Five-Star Reviews

Chris G’s Best Yelp Reviews: Por Siempre – 5/5 Stars

Chris G’s Best Yelp Reviews: Por Siempre – 5/5 Stars

Por Siempre
$ Tacos, Vegan
Calle de Chiapas 169
06700 Ciudad de México, CDMX

It’s been years since I have been so excited about writing a review. As far as vegan street tacos are concerned, Por Siempre (Forever) crushes all other taco places I’ve ever been before and I can’t ever look at tacos the same way again.

For one, this is a NIGHTTIME street taco place. I came to the Roma Norte during the day to find this place closed. I was so bummed out, I had to come back later at night. I knew a place like this would be busy, so I came back shortly after they opened at 6:45 p.m. and there were already about ten people waiting for their food.

I got the Big Bebe and the Al Pastor, both of which are incredible. But the Big Bebe, however, is unbelievable; it has like so many flavors of spice, that I don’t think I could do justice describing what was going on on top of my tongue. I believe both came with seitan/trigo and not soy, but I am not sure what kind of fake meat was in that big baby. I want to go back tomorrow, so I might write an update. They also offer free salsa, nopals/nopales/cactus, and potatoes to put on top of the tacos.

I am glad that there are so many soyrizo fans, as then I know they won’t run out of the options that I am into if I ever stay in the DF again. I am not against soyrizo per se, it’s just that every place in LA seems to offer it and it tastes like a boca burger, chili, and Worcestershire sauce blended together.

Useful:Funny:Cool: 6


Posted by Chris Girard in Yelp
Chris G’s Best Yelp Reviews: The London Particular – 5/5 Stars

Chris G’s Best Yelp Reviews: The London Particular – 5/5 Stars

The London Particular
££ Cafes
399 New Cross Road
London SE14 6LA
United Kingdom

I don’t make enough money to eat here, but I make enough money to drink here!

London Particular offers my favorite lattes in all of London. I don’t know what it is about it, but their brew is incredibly good, strong; and goes well with soya and their lattes are delicious. It looks like an amazing coffee shop but is more of an eating place. The ambience is incredibly nice. If they could bulldoze the fish and chips shop next door, they should. They’ve got one huge communal table in the middle, with two or three tinier high tables that seat two, barely any seating. There is outside seating, which is nice in the afternoons when the sun comes in. Granted their wifi is free but it isn’t really a place to write an epic novel in, as it gets busy fast. It’s a good place to sit for 30 minutes. I’ve often bypassed coming here because of how busy it was, but I’d certainly come more often stay here longer if it had more seating!

Useful:Funny:Cool: 0


Posted by Chris Girard in Yelp
Chris G’s Best Yelp Reviews: Saigon Sandwich – 5/5 Stars

Chris G’s Best Yelp Reviews: Saigon Sandwich – 5/5 Stars

Saigon Sandwich
$ Vietnamese, Sandwiches
560 Larkin St
San Francisco, CA 94102

All of you Tenderloinians who wrote about how huge this $3.75 bahn mi sandwich is must collectively weigh 100 pounds! ‘Large’ is an overstatement and my ability to eat three of these amazing sandwiches would prove it.

I am from Texas. Just kidding. But this sandwich is definitely not from Texas, nor is it underwhelming nor small in any way. It is a perfect hefty size.

Hefty might be defined in terms of thickness versus length. Saigon Sandwich’s bahn mi sandwich is larger than a burger and a little smaller than half a sub from Subway. Unlike a Subway sub, it makes up in VOLUME. While VOLUME, in phallic terms, is very important, the same holds true with sandwiches. You can have a really long veggie-filled baguette with delicious innards but if the sandwich isn’t thick, I mean PACKED, spilling out from every angle, you can certainly enjoy it but it wouldn’t be very impressive. I prefer both though. Like, the same holds true with the best of the best burritos. I want to hold a burrito the size of my foot and feel almost uncomfortable at the end. With this bahn mi, I want to have to catch every leaf, carrot, daikon, tofu spilling out and me catching it with my mouth and have sauce dripping all over because I don’t feel uncomfortable at the end. There’s no way a pickled veggie sandwich, unlike a burrito, can ever do this to me.

The freshly prepared and amazingly tasty fried tofu is something I cannot get enough of, as well as the incredibly fresh vegetables. The service is very fast too. The lady working there made five different sandwiches for five people in less than two minutes.

Useful:Funny:Cool: 1


Posted by Chris Girard in Yelp
Chris G’s Best Yelp Reviews: The Refinery – 5/5 Stars

Chris G’s Best Yelp Reviews: The Refinery – 5/5 Stars

The Refinery – CLOSED
$ Coffee & Tea, Cafes
413 Santa Monica Blvd
Santa Monica, CA 90401

The Refinery is a large grey cube amongst the obnoxiousness of the gaudy shops along the Promenade-adjacent Santa Monica Blvd.

Omg, you are next to the beach, have a panini, have a smoothie, have a diving fin?!

No, you don’t care that you are four blocks away from the most touristy part of Santa Monica Beach and next to the massive amount of foot traffic due to the Downtown to Santa Monica 704 Bus Stop because you are THE REFINERY.

I think of an industrial NIMBY on SimCity when I think of the word ‘refinery’ and I see the smokestacks and refining crude oil and chemicals billowing smoke to create a haze, an atmospheric change when I come inside.

Your cold brew is perfect, your foreboding roominess, lack of a crowd, and sumptuous large empty spaces are amazingly sobering. This is what drinking coffee should make me feel like, and you succeed in sucking out all of the electric atmosphere out of your surroundings. I feel like a cold industrial complex, ready to battle the waves on my surfboard.

The Refinery, ftw.

Useful:Funny:Cool: 5


Posted by Chris Girard in Yelp
Chris G’s Best Yelp Reviews: Masa of Echo Park – 5/5 Stars

Chris G’s Best Yelp Reviews: Masa of Echo Park – 5/5 Stars

Masa of Echo Park
$$ Pizza
1800 W Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90026

A couple of weeks ago there was a drunk driver that made a sudden turn from Sunset to Lemoyne and slammed into the sidewalk area in front of Masa. He or she took down a big tree, a bike rack, a mailbox, and a street sign; and was able to continue speeding away. That awful accident reminded me that I needed to finally eat here. So a day or two later, my friend and I jumped over the fallen tree, which was still laying there, and tried the 45-minute-long preparation time vegan deep dish pizza for two people.

It was an incredible goo of their own non-Daiya cheese, some kind of vegan cheese I’ve never tried before, and certainly more delicious than the two vegan pizzas that Two Boots puts out. It was big enough for three or four people to finish actually. It came on a tin and was an inch to two inches high. Actually, if I was hungrier at the time, I might have been able to finish more and not leave three slices left on the tin.

The pizza just takes a really, really long time to make! I wouldn’t substitute deliciousness for a speedier pizza in this instance. So come here with someone else who you can talk to for that long. It’s probably better for a date but I was with a childhood friend with 15 years’ worth of stories to potentially discuss over dinner. The service was fine and the dining experience was fine. The price is also pretty reasonable. It came out to $25 including a tip for two people.

