Listen, Do You Want to Know a Secret? We’ve Got 12 Spotlight Offers This Week!

SS LA 121410 Listen, Do You Want to Know a Secret? Weve Got 12 Spotlight Offers This Week!
Sink your teeth into juicy steaks, such as this one, with one of this week's Spotlight offers in Los Angeles.

Nevermind the 12 days of Christmas. We’ve got 12 Secret Spotlights this week! With a dozen ways to save in nine different metropolitan areas, plus a gifting option, OpenTable Spotlight offers can help make the holidays less hectic and expensive — and more satisfying.

See if you can guess where the deals will start shining tomorrow night with these clues from the OpenTable Spotlight team!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010, Spotlight Clues…

Los Angeles: Indulge in flavorful Argentinean steaks and other rustic fare at this popular Long Beach dining destination.

New York: Hop one block from Bryant Park and escape to Italy at this special spot that offers homemade pastas, brick oven pizzas, and an extensive wine list.

San Francisco: This Financial District gem serves hearty California fare and features a menu that emphasizes fresh, organic produce.

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Top Chef Season 8 Episode 2: Big Girls Don’t Cry (Except When They Do)

Top Chef Season 8 Joe Jonas Top Chef Season 8 Episode 2: Big Girls Dont Cry (Except When They Do)
Padma resists asking guest judge Joe Jonas if he still has his purity ring.

Chef Ed Cotton is on a special secret assignment this and next week, but we’re fortunate to have a guest chef correspondent lending a hand. From the second season of Top Chef Masters, Chef Carmen Gonzalez joins us! Chef Gonzalez shared exclusively with OpenTable that she is currently the national chef ambassador for BACARDI rums, is working on opening a brand new concept in Puerto Rico, and recently signed on to Nutrisystem’s Chef Culinary Council to create a new line of nutritious food. Chef Carmen will appear as a guest on an upcoming episode of Top Chef All Stars that you won’t want to miss!

What did you think of Fabio’s reaction to Anthony Bourdain’s criticism last week? They showed it again, and I’m wondering if he’s being overly sensitive or was Bourdain being too mean?

I think Fabio was being overly sensitive. You need to respect the fact that Anthony Bourdain is the judge and you have to respect him as such.  In my experience, most chefs are volatile and sensitive at the same time. I don’t think Fabio’s reaction was any different from other chefs in past seasons; however, I do think he was a little out of place. I have had chefs treat me worse than that in my personal life.

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Wednesday’s Spotlight Offers Are Under Way: Save 50% at a Few of Our Faves!

bricksidegrill philly Wednesdays Spotlight Offers Are Under Way: Save 50% at a Few of Our Faves!
With a 50% savings, you can eat twice as many oysters at Philadelphia's Brickside Grille.

If it seems like there’s an opportunity to save with OpenTable every day, well, that’s because there is (almost!). Today, we’ve got another round of Spotlight offers, and every offer is available for gifting!

Atlanta: Set in the heart of Savannah, Broughton & Bull is the quintessential elegant Savannah restaurant. Spend an evening surrounded by warm, authentic hospitality and savor delicious southern classics with a French flair. The kitchen at Broughton & Bull marries traditional flavors and dishes with local ingredients, creating a fresh, original new-Savannah cuisine. Indulge in comforting favorites like Truffled Mac ‘n Cheese, Parmesan Grit Cakes, and New Orleans Style BBQ Shrimp, and enjoy live music with Gail Thurmond every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night. At Broughton & Bull, you’ll find the very best of Savannah’s sweet southern style. Buy now!

Boston: Celebrate Mexico’s vibrant history and diverse culinary heritage at Jose’s in Cambridge or Viva in Wayland. Chef and Owner Carlos Mendez cooks his traditional family recipes with the freshest, local ingredients just as his family has done for generations. Taste authentic, Central Mexican cuisine like pozole and guacamole made tableside, sip from a wide selection of tequilas, and savor cuisine steeped in flavor, festivity and tradition. Buy now!

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Now Gift This: OpenTable Spotlight Offers Available for Gifting

Spotlight Gift Now Gift This: OpenTable Spotlight Offers Available for Gifting
If you don't want to spoil a surprise, you can print OpenTable Spotlight gifts yourself!

Since good food is meant to be shared, the OpenTable Spotlight team thought that good deals on good food should also be shared! Just in time for the holidays, we’re pleased to announce that we’ve added the ability to give the gift of an OpenTable Spotlight to your friends and family!

