October 2016 Restaurant Weeks: Fall Into Delicious Savings

October 2016 Restaurant Weeks

Keeping it local or having an autumn travel adventure? Check out these steals on meals in cities in North America.

* Park City Dine About invites you to mine for terrific offers, including $10 + $15 lunches and $20 + $40 dinners through October 9. Make a reservation.

* Seattle Restaurant Week returns with two terrific weeks of $18 two-course lunches + $32 three-course dinners, October 9-13 and October 16-20. Make a reservation.

* Santa Cruz Restaurant Week comes ashore on October 12 with three-course $25 and $35 dinners through October 19. Make a reservation.

* Farm to Fork South Jersey Restaurant Week has freshly harvested deals with $25 + $35 dinners, October 16-21. Make a reservation.

Mpls.St.Paul Magazine Restaurant Week comes to the Twin Cities in a couple of weeks with $15 + $20 lunches and $25, $30 + $35 dinners, October 16-21. Make a reservation.

* Western New York Local Restaurant Week is your chance to support independent restaurants by taking advantage of $20.16, $30.16 + $40.16 lunches and dinners, October 17-23. Make a reservation.Continue Reading

London 2017 Michelin-Starred Restaurants: Make a Reservation for Excellence

London 2017 Michelin-Starred Restaurants

London is a top destination for dining, and we are pleased to highlight the honorees in the MICHELIN Guide London 2017. Sixty-six London restaurants are included, with two restaurants receiving the Michelin three-star level, the highest recognition in the culinary world, and nine achieving two Michelin stars. Fifty-five restaurants earned one Michelin star. Several are new to the list, including The Ritz and Veeraswamy, who together have been in business for more than two centuries(!).

Being included in the respected MICHELIN Guide is a sign of excellence and quality. In the U.S., 2017 MICHELIN Guides are forthcoming for Chicago, New York, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C.

Congratulations to all the London Michelin-starred restaurants on OpenTable, including:

Three Stars:

Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester and Restaurant Gordon Ramsay.

Two Stars:

Dinner by Heston BlumenthalThe Greenhouse, Hélène Darroze at The Connaught, The LedburyMarcusSketch Lecture Room & Library, and Umu.Continue Reading

Lobster Season: 11 Shell-icious Dishes to Dig Into

Summer may be over, but it’s not too late to get in on peak lobster season. While we won’t turn down lobster any time of year, new shell season is the best time to eat it — that time of year where lobsters who have outgrown their shell trade up to the next size. When they shed the old shell, they have a bit of room in the new one, which is taken up by salt water that marinates the meat and helps make it both saltier and a bit sweeter. The meat is also more tender, allowing seasoning in dishes to penetrate it more. The season varies each year but includes September and October, and sometimes stretches into November. To take advantage, we’ve rounded up some of the best, most creative lobster dishes from across the country. Bib up and dig into lobster season.

Lobster Roe Noodles, Island Creek Oyster Bar, Boston, Massachusetts
You’ll want to eat your weight in oysters at this hotspot near Fenway Park, but save room for the Lobster Roe Noodles, a pasta made with lobster roe and topped with a rich red wine and veal stock-based sauce with braised short rib, grilled lobster, oyster mushrooms, and Pecorino cheese. Make a reservation at Island Creek Oyster Bar.

Lobster Season

Maine Lobster Diavolo, Quality Italian, New York, New York
This lobster isn’t only spicy — the tomato pepper sauce is made with piquillo peppers, roasted and pickled — it’s flamed tableside with chili-infused vodka. Hot! Make a reservation at Quality Italian.

Lobster Season

Estilo Puerto Nuevo Lobster, Playa Amor, Long Beach, California
At this casual waterfront restaurant, chef Thomas Ortega has created a menu of Mexican-style seafood dishes, including this Estilo Puerto Nuevo Lobster, which is griddled in clarified butter and served with rice and beans and fresh flour tortillas. Make a reservation at Playa Amor.

Lobster Season

Lobster Roll Croissant, Union Fare, New York, New York
This is a lobster roll with a New York twist — lobster salad made with mayo, sriracha, and Old Bay seasoning is served atop a toasted everything bagel croissant. Make a reservation at Union Fare.

Lobster season

Lobster Roll, Hinoki & The Bird, Los Angeles, California
At this fusion restaurant inspired by the Silk Road, the lobster roll gets an international twist. The lobster is dressed in a green curry aioli accented with Thai basil, and the roll gets its dramatic black hue from charcoal powder. Make a reservation at Hinoki & The Bird.

