2016 RAMMY Award Winners: Cheers to DC’s Top Culinary Professionals

2016 RAMMY Award Winners

Last night, the capital’s culinary community gathered at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C., to fete the year’s finest industry people and places at the 2016 RAMMY Awards, presented by the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington (RAMW).

Congratulations to all the 2016 RAMMY Award winners, including:

Chef of the Year: Scott Drewno, The Source by Wolfgang Puck (pictured)

Favorite Gathering Place of the Year: Northside Social Coffee & Wine

Upscale Casual Brunch: Blue Duck Tavern

Everyday Casual Brunch: Duke’s Grocery

Favorite Fast Bites: Bub and Pop’s

Cocktail Program of the Year: 2 Birds 1 Stone

Beer Program of the Year: Right Proper Brewing CompanyContinue Reading

7 of the Best Prix-Fixe Menus in Boston

Let’s be honest; there are prix fixes, and then there are prix fixes — the multi-course meals to remember that really are a steal. The ones for which you pay less but still enjoy an experience that tastes like a million bucks. Whether you’re headed to Boston or you live local, here are nine of the best prix-fixe menus in Boston (including one just north of the city) where you’ll find prix fixe lunches, brunches, and dinners that also show off the chef’s culinary chops.

Bar Boulud, Boston, Massachusetts
The menu at Bar Boulud in the Mandarin Oriental hotel is French-inspired with seasonal New England dishes, too, and then there’s that’s wine cellar (think Burgundy and Rhone Valley). Come for the Bouchon dinner prepared by chef de cuisine Jonathan Kilroy — you’ll choose two courses for $36 (add an additional course for $6 for more bang for your euros.) Featured appetizers include Celery Root Veloute (lardo vinaigrette, pickled shallots, and celery leaves) and Pâté de Campagne (country pate, wild mushrooms, and sourdough toast). Featured main courses like Coq au Vin Traditionnel (red wine-braised chicken, bacon lardon, and pearl onions), and Fish and Chips (beer-battered local haddock, hand-cut French fries, English peas, and tartar sauce) are solid options. For dessert, pastry chef Robert Differ’s Gateau Basque (traditional Basque custard cake, brandied cherries, and vanilla anglaise) is a trip to Paris without the jet lag. Make a reservation at Bar Boulud.

Best Prix-Fixe Menus in Boston

Davio’s, Boston, Massachusetts
A power prix-fixe lunch is served Monday through Friday “for the busy young professional.” You’ll get an appetizer, an entrée, and dessert for $22. Highlights include Grilled Petite Ribeye (with Parmigiano potato puffs, pepata sauce) and Seared Haddock, Cauliflower (with golden raisins, peppadews, and toasted pine nuts), and, for dessert, Davio’s homemade cookies and gelato. Perfect for the power hungry. Make a reservation at Davio’s.

Best Prix-Fixe Menus in Boston

Gaslight, Boston, Massachusetts
Start the day with savings with the prix-fixe brunch special at the South End Parisian-style bistro that is Gaslight. Served from 9AM to 3PM on Saturdays and 9AM to 11AM on Sundays. What you’ll get: fresh-squeezed orange or grapefruit juice, coffee or tea, Julia Child’s Spiced Shortbread with raspberry jam, and a choice of Vanilla French Toast (with sautéed apples and sweetened fromage blanc), Omelette Lyonnaise (with gruyere cheese, potatoes, and caramelized onions), Scrambled Eggs Forestiere (with roasted mushrooms and Boucheron cheese) or Omelette Florentine (with garlic spinach and French feta cheese). And, it’s all for just $11.95. Make a reservation at Gaslight.

Best Prix-Fixe menus in Boston

The Elephant Walk, Boston, Massachusetts
Hurry up and make a reservation for lunch on Thursday or Friday at this South End French and Cambodian-inspired restaurant. The prix-fixe Fast Lunch is promised to be served in half an hour and features a two-course tasting menu for $15. Expect items like Poulet a la Citronnelle (available vegan with organic tofu) and a Braised Duck Sandwich. This is fast food redefined. Make a reservation at The Elephant Walk.

