EpiPens on Every Menu; Bartender vs. Mixologist; Restaurant Traffic Is Up; + More

EpiPenDining news from around the world and the web…

* Don’t mix up a bartender with a mixologist. One professional reveals why he prefers to be known as the former not the latter. [MarinIJ.com]

* An EpiPen in every restaurant. One city is taking measures to make dining out safe for food allergy sufferers. [The Spec]

* What’s in a name? A great deal because when it comes to restaurants, confusion can reign. [Philly.com]

* Five things restaurants should 86. According to the funny folks at Cracked, so, perhaps, take it with a grain of salt. [Cracked.com]

* Dining out is in. It’s always been in for us, but restaurants are now busier than ever. [USA Today]

* Celebrity chefs make great food. But maybe not all of them make the best spouses. [ExpressContinue Reading

Happy Fat Tuesday from New Orleans Chef Tenney Flynn of GW Fins!

Chef Tenney Flynn and his staff made the best panna cotta I have ever eaten in my life. It haunts my dreams.

Chef Tenney Flynn isn’t a New Orleans native, but after more than 20 years in the Big Easy, he’s not necessarily a tourist either. When he’s not serving up the city’s finest seafood dishes at GW Fins during Mardi Gras, Chef Flynn is watching the action from his French Quarter balcony.

What’s been happening at the restaurant in honor of Mardi Gras?

Well, GW Fins doesn’t regularly open for lunch; we only do lunch a few times a year. But the Friday lunch during Mardi Gras is a very popular party at GW Fins. We had a crazy, crazy lunch. There’s a dance troop called the Pussyfooters, who wear pink corsets and wigs, and they were doing a dance routine. We had the Krewe of the Rolling Elvi here — not on their scooters, though. There was a brass band and scantily clad tequila girls. It’s really fun, and people are already booking for next year. We were completely sold out, with 300 people for lunch! Everybody enjoys the eating, but the entertainment, the party atmosphere, and the drinking, that’s all very important, too!

In general, though, you never know what to expect with the Mardi Gras crowd. We are 60 feet from Bourbon Street. There are lots of people in costume to extremes and anything can happen!

Anything else?

On Saturday afternoon, we did the first ever walking culinary parade — throwing wooden spoons into the crowd. We had two old-style, mule-drawn floats for culinary royalty, which this year are Susan Spicer and John Besh. There are 200 people — and that’s probably every chef in town. It’s called the Krewe of Lafcadio, named for the writer Lafcadio Hearn, who famously said of New Orleans, “But it is better to live here in sackcloth and ashes than to own the whole state of Ohio.” Really for a lot of us, that’s the way we feel about New Orleans. There’s a lot of reason to not like it, but we like it so much anyway. I think people have very strong reactions to the city. They’re either horrified by it or they say, “This place is really cool and I’d like to live here.’ And I’m definitely one of the latter.

What foods do you associate with Fat Tuesday?

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On Our Plate: Chicago Restaurant Week; Additional Winter Restaurant Week Reservations Open; Buy Tickets for St. Jude Gourmet Gala in DC on February 21

Chef Jason Tilmann made this Valentine's Day special for me when I visited Triomphe -- and I ate the entire thing. Standing up. In the kitchen. In four minutes. It was that good.

Happenings on and around OpenTable this week…

* Be a part of the largest St. Jude event in Washington, D.C., the 14th annual St. Jude Gourmet Gala: Mardi Gras for the Kids! on Tuesday, February 21, 2012, at the National Building Museum. Your tickets support children suffering from catastrophic and life–threatening diseases, and you will also enjoy an exclusive opportunity to taste some of the D.C. area’s finest restaurant cuisine while mingling with more than 750 business, financial and political leaders. Buy tickets today!

* Got a question for New Orleans Chef Tenney Flynn of GW Fins? Let us know in the comments! We’re interviewing him tomorrow about Mardi Gras, foods and booze for Fat Tuesday — and hangover cures for Ash Wednesday!

* Chicago Restaurant Week kicks off Friday. Take advantage of $22 lunches and $33 or $44 dinners at hundreds of restaurants in the Windy City.

* Reservations are now open for additional Winter Restaurant Weeks, such as AnnapolisAtlantic City, Buckhead, Burlington, Chicago ChefDenverHudson ValleyLas VegasMinneapolis, Orange Countyand Sonoma County.

* Valentine’s Day has come and gone, but if you missed any of our coverage on chefs, aphrodisiacs, and more, click here!

And, we’re still hiring! We’re staffing up and looking for talented people to join our team. Check out openings in engineeringoperations, and sales.

Charging for Tap Water; Reviewing New Restaurants Too Soon; Best Time for a Dinner Reservation; Female Sushi Chefs; Dining Out Cheaper Than Eating In

I'd like to say I wouldn't pay for tap water, but if I were really thirsty, yeah, I probably would.

Dining and restaurant news…

* Is his reasoning all wet? Writer Jeff Prince thinks restaurants should charge for water. [Fort Worth Weekly]

* From the ‘Judge Dread’ files: A blogger asks his cohorts to stop rushing to judge a restaurant as soon as it has opened its doors. [Passionate Foodie]

* Good times. What’s the best time for a dinner reservation? OpenTable diners in New York City say 7PM during the week and 8PM on weekends. [The Guardian]

* Listen up. Seattle chefs Ethan Stowell (Anchovies + Olives), Maria Hines (Tilth), and John Sundstrom, talk turkey about the restaurant biz. [KUOW]

* The one good thing about Herman Cain’s candidacy. It shed more light on the issue of sexual harassment in the restaurant industry. [NRN]

* Dirty deeds done dirt cheap. That about sums it up for some food-service workers, who suffer through labor violations for poor pay. [Mother Jones]

* The year that was. The 11 biggest food trends of 2011. [HuffPost Food]

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