Three-Star Reviews

Chris G’s Best Yelp Reviews: Dana Hills Year Book Staff – 3/5 Stars

Chris G’s Best Yelp Reviews: Dana Hills Year Book Staff – 3/5 Stars

Dana Hills Year Book Staff
San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675

You know everyone in school so you’re really surprised you lost the ASU election to that airhead Michelle; you dropped all your AP science classes and now you’re on the verge of being rejected to UCSB. Although you are an efficient vice president of Key Club and you’ve played soccer since 8th grade, you are untrustworthy beneath your smooth facade. You worry about your goals so you wait in line to talk to the school counselor.

The counselor advises you to join DHHS yearbook because of your grades in AP Literature and Comp. Of course, you didn’t tell your counselor you plagiarized virtually every essay you’ve ever written including the one you are about to hand in on “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost. You really don’t know how to write well, but you do know everyone in school. So you join.

People pity the yearbook that year. Michelle is spelled “Michael,” quotes are missing and baby pictures are transposed so the football player who got a scholarship to Cal is mistaken for the girl with Alopecia who lives at a “dirty” apartment in the Clem. But your stint on the yearbook got you accepted to UCSB! You go on to play soccer for the team and everyone will remember you. You’re smiling on Facebook. You’re satisfied and your hair got lighter. Go, Gauchos!

Useful:Funny:Cool: 0


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

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

Ruby’s Diner
$$ Diners, American (Traditional), Venues & Event Spaces
30622 S Coast Hwy
Laguna Beach, CA 92651

Things to think about:

  1. The kitchen is all the way on the left hand side of the diner, while the seats are all the way on the right side (or upstairs.) The food will be cooler than other Ruby’s locations because of the sheer breeze of walking the food from the kitchen to the tables.

  2. If you complain about the coolness of the food that was whisked in the breeze, there is a microwave located between the kitchen and the tables. The microwave cannot be seen from the tables, except for the horrible table that’s located next to the bathrooms and the servers doors. I pity anyone who has to sit there.

  3. There was never a golden age of this Ruby’s location! I laugh at all of the other reviewers that claim it was sometime eons ago, before late 2000s. I worked here in the 90s and people were still complaining.

  4. Most of the servers are confused teenagers. The prettier ones get better tips.

  5. When you see long lines and waits, do not act condescending when a confused teenage server as indicated in #4 takes longer than 5 minutes to ring in your burger order with complicated modifications. Guacomole burger with no guacomole, anyone?

  6. Ruby’s is not a 50s diner. It is a 40s diner.

  7. I’m not sure if Ruby is still alive, but the real one once visited this location. I saw her when I worked here over a decade ago and she looked like an old lady from an Alfred Hitchcock film. But there was another old lady that pretended to be her at this location, too. She looked more hipsterish (in old lady standards) and always wore a beret and was always hanging out her with her 50-year-old son or lover. She was bipolar and either extremely nice or mean.

  8. Due to the sheer volume of people that come here at any given time, I made more money in tips here than anyone else I knew when I was 17. I often got out of work at 12 or 1 a.m on a Sunday morning with $$$ and smelling and looking like grease, while my friends were in the middle of having fun and partying. It was awesome, um.

Useful:Funny:Cool: 0


Posted by Chris Girard in Yelp
Chris G’s Best Yelp Reviews: Pansophie – 3/5 Stars (Formerly 5/5 Stars)

Chris G’s Best Yelp Reviews: Pansophie – 3/5 Stars (Formerly 5/5 Stars)

Pansophie Personality & Color
Life Coach
2033 SE Harrison St
Milwaukie, OR 97222

Alex Hall and I are not friends anymore because she flaked on me the morning of my 12/14/16 gay wedding. She requested that her review be given 5 stars after having 4 stars, but I am going down to 3 stars because I still have no idea what the fuck she was doing. 

Alex Hall does not see dead people but she knows how colors that emanate from the body correspond to personality types. The wizard behind the curtain and her powder pink shop of color therapy mostly help balance people who have health or psychological issues with assessing their chakra colors and suggesting practical solutions, but going to Pansophie is also a good way of helping anyone else who is in need of a color consultation. So what does that mean?


