Quebec Wants Chefs; Final Resting Places of Famous Foodies; Allergy-Friendly Dining App; Chef Fitness Tips + How Many Courses Are Too Many?

Rest in Pizza would be a more appropriate epitaph for the tombstones of great gourmets!

Restaurant and food news from around the three dubs…

* Of courses. How many are too many? Don’t ask me. I’m a the-more-the-merrier diner. [Clean Plate Charlie]

* I don’t want to be buried in a chefs’ cemetery. I don’t want to be buried at all, but that’s a whole other conversation. But, you can tour the final resting places of some of New York’s most famous food legends. [Wall Street Journal]

* Appetite for deconstruction. Restaurants inspired by music and musicians. [Paste]

* Fat-free recipes. Top chefs share their tips for staying slim. [Daily Mail]

* Olde tyme fun with Facebook. Chain restaurant reviews from senior diners. [Tumblr]

* Forget cookies and muffins. A restaurant in Bangkok leaves diners with a much more personal takeaway. [Chicago Tribune]

* Oh no she didn’t! Yep, actually she did. She being ‘Real Housewife’ Heather Dubrow and the doing being the dissing of the restaurants of the OC. [BuddyTV]

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Win 100,000 Dining Rewards Points: Enter The Mother of All Foodies Giveaway!

Enter to earn the title of "Mother of All Foodies" and 100,000 Dining Rewards Points!

In honor of Mother’s Day, OpenTable is pleased to announce our search for the Mother of All Foodies! Could it be you?

Do you tweet what you eat? Facebook what you cook? Shop like a chef? Sip like a sommelier? Have a taste for tasting menus? We’re looking for you!

Enter “The Mother of All Foodies Giveaway” on the OpenTable Facebook page for a chance to win a grand prize of 100,000 OpenTable Dining Rewards Points, redeemable for ten $100 OpenTable Dining Cheques good at any OpenTable restaurant nationwide.

Participants can enter the OpenTable Mother of All Foodies Mother’s Day Giveaway by nominating themselves or others via the OpenTable Facebook page.  The nomination process involves uploading a photo and providing a 100-word (or less) description of why the nominee embodies “The Mother of All Foodies.” The entry period runs through April 29, 2011. Then, 10 finalists will be selected, and Facebook users will vote for the winners from April 30, 2011 through May 4, 2011. The grand prize winner will receive 100,000 OpenTable Dining Rewards Points, redeemable for ten $100 OpenTable Dining Cheques, good at any restaurant on the OpenTable network. Two runners-up will receive 10,000 Dining Rewards Points, good for one $100 OpenTable Dining Cheque apiece.

Choosing just one winner will be difficult, but with the help of our diners and Facebook fans, we’re certain we can find the person who truly embodies the title ‘The Mother of All Foodies” and reward that passion. Enter now!




Get Clued In: Secret Spotlight Hints Are Live for This Week’s Offers

The clever scribes on the OpenTable Spotlight team are at it again. They’ve rounded up a bunch of clues — along with some hunger-inducing photos — to help you figure out where our Spotlight will enable you to save. Offers arrive in Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco on Tuesday, while Atlanta, Boston/New England, Chicago, Denver, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C. will be available for purchase on Wednesday. And, just like last week, tune in for a bonus round of offers on Thursday.

Use these clues and droolworthy pics to help make your best guesses, on the OpenTable Spotlight boards or on Facebook!

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Atlanta: Family owned and operated, this beloved steakhouse beckons one and all to come enjoy the best steaks in Decatur.

Boston/New England: Set along Rhode Island’s stunning Providence Riverwalk, this popular restaurant serves world-class global cuisine to locals and visitors alike.

Chicago: Enjoy the warm atmosphere at this French gastro bistro on North Lincoln Avenue. Named in honor of the owner’s two children, this eatery blends contemporary French cuisine with an accessible American sensibility.

Denver: Enjoy gourmet grill fare at this Washington Park hotspot. Be sure to stop by on a Thursday or Saturday to enjoy the live music and vibrant crowd!

Los Angeles: Serving up group friendly tapas-style dishes, this Santa Monica restaurant creates a perfect fusion of East and West in every bite!

New York: Sip Merlot and people-watch at this award-winning international wine bar and American bistro in Midtown.

Philadelphia: A charming wine bar in Wilmington, Delaware, this eatery serves delectable small plates to pair with over 425 wines and 100-plus craft beers.

San Francisco: This historic restaurant in San Francisco’s Little Italy proudly holds the title of “Oldest Italian Restaurant in America.”

Washington, D.C.: A vibrant downtown eatery, this French-influenced café is the perfect escape from DC’s bustling business district restaurants.

SF Dine About Town Dining Rewards Points Giveaway Continues: Enter Now!

What San Francisco restaurants are you going to dine at? Tell us on Facebook!

