James Beard Awards 2014 + Michael Murphy’s Annual Rosé Bowl

In celebration of the James Beard Foundation Awards, Michael Murphy hosts the Annual Rosé Bowl at Jonathan Waxman’s Barbuto restaurant in Manhattan. Nominees, celebrity chefs, and culinary luminaries, including Daniel Patterson (Coi), Mario Batali (Babbo), and Ruth Reichl, were in attendance. Sneak a peek at the fun in our slideshow below.

 

And, congratulations to the 2014 James Beard Foundation Award winners, including:

Outstanding Chef
Nancy Silverton, Pizzeria Mozza, Los Angeles, California

Outstanding Restaurant:
Slanted Door, San Francisco, California

Outstanding Restaurateur
Barbara Lynch, Menton, Boston, Massachusetts

Outstanding Service
The Restaurant at Meadowood, St. Helena, California

Best New Restaurant  Continue reading…

10 Top Mom-Owned Restaurants in America

On the heels of the amazing Cherry Bombe Jubilee in March and in honor of Mother’s Day, we are pleased to highlight 10 top restaurants that are owned by women who are also mothers. Being a mother is one of the world’s most demanding jobs, as is running a restaurant. Yet, the restaurateurs behind these establishments have managed to successfully — though not effortlessly — tackle both!

1. Acquerello, San Francisco, California
Owner: Suzette Gresham, mom to Bibiana, 22, and Azaria, 18.
Awards include: 2013 Diners’ Choice Award for Top 100 Best Overall Restaurants in America.
Rave review: ”Acquerello is always a wonderful dining experience. There is nothing on the menu that is not absolutely delicious and inventively presented. Ask the sommelier, and you will have the perfect wine recommended.”
Mom quote: “Passion makes up for a lot — lack of intelligence and lack of experience. If you are passionate about what you are doing, whether you are raising children or running a restaurant, you have a fighting chance. I think in life that is the main thing is just believing that you can do and finding a way. Chefs are kind of like firemen and policemen. We rush right in. We do what we have to do, and we don’t think about sometimes ourselves. It’s that attitude of ‘I can do it, I can fix it and I can save it.’ Maybe it is foolish on some level, but it is what you do and how you are as a person.”

2. Beast, Portland, Oregon
Owner: Naomi Pomeroy, mom to August, 13, and stepmom of two.
Awards include: 2013 Diners’ Choice Award for Top 100 Fit for Foodies Restaurants in America.
Rave review: ”In my top three foodie experiences of all time. Each dish on this six-course tasting menu was beautifully executed. The service was impeccable, and the feel of the restaurant was fun, but romantic and quaint.”
Mom quote: ”I want to set an example for my own daughter, and, hopefully, for a lot of kids (girls, especially), so that they can see how both work and family life can be balanced. I have a really good relationship with my daughter, and I have a great career. I hope to stand as an example of the idea that you can be both a mother and a career woman.”

3. Bibou, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Owner: Charlotte Calmels, mom to Julie 8 ½, Jeanne, almost 7, and Eloise, 20 months.
Awards include: 2013 Diners’ Choice Award for Top 100 Fit for Foodies Restaurants in America.
Rave review: ”This is the second time I’ve been to Bibou, the first being just about a year ago. Just like last time, the food, service, everything was fabulous. One of my absolute favorite restaurants in Philly.”
Mom quote: ”When you become a mother, you want to do everything perfect for your newborn: you want to make time for them, for you to recover, maybe extensive nursing. Our industry does not allow any time for any of this! I was back to work [in the office] 48 hours after giving birth! I got really lucky with our last daughter Eloise, as she would come with me to the restaurant daytime, and often stay at night. No ‘sleep/eat’ schedule for her, but we were together!”

4. Hundred Acres, New York, New York
Owner: Victoria Freeman, mom to sons Rolan, 24, and Marlon, 21.
Awards include: 2014 Diners’ Choice Award for Top 100 Best Brunch Restaurants in America.
Rave review: ”If you love Cookshop, you’ll love Hundred Acres. The ambiance, food, and service all live up to the high standard, just a little north. Can’t wait to go back, but don’t want too many people to find out about it.”
Mom quote: “When I was at the restaurant, I would worry about the boys, and when I was home, I worried about the restaurant. At some point, I made a decision that when I was with them, I would be with them and not think about the restaurant. It’s also hard because my husband owns the restaurants with me, so we would talk about business at the dinner table. We had to put a halt to that.”

