Roof to Table: 10 Rooftop Restaurant Gardens

Bachelor Farmer Rooftop Roof to Table: 10 Rooftop Restaurant GardensHappy Earth Day! In honor of the 44th year of putting the green back into the globe, we present 10 restaurants with their own rooftop gardens. Diners can savor the super-freshly grown flavor just hours after these hyper-local fruits, vegetables, and herbs were harvested by restaurant staffers. While rooftop gardens cannot provide a restaurant with all of its produce (Yet!), the culinary pros at these restaurants find inspiration from and clever uses for everything they are able to sow.

1. The Bachelor Farmer, Minneapolis, Minnesota

It’s only fitting that a restaurant with farmer in its name have a microfarm on its roof. Located in a lovingly refurbished warehouse, the Bachelor Farmer team grows herbs and hearty greens on their first-of-its-kind Twin Cities rooftop garden. Relying on containers, they use a series of vessels for the plants they nurture, including blue kiddie pools. Serving Nordic cuisine, The Bachelor Farmer carefully sources additional produce from area farms. Its rooftop farm dates back to the restaurant’s opening in 2011.

2. Bastille Cafe & Bar, Seattle, Washington

Bastille restaurant has one of the most successful and copied rooftop gardens in the country. Growing an impressive 12-15% of the produce and herbs served at the eatery in 2,500 square feet of space, Jason Stoneburner shared that they find great success “with various heirloom varieties of radish, carrots, turnips and arugula. These staples grow apace and are easy to cultivate.We do experiment with lesser known greens, veggies and flowers such as spilanthes, shunkyo radish, curry plant, ice plant, anise hyssop and winter density romaine. Just to name a few.” Diners can tour the garden, which was installed in 2009, during the high season by appointment for $10, which includes a tasty Pimms Cup cocktail.

3. Cedar, Washington, D.C.

Atop Cedar in the nation’s capital, chef Aaron McCloud sows a healthy portion of the produce that diners at his ‘field and stream meets urban’ restaurant. He favors herbs, tomatoes, and squash, but he also grows and serves edible flowers, including marigolds. “Marigolds are really pretty, but they have this nice little aromatic bite that I think enhance a salad or a garnish — that works really well,” he said.

4. flour + water, San Francisco, California

As Thomas McNaughton, David White, and David Steele were putting pizza on the map in San Francisco, they were also raising the roof — with a garden. With just 450 square feet, they revealed that they are able to source 5 percent of flour + water’s produce from the garden. There is also a beehive, and the resulting honey finds its way into dishes as well. Sister restaurant Central Kitchen also boasts a rooftop garden, where artichokes, peas, young favas, foraged greens and herbs are grown.

5. Fountain at The Four Seasons, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Even the folks at the swanky Four Seasons aren’t immune to the charms of digging in the dirt. These early-adopters added a rooftop garden in 2009. Eight stories above the city, in nine raised beds, Fountain staffers grow herbs, peas, bok choi, peppers, and more, all of which find their way into the dishes served at the restaurant. The green doesn’t end there, tho’. The Four Seasons also composts 128 tons annually of leftovers (off-site) and uses the end product to fertilize the beds and the grounds of the hotel.

6. Noble Rot, Portland, Oregon

Their website proclaims, “The garden is the soul at Noble Rot in Portland.” Even with that noble and fuzzy statement, though, these horticultural-culinary mad scientists take a rather mercenary approach to their garden. That which does not thrive does not stick around for long. And, as they continue to tinker with what they sow, they do the same with their systems, learning as they grow (or not). A whopping 3,000 square-feet, irrigated by an aquifer beneath the building, the garden provides menu items almost year-round (indicated in capital letters on the Noble Rot menu). There are free garden tours on Tuesdays at 5:00PM.

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Enter to Win a Gourmet Getaway to LA

LAgetaway ads1 Enter to Win a Gourmet Getaway to LA

OpenTable is pleased to partner with MYHABIT and Tasting Table to bring you a chance to win the ultimate gourmet getaway to Los Angeles. Entering is easy — and free! — and the prize is the stuff that foodie dreams are made of:

* Roundtrip airfare and a swanky hotel stay.

* $1,000 toward dining out and cooking classes of your choice.

* A $1,0000 MyHabit credit to make sure you’re styling in the City of Angels.

Enter today to cook and dine your way through LA.