Useful:Funny:Cool: 3


Posted by Chris Girard in Yelp
Chris G’s Best Yelp Reviews: MooShoes – 3/5 Stars

Chris G’s Best Yelp Reviews: MooShoes – 3/5 Stars

MooShoes – CLOSED
$$$ Shoe Stores, Accessories
3116 W Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90026

MooShoes is an awesome vegan shoe store that is a great addition to Los Angeles. I was in and out with a pair of vegan Doc Marten boots in a matter of six minutes. Their online store showed me everything I needed to know about those shoesy woosies before I came in to try them out. In fact, what I like about this store is that everything is basically laid out online so I can do my research and find exactly what I want to look at. I am uncreative, I hate being surprised, and I would hate to fall in love twice.

Two of my vegan coworkers told me about this store after they were sporting some awesome boots. So I had to get a pair myself. I tried the boots that I found online on and they were an incredible fit. Not only that, they are the most DURABLE non-leather leathery shoes I have ever owned! Most vegan shoes I have worn over the course of 15 years last perhaps a year or two with my feet because they are made out of canvas or rubbery materials that are slightly stronger than a pencil eraser. Everyone who complimented my new boots is surprised that they are not leather.

The store is very physically attractive and carries its own weight in terms of atmosphere and vibe. The woman working at this location is very helpful and nice. My only suggestion is for them to make it more apparent that they are located here! I bike past this location almost everyday and did not realize it had been here for three or four months before someone else pointed it out to me. They should have tables, serve yerba mate and raw vegan carrot cake or something, so they can get more foot traffic.

Useful 5 Funny 1 Cool 1


Posted by Chris Girard in Yelp
Chris G’s Best Yelp Reviews: Little Shanghai – 5/5 Stars

Chris G’s Best Yelp Reviews: Little Shanghai – 5/5 Stars

Little Shanghai – CLOSED
$$ Chinese
1010 Cedar St
Santa Cruz, CA 95060

I have never, ever, tried a more delicious tempeh meal than that from Little Shanghai Chinese Restaurant.

Specifically the Gan Sao Tempeh which is the very last thing listed on the menu and is one of only two tempeh options here. The crispy tempeh is stir-fried with vegetables and hot peppers and served in a thick sweet sauce that has the same consistency as molasses. The texture of their delicious tempeh wins me to come here on a weekly basis because it isn’t undercooked nor is it chewy or tough. It’s hard to compare the texture to any other I’ve tried because I’m generally don’t eat it.

So this review is simply based on a meat alternative that is made out of soy beans and brown rice. Tem-peh from the latin soy beanus and brown risis. I have looked at their tofu options and they look similar to other Chinese fried-tofu-mixed-with-vegetables fare. Definitely and without hesitation come here and take your risk with tempeh and my word that you will not be disappointed.

Useful: 7 Funny: 3 Cool: 6


Posted by Chris Girard in Yelp
Chris G’s Best Yelp Reviews: Cosas Baratas – 5/5 Stars

Chris G’s Best Yelp Reviews: Cosas Baratas – 5/5 Stars

La Barata/Cosas Baratas
$ Discount Store, Furniture Stores, Electronics
5527 Santa Monica Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90038

I just Google Street Viewed Cosas Baratas / Cheap Things to make sure this is the same store I was thinking it was. I don’t think anyone would know the name of this place by the name itself. It doesn’t have a sign on top of it. But this is the store that I recommend EVERYONE to come to who’s moving to LA for the first time. They’ve got furniture and housing supplies for possibly the least expensive you’ll find anywhere. And it’s big!

I tell people, hey if you need a mop, need a coat rack, need a cheap bicycle, go to this place on Santa Monica Blvd. next to the big abandoned Sears. It has 98¢ painted on it, I think? No it’s the big one. Now this is where Google Street View has helped me to describe it: It’s got like a lot of glass windows that has a massive display of wrapping paper, shelves and tiny microwaves underneath a hand-painted 98¢ ITEMS over a repurposed mid-century sign that’s painted blue. A hand-painted FURNITURE slopes downwards and into the store towards old vinyl signage of television brands SONY / SANYO / FISHER / ZENITH that then leads to TV / VCR / STEREO at the top of the door. I don’t think they’ve got any of these things anymore. Minus possibly -a- TV.

I recently got a collapsible luggage here. Well one wasn’t enough so I came back yesterday and got ANOTHER collapsible luggage. (Who in LA has the room for a 2×3 feet box to sit on a shelf for 11 months out of the year?) The guy who runs the store gives commentary on everything in his store. He speaks English, by the way. It’s funny. And it’s probably the only place outside of downtown LA that has got maybe twenty different types of luggage in very ample supply. They’ve got shelving, beds, like everything for the econo-couple. They’re what killed big Sears across the street! I hope

So if you happen to see an ancillary Cosas Baratas / Cheap Things sign, as you’re strolling eastward on the south side of Santa Monica Blvd, then you missed it. But if you back up, not in a car, and see a lot of glass, a 98¢ sign, and advertisements for nonexistent televisions, then you’re here.

Useful:Funny:Cool: 4


Danny A. sent you thanks for this review
Business Owner of La Barata/Cosas Baratas

Posted by Chris Girard in Yelp
Chris G’s Best Yelp Reviews: The Broad – 5/5 Stars

Chris G’s Best Yelp Reviews: The Broad – 5/5 Stars

The Broad
Art Museums
221 S Grand Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90012

Finally, LA has a thorough art museum that highlights the contemporary art besties and worsties that all art majors in college come to intimately know. Broad (pronounced ‘Brode’) has got an entire fleet of artwork from pop to conceptual art that makes a statement towards globalization, mass-production, and iconography.

Julie Mehretu, one of her map-like abstracts, and one of my living favorite artists.

The people who didn’t book two to three months in advance have to wait 30 to 40 minutes on the line that wraps around the building. Everyone essentially gets in free but the un-ticketed people will not get to see the mirror lights exhibit, which I think was once at Tate in London without any ridiculous line. So go to London instead of wait in line! The mirror exhibit is a fun, immersive experience but it is not worth booking two months in advance to just see that.

The art gallery is two stories and 1 1/2 stories worth of art, but it takes about 90 to 120 minutes to thoroughly see and hear everything. One thing that isn’t enforced though I think should be, and I should have been reprimanded for doing is NO photography. There are camera phones on every angle of people and their friends trying to take photos (especially of the Murakami and Koons stuff), that it becomes an inevitably losing game of not getting caught in someone’s picture and becoming featured in Yelp photo number 1451 of the Brode.

Artist Glenn Ligon’s physical description as an Antebellum runaway slave.

Useful:Funny:Cool: 1


Posted by Chris Girard in Yelp
Chris G’s Best Yelp Reviews: gré Coffeehouse & Art Gallery – 5/5 Stars

Chris G’s Best Yelp Reviews: gré Coffeehouse & Art Gallery – 5/5 Stars

gré Coffeehouse & Art Gallery
$$ Art Galleries, Coffee & Tea, Vinyl Records
278 N Palm Canyon Dr
Palm Springs, CA 92262

One of the things that first drew me to Yelp from a decade ago was finding a cool, and very deserving business that needs praises and recognition out there to know that it is cool and out there!

This coffee shop, only a three-week-old infant as I am writing it, is a very ambitious and unusual one. It feels a bit off-the-beaten-track but it is really in the middle of everything in Palm Springs. While it serves as good of iced coffee as I’ve had in the area, the person who runs it is an awesome black and white photographer with her edgy erotic photographs on the wall who not only spins vinyl records in a record player but invites people to pick and choose stuff to spin. There is definitely a great atmospheric vibe here and how I wish I could’ve taken her up on her offer to switch up the music but the music was already perfect for the vibe.