Lobster Season

Lobster Curry, Crave Fishbar, New York City, New York
This red Thai curry is full of charred red onion, Japanese eggplant, Thai apple eggplant, bamboo shoots — and the meat of a whole lobster. Make a reservation at Crave Fishbar.

Lobster SeasonContinue Reading

Research + Development: Top Chef Star Mike Isabella Eats NYC

Mike Isabella

It’s just after noon on a sunny, mid-Eighties summer day. The weather is as perfect as it gets in New York City during the summertime. Mike Isabella is in the back of a black SUV headed down Seventh Avenue. Sunglasses firmly in place, he’s wearing jeans and a graphite t-shirt that exposes the tattoos crisscrossing his forearms. Though it’s lunchtime, he’s on his way to visit a couple of coffee shops and an ice cream parlor. It’s not your usual eating agenda, but that’s because Isabella is here to for business rather than pure pleasure.

The chef-restaurateur, who earned widespread acclaim with breakout appearances on Top Chef and Top Chef: All-Stars and recently took home the RAMMY Award for “Restaurateur of the Year” from the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington, is in town for a whirlwind day of epicurean exploration. He has already been to Morocco, Spain, Portugal, Chicago, California, Philadelphia, Dallas, and Los Angeles as a part of his culinary canvassing. There are further trips planned to Cuba, Argentina, and London.

All the trips are research for his ambitious mega food hall Isabella Eatery, which is set open in the Tysons Galleria mall in McLean, Virginia in late summer 2017. The 41,000 square foot, multi-concept endeavor aims to be the crowning – and potentially defining – centerpiece of his growing restaurant empire in the D.C. area, which includes his Italian-American small plates and pizza joint Graffiato, (which also has a location in Richmond, Virginia), forward-thinking Greek eatery Kapnos, lead by fellow Top Chef alum George Pagonis, Medi-minded Requin, helmed by another Top Chef-er, Jennifer Carroll, Yona noodle bar, breezy Mexican cantina Pepita Cantina, and others.

Isabella Eatery will house 10 separate entities, including versions of Graffiato, Kapnos, Yona, Requin, and Pepita, as well as five brand-new concepts: Retro Creamery ice cream parlor, Trim steakhouse, Non-Fiction Coffee, Octagon Bar, and Arroz, a Spanish-Portuguese-Moroccan restaurant. Within the concepts there are variety of service options: full service, fast casual, and grab ‘n’ go. Isabella hopes the heightened service – not to mention the food – will vastly elevate it from your usual mall food courts with their bolted down chairs, plastic trays, and impersonality.

Mike Isabella

Today he’s particularly focused on ideas for the café, creamery, the ramen at Yona, and the bar program at Arroz. “Hopefully, I’ll see some cool presentations, design, uniforms, flavors, service steps, paper goods, and techniques,” says Isabella as we near the Roost coffee shop, our first stop in the East Village.

Inside the rusticated shop with white tile walls, marble countertops and a full bar in the back hiding behind a wooden bar door, we rendezvous with James Horn. The day’s unofficial tour guide previously worked as Isabella’s wine and service director and is now the director of operations of New York City’s Añejo Restaurant Group, which includes two locations of Añejo and Abajo. Everyone orders something different, so we can compare. The most compelling element for Isabella ends up being the double-walled glasses the latte is served in, so he takes a picture, and we Uber over to Big Gay Ice Cream.

Mike Isabella

Unabashedly borrowing its aesthetic vibe Eighties cartoons – think My Little Pony and The Care Bears on MDMA – the small shop is decked out with rainbows, unicorns, and vintage action figures. The truck-turned-brick-and-mortar specializes in soft serve cones and sundaes. We sample the Salty Pimp made with vanilla ice cream, dulce de leche, and sea salt, all covered in a chocolate shell. The treat attracts Mike’s attention, but not because of its flavors – there’s none of the aforementioned salt – but, rather, because of plastic holder it comes in. It has a rim around the edge, so ice cream doesn’t drip on your clothes while you’re eating it. This thoughtful touch is filed away for potential use at Retro Creamery.

Another coffee shop – Third Rail on Sullivan Street – is next up on the agenda after another quick Uber ride. We order several espresso drinks, which don’t so much as impress as amp up our jitters. “I’m jacked up on caffeine and the sugar from that ice cream,” says Isabella. “Let’s walk to the next spot.”Continue Reading