Gather Around the Fire at Shibui Robata in Toronto

Toronto diners seeking authentic Japanese robata cuisine need look no further than Shibui Robata, now open in the city’s downtown neighborhood. Brought to you by the operators of Toronto’s popular Copacabana restaurants, Shibui Robata perfectly captures the techniques and flavors of authentic Japanese robata cooking.

Robata means “around the fireplace” in Japanese and refers to the centuries-old method of cooking over an open fire in the home. This tradition later gave rise to robata restaurants around Japan, at which highly skilled chefs embraced its unique challenges. Now, restaurateur Michael Rudan and chef Masaki Nakayam invite you to experience the rustic elegance that is live-fire robata cuisine at Shibui Robata.

Robata ingredients are simple – fresh fish, beef, lamb, pork, and vegetables. Its tools are few — charcoal, fire, salt, and pepper. Yet, under the talented eyes and hands of a seasoned robata chef, such as chef Nakayama, the end result is magic. Nakayama, who perfected his method at top restaurants in Miami and New York, was drawn to the robata style of cooking by its deceptive level of difficulty. He notes, “The fire is live, and you have to control the heat, the temperatures of the fire. That is very challenging.”

With diners having a front-row seat to the action, does chef Nakayama get nervous cooking for a crowd? “I love that people can see me cook. It’s like a show. I have to make it fun for the customer, and that’s fun for me, too.” Along with just-out-of-the-fire robata dishes, the Shibui menu features sublime starters, such as hamachi ceviche with tart green apple and kiwi, and inventive rolls, like the eel oshi zushi, featuring pressed sushi, avocado, masago, and cream cheese. The next time you dine in Toronto, pull up a seat near the fire at Shibui Robata, where traditional technique meets a decidedly modern presentation.

Shibui Robata is open for lunch Monday-Friday and dinner Monday-Saturday. Book a table!

OpenTable Implements Security Patch for the Heartbleed Bug

The so-called Heartbleed Internet bug has been making headlines this week and prompting a wave of increased security measures at online companies around the world, including OpenTable. We do not have any evidence that any of our systems were compromised; however, we have taken preemptive action to secure the OpenTable authentication infrastructure — and your personal information — against Heartbleed.

Our engineering team monitors our systems around the clock to maintain the integrity of our site to protect both diners and restaurants. However, when the OpenSSL project issued a Security Advisory that detailed a serious vulnerability in the encryption software in use by a large percentage of the internet (including OpenTable), we immediately implemented a security patch.

As an additional cautionary measure, we recommend that all diners reset their OpenTable passwords. Our engineering team will continue its mission to protect our diners and restaurant customers from this and any future threats.

Click here now to change your password.​​

Joseph Essas is the Chief Technology Officer at OpenTable.

Mad Men Restaurants: Los Angeles Edition

Mad Men‘s seventh and final season kicks off on Sunday. Unlike previous seasons, much of the action will take place in sunny Los Angeles. We’ve talked about where Don Draper and friends have dined and should dine in New York. Now, we’ve rounded up sumptuous suggestions for where we’d like to see the Sterling, Cooper & Partners crew dine in the City of Angels, circa 1969, including The Galley, Lawry’s The Prime Rib, The Smokehouse, and more.

 

Restaurant: Dal Rae
Location: 9023 E. Washington Boulevard, Pico Rivera, California
Now and then: Your favorite mid-century classics reign supreme at the Dal Rae, which began serving diners at this location in 1958. Its truly retro and not-at-all ironic menu features the staples that defined upscale American cuisine for an entire generation, including Chateaubriand, Rack of Lamb, Pepper Steak, and Cherries Jubilee. Known for their world-class hospitality, the Dal Rae is operated by brothers and second-generation owners Kevin and Lorin Smith. Recognizable from afar thanks to its neon, atomic-age signage, the Dal Rae features live entertainment in the piano bar.
Tasty tidbit: The Smith brothers note, “The Dal Rae is where the drinks are strong enough for Roger, and the steaks are man enough for Don.”
Classic dish not to miss: Steak Diane, Lobster Thermidor, Veal Oscar, and the tableside Caesar Salad, just to name a few.
Book it!

Restaurant: The Derby
Location: 233 E. Huntington Drive, Arcadia, California
Now and then: The Derby opened in 1922, but became The Derby in 1938, when it was purchased by legendary jockey George Woolf (known for riding Seabiscuit to victory over War Admiral in 1938). Walking through the doors of The Derby is definitely a stroll back in time to the heyday of California’s 1930′s horse racing culture. Pristine yet unfussy, this meat mecca attracts a hip crowd of all ages who appreciate a great steak, a stiff drink, and live music. Woolf’s ghost is said to haunt the establishment, spinning his favorite bar stool at closing time. A nostaglic Pete Campbell would definitely appreciate a meal at The Derby.
Classic dish not to miss: The Bacon-Wrapped Filet Mignon that made The Derby famous and Noni’s Brashioli.
Book it!

