Let’s Begin Dinner By Carb Loading: A Dozen Delicious Restaurant Bread Baskets

There’s a reason why it’s called “breaking bread.” Offering up bread at the beginning of a meal is an age-old gesture of hospitality, a way to make guests feel welcome as soon as they sit down. Rather than simply offer soft rolls and hard butter, plenty of restaurants are offering boss breads. We’re talking the likes of crème frâiche biscuits, Gruyere-laced popovers, and jalapeno cornbread muffins. The kind of stuff that makes you forget you’re on a carb-free diet. Here are a dozen delicious restaurant bread baskets (with apologies to our gluten-free diners – look away!).

Birch & Barley, Washington, D.C.
There’s a word that always makes us smile when we’re dining out: free. The thing is, we would happily pay for this bangin’ bread board, but we’re more than happy to enjoy it on the house. The selections rotate regularly, but it might include a pretzel roll, a crème frâiche biscuit, and an olive roll.

Best Restaurant Bread Baskets

Barton G The Restaurant, Los Angeles, California
There’s a bit of magic at work here. When your bread comes to the table, you’ll probably think that the server accidentally brought out some dessert doughnuts instead. Actually, the rounds are savory, finished off with basil, cheddar, pink peppercorn, and black truffle “frostings.”

Best Restaurant Bread Baskets

Urban Farmer Steakhouse, Cleveland, Ohio
Hey, nice cans! The tin tubes are used to bake mini silos of cornbread for dinner service. During brunch, they hold zucchini bread, which gets a shower of freshly grated chocolate when served.

Best Restaurant Bread Baskets

Andiron Steak & Sea, Las Vegas, Nevada
Meet the pop stars of the bread basket world. These Gruyere-laced popovers boast a crackly crust. The warm puffs arrive with whipped butter dusted with black Hawaiian lava salt.

Best Restaurant Bread Baskets

Chauhan Ale & Masala House, Nashville, Tennessee
Chef Maneet Chauhan serves an Indian-inspired bread basket. Freshly baked naan is accompanied by a selection of seasonal chutneys, sauces, and butters. Selections in the past have included spicy pineapple chutney and traditional raita.

Best Restaurant Bread Baskets

Osso Steakhouse, San Francisco, California
A boule of sourdough topped off with rosemary and garlic is very nice. It’s even better when it arrives in a small cast iron skillet brimming with a creamy chorizo sauce. And it’s even better still when it’s finished off with a shower of cheddar cheese and quickly baked. Certifiably addictive.

Best Restaurant Bread BasketsContinue Reading

Attention Restaurateurs: Only 16 Days Left to Claim Your FREE Mobile-Friendly Site

[singlepic id=25 w=400 h=240 float=right]Restaurateurs, time is running out to claim your free mobile-friendly site. In October, OpenTable introduced a free service that makes it easy for its restaurant customers to optimize their websites for mobile devices. The new service is designed to help restaurateurs capitalize on the massive shift toward mobile by making restaurant websites more user-friendly and functional on smartphones. The service, powered by DudaMobile, is quick and easy to use, and the before and after results are dramatic without sacrificing the branding and elegance of the restaurant’s desktop website.

To take advantage of the free service, OpenTable restaurant customers in the U.S., Canada, and the UK must claim their mobile site through the OpenTable Restaurant Center before February 1, 2013. Customers who sign-up by the deadline will enjoy the service for free as long as they’re an OpenTable customer and comply with the terms and conditions of the service. Customers who sign up after January 31, 2013, will have access to the service for a nominal monthly fee.

Restaurants interested in becoming customers of OpenTable can learn more by visiting the Restaurateurs: Join Us section of the OpenTable website.

Claim your FREE mobile site today!

Tweet of the Week: OpenTable Dining Rewards Points Lead to New Hobby

Everyone needs a hobby — and what better hobby than collecting OpenTable Dining Rewards Points? Sure, dining out costs money, but with Dining Rewards, you can redeem your points for free meals! Happy hobbying, Anna Maria!



Haiku? Don’t Mind If You Do! Enter This Week’s Poetic Spotlight Giveaway

Write a haiku that / Tells us why you love Spotlight / Random poet wins

Hey, Spotlight fans! We’re taking a brief hiatus from our usual Secret Spotlight Giveaway to do something completely different. And by completely different we mean poetry! Why? Well, Annie Happel and the rest our Spotlight team are a particularly literate bunch (as you may have noted from all the clever copy that accompanies each deal every week). In keeping with their love of both food and words, we’re asking you to write a haiku about Spotlight. One winner will receive a free Spotlight offer in the nearest Spotlight market

Enter by posting your haiku (along with the Spotlight city closest to you) in the blog comments below. Be sure to use your real name/email address so we can contact you with your prize if you’re the winner! Giveaway period ends Tuesday, May 31, 2011, at 11:59PM EDT. Standard terms and conditions apply.

Not sure what a haiku is? In a nutshell, it’s an unrhymed three-line poem, and the first and last lines have 5 syllables and the middle line has 7 syllables. You can learn more here.

You can also learn by example, thanks to these haiku penned by OpenTable Spotlight’s own Tori Tsu…

Where the Spotlight shines
Happy foodies dine on a


Find a hidden gem
With a daily deal from your
Spotlight restaurant

Continue Reading