Forget Brunch Eat Lunch

I have had a major epiphany!  Why not this weekend, you break with tradition and eat lunch instead of brunch?  Lunchtime is always a forced and rushed part of our day.  During the week, we all have our lunchtime rituals.  You either pack your lunch from your fridge or you go to the same salad place around the corner of your office and order the same salad.  This can go on forever until you realize you are in a total lunch rut.   It dawned on me last night when I was watching “When Harry Met Sally”.  The famous Katz Deli scene came on and, even though there are more interesting things happening in the scene, I was fixated on their food.   When was the last time I went out for lunch?  I’m not talking about grabbing a salad with co-workers.  I rarely have time in the weekday for anything other than my usual kale and avocado salad.  When going out to eat on the weekends, it’s always for brunch.  I know that there are other lunch options, but I rarely choose them.   Brunch is a wonderful thing but why not change it up!  We live in the city of delis and pizza. Surely there are some fabulous finds in your neighborhood or beyond.  I am sure your favorite brunch eateries will understand you choosing a sandwich over your usual weekend omelet.  Just in case, your need a little motivation and inspiration, I’ve rounded up my favorite lunchtime spots that I will definitely be trying over the weekends and so should you!  If you do, post a comment below and tell us what you thought.  If I missed your favorite place, share that too!

Artichoke Basille’s Pizza (Locations: East Village: 328 East 14th Street; Chelsea: 114 10th Avenue; Greenwich Village 111 MacDougal Street)

Lunch doesn’t always mean sandwiches and salads, sometimes a slice of pizza is all you need and, for that, I highly recommend this hot spot. You can order their tasty Sicilian and Crab slices but, if you don’t try their famous Artichoke slice, why bother going?  The thick slices are as big as your head and rich with fresh artichoke hearts, spinach, cream sauce and cheese.  It’s to die for and perfect for a Saturday afternoon pit stop.  Hey California readers, apparently they have a location in Berkeley!  Now all I need is one on the UES.

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Cascabel Taqueria – (UES: 1538 2nd Ave; UWS: 2799 Broadway, 108th Street)

With locations on the UES and UWS, this has become my favorite taqueria in the city.  It is the only thing that can fix this California girl’s Mexican food cravings.  It’s a fantastic spot for lunch especially if it’s a nice day, because you can enjoy your meal outside.  Spend a perfect afternoon by eating flavorful and creative tacos like their Carne Asada with oyster mushrooms and crispy onions.  If you are thirsty, the margaritas are very good plus the sangria pitchers are cheap and refreshingly tasty.  My new favorite thing is that they added the option of turning your favorite taco into a burrito.  They are also the only place in NYC that serves guacamole that is spicy enough for me, which is awesome.

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The Grey Dog  (Locations: Greenwich Village: 90 University Pl; Chelsea: 242 W 16th St; Nolita: 244 Mulberry St)

They may have a fantastic dish called the “Grey Dog Breakfast”, which I’m sure I’ll discuss in a future brunch story, but it’s their sandwiches, which really shine.  My favorites: the Cuban Press with pulled pork and the Turkey Club with green apple, Brie, and raspberry mustard.  There are also great salads and plenty of vegetarian options.  The coffee may be great, but the beers on tap are even better.  It’s the perfect way to enjoy your delicious sandwich.  The atmosphere is very casual with the brick walls and painted tables.  Always expect a big crowd here, but the line to order at the counter usually goes pretty quick and the staff is very helpful in scoring your party a table.

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Katz Delicatessen (LES: 205 E Houston St)

I shouldn’t need to go into further detail because all New Yorkers should know this famous deli.  However, I recently discovered my own husband, a native New Yorker, has never been, so maybe I do.  No matter how famous it is, Katz’s has always maintained the tradition of quality in its product and establishment.  Located in the Lower East Side and steeped in rich New York history, it is truly a treasure.  When you order, let it be their famous pastrami, brisket, and corned beef sandwiches.  The amount of meat sliced between two pieces of rye will surprise you!  If you’re not up to the challenge, go for their hot dogs voted best in the city.

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Luke’s Lobster (East Village: 93 E. 7th St; UES: 242 E. 81st St; UWS: 426 Amsterdam Ave)

Lobster rolls, clam chowder and lobster bisque; it’s like going to Maine without having to leave your neighborhood.  This casual restaurant has a few locations, and I’m so happy that one is in the UES!  The lobster rolls are perfect; so light with the mayo and the rolls are so buttery and I don’t want to know why.  If you can’t decide which roll to get, they have an amazing deal with their Taste of Maine Platter.  You get three half rolls of lobster, crab, and shrimp, drinks and chips for only $23.  All of the seafood is fresh; it’s their number one priority and it shows.

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Spotted Pig (West Village: 314 W 11th St)

At night, this West Village charming and cozy restaurant is full of celebrities so getting a seat can be quite challenging.  Lunch, however, is slightly easier and, in my opinion, even better.  They have a wide range of delicious bar treats like the pot of pickles, deviled eggs, and ricotta gnudi.  But the star of the show is certainly their famous burger smothered in rich Roquefort cheese.  To top it off, their shoestring fries are to die for.  They are tossed in lots of olive oil, salt, rosemary, and fried garlic.  I wish they would package them up and sell them.

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