2014 Chicago Michelin Guide Bib Gourmand Restaurants

arami blog 2014 Chicago Michelin Guide Bib Gourmand Restaurants
The Brussels sprouts from Arami are just one of the reasons it was named a 2014 Michelin Bib Gourmand restaurant.

In anticipation of this year’s Michelin Guide Chicago stars, the 2014 Chicago 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, which will be announced next week, 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, 69 Chicago area restaurants, 21 of which are new to the list this year, have been designated as Bib Gourmands, including:

Arami
Autre Monde
Balena
BellyQ
Browntrout
Ceres’ Table
deca Restaurant + Bar
Gemini Bistro
Gilt Bar
Girl & The Goat
Green Zebra
GT Fish & Oyster  Continue reading…

Watch This: ‘The Story of Hungry’

As of last Friday, $5 billion is being cut from food stamps benefits in the U.S. With more households than ever relying on nutrition assistance, this is a devastating loss. As proud supporters of Share Our Strength and No Kid Hungry, we urge you to watch “The Story of Hungry,” a short animated film that depicts the destructive forces of hunger, told from the perspective of a young girl.

monster blog Watch This: The Story of Hungry

According to a recent No Kid Hungry report, students who eat breakfast score nearly 18 percent higher on tests and attend 1.5 more days of school each year, on average. However, of the more than 21 million low-income kids in the U.S. who rely on a free or reduced-price school lunch, only half are also getting a school breakfast. By rethinking how breakfast is served – in the classroom or after the bell, for example – the No Kid Hungry campaign is working to ensure more kids start their day off right.

An article in USA Today notes that there are 47.7 million Americans on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, a number that has tripled since 2000. Please watch “The Story of Hungry,” and then take the pledge to join No Kid Hungry in helping end childhood hunger in the U.S.

Learn more at http://www.thestoryofhungry.org/.

On Our Plate: Dine Around Seattle; Hudson Valley, Long Island + Jersey Shore Restaurant Weeks; The French Laundry Gives Diners a Treat + More

DAS On Our Plate: Dine Around Seattle; Hudson Valley, Long Island + Jersey Shore Restaurant Weeks; The French Laundry Gives Diners a Treat + MoreHappenings on and around OpenTable…

* Hurricane Sandy struck a little more than a year ago. Find out how Acqua at Peck Slip in New York has fared since being completely flooded.

* Save on tickets to the Boca Raton Wine and Food Festival this weekend. Purchase now to enjoy three fun-filled days.

* Help fight hunger in Boston. Purchase tickets to the Lovin’ Spoonfuls Ultimate Tailgate Party on November 10.

* Attend Women in Whites: The 2013 James Beard Foundation Gala. The nation’s top female chefs are creating a meal to remember at NYC’s legendary Four Seasons.

* Voting for the Charlie Awards is open. Vote for your Twin Cities’ food favorites and purchase tickets to the ceremony on November 17.

* Trending on recent OpenTable restaurant reviews? Pumpkin.

* Taste MTL has begun. Choose from three courses for three prices — $19, $29, and $39 — in Montreal through November 11.

* Newport Restaurant Week arrived in New England. Don’t miss $16 lunches and $30 dinners, November 1-10.

* Long Island Restaurant Week is on like Donkey Kong. Enjoy three-course dinners for just $27.95 through November 10.

* Cleveland Restaurant Week kicked off today! Click through for three-course $33 dinners, November 4-16.

* Hudson Valley Restaurant Week is here. Make a reservation for three-course $20.95 lunches and $29.95 dinners, November 4-17.

Continue reading…

Tweet of the Week: A Delightful Halloween Treat from The French Laundry

Fairytales can come true. It can happen to you — if you follow The French Laundry on Twitter. Even though it was Halloween, this was no trick. Thomas Keller’s legendary dining mecca released a full day of reservations on OpenTable, and a bunch of fortunate and fast foodies seized the opportunity. Congratulations to everyone who scored a table; you are definitely in for a treat!

Tweet of the Week TFL Tweet of the Week: A Delightful Halloween Treat from The French Laundry

 

 

Trending on OpenTable Restaurant Reviews: Pumpkin

Pumpkin Ravioli1 Trending on OpenTable Restaurant Reviews: Pumpkin
The pumpkin ravioli from Fig & Olive in Manhattan has proven to be very popular.

