New York minutes/Latish July 2009

The not bad: Toast, where my consort and I headed to reconnect on neutral territory after his week teaching a workshop in Santa Fe. He had noticed it on the bus ride back from LaGuardia, so we headed north for a change and got a pleasant-enough table on the sidewalk and decent-enough food. The guacamole was rather wan, to the point that Mr. Salt Shunner actually reached for the shaker and shook hard. But my Caesar was better than average for $6.95. And his $15.95 pistachio-coated salmon may have been a dainty portion but arrived atop a huge pile of surprisingly tasty vegetable-rice pilaf. A bottle of decent rosé added only $20 to the tab. WIGB? He already has. And if it’s good enough for the famous  neighbors . . . 2737 Broadway at 105th Street, 212 663 7010.

The serviceable: Spice, the new one on 13th, where we headed because Bob was starving after the Greenmarket and at least it was someplace new. It’s pretty swanky for a $7.50 two-course lunch joint, with a serious bar and sleek design. And I was quite encouraged by my “duck wrapped” starter, which turned out to be a mound of good chopped meat with sauce and crisps to wrap in iceberg lettuce leaves. But the Samui phad Thai was gruesome, a sweet mess of bitter greens and glop with bits of smoked tofu, too-long carrot strands and great chunks of stringy eggs (yes, it turns out: eggs can be made stringy). Bob was happier with his eggplant with holy basil plus chicken although his steamed dumpling app was rubbery. But for that price and setting you can’t really complain. WIGB? Maybe. It does have location, location. 39 East 13th Street, 212 982 3758.