The weather across the U.S. has been nothing short of vexing, and much of the nation has been in the grasps of a polar vortex. Whenever Jack Frost is nipping at my nose, such as this week, my mind wanders to thoughts of chestnuts, whether they’re roasting on an open fire — or in a savory soup or pasta. Chestnuts are most abundant in December, but they are in season until March. Unlike money, chestnuts grow on trees, and they are low in fat, a good source of fiber and carbohydrates, and rich in manganese, an important antioxidant. Find out how chefs are making this humble nut into a high-end hit with diners in recent OpenTable restaurant reviews.
* Ancora, Washington, D.C.: “I was fortunate to have ordered the best venison I’ve ever tasted; pepper crusted, so tender it almost melted in my mouth, it was served with mashed potatoes, spinach, and chestnuts.”
* Babette’s Cafe, Atlanta, Georgia: “Every dinner at Babette’s has been excellent over the years. The wild mushroom and chestnut soup was very flavorful.”
* Chambar, Vancouver, British Columbia: “My dining partner’s ample spice-rubbed duck breast moist with the pink juice was topped by wild berry compote and plated vertically atop chestnut hummus.”
* Chef’s Table at The Kensington Riverside Inn, Calgary, Alberta: “Every dish, from the chestnut soup and the squash ravioli to the wild boar shank and fritter, the Wagyu beef short ribs and the tagine chicken to the pear and citrus desserts, were beautifully cooked, very flavourful, and wonderfully presented.”
* Dahlia Lounge, Seattle, Washington: “Dungeness crab cakes for one entree and chestnut bread pudding for the other — a vegetarian entree — both delicious.”
* Despaña, Princeton, New Jersey: “The chorizo and chestnuts is yum.”
* Farallon, San Francisco, California: “The food was very memorable, most notably the oysters and the chestnut/truffle risotto, recommended by our server.”
* Fiola, Washington, D.C.: ”The marubini of roasted chestnuts (like ravioli with mushrooms, pine nuts, black currants, and sage) was very seasonal, light and oh so tasty.”
On November 8, 2013, Typhoon Haiyan devastated large swaths of the Philippines, killing more than 6,100 people and destroying the industries that are vital to villages. The destruction hit very close to home for many people with family in the Philippines, including Jay Poblador, general manager at The Elm in New York. Seeking a way to aid in recovery efforts, Jay founded NYers for the Philippines. His co-founder is Arnold Marcella, who is a sous chef at The Elm.
On January 27, 2014, NYers for the Philippines invites you to join New York City’s most notable chefs, mixologists, and entertainers at A Night Out for the Philippines: Building A Village Togetherat Bagatelle New York. All proceeds from this one-night-only fundraiser will provide housing and create a sustainable rehabilitation program for a community in the Philippines hard-hit by Typhoon Haiyan.
Jay reveals, “When the typhoon hit the Philippines, Arnie Marcella and I were struck by the intensity of the storm and the amount of damage it had brought on so many regions in the Philippines. As we tried to contact relatives to make sure that everyone was safe and accounted for, we realized that we both had ties to Iloilo City.” After Jay and Arnie learned that most of the aid was being focused on Tacloban City, the epicenter of the typhoon’s damage, they were spurred to form the group NYers for the Philippines to raise funds for Iloilo’s recovery.
NYers for the Philippines has partnered with Gawad Kalinga, whose mission in the Philippines is to restore human dignity, first to impoverished communities in the Philippines, and then, because of all the natural calamities the country has faced, assist communities devastated by these acts. At a base level, providing a safe permanent environment for individuals and families is the first order of business. Jay and his team hope to raise enough money to rebuild an entire village of 25 to 30 homes. He notes, “In appreciation of all the chefs who are participating in A Night Out for the Philippines: Building A Village Together, we intend to put plaques on the homes commemorating their generosity. One of the things we get to do in this partnership is to name the village. For example, there is a Lufthansa Village, a Mandarin Oriental Village, and so on.” He adds with a smile, “Ours may very well be named Chefs’ Village.” Jay and members of NYers for the Philippines plan to visit the village when the houses are complete and meet the people living there. Continue reading…
Love snapping pics of your plate? Into sharing your shots on Instagram? Then participate in Sysco’s #ShareMyPlate Instagram contest to help end childhood hunger in America!
Dine out at your favorite OpenTable restaurant, take an Instagram of your meal, and tag it with #ShareMyPlate — and Sysco will donate 50 cents for every photo shared to No Kid Hungry. Plus, the best photos will win prizes: $1,000, $500, and $250 for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd prizes respectively.
