How to Support Share Our Strength Now + End Childhood Hunger in America #NoKidHungry

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At OpenTable we say, “The table is just the start…” and we mean it. Gathering with friends, family, or even strangers to share a meal is an experience that brings people and communities together every day. We’re also acutely aware that there are millions of people across the country (and the globe) for whom the next meal is not guaranteed – and certainly not as simple as booking a reservation. But you can help. Read on to learn how to support Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign now.

A week ago, on Monday, October 26, 2015, national call-in day for Share Our Strength — OpenTable’s corporate philanthropy partner in the US — took place. This year, the Child Nutrition Reauthorization bill is up for renewal in Congress, giving us the chance to end summer hunger for millions of kids in America. Time is of the essence, and so with No Kid Hungry supporters across the nation, we called our legislators’ offices to share our voice in support of the CNR.

Call-in day has passed, but there is still time to act, and that time is now. A simple phone call is all it takes. So share your strength and help make No Kid Hungry a reality. Click here for a short script and to be directly connected to your senator.

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Tricky Treats: 11 Classic Candy Bar Desserts

In the spirit of this spooky season, we’ve assembled a collection of high-end homages to Halloween treats. You may not be able to put them in your plastic pumpkin or repurposed pillowcase, but they taste even better than the bite-sized goodies your neighbors always hand out. Plus, you don’t need to put on an elaborate costume – or to swipe them from the little trick or treaters in your life – in order to try them. Here are 11 classic candy bar desserts to satisfy your sweet tooth this weekend.

 Abigaile, Hermosa Beach, California
You’re not you when you’re hungry. Luckily, this Snickers-y sweet really satisfies. Executive Chef Tin Vuong piles a rectangle of chocolate with layers of nougat, peanut butter crème, and marshmallow fluff before coating it with chocolate. The bar is finished off with a pool of caramel and crushed peanuts.

Candy Bar Desserts

Sugar Factory American Brasserie, Miami Beach, Florida
We firmly believe the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup is one of the greatest inventions of all time – the perfect union of salty peanut butter and sweet milk chocolate. Here it has been reinvented as an over-the-top, reverse-minded ice cream sandwich featuring peanut butter cookies bookending a massive scoop of chocolate ice cream. As if that weren’t enough, there are Reese’s Pieces, chocolate sauce, and whipped cream scattered atop it.

Candy Bar Desserts

Trace, Austin, Texas
As anyone who has ever eaten at a state fair or a carnival knows, deep frying makes everything taste better. Case in point is pastry chef Angel Begaye’s dark chocolate candy bar packed with crunchy rice crisps and salted caramel. The sweet ingot is dunked in beignet mix, frizzled golden, and served with warm chocolate dipping sauce.


L’Artusi, New York City
Executive pastry chef Sarah Ewald takes inspiration from both Twix bars and Ferrero Rocher balls. Her candy bar cake features hazelnut cake and praline crunch topped with chocolate ganache, hazelnuts, sea salt, and dark chocolate. It’s completely okay to reach over and high five your dining companion while you’re scarfing it down. We understand what you’re going through and won’t judge.

Candy Bar Desserts

Osteria Morini, Washington, D.C.
Pastry chef Alex Levin is god of the goodies. He elevates the humble Almond Snickers to heavenly heights with his Pralina dessert. Almond praline chocolate cake is accompanied by espresso cream speckled with chocolate-covered almonds and torrone nougat candy gelato. Can we get a hallelujah?

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Bambara, Cambridge, Massachusetts
You’ll never want to eat a regular Snickers after you try the chef Jay Silva’s BamBar. The rich nugget is packed with milk and dark chocolate, Nutella, cashews, nougat, caramel, and peanut butter. Bam!

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Dine Out for Heroes: Farmer Dave Beardi on How Your Support Can Help Change the Life of an Injured Veteran

This month, from November 9-13th, you’re invited to Dine Out for Heroes at a participating restaurant in New York City. In support of The Bob Woodruff Foundation, a national nonprofit dedicated to ensuring that post-9/11 injured service members, veterans, and their families thrive long after they return home, restaurants that were moved to participate gave a contribution to the foundation.

