Are You a Foodie Under 40? Join James Beard Foundation Greens!

greensOpenTable is the proud to be the official house purveyor of hospitality solutions for the prestigious James Beard Foundation and the historic James Beard House in New York. And, today, we are pleased to share a delicious opportunity for New York City-area food lovers, ages 21-39.

You are cordially invited to join James Beard Foundation Greens. JBF Greens provides insider access to the city’s hottest new restaurants, chefs, and culinary trends, all while enjoying great food and drinks. While these events are open to the public, a JBF Greens membership entitles diners to reduced pricing for all events, early access to event booking, entrance to special members-only gatherings, and many other great benefits, including meeting likeminded folks with a passion for New York’s rich food culture.

Specific perks include:

* Advance notice of Greens events, which are held about once a month
* Member-priced tickets for two people for all Greens events (does not apply to non-Greens events)
* BF Notes, our bimonthly newsletter exclusively for JBF members
* Beard Bites member version, our biweekly e-newsletter with exclusive content for members
* Access to exclusive members content on jamesbeard.org
* Special monthly invitations by email to purchase tickets at a Greens Table at select Beard House events.* This is your opportunity to experience dining at the Beard House at a discounted rate of only $85 while being seated with other Greens members!

Dues are just $75 per year. Please visit www.jamesbeard.org/greens to sign up today! Diners can also book reservations and learn more about upcoming general events and dinners at the James Beard House by visiting JBF Events

*Please note that JBF Greens members receive member-level prices for Greens events only. Greens members do not receive the member rate for regular JBF dining events at the James Beard House and special events. There are at least a dozen JBF Greens events throughout the year.

Support Lovin’ Spoonfuls Food Rescue in Boston at a 6/10 Pop-Up Dinner with Zimmern, Bissonnette + More

Lovin' SpoonfulsOn June 10th, some of Boston’s most acclaimed chefs join food and television personality Andrew Zimmern to support Lovin’ Spoonfuls, a food rescue organization in Massachusetts, at a Pop-Up Dinner. In an absolute case of “This is not your mother’s stuffy fundraiser’, Lovin’ Spoonfuls founder Ashley Stanley reveals, “On Tuesday night, we’re bringing so many different kinds of people together —  to support our work, support their community, experience and share food, and have a great time. We’re beginning with great friends of Lovin’ Spoonfuls (Josh Smith of Moody’s, Michael Scelfo of Alden & Harlow and Louis DiBiccari of Tavern Road), presenting delicious small plates of charcuterie, an incredible-sounding strawberry and parsnip dish, and delicious crudo.” Four courses prepared by chefs Zimmern, Jamie Bissonnette, Matthew Jennings, and Joanne Chang follow. The event will also feature a photo booth, a meet and greet with all the chefs, signature cocktails created by OffSite and others, wines selected by MS Walker, craft beer from PEAK, TJ Connelly spinning on the decks.  More than that, though, this is a terrific opportunity for folks to join in the fight against hunger and food waste.

Lovin’ Spoonfuls was founded in 2010 and is dedicated to facilitating the rescue and distribution of healthy, fresh food that would otherwise be discarded. This food is then delivered to community organizations and resources where it can have the greatest impact, such as homeless shelters and soup kitchens. Founder Ashley Stanley started Lovin’ Spoonfuls after learning how much food is thrown away, both in the U.S. and abroad, and realizing, “Wasting so much food in the face of what has felt like an unsolvable problem (hunger) has gone unaddressed.” She took to the streets, observing how much waste local supermarkets were producing and, then, tapping her skills as a former Division I soccer goalie, she stood in front of a dumpster “and tried to make the save.”

