Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Empire State of Mind

The dull hum of jackhammers, a slight grit in the crisp morning air, the hustle and bustle of people rushing past, taxi horns blaring, an unfamiliar yet intriguing hostility felt from passers-by. You guessed it: the concrete jungle where dreams are made, (ohhhh).  

This past weekend I traveled to New York City to attend a Food Writing course at the Gotham Writer's Workshop. First, I must say if you have any interest in writing, this is the place to go. I took a class at the 1450 Broadway location which is conveniently located steps from Times Square. It was a one day intensive writing course which covered multiple genres of Food Writing, creative prompting, style and the basics of the publishing business. Seven hours and a whole slew of ideas later, I left feeling greatly satisfied with my class. The class cost $125 plus a $50 registration fee. I found the content to be well worth the money spent. If you "Like" Gotham on Facebook and sign-up for their email list, the often run promotions for their classes. I won't give away too much from the class but I will say that we got the opportunity to write a real-time restaurant  review on our lunch break. My teacher provided the class with a plethora of thought-provoking prompts; it was a fantastic experience.

I decided to make a weekend of my trip for my class. On Saturday night, my friend surprised me with tickets to the Broadway show, Kinky Boots. It was amazing to say the least. Aside from the 21st century genius plot, the acting and musical numbers were superb. The show's music and lyrics were composed by Cyndi Lauper; my favorite song was "Sex is in the Heel." I even came home with a tee shirt with this awesome lyric on it! Please, google this show and if you can't make it to NYC, you have got to download the soundtrack. I loved the show's mantra, "you can change the world, if you just change your mind."


On Sunday, we attended the New York City Food and Wine Festival which featured live demonstrations by many of America's favorite Food Network stars as well as hundreds of food and wine vendors offering generous samples of everything from bubbly Prosecco to toasty s'mores cookies. As a non-native New Yorker, I was awestruck by the variety offered at this festival. I only attended the last day of the event and spent a mere six hours there but I certainly could have spent the entire weekend. 

We watched live demos of Andrew Zimmern, who prepared a dish with live crickets, Giada De Laurentiis, who let the audience cook her two vegetarian appetizers while she chatted with us, Michael Simon, who had the crowd roaring in laughter with his wit, and last but certainly not least, Robert Irvine, who ended my NYC trip with that insanely satisfying, deep belly laughter. I stood in line for just about an hour to get Giada to sign my book and snap a photo with me. She was so wonderful. She literally had a conversation with each and every person who stood in line and waited for her signing. 

I even got a picture which featured Bobby Flay looking a little salty in the background as I posed with Giada. My favorite live demo, by a landslide, was Robert Irvine's. He poses as such a hard ass on TV, I was unsure as to what he would do in live demo. Unpredictably hilarious is the best I can do to convey how entertaining he was. His energy was irrevocably contagious; he ran around the audience, pressuring people to taste things they claimed to hate and even made his newly found doppelganger do push ups! He left the crowd with a great message. Simply put he said, "do something nice for someone ever single day; that is how you earn your keep on this planet." I loved that. 

It was a lovely weekend filled with good food, great friends and a wonderful indulgence in my own creative genius. 

Robert and his audience look-alike!

What I Ate:

Fried Zucchini

Brick Oven Pizza Smothered in Arugula

Eggplant Parm Panini

Garlic Parm Fries (SO GOOD)

Veggie Panini (Drunk Food!)

Egg White Frittata with Goat Cheese, Leeks and Cranberry

Sample for Barilla at NYCFF

Another Italian Sample for NYCFF

"These streets will make you feel brand new
Big lights will inspire you, let's hear it for New York"

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