Wednesday, April 11, 2012

2 DAYS IN NEW YORK

BEFORE IACP

I arrive at JFK exhausted yet somehow invigorated. I am back in New York where I am greeted by brilliant sunshine and a cool breeze whipping my hair. “Wake up!” the city seems to be crying, “There is so much to do! No rest for the weary, no time to waste! Excitement awaits!” Dragging my heavy bags behind me I slide through the large glass panes and out into a bustling, noisy, galvanizing city. The taxi glides along roads that I know so well; sights, neighborhoods stream by that I have seen dozens of times. Yet I am headed into a New York that is completely new to me, one seen through my eyes as a writer and not as a sister or mother. I left New York three years ago in tears having hugged my brother goodbye for the last time. I left New York three years ago feeling lost and empty, helpless in the face of a tragedy that would haunt me every single day since. I now had to pull myself together and move ahead, gather my forces and become someone that I longed to be, confident and strong, able to move around the City That Never Sleeps on my own. I had to quickly replace this overpowering feeling of loneliness and self doubt with one of enthusiasm and determination. A forty-minute cab ride and the transformation is complete: cool self-reliance steps out of that yellow cab and into a new world.

I had two full days in front of me before my true destination, the IACP – International Association of Culinary Professionals – conference exploded in a fury of activity, demanding my full attention, fiery, non-stop energy and every single minute of the following four days. I had time to catch my breath and relax a bit, recharge and realign both body and mind to New York City time. I needed to shake out my stiff limbs and abandon myself to the whims and frivolity that I rarely allow myself the time and luxury to enjoy. Happily, I had others to organize these two days for me and all I needed to do was smile and follow in their wake. Jackie and Ken, Robin, Abby and Gail, Dianne had all arranged meals and adventures and I was now raring to go!

Two days filled with excitement, laughter, great food (and not so great food) and excellent friends. A lovely morning at Petrossian in the company of Jackie, Ken and Jessica and shared with Alexandre Petrossian, his wife Hélène and Cynthia Brody, PR for Petrossian, a dynamic, informative, engaging woman. A beautiful breakfast laid out for us in a private dining room, sharing fabulous baked goods, Petrossian Café’s latest yet-to-be-unveiled treats: Lemon Thyme Muffins (delicate yet striking savory-sweet flavor and the perfect delicate, light yet moist crumb), savory Parmesan and Rosemary Biscuits and gorgeous Parmesan, Black Pepper and Fennel cookies, another savory treat with a slight sweetness. Tasting each delicacy as an expert, snapping pictures and discovering, much to my delight, a selection of jams created for Petrossian by my lovely friend Wendy of Sunchowder's Emporia, a proud and delightful sponsor of our own Plate to Page workshops!

Thank you, Alexandre Petrossian and everyone at Petrossian Café!

Doing what we do best: schmoozing through cookware shops!

Lunch!

A long chat with Mark Bello of Pizza A Casa pizza school!


Weaving in and out of the city, across town, in and out of shops and food boutiques, nibbling on Chinese dumplings and donuts, ogling baking supplies and feminine paper muffin cups, the thrill of spotting friends’ cookbooks for sale in this store or that, the day passed in a bustle and a flutter, ending with a lovely, relaxed dinner with friends old and new, adding in Mitch and Margaret and finally, finally meeting David Leite and The One. My pleasure!

photo courtesy of Ken Leung

Day two began calm and cool sipping perfect café au lait and sharing oatmeal in a tiny Chelsea café with Robin. So New York! Ah, I understood then and there that I could so easily live in this city, popping out for breakfast in one’s quaint neighborhood café where the waiters know you, your table is always waiting and the sun shines warmly against your skin as you spoon up creamy, soothing porridge with just the right amount of sugar and plump sweet raisins, just the way you made for yourself when you were a kid. Breakfast metamorphosed into lunch with my girls Abby and Gail, laughter and gossip resonated wildly throughout Co. Pane as we scooped up slices of perfect pizza pie and dug into salads that brought back memories of the freshest vegetables in my Italian market in Milan, homemade ricotta and chilled glasses of white all making for one of the most perfect meals had. We shared our own stories, traded the latest news and the hottest gossip and wished we lived close enough together to meet once a week for a girl’s day out.