Since then, Lovin’ Spoonfuls has grown from Stanley and her car (and, presumably, her goalie gloves) to a fleet of temperature-controlled vehicles and seven full-time employees, rescuing and distributing more than 1.5 million pounds of fresh, healthy food to folks who don’t know where their next meal is coming from. Stanley says, “For so long, we’ve been sort of punched in the face with the messages that hunger exists, and there’s not enough food to feed everyone. We’re challenging those messages. There is enough food — but the choices we make as a global community keep it from being harvested, getting it to where it needs to go. I want to support a solution to end hunger, not the cause. This is the most preventable problem that we’ve got.” Unfortunately, it is a growing one. She notes, “There are 49 million people (16 millions of them children) in this country who don’t know where their next meal is coming from. That’s about 800,000 people in the Bay State, over 200,000 of them are kids. Hunger relief has to be able to evolve to meet the world where it’s at right now.”

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Trending on Restaurant Reviews: Ricotta

Ricotta-toast-blogRicotta is one of the easiest cheeses to make. It requires no aging, so it can be eaten — literally — minutes after it is made. The simplicity of ricotta coupled with its rich flavor and creamy texture have made it a popular choice for housemade cheeses at restaurants around the U.S. Chefs are using ricotta alongside ingredients both sweet and savory, and in courses ranging from appetizers to desserts. Like the diner at Market Table, below, I recently discovered the pleasures of ricotta cavatelli and remain positively addicted. If you have not tried them, run, don’t walk. They are that good. Find out what folks have been saying about the dishes featuring this fresh cheese in recent OpenTable restaurant reviews.

A Toute Heurre, Cranford, New Jersey: “I had the ricotta and mozzarella pasta, and two days later woke up reminiscing about it.”

ABC Kitchen, New York, New York: “A great meal! Love the ricotta and rhubarb appetizer.”

Anna Maria Pasteria, Chicago, Illinois: “We finished with the dessert of the evening — a ricotta cheese parfait with cherry sauce. Perfect.”

Belli Osteria, Berkeley, California: “Started off sharing the fresh ricotta with honey, walnuts, and arugula, and it reminds me what ‘fresh’ is all about. Perfect starter.”

Bills Sydney, Honolulu, Hawaii: “Ricotta hotcakes for dinner a new favourite.”

Cesca, New York, New York: “Ricotta fritters at dessert fabulous”

* County, New York, New York: “The ricotta honey appetizer was perfect.”

Graffiato, Washington, D.C.: “The gnocchi with whipped ricotta and crispy rosemary alone is worth the trip!”

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OpenTable Restaurant Reviews Reveal #DinersChoice Top 100 Best Outdoor Dining Restaurants in America

As we look forward to an exciting season of summer travel, we are pleased to honor the 2014 Diners’ Choice Award winners for the Top 100 Best Outdoor Dining Restaurants in America. These awards reflect the combined opinions of more than 5 million restaurant reviews submitted by verified OpenTable diners for approximately 19,000 restaurants in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Showcasing restaurants situated in some of the most beautiful parts of the nation, the complete list includes award winners in 15 states, such as Geoffrey’s Restaurant in Malibu, Hau Tree Lanai in Honolulu, and Latitudes in Key West. California claims the greatest number of winning restaurants with 38, followed by Florida with 23, Hawaii with 16, and Arizona with seven. Texas has four honorees, while Nevada and New York boast two winners apiece. Indiana, Louisiana, Maryland, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia, and Wisconsin are also represented. Restaurants serving American fare dominate the list, but several cuisines are also popular, including Hawaiian, Italian, Mexican, and seafood.

The Diners’ Choice Awards for the Top 100 Best Outdoor Dining Restaurants in America are generated from more than 5 million restaurant reviews collected from verified OpenTable diners between May 1, 2013, and April 30, 2014. All restaurants with a minimum number of qualifying reviews were included for consideration. Qualifying restaurants were then sorted according to a score calculated from each restaurant’s average rating in the “outdoor dining” category along with a minimum “overall” rating.

As you plan your summer adventures, be sure to book a table at one of these restaurants for an al fresco meal to remember.