10 Things We Learned at the 2016 Cherry Bombe Jubilee

OpenTable had the privilege of being a sponsor of the 2016 Cherry Bombe Jubilee held yesterday at Manhattan’s Highline Hotel. Culinary legends, journalists, small business owners, and more gathered to listen, learn, and get inspired by the past and excited for the future of women in food. Here are 10 takeaways, ICYMI.

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Make soup. The Hemsley sisters of UK catering company Hemsley + Hemsley are huge soup and bone broth advocates. “This should be the first things kids learn to make.”

“Get a job in a kitchen; it makes you a better boss.” Amanda Hess had the privilege of working in a completely civilized kitchen under Jodi Adams, but subsequent gigs weren’t quite as heavenly, and she was inspired to lead based on lessons learned at the former.

Looking for the next big thing in food (or any industry)? Look for white space. Find out what’s missing and fill the void.

Don’t get too judge-y about non-organic labels. A lot of farmers aren’t growing certified organic because they simply cannot afford to lose an entire crop to disease or pests. Their profit margins are already perilously thin; according to the USDA, most farmers make less than $80,000. That’s not much money for folks who need to be a chemist, a scientist, and a mechanic in order to manage their farms.

Mental illness, such as depression and anxiety, is prevalent in the culinary industry. This is due, in large part, to the overwhelming demands of the job. Only 3.5% of respondents to a survey on ChefswithIssues.com indicated that their mental health issues are NOT tied to the profession. If you’re suffering, you can visit the site (founded by foodista Kat Kinsman) for support and resources.

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A restaurant owner will always hire a woman as a chef – if she’s the owner. Back in the day (the day being 1982), female chefs were a rarity – and even more so if they weren’t chef-owners of their own restaurants. The critic Mimi Sheraton counted just one who was a hired gun at the time. Things have shifted, but there’s still quite a way to go.Continue Reading

Frost and Bloom: A Connected Event with Vedge + Vernick in Philadelphia

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“There is no beauty without some strangeness.” — Edgar Allan Poe

Under the cold there was, in fact, gold. This week, on a snowy evening in Philadelphia, OpenTable gathered with foodies, lifestyle contributors, and local influencers and chefs Kate Jacoby and Rich Landau of venerated plant-forward restaurant Vedge and Greg Vernick of new American favorite Vernick Food & Drink for Frost and Bloom, an unlikely Valentine’s Day soiree that is part of Connected, our series of talks and gatherings that bring together the restaurant and tech worlds with food, drink, and local culture.

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Seeking a deeper and unconventional connection to the notion of love, we set out to dig deep within the chill of winter for true connections — to food, to drink, and to one another, turning the holiday and its all-too-often saccharine associations on its head. Drawing inspiration from mavericks such as Saint Valentine, Chaucer, and Spenser, Philadelphia’s storied The Mask and Wig Club was given an enchanting costume of winter blooms and evocative artwork from Nitsua, Kyle Huff, and Conrad Benner, curated by OpenTable brand director Cort Cunningham, and the intrigue kicked off at 6:30PM with food and drink to mirror the mood dreamed up by these top chefs and Vedge beverage director Ross Maloof.

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We shrugged off the chill of the evening within the warm confines of The Mask and Wig Club as hearts were gently melted with intoxicating piano music, and we sipped one-of-a-kind creations from Maloof that embodied the spirit of the evening, including the Cupid Makes Me Retch with vodka, chocolate, espresso, beet, and rose water rinse, and the non-alcoholic Pickpocket, forged out of plum, Meyer lemon, thyme, citrus, and club soda. Guests scooped up cards with quotes about love in all its many forms as they nibbled on sexy bites from Landau and Jacoby, such as  smoked hearts of palm on crostini, jerk spiced carrots with rutabaga “fondue”, celery root “cacio e pepe” with fregola and black pepper, and crispy sunchokes with black garlic buffalo sauce and celery leaf ranch.

