Chef Fathers on Being a Dad + How They’re Spending #FathersDay

Neckties, barbecue tools, and Hallmark card platitudes have become de rigueur around about the third Sunday in June. Most dads, like most moms, will agree that any recognition of their parental dedication is more than welcome. Nevertheless, the true essence of Father’s Day is to simply celebrate the contributions of fathers, and father figures, to their children’s lives. With some fathers trading briefcases for diaper bags, a modern dad struggles as much as a mother to maintain a healthy work/life balance. Enter the chef and/or chef/restaurateur; much like parenting, this is a daily round-the-clock commitment. When the buck stops with you, there are no days off. Working evenings, weekends, and holidays renders family time even more precious. Much like balancing flavors, harmonizing work life and family life can be delectable and rewarding. We rounded up three chef fathers to talk about Father’s Day and what being a dad means to them.

Martin Rios, executive chef + proprietor, Restaurant Martin, Santa Fe, New Mexico

Rios family blog copyMartin Rios of Restaurant Martin in Santa Fe seems to have struck a copacetic balance between work and family. A James Beard nominee for Best Chef in the Southwest, Rios and his wife, Jennifer, who is also his business partner, are doing more than preparing outstanding progressive American cuisine; they are raising two teenage daughters. Emma and Annaliese, 17 and 14 respectively, have spent many an hour back-of-the-house with their parents. Does Rios see them following in his footsteps? “No, I am not encouraging them to follow in my footsteps. If this is the path they choose, I will, of course, support them, but whatever they choose to do is what I will encourage. They do help in the kitchen at home and at work, but we are hardly at home since we are owned by a restaurant!”

With culinary arts taking center stage in this family, the proverbial apple might not have fallen far from the tree. Rios, who is also his own pastry chef, is proud of his oldest daughter Emma’s baking prowess. “Emma, has become an inspired baker and always has an eye on a beautiful presentation,” explains Rios. Conversely, Rios’ younger daughter, Anneliese “has become as close to a vegan as she can get!”

How is the Rios family going to celebrate Father’s Day? “By working! Our restaurant is always open on holidays and Father’s Day is no exception. We will work and then eat together as a family at the restaurant.”

Michael Schwartz, chef + founder, Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink, Miami, Florida

Tamara and Michael Schwartz blog copyJames Beard Award-winning chef/restaurateur Michael Schwartz of Miami’s Genuine Hospitality Group, which includes Schwartz’s flagship, Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink, is the father of “the three best kids on earth; Harry is 12, Lulu is 15, and Ella, my eldest is 18.” Schwartz hails from a family where neither parent did any cooking. “Dad did encourage me to get that first restaurant job. I started out as a busser, and the kitchen lured me in pretty quickly. Today, Schwartz’s children are intricately involved in everything he does, both at home and in his career. Ella and Harry have namesake eateries: ella, a casual pop-up cafe serving breakfast and lunch in Palm Court, in Miami’s Design District, and Harry’s Pizzeria, also in the Design District. Lulu might not have a restaurant named after her, but she does have bottles of wine. Lua Rossa is a California red that is blended annually with Jim Clendenen of Au Bon Climat winery in Santa Barbara. Lulu is not only the inspiration, but the designer of the label.Continue Reading

Thanksgiving Restaurant Reservations: Last Minute Deals + Offers

tday deals blogIt’s Tuesday and Thanksgiving is Thursday (!), but it’s not too late to find the perfect table for your celebration. Honestly! Just visit our local Thanksgiving pages to find details on special menus, pricing, and additional offers — and book your reservation. To pique your interest, we’ve rounded up a sampling of offers, from value-driven to extravagant, as well those that are a bit different. 

Atlanta:
A bit less: Flat Creek Lodge — Kids eat for just $12 (and adults for $28) at this extensive and affordable Thanksgiving Day buffet.
A bit more: Southern Art — For $67 per person, diners can tuck into a full brunch buffet featuring Southern Art specialties, Thanksgiving carving stations, and a briny seafood display.
A bit different: Rosa Mexicano — Serving Thanksgiving with a festive Mexican twist, Rosa Mexicano has slow-roasted Yucatan turkey and turkey enchiladas topped with cranberry-orange salsa on the menu.

Boston:
A bit less: Seasons 52 — A tasty Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings is yours for just $26.95 for adults and $12.95 for kids.
A bit more: Rialto — Treat yourself to a sumptuous dinner at this Boston favorite. $120 for dinner with wine pairings. Children under 12 dine for $35.
A bit different: Grill 23 & Bar — In addition to the regular menu, this restaurant has an awesome offbeat take on a four-course Thanksgiving dinner for $72, which includes sweet potato chowder, Little Gem Caesar salad, coffee-brined turkey, and pumpkin brûlée.

Los Angeles:
A bit less: The Stinking Rose — Get four-courses of garlicky goodness at this traditional Thanksgiving dinner for $34.95. Plus, enjoy no corkage.
A bit more: Mr. C Beverly Hills — Sup on all of your Thanksgiving favorites with elegant accompaniments, including lobster bisque, butternut squash ravioli, chestnut stuffing, and more for $85 per person.
A bit different: AKASHA — You’ll be thankful for their annual pie buffet for dessert alone. Plus, fish and vegan options are available and it’s just$65 for adults and $35 for kids under 12.

