Saturday, April 20, 2013

How-To: Book Reservations

I hate booking reservations. Over the years, it has gotten ridiculous hard to book regardless of what economic state this country is in. From Ticketmaster-like systems to simply dialing a phone number 100 times with no results, I've decided enough is a enough. I'm throwing in the towel and leaving it up to professional services to endure the agony.

Booking reservations at restaurants outside the U.S. have an additional layer of difficulty: Local time zone and language. Unless you're a local, sometimes you're required to call at a specific time for "English-speaking" diners.

Last year, I found out two of my credit cards had complimentary 24/7 concierge services. I decided to take a chance with the service to book dinner reservations at the elusive RyuGin in Tokyo, Japan. Within a few hours of filing out an online form from Visa Signature Concierge, I get this email.

No more waking up at 3am or practicing my dialing techniques. The service works and I'm never booking reservations myself ever again. The biggest challenge would be booking the French Laundry. I've tried for the last 5 years with no success. Maybe this year will be the year.

Overview of conceirge services:

Visa Signature Concierge
  • Complimentary 24/7 concierge service for Visa Signature cards
  • Requests via phone or online
  • Common cards: United Airlines Explorer or Hawaiian Airlines Visa Signature
Mastercard World Elite
  • Competitor to Visa Signature Concierge. Also complimentary 24/7
  • Requests via phone
  • No annual fee
AMEX Platinum Card Concierge
  • $450 annual fee
  • Requests via phone
  • Holds table reservations for card holders in certain regions.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Best of Best

After having this blog for nearly five years, I've compiled a list of dishes that were truly unforgettable. These are definite "must-have" eats and drinks which were thought-provoking and have made a permanent impression on my long-term memory. Essentially, this is my rendition of the Food Network's "The Best Thing I Ever Ate" from A-Z.

This list is located in a new tab called "Best of Best" at the top of the blog.

Direct link:

*Note: This is completely my own opinion. I don't claim to be a food expert nor is this my full-time job. I am a researcher by trade so any "research-related" stuff I can claim would be legitimate (e.g. how to book reservations, etc). I get a lot of questions about where I've eaten and what were the "best" things I've ever eaten. I figured it was time to put a stake in the ground and mark the territory.

Pictured: Macarons from Laduree, Tokyo and Gambas Al Ajillo from Jaleo in Las Vegas, NV.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

What's Next: Las Vegas

Later this month, we're heading back to Las Vegas to celebrate Hub's birthday weekend. We were in Las Vegas not so long ago but we didn't go to any new restaurants aside from our usual spot, Raku.

During our last trip, there were a few things I had to do while in town:
  1. Pick up our CD of our wedding at the Bellagio. Four years isn't long at all.
  2. Watch the Cirque du Soleil show, O. Courtesy of M life, we also got the best seats in the house.

For Hub's birthday, we're going to the Prince concert at The Joint in the Hard Rock Hotel. This was a long time coming as we've waited 5 years to go to his concert. Before the concert, we're having dinner at L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon, courtesy of M life. I can't say no to comped dinners.

Once, I get my concert fix, I'll be back to my regular blogging schedule and finally post the rest of our photos from our trip to Tokyo. So far this year, we're seeing Rihanna, Prince and Bruno Mars.