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The festivities later moved upstairs, where DJ duo Maggs Bruchez raised the temperature in the room, laying down the PHL’s best beats. Chef Vernick and his team headed behind the burners for the second half of the subtly sultry evening, serving a trio of savory dishes featuring flavors designed to delight the senses, from salt cod and semolina croquettes with saffron cream and avocado crostini with spicy radish to tuna poke complemented by macadamia nuts and sweet soy and spicy veal meatballs swathed in ancho chili caramel served on appropriately dagger-like toothpicks.Continue Reading

Healthy Eating Trends: Top Restaurants for Your New Year’s Resolution

Just because you made a resolution to rid yourself of those holiday pounds off doesn’t mean you can’t have fun when eating out. From the crunch of kimchi-topped sweet potato fries with cashew-chipotle drizzle to the panache of whole-roasted fish presented tableside, there’s a lot more than salad and carrot sticks to enliven any January day with these restaurants embracing healthy eating trends to help you stick to your delicious dining New Year resolutions.

Healthy Eating Trends

Organic Grill, New York, New York
Business starts booming at the Organic Grill on New Year’s Day. “I think everyone is trying to start their resolutions off right,” jokes owner Julia Chebotar of her family-owned mostly vegan, organic restaurant in East Village. It’s easy to see why if you check out this season’s brunch menu, featuring dishes enticing enough to turn any carnivore’s head (or appetite) — think loaded kimchi sweet-potato fries with cashew chipotle drizzle, cabbage, scallion, sesame seeds, hemp seeds, sriracha, and vegan or dairy cheese. Chebotar says she likes to make the January menu fun for those new to a “clean” lifestyle, and anything that features greens like kale or spinach is a big seller, especially the new sweet green + kale frittata. Organic Grill also features an extensive lineup of veggie burgers, organic wild salmon and tilapia, juice cleanses, and raw foods. Make a reservation at Organic Grill.

Healthy Eating Trends

Marin Restaurant & Bar, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Chef Mike Rankun busts the bluster of Minnesota with California-themed cuisine using local produce. Ham, fig, and blue cheese flatbread on a whole-wheat crust, jerk-spiced pork chops with mashed sweet potatoes, or grass-fed beef tenderloin with potato puree, spinach, and balsamic Cipollini onions may sound like heartier fare, but those counting calories don’t have to fear the pitfalls of dining out — each item on the menu is presented with its nutritional content. Rankun spotlights both small and large plates, and cuts calories and fat year-round by swapping out butter for olive oil and using starchy liquid from ears of corn in lieu of heavy cream to thicken soups. Make a reservation at Marin Restaurant & Bar.

Healthy Eating Trends

Puritan & Company, Boston, Massachusetts
It should come as no surprise that Boston chef Will Gilson, whose family owns the Herb Lyceum garden and greenhouse in nearby Groton, puts the focus on fresh in January. Puritan & Company will supplement its normal Sunday brunch menu with BEATNIK juices, a collaboration between father David and son, for everything from energy boosting to detoxifying, cleansing, or just reviving after a night of partying. For those who’ve toasted 2016 with a bit too much spirit, pick hangover cure Beet the Blues, made with beets, blueberries, lemon, and apple and packed with vitamin C, antioxidants, potassium, and fiber. Make a reservation at Puritan & Company.

Healthy Eating Trends

Blowfish Sushi, San Francisco, California
Sushi is always a top choice for the health-conscious year-round, but January is a great time to try something new, says Blowfish Sushi’s Brigid Kealy. One of her favorite dishes — which features no rice — is great for those counting carbs: Tokyo Ceviche. The classic Japanese sunomono (cucumber salad) is topped with fresh crab, shrimp, tuna, and octopus, and then crowned with a mango, grapefruit, and cucumber sorbet made by a local creamery. By highlighting fresh local produce from California farms, Kealy says sushi can be a surprising way to embrace vegetarian options, like miso-marinated eggplant nigiri to potrero veggie roll with two types of tofu, carrot, and asparagus. Make a reservation at Blowfish Sushi.

