a bowl, and they keep packing and packing, and by the time its ready to go into the wok, it’s a small mound of goodness.

The cooking bit is actually a two-wok process: The vegetables go into a wok bubbling away with boiling water for about two minutes, a quick blanching effect. They’re removed with a large, circular slotted tool and tossed into the hot oil in wok no. 2 with the protein and noodles.

photo(2)I order mine spicy, which means the finished product is laced with a Sriracha-style hot sauce.

For a mere $6.25, it’s a damn good lunch.

Lunch: Monday, May 4, 2009

photo3Super freakin’ tasty: Over the last few hours I managed to finish off this giant container of Hokkien noodles, beef cubes and a generous portion of mixed vegetables all wok’d in garlic sauce and red chili paste.

For months I skipped past the stir-fry station at Amici 36 (W. 36th Street at 8th Avenue) without giving it a second thought. I’ve had enough encounters with Asian-style food from food-court vendors to have learned better. But my curiosity with the stir-fry station finally got the better of me, which is how I found myself ogling the mounds of fresh vegetables, pre-chopped to stir-fry size and just waiting to be tossed into a hot oiled pan.

photo31I told the chef, a little bit of everything, which included: red and green bell peppers, celery, asparagus, carrots, eggplant, regular cabbage, bok choy, lettuce, enoki mushrooms, snap peas, baby corn, mung bean sprouts, minced fresh garlic, green onion, and cilantro. Not quite everything: In lieu of over-seasoning my wok, I skipped the Asian basil and fresh ginger. Next time.

COST: $6.95
PREP TIME: 10 minutes

Lunch: Friday, April 17, 2009

photo47Trick of the lunch trade: If you have to eat something boxed/canned/frozen, add something fresh. Plus, you’ll get in a serving of vegetables (good for you!).

Chunky guacamole and grilled chicken from Amici 36‘s huge sprawling hot-and-cold lunch buffet — the photo below is just one third of the offerings — made this photo216Whole Foods “Whole Kitchen” bean and rice burrito taste, well, not authentically Mexican, but pretty delicious anyway.

And with the rest of the guac sort of coated the greens below, I didn’t even need salad dressing. Mmmm … avocado…

COST: >$5
PREP TIME: Stroll to Amici 36 and back, plus 2 minutes in the micro