5. Joan’s in the Park, St. Paul, Minnesota
Owners: Joan Schmitt and Susan Dunlop, mothers to Dan, 33, Mark, 30, Kelly, 27 and Lindsay, 26.
Awards include: 2013 Diners’ Choice Award for Top 100 Best Overall Restaurants in America.
Rave review: ”A Google search for trendy St. Paul restaurants brought Joan’s in the Park to our attention. Customer reviews were fantastic so we decided to give it a try. What an fabulous find! The food, service and atmosphere were all exceptional. Joan isn’t just a name here, she greeted us warmly, checked in on us during the meal and offered a great local recommendation when we inquired about a place to stop for a beverage and to check on the Minnesota Wild game. We completely enjoyed our two-hour dining experience and look forward to coming back!”
Mom quote: Joan says, “My kids didn’t mind too much when I had to miss things, and we just prioritized what the really important events were that would always attend and let the little ones go.” Susan adds, “We’re really lucky at this point because our kids are grown and work at the restaurant. I would imagine for somebody getting into this now with little kids,  it would be really difficult.”

6. Lenoir, Austin, Texas
Owner: Jessica Maher, mom to Hollis, 3, and expecting baby #2 any day now.
Awards include: 2013 Diners’ Choice Award for Top 100 Fit for Foodies Restaurants in America.
Rave review: ”Superb food, great choices, unusual ingredients and attentive, knowledgeable servers combine for a one-of-a-kind dining experience. Depending on your particular perch and your fellow guests, the close quarters promote a friendly atmosphere where fellow foodies can compare notes about wine and the exotic combinations of ingredients. Chef Duplechan is an Austin treasure–part mad scientist and part artist. Mmwahh! (You’re welcome for not inserting an emoticon here with a French guy kissing his fingertips.)”
Mom quote: ”I was talking to my friend Sarah from Rich Table and she is just like, I feel guilty all the time, like here is something in my son’s lunch that I didn’t make myself. It’s so silly; we put all these pressures on ourselves to do things, but at the same time that’s why we are where we are because we are really ambitious and we are striving for perfection. We are never satisfied, so we keep trying to make it better. I’m sure a lot of people are like that anyway, but I definitely have friends who are not in the restaurant industry who don’t put those pressures on themselves at all.”

Continue reading…

Trending on Restaurant Reviews: Green Garlic

Green Garlic Trending on Restaurant Reviews: Green GarlicGreen garlic isn’t really wholly green, just its stalk. Thus, a more accurate name might be baby garlic — because that’s just what it is. Garlic is sown in the fall and mature heads are harvested in early summer. If you pick it prematurely — right about now in New York, for example — you’ll wind up with young garlic, or green garlic, as it is most commonly known. Its flavor is far more mild than its older counterpart, and it is a popular substitute for leeks, onions, or scallions. Creative chefs, however, are taking this ingenue of an aromatic and making it the headliner. Look for it in everything from consomme and creamy soup to flan and risotto. Find out what diners are raving about in recent restaurant reviews — and don’t miss your chance to sample this short-season savory star. 

Angèle Restaurant & Bar, Napa, California: ”We had a wonderful meal at Angele. The highlight was my green garlic risotto, which was fabulous.”

BayWolf, Oakland, California: ”Such very pleasant ambiance, service, and an interesting menu. The green garlic flan starter melted in one’s mouth.”

Bocanova, Oakland, California: ”Loved the roasted beets with goat cheese, green garlic, and hazelnuts.”

* Cafe Juanita, Seattle, Washington: “The green garlic flan was a great duck accompaniment. We will definitely be going back for more.”

Chez Panisse Cafe, Berkeley, California: ”I had four exquisite meals at Chez Panisse. One dish, as an example, that I’ll never forget: slivers of baby artichoke and sunchoke, green garlic, olive oil, a hint of lemon, and truffles. So understated, but my dining companion and I stopped talking in order to assimilate and admire the simple genius of this dish.”

Fish Story, Napa, California: ”Beautiful location, great looking menu. The seafood was fresh, and the chilled green garlic soup was very fresh and tasty.”

* Fruition Restaurant, Denver, Colorado: “I started with the green garlic consomme and was blown away by the complex flavors and the little surprises in the dish. I’m not going to go into great detail here because I want you to try it. This was the star of the night for me.”

Continue reading…

OpenTable Restaurant Reviews Reveal #DinersChoice Top 100 Best Brunches in America + Brunch Slideshow

As restaurants around the nation prepare for a delicious weekend of Mother’s Day dining, we are pleased to honor the 2014 Diners’ Choice Awards winners for the Top 100 Best Restaurants for Brunch in America. These awards reflect the combined opinions of more than 5 million restaurant reviews submitted by verified OpenTable diners for approximately 19,000 restaurants in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Highlighting restaurants serving inspired twists on brunch classics, the complete list includes award winners in 28 states and Washington, D.C., such as Chicken and the Egg in Marietta, Georgia, Hundred Acres in New York City, and South End Buttery in Boston. California claims the greatest number of winning restaurants with 12, followed by New York with 10, and Washington, D.C., with eight. Florida and Texas have seven each, while Illinois has six and Pennsylvania has five. Colorado, Georgia, and North Carolina boast four winners apiece, while Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Virginia, and Washington have three. Hawaii, Louisiana, Massachusetts, and New Jersey each have two honorees. Alabama, Arizona, Connecticut, Delaware, Indiana, Kansas, Nebraska, Tennessee, Utah, and Wisconsin are also represented.

