For Bon Appetit, by Adam Rapoport
Okay, so this might not make a ton of sense, but whenever I need to get some real work done, I go out to lunch. And then I order myself a drink.
Hear me out.
Do you work in an office? If so, you know that nothing genuinely creative gets accomplished in one. An office is a minefield of meandering meetings and pop-up calendar invites.
But a restaurant? At lunch? All by myself? That sparks me to life. Restaurants—the good ones, at least—remind you to live a little. Which is what I try to do in this letter each issue.
So one day every month, I clear a few hours off my schedule. Then I escape the construction and congestion of the World Trade Center, and I hop the subway to the West Village. You know, where HBO and Ryan Reynolds rom-coms film the leafy side streets and townhouses that only hedge-fund kingpins can afford. My go-to is Buvette, the preposterously charming café that makes you feel like you’re in Paris, except that the energy and bustle and banter of regulars remind you that you can only be in New York City.
I wedge into a seat at the always-full marble-topped bar and my work-bound chest begins to untighten. Maybe it’s the glass of Sancerre that the bartender talks me into (not much convincing needed). Or maybe it’s the fact that I’m debating between a roast chicken salad with a mustardy vinaigrette or a cloud of custardy scrambled eggs, a pile of shaved prosciutto, and a slice of olive oil–slicked charred country bread.
You’re probably thinking at this point: “Well, you’re a food editor! It’s your job to go out to eat!” Except, not really. Andrew Knowlton and Julia Kramer, who architected this year’s Hot 10, suss out the best new restaurants in the country—that’s their job. Mine is to come to the office, manage that day’s crisis, and fidget my way through way too many meetings. (Perhaps you can relate.)
Bailing on it all for a solo lunch is incredibly freeing. All I take with me is my iPhone, my thoughts, and an appetite. The glass of wine eases me into the process, and the kinetic buzz of the space (what some non–New Yorkers might just call really, really crowded) snaps me into gear.
And then I start tapping away on my phone, writing the letter you’re reading. All the while a waiter is checking in on me—making sure I’ve got enough of this or another glass of that. That’s when I realize I’m in a much better place, figuratively and literally. Because a restaurant’s job is not only to feed you but to transport you. That’s something that anyone who labors his or her day away in an office can appreciate.
So even if you don’t have an editor’s letter to write this month, do yourself a favor—escape. Treat yourself to lunch and a glass of wine. Right smack in the middle of the workday, exactly when you need a restaurant the most.
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