Restaurant: The Galley
Location: 2442 Main Street, Santa Monica, California
Now and then: Santa Monica’s oldest bar and restaurant, dating back to 1934, The Galley boasts a colorful interior that is a delightful contrast to its traditional menu, yet both are equally inviting. Operated by the always-entertaining Captain Ron, the restaurant features memorabilia from the 1934 movie Mutiny on the Bounty, including the boat’s steering wheel, which hangs from the ceiling. The Galley serves a more extensive menu than it did decades ago, offering an array of steaks, seafood, and chicken dishes. A spot at The Galley’s lively South Seas Bar remains one of the most coveted for cocktail enthusiasts.
Tasty tidbit: Bartender Anna would most like to serve Joan Harris. And, John Slattery is a regular at The Galley.
Classic dish not to missSteamed East Coast Clams served with clam broth and drawn butter, along with Shrimp Cocktail and the Top Sirloin Steak.
Book it!

Restaurant: Lawry’s The Prime Rib
Location: 100 North La Cienega Boulevard, Beverly Hills, California
Now and then: A pioneer of the single-entrée — including the ‘choose-your-own-cut’ — dining experience, Lawry’s is famous for several aspects of its service, from its storied carts and spinning bowl salads, to servers’ uniforms that are literally straight out of 1938, as well as its signature Prime Rib. Established in 1938, Lawry’s The Prime Rib was started by Lawrence L. Frank and Walter Van De Kamp and remains family run to this day. The restaurant is said to be the birthplace of both the doggie bag and the practice of starting a meal with salad. Based on the success of the original location, there are Lawry’s The Prime Rib restaurants across the country and around the world (in case you can’t make it to Los Angeles).
Tasty tidbit: President and CEO (and 3rd generation operator) Richard R. Frank says, “We would’ve loved to have served Peggy, a real go-getter and ahead of her time! She most definitely would’ve passed on daintier cuts of prime rib and gone for our 24 oz. Diamond Jim Brady.”
Classic dish not to miss: The Prime Rib, the signature Spinning Salad, and the savory Yorkshire Pudding.
Book it!

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Make OpenTable Gifts Your Pick for Administrative Professionals Day

Blackbird Make OpenTable Gifts Your Pick for Administrative Professionals Day
A meal at Blackbird in Chicago is a much better gift than a stapler.

Administrative Professionals Day is April 23rd, and we can assure you that your favorite administrative professional doesn’t want a new pen holder or office supplies of any kind. Rather than reward the person who — let’s face it — makes your job possible with something related to work, we suggest you give the gift of fine dining.

With thousands of restaurants from which to choose, OpenTable Gifts is the easiest and most convenient way to send your MVAPs personalized online gift card to their favorite restaurants. And, you don’t need to even do the choosing.  When you visit https://gifts.opentable.com, if you select “Choose a restaurant,” you pick the city, the restaurant, and the amount. If you select “Let your friend choose,” you can buy a gift card that is good at any participating restaurant; you only decide on the amount. The gifts will be delivered via email, either instantly or at a future date. You can also print the gift card to present it to your valued administrative professional (assuming you know where the office printer is).

Join companies around the U.S. and the world who plan to celebrate millions “appys” on this day and throughout Administrative Professionals Week. Purchase an OpenTable Gift today!

 

Countdown to the 2014 James Beard Awards

Team Del Posto Countdown to the 2014 James Beard Awards
The team from Del Posto celebrates a win at the 2013 James Beard Foundation Awards.

Four weeks from today, the James Beard Foundation Awards will be held in New York City at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall. A celebration of the best and the brightest in the food world, The Beard Awards are regarded as the industry’s version of the Oscars. The James Beard Awards are even better because a) they’re open to the public and b) the food at the event is seriously hard to top (No offense, Wolfgang!). You can purchase your tickets here to cheer for your favorite culinary professionals on May 5, 2014.

