Saturday, January 26, 2008

I have learned for myself that Presbyterianism makes great burritos

I could keep this blog going for 20 years and probably never be more amused by a post's title than I am by this one. It is, of course, a paraphrased version of a well-known Joseph Smith statement, but also refers to one of my favorite lunch destinations here in the city.

The Local Flavor burrito shop operates out of the Broadway Presbyterian Church from 11 to 3 every Tuesday and Thursday--or at least it used to, which is why I'm bringing it up now.

I haven't been to my favorite burrito joint since before Christmas. I went by one day in early January, and there was a sign up that said Local Flavor would be back later in the month. So this past Thursday, I got excited--it was time. I got to the church, only to find a new sign stating there would be no burritos until the spring, due to renovation at the church! Boo!

These burritos are good. You can get a chicken burrito for $5, steak for $6, or veggie or bean and cheese for $4. This is a phenomenal deal for New York City. Guacamole costs $1 extra. I stingily left it off the first few times, but I tried it once and now I always get it. It makes the burrito so much better (probably because, when guac is prepared and sold at a church, it automatically becomes "holy guacamole").

They have a few tables and chairs set up inside the foyer, so I usually eat in there, partly because it's cold outside, and partly because it's fun to eat burritos in a church. The proceeds from Local Flavor go to some good cause, which I can't recall right now, but that's another good reason to frequent this place. I hope it opens again before I leave the city.

(By the way, the church burritos are not affiliated with "Jesus' Taco," a restaurant a few blocks from my apartment that I've been to several times. I recommend the enchilada. And I know it's probably pronounced "Hay-ZOOS' TAH-ko," but it's comforting to me to think that all of my favorite Mexican food has strong ties to Christianity. Borderline sacrilegious jokes

With Local Flavor no longer an option, that means I've been going to Pinnacle, a shop on the same block as the church, for lunch almost every day. I would consider bringing my own lunch, but: 1) I'm lazy; 2) I'm not allowed to eat in my work area (can't get the documents dirty); and 3) I have a per diem! I can afford to eat out every day if I want! (If you can get yourself hooked up with a per diem, I highly recommend it.)

Pinnacle is one of many multi-purpose a la carte-type places in the city. There's one called Strokos which is a little closer, but I prefer Pinnacle because it's usually less crowded, the food is better, and best of all, in their upstairs seating area they have a water cooler with plastic cups, which saves me from having to spend a dollar or more for a soda or a bottle of water (both places take credit cards, which is great. The biggest culture shock for me in coming to New York wasn't its enormity, or its poverty, or its lack of vegetation, or anything like that--it was how many places of business only accept cash).

I've tried their wraps, their panini, their soup (the seafood gumbo is great), their sausage rolls, and lots of other stuff, and it's always good or even great (the big cookies are kind of hit or miss, probably because sometimes I get one that's a few days old). I usually end up getting pizza, though. Their combo (pepperoni, sausage, peppers, onions) is probably my favorite pizza I've ever had. Whenever I have that thought, I feel very lowbrow, because this place is not even remotely fancy or authentic, and they don't even specialize in pizza. But it's really, really good.

So, that's how I usually spend my lunch break. There are a few other places around I could try; a few blocks farther down Broadway is Tom's Diner, made famous in the Suzanne Vega song of the same name and made legendary by becoming "the Seinfeld restaurant," but only the exterior of the place is used on the show, and the food is very mediocre. A few blocks past that you've got Koronet, which sells the biggest slice of pizza I've ever seen, and it's pretty good. But I'll probably just keep going to Pinnacle and, hopefully, the Presbyterian Church. Because I'm a creature of habit, and that habit is eating lots and lots of greasy food. Did I mention how awesome it is to have a per diem?


Kristina said...

Tomo sushi is right around there. They have great bento lunch boxes for cheap!
So in my e-mail I totally forgot a bunch of other great places to eat:
Stage Deli---I might've told you about that.
Sushiya--it's in the village. It' authentic Japanese food. As in, everyone who works there is straight off the plane.
Right across from Sushiya is Max Brennar's Chocolate Bar. Exactly what it sounds like. They have AWESOME hot chocolate. It was a little much in the hot NY summer, but I'll bet it'd be awesome right about now. However, I think it's a good ways away from any subway stop.
There's a really good soulfood place in Harlem (duh) that I can't think of the name right now. It's like Auntie Mamie's or something like that. I'll look up the name and let you know.
The italian place by I-House I told you about is called Pisticci. I've also heard a place called Celeste is good.
Chipotle is a chain--and a national chain--but they do something to their rice that make it absolutely amazing.
Jackson Hole is a NY burger chain with the biggest burgers you've ever seen. It's about a pound of meat. For someone who aspires to the Fuddrucker pound challenge, you've gotta try Jackson Hole!

You can probably google map all of these.

Megan said...

Holy Guacamole. Heh.