‘Tis the season for pumpkin … everything. Doughnuts. Lattes. Ales. You get the idea. A lot of people really love this type of thing, but even more so, diners love dishes where pumpkin is truly the star, not just the flavoring. A type of squash, pumpkin is a super-food, rich in beta-carotene. According to an article in the Huffington Post, it can do more than help prevent cancer. Pumpkin can fight wrinkles, improve recovery after a workout, and even boost your mood. Find out what OpenTable diners are saying about the great pumpkin dishes that have been gracing their plates as of late.

A Toute Heure, Cranford, New Jersey: “The steak frites is a winning go-to staple, but we went for the braised pork pot pie, with pumpkin and also the sea scallops. Both were awesome at every bite.”

Chateau Morrisette, Floyd, Virginia: ”Dessert was superb — pumpkin crisp/pumpkin ice cream!”

Esca, New York, New York: ”The fettuccine with pumpkin sauce and bay scallops and chestnuts were outstanding.”

The Helmand, Baltimore, Maryland: ”I look forward to dining with you all again. The pumpkin appetizer is still my favorite form of pumpkin.”

The Junction, Asheville, North Carolina: ”The food was delicious!!! The kale bisque was warm and comforting, and the pumpkin-grits-goat cheese cakes were a tasty seasonal treat.”

Kanpai, Mount Pleasant, South Carolina: ”Go and get the pumpkin spring rolls!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Still dreaming of them.”

La Provence, Lacombe, Louisiana: ”We loved the white pumpkin soup.”

Lincoln, Washington, D.C.: ”My mom loved the white bean soup and her scallops with pumpkin puree.”

Locanda Verde, New York, New York: ”The pumpkin angliotti was superb.”

Millennium, San Francisco, California: ”For entrees, we had the arborio-crusted pumpkin and the potato roulade. Both felt filling and as good as if you were eating meat. The potato roulade which was seasoned so perfectly. And, the pumpkin was a perfect dish for the autumn/fall.”

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Dining Poll: How Does Halloween Affect Your Sweet Tooth?

Happy Halloween! Are you spending the day snacking on candy and spooky confections, basking in the glory of a sugar rush? Do you stick to your usual consumption of sugary, chocolate-y yummies, enjoying a bite here and there? Or, are you like me — lacking a real sweet tooth and not at all tempted by sweet treats (Halloween-inspired cocktails are another story, however!)? Weigh in on our poll.

Hurricane Sandy Survivor: Acqua at Peck Slip NYC

A year ago, Hurricane, or Superstorm, Sandy and all her wrath took aim at the Northeast, affecting millions of people and thousands of businesses. Acqua at Peck Slip, located down off Manhattan’s Seaport, was one of many restaurants that suffered severe flooding and extensive damages. Unlike some of their less fortunate counterparts in the neighborhood, Acqua at Peck Slip was able to reopen quickly and continues to thrive a year later, despite losses due to Sandy and continuing challenges in the area. We spoke with General Manager Niki Berti, who reflected on the damage, rebuilding, and being back in business at Acqua at Peck Slip. 

There was a bit of warning before the storm. Remind me, what steps did you and your staff take to prepare?

We did everything. We taped the windows and bought sandbags to put in the front, and, obviously, that was useless. The hurricane started, and water started flowing — from the sewers, from sinks, from drain holes, from the toilet.  Eventually, the river overflowed, so no matter what we would have done, it would have been really bad.

Before it was a street, Peck Slip was a boat slip (Ed. Note: It was filled in in the mid-1800’s.), and we are now on a landfill. A block west is Water Street, where the water once started. It’s kind of ironic then that the water stopped at Water Street. It took back what we took from it.

The damages were extensive.

The basement was fully flooded, and we had a lot of food and wine that was lost, about $30,000 worth. Then, all the equipment and fixtures – fridges, ice boxes, freezers, the stereo, computers, ipads, ipods, POS system — were gone. The bar. The electrical system. That was the water line (see photo below).

What was the recovery process like?

When we were first here after the storm, there were no lights, no electricity. The smell of mildew was terrible. But, we were very, very lucky. The staff helped us demolish the place. We had a company come in and bio-clean it, because this was filled with sewer water. So, everything was completely disinfected. Next, the City came to measure and do whatever they had to do. Finally, we could go on and rebuild.

A lot of the businesses that were destroyed were owned by corporations, and that meant that they were waiting on insurance money to come through before they started rebuilding. A year after Sandy, those businesses are now finally starting to reopen. In that way, our landlord on that way was very helpful. He said, “Just build.”

