Recipe for a Successful Dinner Party


TABLE TALES: Do-ahead Dinner Party Menus That Whet Appetites, Loosen Tongues, and Make Memories by Ray Repp and Richard Alther highlights unforgettable soirées and sometimes saucy stories. The book includes 15 do-ahead dinner party menus, each one with incredible canapés, a savory first course, a delicious entree and a scrumptious dessert.

The genius of Table Tales is the plan-ahead menus that help hosts pull off a four-course dinner party and enjoy their guests. Inside each dinner party chapter, readers will find invaluable resources and tips including:

  • Time Saver: "Make the whole trifle a day ahead and keep refrigerated until ready to serve."
  • Hospitality Tip: "We prefer round or oval tables to foster eye contact among all guests…"
  • After Thoughts: "As long as you are going through the process of slicing and dicing all these ingredients, why not make a double batch?"

Along with great dinner parties, Ray also has been entertaining people around the world with his music for almost 50 years. He has recorded 11 albums of music that have sold millions of copied and has performed throughout the United States, Canada, Europe and Asia. His music has been translated into more than 28 languages. 

Richard Alther is a long-time exhibiting painter, Masters Swimmer and author who has written four novels.

Table Tales (Regent Press, 2018) is available at as well as your local bookstore. For more information, visit

Inside TABLE TALES are 15 do-ahead dinner party menus, so hosts can enjoy their guests.

Inside TABLE TALES are 15 do-ahead dinner party menus, so hosts can enjoy their guests.

OpenTable's 50 Best Restaurants for Vegetarians in America

Restaurants in New York, California and Washington, D.C.: Most Honorees


With interest in vegetarian and plant-based diets skyrocketing, more diners are searching for restaurants that satisfy their health needs. OpenTable recently released its 50 Best Restaurants for Vegetarians in America. Featuring restaurants coast-to-coast across 15 states and Washington, D.C., the list includes a variety of cuisines ranging from American to Indian to Mediterranean -- perfect for vegetarians everywhere and even omnivores accompanying their veggie-loving friends.

From vegetable-heavy offerings at Nix in New York City to gourmet, plant-based CafeGratitude in San Diego to vegetarian-friendly Mediterranean cuisine at Zaytinyain Washington, D.C., the Best Restaurants for Vegetarians list has it all. With 11 restaurants on the list, New York is the most recognized state, followed by California with nine and Washington, D.C., with seven. Additional states represented include Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Washington.

The 50 Best Restaurants for Vegetarians in America, according to OpenTable diners, are as follows (in alphabetical order):

ABC Kitchen - New York, New York
Andina - Portland, Oregon
Âu Lạc Plant-Based Food & Drink - Los Angeles, California
Bar Bombon - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Beatrix - River North - Chicago, Illinois
Bistro Aracosia - Washington, D.C.
BLACKOUT - Dining in the Dark - Las Vegas, Nevada
Blind Faith Cafe - Evanston, Illinois
Blossom - New York, New York - Multiple Locations
Brewery Bhavana - Raleigh, North Carolina
Cafe Gratitude - San Diego - San Diego, California
Candle 79 - New York, New York
Catch LA - West Hollywood, California
Charlie was a sinner. - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Chauhan Ale & Masala House - Nashville, Tennessee
Delice & Sarrasin - New York, New York
Departure Restaurant and Lounge - Portland, Oregon
Dirt Candy - New York, New York
Divya's Kitchen - New York, New York
Double Zero - New York, New York
Ema - Chicago, Illinois
Equinox - DC - Washington, D.C.
Farmer's Table - Boca Raton, Florida
Farmers & Distillers - Washington, D.C.
Farmers Fishers Bakers - Washington, D.C.
Farmhouse at Rogers Gardens - Corona Del Mar, California
Founding Farmers - Multiple Locations
Gracias Madre - SF - San Francisco, California
Greens Restaurant - San Francisco, California
Harvest Beat - Seattle, Washington
The Helmand Restaurant - Baltimore, Maryland
Irregardless Cafe - Raleigh, North Carolina
Lila - Sarasota, Florida
Linger - Denver, Colorado
The Little Beet Table - New York, New York
Modern Love - Multiple Locations
Nix - New York, New York
Oliver's- Santa Barbara, California
Plant Food + Wine Venice - Venice, California
Planta - Miami Beach, Florida
Rasika - Washington, D.C. - Multiple Locations         
Root Down - Denver, Colorado
Sage - A Plant Based Bistro - Culver City, California
Shaya - New Orleans, Louisiana
True Food Kitchen - Multiple Locations         
Ulele - Tampa, Florida
Urban Vegan Kitchen (a.k.a. Blossom on Carmine) - New York, New York
XYST NYC - New York, New York
Zahav - Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Zaytinya - Washington, D.C. 

The complete list may also be viewed at


Best Cities for Ice Cream Lovers in 2018

San Francisco, Seattle, Los Angeles and San Diego

Do you think that your city is the best one for ice cream lovers? A new report by Redfin analyzed 100 major U.S cities by combining Yelp and Walk Score data.

According to this analysis, San Francisco is #1 for ice cream lovers, with a Walk Score® of 86 and 61 locations to eat ice cream that collectively have an average Yelp ranking of 4.26. To account for quality over quantity of ice cream shops, the average rating for shops was factored to be twice as valuable as the Walk Score and number of shops. 

