I was at Book Expo America last year, and as I look back on it the only time I remember eating anything was when I went out and had dinner at Dos Caminos with Jen and Trish. Other than that I vaguely remember bottled water, fruit, and granola bars. I think I mostly popped home to have a quick bite and then went out later and had drinks at the meet-ups, tweet-ups and everything in between.
Now that just doesn’t seem right, does it? If you have been reading this blog for even a little while, you will know that food is very important to me. And I will be taking steps to make sure that what happened last year, never happens again. I know that you will be distracted by all the books and bloggers and just general excitement over being at BEA, and if you are looking for what events and panels that book bloggers are looking forward to at BEA, then my friend Jen over at Devourer of Books has you covered. But if you’re looking to have a good meal…well then, allow me!
There are so many places to eat on the city that it is ridiculous. You can literally eat at a different place every day for dinner and not repeat yourself. In the midst of so many options, I am going to share with you the places that I have returned to again and again. I’ll even tell you my signature dish at each place because yes, I am the girl that goes to a restaurant because I am hankering after something in particular. If I have something at a restaurant and love it, that becomes my meal there. Period.
Andrew’s Coffee Shop – is a chain that I discovered back when I worked in Midtown Manhattan. I used to meet one of my co-workers there every Friday before work for breakfast – so yes, fond memories. It’s regular diner fare, but the food hits the spot and luckily for us there is one a few avenues over from the Javits center. So whether you need a quick bite to get you started for the day or a burger and fries at lunchtime to keep you strong for carrying books, this place will fill the bill. Now, I am virtually incapable of going to a diner and having anything other than breakfast. I just can’t do it, so I am usually an eggs and toast girl here. I am picky about pancakes like you wouldn’t believe, but I have it on good authority that they make a mean burger.
Europa Cafe – Another favorite from my corporate days. They do a good breakfast, and I love to pop in for their soups, salads and sandwiches. It’s one of my favorites for this kind of sandwich place, the other being Cosí (and there- it’s all about their bread). I like the plainest sandwiches in the world, so mine is usually special order turkey with lettuce, tomato and mayo on whole wheat bread. Every now and again I will have a sandwich they make. Usually something that includes green apples and brie cheese. This one is near Penn Station and a little further away, but you should be able to pop over and back from Javits in about an hour or less, or pick up lunch in the morning and have it with you on the go.
Fat Annie’s Truck Stop – A favorite of mine when I want a drink and snack before an event at Madison Square Garden,FATS is THE place to go for heart attack snacks. I always get their biscuits and gravy but have also had their tater tots and Frito Lay pie. Their menu is all kinds of crazy deep fried cheese and nachos with pulled pork on top, but I have a feeling that you can’t go wrong here as long as you don’t become a regular.
Clinton St. Baking Company & Restaurant – This place is tucked away in the East Village, but if you have a chance to pop over there I HIGHLY recommend it. I am a very picky pancake eater and they have some of the best that I have tasted! They also do a mean biscuits and gravy! People have waited well over an hour to eat here. I have waited well over an hour to eat here. I was cold and annoyed, as it was in the middle of the winter, but it was WELL worth it. And I’m not one for waiting in lines, just saying.
Community Food and Juice is the health food version and sister restaurant to Clinton Street Baking Co. I love their brunch. The blueberry pancakes with maple butter are so good, and I have eaten dinner here as well. The salmon bowl with greens and brown rice is lovely. And they have equally lovely cocktails, outdoor seating, and are near about three different independent book stores. Really? Do you need more excuses to eat here?
Gyu-Kaku – A friend and I decided to try this out on a whim one day and I have been going back ever since. I even dragged Lenore and her husband there last year after we spent the morning touring Hachette Book Group. I like to pretend that I am eating very healthy because they give you these tiny cuts of meat and vegetables to grill right on the table in front of you, but really that means I just eat many times as much food. Oh, well. I always get miso soup, salad, rice and dessert to go along with it. For dessert, I usually have these tiny grillable pancakes with bean paste and green tea ice cream. SO good!
I had too many to share in one post, so I will be back for a part 2. Is anyone looking for recommendations in a particular neighborhood? A certain cuisine?