What was working with the City like? And how about finding the funds to reopen?

The City was very helpful because they were able to grant us loans at a low interest rate. We also have to thank Goldman Sachs for that, I must say. They gave us a lot of loans. Also, thanks to NYC Business Solutions and Robert Walsh, who gave us $35,000 in grants. It’s still a fraction of everything, but it is very helpful.

And, with what I thought was an extremely generous and smart social rebuilding campaign, you raised funds, offering folks who donated a gift certificate for the amount they gave. How successful was that?

A lot of restaurants were asking for money, but we didn’t want to just ask for money outright from customers, so we thought this was a good way to reach out to the folks who knew us, liked us, and wanted us to come back. For customers and friends who pitched in, those donations became gift certificates. Some diners didn’t even want to redeem them. One customer donated $500 and insisted he didn’t even want a gift certificate. With 144 people giving, we wound up raising close to $7,000.

You’d set an initial goal to open within 30 days. Did you meet that?

We opened five weeks and four days after the storm.

Were you able to hold on to your staff while you were rebuilding?

We were able to keep all the staff, except two.

How did the ongoing perception about the Seaport area being so damaged hurt or help you in the months after reopening?

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On Our Plate: Best Values on Best Wine Lists; SF Michelin-Starred Restaurants; Restaurant Weeks in Cleveland, Montreal, Long Island + More

CRW 2013 On Our Plate: Best Values on Best Wine Lists; SF Michelin Starred Restaurants; Restaurant Weeks in Cleveland, Montreal, Long Island + MoreHappenings on and around OpenTable…

* We’re toasting the winners of the 2014 Diners’ Choice Awards for the 100 Best Wine Lists in the U.S. Find out which lists are the most sip-worthy!

* Speaking of sip-worthiness, we asked the winning sommeliers to share the best values on their lists. Find out which bottles have the most bang for your buck.

* The San Francisco 2014 Michelin stars have been awarded. Did your favorite Bay Area restaurant get a celestial nod?

* Help fight hunger in Boston. Purchase tickets to the Lovin’ Spoonfuls Ultimate Tailgate Party on November 10.

* Voting for the Charlie Awards is open. Vote for your Twin Cities’ food favorites and purchase tickets to the ceremony on November 17.

* Are you heading #BacktoBoulder for UC Boulder’s homecoming game? Head to the Beehive for special deals on drinks and meals.

* Trending on recent OpenTable restaurant reviews? Kohlrabi.

* Delaware Dines Out is on. Book now for $15 lunches and $30 dinners, October 21-27.

* Richmond Restaurant Week winds down this weekend. Order up $25.13 three-course dinners, October 21-27.

* Taste MTL is set for November 1. Choose from three courses for three prices — $19, $29, and $39 — in Montreal through November 11.

* Newport Restaurant Week comes to New England in November. Don’t miss $16 lunches and $30 dinners, November 1-10.

Continue reading…

Trending on OpenTable Restaurant Reviews: Kohlrabi

kohlrabi blog Trending on OpenTable Restaurant Reviews: KohlrabiIf you’ve ever belonged to a CSA program, you are well-versed in the joys of kohlrabi. It’s a popular offering from growers, as kohlrabi is super-easy to sow and sort of foolproof when it comes to pests. A cool-weather crop and member of the cabbage family, it is fast growing and hearty. It’s also delicious and, you guessed it, nutritious. Low in calories, and high in fibers and phytochemicals, kohlrabi is also a wonderful source of vitamin C. While your average bear may be stumped as to how to treat these squat, alien-like vegetables, chefs are not! They’re taking these unique-looking gems and dazzling diners with soups, slaws, salads, and more. Find out what diners are saying about kohlrabi.

* A16, Oakland, California: “Highly recommend the house-made made pastas and the kohlrabi salad to balance all of the richness of the main dishes. The fried capers on this salad where great.”

Cascina Spinasse, Seattle, Washington: “Every dish my wife and I had was drop-dead delicious. Started with eggs scrambled with lobster mushrooms cooked in prawn butter and the kohlrabi and watermelon radish salad — outstanding!”

* flour + water, San Francisco, California: “The pastas are all house-made as are the pizzas. For appetizers, we shared the braised octopus with melon and kohlrabi. Very refreshing and delicious. ”

Girl & the Goat, Chicago, Illinois: “Kohlrabi salad was over the top, about the best salad I ever had.”

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