Sundance Film Festival 2010: Spotlight on Park City Dining

Best Restaurants in Park City Sundance Film Festival 2010: Spotlight on Park City DiningThe 27th Annual Sundance Film Festival starts tomorrow and runs through January 31. In addition to being known for celebrities, skiing, snowboarding, and swag, the Sundance Film Festival attracts independent film fans from around the world. Park City, a tiny resort town in Utah, is normally home to fewer than 10,000 people, but its numbers can swell to almost 55,000 during the festival each year. What this means for diners is that most restaurants are swelling with hungry patrons.

To increase your chances of filling up on good food while you get your fill of indie films, book your reservations today. Popular restaurants include Bistro Toujours, Chez Betty, The Glitretind Restaurant, Goldener Hirsch, Ruth’s Chris, Zoom, and many others.

You can also book on the fly using OpenTable Mobile to make sure you don’t get left out in the cold at Sundance.

How to Help Haiti: Dine and Donate During ‘Wake of the Quake’

Wake of the Quake1 How to Help Haiti: Dine and Donate During Wake of the QuakeDiners in the Chicago area are invited to join us as we empower Heartland Alliance to help the survivors of the recent earthquake in Haiti through Wake of the Quake. A Chicago non-profit organization which advances the human rights and responds to the human needs of endangered populations—particularly the poor, the isolated, and the displaced, Heartland Alliance will use the funds collected from Wake of the Quake participating restaurants to make a difference in the lives of the people of Haiti.

From January 18-24, 2010, each participating restaurant will offer their patrons the opportunity to contribute to Haitian relief efforts by adding $1 (or more!) to their check. Help Heartland Alliance and Haiti by opening your hearts and wallets often.

Learn more and reserve your tables today, and stay tuned for opportunities to donate while you dine out in other cities across the U.S.

Winter Restaurant Weeks Are Here!

Winter Restaurant Week 2010 Winter Restaurant Weeks Are Here!Does the arctic chill that’s blanketed much of our nation have you down? We’ve got some heartwarming and stomach-filling news: Winter Restaurant Weeks have finally arrived.

Washington, D.C. Winter Restaurant Week 2010 is in full effect along with Restaurant Week South Carolina. New York Restaurant Week is about to begin, as are Baltimore, Philadelphia Center City District, San Diego, and Queen’s Feast/Charlotte Restaurant Week.

Book your tables today, and beat the winter blues with dining deals that will satisfy your appetite and your bank account. And, naturally, stay tuned for more Winter Restaurant Weeks coming to a city near you.

The Washington Post Recommends D.C. Restaurant Week!

If you still haven’t booked your Washington, D.C. Winter Restaurant Week reservations, don’t delay. Prime dining times are going fast, but there is still availability. And, if you’re willing to dine during off-hours, you’ll find a few more open tables at some of the hottest restaurants in town.

The Washington Post recommends trying 2941, Bibiana, J&G Steakhouse, RIS, and Urbana. Find out why, and then make your reservations before you run out of time to dine out at deep discounts.

San Francisco Dine About Town 2010: Just About Here!

SF Dine About Town Winter 2010 San Francisco Dine About Town 2010: Just About Here!San Franciscans, rejoice! Dine About Town returns on January 15. For more than two wondrous weeks, you can take advantage of tasty two-course lunches for $17.95 and three-course dinners for $34.95.

Participating restaurants include 1550 Hyde Cafe & Wine Bar, a neighborhood gem with an impressive wine list, Fish & Farm, which features, naturally, farm-to-table food and, according to 7×7.com, San Francisco’s best burger, The Mission’s Maverick, serving up comfort food with a California twist, Rose Pistola, where you can enjoy live jazz while you eat rustic Italian fare that is anything but touristy, and Fifth Floor, for a Michelin-starred meal for under $35.

Dine About Town runs until January, 31, 2010. Reserve today!

Washington, D.C. Restaurant Week Starts Monday

DC Restaurant Week Winter 2010 Washington, D.C. Restaurant Week Starts MondayWashington, D.C. Winter Restaurant Week begins Monday, January 11, 2010, and runs until the 17th. Presented by Destination DC and the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington, diners can take advantage of $20.10 three-course lunches and $35.10 for three-course dinners.

In its 16th year, participating restaurants include Alain Ducasse’s Adour at the St. Regis, The Palm, Sam & Harry’s, VOLT (owned by “Top Chef” contestant Bryan Voltaggio), Zaytinya, and many, many more.

This and other restaurant weeks are terrific opportunities to try out new restaurants and revisit old favorites. Tables fill up fast, so book your free reservations today for this year’s Washington, D.C. Winter Restaurant Week today!

Harold Dieterle: An Interview with the Original “Top Chef”

Harold Dieterle Perilla Harold Dieterle: An Interview with the Original Top ChefAfter each season of “Top Chef” ends, you may wonder what happened to your favorite contestants. Did they go on to set the world on fire, literally and figuratively, with their cooking, opening a restaurant or scoring a spot on a cooking show? Have they returned to working behind the line at a restaurant, honing their skills and saving money for a place of their own? Or have they slipped into obscurity?

