Where Not To Go For a Business Lunch in Manhattan

This is the way Salute' should stay: EMPTY.
I've been to Salute' before, and enjoyed my meal for the most part, but the place is almost always too loud for lunch and has a pompous FOH and waitstaff. However, this particular business lunch reservation was incredibly poor -from service, to food, to ambiance, -beginning to end. Service was sporadic, we waited a long time just for water to arrive. The order was taken slowly and then the food had ZERO flavor when it finally arrived. It was questionable if the meat was really meat or a "chicken log" along with a salad. NOT good!! Yes, I said LOG, not chicken LEG. Yes, it was a LOG, people! A rolled-out, flattened with a flat-iron, falafel-looking piece of colorless material. (BUT it DID make a great "tweet" and "twitpic" for my guests who were visiting from Atlanta!)
Overall presentation and taste were horrific. What a bad experience. Will not return, even if it IS very close to my office. It was embarrassing to take a business lunch there. And this is what they think of Italian cuisine in NYC now.... Oh the inhumanity!
That only happens ONCE to me....to be embarrassed by a restaurant. No take-backs. So long, Salute'.
AVOID:
Salute'
270 Madison Avenue # 1
New York, NY 10016-0601

Get More Bang for Your Num Pang!

Photo: Walking up to the restaurant
So a new lunch spot opened up near where I work... My husband turned me on to it this morning. All he needed to say, really, was, "new" and "bahn-mi"... The rest was just chatter. (Sorry, hun. 'Tis the truth.)
I wasn't aware of this place even opening -but apparently, others were, as you can see by this photo.

A friggin' long-ass line outside Num Pang Sandwich Shop.

Great. (Insert big sigh here for a person who has no patience for lines and crowds of people. No snarky comments needed about living in NYC and not liking crowds. Already heard it and I don't really care because I won't be moving anytime soon.)

But what does a long line really say to me? Something is for free OR it means it is good and worth queuing up for! So I "queued" as it were....

I waited as patiently as I could. I checked my phone for messages, put up a "Twitpic" and tweeted a tad about the new experience I was about to undertake.

Surprisingly, I get to the front to place my order amazingly quickly. I order my pulled pork sandwich, the grilled corn on the cob and a diet soda. (Again, sorry to my husband who wants me to try to give up the sugary drinks. Can't do it yet. I have to wean myself... at least give me 18 months or so....!). Anyway, I really wanted the green iced tea -but they were out and brewing more. Some things in life are worth waiting for, but green iced tea was not on my list at that time. A good ol' Boylan's Cane Cola (Diet!) was going to have to do.

Photo: Still waiting...
The wait for my order wasn't long either.. but there's no place to really sit down, so you stand around and wait for your number to be called. It's take out, what else do you want? You just wait around and watch the others listen for to be called and hope it's yours next....

After I got my order... grabbed a couple of condiments and I was on my way.

Quick sidebar: if I did get the green tea, I would have been very happy as they have simple syrup available to sweeten it up. LOVE that. Better than trying to sweeten cold tea with sugar or Splenda -it just doesn't mix when the drink is cold. Simple syrup is a great alternative and costs them nothing to provide. I'm givin' the place props or "plus one" -whatever. It's a little thing that means a lot. To me. Maybe only me, but to me. (It's my blog. I get to say whatever I want to.) Now back to my experience.....

Walkin' back to work, hoards of oblivious people made me drop my hot sauce on the sidewalk and step on it. Oh well. The sandwich probably won't need it... or, at least it better not, because I wasn't scrapin' anything off the sidewalk or going back through the crowd to get red sauce anyway.

