August Restaurant Weeks: Where to Dine for Less

Blog August Restaurant Weeks Casa Lever copyAugust is almost upon us — bringing with it even more summer restaurant weeks. We’ve rounded up where to dine for less in the coming month!

* Baltimore Restaurant Week lets you dine out more in B’more with $15 lunches and $20 + $30 dinners through August 2. Book a table.

* Howard County Restaurant Week has local flavor at fabulous prix-fixe prices through August 3. Book a table.

* New York City Restaurant Week has $25 lunches + $38 dinners at more than 300 restaurants, including Casa Lever (which will be offering its red beet tortelli with ricotta, spring English peas, Pecorino fondue, and raspberry-pickled red pearl onion, pictured), through August 14. Book a table.

* Hudson Restaurant Week brings $13 and up lunches + $25 and up dinners through August 7. Book a table.

* Baltimore County Restaurant Week is cooking up $15.15, $25.15, $35.15 lunches + dinners, July 31-August 15. Book a table.

* COOLinary New Orleans has delicious two- or three-course lunches for $20 or less, three-course dinners for $39 or less, and all-new $39 or less prix-fixe brunches, August 1-31. Book a table.

* Houston Restaurant Weeks stretch for five delicious weeks of $20 lunches, $25 brunches, and $35 + $45 dinners, from August 1-September 7. Book a table.

* Miami Spice has sweet dining deals with $23 lunches + $39 dinners, August 1-September 30. Book a table.

* Center City District Restaurant Week in Philadelphia starts soon. Don’t miss $20 lunches + $35 dinners, August 2-14. Book a table.

* Downtown St. Louis Restaurant Week is your gateway to $25 dinners, August 3-9. Book a table.

* Pittsburgh Restaurant Week invites you to dine on three-course prix-fixe meals + $20.15 specialties, August 10-16. Book a table.Continue Reading

Chill Out: Seven Cold Summer Soups to Order Now

Soup that isn’t served hot can be a real drag. Unless, of course, it’s cold soup, in which case it is a delightfully refreshing blast of flavor on a hot summer’s day. Here are seven cold summer soups to order now — and the restaurants at which to do so. 

Ajo Blanco
Sometimes referred to as “white gazpacho,” ajo blanco is a subtle Spanish summer delicacy made from ground almonds, garlic, bread, and olive oil for a smooth and cool texture on the tongue. A specialty of the Andalusian region of Spain, you’ll find it at your better tapas restaurants and Spanish wine bars. It is a real hit when it’s on the menu at at Jaleo by José Andrés in Washington, D.C. Give yourself extra points for consuming the superfood that is almonds. [Photo courtesy of Jaleo by José Andrés]

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Borsch
Borsch, or borscht, the storied beet soup of Eastern Europe can be served either hot or cold. A staple in New York’s Jewish community, it inspired the colloquial name of the old resort region in upstate New York: the “Borscht Belt.” But you don’t have to go to the Catskills to enjoy a good bowl of this purple pleasure. If you find yourself in San Francisco, schlep on over to the Inner Richmond district for a sanguine supper at Katia’s Russian Tea Room and Restaurant. Just be sure not to wear white unless your spooning skills are top notch. [Photo courtesy of Katia’s Russian Tea Room and Restaurant]

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Chilled Asparagus Soup
Cold soup, it turns out, can be made from just about any vegetable or fruit, offering a wide array of flavors and textures. Carrots lend their natural sweetness and pair well with fresh herbs, grated ginger, turmeric, and more subtle spices. Leeks bring fragrance to the bland creaminess of potatoes. Avocados, asparagus, fennel — all of these can take the main stage in a sublime cold soup when they are seasonably plentiful. These days, you’ll be able to find a great selection of freshly made soups made with everything from artichokes to zebra squash. At Pub & Kitchen in Philadelphia’s Center City, chef Eli Collins is dazzling diners with a lovely chilled asparagus soup featuring rhubarb, queso fresco, and almonds. [Photo courtesy of Pub & Kitchen]

