The OpenTable Blog

Good Gourd: 12 Pumpkin Desserts to Celebrate the Season

Once a humble, orange gourd best known for adorning dining room tables and decorating doorsteps, pumpkin has become a divisive element of the fall culinary landscape. Each year, pumpkin in all forms appears in coffee shops, grocery stores, and restaurants across the country, to the delight of some and exhaustion of others. We’re taking a stance, though, however controversial: we love pumpkin. Whether it be the ubiquitous pumpkin spice latte, a creamy, comforting bowl of soup, or a hot-from-the-oven bread, we’re all in. However, pumpkin desserts reign supreme in our diets. From tiramisu to fritters to the most distinctly autumn ice cream sandwich, check out how chefs from around the country do justice to our favorite fall flavors.

Ginger Snap Cookie and Pumpkin Ice Cream Sandwich, CBD Provisions, Dallas, Texas
This modern-yet-inviting brasserie in the heart of downtown Dallas is open all day, but make sure to stop in for lunch or dinner for a taste of fall on a plate. Executive pastry chef Keith Cedotal combined two of the season’s best, most quintessential flavors in his Gingersnap Cookie Pumpkin Ice Cream Sandwich with housemade cookies and a coating of pumpkin seeds for a little added texture. If we could dole these out to trick-or-treaters on Halloween, we’d officially be the most popular house on the block. Make a reservation at CBD Provisions.

Pumpkin Desserts

Pumpkin Spice Gelato, Alla Spina, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Among the many reasons to love chef Marc Vetri’s Italian gastropub is the extensive beer selection (including the Victory Verde, a saison made exclusively for the Vetri family restaurants,) the comforting yet impressive, pork-centric menu, and, not least, the soft serve gelato. Flavors change seasonally, but this fall enjoy a Pumpkin Spice swirl in a cup, on a cone, or, for a little pick me up, an affogato with a shot of espresso. Make a reservation at Alla Spina.

Pumpkin Desserts

Pumpkin Basque Cake, The Bristol, Chicago, Illinois
Renowned chef Grant Achatz has called the Basque cake at this beloved American restaurant in Chicago’s Bucktown neighborhood one of his favorite desserts in the city. A staple on the menu, pastry chef Amanda Rockman has given the cake an autumn spin, adding pumpkin marmalade — made from scratch by cooking a mixture of small diced pumpkin tossed in maple sugar and lemon zest — and a garnish of candied sage, spiced pumpkin seeds, and maple chantilly to the classic Spanish dessert. “If you can find them, the best pumpkin for marmalade that I have found is called a Long Island Cheese Squash,” asserts Chef Rockman. “Odd name, but great pumpkin.” Make a reservation at The Bristol.

Pumpkin desserts

Tiramisu’ Alla Zucca, Lago, Las Vegas, Nevada
At this stylish spot in the Bellagio, get a front row seat to the resort’s famous fountain show while enjoying plates like crudo, small pizzas, and focaccia. And for those celebrating Thanksgiving in town, don’t miss the seasonal spin on the traditional Italian dessert. Tiramusu’ Alla Zucca layers pumpkin mascarpone mousse onto espresso-soaked lady fingers in an indulgent, impressive — and appropriately Vegas — presentation. Make a reservation at Lago.

Pumpkin Desserts

Pumpkin Cake in a Box, BOA Steakhouse, Santa Monica, California
The classic steakhouse gets an L.A. twist at this perpetually buzzing Santa Monica hot spot. After treating yourself to a juicy steak — the 40-day, dry-aged New York Strip or bone-in Kansas City filet mignon are among the many menu heavy-hitters — the Cake in a Box is an apt ending. With moist, spiced pumpkin cake, vanilla cream cheese icing, anisette cream, and candied pecans, the “box” aspect of this dessert means taking it to go is just as easy as diving in on site. Make a reservation at BOA Steakhouse.

Pumpkin Desserts

Baked Pumpkin Cinnamon Sugar Doughnuts, Taste on Melrose, West Hollywood, California
Paired with a hot coffee at brunch or saved for dessert at lunch or dinnertime, the Baked Pumpkin Cinnamon Sugar Doughnut — made with a soft pumpkin brioche, drenched in butter, and covered in cinnamon and sugar — makes for a perfectly autumn indulgence at this warm little neighborhood spot. Or, opt for the spicy Pumpkin Crumb Cake, topped with an almond nutmeg crumb layer. With ample outdoor seating for L.A.’s 364 days of sunshine, enjoy either one of executive pastry chef Katie Shyne’s house-baked creations and win fall. Make a reservation at Taste on Melrose.

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Isaac and Amanda Toups on Cajun Food, Southern Traditions + Why ‘Whole Hog’ Is a Buzzword

Isaac & Amanda Toups on Cajun Food, Southern Traditions & Why 'Whole Hog' Is a Buzzword

Just over a week ago, Isaac and Amanda Toups opened the doors to Toups South, a restaurant in the Southern Food and Beverage Museum (SoFAB) in New Orleans. As a museum restaurant, Toups South is tasked with showcasing the flavors and culinary traditions of the South — a tall order, considering the region’s signature dishes range from barbecue to crawfish étouffée and represent countless distinctive communities from Texas to the Carolinas.

