Sunday, July 31, 2011

The Golden Ticket

This weekend I got an unexpected letter. Well, not really unexpected since I was waiting for it but I didn't know when it was going to arrive. Essentially, I received these pair of "golden tickets" to e by Jose Andres. The tickets solidified my accomplishment of getting these sought after reservations. The tickets were printed on shiny gold card stock just like in the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory movie. The front of the tickets said:

"Greetings and felicitaciones to you, the lucky recipient of this ticket. From Jose and his team of wonder makers. This ticket along with your reservation entitles you and only you, to admission to e by Jose Andres. Where you will experience culinary delights that you have not imagined, and cannot guess. Present this ticket at the time of your reservation to the hose at Jaleo in the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. Do not be late and be ready for anything! Buena Suerte!"

The back of the tickets showed the date and time of the reservation as well as our seat numbers. I got #5 and #6. There are only 8 seats inside the exclusive room hidden within Jaleo at the Cosmopolitan Hotel in Las Vegas. We're less than a week away. I'm too excited and I can't wait.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Chicago and Camera Bag

I just got word that I'll be traveling back to Chicago this Fall for a conference. Actually, it's near the time that I was out there two years ago. Coincidence? Maybe. Lucky? Definitely. As soon as I got word, the first place I contacted was Alinea. It was obviously way too early to book a reservation as they open their books at the first of the month, two months prior. For example, August 1st for the month of October and so forth. Since I couldn't book a reservation, I made sure all of my information was up-to-date (e.g. All prior dinners under the same name).

I was debating if I should dine at other fine dining establishments like L20 or RIA but I figured that if I went to other restaurants, I'll be wishing I was at Alinea. Besides, I already have two dinners there on file, why not make it a 3-peat. Maybe I can reach a VIP level someday. For now, I need to cross my fingers and pray to the food gods that I'll land another reservation at Alinea.

Since shooting with a dSLR, I've always been on the look out for a camera bag. I'm not talking about a bulky one that pros carry but one that was functional and chic at the same time. Something I can use for work but also carry when I go out to fancy restaurants. I finally found one by Celine called the Mini Luggage Tote. Unfortunately, when it was released in 2010, it was hard to come by. With only one Celine boutique in the U.S. (in Florida) and 70 stores worldwide, getting your hands on one of these bags was almost as hard as getting a Hermes Birkin. While major luxury retailers like Barney's and Neiman Marcus carry the brand, the bags are often sold before hitting the floor. It was said that the waiting list at a Celine store was 5 pages long! Well, my research skills came into play when I decided to make the investment and buy this bag. While others have waited at least 3 months on a wait list, it took me a mere 24 hours to find a luxury retailer with a few Celine Minis in stock. Within 2 days, my bag arrived just as I pictured it.

The dimensions for this bag is 12" x 12" x 7". The sides expand out so I can really store a lot of stuff like my big camera, wallet, scarf, phone, cosmetic bag, menus, etc. The interior is lined in leather and is buttery soft. The Mini comes in two different leathers, smooth calf and grainy. I got the smooth calf since it was more structured compared to the grainy leather. So far I love it and hope to give it a test run when we dine at e by Jose Andres next weekend. Can't wait!

Other stuff about this bag:
  • One exterior zippered pocket.
  • Gold tone hardware.
  • Zippered top and interior pockets for a cellphone and business cards.
  • Additional interior zipped pocket to secure other items.
  • Bags are made from the finest quality leathers.
  • The smooth calf tote comes with metal feet but slightly heavy.
  • Grainy leather has no metal feet; slouchy leather.
  • Made in Italy.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Video: miniBar at Jose Andres

miniBar by Jose Andres - Washington, DC from foodiefinder on Vimeo.

Here's another video from the FoodieFinder archive on miniBar by Jose Andres in Washington, DC. I was combing through photos the other day and found this video that I took. It's much better than my weird video from Alinea. The cocktails were pretty strong at miniBar so I that's my excuse for forgetting about this video. Yes, I'll blame it on the alcohol Mr. Jamie Foxx. Enjoy!

Oh before I forget, the chefs were making this dish: Fizzy Ball

Thursday, July 14, 2011

One Minute

One minute and it was sold out. At least I didn't have to wait an hour.

I think this is God's way of telling me to book Joel Robuchon in Monte-Carlo instead.