Miami:
A bit less: Prime-Del Ray Beach — Have your turkey and eat it, too, for just $24.95 at this traditional, three-course Thanksgiving feast.
A bit more: Bistro One LR-Ritz Carlton — There’s something for everyone with a raw bar, tapas, grill, desserts, and more, plus unlimited Champagne and mimosas from 2-8PM. $125 for adults and $45 for kids.
A bit different: The Bazaar by José Andrés at SLS Hotel South Beach — Celebrate Thanksgiving this year through the culinary vision of José Andrés with distinct dishes such as sous vide breast, confit leg with traditional gravy, or a deconstructed pumpkin pie.

Minneapolis:
A bit less: Mallard’s on the St. Croix — For $23.95, diners get a traditional Thanksgiving dinner served family style, with turkey, ham, and all the side dishes, plus a dessert bar. And, every seat has a lovely view of the St. Croix River.
A bit more: Woolley’s Steakhouse — Don’t miss their famous Champagne Brunch, with chef stations, carved New York strip steak, turkey, and ham, plus a tuna bar, oysters, and seafood and the best of breakfast, lunch, and dinner — all for $39.95 for adults and $14.95 for children.
A bit different: Fogo de Chao Brazilian Steakhouse — Change things up this year with 16 cuts of delectable fire-roasted meats, Brazilian side dishes, and more for $49.50.

New York:Continue Reading

20 Culinary Questions with Lee Schrager, Founder of the Food Network South Beach + New York City Wine & Food Festivals

Lee_Schrager_2 copy[1] copyLee Brian Schrager is one of the nation’s preeminent event planners and media relations experts, serving as the vice president of corporate communications & National Events at Southern Wine & Spirits of America, Inc. Known for his creation of both the Food Network South Beach and New York City Wine & Food Festivals, Schrager is the author of The Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival Cookbook and the recently released Fried & True: More than 50 Recipes for America’s Best Fried Chicken and Sides. He studied at the Culinary Institute of America and at the School of Hospitality Management at Florida International University. His greatest culinary indulgence is that he travels for food. You can follow him on his culinary excursions on Twitter at @Lee_Schrager.

1. What are some of the best qualities of the Miami dining scene? Its diversity – from neighborhood joints to white-tablecloth fine dining, there’s a spot to fit any taste. There are strong cultural influences on Miami’s dining scene as well; mostly Latin due to our location, but you can find just about any type of food here.

2. Any restaurants at which you’re something of a regular? There are several! Sugarcane, Mandolin, Ni. Do. Caffé, MC Kitchen, Yardbird, Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink – the list keeps growing.

3. If I come to Miami, where must I dine? That depends on how long you’re here and how many places I can give you – there are so many truly satisfying options now. Miami’s culinary scene has grown exponentially and continues to do so.

4. Last best restaurants you dined at? I had great meals recently at both Traymore and Touché.

5. Restaurants you’d most like to try but have yet to — anywhere? If in Miami, I’m looking forward to getting to Drunken Dragon and Porfirio’s.

6. Favorite cities for dining outside your own? This is also a long list – I was recently in Tuscany, which I love, and also experienced the culinary scene in Israel, which I was amazed by.  I’m also a fan of the street food scene wherever I travel.

7. Destination dining cities you’d love to visit? Berlin and Chile.

8. What’s your overall favorite type of cuisine? I’m a fan of Italian cuisine, but it all depends on what I’m in the mood for. I love fresh, simple, ingredient-driven food.

9. Small shared plates, tasting menu or app/entrée dessert? Depends on the group of people I’m dining with – it’s important to know your party when evaluating this choice. I tend to lean toward shared plates though, in an effort to try as many of the dishes offered as possible.

10. Dish you can’t resist ordering when you see it on a menu? Roast chicken and/or fried chicken – it calls my name.

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August Restaurant Weeks: Dine for Less!

PBRWThe dog days of summer may not be here, but the savings days are! Restaurant weeks are happening now, and whether you’re on the road, or staying close to home, you won’t want to miss your chance to enjoy steals on meals this month.

* Alexandria Restaurant Week offers $35 three-course dinners for one or $35 dinners for two, August 15-24. Book now.

* Downtown Atlanta Restaurant Week features $15, $25, and $35 prix-fixe menus, August 9-17. Book now.

* Baltimore Restaurant Week has something for everyone with $15 lunches and $20 and $30 dinners through August 10. Book now.

* Downtown Cincinnati Restaurant Week is serving up $35 dinners, August 11-17. Book now.

* Dallas-Fort Worth Restaurant Week begins next week. Get ready for $25 lunches and  $35 or $45 dinners, August 11-31. Book now.

* Denver Restaurant Week is just around the corner. Reserve for $30 gourmet dinners, August 23-29. Book now.

* Houston Restaurant Weeks have begun. Feast on $20 lunches, $25 brunches, and $35 + $45 dinners through September 1. Book now.

* Hudson Restaurant Week is happening now. Don’t miss $13 and up lunches and $25 and up dinners through August 8. Book now.

* Miami Spice is heating up. Get in on $23 lunches and $39 dinners through September 30. Book now.

* New York City Restaurant Week is on! Celebrate with three-course $25 lunches and $38 dinners through August 15. Book now.

* Coolinary New Orleans has rolled into the Big Easy. Let the good times roll with two- or three-course lunches for $20 or less and three-course dinners for $35 or less through August 31. Book now.

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