Portland’s Chefs Fired Up; High Cal Inaugural Lunch; Burgers Okay with Exercise

ESPN hires a new head chef. Hilarity ensues.

Food and dining news from around the web and the world…

* Didn’t get invited to the inaugural luncheon? Your waistline will thank you — it was a 3,000 calorie meal! [Washington Times]

* The tipping point. That moment when you start to hear a chef’s name everywhere. [Grub Street Chicago]

* Get the burger. And then get to the gym. [Business Insider]

* Portland’s chefs getting 86d. Some of the region’s best restaurants have parted ways with their revered chefs. [OregonLive]

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And, the Next OpenTable ‘My Foodie Valentine’ Dinner for Two Giveaway Goes to…

Do you get the feeling that Rob and Heather are serious burgerphiles? Me, too!

On behalf of everyone at OpenTable, congratulations to Heather McLeod of West Chester, Pennsylvania on being another lucky winner of the OpenTable ‘My Foodie Valentine’ Dinner for Two Giveaway. Heather, pictured here with her husband Rob, will receive a $200 AMEX or Capital One gift card to help them celebrate Valentine’s Day with another delicious dinner! Heather says, “This picture is of my best friend and husband Rob and I in San Francisco for my 28th birthday. This was one of the many restaurants we checked out on our vacation. This burger definitely got our attention! Can I go back now?” You can — and you can look us up when you do! Happy Valentine’s Day, Heather and Rob!

There’s still one more prize to be awarded. If you haven’t already, upload your entry to the OpenTable Flickr group today! Tune in again tomorrow as we announce the next winner.

Top Dining Trends for 2012: Kids at Restaurants Are Out; Bread, Spicy Foods Are In

When you think about it, is there anything that isn't fine about dining on a juicy burger, like this one from Elements in LA?

As we look back today at the top restaurants of 2011, we’re also looking ahead to next year. We recently surveyed our restaurant partners and OpenTable VIP diners to find out the top trends for 2012.

1. Babysitters are as important as reservations. You love your children, naturally, but your fellow fine diners? Not so much. Two-thirds of respondents would prefer you leave the little ones at home, even though just as many restaurants are more than glad to serve young foodies.

2. Bread is back. Carbs be damned; more than 60% of diners want to see bread on the table at the beginning of their meal — and they don’t want to have to ask for it, thankyouverymuch.

3. Almost everyone likes it hot. Nearly 90% of OpenTable diners want chefs to turn up the heat with spices.

4. Burgers are no longer rare. Three-quarters of guests surveyed welcome burgers on fine dining menus and half of fine-dining restaurants serve them.

5. Breakfast: It’s what’s for dinner. More than 80% of respondents would like to see breakfast food served all day. [Ed. note: Me, too!]

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Restaurant Websites Unappetizing to Diners – But Burgers Are; A Day in the Life of Critic Michael Bauer; Chopsticks Aren’t Musical Instruments; Veggies Best Bacon

Tom Colicchio was initially asked to play the chef of Smurf Village, but he was too busy with Top Chef Season 9.

* Restaurant websites get roasted. And, OpenTable’s own Scott Jampol weighs in, to boot. [Slate]

* Being Michael Bauer. The revered restaurant critic pays a price for his chosen profession, from friendship to frequent exercise. [Christian Science Monitor]

* Let’s get small. All the cool restaurants are doing it! [WSJ]

* Wagging a finger at those who linger. If there’s a line at a restaurant, stop squatting. [Chicago Tribune]

* Drumroll? Please. Don’t. Chopsticks are chopsticks and drumsticks are drumsticks. Thank you. [Inside Scoop SF]

* Get the burger. I can’t ’cause I’m not eating carbs. Boo. But, if you are, drool over this breakdown of some of the nation’s best burgers. [NRN]

* More on burgers. If you love ‘em, you’re not alone. [TODAY]

* The great tipping debate continues. Pondering Jonathan Gold’s recent 20% recommendation. [Mother Jones]

* Chef Tom Colicchio (Craft) is everywhere these days. Including the Smurfs movie. [Eater]

* Would you like to see a menu? How about hundreds of them? Art of the Menu is for you. [Eater]

* This is business, not personal. Dining with a professional contact calls for different protocol. [Vancouver Sun]

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