Anyways, I created a new blog tab called "My Reservations" to show all of my upcoming reservations.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

How-To: Book Reservations at é by José Andrés

é by José Andrés, the latest 8-seat restaurant by José Andrés located at the Cosmopolitan Hotel in Las Vegas.

Having dined at Saam at the Bazaar and miniBar, dining at é in Las Vegas completes the trifecta of hidden treasures by José Andrés. I woke up one day and I decided to book a reservation to é to celebrate our third wedding anniversary. I had originally called the French Laundry in June but as usual, I failed miserably. Instead I booked a reservation to Manresa but even that reservation I wasn't too excited about. Just last week, as if Jose Andres was whispering in my ear, "Book it and you will come.", I made the leap. You would think the reservation process would be just as exclusive but it's not...for now.

How to book reservations at
é by José Andrés? I emailed them at

That's it.

I patiently waited for a reply and to my luck I got a response within 48 hours.

The first response said something like this:

Thank you for your interest in dining at é by José Andrés! We have a reservation available for 2 guests on xxxxxx, August x, 2011 at the 5:30 pm seating. Please note that your reservation is not yet confirmed and is contingent upon receipt of your follow-up email including your completed reservation form.

Simply print and fill out the attached form and fax or email back a scanned copy or an image captured with your smart phone. Signing and returning this form indicates that you have read and agree with the terms of our reservation policy. We will confirm your reservation after the form is received.

Also, please be aware that your reservation may be released if we do not receive your reply within 48 hours. Do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.

é by José Andrés
The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas
3708 Las Vegas Boulevard, South
Las Vegas, NV 89109
T 702 698 7959 F 702 442 7069
José Andrés ThinkFoodGroup

I filled out the designated form by indicating no food allergies (thank god!), credit card information and agreeing to pay $160 per person + drinks, tax and gratuities. I scanned the form and emailed it back to them (never trust fax).

A little over 24 hours later, I got another email that stated:

Congratulations, you've made it! Your reservation is confirmed for 2 guests on xxxxxx, August x, 2011 at the 5:30 pm seating. We are excited to take you and your guest on a culinary journey that celebrates Spanish Gastronomy in its most pristine forms presented with unparalleled finesse.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us. We ask for your understanding that the show begins promptly. For your convenience, please arrive 15 minutes prior so we may discuss your beverage options at that time. Thank you for your reservation at é by José Andrés!

é by José Andrés
The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas
3708 Las Vegas Boulevard, South
Las Vegas, NV 89109
T 702 698 7959 F 702 442 7069
José Andrés ThinkFoodGroup

How easy was that? No special phone line or spending HOURS refreshing a website. I guess everyone was too busy trying to get a reservation at
Next Restaurant.

é by José Andrés
The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas
3708 Las Vegas Boulevard, South
Las Vegas, NV 89109
T 702 698 7959
F 702 442 7069

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Yountville: Addendum at Ad Hoc

Buttermilk Fried Chicken & Biscuit

Ad Hoc Style BBQ & Biscuit
mesquite wagyu beef brisket, andouille sausage

Sweet Corn Succotash
brentwood corn, chickpea, red peppers

Classic Potato Salad
mayo-mustard dressing

Addendum is located in a brown shack behind Ad Hoc. Orders are taken at the shack but the actually food is cooked inside Ad Hoc. Picnic benches were available for diners to eat on the premise but most patrons took their food to-go. On the menu, there were two options available: Fried Chicken or BBQ. Each entree came with two sides, corn succotash and potato salad. The price was $16.50 plus tax. We ended up getting both entrees to try out.

I dunno but it seemed like my taste buds were playing tricks on me because I felt the fried chicken was just ok. Don't get me wrong, it was good but I don't believe it's the best I've had. It was fried perfectly and tasted juicy but of the three chicken pieces that were given, at least one of them was overly salty. I actually liked the BBQ beef brisket more than the chicken. The BBQ sauce on top of the beef slices had a nice kick to it with an essence of tamarind. The biscuit was homemade and I enjoyed it. Of the two sides, the corn succotash was the highlight of the day. The corn was fresh and sweet with a little heat. Loved it! I should have bought an extra side of the corn succotash but it cost an additional $5.

Overall, it was worth the 1.5 hour drive from Stockton since I couldn't go wrong with either entree. Orders were quickly sold out within an hour and 15 minutes. As for the best fried chicken in America, I'm thinking Willie Mae's has taken the honors but I may need to taste test it again since my taste buds are much more refined then ever before.