Top Chef D.C. Episode 5: Lord Love a Duck

TCDC5Jacket Top Chef D.C. Episode 5: Lord Love a Duck
Chef Patrick O'Connell has terrific taste (in food, if not clothing).

Welcome to another week of TCDC and Ed Hardy, your favorite aspiring cheftestant. Don’t forget to join his Facebook group “Why Isn’t Ed Hardy on ‘Top Chef’?” Anyway, this week Kenny is sad because two competitors are gone (or so he says). We get a glimpse of some burgeoning alliances (or romances) in the way of Angelo bonding with Tamesha, admitting he’s attracted to her because she reminds him of himself. Ah, narcissism at its finest. Kelly thinks Angelo is gaming Angela, which could be a good guess. Ed and Tiffany are also growing closer, but in a far less creepy/game-y way.

The Quickfire Challenge…

Everything’s coming up crabs at the Hinkley Hilton. Padma is joined by guest judge Patrick O’Connell of The Inn at Little Washington. Kevin is psyched because he’s cooked for O’Connell previously at the Bocuse d’Or. Angelo says something about having had crabs (and not the tasty kind). They get an hour to cook this hyperlocal ingredient that is still ALIVE. I’m really sad watching this because I hate to kill anything. Especially lobsters.

Anyway, it’s a total massacre. Crabs are being killed in every way possible – dismemberment, stabbings, baking, broiling, and boiling. People aren’t using tongs and are getting bitten. Some cheftestants aren’t used to the fact that there isn’t a lot of meat in blue crabs. Tamesha reveals she’s never picked or eaten a crab due to an allergy.

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The Cultivated Plate: Shopping and Sourcing with Chef Al Nappo of Founding Farmers

OpenTable’s weekly feature The Cultivated Plate, in which we check in with chefs and restaurateurs about how and from where they source their ingredients, continues with chef Al Nappo of Washington, D.C. restaurant Founding Farmers.

Chef Al Nappo shares his sourcing story with OpenTable after the jump.

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Top Chef D.C. Episode 4: The Last Supper

TCDC4 Touch Me Top Chef D.C. Episode 4: The Last Supper
"Angelo, I just don't like you in that way."

We’re back with another week of “Top Chef: D.C.”, eagerly wondering who will go home and why. Would-be cheftestant Ed Hardy is tuning in with me, as usual. This week looks to be super-exciting because two contenders are going home. Sadly, this week proves to be not at all exciting. There’s a lot of cooking going on, but the drama is missing in action.

What’s also missing in action is money. Ed says, “Financial belt(way)-tightening is apparently the item du jour, as both Congress and Bravo cut back on expenses. It appears that corporations still have a little money, so Hilton rides to our rescue with enough dough to keep the lights turned on, but not much else. We get a completely forgettable corporate guest judge. I dub her ‘Nameless Hilton suit.’ Doesn’t Hilton have any notable chefs to send over?”[CP Note: Yes, and they are probably FUMING!]

As we regroup, everyone wakes up. Arnold is glad that he’s made friends with the grill, Andrea misses Tracey, and Timothy promises he’s going to finish the competition strong despite his slow start. Cut to…

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Gramercy Tavern’s String Bean Salad: A Close Look at a Cultivated Plate

Wondering how local one of Gramercy Tavern‘s dishes really is? Me, too! So, I photographed their lovely-to-look-at-and-eat seasonal string bean salad and tracked down its origins with help from executive chef Mike Anthony and his staff. You can see for yourself just how far (which is to say, not very) the salad’s ingredients have traveled to your table.

GramercySourceDish Gramercy Taverns String Bean Salad: A Close Look at a Cultivated Plate


View Gramercy Tavern’s “Cultivated Plate” in a larger map

The Cultivated Plate: Gramercy Tavern Chef Michael Anthony’s Sourcing Story

OpenTable is pleased to announce the launch of The Cultivated Plate, a new weekly feature on Dining Check about how and from where restaurants source their ingredients. From the practical to the political, chefs and restaurateurs will share the challenges and the opportunities in bringing food from farm to table. This week, chef Michael Anthony discusses how he tells Gramercy Tavern’s story by shopping at the Greenmarket.

GT is located only 3 blocks aways so from every single angle, the market represents the best resource that we have as diners and as restaurateurs in the city. It’s the beginning for all the dishes that we eat at home and all of the dishes we serve at the restaurant.
It offers the greatest flexibilities in terms of buying. The fact that ehese folks come from up to 3.5 to 4 hours a day and are willing to be here to answer questions and provide information. This is the greatest flexibility for buying food.
The majority of our food comes riht from the market. We support other farms through other companies. But sincer we’re three blocks away, we have a whole team of ppl responsible for combing the market. The goald is to buy local, but we don’t define local bye a geographic point on the map. We’re defining local by the relationships we make when we’re buying our food. We’re trying to builda dialogue. There’s a healthy evolution between diners and chefs.