With just an extra click, you can gift an OpenTable Spotlight offer. Each OpenTable Spotlight gift can be emailed directly to the recipient — or you can print it yourself, making it perfect to slip into an envelope or stuff in a stocking.

Currently available in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C., OpenTable Spotlight offers take the hassle — and half the cost — out of holiday shopping!

OpenTable Spotlight: Sink Your Teeth into This Week’s Ways to Save!

vesu sf OpenTable Spotlight: Sink Your Teeth into This Weeks Ways to Save!
vesu in San Francisco is just one of this week's terrific Spotlight restaurants.

Even though Friday seems a ways off, OpenTable Spotlight offers make Tuesdays a lot more tolerable! Right now, we’re pleased to bring you a 50% discount at some of our favorite restaurants in:

* Los Angeles: The mainland, beachside resort location of Catalina Kitchen at Terranea Resort sets the scene for a quintessential California dining experience. Dine inside in the spacious dining room or out on the scenic patio, and enjoy flavorful offerings from the wood-burning oven, or enticing dishes with Spanish, French, Greek, and Southern Italian influences. Purchase now!

* New York: Gente Ristorante Italiano is a celebration of Italy: its culture, its food and its people. With over 100 trips to Italy under his belt, chef and owner Jay Mitchell considers it his second home. That familiarity is evident in the menu’s strong adherence to authenticity as well as the restaurant’s lively and personable atmosphere. Chef Mitchell also places a strong emphasis on fresh food and ideas, with a menu that reflects sesasonal changes and food that is made to order every day. Purchase now!

* San Francisco: Escape to Walnut Creek and spend a lovely evening at vesu. This innovative restaurant serves a tantalizing blend of global cuisine with small plates and expertly crafted entrees. vesu’s kitchen utilizes farm-fresh ingredients to create seasonal offerings that are complemented by the tempting drinks from vesu’s bar. Paired with the welcoming neighborhood vibe, this Michelin recommended restaurant and OpenTable Diners’ Choice 2010 winner is a delightful dining destination for all. Purchase now!

Tune in tomorrow as cool new deals go live in Atlanta, Boston, ChicagoDenverPhiladelphia, and Washington, D.C. And, like last week, Thursday will feature another round of Spotlight offers in Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco.

Jump on today’s deals while you can and check back tomorrow and Thursday as new Spotlights start to shine!

OpenTable and Facebook: Two Great Tastes That Taste Great Together

FBConnect OpenTable and Facebook: Two Great Tastes That Taste Great Together
Enrich your OpenTable experience with Facebook Connect.

You’ve probably noticed that, like OpenTableyour Facebook interface has a new look. To celebrate these mini-makeovers, OpenTable now allows you to bring the fun of Facebook with you when you’re making restaurant reservations. With Facebook Connect, you can sign in to Facebook and OpenTable with just a single click. You can also create an OpenTable account by clicking” Connect” and creating a password for your OpenTable account.

A natural fit because dining is such a social activity, Facebook Connect allows you and your friends to share what you’re doing on OpenTable. You can see who’s connected and which friends like which restaurants via the “Like” button.

And, stay tuned for the ability to read your Facebook friends’ reviews, comments, and, with permission, their reservations! For example, when you go to a restaurant’s profile page, such as Marc Forgione, you’ll be able to see which of your friends have shared reviews of that restaurant.

Facebook Connect works with OpenTable in the same way it does with other connected accounts. You control your privacy settings and can amend them at any time. You can also remove the OpenTable Connect application from your Facebook account with a click.

You can read more about Facebook Connect here.

In the meantime, we invite you to try out Facebook Connect on OpenTable for a more communal dining experience.

Top Chef Season 8 Episode 1: Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’…

Top Chef Season 8 Episode 1 Bourdain Top Chef Season 8 Episode 1: Wanna Be Startin Somethin...
Bourdain asks Fabio, "You talkin' to me? You talkin' to me?"

Plein Sud Executive Chef Ed Cotton, a Top Chef finalist on season 7, sits down with us to discuss the first episode of what’s sure to be an uber-competitive season of Top Chef Season 8: All Stars.

Ed, what would make someone want to go back and go through this all again? Are y’all chefs gluttons for punishment? Is it a reckoning?

Why would someone want to go back through all of this again? Well, you’ve got to keep your eye on the prize. This year’s prize is $200,000! That’s a major reason why I would go back and take a leave from my restaurant Plein Sud, if offered. I also feel like some of the other cheftestants were axed a little bit too soon or fell just short of winning the whole thing. They are hungry to win this competition and get redemption. I know I would feel that way!