Nominated restaurants include:

Best New Restaurant
Betony, New York, New York
Carbone, New York, New York
Coqueta, San Francisco, California
Peche Seafood Grill, New Orleans, Louisiana

Outstanding Restaurant
Hearth, New York, New York
Highlands Bar & Grill, Birmingham, Alabama
The Slanted Door, San Francisco, California
Spiaggia, Chicago, Illinois
wd~50, New York, New York

Outstanding Service  Continue reading…

Spring Restaurant Weeks Are Springing Up!

mlrw2014 Spring Restaurant Weeks Are Springing Up!After a brutal winter, I think it is safe to say, well into April, that spring has sprung. And with this season of renewal comes a season of savings in cities around the nation. Book a table to dine for less at restaurants in your area.

* Long Beach Restaurant Week in California is happening now. Reserve for special set menus for $26 or $38 thru April 5.

* Jersey Shore Restaurant Week starts tomorrow. Begin booking $20.14 and $30.14 dinners, April 4-13.

* Rhode Island heats up with Newport and Bristol Restaurant Week. Book a table for $16 lunches and $35 dinners, April 4-13.

*  Seattle Restaurant Week begins this weekend.Reserve early and often for three-course meals for $28, April 6-10 and 13-17.

* Detroit Restaurant Week kicks into gear next week. Enjoy special three-course, prix-fixe dinners, April 11-20.

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Congratulations: 2014 Food + Wine Best New Chefs

alma blog Congratulations: 2014 Food + Wine Best New Chefs
This is not your Bubby’s brisket. It is, however, Ari Taymor”s.

Today, Food + Wine announced their picks for  Best New Chefs of 2014. The honorees are:

* Ari Taymor, Alma, Los Angeles, California

* Joe Ogrodnek and Walker Stern, Dover, Brooklyn, New York

* Eli Kulp, Fork, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

* Matt McAllister, FT33, Dallas, Texas

* Dave Beran, Next, Chicago, Illinois

* Greg Denton and Gabrielle Quiñónez Denton, Ox, Portland, Oregon

* Justin Yu, Oxheart, Houston, Texas

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1st Annual Cherry Bombe Jubilee + After-Party

On Sunday, March 30th, in Manhattan, Cherry Bombe magazine’s Kerry Diamond and Claudia Wu hosted the first Cherry Bombe Jubilee, a conference in celebration of women in the world of food. Sponsored in part by OpenTable and attended by hundreds of up and comers and established names (Hello, Alice Waters!)  in the culinary realm, it was a day of learning, discussion, networking, and, of course, food. Later that evening, OpenTable hosted an after-party at Corkbuzz Wine Studio. Featuring wines curated by owner Laura Maniec, Jordan Salacityo, Beverage Director at Momofuku restaurants, Pascaline Lepeltier, Wine Director at Rouge Tomate, and Juliette Pope, Wine Director at Gramercy Tavern, the after party also featured sweet and savory treats. You can check out exclusive photos from the evening’s festivities below.

Throughout the Jubilee, some of the food world’s best and brightest weighed in on a number of topics, including:

* Christina Tosi of Momofuku Milk Bar (and inventor of the famed crack pie), spoke about being the change. “We get to choose how we exist in this industry.” She urged attendees, “Be the individual. Individuality is priceless.” She also encouraged women to “make room for someone else to come in” to your kitchen, your business, and the industry.

* Dorothy Cann Hamilton, founder of the French Culinary Institute (my alma mater!), pointed out that although there’s a perception that there are more men in the culinary field, the percentage of women attending culinary school was 59% in 2012 (up from 31% in 1992) as compared to just 41% male students. Her hypothesis as to why we aren’t seeing more female chefs dominating restaurant kitchens is that women are seeking out more entrepreneurial ventures after graduating.

* Chefs April Bloomfield (The Spotted Pig), Katie Button (Cúrate), Anita Lo (Annisa), and Sarah Kramer were on a panel called “Getting Your Clog in the Door.” They all agreed that doing a stage/internship is an important first step. Kramer said, “Doing a stage is a great way to get your foot in the door at a restaurant if you want to work there.” And, it worked for Kramer; she wound up staging and, later, working at Blue Hill at Stone Barns. Beyond a stage, Lo advised, “Go work at the best restaurant you can find.” She started her career at Bouley and hasn’t missed a beat since. For those newbies not living in a major culinary city, there are still plenty of opportunities. Bloomfield pointed out, “No matter where you start, it will expose you and lead you to other places.” For those unable to get into the kitchen of their dreams, Button recommends starting in the front of the house to get to the back of the house. She employed that strategy successfully at both El Bulli and José Andrés’s restaurants. Continue reading…