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A Perfect Day.

Why is it the day after Labor Day everything speeds up to 100 mph and doesn’t really slow down until January 1st, when you wake up hungover, turn on some football in your jammies, and sit there wondering where the year went?

I kinda feel like that. Speedy speedy, everything is going by really fast, fall festivals, new fall menus, scarves boots and sweaters everywhere all of a sudden. One minute I’m noticing the leaves turning color, the next second everything is pumpkin this, pumpkin that, EVERYTHING pumpkin pumpkin. And seriously? Sunday as I was riding back from NYC on Amtrak, somebody’s house way out in the sticks was DECORATED FOR CHRISTMAS. I kid you not.

Not even sure where this post is going – guess I just feel the need to stop, take a breath, and look around for a bit. Appreciate all the really “neat” things (hate neat, despise the neat, but here it fits) going on in my life right now:

  • Just got back from the BlogHer ’11 Writer’s Conference Sunday, and it was a real shot in the arm. Even wished I’d packed my laptop, ‘cause after leaving I was ready to tackle my novel right there. Talked with a bunch of cool folks, had a mentoring session with a real live agent, and came up with some concrete ideas for where I’m headed writer-wise. Freaking great.
  • Was able to catch up with an old friend at one of my favorite NYC haunts, The Popover Café (where the popovers are as big as your head) then spent the afternoon “in church” at The Metropolitan Museum. Velvet Underground’s “Perfect Day” dancing through my head the whole time. Haven’t had one of those in a while. The kind of day where you want to put it in your pocket for safekeeping when you’re balled up in a heap in tears on the floor.
  • Super stoked about my new blog name and blog design. Launch to happen Black Monday, after Thanksgiving. Stay tuned.
  • Even more stoked about Anthony Bourdain and Eric Ripert’s visit to The Paramount Sunday. Whatever shall I wear?
  • With baited breath, and much trepidation, I’ve decided to try NaNoWriMo, the yearly challenge where writers attempt to create a 50,000 word novel in a month. Lord child “hep me” I’m gonna try.

So where is THE FOOD in all this? While in NY, I did inhale several slices of greasy pizza, classic cheese, oil running down my arm goodness. I also stood in line for almost two hours to buy Ladurée Macarons (totally worth it). But I find the real “story” is how incredibly tasty the food at the conference was.

Yep, you heard right. Good conference food exists. At The Hilton NY on 53rd and 6th Avenue. I’m as stunned as you are. I figure I’ve had about 40 jobs in my life, and a good 20 of them involved some sort of conference. Many thousands of boring conferences full of stale Danish, crumbly dry croissant, old fruit, limp lettuce, cold cuts and cheese that have started to harden at the edges from sitting so long. And chicken. Always chicken. Bone dry flavorless breasts of doom.

This conference was different. Sure the fruit was a little old, the bagels a bit hard. Breakfast wasn’t stellar. But lunch? Holy crap! GRILLED vegetables, including asparagus, red and yellow peppers, eggplant. Sub sandwiches on actual baguettes with exotic cold cuts like capicola and mortadella. Good olive oil on the bread. And the ravioli? I hesitate to say stunning, but damn! Light, cheesy, not the usual carb-bombs that sit in my stomach like lead. These may have even been, dare I say it, homemade? In a sauce of roasted tomatoes sweet, and light as air. I found myself craving these ravioli when I had lunch yesterday. Now when have you EVER craved something you ate at a conference?

That afternoon saw all conference attendees staring dumbly at the huge dessert tray, wondering how in the hell they would ever be able to choose between the thousands of delights. All looked like they’d come from Jacques Torres’s kitchen. Tiny petite fours, tarts, napoleons. Mmmmmmmm……heaven.

Reading back over this I kind of can’t believe I just wrote a favorable review of conference food. What the hell is the matter with me? But, there it is. I’m excited about tomato ravioli at my writing conference. And that’s the best part about food writing. Being surprised, delighted. Getting excited when you least expect it.

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