Monday, May 7, 2012

Just try using a credit card in the city

Lunch on the run in Manhattan: Vegetarian Lentil Soup with toasted pocket bread. But you'll pay a "convenience fee," if you want to charge the meal to a credit card.

A cup of Lemon Lift Tea is $2 at this restaurant in the midtown Port Authority Bus Terminal. Take cash, because you can't use a credit card for anything under $5.

When the hunger pangs hit around midday this past Friday, I was walking past the Pita Pan Cafe, which serves "healthy Middle Eastern cuisine" on 8th Avenue in Manhattan.

I looked over the menu in the window and Vegetarian Lentil Soup caught my eye.

Inside, I ordered a 16-ounce cup for $4, and took out my Visa card. 

But the guy behind the counter pointed to a sign near the register, advising customers of a 75-cents "convenience fee," if they want to charge their purchases.

Scent of cumin

The soup was terrific. It was filled with barley and vegetables, and scented with cumin. I asked, and was told it was made by the Egyptian owner.

I took the subway to the midtown Port Authority Bus Terminal, and bought a ticket at the Coach USA window, but the clerk said he didn't take American Express.

Bring cash

I had 30 minutes before the bus left, so decided to have a cup of tea at the restaurant across the concourse.

Lemon Lift Tea was $2, but I had to pay cash. The minimum credit-card purchase is $5.

Pita Pan Cafe, 273 8th Ave. (between 23rd and 24th streets), Manhattan; 212-337-3071.
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