Photo: The before picture of my lunch.
Another sidebar: PEOPLE OF NYC -tourists and locals alike: BE AWARE that you ARE NOT ALONE in the streets of NY. There are OTHERS around you. Stay to the RIGHT while walking on the sidewalk (just like the traffic!). DO NOT STOP SUDDENLY in the middle of the sidewalk either -unless you want to be plowed into or cursed at loudly. If you are MORE THAN 2 people walking side-by-side - you are WRONG. Again, it's a city of MILLIONS, you have to share space. You are NOT ALONE!! BE AWARE THERE ARE OTHER PEOPLE IN THIS CITY THAT ALSO NEED TO USE THE SAME COMMON AREAS. Thank you for your attention and compliance. (Oh, and try not to talk on your cellphone or text while walking- but if you stay on the right and have common sense while doing it, go ahead and do whatever it is you need to do - just have half a brain while doing it.) I could go on... but! Let's go to the food...

When I get back to my office, I'm somewhat happy that the food is still pretty warm, but due to the packaging and the heat from the food, the sandwich bread is not as crunchy as I'd like it to be.... Oh well. That's what you get with take out...a little bit of this, a little bit of that. (If only those STUPID people would have moved out of my way quicker, I probably could have had a better sandwich experience. Damn tourists!)

Important to note - Corn on the cob - FAN-friggin-tabulous. Love it. The coconut, the chili and spicy mayo... OMG. Yes. I could eat JUST THAT and be happy.

The sandwich had very crispy veggies that were tasty and the pulled pork wasn't overly cooked or spiced. BRAVO.

My soda was warm by the time I got to my nearby office, too. But... all in all... it ended out exceptionally well. Even my dental floss was happy.And that, dear readers, says A LOT.

Photo: Very good "after" photo. Yes, that is dental floss, a napkin and count them: TWO wet naps.

Num Pang Sandwich Shop
140 East 41st St., Midtown
Phone: 212-86-8889
Officially opened June 28, 2011

Playing Nicely

I've come across some really interesting places in the city -not just because I see them here online and think, "Hey! I'd like to try that, too" -but because I've been out just wandering the streets without a specific destination. Those, by far, always brought the best surprises -at least for me.

When you have an agenda, or when people say, "You've GOT to try this place because..." it loses its appeal -just a little. I'm a firm believer that everyone should have their own opinions and experiences.

This blog is only based on my own feelings about places I've been -and yours will probably vary and differ completely (because it should!). That is the way things always go! It doesn't matter if you visit the same location -even going to Disney- you'll still have a different experience and memory -no matter what the situation.

With that in mind, I'll tell you that I visited a new place today... I DID have an agenda to go there to try it out because I heard about it on Twitter. I DO pay attention to what others say and take note. In this instance, I thought it was more of a dessert place, but found out it served shaved ice in a Chinese take-out box.
Now, it's probably my fault for not investigating more about this new place -but really, I just felt as though I should try something new and it's a business that has just opened up... so why not?! Supporting the local economy is good!! (Please, I encourage you all to do so!!)

Well support aside, I should mention.....for starters, I'm not a fan of shaved ice. Would it be fair for me to say the place was terrible? No.

I could see that there were quite a few visitors in the place. The woman greeted repeat customers -and they've only been open for a few days at best.

But it was shaved ice. Not really dimensional in flavor -and of course, what I ordered was waaaaay too sweet and just not "my thing" at all.

It could as just as well been frozen peas on a stick. I don't like those either!!! (Peas - food of the demons! I get slightly ill at the mere thought of them. Blech!!)

popbar nyc
So okay.... I'll be honest: If I want something in the same neighborhood, that's more NYC Foodie Girl style, I like to give props to popbar. It's gelato on a stick. It's been awhile since I've visited, but I do like the concept (um, ICE CREAM ON A STICK - what's not to like?!) and most of all, the taste. You can get one exactly they way you want it, to order, too.

I mean, you can get the shaved ice anyway you'd like, too, but just be sure you like it! (And, um... again, sorry, me no likey the shaved ice!)

And just FYI: I decided not to mention the other new business that I visited with the shaved ice by name, because I'd like them to be successful and no one needs a tiny blogger posting something that is less than stellar -not that it would matter much -but to me, it DOES make a difference. I'll play nice, with shaved ice. I just don't want to eat any. Thanks! ;)

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