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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

GUEST BLOG: AVERY FLYNN

Let’s Eat
By Avery Flynn


Without a doubt, the best dinner I’ve ever eaten was at Restaurant Eve. My mouth waters just thinking about it. My palate comes to life when I say the name of this amazing restaurant in Old Town Alexandria, Va. Like Pavlovian’s dogs, typing out the name has my hands itching to call up and make another reservation for the tasting room. After all, my five course meal there changed my debut novel, Up a Dry Creek, in a profound way.

My heroine Claire Layton’s career aspirations were in the toilet when I started writing Up a Dry Creek. She was a strong-willed woman without a driving passion in life. That is not a combination for a heroine I like to read about, let alone write about. None of the careers I tried out on her fit. I was at a total loss.

Then, I ate at Restaurant Eve. Run by the husband/wife team of Chef Cathal Armstrong and Meshelle Armstrong with their partner Todd Thrasher, it is in a converted historic warehouse. You walk inside the gate and travel up a candlelit cobblestone path to the entrance. You can eat in the dining room or, as my husband and I did, in a small tasting room, which has space for only a few tables. In the tasting room, you choose from five, nine and surprise multi-course tasting menus featuring an amazing assortment of dishes created using local ingredients.

Now, I have three kids which means I’m a fast eater - all the better if you’re cranky two year old means you have to leave the restaurant NOW! But this time it was just my husband and I. We went with the five course menu. Our server described each dish and how it was made, then we savored each bite. The flavors rolled onto my tongue and exploded in my mouth. Amazing. Each dish was better than the last and in between courses there were little bites of things to taste and enjoy. Several hours later, I put down my desert spoon and sat back in my seat sated and blissed out. I didn’t think it could get any better. Then, our server came out with a gift basket of coffee, homemade Irish butter, scones and our personalized menu rolled up in a scroll. That folks, is what you call great service.

After that meal, Claire became a restaurateur. The poor girl can’t cook (something we have in common), but she loves food and the joy that comes from eating a great meal. Claire’s restaurant is called The Harvest Bistro. She uses locally-raised and locally-grown food. She’s so passionate about the local food movement, she decorated Harvest with photos of the farmers who provide the produce and meat she feeds her diners. While Dry Creek, Nebraska, may not be ready for a gourmet restaurant on par with Restaurant Eve, the residents have flocked to Harvest’s Full Moon Special when, once a month on the full moon, she serves a five course gourmet meal.

As soon as Claire made her career change, the story of Up a Dry Creek fell into the place and the characters became real. So not only did I get the meal of my life at Restaurant Eve, so did Claire.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Author Avery Flynn is a small town girl living in a big city and was inspired by her former western Nebraska hometown for the setting of her fictional town of Dry Creek. In Up a Dry Creek Avery tells the story of Claire Layton, a restaurateur minding her own business until she discovers one of her customers dead in her dumpster. As her world begins to unravel, security expert Jake Warrick shows up in search of the killer and things go from bad to worse to.hmmmm. He is the sexiest man she's ever seen. And Claire is doing the impossible-distracting him from the case. Check out her website at www.AveryFlynn.com

4 comments:

Avril Ashton said...

Ah, food. One of my guiltiest of pleasures ;)

Leigh Duncan said...

Avery, So glad you found inspiration in a great meal! Is the hero in Dry Creek one of the farmers whose photos decorate the walls of The Harvest Bistro?

Avery Flynn said...

Oh a farmer hero would have been great, but alas our hottie Jake is a PI from out of town. A huge thanks to Long and Short for letting me be a part of the blog today. I'm on the road to Nebraska today so forgive me if I'm slow in responding to comments!

D'Ann said...

Like Av, food is my weakness! But I've never eaten anywhere like that, and most likely never will. Sounds fun, though.