Chinese New Year 2016: Celebrate the Year of the Monkey with a Fabulous Feast

This month, we’re celebrating #29ReasonstoLoveFebruary. And another one of those reasons is Chinese New Year 2016! It happens Monday, February 8th, marking the Year of the Monkey. Also known as the Lunar New Year, Chinese New Year is typically celebrated over a family dinner for a reunion of sorts. Whether you’re dining with your family or your friends, restaurants are ready to help you celebrate with delicious feasts that center around traditional dishes as well as delicacies. Markus Tschuschnig, general manager at La Chine in Manhattan, notes, “The New Year is one of the most important holidays in China, and when people go out to celebrate, they favor luxury dishes. At La Chine, we’re serving abalone from China, for example, along with sea cucumber.” People might not order these dishes year round, but they will to celebrate the New Year.” Here are a few of our favorites.

Chinese New Year 2016

La Chine, New York, New York
La Chine restaurant, located in the storied Waldorf-Astoria hotel, serves Chinese haute cuisine that has been receiving rave reviews since opening its doors in the fall of 2015. Taking things to the next level, chef Kong Khai Meng is introducing a special Chinese New Year menu. Available February 8-13, it will include special provincial-style fare, such as “Lo Hei” Yusheng Raw Fish Salad, a traditional dish that symbolizes prosperity and good fortune (Did you know that the higher you toss this salad the more prosperity you will have? It will be tossed tableside at La Chine, but, according to Tschuschnig, not so high that guests should fear wearing the salad rather than eating it.), BBQ Buddhist Duck, Beijing-style Dong Bo Pork Belly, Sesame Rice Dumplings, and the luxe Traditional Braised Abalone with White Truffle Drops. After each meal, based on the tradition of hongbao, diners will receive a lucky red envelope. There’s not money inside, but there is a chance to win a prize, such as dinner for 2, Champagne, or dessert. Make a reservation for Chinese New Year 2016 at La Chine.

Chinese New Year 2016

WP24 by Wolfgang Puck, Los Angeles, California
The Chinese New Year celebration at WP24 kicks off on February 9 with Wolfgang Puck’s first Traveling Night Market. The evening begins with a traditional lion’s dance at 6:30pm and continues with the Night Market featuring live-action stations preparing Chinese delicacies such as Alaskan King Crab Lo Mai and a Whole Roasted Peking Duckling and concludes with a sumptuous three-course dinner prepared by chef John Lechleidner, including 5 Spice Marinated Colorado Lamb Chops and Szechuan Peppercorn Crusted American Wagyu Rib Eye with oxtail Shanghai noodles. A special six- or eight-course Chinese New Year tasting menu will also be available February 10-19. Incorporating elements of heat throughout, the menus feature flavorful dishes such as a Red Chili Braised Kurobuta Pork Shank and “Szechuan Style” American Wagyu Rib Eye. WP24 continues its tradition of finishing the Chinese New Year meal with its classic Wishing Tree adorned with red envelopes. Guests may select an envelope which holds a proverb, message, or special gift, such as a complimentary spa treatment at The Ritz-Carlton Spa or a cocktail. Make a reservation for Chinese New Year at WP24 by Wolfgang Puck.

Chinese New Year 2016

Hinoki & The Bird, Los Angeles, California
Executive chef Brandon Kida has created a unique spin on the Chinese dessert that is the mooncake at LA eatery Hinoki & The Bird, which serves cuisine inspired by travels along the Silk Road. His Adzuki Bean Cheesecake is served with honey mocha, coconut anglaise, and coconut crisp, and it will be on the menu the week of February 8. Typically consumed during the Mid-Autumn festival, mooncakes are also popular for Chinese New Year and year round. They were once believed to give the eater special powers, and we can guarantee you’ll feel special after feasting on Kida’s twist on this classic. Make a reservation at Hinoki & The Bird for Chinese New Year 2016.

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Where’s the Beef? 11 Alternative Burgers Without an Ounce of Moo in Them

We have absolutely no problem with a classic beef burger – like we could turn down an American icon? – but, sometimes we want to switch up our routine. Luckily, Angus ain’t the only protein in play in the patty game anymore. Chefs are utilizing unconventional meats sourced from the land and sea. From shrimp and salmon to kangaroo and bison, these burgers are far from your average Big Mac. Here are 11 alternative burgers that buck the convention that is beef.

Azu, Ojai, California
This is one lean, green burger machine. The primo patty is forged out of grass-fed, fat-marbling-free bison. Don’t worry, there’s still some gluttony involved. It comes topped with onion jam, Gorgonzola, and bacon — and there’s a side of fries. Make a reservation at Azu.