Important things to note are that it is located about a block away from the Amtrak bus stop to Fullerton/Riverside and inside of a historic-esque shopping center. They’ve also got live events, which actually sound quite fun. Usually, I find my writing hand to be lackadaisical about a ton of one-stop businesses that need not my cool-ish praises or lukewarm criticism to join the hundreds or thousands of people that have already reviewed them, but this place was truly a surprising and quite an exciting find. Wish something like this would come along in my big town!

Useful:Funny:Cool: 5


Posted by Chris Girard in Yelp
Chris G’s Best Yelp Reviews: High Voltage Tattoo (LA Ink) – 5/5 Stars

Chris G’s Best Yelp Reviews: High Voltage Tattoo (LA Ink) – 5/5 Stars

High Voltage Tattoo
$$$$ Tattoo
1259 N La Brea Ave
West Hollywood, CA 90038

Although my perspective is of someone who was behind the scenes as a hairless cat sitter of LA Ink, and not of a High Voltage client, I can vouch my client friend is very happy with his tattoos here. And it’s quicker than one might think to get tattooed here. It would be during the hours the film crew isn’t here and definitely depending on the tattoo artist working.

The film crew was completing the final scenes when my friend and I visited. My friend was a guest on the LA Ink show earlier that day. Kat had just finished the singer of Alkaline Trio’s “Hello Cleveland” tattoo and left for an interview. I was introduced to names but I spent most of the time minding one of the hairless cats, making sure it didn’t escape from the dressing room. In other words, I closed the door if anyone happened to open it. All the while I was drinking blue Jones soda.

Useful:Funny:Cool: 3


Posted by Chris Girard in Yelp
Chris G’s Best Yelp Reviews: Outer Limits Tattoo – 5/5 Stars

Chris G’s Best Yelp Reviews: Outer Limits Tattoo – 5/5 Stars

Outer Limits Tattoo & Body Piercing
$$ Tattoo, Piercing, Jewelry
2981 Bristol St
Costa Mesa, CA 92626

As my face has broadened, the labret holes I have had pierced here have remained the same since I was 18. I often wonder whether I’ll put the jewelry back in because it makes me feel so different as if I was wearing all black with inappropriate shoes and pomade in my hair, stealing candy from Sweet Factory at the mall in the early 2000s, and being simultaneously yelled at by Trudy and Sherrie for looking incorrect at the mall job I worked at. I looked this way on purpose, fags.

Piercings gave me an air of confidence, in a way that is subliminal to the life I’m living right now. I miss my piercings. I miss the air of confidence that I had that wasn’t forced. Now it’s forced because I’m here. Here, in a mainstream way. I miss the confidence I had when I went to places I should have stayed away from and got black eyes from kicks that weren’t meant for me, smoke being blown in my face in Pomona, watching porn in prom limos, and being committed to an inpatient facility because of aforementioned piercings.

I wasn’t sick. I was rebellious. Micah, I believe his name was, from Outer Limits drew me a tattoo after I got pierced here. It was of a bonsai tree but it was a brutal bonsai tree. The tattoo would have covered my whole back. I didn’t want it, so I flaked on going through with it. He moved to Washington and all my friends with their new tattoos were heartbroken. This was years ago, and I’m not sure whether they’re satisfied with their tattoos still. For a lot of them, X does not equal what it did many years ago. if you know what I mean!

Today, I still like tattoos but I like full-bodied tattoos or sleeves in which there is no focal point but a flood-like intricate pattern. My friend had a race with his then-wife/ex-girlfriend/whatever on who could get the most tattoos and now both have full sleeves and tattoos up to their necks/abdomen/legs. She went upward, he went downward. It’s overwhelming but it’s hot because I wouldn’t even know if either of them had a “bad” tattoo. It’s like looking at graffiti art at a venue or club and thinking, “this is so cool” when in reality, some of the designs are unremarkable but as a pattern, they look so neat.

Useful:Funny:Cool: 8


Posted by Chris Girard in Yelp
Chris G’s Best Yelp Reviews: Yelp Black Elite Event: BBCM – 5/5  Stars

Chris G’s Best Yelp Reviews: Yelp Black Elite Event: BBCM – 5/5 Stars

The Butcher, The Baker & The Cappuccino Maker
Breakfast & Brunch, Salad, Sandwiches
8653 W Sunset Blvd
West Hollywood, CA 90069

Coworker: Where are you going again? Me: “The Butcher, Bartender, Barista, I think?”

When I was searching for this place, I couldn’t remember the 13 syllable name of this cafe (The Butcher, The Baker & The Cappuccino Maker) so I typed “the butcher, the barista” in Yelp and the search resulted in all the butcheries in the Los Angeles area. This place is a newer addition to the Sunset Strip, a bistro cafe of sorts, and the layout surprisingly is roomy for such a new place. It consists of what used to be TWO storefronts on the Sunset Strip. They have this outdoor patio area in the middle, with a restaurant/bar to the right and a really beautiful second indoor space for private events on the left, which I think used to be a gift shop years back. The bar part of this restaurant used to be a crummy Italian restaurant a few years back and the remodeling for this new restaurant offers so much more of a lighter, open, and pleasing vibe.

Many of us began at the bar on the right and many of us left full and sloshed from the private event room on the left. I am relying on everyone else for food and drink specifics because there was a lot to cover. All I know is that I had a 1. stiff coffee (I requested without cream so mine was stiffer than thine) 2. 1/2 of a very tall bloody mary 3. white wine 4. red wine. By the end of the night, I ended up taking home Yelp mints, a woman’s t-shirt, and 1 1/2 orders of the Vegan Grain Bowl. We also got like ten or so food items to try. I feel like the house specialist for this Vegan Grain Bowl because I had so much of it. So I’ll just leave a tiny review of what I thought of it. The Vegan Grain Bowl comes with A LOT of carrot salad and grain. I give credit for that stuff sopping up all that alcohol I had. There wasn’t enough of the marinated tofu, avocados. But enough of the alfalfa sprouts and orange peels. The table, and I concur, agree that the tofu was excellent. But it would have been awesome to get more of the marinated tofu and avocado because there was so much grain. All I can say about that is I had a very healthy sobering ‘oatmeal’ this morning. 🙂

I signed up for this event because it was one of the first Gold/Black Yelp Elite events I noticed that offered a few vegan options. Even though I didn’t eat like 7 out of the 10 or so food offerings they gave us, I left like filled to the brim with salads. This event lasted about three hours and let me tell you, I felt spoiled! It was very well done. I work close by near Melrose/La Cienega and walked my bike to the top of the hill here. I ended the night walking down the hill with my bike, passing the Chateau Marmont, seeing all the bright lights of beautiful ugly traffic passing me, and enjoying the cooling breeze at night.

Useful:Funny:Cool: 3


Posted by Chris Girard in Yelp
Chris G’s Best Yelp Reviews: Greenbar Distillery – 5/5 Stars

Chris G’s Best Yelp Reviews: Greenbar Distillery – 5/5 Stars

Greenbar Distillery
$$ Distilleries
2459 E 8th St
Los Angeles, CA 90021

That’s how they get so many five-star ratings! They have a link that travels from their feedback email after taking the tasting tour. It goes to their Yelp page after you click that you were ‘very satisfied’ with their tour. I was about to get all passive-aggressive up on this place about it but to be fair, I re-clicked ‘very dissatisfied’ just to see what happens and it also travels to their Yelp page.

