Welcome to The Lunch Belle, a NYC based food and travel website that views various dining scenes and destinations through the lens - and belly - of a highly opinionated thirty-something.



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CLOSED: A Spaniard is born to French parents

A Spaniard is born to French parents

Minutes ago, I was a bit taken aback after reading that Bar Artisanal has morphed from a traditional French, to a Spanish/tapas restaurant.  (You know it's not a hoax when the caricature of a Flamenco dancer appears in the restaurant's logo.)  And, I have to admit, this news is almost as shocking as my ex-boyfriend's recent engagement.   

R.I.P. Grilled-Cheese Bites and Cheese Tempura!  You will be missed. 

Have a looksie at the some of the new menu items listed below, and let me know if you think that these new additions will attract more/less/same patrons:

Marinated Olives - 4
Spiced Marcona Almonds - 4
Blistered Padrón Peppers - 8
Wrinkled Potatoes, Mojo - 6
Gigante Beans, Batarga - 8
Salt Cod Croquetas, Piquillo Pepper Jam - 8
Patatas Bravas - 7

Watermelon, Olives, Lime, P.X. - 5
Sea Urchin Crema, Toast - 15
Liquid Foie Gras - 12
Manchego Tempura - 7
Duck Rillette “Sandwich” - 7
Potato Cone Foam, Caviar - 15
Tapioca Cracker, Basque Flavors - 7

Pan Con Tomate
Classic - 4 Boquerones - 7 Jamón Serrano - 12

Jamón Serrano - 10
cured for 1 year

Jamón Iberico - 20
Pata Negra - cured for 2 years

Jamón Iberico de Bellota - 30
Pata Negra - cured 3 years

Tasting - 25

Chorizo - 9
smoked Spanish paprika

Sobresada - 10
spreadable parika sausage

Lomo - 12
cured pork loin

Tasting - 15

Pa Cocas
Caramelized Onion, Olives, Anchovy, Roncal - 11
Potato, Chorizo, Fried Egg - 12
Clams, Jamón, Oregano, Guindilla Pepper - 14
Grilled Vegetables, Goat Cheese, Tapenade - 12

Idiazábal - 4
sheep - firm - smoky
Ibores - 4
goat - semi-firm - paprika
Roncal - 4
sheep - firm - smoky - nutty
Garrotxa - 4
goat - semi-firm - milky - nutty
Torta de Casar- 4
sheep - soft - gamey - smoky
Valdeon - 4
cow & goat - bleu - full-flavored
Afuega’l Pitu - 5
cow - soft - paprika - cayenne
Pau - 5
cow -- earthy - mushrooms

Embutidos y Quesos - 25
three meats & three cheese selections

White Gazpacho, Almonds, Grapes, Garlic - 9
Wild Mushroom, Asparagus , Soft Egg - 14
Mussels, Cava, Garlic, Tomato, Herbs - 13
Serrano Ham, Roncal, Olives, Melon Jam - 15
Octopus a la Plancha, Chickpea, Smoked Pimenton - 14
Fideos Negros, Squid, Piquillo Peppers, Aioli - 13
Charred Baby Leeks, Smoked Sea Salt, Romesco - 12
Blue Prawns, Olive Oil, Guindilla Pepper, Garlic - 15

White Asparagus, Mache, Gribiche - 12
Haricot Verts, Boquerones, Potato, Tomato Confit - 11
Watermelon, Arugula, Goat Cheese, Tapenade - 12
Mixed Greens, Sherry Vinaigrette - 9

Platos Principales
Skate, Pickled Eggplant, Salmorejo Sauce - 22
Hake, Potatoes, Chorizo, Clams, Salsa Verde - 23
Shellfish Paella, Lobster, Shrimp, Clams, Mussels - 28
Daurade for Two, Salt Crusted, Three Sauces -58
Aged Hanger Steak, Patatas Bravas, Mojo - 24
Roast Chicken, Olives, Lemon, Garlic, Pimenton Picante - 23
Fabada, Bean Stew, Pork Belly, Chorizo, Blood Sausage - 24
Canelloni, Spinach, Raisins, Pine Nuts - 16

Chocolate Mousse, Olive Oil, Sea Salt - 9
Crema Catalana, Orange, Saffron - 8
Churros, Hot Chocolate - 10
Coffee Granite, Horchata Cloud - 8
Torta de Satiago, Vanilla Ice Cream, Pedro Ximénez - 6

Specialty Cocktails
VALENCÍA, Vodka, Mango, Jalapeno - 11
OASIS, Vodka, Blueberry, Date, Ginger, Orange - 11
BASQUE, Brandy, Pear, Peach, Lime, Mint - 11
AGUA DE VALENCÍA, Vodka, Gin, OJ, Cava - 11
CALIMOCHO, Rioja, Rum, Coke - 11
PX CACAO MARTINI, PX Sherry, Vodka, Godiva - 11

Tinto: Rioja, Oranges, Apples, Limes
Blanco: White Wine, Peaches, Oranges, Mint
Latino: White Wine, Pisco, Mango, Pineapple
Hot & Spicy: White Wine, Jalapeno, Lime
Glass - 8 / Sm. Pitcher - 20 / Lrg. Pitcher - 38


Brunch at Dos Caminos (Meatpacking District location)

