04 June 2011

Weekend Cooking: The New York Edition + Recipe

Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog's home page. For more information, see the welcome post.


As some of you know, I was in New York last week for Book Expo America (BEA). Naturally, much of my week centered around the food! Here a few photos and one recipe. I was lucky enough to have been invited to several additional functions and had dinners with my bookish friends, but not all my photos are share-worthy. I picked these events to highlight because I have okay pictures to go with my descriptions. (Click on any shot to see it larger.)

On Monday afternoon I was thrilled to have been invited to a champagne tea hosted by Random House. We were served refreshing tea/wine cocktails, yummy tea sandwiches, and these light but tasty cookies. While sipping and daintily nibbling on our treats, we all talked books and shared some of our recommendations. Even better, we got to hear author Lisa See tell us about her latest novel, Dreams of Joy. I've read most of what Lisa has written, and I'm a huge fan. Everyone there was also lucky enough to have her sign a copy of her book for us. I'm still beaming!

To the right is part of the spread at another lovely reception; this one held by Picador, whose offices are in the Flatiron Building! Yes, we were taken up to the second-highest floor, where we were treated to a fabulous view, wonderful company, and delicious treats. There was drawing for special prizes, and I won a signed copy of Jonathan Franzen's Freedom. I was so excited, I actually squealed! I'm not kidding. This was such a great chance to get to know the Picador people better and to have a moment to relax with friends.

You may remember my Weekend Cooking post about my grandmothers. That post was a winner in a couple of ways. First, of course, the recipes were great and I loved sharing a story about my family. But, second, I won the chance to have a walking tour of Greenwich Village and lunch with the wonderfully awesome and super friendly and down-to-earth Adriana Trigiani, author of many wonderful novels and a new memoir: Don't Sing at the Table. (Thank you HarperCollins and TLC Book Tours!) I took tons of pictures of the people, but forgot to photograph my meal. We had lunch at the recently opened and very fashionable Standard Grill in the Village. To the left is what the front of the restaurant looks like, with outdoor seating. We ate inside, though, in the cozy and private wine room.

I was also blessed to meet another one of my favorite authors and someone I consider to be a good friend, although this is the first time we met face to face. Beth Hoffman has to be one of the most generous, sweetest, warmest, people I've ever met. She's also the author of Saving CeeCee Honeycutt, one of my favorite books from 2010. The lovely Beth flew into New York to have dinner with a group of her fans at the tres chic Mercer Kitchen. Food and company couldn't have been better. Here's my scrumptious dessert.

While waiting for the rest of the party to arrive, several of us sat at the bar and ordered a drink. OMG. I fell in love with the restaurant's Vodka-Thyme Lemonade. I swear I could have gladly drunk a pitcher of them all by myself. Herbs and lemon . . . really! I'd take them over many other flavors in a heartbeat. I am so excited to have found the recipe on the Food & Wine website.

Vodka-Thyme Lemonade from Jean-Georges Vongerichten
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • ice
  • 3 lemon wedges
  • ¼ cup Lemon-Thyme Syrup (see recipe)
  • ¼ cup vodka
  • splash of club soda
  • 1 thyme sprig
Spread sugar in a dish, moisten rim of highball glass with water and dip into the sugar to coat the rim. Fill glass with ice. In a cocktail shaker, muddle the lemon wedges with the syrup. Add some of the ice from the glass and the vodka and shake well. Strain into the glass, top with club soda and garnish with thyme.

Lemon-Thyme Syrup
Combine 1½ cups water and 1 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Add ¾ ounce lemon thyme sprigs and cover and let stand for at least 2 hours or overnight. Add ¾ ounce fresh lemon juice and strain the syrup. Keeps, refrigerated, for 5 days.


Rikki 6/4/11, 6:49 AM  

Sounds like a yummy drink and a very pleasant and successful week.

Louise 6/4/11, 7:13 AM  

What a great week you must have had.... I've never heard of BEA before this year, the book blogs have been full of nothing else of course. Those cookies in your first photo are macarons- Parisian treats that are so fashionably 2011! They're usually very delicious of course. I love the sound of your drink recipe. Sounds absolutely delicious. I wish it was halfway warm enough here to try it.

Booksnyc 6/4/11, 7:35 AM  

great summary of your eating adventures in NYC! I have had that lemonade at Mercer before and agree- it's delicious!

Beth 6/4/11, 7:46 AM  

Sounds like you had a fantastic time at BEA--those receptions sound fantastic!

Kaye 6/4/11, 8:08 AM  

Wow, just wow! I would have been swooning if I got the chance to meet Adriana Trigiani. I love her books!! And Lisa See! Such a wonderful writer. Sounds like the dream visit to NY.

bermudaonion 6/4/11, 8:21 AM  

I remember that squeal when you won at Picador! I didn't think we were going to be able to pry Freedom out of your hands.

Carol @ There's Always Thyme to Cook 6/4/11, 8:44 AM  

Some very cool wins plus you got to meet some of your favorite people, great eating, sounds like a real winner of a trip!
This lemonade looks so good, it'll be in my glass this weekend!

Heather 6/4/11, 9:08 AM  

I have loved all the posts I have read about BEA week, especially all these extras.

that drink does sound refreshing, I can undertand why you fell for it.

