What's your lunching style? Do you check out new eateries every day or tote something from home?
Here's what Lunch Box found when we e-mailed a few folks to ask about lunch styles.
eats at his "desk." Of course, the "desk" for Mr. Frontera Grill/Topolobampo/XOCO means sitting down at a table or the counter in Frontera and ordering items from whatever's new on the menu. "We schedule his lunch just like everything else, otherwise he wouldn't have time!" e-mailed Jen Fite, his first lieutenant in charge of, well, scheduling the chef/TV personality/cookbook author.
, the Tribune's restaurant critic, also schedules his eating. "Because of my thousand-calorie dinners, I try to skip lunch when I can. When I do eat lunch, it's work-related, which may mean tasting barbecue one day, eggrolls another day, a full sit-down meal after that."
Ah, schedules. Ask mom and
about squeezing in lunch between a ganache here and a mousse there, TV appearances and a book on lunch she's writing: "I usually am making something in the morning before I leave to bring with me to have for lunch when I have a minute to take a break and have lunch. Often I am eating at my computer while I work on recipes and emails like this one . . . though I'm not having lunch right now. I'm in Paris but go down south tomorrow to work for two weeks. I'm actually writing a book on lunch, at home and to-go items."
Chicago's director of culinary arts and events
Judith Dunbar Hines
, who often works late because of evening classes or events, always tries to take a lunch break. "I am not a 'stand up and eat' person. I like to sit, be waited on. Someone told me that quick-serve style is actually 'Work-araunt' and being served is 'REST-araunt' and I realized that after all these years of serving others, I just want them to bring it to me, good and tasty. But it can be as simple as tacos or as nice as a French bistro. I rarely eat at my desk, partially because I'm not at a desk too much, and I rarely bring anything from home. I don't really enjoy leftovers. I like food fresh. At our Chicago Downtown Farmstand (66 E. Randolph St.) we sell a few lunch-appropriate things like Greek salad, heat-in-the-office-microwave butternut soup, Thai sandwiches, or a mini loaf of bread and cheese, etc., so when I'm really on the go during the day, I do sometimes grab one of those things.
Green City Market's
is a "casual luncher." "I love to take a break and lunch is one of my favorite meals. I usually eat some sort of salad because I love cold crunchy food especially in the summer. Winter is soup and a great piece of bread or a splurge is a burger or sandwich with potato chips. I can never say no to chips!," the market's executive director says. "When I was little, my favorite sandwich was bologna and ketchup with the potato chips in the sandwich and I was labeled as weird in the lunchroom. I haven't eaten that for years, but I probably would still love it although now I would have really good bread and maybe mortadella and fresh sliced tomatoes. I think I will try it this summer when tomatoes are in season. Sometimes I bring something from home that is leftover or something from the previous night's restaurant dinner — I especially love cold steak or chicken for lunch the next day."
And from Tribune food lovers, there are these:
, Tribune columnist, host of Chicago Live! and
Radio's "Sunday Morning Papers": "Never, ever have brought lunch from home. I grab something downstairs (Trib cafeteria) or eat out — usually Stefani's 437."
: "I have three criteria, and it's in this exact order of importance:
3)Is it good?
So when it comes to eating out during the workday, taste is less important than how quickly I can get it. Which is why sometimes I'll get Popeye's."
: "I'm a hybrid! I bring herbs from my garden and lettuce greens and chopped veggies I buy at the farmers market. I augment that with grilled vegetables and chopped chicken from the company salad bar – the former assures me a healthful start, the latter adds items that are too time-consuming for me to prepare at home. I also bring my own favorite low-cal salad dressing (Newman's Own Lighten Up Honey Mustard to be precise), because the cafeteria's regular dressing is too fattening and (usually) the low-fat options taste terrible."
Good Eating art director
: "I limit eating out to once a month. I almost always go to Nordstrom Café. It's a little pricey but worth it. It's my special treat . . . I make my lunch in the morning. Lately I've been doing lots of salads topped with either hard-boiled egg or avocado or cold salmon when I have leftovers. I've also been making pesto and spreading it on bakery bread with some Parmesan. Delicious!"
: "I hesitate to bring things from home because the fridge is far away and I worry that the food won't keep. If I do bring something, it's leftovers. I go to Burrito Beach 3 times a week for the same burrito with a bottle of water. That's $8.30 each time — and I'd save quite a bit of money if I didn't do that every week."
Fashion editor/art director
: "I WISH that I brought my lunch. I go out. When I do bring lunch, it's leftovers. Usually on a Monday, so something interesting from Sunday supper."
: "I rarely bring my lunch. I split 50/50 between the cafeteria (because I simply can't beat the convenience) and going out. If I bring something in, it's usually because I cooked a big batch of something on the grill."
: "If I only have time to grab food for a working lunch at my desk but have enough time to shop around a bit, I'll head to a large dining hub with options, such as a food court (The Shops at NorthBridge, or the one at 111 E. Wacker). If I can take time for a sit-down lunch, I want to be comfortable — not at some fluorescent hole-in-the-wall. I love the Nordstrom Cafe, or even Lavazza Coffee. A restaurant or cafe atmosphere is much more pleasant than any fast-food or quickie coffee shop. And leftovers, for sure! Eating leftovers for lunch the next day gives you something to look forward to; eating leftovers for dinner the next night is just depressing."
You weren't on the e-mail, and want to tell us about your lunching style? Well, tell me about yours now . . . and any special "lunches" you prepare.