Patti LaBelle, Ted & Matt Lee

Patti LaBelle, Ted & Matt Lee

I only heard two phrases spoken while music blared thru the EarPods of my iPhone.

"Thank you for choosing Southwest Airlines flight 2266 with non-stop service from Nashville to New York's LaGuardia Airport."  
"Ladies and gentlemen, we have started our descent into New York’s LaGuardia airport. In preparation for landing, please make sure your seat backs and tray tables are in their full upright position. Make sure your seat belt is securely fastened and all carry-on luggage is stowed underneath the seat in front of you or in the overhead bins. Please turn off all computers until we are safely parked at the gate."

With this last phrase my heart began to race. Arriving in a destination such as New York is exciting in it's own right. My purpose for visiting New York was to attend a Cookbook Boot Camp hosted by Matt & Ted Lee. In my blog entry titled "The Mechanism", I spoke of my hesitation to get "in gear" and complete my cookbook project. I was now about to walk off the proverbial cliff of fear and anxiety, hoping to fly.

Ted and Matt invited myself and other participants in the Boot Camp to arrive for cocktails and hors d'oeuvres at the Brooklyn studio Ted shares with his artist wife. There I was joined by Rachel, Leah, Carol and Jackie. Our group, we later learned, was the first session for non-chefs; bloggers, writers and cooks. Rachel is a culinary school graduate from the Asbury Park, New Jersey area. Leah is a Charleston native and an attorney currently living in Atlanta. Carol resides in the New York City area and has previous writing and literary experience. Jackie works in marketing and lives in his hometown of Tucson. As we got to know each other, it was interesting to hear everyone’s specific concepts and ideas for their books.

Without going into details on what was covered in the sessions, the big takeaway for me was learning what I should be doing to get a book published. The time and information shared by Matt & Ted was invaluable.  Something unexpected was how each of the participants sought and gave input to each other. I took away several ideas for titles and concepts from our discussions alone. 

Food...Glorious Food!

Food...Glorious Food!

During my downtime, I was able to see two Broadway productions Motown The Musical and After Midnight. During the performance of Motown, I was sitting on the second row. The actress portraying Diana Ross, while performing the song "Reach Out And Touch (Somebody's Hand), reached out and shook my hand. Due to photography not being allowed during the performance, you'll just have to take my word for it that it happened. 

While waiting for my ticket for After Midnight, the show's star, Patti LaBelle, arrived at the theatre. She was on a phone call and I didn't get to really talk to her. However, to the person on the other end of her phone she said, "Listen, honey...I just arrived at the theatre. There are some fans out here wanting their picture made with me." I proceeded to snap several "selfies" with her. 

New York and Brooklyn did not disappoint my palate! Upon arrival in Brooklyn Wednesday, I visited Roberta's for pizza. Luckily I enjoyed it because Matt and Ted served it to us for Friday's lunch. Thursday's they ordered in sandwiches from Saltie. Thursday evening I stopped into the Paramount Hotel to ask for a suggestion for dinner before Motown. The Concierge suggested Daniela, an Italian restaurant in the heart of the Theatre District. There I enjoyed a squid ink pasta with shrimp, crabmeat and cherry red peppers. I visited three delis during my visit: Carnegie Deli (Friday dinner: club sandwich), Katz Delicatessen (Saturday breakfast: over easy eggs with sausage, home fries and toast) & 2nd Avenue Deli (Saturday dessert: chocolate bakba). Before I arrived, I decided I wanted to have Korean food. My lunch choice on Saturday was beef bulgogi from Madangsui near Macy's Herald Square. My final culinary indulgence were macaroons from Sugar and Plumm in SoHo.

Now the work begins...I will send the rest of the year testing recipes and writing a proposal. Stay tuned!