On Our Plate: 2012 James Beard Award Nominees; Private Party Planning Tips; UNICEF Tap Project; Boston Restaurant Week + Chicago Chef Reservations

Donate a dollar for each free glass of tap water during the UNICEF Tap Project to help provide clean drinking water to children around the world.

Happenings on and around OpenTable… 

* Congratulations to the 2012 James Beard Foundation Award nominees. Find out if your fave chef or restaurant was recognized.

* Planning a private partyManhattan event planner Maya Kalman has five tips to make it your best soiree yet.

* The UNICEF Tap Project is happening now! Dine out and donate to help provide the world’s children with safe, clean water.

* Share Our Strength 2012 Taste of the Nation fundraisers are happening in San Francisco on March 29th and a city near you. Buy tickets today.

* Do you make the best grilled sandwich in the world? Enter Artisanal’s contest to win cool prizes and bragging rights!

* This week’s restaurant review trend? Meat-free dining during Lent.

* Speaking of meat free, did you observe the Great American Meat OutLet us know in this week’s poll!

* Did you send the Tweet of the WeekFind out.

* Reserve to Dine out to fight AIDS at select DenverMinneapolisPhiladelphiaSan DiegoSan Francisco,and Washington, D.C.  restaurants on April 26th!

* Restaurant Weeks in Boston, Chicago ChefThe Hamptons, Hudson Valley, and South Jersey are happening now. Don’t miss your chance to dine out for less in your city.

* Restaurant reservations are now available for additional Restaurant Weeks, such as AustinLong IslandPortsmouthSeattleand Talbot County.

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On Our Plate This Week at OpenTable: Happenings and Hot Offers

Cherry Picks is great because you don't have to actually pick your food from a tree or anything. You can just pick it from a menu, which is way easier.

What’s on our minds — and on OpenTable — this week…

* Do you love your mother? Do you tolerate love your mother-in-law? Of course you do! So, book a primo table for Mother’s Day today to show up your siblings and in-laws win brownie points and bragging rights on May 8th.

* And, if you haven’t noticed all those Peeps on the shelves at Duane Reade, Easter is around the corner! Check your local metro start page for Easter specials in your area.

* We still can’t stop drooling over revered San Francisco Chronicle critic and food writer Michael Bauer’s Top 100 Bay Area Restaurants 2011 list. If you’ve (or when you’ve) been to all of ’em, let us know. We may have a crown for you somewhere. Or, some Spanx.

* This should be music to your ears! Austin Restaurant Week is on like Tron. Featuring multi-course $10-$15 lunches and $25-$35 dinners, Austin Restaurant Week runs April 10-13 and April 17-20, 2011.

* Sad about the end of Dine Around Seattle? We are, too! Thankfully, Seattle Restaurant Week is here. The Emerald City’s finest restaurants are serving up three-course dinners for just $28, while many are also offering three-course lunches for a mere $15! Seattle Restaurant Week runs April 10-14 and April 17-21.

* The D.C. cherry blossom trees are blossoming and local chefs are celebrating with Cherry Picks, featuring special dishes and cocktails. Cherry Picks ends on April 20, 2011.

* From the “Ugh!” files: It’s almost Tax Day. Boo! But, wait, whoo! Selected restaurants around Cleveland are taking pity on you with $10.40 menu items, this Friday through May 15, 2011! If you can expense it to your boss, you’ll save even more. Take that, Uncle Sam!

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Music to Your Ears: Austin Restaurant Week Is Almost Here!

austin-restaurant-weekAustin, Texas, is the live music capital of the world. But man — and woman — does not live by music alone. Thankfully, Austin has a vibrant dining scene that makes it a draw for foodies, too. Beginning on September 13, Austin residents and visitors can enjoy deals on meals as Austin Restaurant Week begins. Running through September 16 and then from September 20-23, some of Austin’s tastiest dishes will be available at a discount. You can choose from $25 or $35 prix-fixe, three-course dinners at restaurants including Hudson’s on the Bend, Jeffrey’s Restaurant, Paggi House, Roaring Fork, and many more. A portion of the proceeds will go to benefit AIDS Services of Austin and Sustainable Food Center.

Reserve your tables today to enjoy gourmet dinners while helping two non-profit agencies better serve their communities.