It’s the 10th anniversary of San Francisco’s successful Dine About Town, which kicks off on January 15th! To celebrate this momentous and delicious occasion, we’re giving away 1,000 Dining Rewards Points each day on Facebook. To enter, Like our OpenTable page on Facebook and, after you make your reservation, write on our wall, “I just booked a table at (insert resto name) for the 10th Annual SF Dine About Town on OpenTable!” Over the next 10 business days, at the end of each day, we’ll award one diner 1,000 Dining Rewards Points. You can read more about the rules below. But, first, we talked with Lynn Bruni, one of the organizers of SF Dine About Town, to find out more about this much-anticipated event.

Congratulations, Lynn! Dine About Town is in its tenth tasty year. Can you tell us a little about the genesis of this event?

Dine About Town was developed by the San Francisco Travel Association (formerly the San Francisco Convention & Visitors Bureau) in January 2002 to encourage more people to dine out and boost restaurant revenue after the tragedy of 9/11.  The program was designed to provide locals and visitors with the opportunity to experience delicious cuisine from San Francisco’s top restaurants at an affordable price. The promotion has been highly successful since its inception, and in 2010, Open Table reported that more than $1.5 million in incremental restaurant revenue was generated through reservations booked on the online reservation systems. This does not include walk-ins or phone reservations, which we estimate brings that number closer to $3 million. Restaurants that have participated since the first Dine About Town promotion in 2002 include Ana Mandara, AsiaSF, B44Cosmopolitan, E&O Trading Company, Fringale, Grand Café, Hornblower, Le Colonial, One Market, Scoma’s, and Silks.

How has the event — and San Francisco’s food scene — evolved over the years?

Originally, the event took place only once a year throughout the entire month of January. In 2006, based on demand and feedback from diners and restaurants, we changed the January event to a two-week period from the 15th to the 31st, and added a summer promotion which takes place every June 1–15. Additionally, in 2010 we moved from a 3-course to a 2-course lunch to encourage diners to participate more during the lunch period when three courses may seem too many.

San Francisco’s food scene is ever-evolving. Recently, there’s a proliferation of chef tables and communal tables, as well as late-night dining. The communal table concept has been around for centuries – strangers gather around a communal table to break bread and boundaries together. The age-old concept of sharing a table among strangers is suddenly hip again. Now many San Francisco restaurants are incorporating communal tables into their dining rooms.

What’s unique about San Francisco’s food culture?

San Francisco mixologists now play a part in menu creation to insure the ingredients in the cocktails pair well with those found on the chef’s menu. Food and wine pairing has been common for years but cocktails were usually a “before dinner” libation choice. Now, many diners choose cocktails over wine and the chef and mixologist must work together to make sure the pairings complement one another.

A cocktail is just a cocktail unless it’s in the hands of creative mixologists who use spirits, fruit, herbs, and sugar as pure alchemy. The refreshing results have made many mixologists celebrities in San Francisco, many whom have their own following. Some of San Francisco’s celebrated mixologists include Carlos Yturria (Absinthe Brasserie and Bar), Lisel Brunson (Amber India), Johnny Raglin (Dosa on Fillmore), Bryan Ranere (Foreign Cinema), Michelle Fawcett (Kuleto’s), and Brandon Clements (Spruce).

Are San Francisco’s diners and foodies ahead of the curve in any way?

Carnivores are back in fashion and meat has never been more popular. San Francisco butchers pay close attention to how humanely the animals are treated and this focus has led to specialization in cured meats in restaurants, especially salumi.  At the Ferry Building, the culinary Mecca in San Francisco, Boccalone (Embarcadero) has opened a shop specializing in salumi, with attention to using all the parts of the animal. Its mortadela is an airy blend of pork, pine nuts, chili and cinnamon (although the exact recipe is a family secret). Other San Francisco restaurants making salumi include A16, Bar Bambino, Franciscan Crab, Perbacco, Zuni, and Zuppa.

Many restaurants and hotels, such as Epic Roasthouse, Spruce, and the Mandarin Oriental, are producing and bottling their own private labels, to reinforce  branding and help develop partnerships with the nearby wine regions.

Do you have any restaurants that are new to the event this year?

New restaurants to participate in the January 2011 promotion include Comstock Saloon, Ducca, Georges Restaurant, Hana Zen Sushi & Yakitori Bar, Kuleto’s, La Terrasse, Marlowe, Mayes, Moussy’s, Skool, Sociale, and Velvet Room (Clift Hotel).

Do you have any tips for diners?

We definitely encourage diners to make their reservations early, as tables tend to book up quickly. And, dine often — if you’re an American Express Cardmember, you can dine 3x and get 3x rewards points with a registered Card. But, finally, don’t miss the celebration for the 10th year at our Launch Event on January 12 at City View at Metreon. Over 20 restaurants and wineries will be serving delicious tastes, and 100% of the proceeds benefit Meals on Wheels. Plus, guests can enter to win the ultimate foodie roadtrip in Acura’s Eat Your Way from SF2LA sweepstakesPurchase tickets for this not-to-be-missed foodie event!

Thanks, Lynn. Diners, remember to book your San Francisco Dine About Town reservations now — and post,  “I just booked a table at (insert resto name) for the 10th Annual Dine About Town on OpenTable!” on our Facebook Wall to enter to win 1,000 Dining Reward Points. Click “Read the rest of this entry” below for complete rules and regulations.

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