You won’t find the most successful winner, to date, of “Top Chef” on television (save for the occasional appearance). You will find him behind the line at his Greenwich Village restaurant, Perilla, which he co-owns and operates with Alicia Nosenzo. He is, in his own words, living the dream. ” Opening Perilla was my life-long dream. I enjoy the day-to-day routine – and cooking!” In contrast to some cooking-show contestants who immediately seek to build themselves into a brand, Dieterle says, “That’s just not me. I enjoy being in the kitchen every day and the instant gratification that comes with making guests at Perilla happy on a regular basis.”

Following his “Top Chef” win, he says, “I went back to working at The Harrison.” Nosenzo, Deiterle’s coworker there, went on to become his business partner. Together, they raised money and created a shared vision for “a neighborhood restaurant” they would name Perilla, which opened in May of 2007. Dieterle credits much of the restaurant’s continued success to Nosenzo, saying, “I can’t stress how important it is to have a partner. Alicia is definitely the backbone and brains of the operation. She allows me to spend all day in the kitchen cooking and doing what I love. I wouldn’t know where to begin training and hiring front-of-house personnel. She also handles all of our books and financials. She makes my life easy!”

Fortunate to avoid the pitfalls that have plagued many reality-show winners, Dieterle says, “I’ve seen people that just blow through their winnings in months. You can do food festivals every month of the year, but this doesn’t pay the bills and it’s not sustainable.” He advises future “Top Chef” cast members, “Have a game plan going into the contest, and don’t let the hype throw you off the track.” For those who don’t win but still want to capitalize on the experience, Dieterle says, “Keep your head down, and use the exposure to build your career.”

Five seasons after his “Top Chef” experience, which Dieterle admits was “tough! It looks so much easier when you’re sitting in front of the TV watching it, as opposed to living it,” he is pleased with where his career and his win have led him. “It’s nice to be the boss and cook whatever I’m in the mood to serve.”

Perilla is open seven days a week for dinner and for brunch on weekends. According to Chef Dieterle, you’ll always find duck on the menu. “It’s my favorite protein,” he reveals.

Dining Trends of the Last Decade: Michael Bauer Looks Back

salumi Dining Trends of the Last Decade: Michael Bauer Looks BackWhenever a year — or a decade — ends, a lot of people tend to talk about bests and worsts. Michael Bauer, the food and restaurant critic for the San Francisco Chronicle, has chosen to simply talk about what was most memorable. In his round-up of trends that took hold during the aughts, he calls out 10, including salumi, small plates, and OpenTable. (Thanks for the nod, Mr. Bauer!) Find out what else this writer will remember, and let us know what you’ll never forget about the previous decade in dining and food.

Dining Out on New Year’s: Saving the Best Meal for the Last Day of the Decade

New Years Eve in New York City Dining Out on New Years: Saving the Best Meal for the Last Day of the DecadeWhat are you doing on New Year’s Eve? If you’re an OpenTable user, you’re probably dining out. According to a recent survey, more than 60% of respondents are dining out on the last day of the decade. The most popular reservation times are between 7PM and 9PM (so book your tables today!), and the most popular dishes celebrants will dine on are steak and lobster (proving that surf and turf never really gets old). Most people are spending as much or more than they did last year, and, as the economy slowly bounces back, an impressive 11% of survey takers indicated they were going to spend more than $150 per person on their last meal of the decade.

If you’re looking to make December 31, 2009, a night to really remember, consider one of these 10 spectacular New Year’s Eve celebrations around the nation.

1. Charlie Trotter’s: Guests at Chef Trotter’s legendary Lincoln Park restaurant will start their evening with a Champagne and canapé reception. A luxurious multi-course tasting menu featuring the finest ingredients will be followed by a midnight toast. At $350 per person, this is a must for Chicago’s foodies.

2. Sixteen: Sixteen restaurant at Chicago’s Trump International Hotel & Tower will feature a “Fire and Ice” themed evening for $310. Guests will be greeted by cylindrical fire centerpieces and hostesses decked out in red designer dresses. An extravagant eight-course tasting menu prepared by Chef Frank Brunacci with wine pairings is bested only by the prime view of the midnight fireworks off of Chicago’s Navy Pier.

3. The Bazaar by José Andrés: Trip the light fantastic and ring in the New Year, Beverly Hills-style, with friends for a decadent night of revelry at America’s best restaurant — and stay the night. For just $689 per couple, you’ll get dinner for two at the Bazaar by José Andrés, tickets for two to the SLS New Year’s Eve Gala, and room accommodations at a special New Year’s Eve rate.

