An excellent little middle eastern restaurant located on the corner of 1st Avenue and 11th Street (think 111) on the isle of Manhattan.

Sahara East is my favorite place to go for lunch in the East Village:

All this for $3.50.

When I first moved to New York City in February this place was a life saver. After stumbling around in the ice and snow all day searching for a reasonable apartment, I'd make my way to Sahara East just before the lunch special ended (5pm). Quickly eat my food, talk to the staff (who are a touch standoffish at first - but after you're there every day for a week... they warm up) and order my evening hookah. ($5)

The men who work in Sahara East aren't really pleased with you as a customer if you don't stick around for hours smoking. The apple flavored tobacco rolling out of your mouth is cool and tasty and silky smooth. An extra mint tea is important, for the flavors of the tobacco and the mint mix just right.

There was at least one evening I arrived late in the afternoon for lunch, ordered my regular lunch special, ordered my hookah, sat back with a book and drifted off... by the time the pipe was empty - I'd be hungry again. The menus would come back out, I'd order up dinner and then possibly another pipe for dessert.

This is my ideal life of leisure.

Update: Sahara East has become something of a success in the past year, and no longer serves the damn cheap lunch special. Hell, nothing there is cheap any longer. The food is still incredibly high quality - but now you pay for it, New York City style.

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