Countdown to the 2014 James Beard Awards

Team Del Posto Countdown to the 2014 James Beard Awards
The team from Del Posto celebrates a win at the 2013 James Beard Foundation Awards.

Four weeks from today, the James Beard Foundation Awards will be held in New York City at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall. A celebration of the best and the brightest in the food world, The Beard Awards are regarded as the industry’s version of the Oscars. The James Beard Awards are even better because a) they’re open to the public and b) the food at the event is seriously hard to top (No offense, Wolfgang!). You can purchase your tickets here to cheer for your favorite culinary professionals on May 5, 2014.

Nominated restaurants include:

Best New Restaurant
Betony, New York, New York
Carbone, New York, New York
Coqueta, San Francisco, California
Peche Seafood Grill, New Orleans, Louisiana

Outstanding Restaurant
Hearth, New York, New York
Highlands Bar & Grill, Birmingham, Alabama
The Slanted Door, San Francisco, California
Spiaggia, Chicago, Illinois
wd~50, New York, New York

Outstanding Service  Continue reading…

Spring Restaurant Weeks Are Springing Up!

mlrw2014 Spring Restaurant Weeks Are Springing Up!After a brutal winter, I think it is safe to say, well into April, that spring has sprung. And with this season of renewal comes a season of savings in cities around the nation. Book a table to dine for less at restaurants in your area.

* Long Beach Restaurant Week in California is happening now. Reserve for special set menus for $26 or $38 thru April 5.

* Jersey Shore Restaurant Week starts tomorrow. Begin booking $20.14 and $30.14 dinners, April 4-13.

* Rhode Island heats up with Newport and Bristol Restaurant Week. Book a table for $16 lunches and $35 dinners, April 4-13.

*  Seattle Restaurant Week begins this weekend.Reserve early and often for three-course meals for $28, April 6-10 and 13-17.

* Detroit Restaurant Week kicks into gear next week. Enjoy special three-course, prix-fixe dinners, April 11-20.

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Congratulations: 2014 Food + Wine Best New Chefs

alma blog Congratulations: 2014 Food + Wine Best New Chefs
This is not your Bubby’s brisket. It is, however, Ari Taymor”s.

Today, Food + Wine announced their picks for  Best New Chefs of 2014. The honorees are:

* Ari Taymor, Alma, Los Angeles, California

* Joe Ogrodnek and Walker Stern, Dover, Brooklyn, New York

* Eli Kulp, Fork, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

* Matt McAllister, FT33, Dallas, Texas

* Dave Beran, Next, Chicago, Illinois

* Greg Denton and Gabrielle Quiñónez Denton, Ox, Portland, Oregon

* Justin Yu, Oxheart, Houston, Texas

Continue reading…

1st Annual Cherry Bombe Jubilee + After-Party

On Sunday, March 30th, in Manhattan, Cherry Bombe magazine’s Kerry Diamond and Claudia Wu hosted the first Cherry Bombe Jubilee, a conference in celebration of women in the world of food. Sponsored in part by OpenTable and attended by hundreds of up and comers and established names (Hello, Alice Waters!)  in the culinary realm, it was a day of learning, discussion, networking, and, of course, food. Later that evening, OpenTable hosted an after-party at Corkbuzz Wine Studio. Featuring wines curated by owner Laura Maniec, Jordan Salacityo, Beverage Director at Momofuku restaurants, Pascaline Lepeltier, Wine Director at Rouge Tomate, and Juliette Pope, Wine Director at Gramercy Tavern, the after party also featured sweet and savory treats. You can check out exclusive photos from the evening’s festivities below.

Throughout the Jubilee, some of the food world’s best and brightest weighed in on a number of topics, including:

* Christina Tosi of Momofuku Milk Bar (and inventor of the famed crack pie), spoke about being the change. “We get to choose how we exist in this industry.” She urged attendees, “Be the individual. Individuality is priceless.” She also encouraged women to “make room for someone else to come in” to your kitchen, your business, and the industry.

* Dorothy Cann Hamilton, founder of the French Culinary Institute (my alma mater!), pointed out that although there’s a perception that there are more men in the culinary field, the percentage of women attending culinary school was 59% in 2012 (up from 31% in 1992) as compared to just 41% male students. Her hypothesis as to why we aren’t seeing more female chefs dominating restaurant kitchens is that women are seeking out more entrepreneurial ventures after graduating.

* Chefs April Bloomfield (The Spotted Pig), Katie Button (Cúrate), Anita Lo (Annisa), and Sarah Kramer were on a panel called “Getting Your Clog in the Door.” They all agreed that doing a stage/internship is an important first step. Kramer said, “Doing a stage is a great way to get your foot in the door at a restaurant if you want to work there.” And, it worked for Kramer; she wound up staging and, later, working at Blue Hill at Stone Barns. Beyond a stage, Lo advised, “Go work at the best restaurant you can find.” She started her career at Bouley and hasn’t missed a beat since. For those newbies not living in a major culinary city, there are still plenty of opportunities. Bloomfield pointed out, “No matter where you start, it will expose you and lead you to other places.” For those unable to get into the kitchen of their dreams, Button recommends starting in the front of the house to get to the back of the house. She employed that strategy successfully at both El Bulli and José Andrés’s restaurants. Continue reading…

Celebrate Spring with #SolarVortex Dining Specials in Boston, Chicago, New York + Philadelphia!