What I like about this place is that it basically exists. They’re really into the art of experimentation, rather than being some type of profit-making dinosaur with tried and true flavors. It feels like it has stayed true to it being in the Arts District. From the sampling tour and their samplings of crafted liqueurs, bitters, whisky, gin, vodka, and tequila, they’re really into trying new things out. They have savory vodka, for example, that tastes like a wheatgrass shot. They are all organic and use actual fruit, for example, which I learned can vary in taste due to fruit varying in the way it sits on the tree, if it was hit by sunlight and how much water it gets. So they have tasters to ensure it’s supposed to taste as it should. They interestingly said that they tried flavors like pineapple or wasabi that have flavor properties that would ‘collapse’ in on themselves over time so they cannot be stored very long. The tour guide did say the wasabi flavor was delicious when it was made.

I’ve been in LA long enough and I’m surprised this is the first time I’ve heard of this place. It’s pretty old for something of its kind (born in 2004) and unusual! I got a Groupon for two here and for the number of samples you get (six total), it was well worth $6 per person. I was a bit miffed after being met with the kind of a problem about booking with their very annoying and problematic online form that would not redeem the voucher number. But after calling them and getting it sorted out, which they booked me on a tasting tour and I don’t think even redeemed the Groupon, I am glad that I have been able to have this experience.

Useful:Funny:Cool: 3


Posted by Chris Girard in Yelp
Chris G’s Best Yelp Reviews: The Hatchery Press – 5/5 Stars

Chris G’s Best Yelp Reviews: The Hatchery Press – 5/5 Stars

The Hatchery Press – CLOSED
Shared Office Spaces, Adult Education
601 N Larchmont Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90004

The Hatchery is way more than that of a “shared office space” as it is a shared studio space exclusively for writers who publish their work. I am surprised there aren’t more Yelpers as active as I am writing about this place, but I suppose most ‘actual writers’ wouldn’t expend their writing for free on Yelp. I have existential dilemmas about doing just that all the time. Lol.

As someone who retired from almost a decade-long career at being a professional graduate student, it feels more like that of a liberal arts college. It reminds me of the atmosphere that you’d -want- to find at an MFA program or a writing residency. Everyone who runs this place has cultivated a very creative and lively spirit here. If they wanted to push for that direction and get accredited as a school, I bet they could do it. A lot of people here have books published and screenplays in production. They have a workshop of sorts almost every other night. They have readings and monthly BBQs too.

For me – this place is a refuge. I’ve been coming here for almost a year and it’s usually consistently good. It’s a perfect bike stop. It’s quiet at night. Let me emphasize how perfectly sandwiched this place is in the middle for someone who rides bikes even when deathly ill. It is one-stop along my 15-mile roundtrip infinity circle between East Hollywood to Hollywood to West Hollywood almost every day. This place, unless if they have a few major events, is usually very mellow at night. It’s spacious as they have two houses worth of space, so if something is happening in one house, the other house is usually freer. It’s not a coffee shop, but they have lots and lots of coffee pods. It has a ton of plants and it’s well-kept.

Useful:Funny:Cool: 3


Posted by Chris Girard in Yelp
Chris G’s Best Yelp Reviews: Diwana Bhel Poori House – 5/5 Stars

Chris G’s Best Yelp Reviews: Diwana Bhel Poori House – 5/5 Stars

Diwana Bhel Poori House
£ Indian
121-123 Drummond Street
London NW1 2HL
United Kingdom

This is by far the best vegetarian Indian buffet I have ever been to. Since it’s been around for over 40 years (vegetarian buffets did exist back then), they have really perfected the art of preparing thoughtfully spiced and cooked food.

Rather than it being an economical choice to prepare vegetarian food, the food they prepare is specifically made for other vegetarians and vegans who need a lot of protein-rich peas and vegetables. In terms of the quality of food, it is incomparable. I have tried all the Indian vegetarian buffets on Drummond Street’s Indian buffet row (including Ravi Shankar), and this one offers the best food in terms of preparation and quality of ingredients.

Three things that constitute this vegetarian buffet as being the best:

  1. Less potatoes, the better.

Sometimes Indian buffet-styled foods are plagued with dishes that have too many potatoes, whereas there are hardly any potatoes here. The other buffets have a lot more potato dishes. This place really emphasizes on the spices and vegetables. Potatoes are probably the least important food a vegetarian would want to fill up on.

  1. There is more emphasis on vegetables and peas.

The majority of the food offered in the buffet includes broccoli, chickpeas, daal, cauliflower, onions, and vegetable options for biriyani, dosas, pakoras, thalis. Everything is topped with its own delicious curry, which presents an array of rich reds, oranges, and yellows in this buffet.

  1. At least two people I’ve met in London claim to have been going to this place since the 1970s.

Diwana was a cool thing back then too. Professors in London, included my thesis supervisor and an anthropologist I lived with, were part of the progressives, hippies, and beatniks in the1970s who were going to Diwana. It has survived the wrath of Thatcher through the 80s and judging by the old wooden furniture and it being perpetually busy, it has left quite a legacy.

Although some may construe it as arrogance to leave a bold, laminated sign upon the return of a cheque exclaiming that TIP IS NOT INCLUDED, it may be because they’re not shy to ask for (or demand) appreciation for the hard work they do. Maybe.

Useful:Funny:Cool: 2


Posted by Chris Girard in Yelp

La Colubrina
€€ Pizza, Italian, Vegan
Via Felice Casati 5
20124 Milano

I was in Milan for less than a day and we decided to eat at La Colubrina as it was one of the very few Italian restaurants here that cater to vegans. I have to say that it is probably appropriate that one of the best vegan-friendly Italian restaurants I’ve ever been to is in Italy. This one is run by all women and it’s got a very relaxed and comfortable vibe. Dishes take 45 minutes to prepare so it kinda needs to be comfortable.

Although I learned Milan is more known for risotto than pasta, my spouse’s Milanese sister made us vegan risotto earlier in the day, so we were pretty risotto-ed out by the time we got here for dinner at 10pm. At 10pm it was still busy, but definitely dying down as it’s a family restaurant. Dinner is late but not too late! I decided to try very basic pasta and gnocchi dishes here. My fear about trying new dishes at vegan restaurants is my lack of realization about the portion sizes, usually lack thereof.

Almost every time I order a vegan thing I have never heard of, it is shaped in a tiny decorative torte form that takes less than three minutes to fully consume. So I have a type of psychic pain and avoidance now for ordering anything new, sadly. But nonetheless, I cannot begin to tell you how un-basic the pasta and gnocchi dishes are. The green gnocchi is fresh and comes in a white cashew-based gorgonzola cheese sauce. The zucchini-based pasta comes with I believe an avocado-based sauce and artichoke or some type of green that usually tastes not-so-good raw, but tastes incredibly good prepared. There was ‘cheese’ on top of this one, which I believe was nutritional yeast.

