We’ve been hard at work on improving our Android smartphone experience. Today, we have a terrific update to share in the form of OpenTable for Android 2.5. In addition to bug fixes, here are the savory bits, along with a screenshot slideshow (below).
Maps have been completely overhauled to leverage Google Maps v2. This provides a much richer maps experience while reducing pin clutter (Thank you, measles!). You can now also use the maps when looking at a location other than your current one. Easter egg: drag the map to another area and tap to initiate a new search.
Also, you’ve begged. You’ve pleaded. You’ve protested outside our offices. Well, no, you didn’t actually do that last part. Despite that, we’ve (Finally!) added the ability to add your reservations to your calendar!* There’s now no excuse to miss your dinner with mom.
Navigation, too, is improved and major actions (favorites, my OpenTable, and map view) have been moved into the top bar. You can now navigate to previous screens by tapping on the icon on the upper left.
Finally, we’ve taken another pass at the restaurant profile pages. Improvements include:
* You can now modify your date, time and party size directly on the page – no need to hop back and forth! * Restaurant menus and reviews now load faster than before. * Overall restaurant rating has been added.
When I was a child, I asked my mom why there wasn’t a Kid’s Day. She answered, “Every day is Kid’s Day.” I didn’t really buy that back then, but in hindsight it is apparent that truer words have neve been spoken. So, this Mother’s Day, do right for the mother in your life by treating her to a terrific meal on her special day of the year. According to the National Restaurant Association, one quarter of Americans will be dining out in celebration of mom’s special day, which means that not only are we a nation of foodies, we’re also a nation of appreciative children and spouses.
Uni, or sea urchin, has typically been a staple on fine sushi menus, but it is fast becoming ubiquitous at restaurants serving all types of cuisines. Its rise in popularity, however, doesn’t mean it is beloved by all. In fact, uni can be downright divisive. Go ahead and ask your friends if they like uni. You’ll likely hear one of the following responses: “Love it!” or “Ugh!” or “Only if it’s fresh.” or “What *is* it?” That sums up much of what we heard when we asked the OpenTable Facebook community their opinions on uni. There are different grades of uni and a sole experience with a lesser grade could make you swear off the stuff forever; however, fresh (as in just-harvested from the sea urchin) uni is highly regarded by chefs and foodies alike and could make even the most cautious of diners into converts. Find out what your fellow OpenTable diners are saying about this rumored aphrodisiac in recent restaurant reviews.
* 15 East Restaurant, New York, New York: “The second course was the grilled gindara (koji sake-marinated black cod in uni sauce), which was amazing!”
* Arami, Chicago, Illinois: “ Don’t miss the uni shooters.”
* Bestia, Los Angeles, California: “Outstanding meal. Diver scallops, veal tartare, calamari salad, and uni pasta were all unbelievably delicious. Making another reservation right now.”
* Chef Mavro, Honolulu, Hawaii: “Unbelievably food and wine pairings; appetizer was one of the best ever (basmati rice, raw ahi topped with uni sauce, and uni).”
* JoLe, Calistoga, California: “Each dish had the right amount of flare and sauces to offset, complement, and highlight the flavor of the main ingredient. We chose the Kampachi with uni and olive tapenade, snapper with chilled mussels, the sweetbreads, and some veggies to share. All terrific.”
* Kata Robata, Houston, Texas: “I would definitely come back for the live uni, ramen, and pork belly bun.”
Last night, the2013 James Beard Foundation Awards, otherwise known as the “Oscars” of the food world, were held in New York City. New York OpenTable team members Vince Chiaramonte, Mark Cornell, Samantha Cleaves, Alicia Gomes, Brian Maiorana, and Matt Touron were on hand to cheer on the nominees. You can peep a few pics below and view a list of winners after the break.