photos courtesy of Abby Dodge

Popping by the hotel to register for the conference, focusing my mind and preparing mentally to be all businesslike and serious, I spied Domenica hiding behind dark glasses in the bar like in some mysterious old film noir, chin down, collar pulled up around her ears. I hesitated but briefly and called her name. Her head snapped up and she recognized me with something of relief as if afraid to be seen before having had the chance to, yes, indeed, gussy herself up after her long train voyage. Well, I shrugged, it’s only me. Long chat and far-away, long-distance friends now have fitted a face, a personality, a being to the name and the words left helter skelter across Twitter and Facebook pages, long sometimes rambling comments left after blog posts.

Dianne and I have been lucky enough to see each other twice in one year and it already seems to be our own tradition to slip away and grab a few hours together discovering a city and getting to know each other just a bit better. Dinner out – a disco-like ambiance the only drawback of an otherwise delicious meal, a quick Mr. Softee soft serve ice cream eaten with all the joy and exuberance of kids following the tinny music down the street, coins clutched in their hands, tongues snatching at the cold chocolate sweetness. And finally, the cherry on top, an electric evening on Broadway! The perfect ending to two perfect days.

photo courtesy of Dianne Jacob and snapped by Jamie Tiampo

So much activity, so much eating, savoring, enjoying, friendship wrapped in laughter and knowing glances, building up the excitement to a conference that might have otherwise been started on a footing of shyness and uncertainty. It says something…no, it says quite a lot about this community that we have formed, individuals brought together by their passionate, obsessive love of food. We write, we style, we photograph, we taste and try, we comment and critique, we create and invent and inspire. And at the base of it all, at the end of the day, whatever magic spark brought us to internet has ignited a truly phenomenal alliance, a society of like-minded souls. These first two days in New York have washed the sadness from my heart; laughter dances on my lips as I snuggle down between clean, cool sheets and snap off the light. I belong here, I think, these are my people.

And the conference was about to begin….

33 comments:

Barbara said...

A wonderful adventure Jamie. Whenever I get together with my food blog friends here in Brisbane I always feel I have spent time with my tribe. A wonderful feeling.

Barbara said...

A wonderful adventure Jamie. Whenever I get together with my food blog friends here in Brisbane I always feel I have spent time with my tribe. A wonderful feeling.

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Good to hear that you had a great time in NYC! Thanks for sharing your impressions with us. Wonderful!

Cheers,

Rosa

merry jennifer said...

Oh, how fun this looks. I'm so glad you had a wonderful time in NYC, getting to see so many wonderful people -- many I've met and several I haven't. I wish I could have made it to IACP this year, but it wasn't in the cards.

Jamie said...

@Merry Jennifer: this conference was the best! And the best thing I could have done at this time in my career...but more about that on my next post! It was really amazing!

Karen (Gourmet Recipes for One) said...

Jamie, great to meet you at the conference! These first few days look like a lot of fun, I should have thought to take a few extra days in NYC as well :) see you again in SF I hope!

David Leite said...

You make me wish I spent more time with you all! Loved meeting you, my dear.

Jamie said...

@Karen (Gourmet Recipes For One): It was great meeting you and I do really hope we have that chance again in SF!

@David Leite: As Humphrey Bogart said "We'll always have Paris!".. looking forward to the next meeting!

Lizzy said...

Sounds like foodie heaven! Thanks for sharing your adventures with us :)

David @ Frenchie and the Yankee said...

Oh sounds like you had a great time! Thanks for sharing the pictures and experience.

Baker Street said...

