Let’s Go to the Mall: Where to Eat on Black Friday

Are you ready for the madness and the mayhem of the holiday shopping season? Black Friday marks its frenetic beginning as everyone realizes there are just a few more weeks left to purchase presents for their loved ones and they hit up the nearest mega-mall. Shopping becomes a competitive sport, so you’re going to need to bring your A game. But you can’t do that without fueling up. A good meal or two is requisite. However, you’re so much better than the puck-like burgers and fried-beyond-recognition nuggets being hawked in the food court. Here’s where to eat on Black Friday when shopping at America’s biggest malls.

Mall of America, Bloomington, Minnesota: Tucci Benucch
Believe it or not, this home-style Italian eatery is a longtime favorite of Mr. Bizarre Foods himself, TV host Andrew Zimmern, who lives nearby. He’s a big fan of their chopped chicken salad, egg-topped pasta carbonara, and focaccia. The whole menu is rife with comfort foods – ‘zas galore, a hearty chicken parm, handmade mozzarella, and a thick block of meaty lasagna. The kids menu is equally impressive, offering more than half a dozen different types of pastas alongside pint-sized pizzas. It’s the perfect pick-up during a midday rest stop or a nice finale after a long day of consumerism. Find other restaurants near Mall of America.

Where to Eat on Black Friday

King of Prussia Mall, King of Prussia, Pennsylvania: Seasons 52
This time of year comes with a free E-Z Pass to decadence and overindulgence. However, one cannot survive on eggnog, white peppermint M&Ms, and sandwiches forged out of Thanksgiving leftovers alone. You need some moderation in your diet. That’s where this health-conscious concept comes in. Almost every dish on the menu is under 500 calories, which will help you start to make up for the entire bourbon pecan pie you scarfed down the day before (their mini pecan pie with vanilla bean mousse and whipped cream only clocks in at a modest 370 calories). Plus, there are plenty of vegetarian, vegan, gluten-sensitive, sodium-friendly, and lactose-free options available, so it’s easy to accommodate a bunch of diners with a variety of dietary regimens. Find other restaurants near King of Prussia Mall.

Where to Eat on Black Friday

Aventura Mall, Aventura, Florida: Bourbon Steak
Located just across the street from the mall in the Turnberry Isle Hotel, this primo steakhouse from Michael Mina is worth the walk. Plus, you could use a stretch and stroll after all the calories you consumed the day before. That being said, we do love to indulge once we get there. Start off with Petrossian caviar or Alaskan king crab before moving on to Maine lobster pot pie and Japanese Wagyu New York strip steak. Every meal includes a trio of French fries with three dipping sauces, but you should supplement them with the truffled mac ‘n’ cheese, roasted cauliflower, and grilled Vidalia onions. PS: You’re welcome. Find other restaurants near the Aventura Mall.

Where to Eat on Black Friday

South Coast Plaza, Costa Mesa, California: Marché Moderne
Earning raves as the “best French bistro in California,” this Gallic standout is powered by husband-and-wife team Florent and Amelia Marneau. Their dishes are familiar but elevated to new heights with unexpected accents. Pickled mango confiture brightens cold foie gras terrine while the richness of the sweetbreads is cut by the addition of licorice root. We are always drawn to the salad topped with pink centered rectangles of tuna crusted with fennel seed, coriander, and black pepper — and we always get the twice-fried pomme frites. So simple, yet so unbelievably good. Find other restaurants near South Coast Plaza.

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Get Stuffed: 12 Super Thanksgiving Stuffings from Top Restaurants

Sure, turkey is the de facto star of the table on Thanksgiving, but let’s face it. Most of us live for stuffing or dressing as it’s also called. We’re not talking about week-old bread crumbs tossed together with a predictable poultry spice mix and some high-salt chicken stock here. No, this is about the unforgettable, too-good-to-line-your-leftover-sandwich stuffing. The dish that makes you completely forget there’s a gobbler in the middle of the table awaiting your attention. White or dark? Who cares! Pass me the stuffing. Again, please. Here are 12 super Thanksgiving stuffings that will have you ordering seconds.

Mercat a la Planxa, Chicago, Illinois
Meet the Catalan version of classic New England oyster stuffing. Razor clams dot saffron spiced squash bread pudding finished off with a splash of sherry pan jus. As they say in the northeastern Spanish region, “Déu n’hi do!” (Translation: Wow!)

Best Thanksgiving Stuffings

The Lambs Club, New York, New York
Cornbread forms the backbone of chef Geoffrey Zakarian’s stuffing. He accents the side dish with pork sausage and ground fennel seed, as well as the usual suspects: onions, carrots, celery, and plenty of garlic. The results are sweet ‘n’ savory – and sure to linger long in your memory even after Thanksgiving is a distant dot in your rear view mirror.

Best Thanksgiving Stuffings

Filini, Chicago, Illinois
You could make a meal out of this stuffing. Chef Carolina Diaz incorporates ground beef, dried cranberries, chestnuts, and walnuts into the mix, which gets an herbaceous boost from rosemary, parsley, and thyme. Try to remember to save some room for the actual turkey.

Best Thanksgiving Stuffings

Oceana, New York, New York
You’ve never had a gobbler quite like executive chef Ben Pollinger’s Cape Cod turkey. That’s because it’s completely poultry-free. He uses roast cod instead, which he packs with a über-rich crabmeat stuffing that’s so good you’ll be clacking claws with your dining companions to get seconds of it.

