Watch: How to Saber a Champagne Bottle

Want to make a splash on New Year’s Eve? Saber a bottle of bubbly. Nothing rings in a new year quite like Champagne, loud cheers, and the suggestion of a little danger.

We asked Johnny Slamon, sommelier at Alexander’s Steakhouse in San Francisco, to show us how to saber a Champagne bottle like a pro (and, of course, safely). Johnny worked at the Fifth Floor restaurant for five years before joining the opening team of Alexander’s, where he’s built what he calls an “aggressive” Champagne program.

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Party Like a Rock Star in the New Year at Musician-Owned Restaurants

Jogging, shmogging. Make it your resolution to party like a rock star in the new year. At least once, get ushered around town in a stretch Hummer, knock back magnums of Dom Pérignon with your friends, and wear enough bling so that your selfies are just a blizzard of glittering lights reflecting off your jewels. Such a baller evening wouldn’t be complete without dining at a restaurant that epitomizes the high life. We recommend reserving a table at one owned by a chart topper. Here are five musician-owned restaurants where you can party like a rock star and live like a celebrity any day of the week.

Jay Z’s 40/40 Club, New York, New York
Hova has 99 problems, but running a super swanky sports-themed nightclub isn’t one of them. The luxe lounge takes its name for a record only four MLB players – Jose Canseco, Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriguez, and Alfonso Soriano – have ever achieved: hitting 40 home runs and stealing 40 bases in a single season. As you would expect, the space is decorated with sports memorabilia galore, including signed jerseys you might be tempted to rip off the wall so you can hang them in your man cave at home. Don’t. Jigga would definitely not approve. The menu features bar food done right – from king crab sliders and spicy, skin-on fries to Southern fried shrimp and four cheese mac ‘n cheese. If you happen to be there at the same time as Jay and Bey, don’t interrupt them while they’re eating to ask for a picture with them to post on your Instagram. Wait until they’re enjoying a digestif, then bum rush them.

Musician-owned restaurants

Sammy Hagar’s Cabo Wabo Cantina, Las Vegas, Nevada
You’ve probably sung one of Hagar’s songs at the top your lungs with the windows cranked down and the accelerator kissing the floorboards. Maybe his signature solo hit, “I Can’t Drive 55” or one of his many smashes with Van Halen, such as “Why Can’t This Be Love,” “Poundcake,” and “Right Now.” His Mexi-minded cantina – which takes its moniker from a track on VH’s 1988 album OU812 – specializes in South of the Border favorites. Think queso fundido with chorizo, short rib burritos, carne asada tacos, and chipotle-spiced chicken fajitas. Oh, yeah, and there’s a lot of tequila to be had, including Sammy’s own brand. Have a few glasses of Cabo Wabo tequila and you may be, um, inspired to belt out a tune in between courses. Just don’t make the amateur mistake of singing a Van Halen song David Lee Roth originally sang. So. Not. Cool.

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House of Carts: 8 Restaurants Offering Tableside Service to Make You Feel Like a VIP

Why walk over to the bar, the kitchen, or the cheese display when it can come to you? Restaurants are now using carts to convey everything from cocktails and Champagne to entrees and the cheese course to their guests. The mobile filling stations allow staffers to give diners a show by accompanying their meal by crafting a top shelf martini, cracking open a clay-baked fish, or popping the cork on a rare bottle of bubbles for them. Here are eight restaurants offering exquisite tableside service, guaranteed to make you feel like a VIP.

Bourbon Steak, Washington, D.C.
Head bartender Torrence Swain created the Monkey Business tiki-inspired cocktail just so tipplers could enjoy a show at the table. Made with Monkey Shoulder Scotch and Drambuie, it’s served over ice with flame-kissed, brûléed banana and freshly grated nutmeg. Warning: if you enjoy too many, you may be inclined to start swinging from the chandeliers while loudly proclaiming you’re the king of the jungle.

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Charlie Palmer at The Knick, New York, New York
Legend has it that that Knickerbocker Hotel was the birthplace of the Martini. To honor that legacy, the restaurant offers a cart packed with all the components for the classic cocktail (available upon request or for special events). Expect to find a bottle of Tanqueray No. Ten, dry and rouge vermouth, and orange and citrus bitters, as well as all the necessary equipment. (Ed. note: I seriously hope there’s a vodka option available.)

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Kachina Southwestern Grill, Westminster, Colorado
Echoing a traditional Native American cooking technique, rainbow trout is stuffed with lemon, thyme, and pungent epazote leaves, shrouded in cornhusks, and wrapped in clay etched with a fish drawing. After it’s baked, the pescetarian entree is wheeled to the table and cracked open for the guest.

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The Source, Washington, D.C.
On a foggy Sunday morning, there is no more welcome sight than this Bloody Mary cart coasting in our direction across the dining room. Choose from three options: classic, Chesapeake topped with Crab Louis Salad and horseradish panna cotta, or spicy Sichuan accompanied by pickled chilies. Then add your choice of celery, olives, and a slew of salts. Suddenly, our hangovers aren’t that bad after all.

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The Palm Court at The Plaza Hotel, New York City
Paging 007, your Martini cart awaits! James Bond would choose between perfectly chilled Chopin Potato vodka or Ketel One while those who prefer gin can opt for either Tanqueray No. Ten or Plymouth. His is shaken, not stirred, of course, but you can go your own way. Licensed to thrill.

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Dining Out on Mother’s Day: The Best Time to Dine

Mothers-Day-2010-SurveyMother’s Day is mom’s day off, so it’s no surprise that it’s one of the busiest dining out days of the year. Diners seeking to enjoy a more leisurely dining experience should consider dining at a time other than noon, according to the results of  a recent survey of OpenTable diners. The survey revealed that 12PM was the most popular time to dine on Mother’s Day. Diners also told us that almost 50% of moms make their own Mother’s Day reservations. Dads, who are probably busy figuring out what to buy their lovely wives, only do the reserving 31% of the times. Kids reserve, too, but just 15% of the time.

The size of most dining parties is small, with most people spending Mother’s Day at a table for two to four people. However, nearly 44% will dine in a larger group of more than six.

Curious about mixology for moms? Mimosas remain her cocktail of choice (42%), with Champagne coming in at a distant second (19%).

Moms will enjoy lots of love from restaurateurs this year, with free cocktails and other goodies available at many restaurants. Read more about interesting offers and additional survey results in our press room, and find a table today to make this Mother’s Day the best yet.