All Posts In Restaurants

Now There’s a Restaurant Dedicated to Ranch Dressing

by in News, Restaurants, July 4th, 2015

Ranch DressingThere are two kinds of Americans: those who like ranch dressing (like, on everything!) and those who frankly fail to understand the appeal. A new St. Louis restaurant is designed exclusively for those who fall into the first category, taking the ubiquitous creamy condiment and rendering it even more so.

Twisted Ranch restaurant will soon swing open its doors in St. Louis’ historic Soulard neighborhood, offering diners a menu that includes 18 different flavors of ranch dressing — including garlic, horseradish, smoked paprika, tzatziki, cheesy bacon, chipotle and Thai — and features ranch dressing as an ingredient in essentially every single thing on the menu (except dessert, thank goodness).

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Would You Name Your Kid Quinoa for $10,000?

by in News, Restaurants, July 2nd, 2015

QuinoaWould you name your kid Quinoa? How about in exchange for $10,000 worth of bar food and booze?

BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse, a casual-restaurant chain with 163 restaurants in 20 states, has announced that it will award $10,000 in BJ’s gift cards to the first parents in the United States to name their child after the healthy high-protein grain, which it is featuring in two new dishes on its light-fare menu: Roasted Chicken with Spinach Quinoa Bowl and Roasted Salmon Quinoa Bowl.

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Does It Bother You When Restaurants Quickly Clear Your Plates?

by in News, Restaurants, June 28th, 2015

Does It Bother You When Restaurants Quickly Clear Your Plates?Back in 2009, The New York Times ran a two-part list, written by restaurateur Bruce Buschel, of “100 Things Restaurant Staffers Should Never Do.” Included on it were these three instructive items:

17. Do not take an empty plate from one guest while others are still eating the same course. Wait, wait, wait.

75. Do not ask if someone is finished when others are still eating that course.

76. Do not ask if a guest is finished the very second the guest is finished. Let guests digest, savor, reflect.

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Dominique Ansel’s New Innovation: Burrata Ice Cream

by in News, Restaurants, June 15th, 2015

Dominique Ansel's New Innovation: Burrata Ice CreamReady to salivate? Three words: burrata ice cream. The Italian-cheese-inspired soft serve is one of two flavors just introduced by mash-up master Dominique Ansel at the walk-up ice cream window of Dominique Ansel Kitchen in New York’s West Village.

The creamy Burrata Soft Serve — which Ansel calls “a new alternative to vanilla” — comes in a homemade “honey tuile cone” with a whole-strawberry confit inside and is topped with balsamic caramel and fresh micro basil. “The flavors are simple and subtle, but so, so good,” DAK’s Instagram page boasts.

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Dining Out with Kids? Follow These 6 Tips So Others Don’t Dislike You

by in Family, Restaurants, June 9th, 2015

Dining Out with Kids? Follow These 6 Tips So Others Don't Dislike YouThree of our four small kids were born in Italy, where eating out is practically the national pastime. That meant toting our tots to a lot of restaurants. Here are the tricks we learned along the way — and still use for our group that now includes one baby, a toddler, a preschooler and even a kindergartener.

1. Take a “Fun Pack.” Our oldest daughter was a toddler when she started filling up a bag she called her “Fun Pack” for restaurants. Whatever she could fit in, went: toys, dolls, sunglasses. I also brought crayons and a coloring book, which weren’t automatically handed out in Rome. She may spend only a few minutes with each thing, but she’ll have enough stuff to explore during the meal to stay occupied.

2. Go early. This was a bit of a moot point in Europe, where dinner typically isn’t served until 8 p.m., but boy have we used it ever since we moved to the U.S. We are out the door by 4:30 p.m., trying to arrive at 5 p.m. or 5:30 p.m. The kids don’t get overly hungry, and the restaurant will likely be less busy.

3. Practice restaurant manners. For toddlers and preschoolers, role-playing ahead of time makes all the difference. (We did this before flying on planes too.) We physically sit at the table and explain what will happen at the restaurant. We tell them that a waiter will arrive to ask questions, there are menus, there is no getting up from the table unless you need to go potty — tell them whatever your family rules are. And we ask silly questions: “Any climbing under the table?” Which gives the kids a chance to yell, “No!” Yelling at home? Good. Yelling at the restaurant? Bad. Hence the dry run.