The majority of best brunch restaurants specialize in American cuisine, but several international fares are popular, including Belgian, French, Latin, and Mediterranean. Check out some of the yummiest brunch dishes at these top restaurants in our exclusive slideshow.

 

Continue reading…

#MomTexts Mother’s Day Giveaway: Tweet to Win 1 of 14 $100 OpenTable Gifts

momtextsscreen #MomTexts Mothers Day Giveaway: Tweet to Win 1 of 14 $100 OpenTable GiftsDo you want to treat your mom to a meal to remember? Does your mother send you #MomTexts? Then, enter the OpenTable #MomTexts Mother’s Day Giveaway! Every day between April 28 and May 11, we’re giving away a $100 OpenTable Gift to a diner who shares their best #MomTexts. To enter, follow @OpenTable on Twitter. Then tweet @OpenTable a screenshot of your most memorable text from your mother using the hashtag #MomTexts.

The full rules and regulations are below, but remember it is limited to one entry per person/Twitter handle. And, don’t forget to follow us so we can notify you of your winning #MomTexts via direct message.

Not sure what #MomTexts are? Peep this clip from Late Night with Jimmy Fallon after the jump to learn more. Chances are you already have several #MomTexts on your mobile! Continue reading…

Introducing OpenTable Guest Center

Personalized hospitality is now beautifully simple with Guest Center. Guest Center seamlessly merges the leading restaurant reservation network with complete front-of-house management tools. In the video below, Matt Roberts, CEO, Joseph Essas, CTO, and Jon Morin, Product Lead, deliver the thinking, design and demo of the new, cloud-based, hospitality solution by OpenTable.

To experience Guest Center, a solution designed to make tailored hospitality even easier, please email sales@opentable.com.

Roof to Table: 10 Rooftop Restaurant Gardens

Bachelor Farmer Rooftop Roof to Table: 10 Rooftop Restaurant GardensHappy Earth Day! In honor of the 44th year of putting the green back into the globe, we present 10 restaurants with their own rooftop gardens. Diners can savor the super-freshly grown flavor just hours after these hyper-local fruits, vegetables, and herbs were harvested by restaurant staffers. While rooftop gardens cannot provide a restaurant with all of its produce (Yet!), the culinary pros at these restaurants find inspiration from and clever uses for everything they are able to sow.

1. The Bachelor Farmer, Minneapolis, Minnesota

It’s only fitting that a restaurant with farmer in its name have a microfarm on its roof. Located in a lovingly refurbished warehouse, the Bachelor Farmer team grows herbs and hearty greens on their first-of-its-kind Twin Cities rooftop garden. Relying on containers, they use a series of vessels for the plants they nurture, including blue kiddie pools. Serving Nordic cuisine, The Bachelor Farmer carefully sources additional produce from area farms. Its rooftop farm dates back to the restaurant’s opening in 2011.

2. Bastille Cafe & Bar, Seattle, Washington

Bastille restaurant has one of the most successful and copied rooftop gardens in the country. Growing an impressive 12-15% of the produce and herbs served at the eatery in 2,500 square feet of space, Jason Stoneburner shared that they find great success “with various heirloom varieties of radish, carrots, turnips and arugula. These staples grow apace and are easy to cultivate.We do experiment with lesser known greens, veggies and flowers such as spilanthes, shunkyo radish, curry plant, ice plant, anise hyssop and winter density romaine. Just to name a few.” Diners can tour the garden, which was installed in 2009, during the high season by appointment for $10, which includes a tasty Pimms Cup cocktail.

3. Cedar, Washington, D.C.

Atop Cedar in the nation’s capital, chef Aaron McCloud sows a healthy portion of the produce that diners at his ‘field and stream meets urban’ restaurant. He favors herbs, tomatoes, and squash, but he also grows and serves edible flowers, including marigolds. “Marigolds are really pretty, but they have this nice little aromatic bite that I think enhance a salad or a garnish — that works really well,” he said.

