Vote to Choose the Twin Cities Charlie Awards Winner for ‘Outstanding Food Item’

Don’t miss your chance to vote in and attend MSP’s Charlie Awards!

Minneapolis-St. Paul diners! Help pick the best dish in the Twin Cities at this year’s Charlie Awards, a celebration that recognizes the exceptional contributions of the Twin Cities metro area restaurant, food, and drink industry. More than 150 restaurants and food trucks have entered one food item they believe is representative of their business and voting is open to the public through October 28, 2012.

Click here to vote for your favorite food item. You can vote for one restaurant per day every day through this Sunday. To make it easier to find your favorites, they are grouped in the following neighborhoods (subject to change based on number of entries): Downtown Minneapolis, North Minneapolis/North Metro, South Minneapolis/South Metro, St. Paul/East Metro and Twin Cities West Metro.

Then, purchase your tickets to the second annual Charlie Awards on Sunday, November 11, 2012, at the Pantages Theatre in downtown Minneapolis at 2PM. A VIP brunch sponsored by Mpls.St. Paul Magazine will precede the show at 11:30AM at The Brave New Workshop. There will also be an after-party sponsored by Minnesota Monthly from 3:30–5PM. in the IDS Center Crystal Court.

Vote, purchase tickets, and learn more about the Charlie Awards today!

San Francisco 2013 Michelin Starred Restaurants Named: Reserve Now!

Chef Christopher Kostow of The Restaurant at Meadowood and Chef Daniel Patterson of Coi have both earned 2013 Michelin stars.

OpenTable is pleased to highlight the honorees in the MICHELIN Guide San Francisco 2013. Forty-two restaurants are included, with two San Francisco restaurants receiving the Michelin three-star level, the highest recognition in the culinary world, with another six achieving two Michelin stars, including Atelier-Crenn, which moved from one star to two. Thirty-four restaurants earned one Michelin star, with three new additions.

Being included in the respected MICHELIN Guide is a sign of excellence and quality. In the U.S., San Francisco is one of only three cities where Michelin publishes an annual guide. The others are New York and Chicago. The MICHELIN Guide New York 2013 was published October 3rd, and the MICHELIN Guide Chicago 2013 will be announced on November 13, 2012. Honorees include:

Three Stars: The French Laundry and The Restaurant at Meadowood.

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OpenTable Diner Reviews Reveal Top 100 Wine Lists in U.S.

Cheers to the 2012 Diners’ Choice Award winners for Top 100 Wine Lists in the U.S.!

As the time to toast the holidays draws near, we are pleased to announce the 2012 Diners’ Choice Award winners for the Top 100 Restaurants with the Most Notable Wine Lists in the United States. These awards reflect the combined opinions of more than 5 million reviews submitted by verified OpenTable diners for more than 15,000 restaurants in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

The list of winners, which includes Frasca Food and Wine in Boulder, RN74 in Seattle, and Veritas in New York, spans 25 states and Washington, D.C.  California, renowned for its wine country, has the greatest number of winners with 17, followed by Maryland with nine winners and Washington with eight. Florida and New York boast six winning restaurants apiece, trailed by Texas and Virginia with five honorees, Colorado and South Carolina with four, and Illinois, Missouri, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, and Pennsylvania with three each. The states of Connecticut, DelawareMassachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, Oregon, and Tennessee all have two award winners. Washington, D.C. earned a single spot as did Arizona, Kansas, and Wisconsin. Restaurants serving American fare dominated the list; however, a variety of cuisines are represented, including French, Italian, Spanish, and tapasContinue Reading

Happy Birthday, Belga Café: DC Chef Bart Vandaele on 8 Years, Top Chef + B Too

With a father who was a chef, Bart Vandaele literally grew up in the kitchen and chose his profession at the tender age of 12!

This past summer, while preparing for a series of eight-year anniversary festivities for Belga Café, Washington D.C.’s first Belgian restaurant, planning the opening of a second restaurant, B Too, and acting as national brand ambassador for Stella Artois, Hoegaarden, and Leffe, Chef Bart Vandaele quietly slipped away for several weeks to compete on Top Chef Seattle, which premieres November 7, 2012, on Bravo.

Why take on this challenge in the midst of one of the busiest times in his life? Vandaele reflects, “It comes at the best and the worst time in my life. Everything in life goes like this. It cannot be better — and worse — at the same time.” Why television and why now? “It’s the next level, the next step, an honor. Plus, I am the first Belgian chef to be on!” He was able to pull off his disappearing act during this hectic time only with the help of those around him. “You prepare and hope that every team member that has been with you does their job. And they did! I have good people around me. My chef and sous chef have been with me for seven and a half years. I have cleaning and prep staff that have been with me from day one.”

Returning from filming, Vandaele hasn’t missed a beat. In fact, he may have added one. Even though he and his staff celebrate each of Belga Café‘s milestones, this year’s festivities are particularly, well, festive. “It’s a big year for me, so why not celebrate? I’m very proud of it!” A pioneer of sorts, not just in serving Belgian cuisine, but also in opening his flagship restaurant in the Barracks Row neighborhood eight years ago, Vandaele says of Belga Café‘s 8th Street location, “I was, in a way, the godfather of that street. In the beginning, everyone thought we were crazy, but it was all I could afford at the time. Now, there are many new restaurants coming to my street. And, so we are always evolving, always upgrading.”

As the neighborhood has changed, so has diners’ appreciation for quality beer. Almost a decade ago, beer played a distant second fiddle to wine at most restaurants. Not at Belga Café, which has always boasted a lengthy and unique beer list, however. “We are the first ones to embrace that, but I think beer is more accessible and has more flavor facets than wine. Wine is very fragile. With beer, there’s a little bit less mistakes you can make and, at the same time, you have more possibilities. You can cook a dish with a sweet beer and then pair it with a sour beer.”

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