You’ve seen this lunch scene before: a hoard of emotionless hungry zombies standing in line with their lanyard IDs, dressed in the mandatory uniform of post-millennial business casual while waiting for a Subway sandwich artist to sloppily construct an endless barrage of $5 Footlongs. As you stand in line and abdicate your humanity, you blink and for a second confuse the scene with prisoners in a Russian Gulag patiently waiting for their bowl of gruel. Or, perhaps, grimmer fates…
Just a little time and research on the Internet, however, can free any office cog from this bleak landscape.
Where to start? Of course, everyone knows about Yelp. Although Yelp and its handy app are undeniably helpful in finding new places, one can’t help but grow frustrated by the white noise that seems to dominate so many of the reviews. Indeed, the Founding Fathers strongly warned us against the type of mobocracy that Yelp has come to embody.
Thankfully there are several excellent restaurant blogs, some even dedicated to lunch. Take, for instance, the blog Midtown Lunch. An excellent resource if you live in New York, Phili, or LA (sorry flyover country), this blog is dedicated to finding interesting, delicious, and affordable lunch spots that break the mold. There are also other restaurant blogs like Eater and Grubstreet that have a broader scope of following the restaurant scene in a variety of cities and can be helpful as well.
My favorite resource for finding good food is the Chowhound Forums on Chow.com. The forums consist of several dedicated foodies who leave pretention at the door and have no problem learning Thai so they can order “off the menu” dishes or drilling deep into “bad” neighborhoods to unearth delicious meals. All you have to do is ask the forum about any food related topic and you will surely be pointed in the right direction. Maybe, for instance, you’re looking to find a good restaurant that offers privacy while you’re having an affair; maybe you’re on the hunt for the best bowl of ramen in town; hell, maybe you want to know what’s the best ginger ale (an important topic that deserves 130 replies, no doubt). The point is there are tons of people out there who are tasting, writing, and sharing their favorite eats; stop being a leach and lurker and start asking them where to grab some good lunch!
Rounding out our culinary journey, this Wpromoter would like to share with you a special place called Lance’s Filipino Cuisine, a great alternative to the usual lunch spots just a short 10 minute drive from our office here in El Segundo, CA. Located in a delightfully drab strip mall (that also contains a Subway) in Hawthorne, this place has a steam table of rotating Filipino specialties that include the standards like Chicken Adobo and Pancit as well as some more exotic items that include pig heart and other organ meats. Absurdly cheap prices, friendly service, and an interesting variety make Lance’s a compelling choice in the lunchtime landscape. Perhaps most intriguing of all, Lance’s has a karaoke machine in the back that is turned on every Friday from 5pm till midnight; and it’s BYOB. Did someone say Wpromote happy hour?