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Using Your Noodle

Pasta logos It's hard to imagine a time, oh say, six years ago, when bread baskets were shunned and New Yorkers were eating scrambled egg whites on scooped bagels (oh right, they're still doing that).

Three is a trend, and it looks like carbs are coming back in a big way. (I’m much preferring the proliferation of country western bars: Branded Saloon, Viva El Toro and Lady Jay’s.) By the end of July, Manhattan will be home to three pasta bar chains: homegrown Hello Pasta, German Vapiano and French Nooi. It's a Small World of noodles. Is there really such a pent up demand for pasta lunches?

Then again, why not pasta? Salad bars are ancient history. I was alive enough in the '80s to have witnessed the mania first hand. And when my middle school got a baked potato bar? I knew I'd arrived when all the sour cream, grated cheese and imitation bacon bits you could cram onto one spud was deemed a healthy lunch.

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