4. flour + water, San Francisco, California

As Thomas McNaughton, David White, and David Steele were putting pizza on the map in San Francisco, they were also raising the roof — with a garden. With just 450 square feet, they revealed that they are able to source 5 percent of flour + water’s produce from the garden. There is also a beehive, and the resulting honey finds its way into dishes as well. Sister restaurant Central Kitchen also boasts a rooftop garden, where artichokes, peas, young favas, foraged greens and herbs are grown.

5. Fountain at The Four Seasons, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Even the folks at the swanky Four Seasons aren’t immune to the charms of digging in the dirt. These early-adopters added a rooftop garden in 2009. Eight stories above the city, in nine raised beds, Fountain staffers grow herbs, peas, bok choi, peppers, and more, all of which find their way into the dishes served at the restaurant. The green doesn’t end there, tho’. The Four Seasons also composts 128 tons annually of leftovers (off-site) and uses the end product to fertilize the beds and the grounds of the hotel.

6. Noble Rot, Portland, Oregon

Their website proclaims, “The garden is the soul at Noble Rot in Portland.” Even with that noble and fuzzy statement, though, these horticultural-culinary mad scientists take a rather mercenary approach to their garden. That which does not thrive does not stick around for long. And, as they continue to tinker with what they sow, they do the same with their systems, learning as they grow (or not). A whopping 3,000 square-feet, irrigated by an aquifer beneath the building, the garden provides menu items almost year-round (indicated in capital letters on the Noble Rot menu). There are free garden tours on Tuesdays at 5:00PM.

Continue reading…

Enter to Win a Gourmet Getaway to LA

LAgetaway ads1 Enter to Win a Gourmet Getaway to LA

OpenTable is pleased to partner with MYHABIT and Tasting Table to bring you a chance to win the ultimate gourmet getaway to Los Angeles. Entering is easy — and free! — and the prize is the stuff that foodie dreams are made of:

* Roundtrip airfare and a swanky hotel stay.

* $1,000 toward dining out and cooking classes of your choice.

* A $1,0000 MyHabit credit to make sure you’re styling in the City of Angels.

Enter today to cook and dine your way through LA.

Gather Around the Fire at Shibui Robata in Toronto

Toronto diners seeking authentic Japanese robata cuisine need look no further than Shibui Robata, now open in the city’s downtown neighborhood. Brought to you by the operators of Toronto’s popular Copacabana restaurants, Shibui Robata perfectly captures the techniques and flavors of authentic Japanese robata cooking.

Robata means “around the fireplace” in Japanese and refers to the centuries-old method of cooking over an open fire in the home. This tradition later gave rise to robata restaurants around Japan, at which highly skilled chefs embraced its unique challenges. Now, restaurateur Michael Rudan and chef Masaki Nakayam invite you to experience the rustic elegance that is live-fire robata cuisine at Shibui Robata.

Robata ingredients are simple – fresh fish, beef, lamb, pork, and vegetables. Its tools are few — charcoal, fire, salt, and pepper. Yet, under the talented eyes and hands of a seasoned robata chef, such as chef Nakayama, the end result is magic. Nakayama, who perfected his method at top restaurants in Miami and New York, was drawn to the robata style of cooking by its deceptive level of difficulty. He notes, “The fire is live, and you have to control the heat, the temperatures of the fire. That is very challenging.”

With diners having a front-row seat to the action, does chef Nakayama get nervous cooking for a crowd? “I love that people can see me cook. It’s like a show. I have to make it fun for the customer, and that’s fun for me, too.” Along with just-out-of-the-fire robata dishes, the Shibui menu features sublime starters, such as hamachi ceviche with tart green apple and kiwi, and inventive rolls, like the eel oshi zushi, featuring pressed sushi, avocado, masago, and cream cheese. The next time you dine in Toronto, pull up a seat near the fire at Shibui Robata, where traditional technique meets a decidedly modern presentation.

Shibui Robata is open for lunch Monday-Friday and dinner Monday-Saturday. Book a table!

OpenTable Implements Security Patch for the Heartbleed Bug

The so-called Heartbleed Internet bug has been making headlines this week and prompting a wave of increased security measures at online companies around the world, including OpenTable. We do not have any evidence that any of our systems were compromised; however, we have taken preemptive action to secure the OpenTable authentication infrastructure — and your personal information — against Heartbleed.

Our engineering team monitors our systems around the clock to maintain the integrity of our site to protect both diners and restaurants. However, when the OpenSSL project issued a Security Advisory that detailed a serious vulnerability in the encryption software in use by a large percentage of the internet (including OpenTable), we immediately implemented a security patch.

As an additional cautionary measure, we recommend that all diners reset their OpenTable passwords. Our engineering team will continue its mission to protect our diners and restaurant customers from this and any future threats.

Click here now to change your password.​​

Joseph Essas is the Chief Technology Officer at OpenTable.