Lunch for One: Cafe Pedlar

Editor's note: In "Lunch for One," Kathy YL Chan will seek out some of the best places for solo lunchers to grab a noontime bite.

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The call of coffee and piles of fresh magazines were strong enough to lure me through the front doors of the newly opened Cafe Pedlar. Situated in the overflow room of Frankies 17, outfitted in brick walls, Pedlar is as ideal for a solo meal as it is a perfect place to meet with friends. (I could linger there for quite a while.)

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Sandwich options are few; two rotating choices, to be exact. Pre-made, though fresh, they keep it simple: a cheese, dijon, and arugula sandwich, a roast pork sandwich. It was Prosciutto and Pecorino on my day, thin-cut ribbons upon ribbons of luxuriously cured meat piled high on a buttered house pretzel roll ($6.50). The prosciutto melts in your mouth without the least bit of effort, inviting a satisfied sense of bliss. Straightforward, utterly simple, and delicious. If you're in a lighter snack mood, head in the direction of pretzel braids with sea salt, butter, and mustard, or camping rolls--single serving, nut-studded numbers.

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Some baked goods are done in-house, others aren't. Keep your eye on the three house-made cakes: Olive Oil Cake, Stout Cake, and the Banana Spelt Bundt. Olive oil cake is a particular love of mine, found anywhere in the city. Pedlar's bakes their in individual bundt molds, ensuring each one its fair share of the delicate, crisp exterior. For those familiar with the version at Abraço, which is dense, with a crumb similar to that of a poundcake, Cafe Pedlar turns out a spongier cake, noticeably sweeter with a faint hint of citrus.

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And what would a lunch like this be without coffee--Stumptown, of course. Be sure to read our coffee guru Allison Hemler's post on coffee at the two Cafe Pedlars.

Cafe Pedlar

17 Clinton Street, New York NY 10002 (map) 212-253-2303
www.cafepedlar.com