Brunch is serious business in most major cities — and everywhere, come to think of it. After all, who doesn’t want to celebrate the weekend with a midday cocktail and sweet and savory eats? Brunch also brings out folks in large numbers, especially if you’re popular like @TroyPayne. Did you know you can find tables for up to 20 people on OpenTable? You can! For breakfast, brunch, lunch, or dinner — any meal. You can find availability for large groups through a basic search, or you can also consult your local Diners’ Choice listing for Good for Groups. Thanks for the shoutout, @TroyPayne. Enjoy what we hope is an epic brunch!
Long before offal was in vogue in this country, I once (Once!) tried tripe. I was a kid attending a very Sopranos-like gathering at a friend’s home. Trays of old-school Italian and Italian-American delights were spread out buffet-style for guests. As I made my way down the line, I happened upon one that appeared to be yet another tray of saucy, cheesy goodness with some sort of protein, so I greedily heaped a healthy serving on my plate. I wasn’t sure what it was at first, but even before someone told me it was tripe, I knew it wasn’t for me. Since then, to the joy of more adventurous eaters, tripe and other forms of offal have taken center plate, if you will, at restaurants. Beyond frugality, offal offers diners different tastes and textures, and enlightened chefs consider it the best way to honor the animal — by carefully and creatively using every bit. Tripe, otherwise known as the lining of an animal’s stomach, typically cow, is turning up on scores of menus. While I won’t be ordering it, many folks are. Find out they’re saying about this offal offering.
* Angèle Restaurant & Bar, Napa, California: “Our dinner was like an evening in the French countryside. The sweetbreads on the menu were done perfectly. The tripe on special was very flavorful. These items are not commonly found on U.S. menus.”
* Ava Gene’s, Portland, Oregon: “The menu has unique preparation of Italian favorites, and everything we ordered was just great and flavorful. Best tripe I’ve had, including Batali’s.”
* Babbo Ristorante, New York, New York: “Sweetbreads are to die for, the best tripe ever, testa luscious and unctuous as anything you’ve had. Hard to go wrong with nearly anything on the menu.”
* Cafe 2825, Atlantic City, New Jersey: “It’ s traditional Italian done very well. My husband adores their tripe.”
* Charlie Bird, New York, New York: “Run, do not walk before word gets put. This place is amazing!!! Tripe was to die for!”
* Da Silvano, New York, New York: “Great food, great service, best tripe alla fiorentina, and best for people watching. ”
* Daniela’s Restaurant, Naples, Florida: “Food is prepared a little different than in my region of Romania, but very good. Tripe soup is to die for! We will definitely be back.”
* Franco, St. Louis, Missouri: “Our server recommended the tripe appetizer. My wife and I were intrigued by the offer to sample fried cow stomach (tripe, for the unknowing), and it was exceptionally well prepared and delicious. ”
* Le Virtu, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: “The tripe keeps me coming back! The first time I had it, I wanted to cry because it tasted just like my mom used to make on Saturday afternoons. Please never take it off the menu!”
* Maialino, New York, New York: “I am a foodie and a Rome native. Thus, I was looking forward to dining at Maialino. I had the tripe as an appetizer. Romans make the best tripe, and the tripe at Maialino did not disappoint. Excellent.”
OpenTable is pleased to highlight the honorees in the MICHELIN Guide New York City 2014. Sixty-seven restaurants are included, with seven New York restaurants receiving the Michelin three-star level, the highest recognition in the culinary world, with five achieving two Michelin stars. Fifty-five restaurants earned one Michelin star, with nine new additions, including Carbone, Lincoln Ristorante, and The Musket Room.
Being included in the respected MICHELIN Guide is a sign of excellence and quality. In the U.S., New York is one of only three cities where Michelin publishes an annual guide. The others are San Francisco and Chicago. The MICHELIN Guide San Francisco 2014, the city’s seventh edition, will be introduced Oct. 23, and the MICHELIN Guide Chicago 2014 will be published on Nov. 13.
