Nine Showstopping Popcorn Dishes to Celebrate Blockbuster Season

Independence Day is almost here, and ahead of this epic movie-going weekend, we’re wondering which will be the big winner at the box office on July 4th (not to mention the summer). Jurassic World might claw its way to the top of the heap. Maybe Minions will take over the world. Or perhaps Terminator: Genisys will be the supersized success of the season. When the movie studios start binging on blockbusters, we get hungry for popcorn – and not just at the theater. Lucky for us, sweet and savory preparations featuring the puffy kernels have been popping up all over the country. In honor of the instances in which this concession-stand classic steals the show, we present nine show-stopping popcorn dishes to celebrate blockbuster season.

Almanac, New York, New York
Remember those nut-crusted cheese balls your grandmother always made at the holidays? Chef Galen Zamarra created an upscale riff: caramel popcorn-crusted goat cheese. The globe of goodness arrives with semolina crisps and golden raisin-fennel compote.

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Americano Restaurant & Bar, San Francisco, California
There’s an old saying that bacon makes everything better. That certainly holds true with executive chef Josua Perez’s ballpark-inspired bacon-pecan caramel popcorn. The sweet, salty, briny, and buttery snack mix is a certifiable home run.

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The Back Room at One57, New York, New York
There are éclairs and then there is pastry chef Scott Cio’s Cracker Jack éclair. The tubular treat is topped off with slightly salted caramel popcorn. Dig in and don’t worry; there’s not a prize hiding inside.

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Barton G. The Restaurant, Los Angeles, California
You’ll feel like you’re making a trip to the concession stand when you order this fun-loving appetizer. A mix of fried shrimp and Old Bay-spiced popcorn arrive in a chipper red and white retro popcorn maker. The jumble of crispity, crunchity bites is accompanied with Sriracha aioli and sweet chili sesame sauce.

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Nine Stunning Summer Restaurant Menus Showcasing the Season’s Bounty

Summertime and livin’ is easy. Farmers markets overflow with a rainbow of just-harvested vegetables, fruits, and herbs, while fishermen haul in seasonal specialties. For chefs, this wealth of freshness is a bonanza that they look forward to all year long. You can practically hear them rubbing their hands with glee when it starts flooding into their kitchens. To highlight the best of the sunny season, we rounded up nine stunning summer restaurant menus.

Bouchon, Beverly Hills, California
Thomas Keller presents French favorites crafted with farm fresh produce. Roasted chicken comes with a ragout of summer pole beans and sweet corn, artichokes pair with a pan-seared swordfish, and a radiant apricot tart leads the new dessert offerings. C’est magnifique!

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Charlie Palmer Steak, Washington, D.C.
When he’s not in the kitchen, executive chef Jeffrey Russell spends time tending his garden plot across the Potomac River in Alexandria, Virginia. The vegetables and herbs he cultivates there become a part of his four-course tasting dinners, which change weekly. The initial menu features a baby butter lettuce salad filled out with cukes, carrots, and bronze fennel and teres major steak accompanied by braised Swiss chard and charred Vidalia onions.

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Chefs Club by Food & Wine, New York City
If restaurants were movies, this one would be The Avengers. A rotating, all-star cast of contributors presents a seasonally inspired menu, which currently includes a watercress-jalapeno-watermelon salad from chef Michelle Bernstein and lobster cannelloni from chef Lachlan Mackinnon-Patterson of Frasca Food and Wine in Boulder, Colorado. Sounds like a blockbuster to us.

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Lincoln Ristorante, New York, New York
For his latest menu, executive chef Jonathan Benno found inspiration in traditional Sardinian cuisine. Standout dishes include a burrata orb graced with strawberries and pickled ramps, brown butter sautéed morels sit atop ricotta-pea pocketed ravioli, and a mélange of spinach and red dandelion greens are gussied up with briny bottarga, chili, and garlic. Best of all: you don’t have to buy a plane ticket to enjoy this authentic taste of the Mediterranean isle.Continue Reading

Lunch Break: Meet OpenTable Employee Stacey Roberson

In our latest edition of Lunch Break, Stacey Roberson shares her favorite — and dream — dining destinations and tells us what’s for lunch. A senior account executive in Los Angeles, Stacey will happily raise a chocolate martini or a glass of bubbly with you or meet you at Melisse in Santa Monica for a meal to remember; just don’t ask her for a bite of her salted chocolates. 

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To join Stacey and her colleagues, apply to take a seat at our table at http://www.opentable.com/careers/.

Mad Men Restaurants in New York + Los Angeles; Plus, Dine Like It’s 1969 During NYC Mad Men Dining Week

mad men 2015Mad Men returns with seven final episodes on Sunday, April 5th. In celebration, NYC & Company is hosting Mad Men Dining Week. You can get your Don, Joan, Peggy, Pete, or Roger on with $19.69 two-course lunches or two-cocktail lunches at select Manhattan restaurants through March 29th. And, as we count down the days until the season premiere, we’ve rounded up the classic restaurants that your favorite Mad Men characters have — or should have — dined at in Los Angeles and New York.