All in all, it was very un-Italian of us to split three first plates (the bowl on top of the second plate) and get no second plate or ‘antipasti’ so shame on us for not getting the other plates to balance out the meal. However, even with the lack of balance, I am incredibly happy to have come here for the very limited amount of time we had in Milan. The server was friendly, the food was incredible and the atmosphere was great. This is the first time in a long time that I ate out at an Italian restaurant. It’s great to eat Italian food that’s unlimited to pasta with some variant of tomato sauce or pesto and olive oil like every other Italian restaurant I’ve been to over the years.

Useful:Funny:Cool: 4


Posted by Chris Girard in Yelp
Chris G’s Best Yelp Reviews: Overused Yelp Cliches – 5/5 Stars

Chris G’s Best Yelp Reviews: Overused Yelp Cliches – 5/5 Stars

Overused Yelp Cliches
San Francisco, CA 94101

“Aging hippies” (91 hits)

A.K.A. older activists who are unsettling to your 20-something classical liberal/individualist disposition. Ayn Rand, so hot right now. Yelp cliche, so hot right now. (270 hits)

“Too many hipsters” (117 hits)

Just because YOU wear muscle shirts, a short brown haircut and basketball shoes does not mean you’ve got to hate on people who are better looking than you.

“Server was rude” (105 hits)
“Waiter was rude” (170 hits)
“Waitress was rude” (169 hits)
“He was rude” (444 hits)
“She was rude” (610 hits)
“… was rude” (18,300 hits)

Oh go cry me a river with all that you say. If someone rolled their eyes at you or ignored you for a minute, you likely deserved it!


Useful:Funny: 12  Cool: 9


Posted by Chris Girard in Yelp
Chris G’s Best Yelp Reviews: H Cafe – 5/5 Stars

Chris G’s Best Yelp Reviews: H Cafe – 5/5 Stars

$$ Cocktail Bars, American (New)
1750 Hillhurst Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90027



Where have you been? Why haven’t you manifested yourself to exist on Hillhurst years before? Who used to live in this craftsman’s house and please tell me did they grow old and die here? Why are your brand new walls and floors so exquisite? What was under them?

I like that h stands for House; there wasn’t a grotesque attempt to modernize the h, rather preserve it. Unlike The Alcove, in which the front was decapitated to make way for the Disneyland line-like effect of ordering and sitting or picking up. This reminds me of a Writers’ house, someone who would boast hosting avant-garde circles back in the 20s or 30s but made most of his or her earnings working in a ‘sweatshop factory for puns’ (thanks Lena Dunham). How are you? How’s the great American novel coming along? Oh wait, you’ve been dead for 35 years.

H reminds me of a more laid-back version of The Alcove up the street, although it disconcertingly is showing that it probably won’t be so laid back soon. The quiet pockets can still be caught, if in the whisk of a moment.

An excellent, really tasty, cold brew.

Useful:Funny:Cool: 6

Posted by Chris Girard in Yelp
Chris G’s Best Yelp Reviews: Hammer Museum – 5/5 Stars

Chris G’s Best Yelp Reviews: Hammer Museum – 5/5 Stars

Hammer Museum
10899 Wilshire Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90024

Hammer is not my favorite museum in Los Angeles. But it is free, and I appreciate that it offers an unholy marriage of the overly conceptual with the more traditional art forms.

Basically, I enjoy reading about the deep philosophies behind some of the crap on the walls. It is always a statement from a 70-year-old that has been doing art his or her entire life and got a PhD in it. (Me in the future.) One room, for example, is pixel art over plexi glass. There are basically three rooms that is dedicated to paint-by-number colored pixels over pictures of trees by artist Charles Gaines. I got the concept from one of these pictures but in case if I didn’t, Hammer has got an entire fleet of his ‘pixel trees’. But honestly, where else can I scoff at such intellectual-aesthetic masturbation so gloriously displayed in a white cube? In one room right next to pixel trees, we got paintings by Degas, Manet, and Cezanne to sprinkle in some of the classics.

Besides looking, there is some touching and interactivity, but mostly in the form of passive interactivity like laying on sculptural rocking chairs, listening to weird organ music on headphones, and reading art books. I am sure the live performances are quite a gas, as they have plenty of streaming documentation of them playing on the televisions with headphones. I once saw David Lynch here promoting his documentary on transcendental meditation in 2013, so I am quite certain that the back of my head was conspicuous if Hammer streamed the recording of this event in one of their galleries. One of the exhibitions in the courtyard is a raised enclosure with hammocks and books labeled by countries. It invites you to pick up and read a book not knowing anything else but the country it is from. I chose Canada and laid on the hammock learning about farming. (See picture.)

One thing that Hammer museum has en masse is docents; Hammer offers an arsenal of UCLA docent undergrads (my friend has been one for a few years) with clickers monitoring your every movement in each gallery space. It is kind of unnerving because most of them are insanely bored. I got stopped by a docent in one room because my messenger bag was touching my back (there is a strict no bags touching your back rule that I was breaking). Also, I get really anxious when I hear that click sound from the clicker once I enter a room, so I lose focus on looking at the artwork and looking at the docent eagerly waiting for my passing through. As I was about to enter a room, I see that trembling finger of a docent desperately waiting to click in my entrance.

Useful:Funny:Cool: 2


Posted by Chris Girard in Yelp
Chris G’s Best Yelp Reviews: Hi Tofu – 5/5 Stars

Chris G’s Best Yelp Reviews: Hi Tofu – 5/5 Stars

Hi Tofu
$$ Specialty Food, Korean, Vegetarian
32459 Temecula Pkwy
Temecula, CA 92592

Hi Tofu!

Tofu: Hi, how are you?

Eh. What are you doing besides chilling?

Tofu: Nothing. What do you mean by … ‘Eh’?

Well, I don’t know what to do about my sister.

Tofu: What’s that?

Well, I believe the scariest thing about going to a Korean restaurant for the first time is being presented with a solid egg. She hated the experience because of it.

Tofu: Dude, tell her it’s traditional. The egg. Like, Korean food is not Korean food without the Egg. She needs to put it in the boiling soup. She needs to. It’s like Easter without the Egg. It doesn’t work.

Oh. what about people who don’t eat egg?

Tofu: Dude, no.

Hi Tofu is the best tofu. They accept credit cards too! The ajumma is persistent about the egg being dropped into the appropriate bowl. (The ajumma is savvy about non-egg eaters too.) The spicy soups are perfectly spiced. You are presented with side trays galore with delicious kimchi as one. The bimbimbap is very flavorful. The store is quaint, minimalist and I like that it is hidden. I’d rather have a large storefront window facing trees than a parking lot.

Useful:Funny:Cool: 2


Posted by Chris Girard in Yelp
Chris G’s Best Yelp Reviews: City Lights Booksellers & Publishers – 5/5 Stars

Chris G’s Best Yelp Reviews: City Lights Booksellers & Publishers – 5/5 Stars

City Lights Booksellers & Publishers
$$ Bookstores
261 Columbus Ave
San Francisco, CA 94133

Lawrence Ferlinghetti:

I was surprised when your friends helped you stand up to the podium in discomfort after being huddled and rolled in a wheelchair. You could have been ailing when you relied on the wooden podium to keep you standing with your elbows but you continued on and on and on in mustered strength and paused in short intervals to catch your breath.