Solar Vortex Logo final Celebrate Spring with #SolarVortex Dining Specials in Boston, Chicago, New York + Philadelphia!The winter of 2013-14 was one of the most brutal in recent memories. Frigid temperatures and brutal snowstorms kept even the most devoted diners at home, curled up in comfy pants and, assumably, bingeing on House of Cards. Between the Polar Vortex, the back-to-back storms in early February, and more, restaurants in several major cities, including Boston, Chicago, New York, and Philadelphia, have experienced declines in business of anywhere from 11% to a whopping 28%.

Andrew Rigie, Executive Director of the NYC Hospitality Alliance, confirms,”I’ve spoken with restaurateurs whose business went down 10-15%, if not more, due to the extreme winter conditions. It was also difficult for employees to get to and from work during the snowstorms and a challenge for restaurants to accept product deliveries.”

Chef Harold Dieterle, who operates acclaimed restaurants Kin Shop, Perilla, and The Marrow, and his staff braved these storms, having to shovel snow from their sidewalks regularly and even skip a few services, despite being located in the public transit oasis that is New York City. “We closed for some lunches at Kin Shop due to the storms. And, if guests aren’t coming in, while it definitely affects the restaurant’s bottom line, it also hurts the front-of-house staff who rely on tips. It’s been a challenging season for the restaurants and the staff, for sure.” Both Kin Shop and Perilla are offering #SolarVortex specials, and all three restaurants, including The Marrow have just launched exciting new spring menus. “It’s been a rough winter for sure. I’m definitely looking forward to some warm weather, even though it’s not happening today.”

Despite the chill, to help celebrate the end of winter and the arrival of spring, restaurants in Boston, Chicago, New York, and Philadelphia are offering #SolarVortex dining specials today through March 28. Cooped-up diners are invited to take advantage of unique offers, from specialty cocktails, such as the ‘Rose Colored Glasses’ at Il Buco Alimentari & Vineria in Manhattan and deep discounts, including $20 off dinner visit with a $50 minimum spend at Roy’s in Chicago, to almost-free lunch, like the $7 local-focused lunch special at Route 7 Grill in Great Barrington, and even free meals, such as Brandywine Prime’s in which diners receive a free brunch for two for every two guests.  Continue reading…

OpenTable Hot Tables: Pilot Program Introduces Mobile Alerts for Highly Sought-After Reservations

Hot Tables blog1 OpenTable Hot Tables: Pilot Program Introduces Mobile Alerts for Highly Sought After ReservationsAt OpenTable, we recognize that there can be a greater demand for tables at a particular restaurant than there are available tables. Whether it’s folks trying to book a table for two on Saturday night at the newest hot spot in town or those planning a once-in-a-lifetime trip to a bucket-list restaurant, diners may occasionally miss out on a reservation — even after it becomes available through a last-minute cancellation.

To increase diners’ opportunities to secure coveted reservations, OpenTable is pleased to announce the launch of the Hot Tables pilot program. With this exciting new feature, you can be notified when the reservation you want becomes available. Simply set an alert for a reservation date, time, and party size at a particular restaurant. If a table becomes available, you will be notified by text message. Please note that an alert is not a guaranteed reservation, thus diners receiving alerts are advised to act immediately.

The pilot program for Hot Tables mobile alerts is limited and is currently available to select diners in Houston, Los Angeles, and New York.  If you live in one of these cities and would like an invitation to the pilot program, email us at requestalertsinvite@opentable.com.

Aditya Singh is the Senior Product Manager for Hot Tables and Gifts.

The Foodspotting Book Is Here!

Foodspotting book The Foodspotting Book Is Here!

OpenTable is proud to be the home of Foodspotting, a website and app for finding and sharing great dishes. But the lesser-known story behind Foodspotting is that long before it was an app idea, it was a book idea. Today, we’re excited to announce that this book is here!

Check out The Foodspotting Field Guide

Five years ago, Alexa Andrzejewski (now a lead experience designer here at OpenTable) traveled to Japan and Korea, where she was surprised to realize how many dishes she’d never heard of before, like Okonomiyaki and Tteokbokki. A few weeks later, Alexa woke up with the idea to create a “Field Guide for Food” — a pocket-sized guide to interesting dishes from around the world.

The book idea evolved into an app idea, and Foodspotting was born. Today, millions of food photos later, our friends at Chronicle Books and our beloved editor April Walters (previously Foodspotting’s Head of Community), have brought The Foodspotting Field Guide to life. If you’re curious about these and other dishes, or know someone who would be, then this book is for you!

Think you already know your dishes? See how many you’ve tried! Take The Foodspotting Field Guide Challenge.

