Champagne + Sushi + Sommeliers: Oh, Matsuhisa!

What’s better than throwing one party at the Food + Wine Classic in Aspen? Throwing two parties, of course! On Saturday night, OpenTable joined with master sommelier Dustin Wilson (wine director at Eleven Madison Park and star of the documentary Somm), Eric Railsback (sommelier and co-owner of Les Marchands Wine Bar in Santa Barbara), and Carlos Solorzano-Smith (beverage director of Matsuhisa) at Nobu’s Matsuhisa Aspen for a Champagne and sushi soiree.

There was dancing (although, sadly, not a dance-off), a Champagne waterfall, and culinary luminaries including chefs Matt Acarino (SPQR), Maria Sinskey (Robert Sinskey Vineyards), Bobby Stuckey (Frasca Food and Wine), Alex Stupak (Empellon Taqueria), and Ming Tsai (Blue Ginger), Dana Cowin, Ray Isle, and Kate Krader from Food + Wine, actress Ali Larter, and restaurateur Danny Meyer and wine director John Ragan of the Union Square Hospitality Group, among others.

Eyeball all the action in the slideshow below, with photos by Katrina Smith of The Smith Design.

We Partied Our Aspen off at Jimmy’s Bodega with Don Julio Tequila!

Like all good foodies, we headed to Aspen for the annual Food & Wine Classic. While we were there, we took the opportunity to fete a few of our restaurant-industry friends.

On Friday night, OpenTable joined with Don Julio Tequila to celebrate the opening of Jimmy Yeager’s Jimmy’s Bodega. The new sibling to Aspen hotspot Jimmy’s, Jimmy’s Bodega is a seafood and raw bar restaurant serving wine, bottled cocktails, and Mezcal, with chef Bryan Nelson behind the burner. There were delicious eats from chef Nelson and his crack culinary team, and refreshing signature cocktails, courtesy of Don Julio Tequila, including the sangrita green with cilantro and pineapple, a strawberry basil paloma featuring Don Julio Reposado, and an Anejo old fashioned.

Guests include chefs Barbara Lynch (Menton) and Ming Tsai (Blue Ginger), the Union Square Hospitality Group’s Danny Meyer, La Caravelle Champagne founder Rita Jammet, and Eater editors Raphael Brion, Hillary Dixler, Paula Forbes, Kat Odell, and Andra Zepelin. Take a peek at the action by clicking through our exclusive slideshow below, courtesy of photographer Katrina Smith of The Smith Design.

 

Give the Last-Minute Gift of Fine Dining at a Discount with Today’s Spotlight Offers!

After hitting the slopes, satisfy your appetite with the sea bass at Jimmy's in Aspen.

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!

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James Beard Foundation Awards Nominees 2010: Congratulations!

The list of James Beard Foundation Awards nominees for 2010 has been released. Congratulations to everyone whose hard work and great talents have been recognized by the industry’s most prestigious organization. The winners will be announced on May 3, 2010, but there aren’t any losers in this round-up. Nominees include:

James-Beard-Awards-2010-nomineesBEST NEW RESTAURANT
* Bibou, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Chefs/Owners: Pierre and Charlotte Calmels

* Flour + Water, San Francisco, California
Chef/Partner: Thomas McNaughton
Partners: David White and David Steele

* Frances, San Francisco, California
Chef/Owner: Melissa Perello

* Marea, New York, New York
Chef/Partner: Michael White
Partner: Chris Cannon

* RN74, San Francisco, California
Chef: Jason Berthold
Owners: Michael Mina and Rajat Parr

OUTSTANDING CHEF AWARD
* José Andrés, The Bazaar by José Andrés and Zaytinya
* Tom Colicchio, Craft and Colicchio & Sons
* Charles Phan, The Slanted Door

OUTSTANDING PASTRY CHEF AWARD
* Amanda Cook, CityZen at Mandarin Oriental, Washington, D.C.
* Nicole Plue, Redd, Yountville, California

OUTSTANDING RESTAURANT AWARD
* Boulevard, San Francisco, California
Chef/Owner: Nancy Oakes
Owner: Pat Kuleto

* Daniel, New York, New York
Chef/Owner: Daniel Boulud
Owner: Joel Smilow

* Highlands Bar & Grill, Birmingham, Alabama
Chef/Owner: Frank Stitt
Owner: Pardis Stitt

* Spiaggia, Chicago, Illinois
Chef/Partner: Tony Mantuano

OUTSTANDING RESTAURATEUR AWARD
* Tom Douglas. Restaurants include Dahlia Lounge, Etta’s, and Lola.

