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  • 10/18-10/20: Austin
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Entries in Round-ups & restaurant-hopping (26)


The Weekly Eater: 11/10 - 11/23

Each Monday going forward, I'm going to give you, my dear readers, a recap of where I ate during the prior week, and a list of where I have plans to dine this week.

Thursday, 11/13: Dinner at Papatzul

  • No money for a trip to Mexico? Take a mini-vacation from the concrete jungle and escape to Ciudad Juarez via Papatzul. Excellent happy-hour drink specials (think half-price margaritas and sangria), spot-on Mexican cuisine, friendly service and an atmosphere that will truly transport you away from the hustle-bustle. I began my meal with a white-sangria, chock-full of marinated fruit that was just sweet enough not to overpower the delicate balance of alcohol to juice. While I've complained of paying for chips and salsa in previous posts, I did have to fork over $5 (annoying, but still $3 less than what I was charged at Crema). For my entree, I ordered a simple plate of cheese enchiladas with green sauce, which I found to be one of the best versions of the dish I've had in NYC, thus far.

Saturday, 11/15: Dinner at L'Express

  • Prior to catching Reckless Kelly, a "Texas Country" band from Austin, Andrew and I headed to L'Express for some cocktails and French brasserie fare. For a restaurant that's open 24-hours/day and doesn't get taken too seriously by many self-proclaimed "foodies," I find L'Express to be one of the city's dining jewels. The atmosphere is romantic, lively and charming all at the same time. My meal began with a glass of pinot noir, followed by NYC's best croque monsieur (France's version of a grilled ham and cheese sandwich) served with a side of perfectly cooked fries.

Sunday, 11/16: Brunch at The Odeon

  • Hugging a picturesque corner of Tribeca stands The Odeon, where art-deco diner-chic meets French brasserie. Phillip and I only had to wait twenty-minutes for a brunch table, and chose to watch the time pass at the large and boisterous bar. After gulping two bellini's, we were seated. A basket arrived with two pieces of homemade bread and an ample portion of butter. As an entree, I ordered the Beef Shortrib Hash, which was one of the daily specials. Two poached eggs topped with a lemony Hollandaise sauce sat atop a mound of hashed potatoes and short rib. While I found the beef gristly and nearly inedible, the other components of my meal (eggs, Hollandaise sauce and potatoes) were fresh and delicious.

Sunday, 11/16: Dinner at El Rio Grande

  • I'd be a liar if I told you that I wasn't hesitant about dining at El Rio Grande. First of all, the restaurant is a chain, and secondly, nine times out of ten, the Mexican food in NYC leaves much to be desired. Allow me to tell you how pleasantly surprised I was: El Rio Grande is located at the base of an apartment building in Murray Hill. The dining room is illuminated by floor to ceiling windows and tastefully decorated with Southwestern flair. My meal began with a frozen margarita, FREE handmade chips and salsa and an order of velvety smooth chile con queso (a true delicacy to Texas ex-pats). As an entree, I chose the cheese enchiladas that were accompanied by rice and beans. I found the Tex-Mex grub to be quite tasty, the service to be fantastic and the bill to be very affordable.


The Weekly Eater: 11/03 - 11/16

Each Monday going forward, I'm going to give you, my dear readers, a recap of where I ate during the prior week, and a list of where I have plans to dine this week.

Saturday, 11/08: Dinner at Malatesta Trattoria

  • You can't beat this trattoria's charming West Village locale, hugging the corner of Washington and Christopher Streets. Once inside, enjoy the dimly-lit romantic atmosphere and friendly Italian waitstaff. A fantastic meal begins with a gratis plate of homemade focaccia, followed by menu standouts such as the Tagliatelle Al Ragu (handmade fettuccine-like noodles topped with a velvety tomato sauce and ground beef). Decent Italian wine list. Cash only. 649 Washington St., 212-741-1207

Sunday, 11/09: Dinner at Momofuku Ssam

  • What adjectives come to mind when you hear the words, "East Village?" I immediately think, "Hipster, rock, cool, mish-mash, New York." And what better neighborhood for the uber-hip Momofuku chain to to reside in? The last time I visited Ssam, I was with my ex nibbling off of his plate, kicking myself that I didn't order something of my own. When I was dining at Ssam this Sunday evening, I made sure to make up for lost times. Momofuku's modern space is a bit small and packs up quickly after opening. The background music is one or two decibels away from being deafening and the only soft drink on the menu is root beer, but the food is so good that all of these minute details can definitely be overlooked. Momofuku Ssam's concept is the use of locally, farm raised food to create an American/Korean fusion menu. Sounds complicated, but the finished product is simply outstanding. Menu highlights included: Seasonal pickles, Steamed pork buns (pork belly, hoisin, cucumber, scallions), Satur Farm's fried Brussels sprouts (mint, scallions, fish sauce vinaigrette), Blondie pie and the PB&J dessert with concord grapes and Saltine panna cotta.
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