20 Culinary Questions with San Francisco Food Writer Amy Sherman of ‘Cooking with Amy’

amyshermanAmy Sherman is a cook, eater, and culinary enthusiast based in San Francisco. She runs the popular cooking and dining blog Cooking with Amy. An avid gourmand and traveler, Sherman says, “Cooking and eating are one of the best ways to learn about yourself and world around you.” She adores sushi and would eat it every day if she could afford it, but reveals of a common breakfast staple, “For a long time I had an aversion to maple syrup. Just the smell of it freaked me out. Now I love the stuff! I’m particularly partial to maple syrup from Canada.” An OpenTable diner since 2003, she shares her our answers to our 20 dining Qs.

1. What are some of the best qualities of the San Francisco dining scene? San Francisco has so much variety; there are new hip and trendy places but also classics that are just as popular as ever. It’s not hard to find fantastic pizza, Chinese dumplings, Viennoiserie, fusion street food, and high-end contemporary cuisine on any night of the week. In general, though, the quality is high, in part because our produce is so fresh and beautiful. We really are spoiled here.

2.  Any restaurants at which you’re something of a regular? I feel very fortunate to live in such a great food neighborhood. Recently several new places have opened up and Stones Throw has quickly become a favorite. The creativity on the menu and great hospitality make me want to return again and again .

3. If I come to your hometown/city, where must I dine? It’s impossible to not find something to make you happy at Fog City. The restaurant has been reimagined and it’s better than ever. The menu now features everything from burgers to grilled local calamari and oven roasted baby carrots with black garlic mole, almonds and cotija. The smoked salmon and smoked egg salad sandwich at lunch is to die for, and please do order enough of the frozen custard or French crullers for the whole table.

4. Last best restaurant(s) you dined at? I had a great dinner at Verbena, the service is slow, but the dishes are worth waiting for and the vegetarian dishes are as good if not better than the non-vegetarian ones.

5. Restaurant(s) you’d most like to try but have yet to — anywhere? So many places! Even writing about restaurants professionally, it’s hard to keep up, but high on my list to try right now are Aveline, Plin, Urchin Bistrot, and Souvla.

6. Favorite city (cities) for dining outside your own? I’m pretty crazy about Honolulu. It’s a world class dining destination but many of the gems are under the radar. I made a Google map with over 50 of my favorite places. http://bit.ly/honoluludining

7. Destination dining cities you’d love to visit? I would love to go to Copenhagen. Truly, I plan most trips around the food, and, as a result, I’ve been to a lot of great cities! Tokyo, Bologna, Mexico City, and Chicago are a few of my favorites.

8. What’s your overall favorite type of cuisine? Italian is comfort food for me. I lived in Italy for a while and always crave pasta. Even my Italian hosts were impressed by my love for it.

9. Small shared plates, tasting menu or app/entrée dessert? Small plates for sure. Sharing is caring! I want to try as many dishes as I can, but I sometimes suffer from tasting menu fatigue. Grazing on pintxos in San Sebastian was a blast!

10.Dish you can’t resist ordering? Because of the foie gras ban in California, when I do see it on a menu out of state, I’m likely to order it.

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Exclusive Offer: Save 15% on All Eat Drink SF Lexus Grand Tastings, August 1-3

eat-drink-sf-blogEat Drink SF is the Bay Area’s biggest and most delicious food and drink festival, and OpenTable diners are invited to save 15% on tickets to four different grand tastings with this exclusive offer.

Friday, August 1, 6:30-10:00PM — My Big Obsession: Can’t Stop. Won’t Stop. Eatin’. For the Grand Opening celebration, the Bay Area will do what it does best as chefs showoff their latest culinary obsessions. What can you expect? An evening of unforgettably unique dishes and cocktails. Grab a glass and help us kick off another year of San Francisco’s premiere food, wine, and spirits festival! A portion of the evening’s proceeds will go to the Golden Gate Restaurant’s Scholarship Fund. Save 15% on tickets with discount code OPEN. Purchase now.

Saturday, August 2, 12:30-4:00PM — Meet My Mentor: An HomageOn Saturday afternoon, each chef will pay homage to their roots with a signature dish inspired by their culinary mentor. While you nosh on 36+ unique dishes, you will enjoy wine, beer ,and spirits from more than 50 vendors and take in the panoramic views of the Golden Gate Bridge and the Bay. Throughout the afternoon, we will cook, mix, and play on the main stage with emcee Thirsty Girl Leslie Sbrocco and demos from some of the City’s best chefs and beverage experts. A portion of the afternoon’s proceeds will go to Share Our Strength. Save 15% on tickets with discount code OPEN. Purchase now.

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OpenTable Mobile Payments for iPhone Available at Participating Restaurants in San Francisco

OT Mobile Payments iPhone Shot  2.6.2014With the latest update to the OpenTable iPhone app, diners can now use OpenTable mobile payments to settle their check at restaurants participating in our San Francisco-area pilot program.

To get started, make sure you are using the latest app version 6.2.1. Then make a reservation at a participating restaurant via the app, and follow the prompts to set up a credit or debit card.

Please note that OpenTable mobile payments are currently available only to those users with an iPhone running iOS 7.

To learn more about paying with OpenTable or to see the participating restaurants, visit pay.opentable.com.

OpenTable Releases Restaurant Industry Index for Q4 and Full Year 2013

We are pleased to release the OpenTable Restaurant Industry Index for the fourth quarter and full year 2013.

“Spurred by healthy economic growth and an unseasonally mild winter, the San Francisco Bay Area reservation-taking restaurant industry experienced a solid lift in the fourth quarter,” said our own Duncan Robertson, Chief Financial Officer of OpenTable. “The U.S. overall and most major metropolitan areas that we track experienced a modest lift with the exception of Chicago, which declined by three percent, and Atlanta, Boston and Washington D.C., which were essentially flat. The New York metropolitan area benefited from an easier comparable quarter by lapping Superstorm Sandy, which hit during the fourth quarter of 2012.”

OpenTable Restaurant Industry Index
The OpenTable Restaurant Industry Index is based on data gathered from more than 10,000 reservation-taking restaurants* sampled from the OpenTable network in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. Each percentage indicates a year-over-year increase or decrease in the number of guests served in these reservation-taking restaurants, as recorded by the restaurants in their reservation books. Those guests include those who honored reservations made by phone or online as well as those who walked in without a reservation.Continue Reading