When I finished All Four Stars by Tara Dairman, I was thoroughly charmed–and thoroughly HUNGRY! This sweet, funny middle grade story of an eleven-year-old girl who becomes a restaurant critic in New York is, as my friend karen says, “surprisingly plausible,” as well as a must-read for anyone who has an appreciation for food. Kim says the author pretty much gives us a global culinary tour and inspired wanderlust in her as well.
The madcap climax of the book centers around a place called Classy Cakes, which sounds like a dream for those of us with a sweet tooth. But I also loved that the story features so many cuisines from different countries, and in turn, so many different diverse characters and cultures as well. Gladys is a plucky heroine I wish I knew in real life, because I’m sure we’d have a grand time eating our way around the the city.
Today, we’re kicking off the official blog tour (hosted by us, so you know we love this book!) for All Four Stars with a post by the author on a foodie tour of New York. What better way to get to know Gladys?
Gladys Gatsby’s Foodie Tour of NYC
by Tara Dairman
All Four Stars is a work of fiction, but the spots where I set a lot of key scenes in the book were inspired by real locations around New York City. Now, while not every book can inspire its own Sex-and-the-City-style bus tour (though an author can dream!), I’m going to give you the inside scoop so you can wander and eat like Gladys the next time you’re in Manhattan. (And hey, you might want to make it a walking tour, anyway, to burn off a few of those delicious calories.)
Stop 1: An LIRR Train Station
Before your tour starts, you’ll need to get yourself into the city—and if, like Gladys, you’re coming from Long Island, that means you’ll need to find a Long Island Railroad station. (Fun facts: The LIRR has operated continuously since 1834 and is the busiest commuter railroad system in North America!)
There is no real town of East Dumpsford in the system, but any station will do. Get your ticket, and feel free to huddle in the shelter (like Gladys and her dad do in Chapter 20) while you wait for your train. Congratulations—you are now on Gladys’s version of Platform 9¾. :)
Queen of Sheba is one of my favorite Ethiopian restaurants in Manhattan, and with its central location, it seemed like the perfect place to have Gladys try this distinctive cuisine for the first time. If you go, may I suggest a vegetarian sampler, and some quanta firfir?
Stop 3: Katz’s Delicatessen
Stop 4: Tasty Dumpling
Chinatown has several “Five dumplings for $1” joints, but in my opinion, it’s worth paying the extra 25 cents to get yours at Tasty Dumpling. They’ve recently renovated, so the restaurant isn’t quite so tiny anymore, and the chairs are probably no longer held together with duct tape. But it’s the dumplings that steal the show.
Stop 6: West Bank Cafe
Just a couple of blocks from the Times building is this big-windowed cafe with a delicious-sounding dessert menu. While I’ve never actually eaten there, this is the building and location I had in mind when I created Classy Cakes—just slap on a polka-dotted awning! However, your tour won’t be complete without a visit to…
Stop 7: Serendipity 3
Found on the upper east side, Serendipity 3 is not at all in the same location as Classy Cakes, nor does it really have the same look. But this famous dessert spot is probably the closest to Classy Cakes in spirit. If you visit, be prepared for a line halfway down the block, short-tempered staff, and $15 ice cream sundaes. But their “peanut butter frrrozen hot chocolate” is pretty delicious.
Our thanks to Tara Dairman for sharing some of Gladys’ favorite foodie spots!
Win a copy of All Four Stars!
Thanks to our friends at Putnam, we have 8 finished copies of this lovely book to give away throughout the blog tour. All you have to do is fill out the Rafflecopter form and leave a thoughtful comment below telling us why you’re excited to read the book! Visit each stop to earn extra points, or you can also tweet, pin, etc.
Open to U.S. and Canadian residents aged 18 or older, or 13 or older with parental permission. Good luck!
Giveaway copies are provided by the publisher, and photographs are courtesy of the author.
Have you been to any of these locations, or are you planning to after this post? All Four Stars is a must-read if you love food or middle grade books, so I hope you’ll give it a try!