Holistic Fashion Consultant
Holistic Interior Designer
Holistic Life Coach
Holistic Etc.

While getting a color consultation here suggests a need for the participant to believe mysterious chakra colors are floating in front of him or her, the chakra colors are really only a method of assessing the personality types and issues through a mixture of these colors. You take an online test first. The result of the online test is then translated to what you should do with that information through a consolation with the person who runs this shop. I believe the consultation is crucial in understanding the assessment. This kind of stuff is not ‘new age’ but follows ancient methods of assessing personalities and diseases through the constitution of the body. Think along the lines of the ancient Greek and Roman doctors and philosophers assessing personalities and diseases through the four humors: black bile, yellow bile, blood and phlegm. It worked on ancient people for hundreds of years.

Alex Hall will not assess your bile but upon purchasing an exam and consultation through her website, you take an exam that you answer the best possible answer from two questions that it poses. The store section of her website is actually a little difficult to navigate because the site manager is apparently lazy (cough) but you can call Alex Hall and she can direct you on how to find and purchase the exam. The issue I have with the exam, and like most psychology consultations and classes I have taken, is that it seemingly ascribes to the dualist approach of talking with people. If you are an atheist/humanist or physicalist who believes that it is not possible for a body to coexist with a soul or within a spiritual realm, you will think this test is biased. However Alex Hall said that the exam actually has a balance of questions that will not affect one’s results based on the answers they give. Since I believe we access everything in our unconscious through things we interact with, watch and know in the present, my violet is very low. These questions that assess the level of violet in the body, for example, depend on the subject believing that one accesses his or her knowledge or creativity from some kind of higher power. If you have taken many years of psychotherapy and/or are overly self-absorbed like me, being submissive to a higher power seems to be very limiting, except sometimes in sexual play.

A day after I took the online test, I received my phone consultation. Alex Hall went through a general description of all of the chakra types. The seven colors that constitute one’s chakra system include red, green, orange, blue, violet, indigo and yellow. If you have general knowledge of chakras, the descriptions of the colors she gives are not very different. However, the new thing I learned about colors that each of the chakras has negative qualities on top of their general attributes. The ‘negative’ attributes are low functioning aspects of each color like anger, bitterness, PTSD, etc. I received a personalized chart in a PDF file that constitutes the percentages of how open each aura is after I had taken the online test. I also received a percentage of how much of the negative colors constitute the openness of each aura. It was a percentage within a percentage! Hall thoroughly went through each of the seven types for about 40 minutes with a focus on my own percentages. Having someone spend that much time with someone else is always a rewarding experience. Since I learned my green is also very low (lower than my violet), the best thing about this consultation was being suggested that:

  1. I should always use, wear and imagine more turquoise.
  2. Get more shoulder rubs.
  3. Use pine oil.
  4. Write more love poetry.

My life probably won’t change much until I boost my green chakra but I feel like buying a turquoise t-shirt and writing a love poem may actually be a very wise investment.

Useful:Funny:Cool: 0

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

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

Photofusion Gallery
£ Art Galleries
17A 17a Electric Lane
London SW9 8LA
United Kingdom

Photofusion is an upstairs photo gallery and printing place with a buzzer to keep the local buzzards out. Let’s step in the time-traveling dome back to 2011 when I had four art prints printed at Photofusion. Hello? I said to the buzzer. We’re not open. Then I say something, something, something. Then the words “buy”, “purchase”, and “spend money” released the lock to the door and got me upstairs.

I walk upstairs to an empty receptionist table beside an empty gallery with boxes for an upcoming exhibition (see next paragraph). An older woman walks over to sit at the receptionist table three or four minutes later and points me over to the back printing room, which was in a hallway. The quality of the matte prints with mounting was incredible and the price was incredible(-y high). Oh boy, did I drop £££ for prints that sold for ££ from a coffee shop a few months later. Even with my Goldsmiths student ID, discount was negligible.