Toups South is the couple’s second concept. Toups Meatery, which they opened in 2012, boasts “straight Cajun” offerings like lamb neck, confit chicken thigh, and authentic cracklins. The Meatery helped Isaac win the attention of Top Chef, where he competed in Season 13 (and won “Fan Favorite”).

Now, just days into their new opening, we talked to Isaac and Amanda about real Cajun food — what makes it special, why stories matter, and why people are listening.Continue Reading

Top Boston Rooftop Bars: Where to Sip + Soak in the City Skyline

Whether you’re dining or just raising a glass, those who want to savor this awesome weather before the clocks turn in Boston have a plethora of options. Think Italian, sushi or BBQ, with craft cocktails and local brews to boot. Here are the top Boston rooftop bars — and a preview of what you’ll see.

Lookout Rooftop + Bar at the Envoy Hotel
Lookout may be perched high above Boston’s hottest neighborhood for nightlife, but if you don’t line up by about 4PM in the afternoon the line may snake around the block for the stunning Seaport views at this trendy newcomer. Head bartender Michael Ray works together with Beantown brewery Harpoon and local spirit makers like GrandTen for WireWorks gin and Bully Boy for rum, vodka, and whiskey to craft artisanal cocktails. The latest seasonal hit — the Rum for Your Life, with pineapple, lime, and simple syrup — celebrates the last blast of Indian summer. Views through modern glass walls offer a prime panorama of the city skyline and Boston Harbor. Post-game with noshes like tuna poke, flatbreads, and locally caught scallops from chef du cuisine Tatiana Rosana at Outlook Kitchen and Bar, also at Envoy Hotel. Make a reservation at Outlook Kitchen and Bar.

Boston Rooftop Bars

Legal Harborside
Good things come in threes at Legal Harborside, where the trio of sangrias (red, white, and strawberry) are the perfect way to toast the all-seasons rooftop bar and lounge —and three very different dining experiences on each floor. The first is a casual concept with “picnic tables” and a market, the second offers fine dining and an interior reminiscent of a ship’s dining room, and the third is the cherry on top: a four-season space with a copper fireplace and retractable glass walls and ceiling just right to admire those harvest moons glimmering over the marina. The adult slushies and Top Deck Margarita are the top choices to wash down a menu focusing on sushi and oysters. Make a reservation at Legal Harborside.

Boston Rooftop Bars

Though the vintage airstream trailer converted into a bar may be the most memorable décor on the Coppersmith roof deck, the drinks are far removed from the Solo cup beverages found in most double-wides. The mood is festive and casual, especially this fall as football lovers get a kick on Sunday and Monday game days when executive chef Jason Heard busts out a “rivals menu” including regional fare from the New England Patriots’ opposing teams including pierogies from Cleveland and crab cakes from Baltimore. Hungry for more? The Air Deck is the only space you can order “Air Deck Picnics,” family-style bites like BBQ, tacos, and sliders served up in vintage Radio Flyer wagons for 6-20 people (must be ordered in advance). Make it a party and tap your toes to live music being offered Sunday afternoons on the deck from 4-7PM, too. Make a reservation at Coppersmith.

Boston Rooftop Bars

 Top of the Hub
Top of the Hub may be in the heart of the Boston, but the drink menu hits are straight up Caribbean. Lead bartender Arley Howard serves up frothy pina coladas in a city largely devoid of frozen cocktails, in addition to a plethora of mojitos. One of the most popular tipples is the Level 52 — so named for the floor the restaurant occupies in the landmark skyscraper of the Prudential Center — featuring vodka and Chambord topped with Champagne in an ice-cold martini glass with raspberries. It’s great to raise a toast to the stunning views across Boston Harbor up to 80 out, and try one of the more than 3,000 bottles of bubbly or wine in the Hub’s two large wine rooms. Any and all drinks are a terrific way to get those dancing feet loosened up for live music or as a precursor to new executive chef Stefan Jarausch’s menu, which changes seasonally. Make a reservation at Top of the Hub.

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Take a Seat at the Global Dining Table: Local Language Bookings at Restaurants Around the World

local language bookings

Great news, travelers! We’re pleased to announce new functionality that allows diners to search, discover, and make reservations at restaurants across the globe — in their local language through OpenTable’s web and mobile properties.

The global booking functionality brings together more than 38,000 restaurants across its network globally, including renowned global dining hotspots such as Berlin, Dublin, London, Mexico City, Montreal, New York, San Francisco, Sydney, Toronto, and Vancouver. Languages currently supported include English, Spanish, French, German, and Japanese. The launch also brings together all of OpenTable’s separate country apps into one multi-language global app.

“This is an exciting moment for OpenTable,” notes our CEO Christa Quarles. “For almost 20 years, we have been helping diners to discover and make restaurant reservations in their home country. This evolution in how we engineer our current country sites and apps means we can now power great restaurant experiences across multiple cities, in multiple languages, becoming a true ‘Global Dining Passport’ for diners across the world.”

According to a recent survey* of OpenTable diners, 97 percent eat out at least once per day during their travels, while 48 percent say they dine out at least twice a day. The enhancements we’ve made will help these diners uncover and enjoy unique and authentic dining experiences whether they’re traveling or staying local. It also enables us to further support our restaurant partners by providing exposure to an increasing audience of global diners that would be difficult and costly to target through their own marketing campaigns.Continue Reading