* Pat Kuleto, Pat Kuleto Restaurant Development & Management Co., San Francisco, California. Restaurants include Boulevard, Epic, Martini House, Waterbar.

* Richard Melman, Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises, Chicago, Illinois. Restaurants include Big Bowl, Hub 51, Osteria Via Stato, Tru, and Wildfire.

* Stephen Starr, Starr Restaurant Organization, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Restaurants include Alma De Cuba, Buddakan, Morimoto, and Parc.

OUTSTANDING SERVICE AWARD
* La Grenouille, New York, New York
Owners: Charles Masson and Gisèle Masson

* Michael Mina, San Francisco, California
Chef/Owner: Michael Mina

* Vetri, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Chefs/Owners: Marc Vetri and Jeff Benjamin

OUTSTANDING WINE AND SPIRITS PROFESSIONAL AWARD
* Paul Grieco, Hearth, New York, New York

OUTSTANDING WINE SERVICE AWARD
* A16, San Francisco, California
Wine Director: Shelley Lindgren

* Frasca Food and Wine, Boulder, Colorado
Wine Director: Bobby Stuckey

* Jean Georges, New York, New York
Wine Director: Bernard Sun

RISING STAR CHEF OF THE YEAR AWARD
* Timothy Hollingsworth, The French Laundry, Yountville, California
* Grégory Pugin, Veritas, New York, New York

BEST CHEFS IN AMERICA
Best Chef: Great Lakes
*Bruce Sherman, North Pond, Chicago, Illinois
* Alex Young, Zingerman’s Roadhouse, Ann Arbor, Michigan

Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic
* Cathal Armstrong, Restaurant Eve, Alexandria, Virginia
* Jeff Michaud, Osteria, Philadelphia, Pennsyvlania
* Michael Solomonov, Zahav, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
* Bryan Voltaggio, VOLT, Frederick, Maryland

Best Chef: Midwest
* Colby Garrelts, Bluestem, Kansas City, Missouri
* Alexander Roberts, Restaurant Alma, Minneapolis, Minnesota
* Lenny Russo, Heartland, St. Paul, Minnesota

Best Chef: New York City
* Michael Anthony, Gramercy Tavern
* Wylie Dufresne, wd-50
* Daniel Humm, Eleven Madison Park
* Michael White, Marea

Best Chef: Northeast
* Michael Leviton, Lumière, West Newton, Massachusetts
* Tony Maws, Craigie on Main, Cambridge, Massachusetts
* Marc Orfaly, Pigalle, Boston, Massachusetts

Best Chef: Northwest
* Ethan Stowell, Union, Seattle, Washington
* Jason Wilson, Crush, Seattle, Washington

Best Chef: Pacific
* Michael Cimarusti, Providence, Los Angeles, California
* Jeremy Fox, Ubuntu, Napa, California
* David Kinch, Manresa, Los Gatos, California
* Matt Molina, Osteria Mozza, Los Angeles, California
* Michael Tusk, Quince, San Francisco, California

Best Chef: South
* Zach Bell, Café Boulud at the Brazilian Court, Palm Beach, Florida
* Scott Boswell, Stella!, New Orleans, Louisiana
* John Harris, Lilette, New Orleans, Louisiana
* Michael Schwartz, Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink, Miami, Florida

Best Chef: Southeast
* Sean Brock, McCrady’s, Charleston, South Carolina
* Linton Hopkins, Restaurant Eugene, Atlanta, Georgia

Best Chef: Southwest
* Bryan Caswell, Reef, Houston, Texas
* Ryan Hardy, Montagna at The Little Nell, Aspen, Colorado
* Rick Moonen, RM Seafood at Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada

Read more about the James Beard Foundation and the 2010 Awards, click here. Purchase tickets here. And, reserve your seat at the next James Beard House dinner in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village for a unique dining experience in the birthplace of modern American gastronomy.