Author Topic: Lunch Strategy for Downtown Chicago  (Read 4345 times)

chesebert

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Lunch Strategy for Downtown Chicago
« on: November 13, 2015, 12:27:56 PM »
I just moved to Chicago and I work downtown. Over the past couple of weeks, I have noticed that my lunch budget is significantly higher than I had anticipated.

What I had imagined: Bring leftover from dinner the day before and reheat in the microwave for lunch. Simple!

What is actually going on: the office where I work has no fridge or microwave. I have been buying either hot dog (@UB Hot Dog) or Subway. My lunch averages between $4-6 per day. I made the mistake of eating Ramen today and was shocked at the $18 price tag (after tax and tip).

I can get a mini fridge for my office but I still don't have a microwave. I would really prefer hot lunches now that the weather has turned cold.

Any ideas on cheap hot lunch options?


StacheInAFlash

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Re: Lunch Strategy for Downtown Chicago
« Reply #1 on: November 13, 2015, 02:57:31 PM »
Can you ask your boss about getting a fridge and microwave? I can't imagine an office without those for employees... Get to the root of the issue rather than looking for the expensive workaround of "cheap" lunches.

shelivesthedream

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Re: Lunch Strategy for Downtown Chicago
« Reply #2 on: November 13, 2015, 03:09:20 PM »
Definitely ask. You don't need a fridge, just a microwave. Stuff will do fine at room temperature for a few hours if you're going to nuke the shit out of it anyway. Or bring a cool pack.

If it's a nay, bring a thermos of soup for the "hot" and a sandwich/salad/whatever for the "lunch". I feel you on wanting something hot in winter but you only need something to take care of that feeling. The whole lunch doesn't need to be hot.

Britan

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Re: Lunch Strategy for Downtown Chicago
« Reply #3 on: November 13, 2015, 03:12:49 PM »
Seconding the thermos. A friend of mine sends her young daughter to school with lunch in a thermos to keep it hot or cold (they also have a no fridge no microwave no exceptions policy). It works pretty well especially if you get a wide mouthed one that you can pour into a plate. there are good ones that can keep food or drinks warm for 12 hours!

Argyle

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Re: Lunch Strategy for Downtown Chicago
« Reply #4 on: November 13, 2015, 03:18:22 PM »
I've been bringing my lunch for years and I've never had a fridge or a microwave.  Thermoses or cold packs will take care of pretty much anything you want. 

Goldielocks

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Re: Lunch Strategy for Downtown Chicago
« Reply #5 on: November 13, 2015, 03:20:59 PM »
Get a hot water  immersion in cup heater, to boil your own, or a tea kettle, and use for making your own ramen...
Eat with other items brought from home.

Mini crockpot for a can of soup, maybe?  (assuming you have access to a coffee sink area to clean up).

The 20 ounce Crock-Pot Lunch Crock Food Warmer lets you enjoy the comfort of flavorful meals on the go. It warms leftovers, soups, oatmeal and just about anything in amazing slow cooker fashion. Heat conveniently while you work for a flavorful lunch that is ready when and where you are.

http://www.walmart.ca/en/ip/crock-pot-lunch-crock-food-warmer-hot-pink/1255099521828?cmpid=PPC_Google_Google-Shopping_PLA_EN_1255099521828_100182107432690_1016&gclid=Cj0KEQiAsZayBRCrioKRkYetvc0BEiQAI70-Ax8K0mqc3kGEDQJRtfchJToQiIUFVaPry4z6V7QkiVgaAkGx8P8HAQ

OR

http://www.walmart.com/ip/Norpro-Inc.-559-Immersion-Heater-Each/21782197
$8.99

lthenderson

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Re: Lunch Strategy for Downtown Chicago
« Reply #6 on: November 13, 2015, 03:48:57 PM »
Lots of sandwiches, soups, salads and stuff that can be kept and eaten at room temperature. Even foods that need to stay cold will survive several hours in a insulated lunch bag. I used a thermos for keeping things warm too though it isn't great for all foods. How about getting a hot plate?

chesebert

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Re: Lunch Strategy for Downtown Chicago
« Reply #7 on: November 14, 2015, 03:58:44 PM »
Definitely ask. You don't need a fridge, just a microwave. Stuff will do fine at room temperature for a few hours if you're going to nuke the shit out of it anyway. Or bring a cool pack.

If it's a nay, bring a thermos of soup for the "hot" and a sandwich/salad/whatever for the "lunch". I feel you on wanting something hot in winter but you only need something to take care of that feeling. The whole lunch doesn't need to be hot.

Does thermos keep soup hot for 5hrs or so? I like my soup hot. Which specific Thermos?

