Cigarette smoking in restaurants in the United States is all but extinct as is the case in the United Kingdom. However, cigar smoking is making a bit of comeback across the pond. A number of restaurants in the UK are going out of their way to accommodate diners who enjoy a post-meal stogie, either with enclosed smoking areas known as cosas (which stands for “comfortable outdoor smoking areas) or lounges. According to the Financial Times, 220 restaurants in Britain offer such spaces, many are selling cigars as well.
These spaces aren’t necessarily meant to encourage smoking, but rather to deal with the practical problems it creates. Restaurateurs grapple with smokers loitering outside entrances, forcing other patrons to walk through wafting smoke as they enter and exit restaurants. Cigarette and cigar butts dot sidewalks. Food falls cold as smokers dash in and out. Savvy industry professionals are tackling some of these issues with cosas and by embracing cigar smokers, who are some of their “best spending customers.”
Would you prefer that a restaurant create a cosa so you wouldn’t ever have to walk through a cloud of smoke in front of a restaurant? Is finishing a meal with a cigar more “culinarily acceptable” than a cigarette? Chime in here or join the debate on Facebook.
As the Gulf Coast oil disaster continues to wreak havoc on wildlife, food sources, and the livelihoods of thousands of people, you may be feeling helpless. While no one has all the answers on how to stem the dangerous tide, some of the nation’s top chefs and restaurateurs are stepping up to support the long-term restoration of the treasured coast — and they need your help!
During Dine Out for the Gulf Coast, which runs June 10-12, 2010, participating restaurants throughout the United States will set aside a portion of profits to help those directly affected by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. According to Jimmy Gale, organizer of Dine Out for the Gulf Coast, “The short-term goal of The Gulf Coast Oil Spill Fund, administered by the Greater New Orleans Foundation, is to make emergency grants to nonprofit organizations helping the victims of the oil spill. The long-term goal of the fund is to address the long-term economic, environmental, cultural effects of the disaster, and strengthen coastal communities against future environmental catastrophes by investing in solutions. No administrative fees will be charged to the fund: all funds will be re-granted to the communities in need.”
The list of participating restaurants around the nation includes Blackbird, Chez Panisse Cafe, Print, Reef, Slanted Door, Zaytinya, and many more. Each restaurant will customize its own Dine Out for the Gulf Coast benefit program. Some restaurants will contribute a percentage of total sales for the day and others will donate the sales from specific menu items, while others will offer specialty cocktails with a dollar-value from sales donated to the fund.
Chef Mark Ladner spoke withNew York Magazine last month about the hundred-layer lasagne he conceived for Mario Batali’s Manhattan restaurant Del Posto. As soon as I read about it, I knew I had to try it. And, I am pleased to report that I enjoyed every single bite. I will admit that I didn’t count the layers — but that’s only because I was too busy eating them! While the dish appears laborious in terms of prep, it is, in truth, a wonderfully simple dish (which was a real relief as it was served in the middle of a seven-course tasting menu).
What over-the-top dishes have you dined on that have truly delivered? Have any not lived up to the hype? Share your stories here and on Facebook.
If you’re an OpenTable diner who lives or dines in Atlanta or Chicago, follow our local Twitter handles — @OpenTable_ATL and @OpenTable_Chi – for news on new restaurants, dining deals and discounts, and for a chance to earn free meals even faster. No, we’re not talking about 1,000-point reservations (although those help)! Next week, we’re kicking off Twitter Trivia Tuesdays on these local handles. If you’re a registered OpenTable diner who answers our trivia tweet correctly, you may find your OpenTable account 500 Dining Rewards Points richer.
Because OpenTable is all about dining out, trivia questions will be related to chefs, food, and restaurants (with a dash of pop culture). So, start following @OpenTable_ATL and @OpenTable_Chi to be part of our inaugural Twitter Trivia Tuesday a week from today — and be sure to join in the fun every week.
There are many reasons to visit Palm Springs — but this has got to be the tastiest one! Beginning today and running through June 13, Palm Springs Desert Resorts Restaurant Week is bringing you 10 days of delicious dining — $24 or $36 menus. Organized by the Palm Springs Desert Resorts Restaurant Association, this restaurant week is a culinary celebration featuring restaurants from the entire Valley from Palm Springs to Indio.