10 Places Don Draper Dined in New York City

Manhattan in the 1960s didn’t have as many fine restaurants as New York City (or anywhere, really) in the 2010s, but there were some gems that are still in business. Get your Mad Men fix on with a look at the real restaurants that have been plot points and settings on the show. 

Restaurant: AJ Maxwell’s (aka The Forum of the Twelve Caesars)
Location: 57 West 48th Street, New York, New York
Episode: “The Suitcase,” season 4, episode 7
The Dish: I’m fudging here a bit as AJ Maxwell’s wasn’t exactly featured on Mad Men — but its location was. In this will-she-stay-or-will-she-go Peggy Olsen-centric ep, the devoted-to-Don-Draper working girl misses her big birthday dinner at The Forum of the Twelve Caesars, much to the great chagrin of her family and boring beau Mark. Steakhouse AJ Maxwell’s opened in the same space as the opulent The Forum of the Twelve Caesars, which closed in 1975, but some of The Forum’s over-the-top charms remain.
Insider’s Tip: Order the classic Caesar salad and look around for The Forum’s original murals in the restaurant.
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Restaurant: Barbetta
Location: 321 West 46th Street, New York, New York
Episode: “The Summer Man,” season 4, episode 8
The Dish: This theater-district Italian restaurant holds several distinctions outside of its Mad Menappearance. It is the oldest restaurant in New York that is still owned by the family that founded it, the oldest Italian restaurant in New York, and the oldest restaurant in New York’s Theater District. On top of all that, a newly single Don Draper squires the sassy Bethany to Barbetta, only to run into Betty Draper and new father husband Henry Francis in “The Summer Man.”
Insider’s Tip: Don’t miss dining in one of the city’s best gardens.
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10 Places Don Draper Should Dine in New York City

On the heels of our rounding up New York City restaurants that Don Draper dined at, we also wondered where he and the rest of the Mad Men characters might dine in the Big Apple in future episodes!

Restaurant: 21 Club
Location: 21 West 52nd Street, New York, New York
Casting note: Open since 1929, we’re certain that the stylishly clubby 21 Club would be a must-eat for the agency’s out-of-town clients, so we’re not sure how this icon of Manhattan’s power-dining scene hasn’t yet received its close up. Also, how dashing would Don Draper look sitting beneath the Bar Room’s fabled toy ceiling-scape?
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Restaurant: Café Carlyle
Location: 
35 East 76th Street, New York, New York
Casting note: A favorite of café society, and wildly popular since the mid 1950s, Café Carlyle could provide the perfect opportunity for new parents Pete and Trudy Campbell to enjoy a stylish night of the music of George Feyer and fine dining sans baby. The murals by Marcel Vertes remain intact, leading us to believe Café Carlyle’s star turn isn’t far off.
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Mad Men Restaurants: Los Angeles Edition

We’ve rounded up sumptuous suggestions for where we’d like to see the Sterling, Cooper & Partners crew dine in the City of Angels, circa 1969, including The Galley, Lawry’s The Prime Rib, The Smokehouse, and more.

Restaurant: Dal Rae
Location: 9023 E. Washington Boulevard, Pico Rivera, California
Now and then: Your favorite mid-century classics reign supreme at the Dal Rae, which began serving diners at this location in 1958. Its truly retro and not-at-all ironic menu features the staples that defined upscale American cuisine for an entire generation, including Chateaubriand, Rack of Lamb, Pepper Steak, and Cherries Jubilee. Known for their world-class hospitality, the Dal Rae is operated by brothers and second-generation owners Kevin and Lorin Smith. Recognizable from afar thanks to its neon, atomic-age signage, the Dal Rae features live entertainment in the piano bar.
Tasty tidbit: The Smith brothers note, “The Dal Rae is where the drinks are strong enough for Roger, and the steaks are man enough for Don.”
Classic dish not to miss: Steak Diane, Lobster Thermidor, Veal Oscar, and the tableside Caesar Salad, just to name a few.
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Restaurant: The Derby
Location: 233 E. Huntington Drive, Arcadia, California
Now and then: The Derby opened in 1922, but became The Derby in 1938, when it was purchased by legendary jockey George Woolf (known for riding Seabiscuit to victory over War Admiral in 1938). Walking through the doors of The Derby is definitely a stroll back in time to the heyday of California’s 1930’s horse racing culture. Pristine yet unfussy, this meat mecca attracts a hip crowd of all ages who appreciate a great steak, a stiff drink, and live music. Woolf’s ghost is said to haunt the establishment, spinning his favorite bar stool at closing time. A nostaglic Pete Campbell would definitely appreciate a meal at The Derby.
Classic dish not to miss: The Bacon-Wrapped Filet Mignon that made The Derby famous and Noni’s Brashioli.
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