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Expect the All-American Experience at Amanda Freitag’s Empire Diner in New York City

by in Restaurants, Shows, May 25th, 2015

Amanda FreitagThe diner: There’s probably nothing more American than an eatery where you can order pretty much any dish you want when you want it and not get flack for it. Whether that’s an egg sandwich at 3 in the morning after a night out with friends, or lunch with the family on a Saturday afternoon, the diner has something for everyone. Early last year, Chef Amanda Freitag, co-host of American Diner Revival on Fridays at 10:30|9:30c, reopened Empire Diner in the Chelsea neighborhood of New York City. You may recognize the iconic eatery from movies and TV, and that’s because it’s been around since the mid-1940s. Since then it’s gone through quite a few iterations and owners, but it’s possibly never looked better than in the hands of Chef Amanda, who’s taken the classic diner menu and given it a modern twist; it keeps customers coming back for more.

FN Dish recently caught up with the chef to chat about how she came to run the diner, what she loves about the menu and what customers can expect to experience.

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Show Up for Your Reservation at This Hong Kong Hot Spot, or You Will Pay — a Lot

by in News, Restaurants, May 24th, 2015

Show Up for Your Reservation at This Hong Kong Hot Spot, or You Will Pay — a LotLots of diners do it: make an advance reservation to eat at a well-regarded restaurant and then, when the date rolls around, opt not to go. Maybe they decide to eat somewhere else. Maybe they have multiple reservations, figuring they’ll go where they feel when the moment hits. Maybe something unavoidable comes up. Sometimes, they don’t even bother to cancel.

But if you make a reservation at the Hong Kong restaurant Sushi Shikon, a three-Michelin-star establishment, you’ll probably want to show up to eat there. If you cancel on the day of your reservation, try to change the date, don’t show up, show up with someone missing from your party or arrive more than an hour late, the restaurant will charge you 3,500 Hong Kong dollars ($452). Even if you give the restaurant a little notice, but cancel less than 72 hours of your seating time, Sushi Shikon will charge you HK $1,250 ($161). In fact, even if you wait just 24 hours from the time you confirm your reservation to cancel, but do so more than 72 hours before your seating time, you’ll still owe a fee of HK $500 ($65), although, according to the South China Morning Post, you are allowed to change the date of your reservation without penalty within that time frame.

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Bringing Back a Classic: Amanda Freitag Chats About American Diner Revival

by in Restaurants, Shows, May 19th, 2015

Amanda FreitagWhy do we love the American diner? It’s because you know what to expect: a broad menu with the classic dishes you love, friendly service and a comfortable family environment. On American Diner Revival, premiering May 22 at 10:30|9:30c, the goal is not to change that definition of a diner, but to take it to the next level. While home improvement expert Ty Pennington remodels the interior and exterior of each diner, Amanda Freitag takes a look at the menus and finds ways to give them new life, by striking the right balance between old and new. Sometimes it means a menu overhaul, but in most cases it’s tweaking the dishes to encourage an influx of new customers while still keeping a constant flow of regulars.

FN Dish recently caught up with Amanda to chat about the show and how she approaches the challenge as a diner owner herself.

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Pay-What-You-Want Restaurants: What They Are and How They Work

by in News, Restaurants, May 17th, 2015

Pay-What-You-Want Restaurants: What They Are and What You Need to KnowYou, like me, may not have paid much attention to the particulars of pay-what-you-want restaurants. Perhaps you’re vaguely aware that they exist, but you’re unsure of how, precisely, the whole sliding-scale, honor-system concept plays out when put into practice.

Helpfully, Eater has published a blog post called How Do Pay-What-You-Want Restaurants Work?, which explains how eateries like SAME Café, a “pay what you can” restaurant in Denver, pay the bills even though not all customers are paying full price for their meals.

Here are four key facts to take away (no payment necessary):

1. Most pay-what-you-want (PWYW) restaurants look like other regular eateries — with tables, menus, ways to order and places to pay. The difference is that you can pay the amount that you are capable of paying, if you cannot afford to pay full fare, or even work (helping to wash dishes or prep meals, say) in exchange for your food. You can also pay more than the value of your meal, to help defray the cost of those who may need to pay less.

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Local Flavor: Awesome Avocado Dishes in LA

by in Recipes, Restaurants, May 15th, 2015

Avocados are having a moment right now in all corners of the country, but nowhere are they more prevalent or more delicious than in Southern California. Food Network’s new original Web series Local Flavor follows a city’s local ingredient to three restaurants that prepare it three different ways. In Los Angeles, it’s all about the avocado. Start with avocado fries at 3 Square Café, check out one of the best avocado toasts in the business at Superba Food & Bread, and sip an Avocado Project cocktail at Picca Peru. Play the video above for the ultimate LA avocado tour.

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