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Korean Cold Noodle Soup
My completely unanticipated passion for cold soups began at a Korean-Chinese hole-in-the-wall somewhere in northern China where my host ordered us each a bowl of Korean Cold Noodle Soup (naengmyun). A full meal in itself, the large stainless steel bowl was filled with toothy noodles in an icy-cold, sweet, spicy, and tangy beef broth that I can still taste in my mind today. It was topped with an Asian pear, cucumbers, and more sliced beef. I’ve been chasing that dragon ever since. Stateside, Seorabol Korean Restaurant in Philadelphia makes their cold buckwheat noodles by hand in the traditional way. “This is the way Koreans have made and eaten naengmyun for centuries and we plan to keep that tradition and culture alive, even when it is not convenient,” says Seorabol’s chef Chris Cho. Seorabol offers two variations of the dish: bibim naengmyun (spicy mix), pictured, and mool naengmyun (in cold beef broth). Both are guaranteed to delight. [Photo courtesy of Seorabol]

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Food & Wine’s Best New Chefs 2015: Book a Table

Food & Wine magazine recently announced its annual roster of Best New Chefs of 2015. The honorees represent chefs who have been running a kitchen for less than five years and who are winning fans and attention in their culinary communities. A few commonalities among the winners, according to Food & Wine Editor in Chief Dana Cowin, include nods to the past and a highly personal aspect to their cooking. “The chefs seem to be cooking to please themselves, and in the process have dazzled diners,” Cowin told CNN. The standout chefs include:

Chef Zoi Antonitsas, Westward, Seattle, Washington

Résumé: Chef Antonitsas may be familiar to diners outside the Seattle area because of her turn as a cheftestant on season 4 of Top Chef. Formerly the executive chef at Madison Park Conservatory in Seattle, Antonitsas worked at  Zazu Kitchen + Farm in Sebastapol, and the Presidio Social Club in San Francisco before opening Westward in the fall of 2013 and bringing her unique blend of Mediterranean-meets-Pacific Northwest cuisine to the shores of Lake Union. She also served as a consultant for nopa.
Rave review for her food: “The food — ah! The food was amazing! I loved that everything was so simple, yet so delicious — how food should be. The presentation was impeccable.”
Book a table!

PFE - chef katie button panuelo de chocolate - 5.2011Chef Katie Button, Cúrate, Asheville, North Carolina

Résumé: Scientist-cum-chef Button opened Cúrate in 2011 after mastering her culinary craft at Spain’s legendary El Bulli. Later stints include Jean-Georges in New York and The Bazaar by José Andrés in Beverly Hills. She also opened the bar Nightbell, and is penning her first cookbook. Cúrate has been named a Top 100 Best Restaurant in America in 2013 and a Top 100 Fit for Foodies Restaurant in 2014 by OpenTable diners.
Rave review for her food: “The quality of the food was outstanding. I have been to Spain multiple times and this was like being there, from the food to the wine to the unhurried pace of the meal.”
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Chef Jim Christiansen, Heyday, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Résumé: His experience may be primarily rooted in the midwest, but chef Christiansen found his inspiration abroad as well, namely in the cuisine of Copenhagen’s renowned noma, at which he staged. After spending time in the kitchens of La Belle Vie and UNION Rooftop Restaurant in the Twin Cities, Christiansen opened Heyday to acclaim in April 2014.
Rave review for his food: “The kitchen obviously knows their stuff and the chef is inspired from start to finish. With baked goods done in house, everything is super fresh and innovative without being inaccessible. We were so happy with our food and our server; it couldn’t have been better.”
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Chef Tim Maslow, Ribelle, Boston, Massachusetts

