Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Conference Tips: Meals

First things first, here's a list of the meals that the RWA conference fee is taking care of:
  • Thursday, luncheon with keynote speaker Lisa Kleypas (bring your willpower, as you will likely be staring at the dessert long before your entree arrives)
  • Friday & Saturday, continental breakfast (I'm not certain whether these are included, but they are listed on the conference schedule)
  • Saturday, luncheon with speaker Lisa Jackson
  • Saturday, dessert reception after the awards ceremony
For the other meals when you're on your own, here are some restaurants in the area that will probably not be as crowded as the ones in the hotel (except for the sushi place, they are all within 1/2 mile of the Hyatt):
  • Daily News Cafe & Grill at 306 S. Houston
  • Founders Grill at 302 S. Houston (Italian)
  • Hoffbrau Steakhouse at 311 N. Market (um... Steakhouse)
  • Landry's Seafood House at 306 N. Market (seriously?)
  • RJ Mexican Cuisine at 1701 N. Market (Mexican, I think...)
  • Gator's Croc & Roc at 1714 N. Market (Southwestern)
  • The Palm at 701 Ross Ave. ($$$$ Traditional American, self-proclaimed celeb hangout)
  • Cadillac Bar at 1800 N. Market
  • (Sushi is in short supply and although there is a restaurant less than 1/2 mile from the hotel, the reviews were so-so and their website is down. The best close sushi place I found is Kenichi at 2400 Victory Park Lane, just over a mile from the hotel.)
Tips for meal time:
  • If you are planning on eating with a big group, make sure at least a couple of people are in line early and have their cell phones on. I am inevitably the person guarding seats for my friends and frantically trying to explain to them exactly where in the massive room we're sitting.
  • That being said (and as others have said before me) never pass up an opportunity to welcome a stranger or two to your table. Chances are they won't be strangers by the time the meal is over.
  • Don't skimp on the salad, because the entree may not be as appealing as you'd hope.
  • Along the same line, you might want to keep a snack in your purse/tote in case you get sidetracked out of a meal. I've often found myself chatting with someone through mealtime and then scrambling to make it to the next workshop. With a snack on hand you won't suffer for the skipped meal.
  • If all else fails, there's a Starbucks in the hotel! Hopefully they understand that a couple thousand romance writers luv them sum S*bucks. My personal addiction involves a caramel frappuccino, a cinnamon chip scone, and a fruit and cheese plate.
Extra tips from Heather:
  • It's great to save seats for friends for one special meal or something -- but if you share your table with new people, you could be sitting next to a powerhouse!
  • Bring some granola bars or peanuts in your purse. If you hate what's served, at least you'll have a snack later. Don't let yourself get too hungry or you might be shoveling in food when the surprise editor at your elbow asks you the plot of your book.
  • If you're shy -- introduce everyone at the table. They're probably more bashful than you are! I ususally say, "Hi, I'm Heather from Seattle, have you met my friend Dona here? She writes Young Adult." And then they introduce and so on...
  • Be polite -- pass things around the table -- use good table manners. Duh!
  • Be extra polite to the SERVERS! They're doing a hard, underpaid job. And not only that, but the people around you will notice if you're a jerk to the servers and think less of you. No one likes a diva at dinner!
  • Be sure to tell people discreetly if they have something on their face, on their blouse, or in their teeth. They could be going to their pitch appointment right after the meal and feel like a total loser if no one lets them know.
  • Have business cards to exchange with folks at the table. You never know what connection you could make. :)
Extra tips from Tina:
  • make a point of sitting with new people at each of the group's a great networking opportunity!
  • cereal bars and fruit in your room is a cheap and easy breakfast
  • try not to overeat at lunch if you plan to stay awake in the afternoon sessions
OH. MY. GODS, Summer 2008 Dutton Children's Books

what I'm reading ... THE SECRET DIARIES OF MISS MIRANDA CHEEVER by Julia Quinn (because it just came out yesterday and I couldn't not buy it and I've already finished it and it's wonderful as always)


stephhale said...

Great tips, I'm hungry already. :)

TinaFerraro said...

Pencil me in for the steakhouse. While I'm not a steak eater by nature, isn't Texas supposed to have some of the best in the world?

Thanks for the tips!

Me said...

Don't worry Steph, we'll eat soon.

Mmm, yes Tina, but... I have on two good authorities (devoted meat-eaters) that THE best steak in the world is served at the Ranch Steakhouse ($$$$) in Oklahoma City.

Heather Davis said...

Good round up of the tips!

Good point about the overeating, Tina. I get the glazed look about 2 pm if I just ate a bunch of mashed potatoes...