To illustrate how every dollar raised can help an injured veteran on the road to recovery and leading a fulfilling life, we chatted with farmer and U.S. Army veteran David Beardi of BRD’s Forever Farm in Dayton, New York. Beardi was injured in his service to our nation. During his recovery, he connected with a fellow vet and farmer named John Post. Beardi says, “He had a small farm and he used to just pick me up and take me there. And I found it was transformative working with the animals. It really changed my life dramatically. If you would have told me that working with animals was therapeutic, previously, I would have been a little skeptical. But it was just transformative.”

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That healing work ignited a passion for farming, and soon, Beardi and his family purchased a defunct dairy farm previously owned by an Amish family. It was, in Beardi’s own words, “a massive undertaking.” The farm was in serious disrepair and in need of many improvements, including bringing in plumbing and electricity, all of which Beardi tackled.

But, even the hardest working farmer can use a helping hand – or a tractor – and the Bob Woodruff Foundation stepped up. Through Michael O’Gorman, Executive Director of the Farmer Veteran Coalition and the Farmer Veteran Fellowship Fund, Beardi was awarded a Bob Woodruff Farming Fellowship. This allowed him to buy a tractor and install much-needed electric fencing for his cattle. “Michael O’Gorman is a terrific human being. I can’t say enough about him. I don’t think we would have achieved the growth we’ve had without this. It was pretty critical for us to get going. And I use that tractor every single day,” he notes.

Today, BRD’s Forever Farm produces naturally and humanely raised meats, including Angus beef and heritage pork, which are highly sought after by western New York locavores. On the 116-acre property, Beardi, his wife Becky, and their children have a herd of 50 cows and 100 pasture-raised pigs that graze on pastures of alfalfa and red and white clover. The animals enjoy the lush property and are treated with the utmost care and respect. “We’ve created a very low-stress environment for the animals, from how they live to how we handle them. We take great pride in how we care for them,” says Beardi. “People come to the farm all the time. It really is a pretty fantastic place.”Continue Reading

Cheers to Vegetarian Awareness Month: Beyond the Salad + Sides at Saha in San Francisco

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As we bid adieu to Vegetarian Awareness Month — it’s been a good ol’ plant-filled time — we leave you with the message that it’s a big vegan-friendly world out there. Everywhere we look there are restaurants going plant-forward, with restaurants that showcase the most delicious of vegetarian and vegan cooking regardless of the meat on their menus.

Here in San Francisco at OpenTable HQ, we needn’t look far for unusual examples of the way in which what was once an alternative style of cooking and eating have merged with the culinary mainstream. Just blocks from our offices, a restaurant that was featured on our Top Vegetarian and Vegan-Friendly dining list, is the perfect example of how numerous different cuisine types lend themselves creatively to meatless dining.

And, as we recently discovered, some of the most innovative stuff is happening a stone’s throw away. At Saha, an Arabic fusion restaurant located in the Hotel Carlton on Sutter Street in the Lower Nob Hill neighborhood of San Francisco, Mohamed Aboghanem offers a style of cooking all his own, where he rethinks traditional Yemenese, Middle Eastern and North African fusion in a healthier, beautifully presented, local ingredient-driven style.

“People come to [Saha] because, especially if you are vegetarian, you feel like you have equal rights with the carnivores,” says the chef-owner who trained at the Cordon Bleu. “Half of the menu is vegan and gluten-free.”

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Dietary designations aside, his food is full of flavor, coaxed from spices of all kinds (turmeric, ginger, cayenne, all spice, cumin, sumac, and za’atar, to name a few), unusual beans and grains, and organic produce. Soy is scarce; alternative flours like garbanzo flour (naturally gluten-free) are not. Take the vegan knaffe (pictured): a vegan shredded phyllo with vegan cream cheese and wild mushrooms baked in a ramekin and served over coconut chermoulah chipotle sauce. No deprivation there.Continue Reading