Photofusion hosted a Vivian Maier exhibition that showcased a good portion of her work in 2011 and was her formal debut to the UK. Vivian Maier was an American street photographer who was ‘discovered’ after some dude who had purchased a ton of her negatives began pimping out digital scans of her negatives on Flickr and various websites until NPR did a story about her. Then she became famous for a hot minute. They showed many of the prints done in black and white from the 50s and some later ones from the 70s in colour. Their staff photo hipster, who seemed forced to be put on wine duty, was so standoffish, she acted appalled that you didn’t pour your own drink, would pour a drink at her end of the table, which was a wide table, and left it there.

3.5-ish – somewhere between “A-OK” and “Yay I’m a fan.”

Useful:Funny:Cool: 0


Posted by Chris Girard in Yelp
Chris G’s Best Yelp Reviews: Under the Mango Tree – 3/5 Stars

Chris G’s Best Yelp Reviews: Under the Mango Tree – 3/5 Stars

Under the Mango Tree
$$ Coffee & Tea, Juice Bars & Smoothies, Acai Bowls
737 5th St
Miami Beach, FL 33139

There is not a thing more special under the mango tree than under any other kind of tree.

I came in here at exactly 3:59 pm. when two women were switching between shifts. I could sense I came at not the greatest time. Neither was very friendly, said hello, or even acknowledged I was there but I didn’t need very friendly. Someone finally came over and I ordered my bowl and tried to find a comfortable seat to sit down at. All of the furniture was kind of small and flimsy. I felt like a bull trying to sit in a dollhouse. I am a thin man of average height at 5’11 and everything required me to bend over and hunch. The tables or footrests (I concluded they were tables because my feet can easily knock them over) were a foot above the ground. It wasn’t comfortable to be on a laptop here so I basically gave that idea up.

When I began to eat the Marley Bowl I ordered, it was a bit underwhelming. The bowl is not that big and not filled to the top. I find it funny that everyone said that these bowls were mind-blowing. But I am Californian and we experience the best of everything, so I get that they may be the queens of the hill here but they were about what I expected for $11. The Marley Bowl comes less with hints of peanut butter and spinach that I hoped for but the acai is delightfully creamy. And it comes with a sparse amount of granola, not too much, which is good. It also comes with BERRIES on top of it, which I would have preferred more peanut butter and spinach as the berries were kind of flavorless distraction (compared to the acai) to the overall flavor.

Useful:Funny:Cool: 1


Comment from Patricia O. of Under the Mango Tree
Business Owner

Hi Chris! You will be happy to know that we now have a new location with much-improved seating (in fact the inability to furnish properly due to the small space of the shop was one of the main reasons for our move). Based on your description you were sitting in what used to be our “glamorized” storage room, as being a shop with less than 400 square foot, we had to be creative in squeezing in as much seating area as we possibly could. In our new location, we now have a functional workspace and more comfortable seating.
Sorry, you were disappointed in our Acai – we actually get a lot of positive feedback from Californians so we don’t agree that we are not in the “queen’s” league. Brazilians love our Acai too and we all know they are the King’s of the hill (insert wink face to communicate our silly light tone since the internet is not fully evolved yet). Regarding the Marley Bowl, everyone has a different peanut butter tolerance so for the addict we recommend adding an extra dollop of our organic PB for only $1.50 to really get the hit. As for the size, most people find it a satiating serving, however, we have multiple options ranging from only $.50 cents to $2 to make the bowl significantly larger depending on your personal appetite.
Regarding the lack of friendly service you received, we really apologize you were not welcomed. I am sure you read our many other reviews that show that we normally excel at this. We hope to make every guest feel happy and satisfied and are disappointed you did not experience this! We would love to show you a true Mango Tree greeting if you give us another try at our new spot next time you’re in town!


Posted by Chris Girard in Yelp
Chris G’s Best Yelp Reviews: Hollywood/Western Red Line Station – 3/5 Stars

Chris G’s Best Yelp Reviews: Hollywood/Western Red Line Station – 3/5 Stars

Hollywood/Western Red Line Station
Public Transportation
5450 Hollywood Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90028

Hollywood and Western Red Line Station is a station that, yeah, has a Starbucks across the street from it and offers a strangely large and wide pattern of 1990s-esque glossy tiles, but beyond that, it is great station to LIVE near.