Your face seemed naked in retrospect. Then you put your thick red glasses on and began to read in a low voice that echoed the room in silence, attentive silence. You know, the silence that comes with concentration like focus, deep deep focus on a maverick in his blazer and jeans. His hairline below his ears with a full white beard. His hair bushier in front than in back. I still couldn’t hear you.

Your audience was a loyal audience and represented your audience; the two generations after yours. Younger old people who read more than A Coney Island of the Mind. Youth from the 50s and 60s; the ones who didn’t die from drug overdoses and who stayed in college and years later looked like typical university senior faculty members. It looked like an academic conference, only larger and as intimidating. Men and women with glasses from too much reading. Men with pressed blazers with and women with dyed reddish hair in slacks and shoes with thick heels.

I was 21-years-old on when I saw you read. I turned 21 one day before you turned 85. I photographed you. I photographed you being photographed. Now you’re almost 90.

You, your bookstore, the Beats are entrenched within a historical period but that second floor room with poetry readings is a continuing homage to get writing out there. That’s at least what your bookstore has taught me. The shelves upon shelves of stories about the Beats outnumber the stories by the Beats; and numerous editions of Ginsburg’s Howl in a way that commemorates yourself is like a distinct museum exhibition from a time and place and who which re-reminds myself you are a museum now by means of historical landmark status.

That’s as definitive and respectable to what a bookstore can aim to achieve and it’s reached sort of a peculiar status with yours.

Published poetry may have always been obscure and yet not seemingly dead. Where do the poets exist if distributers and shelve spaces are dwindling? That’s what I ask myself. There are places and you must know where to look because lots of writers solely abide to print. You know where the new books go and what’s on the table or what’s next to your feet. The empty seats upstairs are uncomfortable and they’re there to familiarize. “Sit down and read a book” is intuitively given.

What can be taught when my sister found a $100 bill on the gutter near the Jack Kerouac alleyway? Simply that enriching things come to people who look for it.

Thank you.

Useful:Funny:Cool: 8


Posted by Chris Girard in Yelp
My Best Yelp Reviews: Eyetailor – 5/5 Stars

My Best Yelp Reviews: Eyetailor – 5/5 Stars

$$ Eyewear & Opticians
4310 Melrose Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90029

I -never- seek coming to Eyetailor. It looks like any other stylish glasses shop. But they’re particularly amazing because whenever I warp or misplace parts of my glasses or sunglasses, they are always ready to fix it.

This all stared with a pair of Christian Dior aviator sunglasses from like 2007. Remember the big aviator sunglass craze of yesteryear?! Wherever the $400 that went into making a pair of Christian Dior sunglasses at the time, not much of it went into the soldering of hinges or the testing of them. So the faulty hinge mechanism couldn’t hold its weight against the heavy metal sunglasses, and then the metal that held the screw in would begin to warp and break off.

Well any-who, the owner Sung sung wonders into those frames and they held up for a couple of more years and didn’t break again before they went out of style. And many years later, another guy helped me out with un-warping a pair of glasses that got smushed in my bag. The messed up frame around the lens nearly blinded my left eye and gave me headaches. He spent 30 minutes on this issue, even while a couple of other demanding customers kept asking him questions about their glasses in the display case. He fixed my glasses first and then cleaned them before helping someone else out. So for him not leaving me high and dry for a sale, I give an applause.

I cannot speak much for their glasses in the display cases, but they have nicer and more stylish glasses than an optometrist would. All I know is that they helped me throughout the years with chronic and not-so-chronic issues. They charge $10 for every fix and really made something not-so-great so great.

Useful: 10  Funny:Cool: 0


Posted by Chris Girard in Yelp
Chris G’s Best Yelp Reviews: Doomies Home Cookin’ – 5/5 Stars

Chris G’s Best Yelp Reviews: Doomies Home Cookin’ – 5/5 Stars

Doomie’s Home Cookin’
$$ American (Traditional), Bakeries
1253 Vine St
Los Angeles, CA 90038

My partner and I were trying to remember the names of vegan restaurants we’ve been to a long time ago. And it’s tough! I usually remember vegan restaurants based on their location, cross streets or locale and less the food.

Trying to remember a vegan restaurant based on the food a challenge because every vegan restaurant serves the same kind of healthy fare. No matter how delicious it is, it is usually 75% similar to another place. Real Food Daily and Native Foods might be a little different, not really: quinoa salad versus quinoa burger versus quinoa with kale. I cannot describe the difference between the two based on quinoa, so RFD is always the vegan place near the Beverly Center and Native Foods is the larger vegan chain. And then there’s Veggie Grill, quinoa this, quinoa that. And the million Thai vegan places. Would you like tofu, soy chicken, soy beef or vegetables with your bastardized thai dish?

NOW DOOMIES, Fuckin’ Doomies. This bunny’s nest is in its own realm. It is the NOT HEALTHY vegan restaurant. So if someone were describing the vegan restaurant with the fried chicken and lump of mashed potatoes and buttery corn.

“Oh! You’ve been to Doomies.”

No need to describe the dim and outdated shopping center it’s located in or it being close to Fountain and Vine. It is different enough to not need any of that.

Southern fried food, burgers, ‘secret menu’ burgers and the ellipses goes on and on. While the Big Mac is heavy and will probably last some people a day (come hungry), the fried chicken is incredible. To the chagrin of people who find this disgusting, it has its own soy layer of skin that’s fried. You dissect this thing and eat it to the bone, like a piece of regular chicken.

I remember coming here. Unfortunately, I remember coming here not enough. I’ll come back soon!

Useful: 10  Funny:Cool: 5


Posted by Chris Girard in Yelp
Chris G’s Best Yelp Reviews: Au Lac – 5/5 Stars

Chris G’s Best Yelp Reviews: Au Lac – 5/5 Stars

Au Lac
$$ Vietnamese, Vegan, Live/Raw Food
16563 Brookhurst St
Fountain Valley, CA 92708

Au Lac is delicious, depending on what you eat here. I would argue the Vietnamese food, specifically their soy fish, is their specialty because it tastes outstanding.

The Spicy Soy Fish with Lemongrass is grilled and has a very soft consistency with the added spice. The lime and lemongrass seasonings worked really, really well with the food. I’ve never eaten a more plausible soy fish entree on its own before. The tofu and tomato soup with dill was very good but less hearty than what I expected from tomato soup. The broth isn’t thick, like most tomato soups I’m accustomed to.

The Chinese cuisine wanes in comparison. The Kung Pao Chicken was average at best. The chicken and the sauce are okay but it tastes as good as takeout at Stix. I wasn’t impressed at all. I’m honestly not even sure why I would order Chinese food at a predominantly Vietnamese restaurant. What can I say? I was naive.

Vegans beware: if you’re set on ordering spring rolls; or a few of the veggie chicken, beef, and seafood options here, you’ll be disappointed to learn they have whey. Although Au Lac has a delicious raw vegan menu, the actual vegetarian menu does not specifically list which “egg-free” foods aren’t vegan. This becomes difficult for strict vegans to choose when about 1/4 of the menu may have whey protein in it. In a histrionic way, that’s like stepping on a landmine if you innocently choose one of the 27 non-vegan options! Fortunately, the servers know which foods have what. Their online menu also lists which foods contain whey.

