Bitch, I’ll make my own sandwich! Go demand equal pay and treatment in the workplace.
Eating in the city is expensive. I am convinced every time I go to a lunch spot I am paying a premium on service, sales tax, and the decor in the shop. Packing lunch is not practical as I am limited by time and options in the family fridge.
But I work in an area surrounded by supermarkets, specialty shops, and farmer’s markets. Why not go out and buy all of the ingredients and assembly the final product myself? I could potentially save money and control my diet more effectively.
So the objective is to go out and buy everything I need and require minimal prep work once I return to the office in under one hour, the length of my lunch break. I also have to keep it within my typical lunch budget of $5-10.
Result? First try netted a good deal, but more planning will be required as the final product was not that great.
East Village Cheese
A ten minute walk gets me to this little cheese shop, known for dirt cheap cheeses. And they’re not kidding. I bought a 1/2 lb of French Emmentel for $2.50. Pretty good, until I realized they have a whole wheel of brie of $1.50.
But then I noticed they also have $3.25 for 1/4 lb of Italian prosciutto. Will it be any good? Who cares? I’ll take that chance too. If I had my own cheese cutter, I would have bought 1/2 of mozzarella for $3.25.
Le Pain Quotidian
I happened to pass by this bread shop and decided to choose whatever is cheapest. I ended up with $3.50 for quarter of a sourdough multi-grain loaf. I may have overpaid once I saw whole loaves for he same price in the Union Square farmer’s markets. But at least the folks at LPQ sliced the bread for free.
Time used? Not great. Probably because I also stopped by the bank and I spent too much time looking around in the cheese shop. But it took me 55 minutes to get back to the office.
Final Product? Er… not good. While French Emmentel, prosciutto, and sourdough bread are all good in their own right (I’m sure I’ve had better prosciutto, but at $3.25 for 4 oz?). Put them together, and it’s disappointing. Maybe because I didn’t buy a cheap bottle of olive oil. Maybe because Emmental is better melted in croque-monsieur’s and fondues. But the result is a French and an Italian guy having gaybies.
Good deal? You bet. $9.25 for at least enough food for two or three people. I spent more than that at Shake Shack (and waited in line just as long as the amount of time done shopping). But since I literally have no physical co-workers around me and I have to take the extra’s home (I already have to eat all of the sourdough because I know my parents don’t like it), it will have to be a once a week deal.
But with more research and more planning I could easily lower costs and cut the time taken shopping and I’ll be able to build a better lunch. Hopefully, I can recruit another to do this with me and we could actually finish all the food.
Stay tuned for my second attempt to build my own lunch.