Capsu78

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Re: Lunch Strategy for Downtown Chicago
« Reply #8 on: November 14, 2015, 07:16:03 PM »
I like to buy US when I can, but for this particular situation I would go to Chinatown and look for Asian style lunch thermos packs.  Everything nests together and you can put all kinds of cuisines in them. Usually has multiple compartments and a place for chopstix, although I like a spork.

Jellyfish

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Re: Lunch Strategy for Downtown Chicago
« Reply #9 on: November 14, 2015, 10:02:24 PM »
I've never found a thermos to really keep things hot until my sister bought me a Kleen Kanteen.  I use it for tea and it keeps it hot (as it nearly too hot to drink) for hours.  Suppose it could be used for soup, but you would have to pour it into another bowl to eat as it is tall and narrow.

FerrumB5

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Re: Lunch Strategy for Downtown Chicago
« Reply #10 on: November 14, 2015, 11:20:25 PM »
@cheesebrt. Where do you work? I'm in Sears (ok, ok, Willis) Tower.

shelivesthedream

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Re: Lunch Strategy for Downtown Chicago
« Reply #11 on: November 15, 2015, 01:58:02 AM »
Definitely ask. You don't need a fridge, just a microwave. Stuff will do fine at room temperature for a few hours if you're going to nuke the shit out of it anyway. Or bring a cool pack.

If it's a nay, bring a thermos of soup for the "hot" and a sandwich/salad/whatever for the "lunch". I feel you on wanting something hot in winter but you only need something to take care of that feeling. The whole lunch doesn't need to be hot.

Does thermos keep soup hot for 5hrs or so? I like my soup hot. Which specific Thermos?

Yep. If it's boiling when it goes in, it'll be eating hot when it comes out. Thermos is a brand. Just go to a camping shop and buy the best one they have.

chesebert

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Re: Lunch Strategy for Downtown Chicago
« Reply #12 on: November 16, 2015, 10:21:11 AM »
@cheesebrt. Where do you work? I'm in Sears (ok, ok, Willis) Tower.
Near La Salle and Lake. Don't think my building has a name :)

chesebert

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Re: Lunch Strategy for Downtown Chicago
« Reply #13 on: November 16, 2015, 10:29:49 AM »
Definitely ask. You don't need a fridge, just a microwave. Stuff will do fine at room temperature for a few hours if you're going to nuke the shit out of it anyway. Or bring a cool pack.

If it's a nay, bring a thermos of soup for the "hot" and a sandwich/salad/whatever for the "lunch". I feel you on wanting something hot in winter but you only need something to take care of that feeling. The whole lunch doesn't need to be hot.

Does thermos keep soup hot for 5hrs or so? I like my soup hot. Which specific Thermos?

Yep. If it's boiling when it goes in, it'll be eating hot when it comes out. Thermos is a brand. Just go to a camping shop and buy the best one they have.

Any store/brand recommendations? Downtown Chicago would be ideal.

GuitarStv

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Re: Lunch Strategy for Downtown Chicago
« Reply #14 on: November 16, 2015, 11:41:19 AM »
Just pick up a cheap microwave second hand for a couple bucks and sit it under your cubicle.  As has been mentioned, food will be fine sitting out for a few hours without refrigeration.

shelivesthedream

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Re: Lunch Strategy for Downtown Chicago
« Reply #15 on: November 16, 2015, 04:30:31 PM »
Definitely ask. You don't need a fridge, just a microwave. Stuff will do fine at room temperature for a few hours if you're going to nuke the shit out of it anyway. Or bring a cool pack.

If it's a nay, bring a thermos of soup for the "hot" and a sandwich/salad/whatever for the "lunch". I feel you on wanting something hot in winter but you only need something to take care of that feeling. The whole lunch doesn't need to be hot.

Does thermos keep soup hot for 5hrs or so? I like my soup hot. Which specific Thermos?

Yep. If it's boiling when it goes in, it'll be eating hot when it comes out. Thermos is a brand. Just go to a camping shop and buy the best one they have.

Any store/brand recommendations? Downtown Chicago would be ideal.

I'm English, I'm afraid, so no! Do you have camping shops like Blacks and Millets? Go in and ask for a recommendation.

galliver

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Re: Lunch Strategy for Downtown Chicago
« Reply #16 on: November 16, 2015, 05:58:29 PM »
You can pick up a Thermos-brand thermos at Target (downtown). Or if "city target" sucks in that department, there's one at Roosevelt (take red line south to...Roosevelt, walk west for 1-2 blocks). I got a 1.5 L one when I was sick and needed to travel, so I could have hot tea between meal stops. Kept heat like a charm. Stanley brand probably works just fine too. Just honestly don't cheap out, you need a VACUUM insulated bottle. :)

Also if your office has a coffee maker (you have to have a coffee maker, right!?) it may have a hot water spigot/function. This can make ramen, oatmeal, or Lipton powdered cup-a-soup in a pinch, or a hot beverage of choice to go with a sandwich. Obviously not ideal but good for "backup food."