Résumé: Chef Maslow is well known to Boston foodies, having first wowed diners when he revamped the menu at his father Paul’s aging Watertown restaurant Strip-T’s. Previously, he honed his skills within the Momofuku family of restaurants in Manhattan, rising to chef de cuisine of Momofuku Ssam Bar. He opened Ribelle in March of 2013 and received four stars from the Boston Globe a little more than half a year later.
Rave review for his food: “Whenever I get a chance to stop by Ribelle, I again realize that Tim is at the very top of the list of the best chefs in the Boston area. As a foodie, I love this place.”
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Thanksgiving Restaurant Reservations: Last Minute Deals + Offers

tday deals blogIt’s Tuesday and Thanksgiving is Thursday (!), but it’s not too late to find the perfect table for your celebration. Honestly! Just visit our local Thanksgiving pages to find details on special menus, pricing, and additional offers — and book your reservation. To pique your interest, we’ve rounded up a sampling of offers, from value-driven to extravagant, as well those that are a bit different. 

Atlanta:
A bit less: Flat Creek Lodge — Kids eat for just $12 (and adults for $28) at this extensive and affordable Thanksgiving Day buffet.
A bit more: Southern Art — For $67 per person, diners can tuck into a full brunch buffet featuring Southern Art specialties, Thanksgiving carving stations, and a briny seafood display.
A bit different: Rosa Mexicano — Serving Thanksgiving with a festive Mexican twist, Rosa Mexicano has slow-roasted Yucatan turkey and turkey enchiladas topped with cranberry-orange salsa on the menu.

Boston:
A bit less: Seasons 52 — A tasty Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings is yours for just $26.95 for adults and $12.95 for kids.
A bit more: Rialto — Treat yourself to a sumptuous dinner at this Boston favorite. $120 for dinner with wine pairings. Children under 12 dine for $35.
A bit different: Grill 23 & Bar — In addition to the regular menu, this restaurant has an awesome offbeat take on a four-course Thanksgiving dinner for $72, which includes sweet potato chowder, Little Gem Caesar salad, coffee-brined turkey, and pumpkin brûlée.

Los Angeles:
A bit less: The Stinking Rose — Get four-courses of garlicky goodness at this traditional Thanksgiving dinner for $34.95. Plus, enjoy no corkage.
A bit more: Mr. C Beverly Hills — Sup on all of your Thanksgiving favorites with elegant accompaniments, including lobster bisque, butternut squash ravioli, chestnut stuffing, and more for $85 per person.
A bit different: AKASHA — You’ll be thankful for their annual pie buffet for dessert alone. Plus, fish and vegan options are available and it’s just$65 for adults and $35 for kids under 12.

Miami:
A bit less: Prime-Del Ray Beach — Have your turkey and eat it, too, for just $24.95 at this traditional, three-course Thanksgiving feast.
A bit more: Bistro One LR-Ritz Carlton — There’s something for everyone with a raw bar, tapas, grill, desserts, and more, plus unlimited Champagne and mimosas from 2-8PM. $125 for adults and $45 for kids.
A bit different: The Bazaar by José Andrés at SLS Hotel South Beach — Celebrate Thanksgiving this year through the culinary vision of José Andrés with distinct dishes such as sous vide breast, confit leg with traditional gravy, or a deconstructed pumpkin pie.

Minneapolis:
A bit less: Mallard’s on the St. Croix — For $23.95, diners get a traditional Thanksgiving dinner served family style, with turkey, ham, and all the side dishes, plus a dessert bar. And, every seat has a lovely view of the St. Croix River.
A bit more: Woolley’s Steakhouse — Don’t miss their famous Champagne Brunch, with chef stations, carved New York strip steak, turkey, and ham, plus a tuna bar, oysters, and seafood and the best of breakfast, lunch, and dinner — all for $39.95 for adults and $14.95 for children.
A bit different: Fogo de Chao Brazilian Steakhouse — Change things up this year with 16 cuts of delectable fire-roasted meats, Brazilian side dishes, and more for $49.50.

New York:Continue Reading