One of the best things about living at home and working in the city was being able to afford eating lunch out of the office most days. Although there's not tons of great, cheap food in my area, I really enjoyed getting a morning coffee some days, and falafel sandwiches other days. Sadly, all this came to an end when I became a real adult and started paying rent.
In some ways, though, it makes it all the more special when I do get prepared food at work. This morning was one of those special, luxurious times. My cousin spent the night at our house last night, and since he had to be at work at 8:15am, I ended up in front of my office at 7:45am. I don't start work until 8:30am. This was not to be borne. Today, a Friday, I made the decision to skip the free bagels and buy myself a breakfast at Times Square Bagel.
Times Square Bagel is fantastic. I've never actually had their bagels, but while Roger was vegan this summer, it was the only place in midtown we found that had not only peanut butter to top the bagels, not only tofu-cream cheese, but three types of tofu-cream cheese. That summer, he came to really appreciate being able to stop in for a vegan bagel before heading to work. Vegan-friendly means we love them.
Then, one day, I decided I needed to get lunch, and it needed to be grilled cheese (I love grilled cheese so much that I even loved my father's earliest version, which involved toasting bread and then melting cheese on it in the microwave, and once named an enormous gorilla stuffed animal Grilly, not because it was a gorilla, but because I loved grilled cheese). I can't even start to describe the buttery deliciousness that is the Times Square Bagel grilled cheese. It tastes just like the grilled cheese my grandmother used to make, and she used to fry it in a half-inch of butter. These are the grilled cheeses to which all other grilled cheeses are held, and the Times Square Bagel grilled cheese comes very, very close. Since my grandmother has passed, I would consider these the new standard.
This morning, their egg and cheese wasn't quite up to par (my standard for egg and cheese is the old Secor Deli's egg and cheese, where they put pepper into the yokes, and then broke them about half way through, rather than scrambling it into an omelet), which was unfortunate, but they were still very good. It was definitely better than free bagels, and it definitely hit the spot for me, but it wasn't as good as the grilled cheese. I felt the same way about the ham, melted-swiss, and dijon sandwhich I had there while I was still eating meat. Definitely delicious, definitely better than most other delis around here, but not as good as the grilled cheese.
Overall, if you're in need of a good deli in midtown, I'd recommend Times Square Bagel. They're at 168 Madison Avenue. The people who work there are ultra-friendly and there's a never ending supply of fresh, innovatively flavored muffins. It's basically the opposite of Au Bon Pain. (That's a really, really good thing.)