From the publisher:
Two restaurant critics learn their opposing tastes might make for a five-star relationship in the next foodie romantic comedy from the author of Sadie on a Plate.
By day, Julie Zimmerman works as an executive assistant. After hours, she’s @JulieZeeEatsNYC, a social media restaurant reviewer with over fifty thousand followers. As much as she loves her self-employed side gig, what Julie really wants is to be a critic at a major newspaper, like the New York Scroll. The only thing worse than the Scroll’s rejection of her application is the fact that smarmy, social-media-averse society boy Bennett Richard Macalester Wright snagged her dream job.
While at the Central Park Food Festival, Julie confronts the annoyingly handsome Bennett about his outdated opinions on social media and posts the resulting video footage. Julie’s follower count soars—and so does the Scroll’s. Julie and Bennett grudgingly agree to partner up for a few reviews to further their buzz. Online buzz, obviously.
Over tapas, burgers, and more, Julie and Bennett connect over their shared love of food. But when the competitive fire between them turns extra spicy, they’ll have to decide how much heat their relationship can take.
“Elliot leaves your stomach grumbling and your heart pounding, and it’s hard to discern what’s more delicious: the elaborate dishes or the couple’s simmering chemistry.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)https://amzn.to/3xEEwyW
“This romantic comedy from Elliot (Sadie on a Plate) is a sexy slow burn with sizzling chemistry between the well-developed protagonists. Julie and Bennett fall in love over countless meals, and the descriptions of the foods they consume are incredibly described and guaranteed to make readers salivate. Highly recommended for all libraries.”—Library Journal (starred review)
“This classic enemies-to-lovers plot is a slow burn, but the result is worth the wait and the food descriptions along the way will make readers salivate. Romance fans are sure to be charmed.”—Publishers Weekly
Julie is struggling to make it on her own in New York City. She has a roommate, of course, gleaned through an ad but he is the best one she’s had. She works full time for Mr. Decker, a retired network executive who still maintains an office, but is rarely there leaving Julie with lots of free time to pursue her passion – food writing, more specifically, restaurant reviews. As @JulieZeeEatsNYC, she wanders the city from one new restaurant to the next, specializing in those little gems with affordable pricing. She keeps away from the big name, super expensive restaurants, and has gained a significant following online. But she’s ready for more.
A local paper is hiring a new restaurant reviewer, and Julie thinks of it as her dream job. They never get back to her so she isn’t surprised to find out they gave the job to yet another white, privileged man. He will be reviewing those expensive restaurants for sure. When Julie runs into him at a Central Park food festival, they butt heads over reviewing in print versus online, and Julie videos the whole thing and posts it. That video garners her a lot of new followers, but also bumps up the newspaper’s social media as well.
Bennett’s new boss tells him he should do a few joint reviews with Julie, it will be good for both their social media standing. Julie agrees and a partnership of sorts is formed. Except the more time they spend together, the more Julie realizes that Bennett isn’t the spoiled diletante she thought he was, and he learns that online restaurant reviewers have just as much credibility as do the reviews in print. Oh, and they fall in love somewhere along the way.
When they finally stop fighting their feelings, Julie sees something in his apartment that enrages her, and she takes off during the night. It seems this relationship has met its demise – or has it? I’ll give you a hint; this is a romance so there is a requisite happy ending.
An added bonus to this fast paced, often hilarious romance is the food writing. Elliot does a remarkable job with it – half the time I thought I should be taking notes of these intriguing restaurants, but I’m assuming the names were changed or made up. Kudos to Elliot for pulling off this foodie romance with such style – don’t miss it!
2/2023 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch
BEST SERVED HOT by Amanda Elliot. Berkley (February 21, 2023). ISBN: 978-0593335734. 368p.