Best Thanksgiving Stuffings

Acadiana, Washington, D.C.
Stuffing done the Bay way. Chesapeake-sourced oysters and their briny liquor enrich this T-Day standout by chef Jeff Tunks. The dish is finished off with plenty of butter in order to…actually, no reason required. #buttermakeseverythingbetter

Best Thanksgiving Stuffings

Dino’s Grotto, Washington, D.C.
Here’s something we’ve never seen before: stuffing soup. Turkey stock-based Italian bread soup features hearty plugs of turkey sausage floating in its dark depths. Remember, it’s not polite to pick up the bowl with both hands and loudly slurp up its contents.

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They Can Pickle That: 6 Picks for Restaurant Pickle Programs

Autumn is a great time of year for a foodie. But a bountiful harvest is also the first sign that winter is coming. So, how do you hold onto that bounty through the lean months? By pickling, of course! Many OpenTable restaurants have mastered the simplicity and economy that comes from making their own pickles, giving diners a range of newfound textures and flavors. Here are six picks for restaurant pickle programs that bring you harvest-time veggies all year round.

Miller Union, Atlanta, Georgia
“There are three basic ways of putting up pickles,” says chef Steven Satterfield of Atlanta’s Miller Union. “Natural fermentation, vinegar brine, and quick pickles. We do them all.”

Satterfield, author of the Root to Leaf cookbook, makes his Hilda’s Icebox Pickles based on his grandmother’s recipe using cucumbers and a cold vinegar brine. He uses a hot brine solution for sunchokes and radishes, and a full vinegar solution for pungent items like sweet Vidalia onions and shallots. [Photo by Kelly Blackmon]

Best Restaurant PIckle Programs

Jacob’s Pickles, New York, New York
In New York City, Jacob Hadjigeorgis has brought the Lower East Side pickling tradition to the Upper West Side, where chef Jason Krantz produces everything from traditional dills to Thyme Jalapeño and Candy Red Beets pickles. The restaurant is host to a seasonal “Pickle Lab Series,” which currently features pickled fall vegetables, such as pumpkin, butternut squash, and okra.

Best Restaurant Pickle Programs

Brick & Bottle, Corte Madera, California
The Michelin Bib Gourmand-recommended eatery incorporates pickles into many of its dishes, from a diced pickled cabbage and onion, used as a topping for its hamburgers, to a composed pâté plate with multiple cured and pickled components. “We do not try to reinvent the wheel,” explains general manager Brandon Parkhurst. “Many of our cured dishes are takes on classics. However, what we do in our kitchen is take high-quality ingredients and treat them with the utmost care.”

Best Restaurant Pickle Programs

Iron Gate, Washington, D.C.
In Washington, D.C.’s Dupont Circle neighborhood, chef Anthony Chittum serves a tasting menu in their historic carriage house dining room, where the first course is a series of small tastes from the kitchen that always features something from their pickle pots. These can vary from bread and butter sunchokes, green beans and bird chilis, and zucchini, to name but a few. Many of the pickles are displayed in the dining room in jars that frame the open kitchen.[Photo by Samer Farha]

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House of Carts: 8 Restaurants Offering Tableside Service to Make You Feel Like a VIP

Why walk over to the bar, the kitchen, or the cheese display when it can come to you? Restaurants are now using carts to convey everything from cocktails and Champagne to entrees and the cheese course to their guests. The mobile filling stations allow staffers to give diners a show by accompanying their meal by crafting a top shelf martini, cracking open a clay-baked fish, or popping the cork on a rare bottle of bubbles for them. Here are eight restaurants offering exquisite tableside service, guaranteed to make you feel like a VIP.

Bourbon Steak, Washington, D.C.
Head bartender Torrence Swain created the Monkey Business tiki-inspired cocktail just so tipplers could enjoy a show at the table. Made with Monkey Shoulder Scotch and Drambuie, it’s served over ice with flame-kissed, brûléed banana and freshly grated nutmeg. Warning: if you enjoy too many, you may be inclined to start swinging from the chandeliers while loudly proclaiming you’re the king of the jungle.

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Charlie Palmer at The Knick, New York, New York
Legend has it that that Knickerbocker Hotel was the birthplace of the Martini. To honor that legacy, the restaurant offers a cart packed with all the components for the classic cocktail (available upon request or for special events). Expect to find a bottle of Tanqueray No. Ten, dry and rouge vermouth, and orange and citrus bitters, as well as all the necessary equipment. (Ed. note: I seriously hope there’s a vodka option available.)

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Kachina Southwestern Grill, Westminster, Colorado
Echoing a traditional Native American cooking technique, rainbow trout is stuffed with lemon, thyme, and pungent epazote leaves, shrouded in cornhusks, and wrapped in clay etched with a fish drawing. After it’s baked, the pescetarian entree is wheeled to the table and cracked open for the guest.

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The Source, Washington, D.C.
On a foggy Sunday morning, there is no more welcome sight than this Bloody Mary cart coasting in our direction across the dining room. Choose from three options: classic, Chesapeake topped with Crab Louis Salad and horseradish panna cotta, or spicy Sichuan accompanied by pickled chilies. Then add your choice of celery, olives, and a slew of salts. Suddenly, our hangovers aren’t that bad after all.

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The Palm Court at The Plaza Hotel, New York City
Paging 007, your Martini cart awaits! James Bond would choose between perfectly chilled Chopin Potato vodka or Ketel One while those who prefer gin can opt for either Tanqueray No. Ten or Plymouth. His is shaken, not stirred, of course, but you can go your own way. Licensed to thrill.

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