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Today’s Specials: OpenTable Spotlight Offers in LA, NY, and SF

Maxs PHI salmon Todays Specials: OpenTable Spotlight Offers in LA, NY, and SF
Save 50% on dishes like this one with OpenTable Spotlight offers.

Thank goodness it’s Thursday! Okay, we know Thursday isn’t as good as Friday, BUT this particular Thursday is pretty darned good. Why? Because we’ve got Spotlight offers turned on in three cities! Get $50 for just $25 in…

* Los Angeles at RESTAURANT in the Sunset Marquis: From its glamorous décor to the mouth-watering menu, everything at the Sunset Marquis is strictly A-list. Executive Chef Guillaume Burlion began his career in his native France, where he worked in several Michelin-starred restaurants. He went on to study under some of the greatest culinary masters in Japan, where he developed his signature style: light, fresh Asian flavors prepared with classical French techniques and flair. Treat yourself like the star you are and indulge in evening at RESTAURANT in the Sunset Marquis. Buy now!

* New York’s Nautilus Café: Discover fresh seafood, juicy lobsters, and prime steaks at the Nautilus Café, a cozy neighborhood gem tucked along the waterfront on Long Island. Set beside the docks of the beautiful Woodcleft Canal, hungry sailors and visitors can savor Seared Scallops, Strip Steak, Roast Long Island Duckling, and succulent surf and turf options like the Marinated Skirt Steak with Ale Battered Shrimp. Buy now!

* San Francisco at Le Zinc: Experience an authentic Parisian feast at this charming San Francisco bistro in the heart of Noe Valley. Owners and dynamic husband and wife team, Max and Diana Braud, bring the flavors and culture of Paris to their cozy neighborhood gem. Chef Max draws inspiration from his Gallic roots, creating delicious French inspired dishes and traditional French desserts from local, seasonal ingredients. Artfully combined with specialty imported French products, these handcrafted dishes showcase the best of both classic and contemporary bistro fare. Pair the flavorful cuisine with a carefully selected wine – Max and Diana owned Millésimes wine bar in Paris – and enjoy a little taste of Paris in San Francisco. Buy now!

And, don’t miss the last few minutes of additional Spotlight offers in Boston, Chicago, Denver, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C.

Meet Chef Ed Cotton, Our New ‘Top Chef All-Stars’ Viewing Partner

Good Head Shot Ed Meet Chef Ed Cotton, Our New Top Chef All Stars Viewing Partner
Chef Ed Cotton was a finalist on the most recent season of Top Chef.

The latest incarnation of Top Chef includes an all-star cast of former cheftestants. So, we thought it only fitting to watch along each week with someone with intimate knowledge of the show and some of the contenders. Enter Ed Cotton, Executive Chef of New York’s Plein Sud, a restaurant located in the chic Smyth Hotel in Tribeca, where he serves offers affordable and authentic Brasserie-style cuisine. Cotton was a finalist on season 7 of Top Chef.

Ed, you came very close to a win on Top Chef. What lessons did you learn from the competition? Did you incorporate any criticism into the food you serve?

I felt great being in Singapore and competing for the title of Top Chef. I challenged and pushed myself in ways that I never had before. One basic rule that I was constantly reminded of during the competition was to try not to do so much on one plate. Chef Eric Ripert mentioned that I showed great workmanship and technique, but he thought I could have used fewer ingredients. I have taken Chef Riperts’s comments to heart, and when I put together new dishes at my restaurant Plein Sud, I always ask myself, “Is that extra ingredient really necessary?” So, yes, to this day, I incorporate the constructive criticism I received on Top Chef into every dish that I serve at my Tribeca establishment.

Are you interested in competing again?

Yes, I would love to compete again! I have always been an extremely competitive person especially when it came to cooking and food. Knowing what I know now, I think that I could pull off a win if I was fortunate enough to go on another Top Chef journey.

Will you root for — or against — Angelo? Are you guys friends off-camera?

That’s a good question….are you trying to get me in trouble? I will cheer him on just as much as my other chef friends on All Stars this season. We saw each other a few weeks ago, when we both participated in the TrueFlavors Cook-Off in Washington, DC for True Child, a national organization committed to helping children break through stereotypes. There will always be a competitive vibe between us. I am not going to root again him…but I do hope that these challenges give him a run for his money.

Tune in later today for our first recap featuring Ed’s expert insights!