Philadelphia: Tapas, tequila, and truth reign at this Latin-influenced spot on the Main Line.
San Francisco: This vibrant hotspot in the Marina district serves tantalizing Latin-Asian fusion cuisine and features a live DJ 4 nights a week.
Washington, D.C.: Contemporary French cuisine is the specialty at this Capitol Hill restaurant, where diners can purchase art and antiques from the ever-changing collection, sourced from local markets and artisans.
Be sure to get your offers before the Spotlight goes out on Wednesday night! And, tune in on Thursday for a second chance to save at another New York restaurant.
Competitor and native New Yorker Marc Forgione walks us through what happened in Vegas in this latest nail-biter of an ep of The Next Iron Chef. Threatened with a double elimination at the outset, chef Forgione was sweating it out with three of his fellow chefs until the very last minute.
This show is set in Vegas. What’s your opinion about Sin City and opportunities for restaurateurs? Do you aspire to open Marc Forgione LV?
I don’t know if I would ever open a Marc Forgione in Vegas. We have plans for Marc Forgione restaurant expansion, but New York is my home base. However…if anyone is out there reading this, I have always been interested in having some type of restaurant in Vegas. Vegas is an amusement park for adults, where everything is bigger and fancier. When people go to Vegas they want to be wowed and spend money. It is for that reason that Vegas is a chef’s dream — you can cook with exotic ingredients and take the word “fine dining” to the extreme.
For your first challenge, Jean-Philippe Maury is your judge. He’s a MOF. Did you see Kings of Pastry? Maury strikes me as the quintessential French chef, especially with his razz of Canora’s dessert. Were you intimidated by him as a judge?
No, not that tea party. But, there was a tea party this week on Top Chef Just Desserts and, as with certain politicians around the U.S., it proved to be more than a few folks’ undoing. Le Bernardin Executive Pastry Chef Michael Laiskonis walks us through the minefield that was episode 8.
Shinmin Li is in the house and she’s saying the trend is now toward artful decorative, desserts with a wow factor. Would you agree and why?
While there has to be an inventive, pleasing visual element to pastry, I’ll stick to my guns in saying that flavor comes first. That ‘wow’ factor needs to be sustained all the way through, beyond the first impression.
Would you gravitate toward the natural, as Danielle did, if tasked with making a centerpiece? If not, what techniques/materials would come to mind?
I was surprised to see Danielle lean toward that ‘naturalistic’ look, especially since it almost sent her home on the edible fashion challenge a couple of weeks back. I would have taken the approach Morgan and Yigit did, incorporating sugar and chocolate techniques to achieve a representational, yet contemporary feel.
Morgan was pulling sugar and talking about how he wanted to showcase his ability to do so. Can you explain what it is and what it entails for our non-pastry peeps?
Dining out with children has many rewards and, often, many challenges. We’re wondering if parents find it helpful to have a dedicated children’s menu from which to choose when visiting a restaurant with the little ones in tow. Weigh in below!
As you may have guessed, we’re big fans of chef Marc Forgione here at OpenTable. So, we were on pins and needles watching the latest episode of The Next Iron Chef as this Michelin-starred chef struggled from start to finish. Like every week, chef Forgione shares his thoughts on what went right and wrong in Kitchen Stadium.
The show starts and you look so excited to cook with potatoes. Why do you love them so much? What’s your absolute favorite way to cook them?
Potatoes are one of those ingredients that you can twist and turn, flavor and season. You can turn a normal potato into something decadent or rustic. It is one of those blank canvases that you can play around with, manipulate, etc. My rustic favorite way to cook potatoes is to bake them and serve them with butter, salt and pepper. My fancy way to cook them is to make Robuchon-style mashed potatoes.
Chef Caswell hoards the black truffle. Doesn’t a little truffle go a very long way? Or is this just a good example of game play?
They were not black truffles; they were summer truffles and there were only a few in the pantry. Summer truffles don’t go a long way, certainly not as far as black truffles. Chef Caswell probably needed to use more than you would expect because they are not that flavorful. As far as him game playing, you’d have to ask Chef Caswell that question.
Last night, OpenTable’s HQ hometown baseball team, the San Francisco Giants, won the World Series. Yay, Giants! Are you sad the Series is over? I am. In fact, I’m sure I speak for everyone at OpenTable (except for Chip O’Connell. Sorry, Chip!) when I say that we’re all sad it has ended, but only because we’d like to relive the last minutes of Game 5 again. And again. And again. And… sorry, I digress. So, you’re sad the Series is over. On top of that, this weekend is the weekend that we turn back the clocks, and that’s always an agent of sadness, what with it getting darker earlier EVERY SINGLE DAY until December 21st. Boo!
BUT we’ve got a reason — or, to be precise, NINE reasons — to be really happy right now: OpenTable Spotlight offers are set to shine bright later tonight! As usual, offers will be available in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C.. You’ll get the chance to save 50% at terrific restaurants, and saving money is enough to put a spring in anyone’s step, right? Until we launch our offers tonight, try to correctly guess the restaurant names based on our clever Secret Spotlight clues on the Spotlight message boards, Facebook, or Twitter!
It’s a head scratcher, we know, but the answer is…restaurant week! These three locales are each feting the foods in their regions, offering up steals on meals at some of their area’s best fine dining destinations.
As the herd thins on Top Chef Just Desserts, the action does not. Le Bernardin Executive Pastry Chef Michael Laiskonis notes, “The show is becoming more about the food and techniques, which I love!” Chef Laiskonis offers up his expert insights into what went right and wrong in last night’s episode.
The QFC is based on three tenets of working in a pastry kitchen: organization, speed, and precision. Would you agree with these as the top requirements, and/or if you could add a fourth or fifth, what would it/they be?
Those are certainly three vital pillars upon which a pastry chef’s skills are built. Obviously, teamwork also comes into play. And, perhaps, I might add humility — something a few of our cheftestants could use a bit more of. I was excited to see this challenge, as they were already planning the logistics while I was on set taping my episode!
A single star from Michelin is impressive and indicates that a restaurant is very good, while three stars means that a restaurant is a destination in and of itself, worthy of a special culinary expedition.