If you booked a restaurant reservation with OpenTable in 2013 (and you’re opted in to receive email from us), we’ve got a delicious peek back at the year that was — in restaurant reservations! You can see how many times you reserved, where you dined, how many bookings were made via your mobile device, and much more. You can also, as diner @ScottBoehme has, show your significant other how many times you shared a meal together. Watch your inbox for your 2013 dining year in review email. And, thanks for sharing your tweet, Scott. PS: In your girlfriend’s defense, there’s always room for more dinner dates.
Wintertime in Washington, D.C. is even more fabulous than spring and cherry blossoms. You know why? Because of Winter RAMW Washington, D.C. Restaurant Week! From January 13-19, you can enjoy $20.14 lunches and $35.14 dinners at the Capital’s best restaurants. The menus will fill your belly (and then some), while also keeping the contents of your wallet relatively in tact.
For example, at Acadiana, sandwiched between your choice of a selection of appetizers (Turtle soup! Gumbo!) and desserts (Lemon bars! Pumpkin bread pudding!), diners can order any entree (with a modest $9 additional charge for the jumbo lump crabcakes and the ribeye steak entrees).
At Chef Geoff’s-Downtown, the entire menu is up for grabs. Create your own restaurant week three-course meal, which can include anything from Gouda-stuffed risotto balls to slow and low beef short ribs — plus dessert.
Jaleo DC is offering up a whopping five courses, including dessert, for their $35.14 dinners. Choices include bacon-wrapped dates, savory carrot soup, pork loin with roasted onion and ‘Valdeón’ blue cheese sauce, and pan con chocolate, among many others.
It’s Meatless Monday, aka the cruelest day of the week for hardcore carnivores. But, it doesn’t have to be! Vegan cuisine has become so unbelievably delicious and inventive that it’s not just for vegans anymore. Even card-carrying meat eaters are enjoying vegan delights from time to time, some in the name of their dining partners, others in the name of health — and many in the name of culinary adventure! Find out what folks are saying about their veggie-centric dining experiences as of late in recent OpenTable restaurant reviews.
* Cafe Manna, Brookfield, Wisconsin: “Dined with friends New Year’s Eve. None of us are vegan or vegetarian, but we really enjoyed our dinner selections.”
* Candle Cafe West, New York, New York: “At Candle, you feel like being in a normal American restaurant, except you have the great opportunity to eat excellent vegan food. The menu has amazing options and the quality is really high. We really enjoyed it.”
* Crossroads, Los Angeles, California: “Three out of four of us were not vegans, but we still all enjoyed the food. Our favorites were the kale Caesar, artichoke dip, and the vegan version on chicken Parmesan.”
* The Daily Dish, Silver Spring, Maryland: “I recently stopped by The Daily Dish after hearing about their delicious vegan soups, and I must say, I was not disappointed. I started with a bowl of the butternut squash soup. I can’t even begin to describe how amazing the flavor was; I wanted to lick the bowl it was so perfect.”
* Depature Restaurant and Lounge, Portland, Oregon: “We are long-term vegans and the dishes that we ate at Departure were not just off a special vegan menu, but they were imaginative and delicious. Everything was unique and different than what we normally prepare at home.”
* Gather, Berkeley, California: “ Vegan charcuterie is always a winner as an appetizer. It’s nice to take your time with that one. Our two friends who had never been to Gather agreed it was entirely unique. For our entrees, we shared pizzas and a vegan squash dish, all of which were very tasty. The chocolate vegan desert was also very good.”
* Gobo, New York, New York: “I am not vegan, but I still love coming back. The portions are great. They are split by small plates, large plates, starters, and sides. I’ve eaten large plates by myself or ordered a few to share with friends, so we can all share the food. Any way you decide to go, you will not regret it.”
* Greens, San Francisco, California: “The food was great! We went back the next evening. I am a vegan and was very pleased with all my courses. My wife is not a vegetarian, but loved her meals.”
* Karyn’s on Green, Chicago, Illinois: “As a vegan living in southwestern Michigan, I wanted to indulge in a special treat for New Years Eve, so I looked into Karyn’s on Green, reading that it was a favorite destination for fellow vegans. My husband, who isn’t vegan, graciously accompanied me and thoroughly enjoyed the food as well. The New Year’s Eve menu was splendid: tasty, refined, creative and just the right amount so we felt satiated but not full.”
* Mi Lah Vegetarian BYOB, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: “Treats vegans like we are foodies too! Highly recommend whether for veggie diets or food connoisseurs!”
The holidays were fun, but they probably left all our wallets feeling a little bit lighter. Never fear, however, because winter restaurant week season is here. Get ready for three months of discounted dining madness, during which you can enjoy big savings on delicious dishes! As always, we recommend you book your tables early and often as prime reservations fill up early. Happy restaurant weeking, diners!