Top Five Cities for Ice Cream Lovers

1. San Francisco, CA

Number of ice cream shops: 61

Average rating of all ice cream shops: 4.26

Walk Score: 86

Notable ice cream shops: Mitchell's Ice Cream, The Baked Bear, Smitten Ice Cream, Swensons, Bi-Rite Creamery, Humphry Slocombe, Fentons Creamery

2. Seattle, WA

Number of ice cream shops: 50

Average rating of all ice cream shops: 4.26

Walk Score: 73

Notable ice cream shops: Molly Moon's Homemade Ice Cream, Kurt Farm Shop, Old School Frozen Custard, Frankie & Jo's, Bluebird Ice Cream, Shug's Soda Fountain and Ice Cream

3. Los Angeles, CA (tied)

Number of ice cream shops: 50

Average rating of all ice cream shops: 4.28

Walk Score: 67

Notable ice cream shops: Magpies Softserve, Merci Clement, Fosselman's Ice Cream Co., Afters Ice Cream, Coolhaus, Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams

3. San Diego, CA (tied)

Number of ice cream shops: 72

Average rating of all ice cream shops: 4.31

Walk Score: 51

Notable ice cream shops: Mariposa Ice Cream, JoJo's Creamery, Creme & Sugar, ICMonster, TREET Ice Cream Sandwich Company

4. Denver, CO

Number of ice cream shops: 54

Average rating of all ice cream shops: 4.3

Walk Score: 61

Notable ice cream shops: Little Man Ice Cream, Sweet Action Ice Cream, Bonnie Brae Ice Cream, Milkroll Creamery, High Point Creamery

5. Miami, FL

Number of ice cream shops: 42

Average rating of all ice cream shops: 4.34

Walk Score: 79

Notable ice cream shops: Dasher and Crank, Mad Lab Creamery, Morelia Gourmet Paletas, Taiyaki, Sweet Melody, Serendipity Creamery

To read the full report, complete with all 15 cities, visit:


Food News

Comedian Tom Papa Breaks Bread Across The Country In Brand-new Food Network Series Baked

What are the ingredients for mixing comedy and bread? 

When carb-loving comedian Tom Papa isn't doing stand-up, he is probably eating, thinking about or making bread. Along with his sourdough specialty, he takes his passion for baked goods to the next level in the new Food Network series Baked.  

In his mission to find the country's best breads and pastries, Tom hits cities from coast to coast to shine a light on how local bakeries make life a little sweeter. He kicks the series off in New York City, where he devours glazed donuts covered in everything bagel topping, takes a master class in old world baking and discovers the bready, eggy, cheesy dish khachapuri.  Tom then heads to Detroit, Boston, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, New Orleans, New Jersey and Cleveland in subsequent episodes.  Baked premieres Monday, September 3, 2018, with back-to-back episodes at 10 p.m. (all times ET/PT) and 10:30 p.m.

In the 10 p.m. premiere episode, Tom heads to New York City and meets up with his friend Jim Gaffiganat at The Doughnut Project for the ultimate New York mash-up: a glazed donut covered in everything bagel topping.  Tom then visits Gian Piero Bakery to make classic Italian American rainbow cookies and at Oda House he falls in love with khachapuri, a boatload of bread brimming with cheese, eggs and tons of butter.  Finally, Bien Cuit's Chef Zachary Golper gives Tom a master class in baking old world bread and croissants. 

Immediately following at 10:30 p.m., he visits Detroit and hits Kuzzo's, where a former NFL player serves up decadent red velvet waffles with spicy fried chicken, and corner bakery Sister Pie for their roasted banana chess pie.  Tom then heads to Dearborn for a lesson in Middle Eastern food, including fresh-baked pita filled with roasted lamb and fine-spun pastry with melted sweet cheese. At Chene Modern Bakery, he learns to make paczki, a Polish take on a rich, filled donut. 

With more than 20 years as a stand-up comedian, Tom Papa is one of the top comedic voices in the country finding success in film, television, radio and podcasts as well as on the live stage.  He is the head writer and a regular performer on the nationally syndicated radio show Live From Here, the newest incarnation of the legendary radio show A Prairie Home Companion, and hosts the weekly podcast and Sirius XM show Come to Papa.  His first book "Your Dad Stole My Rake: And Other Family Dilemmas" was released in June.

Viewers can find out where to taste Tom's favorite bites at, plus watch video highlights of some of the most Instagram-worthy dishes you've ever seen.  Share your food beauty shots using the hashtag #Baked on social media.

Tom Papa on Food Network's Baked (Courtesy of the Food Network)

Tom Papa on Food Network's Baked (Courtesy of the Food Network)

Feeding America® Receives $2 Million Donation: The Darden Foundation to Help Fight Against Hunger

Forty-one million Americans are forced to make choices between food or other basic necessities. Feeding America®, the nation's largest domestic hunger-relief organization, and The Darden Foundation have partnered to provide more meals to people in need. Darden's most recent donation of $2 million will help Feeding America and 192 member food banks reach people facing hunger in communities across the country where Darden restaurants are located.

Darden is a restaurant company with brands that include Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, Cheddar's Scratch Kitchen, Yard House, The Capital Grille, Seasons 52, Bahama Breeze and Eddie V's.

Darden's $2 million donation will allow Feeding America to help provide 20 million meals* for people facing hunger. Thanks to their ongoing support over the past six years, the Feeding America network has been able to help provide even more nutritious meals to families in need. This donation will mark a total of $5.6 million that The Darden Foundation has contributed to the Feeding America network.

According to Matt Knott, president of Feeding America, 13 million children and 5.4 million seniors across the country face hunger. To learn more about Feeding America or to find your local food bank, visit

*$1 helps provide at least 10 meals secured by Feeding America® on behalf of local member food banks.


Through a network of 200 food banks and 60,000 food pantries and meal programs, Feeding America provides meals to more than 46 million people each year. Feeding America also supports programs that prevent food waste and improve food security among the people served; educates the public about the problem of hunger; and advocates for legislation that protects people from going hungry.