- Mike’s Coffee & Deli — a tiny hole in the wall for my breakfast. These guys are consummate New York professionals — three guys in a tiny 8×12 space keeping track of 5, 6, 7 finicky New Yorker sandwich orders at any given moment. Plus, it’s cheaper than any of the other places by about half ($1.50 for my egg and cheese on a roll).
- Tiffin Wallah — lunch buffet for $7.60, my fave dishes are the palak paneer and the okra tomato. I prefer the little pancakes to the chapati. I refrain from seconds because that can render me completely useless in the afternoon. When pressed for time, consider dropping in for lunch — you’d be surprised at how quickly you can be in and out of there, especially if you’re alone.
- BCD Tofu – Soon du bu with pork, regular spicy. Their rice is always perfect. Love the fried mackerel you always get for free as a starter, and the oyster in the slightly sweet kimchi adds just the right amount of brine.
- Chipotle — chicken burrito bowl, rice, black beans, tomato salsa, lettuce. Go ahead, judge me.
- ‘Wichcraft — olive oil poached shrimp salad over mixed greens instead of arugula. I often need to supplement with a hard boiled egg.
- Maoz vegetarian — Forget the falafel — their fried eggplant is a marvel of shard and goo. That and the salty fried cauliflower from the toppings bar and I am in heaven.
- Mandoo Bar — kimchi & tofu dumplings with pork. Boiled. Though it never feels like a full meal to just eat dumplings.
- E-Mo — kimbap, usually with spicy tuna and sesame leaf, to eat on the subway. With my hands. Yes, I’m that person, and stop looking at me.
- Stumptown — Soy cappuccino. It really is the best coffee. I wouldn’t normally trust a place so overrun with hipsters, but the coffee is unfailingly a cut above. The espresso drinks are pretty nicely priced.
- Kalustyan’s — California dried apricots with the right balance of tart and sweet; high turnover means they’re always moist.
Place I never eat, even though it’s super close:
Artisanal — I went there once for dinner, didn’t like it much, and seems dangerous to eat too much cheese for lunch.