On behalf of everyone at OpenTable, we hope those of you celebrating Christmas have a wonderful day. And, remember, if you don’t feel like cooking, there are plenty of options for dining out. Check your city’s start page on OpenTable to find a restaurant near you.
Everyone at OpenTable is pretty proud of our mobile apps, but we also love lots of other apps (except for Angry Birds — or is that just me?). We reached out to a few of our restaurant partners and chefs and asked them to share the apps they find most appetizing.
Epicurious: Chef Michael Mina, the creative force behind such well-respected restaurants as Bourbon Steak and XIV, picks this recipe-oriented app. “Epicurious for iPad is a neat application for the home cook and it is organized nicely,” he notes.
Pulse: Former Top Chef competitor Kelly Liken, whose eponymous restaurant in Vail has earned rave reviews, likes Pulse “for reading the news I want to read. I have Eater, GrubStreet, and The New York Times Dining & Wine section all loaded in my feed!”
Shazam: Restaurateur and man about town Johnny Santiago, who, along with Jim Chu, runs Jo’s in Manhattan’s Nolita neighborhood, counts on Shazam to help set the mood at his establishment. Santiago reveals, “I’m always thinking about playlists for the restaurant. Whenever I hear something great or that I’ve forgotten, I Shazam it and save it to a list of songs that make the ‘must add’ list.”
Twitter: Everybody’s favorite personality on Top Chef Just Desserts (Sorry, Yigit!), Zac Young is currently flexing his muscles as Executive Pastry Chef for the two Flex Mussels restaurants (downtown and uptown) in New York City. He says, “My favorite mobile app right now is Twitter. I finally figured out how to use it, and I’m kind of #obsessed.” PS: Follow Zac!
Units: Ryan Hardy, the busy Executive Chef at the elegant Montagna at The Little Nell in Aspen says, “Chefs are constantly converting units – liters, centigrade, grams, etc. The Units app is in use every day on my phone.”
What are you favorite apps – food-related and otherwise? Join the conversation here or on Facebook.
Christmas may not be coming any earlier, but this week’s Spotlight offers are. We’ve got opportunities for you to save 50% in nine different cities. Perfect stocking stuffers for the foodies in your life, Spotlight Offers are terrific way to keep your holiday gift budget in check.
Atlanta: Serving dynamic and inspired Pan-Asian cuisine, Silk Asian Steak & Seafood invigorates the palate and awakens the senses. Executive Chef Kochi Chiba gives classic Asian flavors a modern twist with a menu that consistently delights and surprises. The stylish dining room and lounge complete the experience for a meal that will leave you enchanted. Buy $40 for $20!
Boston: Inspired by the Roman Goddess of the Harvest, Ceres Bistro at The Beechwood Hotel celebrates the seasons by serving a fresh, evolving menu that highlights the cycle of its sources. A true farm-to-table experience, Ceres Bistro sources products from local purveyors whenever possible. The bistro is open seven days per week for casual fine dining during breakfast, lunch, and dinner and serves a late night menu in the bar. Indulge in the harvest and revel in the unmatched service and hospitality at Ceres Bistro. Buy $50 for $25!
Chicago: Escape the Chicago chill and bask in the warm flavors of the Mediterranean at Nia. Serving delicate and flavorful small plates, Nia’s menu takes classic Mediterranean ingredients and updates them with a modern flare. With daily specials that incorporate local, seasonal produce and a selection of homemade sausages, cured meats, artisan cheese and antipasti, Nia’s leaves no stone unturned in its quest to provide a truly exceptional dining experience. Buy $50 for $25!
Denver: Revitalize your senses at Jimmy’s in Aspen. Proudly serving “fierce American food,” Jimmy’s is the go-to place for satisfying foods that are sure to leave you smiling. Savor high-quality steaks and seafood or munch on comfort food favorites such as mac n’ cheese and meatloaf. With a live blues band on Friday and Salsa Saturdays, it’s easy to see why Jimmy’s is a local favorite. The comfortable, community atmosphere and ‘something for everyone’ menu is ideal for an outing with family and friends. Great for ski bums and bunnies. Buy $50 for $25!
Do you book restaurant reservations during the day? Or, are you a night owl? Do you reserve tables using an OpenTable app while you’re surfing your sofa on weekends — or while you’re standing in front of a restaurant? Let us know your favorite time to make dining plans in today’s poll.
Chef Ed Cotton is still on a special secret assignment this week, but, once again, 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. She will appear as a guest on an upcoming episode of Top Chef All Stars that you won’t want to miss!
David Chang is in the house. Have you dined at his restaurants? He’s very talented, but I rather dislike the trend he’s been swept up in — of anointing of new chef-kings. What do you think of this trend of people treating chefs as though they’re the second coming?
Yes, I have dined at David Chang’s restaurant, and he is extremely talented. The idea of chef-kings reinforces how important your reputation is in this business. In my opinion, chefs should be praised for their talent and cuisine, not the “awe” factor. One of the biggest concerns that I have right now is that people are going to culinary school for the wrong reasons. They may be able to cook well and have raw talent, but, realistically, not everyone is going to end up on Food Network or Top Chef. The chef-kings are great to aspire to…but at the end of the day you just have to cook good food.
To celebrate the end of the 2010 Diners’ Choice Awards season, we’ve saved the best for last. Literally! OpenTable is pleased to announce the winners of its 2010 Diners’ Choice Award for the Best Overall restaurants. Culled from more than 7 million reviews submitted by OpenTable diners for more than 15,000 restaurants in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, restaurants from 22 states and the District of Columbia made the list, with California restaurants making the most appearances (eight!) and pushing New York into second place (just seven restaurants versus last year’s nine!).
Winners include the coveted The French Laundry and Le Bernardin as well as Bone’s in Atlanta, Chez Francois in Ohio, Joseph Decuis in Indiana, and Terrapin Restaurant in Virginia, among others. Find out if your state — and your favorite restaurant in it — are among this impressive grouping.
And, tune in early next year as the 2011 Diners’ Choice Awards season kicks off with our Most Romantic restaurants winners — just in time for Valentine’s Day!
Just in time to cure the inevitable happiness letdown that usually follows the holiday season, Dine About Town in San Francisco kicks off on January 15, 2011. Running for two weeks, the City by the Bay’s finest restaurants are feting diners and the local food scene with prix-fixe meals that will soothe even the sorest of wallets. Choose from wo-course lunches for $17.95 and three-course dinners for $34.95 for two tasty weeks. Better yet, choose both!
Going on a decade strong, Dine About Town boasts an impressive list of participating restaurants including Anchor & Hope (“It has the largest selection of beers on tap of any restaurant I’ve ever seen — at least thirty.”), Fringale (“Wonderful comfort food with such depth in the flavors.”), LarkCreekSteak (“Don’t miss the house special — Yankee Pot Roast.”, Marlowe (“The polenta is LIFE CHANGING!!!”), and XYZ (“By far the best scallops I have ever had!”).*
Prime times fill up fast, so start reserving now, San Francisco, to make sure you avoid the post-holiday blues!
* Actual quotes from OpenTable diners’ reviews.
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.
Many restaurants have sommeliers, but does it matter to you as a diner? Weigh in below!
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.