Wednesday evening, Alison Eighteen (“the restaurant you wanted your boyfriend to take you to,” one bystander fondly reminisced) played host to 50 guests, hungry for Alison’s cuisine, full wine glasses and the readings from two authors, Kurt Andersen and Meg Wolitzer. It was the first installment of The Pen and The Plate.
The Pen and The Plate is a collaboration by Woodstock Writers Festival and Alison Eighteen, who aimed to create a literary salon series that brings best-selling authors to mingle with fans and read excerpts from their works during a three-course meal.
Martha Frankel, executive director of Woodstock Writers, said the idea to pair books with food came to her after learning that Alison Eighteen was opening a restaurant on 18th Street (after the close of her first restaurant on Dominic Street).
Six white-draped tables seated the guests, with an empty chair placed at each to accommodate the roving authors as they rotated from one table to the next. Feasting and conversation among guests was only broken between courses, when Mr. Andersen and Ms. Wolitzer sauntered to the front of the room to read aloud five-minute excerpts from their published works.