Useful:Funny:Cool: 5


Posted by Chris Girard in Yelp
Chris G’s Best Yelp Reviews: India’s Restaurant – 5/5 Stars

Chris G’s Best Yelp Reviews: India’s Restaurant – 5/5 Stars

India’s Restaurant
$$ Indian, Halal, Seafood
4366 Fountain Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90029

Purchased a Yelp Deal

Omnivores, please stop mentioning restaurants having vegetarian options that you didn’t actually order. Yelp is dumb and basically highlights the input from the search function if it finds any word that says vegetarian in a search. So nine out of ten of my highlighted search results for vegetarian or vegan go something like this:

Goofus M: 5/5

This meat masala is SOOO good, mmmm the tenderness of their juicy chicken titillates my tongue, oh and the fresh meatball-textured kofta is like a hot spicy ball of blood in my mouth, oh yes and the seafood salad, YES!!! Reminds me of being on the fucking Ramganga River in India eating these HUGE fresh catfish we caught last year. OH GOD YES their meat is soooo tender, meat blah blah blah blah, they appear to have vegetarian options too.

Duh. We are in LA so there are vegetarian options everywhere. Everywhere. Unless some restaurant is culturally on Mars, there is something a little more hearty than salad offered. Please, it is not necessary to add the caveat of there are vegetarian items that you didn’t try on the menu! Nobody, especially a vegetarian, cares to read about the vegetarian items that you saw but didn’t try. It adds nothing to the review of the titillating meat dish you did eat. And your meat reviews are probably less interesting than the example I conjured up.

Okay, with that being out of my system, I came here for dinner thanks to a Yelp deal. I had something amazing, very spicy, freshly prepared, and dun dun dun is not only vegetarian, it’s vegan. First we got the alu (vegetable) samosas, there were two that were made with potatoes, peas and vegetables that were served with an incredible mint chutney that tasted like it was blended and made to order. I actually enjoyed the chutney more than the samosas, which I was surprised by. The Baingan Bharta (roasted eggplant curry) is bangin’ good. The eggplant is freshly roasted and prepared perfectly with spices; and has an incredible texture that went perfectly with the vegetable biryani. The vegetables in the biryani were also very fresh. My partner had the malai kofta, which was I hear was also very good.

All in all: this is a great place. The furniture was nicely spaced out and served a perfect intimate setting for Los Angeles. The service was attentive. The server tried to engage us in a conversation with awkward consequences but at least he tried. He threw himself into a whirlwind of a weird existential conversation we were having and opened the door for us before we left.

Useful: 13  Funny:Cool: 3


Posted by Chris Girard in Yelp
Chris G’s Best Yelp Reviews: Akbar – 5/5 Stars

Chris G’s Best Yelp Reviews: Akbar – 5/5 Stars

$ Gay Bars
4356 W Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90029

Hey Chris, this is my sister!
Hey Chris, this is my neighbor!
Hey Chris, this is my friend from Australia!
Hey Chris, this is someone that you don’t want to meet but I am introducing to you anyway!

Aaakh-bar, how I crawl into a hole during any social event I’ve ever gone to in my 20s and beginning in my 30s, except for the very few that I could honestly say that I ‘come out of my shell’ – and it usually involves me dancing a lot on your dance floor.

I am so socially antisocial (or antisocially social) that somehow I make friends. I not only love the divey vibe of Akbar, I PREFER the divey vibe, and the clientele are cool in my book. I don’t have to feel bad that I usually look scruffy, unpolished, have long hair, wear canvas shoes, smell like my bicycle, don’t shave the hair off the top of my tattoos often enough… because I know someone is always going to be hairier here.

I bike to you more than any other bar I go to. Surprisingly, considering this is the wicked gay hipster bar of the East, the bicycle racks are usually vacant. And somehow Aaakh-bar, I leave in a better mood than any other bar I ever go to. And I don’t even drink any of your boozy booze. It’s all dance floor here.

Useful:Funny: 13  Cool: 3


Posted by Chris Girard in Yelp
Chris G’s Best Yelp Reviews: Otis College of Art and Design – 5/5 Stars

Chris G’s Best Yelp Reviews: Otis College of Art and Design – 5/5 Stars

Otis College of Art and Design
Colleges & Universities, Art Schools, Art Classes
9045 Lincoln Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90045

Only in LA does an extrovert make it big from her days in art school.

Her name is Madison and she unremittingly posts on Facebook every picture she has ever (seriously, ever) taken at shindigs that are uniquely Otis. Ah, art school. You are so different from Art School Confidential because your students are not as competitive but your students are very quixotic in creative assignments. And they work very very hard.

“I photograph urban decay.”

“And LA.”


Madison loves the population. The photos could be compared to Nan Goldin if they were extracted from their reference and considered artistic. But since they are referential, the photos become rather jejune and sentimental yet to give the photographer credit – what I find fascinating is how these art school student minions in photographs become their own caricatures as apartment parties evolve.

The fact that Madison’s caricatures look like fluorescent coquettes on canvas secluded at an art student apartment party made their presence rather expected, while it would’ve been amazing to see the party taken out of context in the middle of downtown LA during the morning rush hour. Fine Art giclee entitled: “Art Students on Performative Rampage One” edition 4/100.

Art students partying at an isolated apartment from the rest of the Los Angeles is kind of what makes Otis, Otis. The community here only seems quiet but there’s that underlying familiarity between the few hundred people who attend this private college full-time. Every art school has the quintessential cute boy artist, the lesbian with dreads, the 40-year-old Wendy Pepper who plays by the rules and the crazy alcoholic. These people will continue to party in private and work harder than everyone else will ever give them credit for.

It’s hard work to be a serious artist and not be reprimanded by it. The hours of labor and hard work put into that amazon gown or mixed media painting could inevitably be overshadowed by the seemingly thoughtless pictures on Madison’s Facebook because art students can’t party without succumbing to the stereotype as hedonistic and lazy.

Ignore the presumptions about laziness and hedonism; and one day go to student night at LACMA and appreciate that impractical amazon gown by a soon-to-be-famous art student on Madison’s photo album. The undergraduates are the community and I appreciate that as one of 20 graduate students here.

Useful: 11  Funny: 14  Cool: 10


Posted by Chris Girard in Yelp
Chris G’s Best Yelp Reviews: Echo Park Lake – 5/5 Stars

Chris G’s Best Yelp Reviews: Echo Park Lake – 5/5 Stars

Echo Park Lake 
751 Echo Park Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90026

Everyone I know who has lived in Echo Park all their lives are convinced that this lake will fall into a state of slumness in no time.

As I write this review laying on the lush green grass at 6:30 p.m. in the setting July sun, I look in front of me and see two heavyset guys consectively doing ‘girl’ pushups together. I look behind me and see five bicycles stacked against a palm tree with a guy in dreadlocks playing with his friend’s bike bell. I see expensive dogs with good posture on harnesses everywhere and well-behaved children skating well within the sidewalk. What else? Yoga, tai chi, shiny balloons, flannel shorts, jogging, and mostly nobody bothering me. I have yet see a visible crimewave of a sketchy MacArthur park at sunset leaking here anytime soon. This park will be in a state of prettiness until the fountain stops.

I saw a goose.

