Picked for Your Plate: Top Farm to Table Restaurants for Earth Day + Every Day

Farm to table may be an overly used phrase at this point, but the underlying philosophy will always make sense. What could be better for chefs than access to hyper fresh produce and proteins raised by farmers with whom they have a personal connection? Rather than simply take what’s being offered, chefs are now making special requests for items they wouldn’t otherwise be able to find. We present three top farm to table restaurants for Earth Day that have cultivated special partnerships with farmers so they can serve their guests unparalleled – and oftentimes otherwise unavailable – vegetables, fruits, and herbs.

Travis Swikard, Culinary Director, Boulud Sud, New York, New York
“It all started three years ago, because Stokes Farm from Old Tappan, New Jersey, set up a farm stand next to the restaurant. I began talking to the farmers and ultimately started using his tomatoes. After I went on a farm tour, he offered us half his greenhouse to grow whatever we wanted. Now he grows us a ton of stuff: mustard greens, bronze fennel, pea shoots and pea flowers, pepper cress, and lemon verbena. In the fall, we use 600 pounds of his pumpkins a week — mostly Fairytales to make ravioli and Moroccan-spiced pumpkin soup. We’re also starting to develop a relationship with StarDust Farm in Pen Argyl, Pennsylvania, which we found on Instagram. We’ve been using his eggs for a year; they have bright, plump, firm yolks. They’re super-flavorful and very creamy – the way eggs are supposed to be. We put a slow poached one on top of our spring garlic aïgo boulido (pictured), which is essentially a garlic and potato velouté. This spring, they’re growing garlic for that soup, as well as peas and purple asparagus. In the summer, we’ll be getting baby spicy greens, field lettuce, chilies, piquillo peppers, five kinds tomatillos, and a bunch of different tomatoes. I have a strong drive to find the best ingredients and then make the best food with it. We want our diners to know the stories behind what they’re eating, so I like to provide the servers with some ammunition about these products so they can go to the table to let people know why it’s special.” Make a reservation at Boulud Sud.

Farm to Table Restaurants for Earth Day

Dane Sewlall, Executive Chef, Black’s Bar & Kitchen, Bethesda, Maryland
“Brett Grohsgal from Even’ Star Farm in Lexington Park, Maryland, came by the restaurant randomly one day, we got to talking, and we found out we have the same outlook on food. Everything at his farm is organic and he uses heirloom seeds. Prior to a season beginning, he’ll ask what I’m looking for. In the past, I’ve asked for green strawberries and purple and yellow cauliflower. If it’s in the realm of possibility, he’ll do it. He does a couple things for us that I haven’t seen anywhere else, including napini, which are the flowering tops of mustard greens and have a bitter, biting mustard flavor. He also grows us two edible flowers: red buds, which are pink and taste like snap peas, and little yellow arugula flowers, which have an intense arugula flavor. His pea greens are so much more flavorful and bolder than those grown hydroponically or in a hothouse. I use them to garnish our garam masala-crusted salmon (pictured), which is drizzled with a spicy tamarind sauce and is accompanied by samosas filled with potatoes, onions, and peas. As a chef, I don’t want to work with vegetables that have been on a plane or a boat for weeks on end. The longer it is out of the ground before you eat it, the more flavor it loses. So to serve stuff that’s so fresh and so local is going to give me the best possible flavors to work with.” Make a reservation at Black’s Bar & Kitchen.

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November Restaurant Weeks: Save Before the Holidays!

CRW 2014The holidays are awesome because presents! Food! Family! Friends! And, did I mention cocktails? Unfortunately, the presents part can leave your piggy bank looking a bit lean. This is exactly why we adore dining discounts during November restaurant weeks! Discover where you can save while you share delicious meals with your favorite foodies in the weeks to come.

* We’re craving Cleveland Restaurant Week and tasty three-course dinners for just $33, November 3-15. Reserve now.

* Say “Aloha!” to Restaurant Week Hawaii. Take advantage of gourmet prix-fixe meals, November 17-23. Reserve now.

Hudson Valley Restaurant Week has what you’re hungry for with $20.95 lunches and $29.95 dinners, November 3-16. Reserve now.

* Saving during Jersey Shore Restaurant Week is a sure thing. Enjoy $20.14 and $30.14 dinners, November 7-16. Reserve now.

Long Island Restaurant Week awaits with $27.95 three-course dinners, November 2-9. Reserve now.

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On Our Plate: The Story of Hungry; Restaurant Weeks in Hawaii + the Jersey Shore; JBF Women in Whites Gala Tickets + More

NKH-imageHappenings on and around OpenTable…

* Help end childhood hunger in the U.S. Watch ‘The Story of Hungry” and take the pledge to join No Kid Hungry in this important fight.

* In anticipation of the 2014 Chicago Michelin stars, the Bib Gourmands have been announced. Find out if your favorite affordable Windy City eatery made the list.

* Attend Women in Whites: The 2013 James Beard Foundation Gala. The nation’s top female chefs are creating a meal to remember at NYC’s legendary Four Seasons.

* Enjoy an exclusive  20% discount to the St Pete’s Enjoy Arts & Tastes Grand Tasting in Florida on November 16. Purchase tickets now.

* Voting for the Charlie Awards is open. Vote for your Twin Cities’ food favorites and purchase tickets to the ceremony on November 17.

* Trending on recent OpenTable restaurant reviews? Sardines.

* Cleveland Restaurant Week is in full swing! Click through for three-course $33 dinners, November 4-16.

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On Our Plate: Best Values on Best Wine Lists; SF Michelin-Starred Restaurants; Restaurant Weeks in Cleveland, Montreal, Long Island + More

CRW-2013Happenings on and around OpenTable…

* We’re toasting the winners of the 2014 Diners’ Choice Awards for the 100 Best Wine Lists in the U.S. Find out which lists are the most sip-worthy!

* Speaking of sip-worthiness, we asked the winning sommeliers to share the best values on their lists. Find out which bottles have the most bang for your buck.

* The San Francisco 2014 Michelin stars have been awarded. Did your favorite Bay Area restaurant get a celestial nod?

* Help fight hunger in Boston. Purchase tickets to the Lovin’ Spoonfuls Ultimate Tailgate Party on November 10.

* Voting for the Charlie Awards is open. Vote for your Twin Cities’ food favorites and purchase tickets to the ceremony on November 17.

* Are you heading #BacktoBoulder for UC Boulder’s homecoming game? Head to the Beehive for special deals on drinks and meals.

* Trending on recent OpenTable restaurant reviews? Kohlrabi.

* Delaware Dines Out is on. Book now for $15 lunches and $30 dinners, October 21-27.

* Richmond Restaurant Week winds down this weekend. Order up $25.13 three-course dinners, October 21-27.

* Taste MTL is set for November 1. Choose from three courses for three prices — $19, $29, and $39 — in Montreal through November 11.

* Newport Restaurant Week comes to New England in November. Don’t miss $16 lunches and $30 dinners, November 1-10.

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