RWA Nationals: Tuesday Night

Admittedly, I didn’t do any truly conference-related activities yesterday. Eric and I headed into the city around 6 and met my critique partners in the bar at the hotel. We gabbed until it was time to board one of the glass elevators to take us to the Goddess Blog party.

Let me tell you, I’m so glad I’m not in the hotel. I think my commute from Jersey City takes less time. They have the elevators on some kind of odd system. You can’t press a button once you’re inside. You have to “call” for the elevator by indicating on a giant keypad which floor you’re going to. It tells you which elevator to take, and that elevator is programmed to take you to your floor…and to also drop off/pick up about 30 other people that are crammed into that elevator with you. I don’t mind the heights so much, but I do mind the heat and crowding. I was sweating like a whore in church!

The Goddess Blog party was fun. They handed out tiaras, and there was a great spread of fruit and sandwiches. I got to meet Julia London, and Suzanne Enoch was running around welcoming everyone. I briefly got to say hi to Sabrina Jefferies, too. But we had to duck out after our brief appearance because this was our big Critique Group Dinner night.

(First, a couple party pictures…)

Amy de Trempe and me 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

Heather Boyd, Samantha Grace and Jodie Pearson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eric and I led our group of 14 several blocks down to Dallas BBQ. This place is huge and cheap. They had no problem seating all 14 of us immediately. And when I say immediately, I mean, we never really even stopped walking. This place is a well-oiled machine. The guy at the entrance gets your headcount and sends your party up the escalator, where another guy is waiting for you. That guy sends you to the girl on the other side of the restaurant and she leads you to your table that has been expertly set up in the 30 seconds it’s taken your party to get up the escalator.

Our fabulous waiter, George, was so sweet and super patient. The only real snafu came when they tried to put 4 racks of ribs (with fries) in front of Eric.

George: Didn’t you order 4 racks?
Eric: Ah, no, man. Just the one.
George: Oh, man. I could have sworn you said 4 racks.
Eric: (realization dawns) Oh, no! I said full rack. Not four.

Lol. Hopefully some of the incredibly hard-working staff got to enjoy the other 3 racks of ribs.

Everyone really seemed to love the food, which was a big relief. It’s no easy task planning a dinner for 14 people. But I was hopeful that the Texas-sized margaritas would make up for any food-related drawbacks 🙂

But alas, all good things must come to an end, and Eric and I were on a time crunch to get the nanny home by a fairly decent hour. Unfortunately, we didn’t leave quite enough time to make our train, despite the fact we were in a full sprint (with me in brand new sandals) for about 5 blocks. Thank god for our 5K training last fall or I never would have made it. But even at that, we missed our train. We stared longingly and out of breath as we watched it pull out of the station, while we were still on the other side of the turnstiles.

Ah, well…we caught the next one and sent nanny home in a cab. We’ll know to leave an extra 30 seconds next time.

RWA Nationals: NYC Eating, Shopping, etc…PART 2

Okay, yesterday I talked about eating on a budget in Times Square…now let’s talk about if your not on a budget…or if you’re looking to drop just a little more dough on “an experience.” I’ll start at the lower end of things…

Havana Central (151 West 46th Street, Between 6th and 7th – .1 mile from hotel)
With delicious food and live music, this is definitely the place to get your salsa on! You feel like you’ve stepped into Havana itself in this classy theme restaurant. And honestly, the food isn’t terribly expensive. Look to pay $12-$20 for an entree. I recommend the Arroz con Pollo, but then again, I’m not a terribly adventurous person 😉
http://www.havanacentral.com 

Carmines (200 West 44th Street – 79 feet from hotel)
This staple of New York group dining is not to be missed. The massive restaurant serves massive plates of food (which you order off of a massive billboard on the wall) to massive tables of people celebrating everything from Birthday parties to anniversaries to weddings. And while bigger doesn’t always mean better, in the case of Carmine’s, you can’t get enough. The food is fantastic! But be warned, the wait can get very long, and sometimes they even turn you away if you don’t have a reservation already. This tends to run us about $30/person whenever we go, but it can be more or less depending on alcohol consumption 😉
http://www.carminesnyc.com/ 

Vinyl (754 9th Avenue @ 51st St – .6 miles from hotel)
This place may be a little off the beaten path, but it’s super cool. You feel like you’re in a 60s/70s disco with mirrors and records hanging everyone. But the best part is the menu. There is literally something for everyone. Fried chicken, mac&cheese and other American favorites, spaghetti and meatballs, Pad Thai, Masaman Curry or General Tso’s chicken…seriously, there’s something for every palate. And it won’t break the bank either. Plan to pay around $12-$20/entree.
http://www.vynl-nyc.com/welcome.html 

