Saturday, April 05, 2008

The Trouble With Superb Restaurants

I recently visited New York City for a conference. (Novelist’s Inc, one of the best professional authors’ groups around). The conference was exceptional and I came home energized and ready to roll up my sleeves and get to work.

And I will... after I share something about a very special restaurant. Does anyone besides me watch Top Chef? If you do, you know that the winner of the first season is Harold Dieterle. I found out that he used his winnings to open a restaurant in Greenwich Village called Perilla. Because watching that show always makes me wish I were there, tasting the delicious-looking concoctions the chefs whip up (with a little sweat and ingenuity ☺), I decided to dine at Perilla. It was pretty easy to book a reservation through the internet site, Open Table. (The fact that I reserved a table three weeks in advance probably helped.)

The restaurant is smallish with a warm ambiance and good acoustics that made conversation easy. From the start the service was impeccable. The wait staff made us feel as if were royalty, pampering us and seeing to our slightest needs. They didn’t rush us through the meal as happens in some restaurants. They let us split an appetizer. Presentation is key, and our fresh seared sea scallop appetizers were presented exquisitely.

At one point I dropped my knife on the floor. Before I could pick it up, someone did it for me and another person brought me a new one. It was like they were watching to anticipate our every need. Wow!

I hope no one is offended if I use the term ‘food orgasm’ here. That’s how it felt with every bite. The most delectable food imaginable. They didn’t heap our plates, either, or serve too-small portions. The portions were perfect, and along with a glass of excellent wine I savored that scallop appetizer, a piece of the freshest bread imaginable (soft inside and wonderfully crusty outside), a lovely roasted guinea hen served with squash, chestnuts, persimmons and spaetzle, a fabulous Brussels sprouts side dish (the sprouts were flaked into individual leaves and sautéed with dried raisins, cranberries and almonds), and a fabulous frozen milk-chocolate mousse. And a little homemade cookie and excellent decaf coffee, to finish off the meal. I left the table full but not overly so.

My only problem is that this was my first dinner in New York. Nothing else compared, not for me. I just hope eating at Perilla hasn’t ruined all other restaurants for me. One thing I know for sure: when I return to New York for a conference next spring, I will definitely return to Perilla.

I’m always looking for good places in cities I don’t know. Does anyone else have an outstanding restaurant experience to share? If so, speak up.

Until later,

Friday, April 04, 2008

The exciting life of a romance author


This is going to be a drive-by blog posting today, because I'm late getting out the door on my way to Desert Dreams, a romance writers' conference sponsored by the Desert Rose chapter of the Romance Writers of America. The conference is held in the chapter's warm and sunny home state of Arizona.

Desert Dreams is held every other year, and I look forward to it as a place to reinforce the tools of the writing trade, learn new publishing info, visit with old friends, and meet new friends, too.

This year, the conference will be extra-special for me because I'll be spending some time with my editor.

If you're attending the conference, please look for me! It's always great to be able to meet cyber-friends in person and finally put faces to names.

All my best to you,



Barbara White Daille

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Sometimes, You Just Know

Next weekend, on April 12 and 13, I’ll be in the St. Louis area. I’m going to be a MSketeer, participate in a walk-a-thon, and be part of a multi-author booksigning.

Here’s how it came to be. One of my critique partners is Heather Webber. She’s good friends with Laura Bradford. Over the years, Laura and I have become fans of each other’s books. Fan mail became email, which became, oh, I don’t know...cyber-friendship. Well, about a year ago, Laura was diagnosed with MS~ multiple sclerosis.

Laura’s a brave girl. She’s warm and funny, an incredibly hard worker, and a mother of two. She's also just the type of person to take what many would view as a very difficult situation and turn it into something positive. See, Laura decided to get a group of writers and friends to form a group and walk. She asked Heather. Heather asked me, and I said yes! So did a bunch of other writers!

Readers on her Good Girls Kill For Money blog (did I mention she writes mysteries?!) came up with our group name…the MSKeteers. That’s how I became one. And Laura-being Laura-decided to give us writers a little perk and is putting on a book signing at Borders on Saturday the 12th.

The best part of the weekend? I’m going to finally get to meet Laura face to face.