Julie @ Read Handed 6/4/11, 9:08 AM  

Sounds like a great experience! I'm participating in Weekend Cooking for the first time today, showcasing some delicious baked macaroni and cheese.

Dawn @ sheIsTooFondOfBooks 6/4/11, 9:25 AM  

Yum! Yum! I'm reliving it all in my mind (and my stomach!) with you as I read your post and drink in the pics!

"Dainty nibbling?!" Thank goodness you didn't spy me chowing down those yummy chicken-curry sandwichettes! :)

softdrink 6/4/11, 9:25 AM  

I would've paid good money to witness that squeal. Did you jump up and down, too? ;-)

Beth F 6/4/11, 9:28 AM  

@softdrink: I think I also did a fist pump. I totally embarrassed myself.

Julie P. 6/4/11, 10:07 AM  

And to think I thought I'd lose weight in New York that week. HA HA! I want to try that drink...yum.

Beth Hoffman 6/4/11, 10:18 AM  

Love how you write about your gastronomical adventures, and the pics are wonderful! The photo of the spread at Picador is fantastic, as is the one of the dessert at Mercer Kitchen. And speaking of Mercer Kitchen ... a million thanks for everything. It was an enormous treat to finally meet you in person, and I felt like I'd known you all my life!

JoAnn 6/4/11, 10:25 AM  

I'm certain I would have squealed under those circumstances, too. What a fantastic week! The Vodka-Thyme Lemonade sounds heavenly.

Yoshi 6/4/11, 10:33 AM  

NYC has always been the city of my dream! As I was born and brought up in the contry, I used to long for living in a cosmopitan like NYC. The linked post of mine is about Natto rice bowl.... sounds wierd,though...

Zibilee 6/4/11, 10:37 AM  

Oh my! It does sound like you had an amazing time and that you got to meet some incredible authors! I would have loved to have been there. I also like the sound of the Vodka-Thyme Lemonade. I have a friend who is really into mixed drinks, and he is always making us something special. Now I can return the favor and make hims something that I know he will love. Thanks for sharing this recipe with us!

Peaceful Reader 6/4/11, 10:38 AM  

NYC is such a great city to experience amazing food! The cocktail sounds delicious and I'm going to mix up a pitcher after lunch! Thanks for sharing your adventures with us.

Anglers Rest 6/4/11, 12:57 PM  

Sounds like you had a great time at the BEA. The Vodka-Thyme Lemonade sounds great although I am not a Vodka drinker, I wonder if anyone is planning to make it and be creative?

Beth S. 6/4/11, 1:31 PM  

Mmmmm... I'm so going to try making that lemonade!

Diann 6/4/11, 2:01 PM  

That sounded like a wonderful time! How fun for you! thanks for hosting and have a great weekend!

Leslie 6/4/11, 2:47 PM  

How great to be able to meet all those people and get to eat wonderful food too.

That drink sounds perfect for summer. As soon as my thyme plant gets a little larger I'll have to try making it.

Mandy (The Well-Read Wife) 6/4/11, 2:48 PM  

I need to bookmark this post bc I definitely want to try to recreate the Vodka-Thyme Lemonade. I wish I would have ordered one of those too. It sounds yummy!

Vasilly 6/4/11, 5:28 PM  

It sounds like you had a great week in New York! I don't drink but the Vodka-Thyme Lemonade looks delicious!

Michelle 6/4/11, 6:22 PM  


I'm hopeful that next year my tummy will allow for a much more enjoyable food experience while I'm in NYC.

Margot 6/4/11, 7:36 PM  

I've enjoyed your BEA reports all week but I must say this one is my favorite. It's as if your week was filled equally with books and food. What a wonderful combination.

Sheila (Bookjourney) 6/4/11, 8:59 PM  

Gorgeous post! I want to try that lemonade! I am planning on putting up a post tomorrow for weekend cooking... I bought my ingredients today.... so excited to try it (and it will go well with the lemonade!)

Nan 6/4/11, 10:40 PM  

Wow, what an exciting time!! Thanks for writing about it.

Amy 6/4/11, 11:49 PM  

Ummm that drink sounds fantastically delicious. I want. My favorite food experience in NYC was definitely the JKSCommunications get together at Serendipity 3 where I had a frozen hot chocolate. YUM!

Uniflame 6/5/11, 6:22 AM  

I am not really into alcohol but somehow it does sound refreshing :)

Gnoe (@Graasland) 6/5/11, 11:05 AM  

With the warm summer weather I've been drinking vodka-limoncello cocktails... What a great idea to add thyme though! :)

Better is Possible 6/5/11, 12:03 PM  

Travel, food, great books. You've got it all!

Trish 6/5/11, 12:22 PM  

What is a vacation without yummy food? Seems like a lot our vacation memories are centered around the delicious food we've eaten. ;)

Lemon and thyme. Interesting!

Glad you had a wonderful time in NYC. Am dying to maybe make a trip this fall.

Belle Wong 6/5/11, 4:20 PM  

Mmmm - sounds like such a delicious drink!

Debbie 6/5/11, 6:07 PM  

I'm not always organized every weekend to participate in Weekend Cooking, but I love it.
Also love to hear about BEA.

caite 6/6/11, 11:57 AM  

interesting...you go to NY and return with a drink recipe...hmmmmm.

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