  • Cuisine: Mexican
  • Atmosphere: rustic, bi-level space
  • Attire: smart-casual
  • Ideal for: trendy, people-watching, outdoor dining, location, brunch specials, bar scene
  • Price: moderate/all brunch menu items under $19 and include an alcoholic beverage
  • Phone: 212-669-2400
  • Reservations: via phone or www.opentable.com
  • Location: 675 Hudson (btwn 13th & 14th Streets)
  • Website: click *here*
  • Directionswww.hopstop.com/?city=newyork

*All of my photos from this meal can be viewed on Flickr

No one was more surprised than I was upon my insistence in having Saturday brunch at Dos Caminos' newest outpost in the Meatpacking District.  I'll be the first to admit that I slammed the Mexican mini-chain for wedging its way in to Vento's, an Italian restaurant, former space.  My big gripe was that, if it were up to me, a smaller-scaled eatery would have made 675 Hudson its home.  But who am I kidding?  The rent at this specific address isn't exactly cheap so, at the end of the day, who better to maintain the neighborhood's most famous flatiron building than B.R. Guest Restaurants

Deidre and I met one another on the corner of 20-something Street and 6th Avenue.  We leisurely strolled to the restaurant, arriving promptly for our 12pm reservation.  Although DC's (Dos Caminos) interior space had, in fact, been successfully transformed from an Italian restaurant in to a Mexican eatery, we opted to dine al-fresco. 

Deidre and I were seated at an ample four-top table with a prime view, perfect for people watching, of the Meatpacking District. 

Our friendly waiter handed us brunch menus, filled our glasses with ice-water, and, in true DC upselling fashion, asked if we wanted to begin our meal with hand-smashed guacamole.  After quickly glancing at the menu for a price check (A bowl of DC's guac costs $12!  And that only serves 2!), Deidre and I decided that the chips and salsa basket, which would only set us back $5, would suffice.  And what better way to chase down a spicy dip and begin a Saturday morning than with a free, ice-cold, frozen margarita (or bloody mary, screwdriver, mimosa, champagne, orange or grapefruit juice, and coffee or tea), that accompanies all brunch entrees?     

Dos Caminos: brunch menuDos Caminos: tostados y salsaDos Caminos: frozen margaritas

Not only did I find that the employees were friendly and courteous, but the service we received at DC was perfectly paced.  Our entrees arrived approximately 20-minutes after we received our drinks and basket of chips.  While Deidre chose the Wild Mushroom and Huitlacoche Omelette, I ordered the Chilaquiles.  Messily constructed layers of red chile sauce-soaked tortilla chips were sprinkled with salty Chihuahua cheese and cubes of ripe avocado.  Two fried eggs and a spoonful of pico-de-gallo (salsa) topped the chilaquiles.

Dos Caminos: chilaquiles

Dos Caminos: chilaquiles, a view from the sideI could hardly wait to pierce the gently-cooked egg yolks with my fork, allowing their creamy liquid centers to encapsulate every exposed crevice of the chilaquiles.  In composition, the tortilla chips revealed the perfect balance of crunchy and moist.  Compatibly, it was almost as if, during the baking process, the pores of each ingredient in the chilaquiles expanded to allow for the inhalation of mingled flavors. 

Aside from the overall fact that the entree wasn't as oven-hot as I would have liked, I was thoroughly pleased with my meal.

For someone who had previously turned up her nose to the thought of "Dos Caminos Meatpacking District," I have to admit that I was more than pleasantly surprised.  From the gracious interaction with the employees and perfectly-paced service, to the quality and value of our meal, I would recommend brunch at DC to anyone, foodie or non-foodie.     


Special reader discount: Holton Farms' CSA program comes to NYC

To my loyal NYC-based Belle's Angels:

  • Are you interested in buying farm-fresh groceries from a CSA (conventional community supported agriculture)?

The Lunch Belle has partnered with Vermont's own Holton Farms, an eighth-generation farm that uses sustainable methods to produce a diverse selection of agricultural products (think: fruits & veggies, dairy and eggs, organic meats, breads & baked goods, local artisanal foods).  The cool philosophy behind this particular CSA program is the fact that the end-user has the freedom to order only the products they want/when they want, through the Holton Farms website.  Additionally, a portion of each purchase aids in subsidizing prices of Holton Farms' ultra-fresh, healthy food to under served neighborhoods in NYC.  With memberships beginning at only $250, you can't afford to miss this delicious and philanthropic opportunity!

Holton Farms' "CSA Select" program begins today, May 17th, and runs through November 21, 2010.  If you choose to proceed with purchasing a membership, make sure to use the following code for a 5% discount upon checkout: HFLBELLE.


Overserved & under the weather

Dear Belle's Angels (a play on the infamous biker gang, "Hell's Angels"),

I hope that all of you had a great weekend.  Us New Yorkers couldn't have asked for 48-hour's worth of better weather!

Aside from my judging commitment at Saturday's 2010 Lone Star Chili Cook-off, most of the plans that I've had of late have been cancelled due to some hideous allergy-induced cold that knocked me on my ass.  Since falling under-the-weather last Wednesday, my days have entailed sleeping, reading gossip magazines, and watching really crappy daytime TV (How many freaking "Judge" shows can one network have, for god's sake?).  That being said, I wanted to apologize for the recent lack of website content.  But stay tuned, because I'll be serving up a heapin' helpin' of succulent posts, tantalizing pictures, and my famously-opinionated restaurant reviews.

Read it and eat,