Have returned safe and sound from New York after some really lovely events. Reading at Lady Jane’s was a deliciously harrowing experience–it’s been literally YEARS since I’ve done a reading and I forgot how knee-knocking the process can be. (Spotlight, stage, microphone. Eek!) But the group there is so wonderfully welcoming, it made the nerves much easier to handle. The next night I spoke and signed with the ever-awesome Lauren Willig–who manages to look adorable and tiny and cute even at the end of pregnancy. HOW does she do that?? The staff at the Mysterious Bookshop is just as superb as ever. If you want a signed copy of either of our books–or just about anything else!–give them a shout, or if you’re in the area, stop by and enjoy their awesomeness.
I also had the pleasure of hanging out with new editor! Whom we should probably just start referring to as “editor”, no? Anyway, we had lots of chats about future projects, and in case you missed the announcement on Facebook and Twitter, CITY OF JASMINE has been moved UP to release in March! I am beyond thrilled about this one, chickens. This means the prequel novella will come out February 1–and with a new Julia novella out in the autumn, that means we have three projects pubbing in the next eight months. Happy, happy, happy…
So, the trip was well worth the journey even though I was completely wrecked by Tuesday morning I was so tired. Stacking this on top of graduation weekend was a wee bit of a challenge. I got home Wednesday after lunch and got straight into bed and didn’t get out until Thursday. And I’m still catching up! But in spite of the fatigue, I had a great time, and found some new favorites.
Each time I go to New York, I like to try a few new places I haven’t been before. Some I find through research, some through recommendations from online pals, some from friendly concierges, and some because my agent is super-thorough with her own research. This was only my second time staying downtown, but I’m getting very fond of that part of Manhattan. Here are some new favorites from this trip.
*Smyth. Superb boutique hotel that is literally around the corner from Mysterious. Fabulous staff, VERY spacious rooms for NYC, and a divine French bistro. Did I mention the front door is four steps from a subway station?
*Saleya. Fabulous little restaurant in the next block from Smyth. My editor found it, and four of us ate masses of delectable Mediterranean food. It was so delicious that when I found myself unexpectedly free for dinner after the signing at Mysterious, I went straight back and ordered more of what I’d had the previous night. Although they were slammed, they packed up a gorgeous order of their vegetable stew and almond rice, and I trotted back to the hotel to eat it in bed with a nice cold white wine from the mini-bar. BLISS. (And I was actually VERY lucky to have my original dinner plans fall through–no sooner did I get back to my room than my entire zipper split. Awkward if you’re in public…)
*Laduree. Uptown and worth every step. I was craving macarons this trip–not macaroons but the delectable French pastries that resemble a very upmarket sandwich cookie. A quick Twitter poll revealed that Laduree was the place to go and with good reason. They claim to have invented the macaron in Paris, and their pastries are flown in from France rather than made here. They are not cheap, but every morsel is heaven. The dark chocolate and the rose petal were my favorites, although none of the six varieties I tasted was anything other than sublime. I desperately wanted some of their “Marie Antoinette” tea, but they were out of stock, and on the recommendation of the lovely associate, I chose “The Eugenie”–imagine the accent on “the”, please, as it’s the French word for tea not the English article but I’m too addled to figure out how to add the accent on my blogging platform at present. Anyway, “Eugenie” is black tea with notes of red fruits like currant and strawberry and cherry. Divine! And the Laduree workers are delightful. If you’re in doubt as to flavors to try, ask! I had the young man select some of them for me, and his choices were delectable.
*Chelsea Market. I never intended to go because my only glimpses of Chelsea Market were on the Food Network and I thought it was just one big grocery store. Silly me. It’s a food wonderland with LOADS of gorgeous things already prepared and just waiting for you. There are wine bars and oyster bars if you are of a mind to linger, and when you finish, a quick walk takes you over to the Highline garden–a fantastic experience if you’ve never been. Only New Yorkers could take something as mundane as a transportation line that one hauled meat around and transform it into a gathering space with lush plants, sculptures, tiny restaurants, and beautiful views. Walking the Highline just before sunset is pretty magical.
*Pegu Club. A Burmese cocktail lounge–no, really. It’s tucked away at the top of a dark staircase in SoHo, and it’s the perfect spot to unwind with a cocktail. It’s got a bit of a British imperial vibe which puts it miles away from NYC once you’re inside. Interesting drink menu although I stuck with champagne. I hear it gets crowded on weekends, but on a Monday, it was a great little hideaway place to chat and sip.