You Say It’s Your Birthday? 5 Top Restaurants for Birthday Desserts

Any way you slice it, everyone needs cake (and all varieties of decadent desserts). Those ready for a break from all the clean eating. Anyone following the U.S. political campaigns. And, naturally, people celebrating birthdays. And birthday dinner-ending sweets are at their absolute best when they’re prepared with top-quality ingredients by professionals trained to make sure the last thing you eat at their restaurant is the best thing. So if you’re ready to indulge on your special day (or any day, really), check out one of these five top restaurants for birthday desserts.

Vespa, Westport, Connecticut
Know what makes a killer cake even better? Twelve (!) layers of buttermilk sponge cake baked thin, sliced even thinner, and then covered with a traditional bittersweet chocolate mousse made with 63% Valrhona cocoa powder. The chocolate semi- sweet chocolate ganache frosting doesn’t hurt either. Craving a different flavor? Then there’s carrot cake, made lighter by technique (the eggs and sugar are whipped) and better by using Mascarpone mousse and Italian buttercream vanilla frosting on top. And because pastry chef Susanne Berne believes it’s the best combination out there, she does a banana sponge cake layered with chocolate and peanut butter and covered with a dark chocolate glaze. On the side: “milk jam” (think caramel or dulce de leche) truffles. Because why not? Make a reservation at Vespa.

Top Restaurants for Birthday Desserts

Rye, Leawood, Kansas
If you’re craving an upscale-but-hearty meal to precede your cake, then this is the place. But don’t fill up entirely on the pan roasted salmon, the seared hanger steak, or chicken and dumplings because then you won’t have room for the peanut butter chocolate pie with French silk-style chocolate mousse on top. Or the new coconut cream cake, in which the cake is infused with buttermilk and coconut cream and then layered with pastry cream and topped with caramel sauce. Another word of caution: If you fill up on a side of mac ‘n cheese with crispy bacon or roasted cauliflower with lemon garlic butter, then you might be too full for the classic banana cream pie that has chocolate-covered crust and toffee crumble on top. And we haven’t even mentioned the lemon meringue pie with its creamy Swiss meringue that never rotates off the menu due to constant customer demand. Make a reservation at Rye.

Top Restaurants for Birthday Desserts

Tango, Seattle, Washington
The fact that the recipe for Tango’s El Diablo dessert is carefully guarded by the restaurant’s owners — and that the chefs are required to sign a non-disclosure agreement regarding the ingredients and cooking technique — are some pretty reliable clues that this dish is off-the-dial delicious. Owner Travis Rosenthal describes it as thicker than a mousse, but not quite a cake. It’s also gluten-free, has a hint of cayenne pepper, and comes with tequila caramel sauce. Do you really need more convincing? Make a reservation at Tango.

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9 Top Breakfast Restaurants: Start the Day in a Delicious Way

At OpenTable, we believe that all meals were created equal. No, not what you’re served because, obviously, spaghetti trumps a salad anytime. Rather, they are of equal importance. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner each represents an opportunity to treat yourself to a memorable dining experience. And yet – breakfast in America (ahem!) often gets short shrift. In the interest of encouraging you to make your first meal your best meal of the day, here are 9 top breakfast restaurants across the nation.

The Voya, Mountain View, California
The Voya bills itself as a place for executive dining — and delivers on that promise with its attention to detail. Tables are set with colorful Italian glassware and linens; made-to-order beignets are served with warm maple syrup and fresh-made whipped cream. Its Latin-American menu, served at lunch and dinner, leans more toward traditional American fare for its early-day offerings, with omelettes, Eggs Benedict, and steel-cut oatmeal, making it the perfect setting for a Silicon Valley business breakfast.

Top Breakfast Restaurants

Blue Duck Tavern, Washington, D.C.
Locals and visitors to our nation’s capital are stuck on Blue Duck Tavern, quite possibly owing to their coveted pecan sticky buns. Executive Chef Ryan LaRoche and Chef de Cuisine Brad Deboy spin innovative takes on your morning favorites, such as their BDT Benedict (which for fall 2015, is made with housemade pastrami, Brussels kraut, and a thousand island hollandaise) and buckwheat waffles. Even Donald and Hilary would agree that this is bipartisan dining at its best.

Top Breakfast Restaurants

Sterling’s Brunch Buffet at Bally’s Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada
Looking for a sure way to beat the odds in Vegas? You can always bet on breakfast at the indulgent Sterling Brunch Buffet at BLT Steak in Bally’s Las Vegas Hotel and Casino where you will enjoy endless pours of Perrier-Jouët Champagne, Mimosas, Bloody Marys, and unlimited American sturgeon caviar (pictured). Then, choose from made-to-order omelettes, Alaskan king crab, truffle mashed potatoes, lobster tails, oysters, and plenty of gluten-free options. In addition to self-service, table service is available. Be sure to request a personally guided tour of all the offerings before you dive in.

