On Our Plate: 2012 James Beard Award Nominees; Private Party Planning Tips; UNICEF Tap Project; Boston Restaurant Week + Chicago Chef Reservations

Donate a dollar for each free glass of tap water during the UNICEF Tap Project to help provide clean drinking water to children around the world.

Happenings on and around OpenTable… 

* Congratulations to the 2012 James Beard Foundation Award nominees. Find out if your fave chef or restaurant was recognized.

* Planning a private partyManhattan event planner Maya Kalman has five tips to make it your best soiree yet.

* The UNICEF Tap Project is happening now! Dine out and donate to help provide the world’s children with safe, clean water.

* Share Our Strength 2012 Taste of the Nation fundraisers are happening in San Francisco on March 29th and a city near you. Buy tickets today.

* Do you make the best grilled sandwich in the world? Enter Artisanal’s contest to win cool prizes and bragging rights!

* This week’s restaurant review trend? Meat-free dining during Lent.

* Speaking of meat free, did you observe the Great American Meat OutLet us know in this week’s poll!

* Did you send the Tweet of the WeekFind out.

* Reserve to Dine out to fight AIDS at select DenverMinneapolisPhiladelphiaSan DiegoSan Francisco,and Washington, D.C.  restaurants on April 26th!

* Restaurant Weeks in Boston, Chicago ChefThe Hamptons, Hudson Valley, and South Jersey are happening now. Don’t miss your chance to dine out for less in your city.

* Restaurant reservations are now available for additional Restaurant Weeks, such as AustinLong IslandPortsmouthSeattleand Talbot County.

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Support the UNICEF Tap Project: Dine Out on March 19 thru March 25

Your donation of $1 will provide clean drinking water to a child for 40 days!

UNICEF invites you to take a stand by taking a seat during the UNICEF Tap Project! When you dine out at a participating restaurant between March 19-25, you’ll be invited to donate a minimum of $1 for the tap water you would normally be served for free. For every dollar raised, a child will have clean water for 40 days.

Clean water is essential, yet nearly 900 million people worldwide lack access to it—and nearly half of those people are children. In alignment with the United Nations Millennium Development Goals, UNICEF is working with its partners to reduce the number of people without access to safe water and basic sanitation by 50% by 2015, which will also save children at risk from waterborne illnesses, the second highest cause of preventable childhood deaths. Every day, 4,000 children die from waterborne illnesses, and UNICEF is committed to doing whatever it takes to make that number zero.

Since its inception in 2007, the UNICEF Tap Project has raised nearly $3 million in the U.S. and has helped provide clean water for millions of children globally. In its sixth year, the UNICEF Tap Project has become a dynamic movement that affords everyone the opportunity to help provide the world’s children with safe, clean water. The 2012 UNICEF Tap Project Funds will specifically target Togo, Vietnam, Mauritania, and Cameroon.

We’ve rounded up participating restaurants in Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, Washington, D.C., and Wisconsin. Make a restaurant reservation now and donate $1 to do your part to support the UNICEF Tap Project!