While navigating Hollywood/Vine and Hollywood/Highland Red Line stations is to get by a lot of confused tourists, and Sunset/Vermont Red Line is getting by a lot of wheelchairs for the hospitals, and Vermont/Santa Monica Red Line is not tough to get by, but located in a general area that’s tough to get by. Hollywood/Western is uncrowded and easy to get in and out of.

It is small and fast to get to the actual terminal. In the two years I have been using this station, no homeless person or person hanging out at plaza area of the station have bothered me here. Actually most of the vagrants hanging out at the plaza really don’t stay here very long because I think security or police kick them out often.

It takes me 6 minutes to get here from my studio:

  1. I look at my iPhone app that tracks the LA Metro called ‘Next Ride’.
  2. I run or bike three blocks down Hollywood Blvd.
  3. I go downstairs.
  4. I fill my card at the machine.
  5. I go through the turnstiles.
    6a. If I have time, I check my phone at the large empty space after the turnstiles. Reception is good there. When I feel the wind of the train blowing and hear it coming, I go downstairs.
    6b. If I don’t have time, I run down the second flight of stairs.

Right side goes to Downtown. Left side goes to North Hollywood.

  1. I take the train.

There will be crowds of people that will be lingering or confused at the other neighboring stations, but not over here. It is mostly a residential station, thus there is no reason to linger. For those who want to visit something from here, Griffith Park is nearby.

Useful: 6 Funny: 2 Cool: 1


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

Chris G’s Best Yelp Reviews: Koreatown- 3/5 Stars

Local Flavor
Wilshire And Western
Los Angeles, CA 90010

My motto for K-town is follow a bad idea once, shame on Koreatown. Follow a bad idea twice, shame on me.

Shame on me for losing my bike lights twice after parking and double-locking my bike in Koreatown but not taking off the lights. Shame on me for going to not one, but two Koreatown Coffee Bean and Tea Leafs in a day. Shame on Koreatown for having a heavyset guy who looks like he’s never been on a bike before yell at the top of his lungs that my bike was his stolen bike but not running after it as I rode away. Shame on Koreatown for having such an unpredictable variety of Korean food restaurants that you can order Korean chicken nuggets at one place, and bibimbap in another. Shame on me for sleeping in my friends’ walk-in closet on top of a damp mattress sheet hat smells like flu in a ratty Craftsman house set in a MS-13 neighborhood to catch the morning Wilshire/Vermont red line that I didn’t pay for, twice.

Koreatown is perhaps Los Angeles’ Oakland. I hate Oakland. But I respect it for having as much of a supportive community as the 4.5 star review average here indicates. People swear by their inexpensive room rents. There are a lot of art galleries going on in big gutted old buildings that become lofts for people to spend that extra $100 saved on rent. My friend who records ambient wind on cassette tapes for a living has lived in his K-town studio for over ten years.

Koreatown does not have a baseball team like Oakland but if it did, I probably wouldn’t begin watching sports so fast. But reading the dozen five-star Yelp reviews that wax poetic the amazing Koreatown clear up my personal rainclouds on a rainy day because Koreatown is teh best town.

Useful 3 Funny 6 Cool 3


Posted by Chris Girard in Yelp
Chris G’s Best Yelp Reviews: Coca-Cola Store Las Vegas 3/5 Stars

Chris G’s Best Yelp Reviews: Coca-Cola Store Las Vegas 3/5 Stars

Coca-Cola Store Las Vegas
$$ Hobby Shops
3785 S Las Vegas Blvd
Las Vegas, NV 89109

Globalization sucks but exploring the tastes of 16 drinks from around the world was one of the more adventurous/less conventional things to do on the Vegas strip. This review will be based on the flavors of 16 drinks, all owned by subsidiaries of Coca-Cola. The cost of two trays of 16 drinks is $7. Flavors seem to change weekly. They’re not all soda.


