Cemita’s NYC at Whole Foods

One of the best things about living in Manhattan is how easy it is to hop on a subway and in half an hour be in any borough of the city, eating fabulous food.

One of the worst things about living in Manhattan is being me. I’m lazy. If it takes more than 15 minutes to get there, I will probably just order in Chinese.

Like I said, I am really über lazy.

That’s why when I found out that Smorgasburg was doing a pop up at Whole Foods Bowery, I was all about it. A chance to try some of the vendors at Brooklyn’s famous weekly food fair without having to cross the river? Amazing.

This month features Cemita’s, run by Southern Californian native Danny Lyu, features the huge sandwiches which are its namesake, as specialty of Puebla, Mexico. Ten layers of tasty goodness fill these dishes, and tacos and fresh chips also available.

The space in Whole Foods is upstairs, with a few seats and a counter where you order. You see the meats being grilled, avocados being sliced, and sandwiches being assembled right in front of you. The open kitchen is totally pristine and the smells coming out of there are amazing – smoky, spicy, incredibly fragrant…if you aren’t hungry now, it’s just because you aren’t reading.

Chicken Tinga Cemita

Here are the ingredients in this:

And here is what it looks like:

And here is what it tastes like:

bread – fluffy, light, strong enough tos tand up to the fillings but soft enough to be easily bit.

black bean spread – smoky, hearty, fragrant with oregano

mayo – creamy

chicken tinga – unbelievable slow roasted pulled chicken. Spicy, garlicky, acidic form tomatoes and so juicy. Soft but not mushy, juicy, and tender. Like carnitas with the light, clean taste of chicken. Outstanding.

lettuce – insignificant

tomato – juicy, sweet, totally refreshing

pickled onion – sharp, tangy, strong, cutting thought he mayonnaise and cheese

cheese – oaxacan cheese – squeaky and firm, like cheese curds. Bland, but a welcoming blandness in the sea of spices

avocado – creamy, buttery, delicious as ever

papalo – a mexican and South American herb that is fresh and pungent. Somewhere between lemon, basil, and mint, this stuff is incredibly potent – the aroma smacks you in the face the minute that you even look at a cemita, standing out from the warm chicken and the yeasty bread. While it might be overkill alone, as part of the multilayered sandwich, it adds a fresh herbal note that brightens what could be a very heavy dish.

chipotle crema – smooth, smoky, a little spicy

Portabella Tacos with Lettuce, Sour Cream, and Salsas

Never, EVER have I had more satisfying mushrooms. Totally beefy, savory, charred and juicy…this was umami to the “nth” degree. Served in supple corn tortillas with crispy veggies, cool, sour cream, and 2 salsas (a garlicky red one and  tangy, spicy green one), this could almost make a vegetarian out of me.

The prices here aren’t cheap – a cemita will set you back about $10, including tax. But the servings are huge, and you could easily split a cemita and an order of chips with a friend and feel full for the whole afternoon. Sandwiches come quickly, the food is tasty, and…best of all…

You don’t have to go out of borough to get it, for the next month at least.

Smorgasburg at Whole Foods – making me embrace my laziness.

*Disclaimer: I did not pay for my meal. I was not required to write about the food, and the opinions expressed here are my own and unbiased.*


  1. I live in Brooklyn and I’m too lazy to go to Smorgasburg.

  2. I don’t believe you. You are always on some sort of culinary adventure, seemingly all over the city. GREG

  3. parkcitybrian says:

    im so fucking jealous…living in utah isnt bad enough but then to read about stuff like this just plain….. unfair. thankfully park city is unlike most of utah but its still a gastronomic wasteland. we do have a whole foods in park city, tho, but it cant sell wine or booze (all alcohol is sold at the state liquor store…closed on sundays and holidays, of course…cuz this if fucking utah).