I’m delighted to be part of the launch celebrations for Helen Cox’s lovely Milkshakes and Heartbreaks at the Starlight Diner with a smashing guest blog from Helen all about where to eat in New York, the setting for her novel. Milkshakes and Heartbreaks at the Starlight Diner was published by Avon Books, an imprint of Harper Collins, on 4th July 2016 and is available in e-book here and via the publisher.
Milkshakes and Heartbreaks at the Starlight Diner
Esther Knight is sharp, sarcastic – and hiding something. She waitresses at The Starlight Diner: a retro eatery where Fifties tunes stream out of the jukebox long into the night, and the tastiest milkshakes in New York are served.
Nobody at the diner knows why Esther left London for America – or why she repeatedly resists the charms of their newest regular, actor Jack Faber.
Esther is desperate to start a new life in the land of the free, but despite the warm welcome from the close-knit diner crowd, something from her past is holding her back. Can she ever learn to love and live again?
Milkshakes and Heartbreaks at the Starlight Diner is a witty, romantic, New York-inspired novel.
New York Eating Experiences You Shouldn’t Miss
A Guest Post from Helen Cox
Sometimes being an author is really hard. In order to hone my manuscript for Milkshakes and Heartbreaks at the Starlight Diner, I went out to New York on a shoe-string budget and ate at as many different places as I could afford to.
Based on my travels around New York, here are three eating experiences you should not miss out on.
Ellen’s Stardust Diner on Broadway
If you want the ultimate tourist diner experience there’s really only one place to go and that’s Ellen’s Stardust Diner on Broadway. It is in the area of town I usually try to avoid, i.e. right near Times Square but once you’re inside, it is well worth enduring ten minutes or so of the honking taxis, suffocating exhaust fumes and a tidal wave of people who have no real clue where they’re going.
Inside, there is an extensive all-American menu on offer, everything from macaroni cheese to hearty soups. The diner is decorated in true fifties style but what really gives this restaurant its edge is the entertainment.
Whilst you’re enjoying your food, the waiting staff will belt out the most popular Broadway hits and, if they’re in the mood, will also likely throw in the odd Disney tune – most likely from Frozen. If you’re looking for a quiet, romantic meal somewhere this is not the place but if you’re after a dinner and a show in one sitting, this place will rock your world.
Tapas Restaurant and Bar on Staten Island
You may be shocked to learn that I have had some eating experiences in New York that don’t revolve around diner culture. One of the best was at the Tapas Restaurant and Bar on Staten Island. A quick (and free) hop on the Staten Island Ferry will get you within walking distance of this eatery which serves a range of tapas dishes to an impressive quality and the place has a delicious cocktail menu to boot.
Just one small word of warning. I know it’s called ‘Tapas Restaurant and Bar’ and the word ‘tapas’ definitely appears on the menu but this is not tapas as we Brits understand it. There is nothing small about the plates that arrive and you should order with some degree of modesty. Otherwise you could find yourself four nights into your honeymoon in New York City, moaning and clutching your stomach in such a way that all your new husband can do is shake his head at you. I’m not saying this happened to me. I’m just saying, it’s a possibility if you don’t order smart.
Nathan’s Hotdogs are available all over New York City but if we’re talking about eating ‘experiences’ there really is no substitute for going to the original Nathan’s Hotdog restaurant on Coney Island. During my twenties, when I was just that little bit wilder, I thought nothing of buying a hot dog from one of the street vendors in Manhattan. Now I’m in my sober thirties I’ve come to consider my own mortality a little bit more and I’m not quite so brave. If you’re going to eat a hotdog in New York City, it simply has to be a Nathan’s Hot Dog, and there’s no better place to enjoy one than the Coney Island boardwalk.
About Helen Cox
Helen Cox is a book-devouring, photo-taking, film-obsessed novelist. If forced to choose one, Helen’s Mastermind specialism would be Grease 2. To this day, she still adheres to the Pink Lady pledge and when somebody asks her if she is a god she says ‘yes.’
After completing her MA in creative writing at the University of York St. John Helen found work writing for a range of magazines, websites and blogs as well as writing news and features for TV and radio. She has written three non-fiction books and founded independent film publication: New Empress Magazine. She currently lives in York and writes novels.