Useful: 10  Funny: 19  Cool: 11


Posted by Chris Girard in Yelp
Chris G’s Best Yelp Reviews: Sushi Love Boat Kaisen – 5/5 Stars

Chris G’s Best Yelp Reviews: Sushi Love Boat Kaisen – 5/5 Stars

Sushi Love Boat Kaisen
$$ Sushi Bars, Japanese
33215 Temecula Pkwy
Temecula, CA 92592

I really detest this glorified gas station town. I hate that my family fit in really well with the religious demographic that lives here. My family is the type that believes bad juju would happen if someone who’s unmarried sleeps in the same bed with someone else. Little sisters would get raped, god would instantaneously stop laying on the clouds atop of the Vatican and HOVER OVER MILLIONS OF STARVING PEOPLE AND CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY TO SHAKE HIS CONDEMNING FINGER AT MY PARENTS’ MCMANSION IN TEMECULA. And then it’s 100 degrees.

My family is new to the neighborhood and live less than a mile away from this sushi bar. A couple of years ago, they bought a million dollar foreclosure (listed at 1/3 of the original price) that was once a party house by some guy who owned an accounting company that went under during the height of the recession. My mom painted one of the little girls’ bedrooms gray and turned it into a storage closet.

Almost all of the neighbors who bought these million dollar houses in 2005 have since abandoned their houses too. By abandoning their houses, I mean the insides are gutted before the banks take them over, and the front lawns become progressively brown. And yet this posh sushi place (posh for Temecula) seems to stay in business for longer than a couple of years. Impressive. I am really surprised this gem of a sushi place is, well, really good, for such a crappy and depressed town. The portions are incredibly huge. I always get avocado rolls because the avocado is incredibly fresh. My mom gets bento boxes, with tempura. My dad gets salmon and tuna sushi which looks fresh. Everything is fresh and the service is always consistent. The waitresses apparently always ask for me. Not really.

Everyone gets a slice of orange at the end of their meals!

Useful:Funny: 14  Cool: 1


Posted by Chris Girard in Yelp
Chris G’s Best Yelp Reviews: Cru – 5/5 Stars

Chris G’s Best Yelp Reviews: Cru – 5/5 Stars

$$ Vegan, Vegetarian, Live/Raw Food
1521 Griffith Park Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90026

-CURRENTLY- CLOSED with the possibility of opening up again in the future (it didn’t reopen). Their storefront sign, menus and website are still up and their voicemail is still working.

I believe they are fighting with the owners of the property about staying open. So, as of November 13th, 2012, their furniture is still inside. There are also a bunch of papers taped on the front windows in caps-lock that address the locksmiths not to add new locks to the house without the manager’s approval.

The paper also states that:

They (not knowing who ‘they’ are) suspect a possible sale of illegal equipment belonging to the property. If you have been involved in such a sale, please call such and such number.

It sounds like a future court battle.

It makes me wonder what could a raw vegan place sell that would constitute being illegal. My first thought would be something that processes something else that’s illegally raw and vegan. Maybe growing equipment for something green and could be smoked in a non-medicinal way? 🙂

Who knows. But it seems lame and I hope Cru wins this battle and opens again soon. Their raw vegan food is very good. Their caesar salad is my favorite and incredibly rich and tasty.

Useful: 20  Funny:Cool: 5


Posted by Chris Girard in Yelp
Chris G’s Best Yelp Reviews: Foreign Currency Express – 5/5 Stars

Chris G’s Best Yelp Reviews: Foreign Currency Express – 5/5 Stars

Foreign Currency Express
Currency Exchange
350 S Figueroa St
Los Angeles, CA 90071

Crap, I had my Halloween scare early. I didn’t know another ‘World Trade Center’ existed until today.

Well apparently the mall part of the World Trade Center building in Los Angeles is almost abandoned and in it resides this Foreign Currency Express. It felt eerie as I walked along this abandoned mall looking for Site 134. Everything within the mall is dim, stores are closed, windows are taped up and the brick floors are uniformly shiny, which looks strange when there is hardly anyone walking on them.

Very lightly scattered within the abandonment lie people walking in suits and lady suits at very far distances to each other. Nobody looked confused or discombobulated though they reminded me of September 11th business ghosts as they turned corners and disappeared into the walls. I didn’t know where they were going, but certainly not to the Foreign Currency Express. I was the only person in there.

I come in. I had only £6 (British Sterling). It’s been hanging out in my wallet for about two months. I didn’t know if they could take that little amount of money I had but they could! And they gave me roughly $8.50 back. The £5 bill was worth more than the £1 coin. They apparently hate coins, but still can exchange them. It took me no more than a minute to come in and out. Unlike Citibank’s $5 charge for the transaction or $2-3 at the airport, there was no commission or charge here. Perhaps it cost about one dollar for the difference between their rate and the actual exchange rate.

I used that $8.50 and bought a fancy burrito.

Useful: 8 Funny: 18 Cool: 6


Posted by Chris Girard in Yelp
Chris G’s Best Yelp Reviews: Abaya Alternations – 5/5 Stars

Chris G’s Best Yelp Reviews: Abaya Alternations – 5/5 Stars

Abaya Alterations – CLOSED
$ Sewing & Alterations, Accessories, Women’s Clothing
3233 W Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90026

Many, many years ago, I had a Spanish grandmother. She died. She died. But before she did, I learned a lesson about accepting other people’s quirks.

Tata, we called her, was temperamental and expressive. After many years of being a Puerto Rican expat etching floral patterns on the ends of silverware at a factory in Brooklyn, she needed to find an outlet for her inner creative rage.

My mother was satan to her. Aunt Nilsa’s hair was set on fire. I smoked my first cigarette at 4 years old. She stuck a dildo in her mouth and jumped into a pool fully clothed.

And then one day she abruptly went to Florida from Brooklyn and had a heart attack on the plane. The passengers thought she was sleeping.

Therese fondly reminds me of my grandmother. So as someone who reminisces about the expressive temperament of old people, Therese still scares me. Keep it simple and uncomplicated and she won’t have a fit!

But if she does have a fit, remember her temperament perhaps indicates a fiery passion that also reveals how good she is at tailoring. She is as reasonably priced and as skilled as the tailors in the downtown garment district.

She may hate you if you challenge her but she doesn’t hold grudges. So don’t take it personal if she hates you because she won’t remember it (or you) the next day.

Useful: 10  Funny: 25  Cool: 6


Posted by Chris Girard in Yelp
Chris G’s Best Yelp Reviews: Mornings Nights – 5/5 Stars

Chris G’s Best Yelp Reviews: Mornings Nights – 5/5 Stars

Mornings Nights – CLOSED
$ Coffee & Tea, Bagels
1523 Griffith Park Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90026

After reading Gilbert P.’s heart-wrenching one-star review about how his wife told him about the horror of being tragically dismissed by a barista because she wanted him to find the tape and hang up her flier, I wanted to counter his assertions about the rude staff by saying I love the cool and peaceful attitude of the people who work here.

The employees have the best dynamic of any coffee shop I’ve seen. They’re – like – all friends. I get the sense most of them really enjoy being there (some seem to even live here), and many of them seem to even hang out on the tables off-hours.

There is really no place like this in Los Angeles. Since the opening of the ‘Sunset Triangle’ plaza (the green polka dot tarp area with tables) as a public space to hang out in, it made this place all the more perfectly located. The tables are public (and not the coffee shop’s) but they bring food over to them and their free wifi travels to them. The coffee here is incredibly good and is the most reasonably priced in the area.

Iced coffee is delicious and $2!

Useful: 33 Funny: 5 Cool: 32


Posted by Chris Girard in Yelp