Healthy Eating Trends

SOL Cocina, Scottsdale, Arizona
All preconceptions of overfilled burritos and gooey nachos can be dropped at the door at SOL Cocina, where James Beard-nominated executive chef Deborah Schneider — inspired by her trips just south of Arizona’s borders — maintains a healthy menu of entrees that are wood-grilled or braised in their own juices, vegan, vegetarian and gluten-friendly dishes, beans prepared without fat or oils, and 34 fat-free salsas made from fresh fruits and vegetables. Dressings are created with fresh juices and thickened with ticker-friendly avocado in lieu of eggs or mayonnaise. New seasonal menu additions include tacos (roasted squash or grilled shrimp agave), although, for traditionalists, Schneider says her baked chile relleno (traditionally filled with cheese and fried) feels indulgent without having to make several trips to the gym. Other resolution-friendly hits are the Hot & Raw Ceviche, with fresh citrus, habanero chiles, avocado, and cucumber served with sweet potato and red beet chips. Make a reservation at SOL Cocina.

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Très Bien! Celebrate National Cassoulet Day

Blog BENOIT_NY_Cassoulet_Pierre Monetta copyYou know what we love about cassoulet? EVERYTHING. You know why? Because the delicious French dish comes in so many forms. There are the classic cassoulets from Carcassone, Castelnaudary, and Toulouse — and dozens of variations created by inventive chefs around the globe. (Pro tip: If you’re in a particular region in France, don’t say which you think is the one cassoulet to rule them all — you’re sure to get into quite a row if your answer hails from another location). So revered is it that, according to Saveur, there is even “a gastronomic brotherhood devoted to that epic French dish” known as the Grande Confrérie du Cassoulet de Castelnaudary. While we may not boast such an organization in the U.S., we do have National Cassoulet Day. And, many restaurants are extending the savory celebration. Instated by Alain Ducasse’s bistro Benoit in New York City, this year, more than 30 of the country’s top restaurants will honor the hearty French winter classic all week long.

From January 9–15, Benoit and participating restaurants, ranging from French restaurants, steakhouses, and farm-to-table New American concepts to Italian and even vegan eateries, will offer their own interpretations of cassoulet. Benoit will prepare a special three-course Cassoulet Experience. To start, guests can expect a selection of hors d’oeuvres including celery root and red cabbage remoulade and for dessert, a Vacherin with pineapple and vanilla.

The full list of restaurants can be found here. Dozens of other restaurants are participating unofficially or merely serving this dish because they (as we) are crazy for cassoulet. Below are a few of our faves to inspire you to celebrate National Cassoulet Day today. 

Benoit Restaurant and Bar, New York, New York
Chef and U.S. Cassoulet Ambassador, from the Universal Cassoulet Academy in Carcassone, Philippe Bertineau’s iconic one-pot meal of white beans, pork, and duck is served in its traditional cooking vessel, the cassole. Make a reservation at Benoit Restaurant and Bar.

National Cassoulet Day

River Roast, Chicago, Illinois
Throughout his career Chef Hogan worked with the some of the finest French chef’s – including Chef Jean Joho – and even spent time studying the culinary arts in France. These experiences have shaped a deep love of traditional French cuisine.  He is a master of charcuterie, which he incorporates in all of the elements of this dish — from the duck confit to the pork sausage. Combining all of these elements allows him to make a truly traditional French cassoulet which also includes pork shoulder,  white beans, white wine, garlic, and smoked bacon. Make a reservation at River Roast.

National Cassoulet Day

The Breslin Bar and Dining Room, New York, New York
April Bloomfield and her Christina Lecki executive chef at The Breslin Bar & Dining Room are participating in Cassoulet Week, serving their take on Cassoulet for Two: Duck confit, Toulouse sausage, and lamb belly, ayocote beans, and herbed bread crumbs for $65. Make a reservation at The Breslin Bar & Dining Room.

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