Congratulations to all the recipients, including:
One Star: 15 East, Ai Fiori, Aldea, Annisa, Aquavit, Aureole, A Voce Columbus, A Voce Madison, Babbo Ristorante, Blue Hill, Bouley, Brushstroke, Cafe Boulud, Carbone, Casa Mono, Caviar Russe, Danny Brown Wine Bar & Kitchen, Del Posto, Dovetail, Gotham Bar and Grill, Gramercy Tavern, Hakkasan, Jewel Bako, Junoon, Kajitsu, Lincoln Ristorante, Minetta Tavern, The Modern, The Musket Room, The NoMad, Oceana, Public, Rosanjin, Rouge Tomate, Seasonal Restaurant and Weinbar, Sushi of Gari, Tamarind-Tribeca, Telepan, Torrisi Italian Specialities, Tulsi, Wallsé, wd~50, and Yakitori Tori Shin.
Iconic San Francisco restaurant Fog City is now open. Housed in the location of the legendary Fog City Diner, Fog City has been completely renovated and reimagined by founders Bill Higgins and Bill Upson and talented local chef Bruce Hill, of Bix, Picco, and Zero Zero.
The offerings, very much a reflection of San Francisco’s rich culinary landscape, were conceived by chef Hill and will be executed by chef Erik Lowe, former chef de cuisine at Bix. “Some people call it personal cuisine, others might call it modern eclectic, but it’s really just the food that my chef and I and my partners love to eat,” says Hill. Virtually everything is made in-house, including buns, cheese, crullers, and barrel-aged hot sauces.
What’s not made in Fog City comes from the area’s finest farmers, fishermen, breweries, and distilleries. Chef Hill says, “I am incredibly grateful for all of my farmers and the people who are our suppliers. My relationships with some of my farmers go back almost 30 years!” Fog City specializes in grilled Brandt beef and other meats, such as chicken and lamb, cooked in the restaurant’s expansive wood-fired grill. Pastry chef Aaron Toensing oversees the pastry program, which includes house-made Straus Family Creamery frozen custard, made fresh daily. Hill, who actually worked as a chef at Fog City Diner in the early 2000s, notes, “Fog City is another name for the city of San Francisco. So, this is really a San Francisco restaurant. We have a local patriotism we’re capturing here.”
Rather than be daunted by the prospect of revamping an iconic brand and location, Hill was excited. “Having worked at Fog City Diner, even spending 9-11 there, watching the towers fall, I have a lot of emotional connection to the space. We absolutely took the history into consideration, but, other than the adventurous spirit of the original, we didn’t want to carry anything over.” The process has been in the works for three years. Hill was able to work on the opening while also operating several other successful Bay Area restaurants, something he credits to open lines of communication. “The key is my connection to my managers and my chefs, which is on a daily basis,” he reveals.
* Foodspotting is cooler than ever, thanks to a fancy new update of its amazing app. Find out what’s new and download it today.
* The 2014 Michelin NYC Bib Gourmand honorees have been announced. Did your fave affordable eatery make the list?
* Save on tickets to Taste of Atlanta, October 25-27. OpenTable diners enjoy an exclusive savings on tickets, now through October 7th.
* Trending on recent OpenTable restaurant reviews? Squash blossoms!
* No Kid Hungry Month continues through September 30. Make a reservation at a participating restaurant in September to help end childhood hunger.
* Santa Cruz Restaurant Week reservations are open. Reserve now for $25 three-course dinners, October 2-9.
* Detroit Restaurant Week motors on! Snap up $30 gourmet dinners through September 29.
I’m not sure if it’s the change of seasons or what, but I’m seeing a lot of late-night posts about insomnia. Instead of tossing and turning, why not beef up your social calendar by making OpenTable reservations? That’s what Tracy Weiss (aka @Northforkd) suggests. The great thing about booking online is that you’re not beholden to a restaurant’s hours of operation; you can book anywhere, anytime — even at 4AM from your sofa. And, it absolutely beats counting sheep. PS: We love your travel suggestions, Tracy!
Ahead of the release of this year’s Michelin Guide New York stars, the 2014 New York City Bib Gourmand honorees have been named. Michelin’s Bib Gourmands honor restaurants that serve two courses and a glass of wine or dessert for $40 or less (tax and gratuity not included). Most important, they are the restaurants that the Michelin inspectors frequent themselves. While the famous Michelin stars remain the most celebrated international distinction in the MICHELIN Guide, the Bib Gourmand is a highly desired honor among restaurateurs and one that is recognized by the many people who covet quality food at a reasonable price.