Trending on Recent OpenTable Restaurant Reviews: Irish Fare

CBC blog Trending on Recent OpenTable Restaurant Reviews: Irish FareHappy St. Patrick’s Day! Even though it’s only March 17th one day a year, diners have been celebrating this fun holiday for several weeks. After all, who doesn’t want to repeatedly observe the holiday that encourages you to drink a Guinness? While everyone knows that corned beef and cabbage aren’t authentic Irish cuisine, they’ve certainly become synonymous with Irish-American fare every March. Find out what diners are saying about the Irish food, authentic and otherwise, and St. Patty’s Day fun they’ve been enjoying in the last few weeks in recent restaurant reviews.

Conor O’Neills, Ann Arbor, Michigan: “We met family from out of town at Conor’s after Shamrocks and Shenanigans. It was festive, fun, and, overall, a great place to enjoy food, Guinness, Irish dancing, and good times with friends and family. It continues to be my favorite neighborhood pub!”

Fado Irish Pub and Restaurant, Austin, Texas: ”Authentic, made in Ireland décor. There is nothing on the menu that isn’t great, but the lamb is the best of all! Extensive beer and Irish Whiskey list, choices I didn’t know existed. Great for gathering with friends, watching sports, and St. Patrick’s celebrations are second to none!”

Great Street, Chicago, Illinois: ”Booked with Open Table four days before the event, requesting a window seat. The seating area has huge windows facing the Chicago river. I booked for 10AM and then also called the manager saying, “We NEED” a window table.” Arrived 45 min before the event, watching the Chicago River turn green at 9:30AM. It was like having a warm box seat for the event while thousands stood 4 deep on the bridges in the cold. So fun! Did have to wait about 15 minutes for a table to clear….then got the best in the house by 9:45. I thank Open Table and staff at Great Street for giving us such a memorable (and tasty) mid-morning experience on St Patrick’s!”

James Joyce Irish Pub & Restaurant, Baltimore, MD: ”The menu had all the Irish traditional foods plus something to satisfy the taste of everyone who might choose to dine at James Joyce. The entire staff was warm and friendly, and the atmosphere was ebullient. We dined here based on other Open Table reviews and it was a fantastic choice. We will definitely come here again when we are in the area.”

Katie Mullen’s Irish Restaurant, Denver, Colorado: ”The best Irish restaurant in Denver. My wife and I both LOVE this place and try to make a point to come back as often as possible. The first time we went I made an online reservation and in the Special Request section, I asked them to leave a special love note from me to my wife and they did just that. Made my wife’s night!”

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Save on Taste of the Nation Tickets in DC, NY + SF and Help No Kid Hungry End Childhood Hunger

TOTN Save on Taste of the Nation Tickets in DC, NY + SF and Help No Kid Hungry End Childhood HungerEvery year, in cities across the country, the nation’s top chefs, mixologists, brewers, winemakers, and more, come together at Taste of the Nation® the premier culinary benefits, events to stand with Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign to end childhood hunger. Nearly half of all children in the U.S. will be on food stamps at the some point in their life. Each ticket purchased for these events supports Share Our Strength’s efforts to eliminate childhood hunger and supports local beneficiaries. We’re pleased to announce that OpenTable diners can enjoy exclusive discounts to upcoming events in New York, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C.

Taste of the Nation New York City will be held April 28, 2014. Featuring more than 75 of New York City’s most notable chefs and bartenders under one roof at 82 Mercer, supporters can savor dishes and drinks from the city’s top culinary talent. Use discount code OTNYC to save 20% on VIP + General Admission ticketsBuy now!

Taste of the Nation San Francisco will be held Monday, March 27, 2014. Join us at The Metreon to sample the Bay Area’s bites and drinks. Use discount code TOTNSF14OT to save 20% on VIP + General Admission tickets. Buy now!

Taste of the Nation Washington, D.C. will be held March 31, 2014. Held at the National Building Museum, Washington’s finest restaurants and chefs will gather at this momentous event to dazzle diners with a night of culinary excellence. Use discount code OTWDC to save 20% on VIP + General Admission tickets. Buy now! Continue reading…

OpenTable Restaurant Reviews Reveal Top 100 Dining Hot Spots in America; Plus Exclusive Hottest Dishes Slideshow

We are pleased to honor the 2014 Diners’ Choice Award winners for the Top 100 Hot Spot Restaurants 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.

Showcasing restaurants with sophisticated chefs and a fashionable clientele, the complete list features award winners in 21 states and includes ABC Cocina in New York, ink. in Los Angeles, and RPM Italian in Chicago. California boasts the greatest number of winning restaurants with 21, followed by New York with 16, and Florida with 14. Illinois and Texas have eight and six, respectively. Georgia and Nevada both have five winning restaurants. Massachusetts, Ohio, and Pennsylvania claim three winners apiece, while Colorado, Louisiana, Michigan, North Carolina, and Tennessee have two. Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Oregon, and South Carolina are represented as well.

International cuisines reign supreme at these hot spots, with winning restaurants serving Asian, Caribbean, Latin, Mediterranean, Mexican, and Peruvian fare, among others. Pizza, sushi, and tapas are also popular. Check out some of the hottest dishes at these top hot spot restaurants in our exclusive slideshow.

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