Best Boston Prix-Fixe MenusContinue Reading

The Evolution of Restaurant Menus

The evolution of restaurant menus

As we shared the results of a survey around confusing menu jargon, we couldn’t help but wonder about the evolution of restaurant menus. Here, contributor Nevin Martell takes a look at how they’ve changed throughout history.

For centuries, when diners walked into an eatery, they simply ate what the chef was cooking that day. Slowly, as restaurants became more formalized, guests were given options for what they’d like to sup on. Paper menus codifying those choices first started appearing in the mid-18th century in Paris. What began as a phenomenon became an integral part of the dining experience around the world.

The evolution of restaurant menus

But don’t mistake menus as simply a list of what’s to eat. They have become barometers of the shifting tides of history. “They are a great reflection of pop culture, the eating habits of Americans, and a way to follow larger trends,” says Jim Heimann, editor of Menu Design in America, 1850-1985 and a collector with more than 6,000 menus in his archives. “For example, speakeasies in the 1920’s had coded language on their menus. It might say, ‘Ginger ale is available for your consumption.’ This meant you had a mixer for your booze. During World War II, there was an absence of a lot of items due to rationing. And in the 1960’s, you see artwork reflective of the counterculture.”

The evolution of restaurant menusContinue Reading

Meet the Artists Behind the #MenuDecoded Illustrations

#menudecoded

To complement the results of our recent Harris Poll online survey around menu terminology, we wanted to create a #menudecoded glossary to help educate and delight people who might be confused about certain words. As with any compelling glossary or dictionary, illustrations are key to enhancing a user’s (or in this case, a diner’s) experience. The OpenTable design team looked to the creative community to help with this aspect, partnering with well-known illustrators Ping Zhu, Keith Shore, Harrison Freeman, Brianna Harden, and Eddie Perrote, who share a combined client list of The New York Times, Penguin Books, Dwell Magazine, American Express, and Vice, among others. Here, each artist shares a few insights about themselves, their process, and the terms they worked with.

Keith Shore (Yuzu, En Brodo, En Papillote, Primi, Terrine)

Keith Shore is the art director for Danish brewery Mikkeller and works from his home studio in the Philadelphia suburbs. His favorite term to illustrate was yuzu. He says, “I’ve made many beer labels that center around this awesome fruit. It’s a great shape to draw and has a fun, loud color palette.” Follow Keith on Instagram @keithashore + Twitter @keith_shore.

#menudecoded

Brianna Harden (Okonomiyaki, Gougère, Harissa, Lardo, Crudo)

Brianna Harden is an illustrator, book cover designer, and self-proclaimed adventurer living in Brooklyn, New York. She notes, “My creative work involves making paintings (usually of food or people) primarily for editorial clients and designing book jackets for Penguin Random House. When I’m not drawing or designing, I embark on frequent travels to just about anywhere that allows me to rock climb and eat good food.” The terms she most enjoyed bringing to life? “The gougères and the crudo. There’s something about the delicate crudo that reminds me of floral arrangement — every ingredient is carefully considered for size and balance. It was a compositional challenge to depict a perfectly arranged little piece of fish. The color scheme also turned out to be my favorite, as the vibrant pinks and greens were delightful to paint. My other favorite was the gougères — not so much to draw but to sample. Shortly after I received this illustration assignment, I went to visit my friend where he bartends at the Brooklyn restaurant French Louie.  Without knowing about this project, he brought out one of their appetizers — a basket of warm gougères  with cheese. It was my first time trying the delicious pastries, and I’m obsessed with them now.” Follow Brianna on Instagram @brianna_harden + Twitter @brianna_harden.

#menudecoded

Eddie Perrote (Piri Piri, Shiso, Meuniere, Amuse Bouche, Semifreddo)

Artist Eddie Perrote is a professional illustrator, designer, and, he adds, amateur food eater. He resides in Brooklyn, New York. When asked what term he liked tackling best, he revealed, “I’d say the Amuse Bouche was my favorite to illustrate because of the unique role that appetizers play in terms of food pairings — I could get wackier with it!” Follow Eddie on Instagram @eddieperrote

#menudecodedContinue Reading