In the 2014 edition, 138 New York City restaurants, which include a diverse range of 31 cuisine types across the five boroughs, have been designated as Bib Gourmands, including:
As heirloom tomato season wanes, the good new is that hyper-seasonal squash blossoms are ubiquitous now. They’ve been in their prime for several weeks and will continue to be present on menus awhile longer, as squash plants continue to produce blossoms that, due to the oncoming colder weather, won’t have a lot of time to set fruit. Typically, only male flowers are harvested, but you can use the female flowers if you’re willing — or mother nature is about to — sacrifice fruit. Although squash blossoms are commonplace in dishes these days, the very first time I had them was many years ago when a friend’s Italian grandmother fried some up. Like most avid eaters, I’ve always been willing to try anything that’s fried; to my delight, the delicate, buttery blossoms were a veggie revelation. Ever since then, I cannot pass up any opportunity to eat them. Although frying remains a popular presentation, there are many other ways to enjoy them. In fact, just last night, I had some sublime agnolotti with squash blossom pesto at Picholine. Find out what your fellow diners are saying about this floral treat in recent reviews on OpenTable.
* Alder, New York, New York: “The food was delightful. I never knew what a dish was going to look like until it came out. Everything was unexpected. And, squash blossoms stuffed with shrimp and squash? Just go!”
* Bar Americain, New York, New York: “The stuffed squash blossoms were a highlight for me; they were delicate, perfectly stuffed, and the black-pepper vinaigrette was a wonderful complement.”
* The Chestnut Grille, Blowing Rock, North Carolina: “We began with the lump crab-stuffed squash blossoms, which were dynamite.”
* Cindy Pawlcyn’s Wood Grill & Wine Bar, St. Helena, California: “The service was great, and we had the squash blossom quesadilla and the heirloom tomato and melon salad. Both were tasty.”
* Circa, Manhattan Beach, California: “Standout offerings: The tinned sardines from Spain with grilled rustic bread slices and fennel salad, battered squash blossoms filled with zucchini mousse, and the Mediterranean flatbread. Plates were meant to share, but I kept these all to myself.”
* COCO500, San Francisco, California: “Food nothing less than spectacular! Started with uni/squid bruschetta, bursting with flavor. Next, a squash blossom flatbread, tasty and crunchy, not heavy.”
You may have noticed that OpenTable is better looking than ever — thanks to the inclusion of mouthwatering Foodspotting photos. We didn’t think it was possible, but now our favorite app for shooting and sharing food photos is, too. Foodspotting for iOS 7 is a wholly reimagined Foodspotting app, brought to you by Alexa Andrzejewski (@ladylexy) and Matt Jarjoura (@jarjar2k7). Foodspotting for iOS 7 features include:
Filters & Places
Find dishes by place or by category using Foodspotting’s new smart search. Look for new categories including “Find dishes at places you can reserve (on OpenTable).”
Location & Map
Find dishes anywhere in the world by tapping the green bar and setting your location. You can enter a city or address, or pan and zoom the map.
About This Dish & About This Place
Scroll left and right to discover delicious dishes. If a dish piques your interest, simply scroll down to learn how to get your hands on it.
Explore and Activity
Toggle between discovering nearby dishes and discovering dishes from friends with one tap (upper left), and Foodspotting will remember which you last used.
* We’re celebrating the release of OpenTable for iOS 7. Find out what’s new (Hint: A lot!) and download it today!
* Wondering which restaurants received 2013 Diners’ Choice Awards for Top 100 Fit for Foodies Restaurants in the U.S. Wonder no more.
* No Kid Hungry Month continues. Make a reservation at a participating restaurant in September to help end childhood hunger.
* Omaha Restaurant Week heads toward its final weekend Three-course dinners for $20, $30, or $40 through the 22nd.
* Detroit Restaurant Week pulled into Motor City today! Snap up $30 gourmet dinners through September 29.
* There’s another delicious week of Center City District Restaurant Week coming your way. $20 lunches and $35 dinners, September 15-20 and 22-27.