Looks like you had a great time in NYC! So great to see pictures of Ken, Abby, Gail and the others! :)

Dianne said...

Hi Wow, I am impressed with your recall! Loved spending time with you on the streets of New York, looking for a restaurant, eating soft serve on a winter's day (okay I guess technically it's spring), watching a play (the quintessential NY experience as a tourist) and having you as my date as the gala. I love Jamie's photo of us. XO

Javelin Warrior said...

I'm so glad you have new happy memories to tie back to New York City - I've only been there twice in my life and loved both trips. It looks like it's been a wonderful trip and I'm so glad you're sharing the photos - it takes the scary out of facing milling crowds of bloggers ;)

Cake Duchess said...

How sweet that you and Dianne had time alone again. Love seeing photos of lovely Ken and The Diva...sure do miss them!! Great silly photo of you and the girls. A wonderful recap of the beginning of the trip.

Mardi @eatlivetravelwrite said...

Jamie this sounds lovely. I only wish I had actually had a chance to talk to you beyond "hello" :((((((

Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen said...

So glad to hear the trip has lifted your spirits!

Anh said...

What a beautiful recap!

Carolyn Jung said...

What a wonderful adventure. But then again, how could you not enjoy that in New York, right? I hope IACP was everything you hoped it would be. ;)

Rambling Tart said...

Oh Jamie, I'm SO glad you had these lovely adventures with people who obviously make your heart so happy. :-)

lael Hazan @educatedpalate said...

You are a balabusta (OK.. I can't spell). It is great fun to live vicariously through your wonderful posts.

A Thought For Food said...

All my favorite people in one beautiful blog post. Makes me very very happy

Sara{OneTribeGourmet} said...

Jamie, You are a LOVELY lady! It was so nice to meet you in NYC! Hope you can visit me one day in Philly! xoxo

Deeba PAB said...

Love it but am envious. You are really rocking ti lady! So many of the most wonderful folk under one roof can only mean FUN! Somewhere in my heart I read 2 days in New Delhi!! LOL!! So happy you had SUCH a good time!

Cathy at Wives with Knives said...

Hi Jamie - It is so much fun to follow along with you as you attend your conference in NY. Great food, great friends - what could be better. Can't wait to read more.

bunkycooks said...

I know this was an incredible experience for you and I am so happy you were able to travel to NYC for the conference. Nothing is as valuable as meeting and connecting with people in person. I only wish I had been there to enjoy it with you. Maybe next year. :-)

Return to Sunday Supper℠ said...

It sounds like you had a wonderful time and I'm living vicariously through your post. I'm definitely going to San Fransisco next year!

Lisa said...

This post is happy and sad for me. Happy because you had such a wonderful time even before it started (when I was supposed to be there), but sad because I wasn't. Loved reading it and seeing the photos though - almost as if I was there..ALMOST.

Jamie said...

@Lisa: I was so psyched to spend a day or two with you and so so sorry about all that happened to keep you away. But you know you did what you had to do under the circumstances. Next time, baby xoxo

Savory Sweet Living said...

Jamie, it was such a pleasure meeting you. You are a vibrant, witty and lovely lady, and so glad we got to spend some time together while you were in NYC. xoxo

Junglefrog said...

It sounds like you had an amazing time Jamie! Love reading about it and seeing all those funny pics too. And you got to meet Ken and Mitch again! (O did you know I might be meeting up with Julia next week in Amsterdam?) Can't wait to read the sequel!

Sally - My Custard Pie said...

It's funny how meeting up with people you know online starts to become very normal when you blog about food. And as those people are drawn to the unifying nature of sharing food, they are always absolutely fantastic in real life! Enjoyed sharing your journey.

Ivy said...

Sounds like you had such a wonderful time. Wish I could be there as well.

Fresh Local and Best said...

Oh this post makes me wish that I had registered for the conference or at least hopped on the train to meet with the gang for lunch and coffee. It looks like you guys all had a blast. There is something special about New York, isn't there?

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