Bond 45 (154 West 45th Street – 299 feet from hotel)
Okay, this place is no joke. You can’t see in the windows and the gigantic sign reading BOND 45 is so intimidating that we didn’t step foot in this place for years – we thought only people like Al Pacino would be allowed in. However, when we finally did go, we were thrilled, and we felt so important. This is a fine Italian steakhouse. The food is amazing, the service impeccable. But be prepared to break the bank with this one. They don’t list their prices online, so you know they’re expensive. It’s been a while since we visited, but the entrees are definitely upwards of $20/entree. Of course, if you go for steak or seafood, you’ll spend more. But if you have some cash to burn, I highly recommend you check it out…or if not, maybe just stop in for drinks.
http://www.bond45.com/ 

 

 

RWA Nationals: NYC Eating, Shopping, etc…

Hi all!

Well, the time is drawing nigh! Nationals is upon us…just a few more weeks until 2,000+ romance writers descend upon my hometown of NYC. I can’t wait! In preparation, I’ve been compiling lists of places to eat, places to shop, and things to do while you’re visiting us. Hubby and I were on our way to see a show the other day, and I started taking notes of all the great places there are in Times Square and the surrounding neighborhoods. Places that are often forgotten about if they aren’t right in front of your face. So, without further ado, here’s my list of stuff you might want to know about…

Budget Eating…

Just because you’re on a budget or in a hurry doesn’t mean you have to eat at McDonald’s! Here are some spots that offer what I consider upscale fast food…

Chipotle Mexican Grill – this one is a mere .3 miles from the Marriot! My favorite thing here is the veggie burrito bowl – it’ll run you about $7, but you won’t have to eat again for 3 days! Ha!

25 West 45th Street

New York, NY 10036

Cosi – This is a great sandwich/soup/salad place that turns into a full-service restaurant at night, with booze and everything. The Signature Salad is TDF, but just FYI – it’s not at all waist-friendly! If you’re looking for the Weight Watchers-friendly meal there, get the half Turkey Light sandwich and the half soup (I l.o.v.e. the artichoke soup!). .3 miles from hotel…

1633 Broadway

New York, NY 10019

Baja Fresh – .2 miles from the hotel, this Mexican cantina is a favorite from out west! With light, fresh fare, you’ll be walking on air as you walk down Broadway!

1441 Broadway

New York, NY 10018

Famous Famiglia – Looking for that famous NY slice? Pop on up to this legendary pizza joint, just .2 miles from the hotel. 1 slice, 1 order garlic knots and 1 diet coke (to off-set the calories in the pizza and knots, of course) and you’re good to go!

1630 Broadway at 50th St.

New York, NY 10019

Dallas BBQ – if you have a little more time to spare, but still don’t want to break the bank, this BBQ staple of NY is even good enough for this southern gal! My favorite thing here: Quarter rotisserie chicken (white meat, honey basted) with yellow rice and corn bread (slathered in butter, of course.) It’s more food than you could possibly eat for $7.50 (plus tax+tip) Oh, and if you want to get your drink on, go for a Texas sized Strawberry Margarita…yum! .2 miles from hotel…

241 West 42nd Street

Jamba Juice – if you’re really in a hurry or not terribly hungry or just want to drink your fruits/veggies, Jamba Juice is there for you! It’s .1 mile from the hotel, and it’s open until at least midnight every night!

712 7th Ave.

The Counter – I’ve talked about it before, but it bears repeating. This build-your-own burger joint is awesome, and they have a full bar, too! They also have plenty of vegetarian options if you’re not a carnivore. .2 miles from hotel…

1451 Broadway

KFCNo, I’m not talking about Kentucky Fried Chicken, I’m talking about Korean Fried Chicken! This amazing double-fried chicken is like nothing you’ve ever eaten! You’ll never be able to look at buffalo wings the same way again! Ask for a sample first before you order a whole thing of the spicy wings, and if you do go spicy, don’t touch your eyes until you’ve washed your hands at least 5 times. Personally, I love the non-spicy wings the best! Be prepared though…you may have sticker shock when you see the prices, but trust me…it’s worth it!

Try Bon Chon – 207 W. 38th St. New York, NY 10018 (.4 miles from hotel)  or Kyochon 319 5th Ave, New York (.8 miles from hotel.) (The atmosphere at Kyochon is pretty great, so if you don’t mind the walk, I recommend going there!)

Okay, I’ll be back with the next part of my list…