4. Carbon Beach Club at the Malibu Beach Inn: Nothing beats dining on the beach under the stars, and that is exactly what you can do at the Carbon Beach Club. Treat yourself to a six-course prix-fixe menu including a complimentary glass of Champagne and party favors as you greet the new year to the sounds of the California surf for just $175 per person.

5. Aureole: Everything old is new again at Manhattan’s Aureole, Charlie Palmer’s relocated and renovated restaurant. For $500 per person, diners will feast on a five-course chef tasting menu with wine pairings, DJ entertainment, and a Champagne toast, just steps from Times Square.

6. Two Times Square: If you want an unforgettable evening, Two Times Square in New York City is the place to spend it. Guests can relish an open bar, a five-course meal with wine pairings, music, and more – not to mention the very best view of the ball dropping in Times Square, all for just $2,500 per person.

7. Meritage at the Claremont: The new Meritage at the Claremont in Berkeley is celebrating its first New Year’s in grand culinary style! Executive Chef Josh Thomsen has prepared a special five-course dinner, accompanied by live music and including a Champagne toast, party favors and parking. This all-inclusive evening is $390 per couple.

8. MICHAEL MINA: Located on San Francisco’s storied Union Square in the Westin St. Francis Hotel, Michael Mina’s signature restaurant is serving a magnificent five-course tasting menu and wine pairing for $350 per person. Celebrants will enjoy live jazz and dancing later in the evening.

9. Michel Richard Citronelle: Georgetown gastronomes need look no further than their own backyard for fine dining on New Year’s Eve. Michel Richard is presenting a gourmand six-course meal and wine pairing. Beginning with hors d’oeuvres in the lounge, the evening winds down with a vintage Champagne toast at midnight. Noisemakers, hats and dancing round out the festivities, which cost $450 per person. Dressing up is a must.

10. Plume at the Jefferson Hotel: Party like a President at Plume at the Jefferson Hotel in Washington, D.C. Located in a Beaux Arts jewel of a hotel that is inspired by Monticello, Plume is serving a six-course tasting menu created by Damon Gordon. You’ll also enjoy musical entertainment, party favors, and a Champagne toast for $225 per person.

If none of these are right for (or near) you, check out OpenTable’s New Year’s Eve Celebrations Around the World page to find a restaurant at which to ring in 2010.

New Year’s Eve in New York City: Decadence at the End of the Decade

NYE in NYC New Years Eve in New York City: Decadence at the End of the DecadeDecember 31, 2009 isn’t just the last day of the year, it’s the last day of the decade — so, you “aught” to celebrate in style! If you find yourself flush with a bit of extra cash after the gift-giving holidays have passed, you can ring in the new year (and decade) in a number of magnificent ways.

Here are 10 Manhattan restaurants that are welcoming 2010 with a bit of panache:

21 Club: If you miss old New York, you don’t have to, thanks to 21 Club. For $225 per person, you can enjoy a four-course dinner and dancing in this legendary location.

Ajna: For “Top Chef” fans, there’s no better place to raise a glass (and a fork and a knife!) than at Ajna, where “Top Chef” winner Hung Huynh will be preparing a special five-course meal for $275 per person.

Asiate: $295 gets you sweeping views of the city on this special night – along with a sumptuous six-course dinner and dancing at this gem located on the 35th floor of the Mandarin Oriental hotel.

Aureole: Everything old is new again at Aureole, Charlie Palmer’s relocated and renovated restaurant. For $500 per person, diners will feast on a five-course chef tasting menu with wine pairings, DJ entertainment, and a Champagne toast, just steps from Times Square.

Daniel: Daniel Boulud’s signature restaurant is serving a gala dining menu in five courses for $595. In addition to fabulous food, there will be live music, a DJ, and dancing at this Michelin favorite.

Eleven Madison Park: Fresh off rave reviews and earning its first Michelin star, this crown jewel  in restaurateur Danny Meyer’s empire will be serving a seven-course holiday tasting menu. Live music and views of Madison Square Park promise to make the night festive and romantic.

The Oak Room: This recently refurbished New York landmark in the famed Plaza Hotel will serve an elegant five-course tasting menu (with Champagne) for $295 per person. A burlesque themed party begins in the adjoining Oak Bar at 11PM.

Russian Tea Room
: You’ll feel transported by the atmosphere at this fabled midtown favorite – not to mention pampered. The second seating includes a 5-course dinner, dancing, and an open bar for $500 per person. Cheers!

SHO by Shaun Hergatt: Chef Shaun Hergatt is preparing a lavish 5-course menu in this Financial District hotspot. A live band and a Champagne toast are included in the $250 per person pricetag.

Two Times Square: If you want an unforgettable evening, Two Times Square is the place to spend it. Guests can relish an open bar, a five-course meal with wine pairings, music, and more – not to mention the very best view of the ball dropping in Times Square, all for just $2,500 per person.

You can find reservations at hundreds more New York area restaurants on New Year’s Eve here. If you’re going to be on the road, visit our international New Year’s Eve page to find deals and offers wherever you’re celebrating.