Trending on Recent OpenTable Restaurant Reviews: Pickles

These homegrown serrano peppers are pickled in a sherry vinegar brine and go great with roasted meats. And, also, pretty much everything else.

If you watch the wonderful Portlandia (“We can pickle that!”), you already know that you can pickle just about anything! And restaurants do, too. Pickled produce, seafood, and more are being served as appetizers, complements to primary ingredients, or as their own dishes. Just yesterday, I had amazing pickled oysters at America Eats in Washington, D.C. And, the day prior, some colleagues and I enjoyed a delish appetizers of seasonal pickles (rhubarb, green beans, asparagus) at District Kitchen. Find out what other restaurants are brining for diners!

Aubergine at L’Auberge Carmel, Carmel, California: “Watermelon/pickled rind and chilled shellfish, fantastic and refreshing.”

Bar Tartine, San Francisco, California: ” I had the chilled cucumber and buttermilk soup, the kale and goat cheese on rye bread, and an assortment of pickles. This dinner really was a unique eating experience.”

Big Jones, Chicago, Illinois: “The use of ingredients and flavors were wonderful. The pickle platter is a must-try!!”

Campanile, Los Angeles, California: “The summer vegetable pickles were a perfect appetizer paired with the duck pâté, which was amazing.”

Carolina’s Restaurant, Charleston, South Carolina: “Salads are exceptional, featuring unusual items such as pickled blueberries, fig morsels, pistachio nuts, and bacon cubes.”

* District Kitchen, Washington, D.C.: “Odd small plates were the best — smoked bluefish, pickles, and, especially, the squash blossoms.” [Ed. note: See what I mean about the pickles here?]

Gilt Club, Portland, Oregon: “Had one of the best meals I have had all year when passing through Portland. The snails on a log were delicious paired with the pickled vegetables.”

* Il Buco Alimentari & Vineria, New York, New York: “The food was expertly prepared and plated. The flavors were authentic Sicilian with subtle twists. Pickled kumquats with the octopus was an unexpected and fantastic pairing.”

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Trending on Recent OpenTable Restaurant Reviews: Meyer Lemon

These preserved Meyer lemons seriously make everything taste better!

When I was at my local Fairway this winter, I was overcome by Meyer lemon madness. I purchased dozens — repeatedly. A winter citrus, you can extend the season by preserving them, which is precisely what I did — repeatedly — using Eugenia Bone’s easypeasy recipe. I have been using them in virtually everything we cook at home (White clam pizza! Linguine and clam sauce! Roasted broccoli! Brussels sprouts! You get the idea.) Restaurants have also been making the most of this delicious fruit, using them in recipes both sweet and savory, to the delight of diners. 

Blue Fin, New York, New York: “Meyer lemon tart was to die for!”

Bouchon, Yountville, California: “I had the most delicious seared scallops with a meyer lemon oil. Also a great glass of Gentlemen Farmer’s Cab Franc — the owners of the vineyard were sitting next to us and shared the bottle. Great news that it is on the wine list also!”

Chez Panisse Cafe, Berkeley, California: “The Meyer lemon spritzer was better than wine!”

Domaine Chandon étoile, Yountville, California: “We had the four course tasting menu. My crab appetizer was scrumptious, and my husband adored his tuna. We both had the diver scallops — delicious. Then I had the duck for a main course and my husband had the lobster and veal. Both were outstanding. For dessert he had creme brûlée, and I had a marvelously delicate Meyer lemon mousse.”

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Best Restaurants for American Cuisine: OpenTable 2010 Diners’ Choice Winners

Best-American-Restaurants-2010Independence Day is just around the corner, the time of year when we celebrate everything that’s great about our nation. Since those celebrations typically involve food, we’re patriotically pleased to announce the 50 restaurant winners of OpenTable’s 2010 Diners’ Choice Awards for Best American Restaurants. Derived from 5,000,000+ reviews submitted by OpenTable diners of more than 11,000 restaurants in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, this list honors the restaurants that serve up a slice of the best of American cuisine at every meal.

The winners, which include A Toute Heure in New Jersey, Kansas City’s Bluestem, The French Laundry in Yountville, Manhattan’s Gramercy Tavern and Per Se, Tilth in Seattle, VOLT in Maryland, and many others, have honored our roots as a farming nation by helping renew interest in local sourcing and heritage techniques, including butchering, curing and smoking meats, canning, pickling, and preserving — as well as continuing to innovate in their kitchens.

Use this list to connect with the country’s rich culinary history and delicious future throughout the coming seasons.