Watch as Chef Anthony shares his thoughts on the farm-to-table label, how he addresses diners who want fresh tomatoes in January, and where truffles fit in to his menu at Gramercy Tavern. And, read more sourcing insights from this chef after the jump.

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Dining Dilemmas: Meeting the Chef, Ordering for Your Date, and the Art of Noise

* Marina O’Loughlin thinks meeting the chef is as overrated as everything else that’s overrated these days. [The Guardian]

* Can you stay slim if you dine out often? You can if you follow Ed Levine’s three simple tips. [Serious Eats]

* Portland restaurateurs discuss their different approaches to the art of noise in their establishments. [OregonLive.com]

* What should you do when your date orders for you? [Chow]

* Some folks think restaurants discriminate against twentysomething diners. Discuss. [InsideScoopSF]

* You can play games with your kids at a restaurant that don’t involve electronics. [Babble]

* In honor of the 4th of July, here are the Diners’ Bill of Rights. [Journal-Sentinel Online]

Top Chef D.C. Episode 3: Waxman On, Waxman Off

TCDC3 Green Herb Top Chef D.C. Episode 3: Waxman On, Waxman Off
"What is the green herb?"

The cheftestants return in week 3 of Top Chef D.C. — and so does Chef Ed, who is watching along. Ed Hardy, as you’ll recall, is an aspiring cheftestant. Eater interviewed him as he auditioned for this past season and he even has a “Why Isn’t Ed Hardy on Top Chef?” Facebook fan group. The previews for this episode indicated that the contestants would be cooking for a group of Capitol Hill interns, and it turns out that’s a job Ed had before the call of the kitchen lured him away from politics. Ed comments, “I promised I wouldn’t do this but I have to: Bravo, what were you thinking? You passed up a thousand chances to make me look like an arrogant ass on cable TV. Instead of Arnold’s line about his sister, you could have had Ed saying ‘Cook for Capitol Hill interns? Hell, I was an intern.’ Speaking of interns, have you seen a more sorry bunch of folks that should be among the brightest and the best? These are our future leaders of America? They could hardly manage more than a few syllables: ‘Mmm, tast-tee.’” Okay, Ed’s getting ahead of himself. Focus!

The show opens with sleepy cheftestants bemoaning Jacqueline’s exit. Amanda battles survivor guilt while Kenny gets a note of encouragement from his girlfriend. Meanwhile, Angelo vants to be alone. He sits outside talking about how he doesn’t like to be on the bottom and that he’s mad at Kenny for not standing behind his teammates. This makes him want to isolate himself from everybody. Is that a threat or a promise?

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Bauer’s Star Strategy, Sifton’s Music, and the Arguments For and Against Critics

* New York Times restaurant critic Sam Sifton makes a lot of musical references. [Eater]

* Also, he doesn’t mean to be a (unprintable word). [Grub Street NY]

* Frank Bruni discusses his life as a regular citizen. [Food and Wine, Part I and Part II]

* In case you were wondering what critic Gael Greene loves and where she eats (and you know you were JUST wondering those very things), wonder no more. [Insatiable Critic]

* Speaking of critics, what are they good for? [The Atlantic]

* Something? [SF Weekly]

* Nothing? [Dallas News]

* Meanwhile, Chronicle critic Michael Bauer explains how he awards stars. [InsideScoopSF]

* …but, apparently, no one really cares. [Modern Luxury]

Restaurant News: Good Patios, Bad Reinventions, and French Chefs in London

* French chefs say “Oui!” to London restaurants. [The Guardian]

* Chain restaurants set their sights on Manhattan. [Wall Street Journal]

* Hotel restaurants are favoring function over form. [USA Today]

* Naming a restaurant isn’t easy as you’d think. [The Atlantic]

* Here’s what became of some of the country’s most famous restaurants of the last century. [Zagat.com]

* Not surprisingly, Los Angeles restaurants have some pretty chic patios. [Los Angeles Times]

* Speaking of the City of Angels, actor Casey Affleck is rumored to be opening his own restaurant there. [Ecorazzi]

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‘Like’ Your Favorite Restaurants on OpenTable With Facebook

Facebook Like Button Like Your Favorite Restaurants on OpenTable With FacebookOpenTable just got even more fun, thanks to our addition of the Facebook “Like” widget to restaurant profile pages. Now you can easily find out which restaurants your Facebook friends favor — and vice versa. If you’re logged into your Facebook account, you can give a thumbs up to any restaurant on OpenTable with just one click.

We’re excited about this new way to share restaurant preferences quickly because it helps make dining decisions even easier. If you’re trying to book lunch with a colleague, for instance, you can find out if he likes a particular place by looking at the restaurant’s profile page or his Facebook wall. Your likes are also a terrific way to ignite conversations with your Facebook friends about food, dining out, and mutual favorites.

So, click away and start spreading the like on OpenTable today!