On Our Plate: Independence Day + American Eats; Baltimore Restaurant Week; Mpls.St.Paul Magazine Restaurant Week; dineLA Returns; Summerlicious Starts

Thanks to the start of Summerlicious on Juy 6, there's another great reason to TGIF!

Happenings on and around OpenTable…

* Tomorrow is the 4th of July! Dine at one of the 100 Best American Restaurants this week in honor of our nation’s rich history.

* What’s the best way to pay when dining out? Vote in this week’s poll!

* Do you know which restaurants celebs have been spotted atLearn where you can dine with the stars!

* We’ve teamed up with Tasting Table and Travel + Leisure to give away a dream New York City vacation for two this fall. Enter today!

* This week’s restaurant review trendPesto.

* Did you send the Tweet of the WeekFind out.

* Cleveland Cool Fun in the Summertime is happening. Sample delicious dishes and pairings at Cleveland’s best restaurants thru 7/31.

* Toronto Summerlicious kicks off Friday. Dine for less with $15, $20 or $25 lunches and $25, $35 or $45 dinners thru 7/22.

* Mpls.St.Paul MagazineRestaurant Week starts July 8! Feast on two-course $10 or $20 lunches and three-course $15-$30 dinners thru 7/13!

* Providence Restaurant Weeks start soon. Enjoy $14.95 lunches & $29.95 dinners, July 8-21.

* Say Oui! to French Restaurant Week in New York. Take advantage of $17.89 set menus July 8-15 in honor of Bastille Day.

* dineLA is only a couple of weeks away. Dine on $15, $20 or $25 lunches and $25, $35 or $45 dinners, July 16-27, 2012.

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Trending on Recent OpenTable Restaurant Reviews: Pesto

Snakes on a plane are scary! Scapes on a plate, however, make for a wonderful pesto!

The first days of summer mark the big start of pesto season. Beyond basic (yet always aromatically delicious) basil, pesto can be made from a variety of ingredients, such as arugula, cilantro, garlic scapes, mint, parsley, sunflower seeds — and pretty much anything that tastes terrific when pulverized with cheese and oil (And, what wouldn’t, really?). Find out which restaurants are making pestos that are particularly pleasing to OpenTable diners!

1515 Restaurant, Denver, Colorado: “My wife and I started with the seared sea scallops on a bed of bacon/sorrel pesto and a lemon grass foam. The dish was excellent.”

Cichetteria 19, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: “A lovely find. The pasta special that night was homemade ricotta gnocchi with chunks of butternut squash and an arugula-pesto sauce.”

Cook & Brown Public House, Providence, Rhode Island: “The sunflower-filled ravioli were outstanding. Sunflower seed pesto may be my next experiment at home with this inspiration. Well worth seeking it out.”

Dragonfly Restaurant and Sushi Bar, Truckee, California: “One of my favorite entrees anywhere is Dragonfly’s Thai noodle bowl, which comes with grilled jumbo shrimp and optional cilantro pesto. Do not skip the pesto! It gives the broth a delicious ‘pop.'”

Farina, San Francisco, California: “Handkerchief pesto was absolutely WONDERFUL. Not to be missed.”

* Fiola, Washington, D.C.: “The risotto with pesto and a fricassee of snails are to die for.”

Glenwood Grill, Raleigh, North Carolina: “Definitely would get the pesto arancini again — it includes two arancini served over a tomato fondue, and finely chopped onions served with it add crunch.”

* Il Buco Alimentari & Vineria, New York, New York: “The food was expertly prepared and plated. The flavors were authentic Sicilian with subtle twists Pickled kumquats with the octopus was unexpected and fantastic pairing. The busiate with tomato, almond, and mint pesto caused a tear.”

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Dining Poll: What’s the Best Way to Pay the Check at Restaurants?

Akon once sang, “Cash rules everything around me.” And, in all likelihood, he was probably right, seeing how he was quoting Wu and all, but is cash still king when it comes to paying restaurant checks? Tell us how you’re settling up your bill when dining out in this week’s poll!


Dining with the Stars: Kemp Catches a Meal at Bluestem; Maroon 5 Munch at Mr. Robata; Jeter + Teammates Celebrates 38 at Southern Hospitality + More

In Sally Albright, Nora Ephron created a character most servers would hate to wait on.

Recent celebrity sightings at OpenTable restaurants…

* LA Dodger Matt Kemp dined at Bluestem Brasserie in the Bay area. [Tablehopper]

* Barbara Walters and other friends of the late Nora Ephron gathered to remember her at Manhattan’s Casa Lever. [NY Post]

* Friends celebrated Zoe Saldana’s birthday at Indochine in New York. [NY Post]

* Liza with a Z Minnelli was smokin’ — literally and figuratively — at Match 65 in Manhattan. [People]

* Maroon 5 grabbed a bite at Mr. Robata in New York City. [NY Post]

* NY Yankee Derek Jeter rang in a birthday at Southern Hospitality in the Big Apple. [NY Post]

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