On Our Plate: Desk to Dinner Collection at Banana Republic; Washington DC Restaurant Week Reservations; Queens Feast; Dine Tampa Bay; Zombies + Bacon

In honor of Bastille Day, here is a photo of Roger Federer winning the French Open in 2009.

Happenings on and around OpenTable…

* We’re cleaning out our closets to make room for Banana Republic’s fabulous Desk to Dinner collection and we’re clearing our datebooks for the Bon Appetit events at Banana Republic stores on Thursday, July 19th. Learn more!

* Bastille Day is tomorrow! Where will you dine to fete the French and their cuisine?

* Does bacon make everything better? Vote in this week’s poll!

* There was a dead man’s party in Philadelphia. Thanks to the Town Dish folks, we’ve got all the zombielicious details.

* Cleveland Cool Fun in the Summertime is happening. Sample delicious dishes and pairings at Cleveland’s best restaurants thru 7/31.

* Toronto Summerlicious returns. Dine for less with $15, $20 or $25 lunches and $25, $35 or $45 dinners thru 7/22.

* Mpls.St.Paul MagazineRestaurant Week ends today! Feast on two-course $10 or $20 lunches and three-course $15-$30 dinners!

* Providence Restaurant Weeks has started. Enjoy $14.95 lunches & $29.95 dinners, July 8-21.

* Say Oui! to French Restaurant Week in New York. Take advantage of $17.89 set menus July 8-15 in honor of Bastille Day.

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Dining Poll: Is Bacon in a Dish Well Done or Overdone?

Bacon is the so-called trend that always waxes and never seems to wane. What started out as a revived appreciation has yielded a cornucopia of culinary offerings ranging from the whimsical (Bacon ice cream!) to the weird (Bacon vodka! Ed. note: Ewww!). And, the weirder: Days ago, a restaurant unveiled its all-bacon burger. But, is bacon getting too big for its britches? A backlash may be building if this Eater interview with Southern chef and eschewer of bacon John Currence is any indication. Currence notes, “Everybody went bananas for bacon. It was an easy thing. If you were cooking and didn’t have any sort of real ability at all but wanted to illustrate something through the Southern lens, you’d throw bacon at it, no matter what.”

What’s your position on bacon? Mainstay or culinary crutch? Weigh in on today’s poll!

Top Chef Texas Episode 8: Voulez-Vous Coucher Avec Chef Ed Hardy Ce Soir?

"Whoa! @MarioBatali just retweeted one of my tweets!"

We’re still stuffed from lots of Christmas-time dining and talking about the latest episode of Top Chef: Texas with Ed Hardy of Red Rooster Harlem.

Have you been to Austin?

No, but its on my short list of places I need to go. I hear the food scene is great!

This is probably something every chef should have up her or his sleeve: What’s your ultimate bacon dish?

This is an easy question. For the holidays I always make a Bacon Tree. Merry $%&#ing Christmas! When I need a lighter bacon snack, I love the classic BLT, but put together with a little homemade lemon aioli and some Nueske’s bacon.

I just ordered some life-changing bacon from Flying Pigs Farm. Holy cow! Or, rather holy pig! Speaking of pork, also, I just had this amazing sausage hash at Locanda Verde. You have to eat there. Unreal!

I’ve heard about the hash at Locande Verde. I’m not important enough to be able to score a table. Maybe if I keep writing stuff like this they’ll allow me in. Hash, in any form, is a good thing. Whether you’re at a Waffle House and get it scattered, smothered, covered and chunked or if you’re on the slopes in Switzerland and you order a Rösti avec du fromage, de l’oignon et jambon it’ll be delicious. Because, oddly enough, you just ordered the exact same thing.Continue Reading

Late Night Favorites: The Drawing Room’s Chef Nick Lacasse Talks Bacon Squared

It's hip to be bacon squared at The Drawing Room.

We’re celebrating the release of the 2011 Diners’ Choice Awards for best late night restaurants by looking at a few of the dishes that diners find extra delish after hours. Executive Chef Nick Lacasse of The Drawing Room in Chicago talks about Bacon Squared, including his explanation for why it’s so popular.

The dish: Bacon Squared, which is bacon wrapped in Duroc pork belly. In its previous incarnation (pictured), it included frisée, pickled fennel, and kumquat gastrique. The most current preparation features peaches, habanero, maple-ginger vinaigrette, and basil.

The inspiration: “The inspiration for this dish was born from the original menu concept meetings of The Drawing Room, pre-opening with Shawn McClain. Back then, the focus was kitschy kind of tongue-in-cheek, small-dish offerings, where fun to eat was a main goal.”

The explanation: “It is an especially good seller during late night service. It’s very cocktail-friendly, having a base flavor of salty and fatty; it’s almost made for bourbon or rye. Its funny to me to imagine how many thousands I’ve rolled up over the years!”

Curious diners take note: Bacon squared is also served during the day.

Reserve a table at The Drawing Room to try this dish.