Saturday, March 17, 2007

The Magic Panini

I am not great at navigation. I have a compass that Jamie gave me for my keychain so I can find my way when I get out of the subway. Grand Central Terminal is the sort of place that gives me trouble-- parts of it seem similar enough that my only recourse is to pretty much go around the thing until I get where I want to go. If I wanted to get out of the terminal, I'd follow whatever passage until I'd see daylight on the other side. Walking around the dining concourse, I don't have any of the storefronts established as landmarks in my brain, that would give me any sense of where I am, or where I got good food the last time. So I walk around it until I see something I like, instead of just going straight for somewhere that I know will be good.

My one exception to the rule:

Paninoteca-- don't ask me exactly where it is...because I don't quite know. But it is on one of the narrow ends of the hall.

Two things sell me on seeking this place out particular. First, they have good deals on pasta that are pretty simple. A small plate of pasta is about $3.00, a large, $6.00. Simple. There are options for entrees and combinations, but I tend not to foray into that world, being something of a bargain hunter when it comes to food on the go.

If you're willing to put out an extra dollar or so, you can get one of the panini's. Instead of a thin "panini" bread, they take a whole roll of hearty bread w/ the sandwich elements in it and shove it into the squisher thing that makes those grill marks on the panini. This is a big plus. Still a little messy (I don't like messy food, it doesn't seem worth it), but it's not sopping through with grease like the overpriced panini you'll get from Cafe Metro or Pax.