I bet we all have stories of friends of friends becoming friends of our own. Sometimes…you just know when a new, lasting friendship is about to happen. That's me and Laura.

So, next weekend, think of me. I’ll be the gal with the red acrylic nails and sore feet, walking proudly in my Team MSKeteer t-shirt.

I’m looking forward to the trip for a lot of reasons…but mainly because I want to help out Laura, my new friend who just happens to have MS.

Interested in learning more about the walk? Click on the site below.


Wednesday, April 02, 2008

March winner!

The winner of the March drawing is ....... Estella. WTG, Estella!!

Please contact Judy Christenberry, Tanya Michaels, and Ann Roth (visit their websites- see sidebar- for email contact information) to get your free, autographed books.

And tell all your friends to comment on our blog. All participants are automatically registered for the next drawing.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

April Unfool

Big news! In a couple of days – Thursday, to be exact – I’ll be celebrating my 29th birthday.

Okay, since I’ve been published for about 25 years, I guess you wouldn’t buy that. Remember, this is April Fool’s Day.

I’m actually turning 59. Just beyond hovers the specter of 60, but so what? I’ve been dyeing my hair for years, so I’m not turning gray. And 58 has been a good year. Here are the highlights:

--Our younger son graduated from high school and successfully completed his first semester at college (yay!).

--Our older son plans to graduate in May with both bachelors and masters degrees in computer science, and has accepted a terrific job starting in September – only an hour’s drive from us (double yay!).

--I wrote three books for Harlequin American, of which the first, The Family Next Door, comes out in May.

--We celebrated my mother’s 90th birthday in Nashville, Tennessee. She’s not only going strong, she’s better than over (Google the name Sylvia Hyman and see for yourself).

--I signed with a new (to me) agent, the talented Laura Bradford.

--My niece Jessy and her husband Frank had the first baby of the next generation in our family.

Do I wish I looked like I did twenty or thirty years ago? Sure. Would I want to repeat those years? Nope. Once was enough. Besides, life’s way too interesting right now.

Happy birthday to me, and to all of you April babies!

Sunday, March 30, 2008

My NC trip

Over my spring break I got to leave the rainy and floody weather in St. Louis and fly to North Carolina. As part of my day job as adviser to an NSPA All-American yearbook (that means it's pretty good), I'm also the holder of the purse strings. This year it's bid time--we are seeking a three-year yearbook printing contract. So I've been touring yearbook plants among other things.

On my trip to Winston-Salem, I flew into Charlotte, and got a rental car. That was an experience in itself as first I went to the wrong counter (oops) and then at the correct one, the woman tried to put me first in a car I didn't want. I'd driven that model before and sworn never again. So then she tried to sell me a more expense one. Uh, no thanks, even though I wasn't paying rental, I was paying for gas. Finally I told her to downsize me, and she put me in a Chevy Cobalt. I was fine with that--I averaged 35 miles highway.

I spent the first night in Mooresville, meeting in the hotel lobby happy hour a whole bunch of Lowes project managers. These are the guys who are in charge of opening stores and reconfiguring stores. They live all over the country and this was their two-week corporate meeting. The next morning it was off to PIT:

I'm a NASCAR fan, but even I didn't know that you can actually attend school to learn how to be a pit crew member. PIT also does a lot of "think inside the box" workshops for business executives. They even put my book cover on the front page of their website.

I also got to go on a shop tour of Red Horse Racing. What impressed me the most was that the race shop owner himself stopped what he was doing and gave us a personal tour. That's me with one of David Starr's trucks above.

I also got to very briefly meet Jeff Hammond, champion crew chief, who is a partner in PIT. He's a very busy guy and extremely nice.

The day was fabulous. I can't thank them enough. The funniest part was at lunch--where everyone found it quite "interesting" that I'd never had hush puppies and didn't even know what they were. Being me, I in turn asked them if they'd ever had toasted ravioli or gooey butter cake--which are local to St. Louis. No one had Ah, see, those regional differences. Since everyone was so wonderful, I've had a bakery ship them a gooey butter cake; they'll get it next week.
And, if you are curious about gooey butter cake I sent them, you can go here:
Happy end of the month!