Alternative Burgers

Badmaash, Los Angeles, California
Sacred cows are left out of the equation when it comes to making these alternative burgers. Instead, well-spiced lamb takes the lead. Served on a brioche bun, they come with red onion ringlets, iceberg lettuce, juicy Roma tomato slices, and paprika-pepped mayonnaise. Make a reservation at Badmaash.

Alternative Burgers

The Commoner, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Chef Dennis Marron didn’t want to follow the flock when he was designing his burger. So he created one out of lamb to stand out from the herd. It comes capped with Moroccan-spiced aioli, Indian relish, and whipped goat cheese. Make a reservation at The Commoner.

Alternative Burgers

Sambar, Culver City, California
Here’s one done the Bombay way. The chicken burger comes with a plethora of flavor-boosting toppings, including crispy chicken skin, hempseed chutney, and summer fruit chutney. Warning: it may inspire you to book a trip to India — and we will not cover the cost of the ticket. Make a reservation at Sambar.

Alternative Burgers

Sepia, Chicago, Illinois
We want this burger baaad. Sorry, couldn’t resist. The Middle Eastern-inspired round is made with lamb and finished off with pickled eggplant, fiery harissa aioli, and feta crumbles. Make a reservation at Sepia.

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Cheese? Please! 11 Epic Grilled Cheese Sandwiches #ultimatecomfortfood

When temperatures start to dip and the days stay darker longer, there is nothing we crave more than grilled cheese sandwiches. They’re a welcome throwback to the days when mom would griddle one for us as a snack on chilly school day afternoons. But the sandwiches of today go way beyond the two slices of Wonderbread and preternaturally orange American cheese of yesteryear. Chefs are transforming the humble sandwich by using fantastic fromage and A+ add-ons. Here are 11 epic grilled cheese sandwiches.

Ripple, Washington, D.C.
Any sandwich called the Quack Attack is automatically cool in our book. This beyond epic concoction is rich with Cambozola, an indulgent combination of French soft-ripened triple cream cheese, and Gorgonzola. As if that wasn’t enough for quack addicts, there’s also duck prosciutto and a sunny side up duck egg. Make a reservation at Ripple.

Epic Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Murray’s Cheese, New York, New York
There’s only one word to describe this grilled cheese: amazeballs. Yes, that’s really a word. Look it up. The Spaniard oozes with Idiazabal, a smoky, nutty sheep milk cheese from Spain (duh!), which is complemented by Serrano ham, spicy chorizo, roasted red peppers, and romesco sauce. Make a reservation at Murray’s Cheese.

Epic Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Big City Tavern, Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Better bring your appetite if you want to take down this bad boy. A shroud of melted Provolone is draped over a mound of shaved ribeye perked up with zingy horseradish mayo and sweet caramelized onions. A bib isn’t required, but it is encouraged. Make a reservation at Big City Tavern.

Epic Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Buddy V’s, Las Vegas, Nevada
You can eat this Italian grilled cheese with a fork and knife. Not that we’re recommending you do that; we’re all about getting our hands dirty. Cake Boss Buddy Valastro’s sandwich features fried mozzarella and sits in a pool of tomato ragu and Genovese pesto that’s perfect for dipping. Make a reservation at Buddy V’s.

Epic Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Delicatessen, New York, New York
Chef Michael Ferraro didn’t want to simply use a few hole-y slices of Swiss for his Reuben riffing grilled cheese, so he substituted in four cheese mac ‘n’ cheese. Yes, you read that correctly. Of course, there’s also braised corned beef, sauerkraut, and pickles. It might not be what your zeyde (grandfather) grew up eating, but it’s a sandwich worthy of a new generation of deli-goers. Make a reservation at Delicatessen.

Epic Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Brick & Mortar Kitchen, Richmond, Texas
Get a little bit of the South in your mouth. Plump with pimento cheese, this sandwich epitomizes everything we love about comfort food from below the Mason-Dixon line. And, it comes with a bowl of tomato basil soup, which is a million times better than anything you ever got out of a Campbell’s can. Make a reservation at Brick & Mortar Kitchen.

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Save $20 on Fall Dining When You Pay with OpenTable This Week

PAY_twitter-falldining-rv2 copyGet into the spirit of pumpkin spice season this week by saving $20 on delicious autumn dining. When you book a table and pay through the OpenTable app* for your next meal on Tuesday, September 29 through Sunday, October 4, you’ll save $20** on your experience — while you get to savor the flavor of fall. Here’s how it works:

* Make a reservation and dine September 29-October 4 at a restaurant that accepts OpenTable mobile payments.

* Add the promo code pumpkin in the top right when you view your check in the app. (You can only use it once!)

* And there you have it —  a $20 credit toward your bill. (Now if only we could explain precisely what pumpkin spice is.)

View participating restaurants in BostonChicagoLos AngelesNew YorkSan Francisco, and Washington, D.C. Find all participating restaurants here. Book a reservation today to save $20 on fall dining when you Pay with OpenTable!Continue Reading