Top Breakfast Restaurants

Farmshop LA, Santa Monica, California
Serving breakfast daily and brunch on weekends, Farmshop raises casual morning dining to the highest level using locally sourced products, such as duck eggs from Apricot Lane Farms. Pastries are baked fresh and served with Spring Hill Jersey Cheese Co. butter and housemade preserves. Plus, Farmshop’s associated market will amply stock your pantry at home for the some takeaway goodness.

Top Breakfast Restaurants

Anzu, San Francisco, California
For a very healthful and delicious variation on your day’s first meal, try the traditional Japanese breakfast at Anzu in the Hotel Nikko. Salt-cured salmon is grilled to perfection and served on fresh white rice with a raw egg (I know, but trust me on this one: crack the egg, add a few of drops of soy sauce, mix it together, and pour it right on the hot rice. Awesome!), Japanese tsukemono pickles, and a bowl of miso soup. And if you are particularly adventurous, go for the fermented soybeans (natto) which, when topped with a little soy sauce, hot mustard, and chopped scallion, is a brilliantly healthful way to greet the day.

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OpenTable Reviews Reveal #DinersChoice Top 100 Best Restaurants in America — Top 10 Ranked

As we cheer the end of another year of delicious dining, we are pleased to celebrate the 2014 Diners’ Choice Award winners for the Top 100 Best Restaurants in America and highlight the Top 10 honorees. These awards reflect the combined opinions of more than 5 million restaurant reviews submitted by verified OpenTable diners for more than 20,000 restaurants in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

The Top 10 Best Restaurants in America, in rank order, include:

  1. SeaBlue Restaurant & Wine Bar – North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
  2. Sushi Nakazawa-Sushi Bar – New York, New York
  3. Fearrington House Restaurant – Pittsboro, North Carolina
  4. n/naka – Los Angeles, California
  5. St. Francis Winery & Vineyards – Santa Rosa, California
  6. Ski Tip Lodge – Keystone, Colorado
  7. Twenty Eight Atlantic at Wequassett Resort – East Harwich, Massachusetts
  8. Kai – Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort – Chandler, Arizona
  9. The French Room – Dallas Texas
  10. Highlands Bar and Grill – Birmingham, Alabama

The Top 10 Best Restaurants in America are as diverse as our appetites, from intimate and sleek newcomer Sushi Nakazawa with just 25 seats to the lively, perennially revered 124-seat Highlands Bar and Grill. What they all share is an unmatched level of consistency and attention to detail, which can be found in their superior service, careful sourcing of local ingredients, and commitment to excellence and hospitality.

Lauding both recently opened as well as longstanding restaurants that feature everything from à la carte to intricate tasting menus, the complete list includes award winners in 32 states and Washington,D.C., such as Eleven Madison Park in New York, Laurel in Philadelphia, and Saison in San Francisco. There are 35 repeat winners from 2013, eight of which again cracked the top 10, and 65 new honorees.

New York has the greatest number of winners with 12, followed by California and Florida with eight each; North Carolina and Pennsylvania with six apiece; and Oregon and Texas earning five each. Illinois has four, and Arizona, Georgia, Hawaii, Nebraska, New Jersey, South Carolina, and Virginia all have three winners. Colorado, Massachusetts, Maine, Michigan, Nevada, Tennessee, and Washington have two award winners apiece. Alaska, Alabama, Connecticut, Kansas, Maryland, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Utah, Washington, D.C., and Wisconsin are also represented.

Dinner-only restaurants dominate the list, with 59 winners. While American fare restaurants are most popular, the eclectic array of cuisines on the list includes global, Hawaiian, Italian, Japanese, seafood, Thai, and vegan. More than 25 percent of honorees indicate they offer gluten-free options.

While new restaurants make a strong showing with 14 opening in 2014, including vegan eatery Modern Love, well-established restaurants performed remarkably well: 25 winning restaurants are more than 20 years old. Approximately twenty percent of the list includes restaurants located at a property of historical significance.

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Gluten-Free Dining; Gwyneth to Open Eatery; Standing-Room Only Restaurants + More News

Anything anyone can do Gwyneth can do better.

Dining news from around the world and the web…

* There and back again. Return migration is boosting restaurant culture in the Rust Belt and beyond. [Pacific Standard]

* Think gluten-free is just a trend? Think again. New York’s Del Posto restaurant now offers gluten-free versions of its famed pastas. [Gothamist]

* What to eat when you don’t eat wheat. Tips for going gluten-free when dining out. []

* Are you going to stand for this? Japan’s standing-only restaurants are set to open in New York. [Reuters]

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