  1. Bypass the paraphernalia. The stand is on the second floor. Go upstairs.

  2. Seating is not guaranteed. Since it’s Coca-Cola, breeder families flock to the bottle like flies to sugar. They occupied the front three tables near the stand. The parents looked more bored than their 7 kids, all of whom were playing with toy cars and plastic Disney characters on the tables. None of the toys were from the Coca-Cola store.

  3. You are given two red trays stacked one on top of the other. Don’t worry. Unless you are super clumsy or somebody pushes you, you will not spill the stacked trays.

  4. Sitting on the floor is an option. We sat on the floor with four trays (two trays each) of drinks because there was absolutely nowhere else to sit in the area. Although I didn’t mind sitting on the floor, it may be highly problematic if the sitter is old or disabled. We were one of three groups sitting on the floor.

The flavors:

We were given two pieces of paper that indexed each of the drinks we were trying. We took a pen out and wrote some notes about the flavor of each drink. I recommend taking a pen out and making notes about the flavors of things you’re trying. It makes you think about and remember what you’re trying. The following list highlights the drinks from the notes I wrote.

Tray one:

  1. Inca Cola (Peru) – Sweet, good
  2. Sunfill Mint (India) – Tastes like Scope mouthwash
  3. Stoney Ginger Beer (South America) – Reminds me of ginger candy
  4. Aquarius Citrus (Taiwan) – Not fizzy, like a watery orange juice
  5. Delaware Punch (Honduras) – Rich berry flavor, tastes like cough medicine
  6. Vegitabeta (Japan) – Powdery flavor, like it was pre-mixed
  7. Smart Watermelon (China) – Light taste, subtle flavor, good
  8. Kinley Lemon (England) – Way too tangy, too much lemon/lime

Tray two:

  1. Lift Apple (Mexico) – Reminds me of apple cider, prefer apple cider though
  2. Fanta Kolita (Costa Rica) – Overwhelming and conflicting flavor, way too sweet
  3. Krest Gingerale (Mozambique) – Blah! Yuck! Not a big fan of gingerale
  4. Bibo Kiwi Mango (South Africa) – Not sparkling, a little too sweet
  5. Bibo Pine Nut (South Africa) – Very sweet, not a fan of pineapple
  6. Smart Apple (China) – Powerful, too much zing
  7. Beverly (Italy) – BITTER! Unsuspectingly so; aftertaste
  8. Mezzo Mix (Germany) – Tastes like Pepsi or Coke

Useful: 4 Funny: 4 Cool: 3


Posted by Chris Girard in Yelp
Chris G’s Best Yelp Reviews: Coffee Plus Food – 4/5 and 3/5 Stars (Updated Review)

Chris G’s Best Yelp Reviews: Coffee Plus Food – 4/5 and 3/5 Stars (Updated Review)

Coffee + Food – CLOSED
$$ Coffee & Tea, Breakfast & Brunch, Sandwiches
5630 Melrose Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90038

This is the first time that I’ve visited Pricey + Tax since my review two years ago.

I am writing this review from inside the busy cafe right now. Everything, like the chairs, tables, and layout, seems more integrated and there are about 25 people sitting inside this cafe as we speak and about 10 people outside. If they added a second story or made more room in the back kitchen/back patio area, this place would be as busy as Bricks and Scones!

Cyndi F, who I believe owns this place, wrote a message to me on Yelp two years ago after I posted my review to justify the lack of prices on the walls:

“We are sorry about not posting prices – our menu changes every day and our prices are pretty LOW in comparison to everything around us (gratitude, osteria mama) so it has not really been an issue for anyone. But we can see how important it is for people who are coming for the first time – know what they are getting into.
Have a great day and hope we get another chance to woo you with our coffee + food. Best, Cyndi”

Well, in the end, 1. I come back and am wooed by their coffee. And 2. they DID put prices up on the walls so there happily goes the ‘too daunting to put prices up due to the ever-changing menu’ theory. The cold brew is not ‘LOW in comparison’ like the owner insists but more reasonably comparable to/ slightly pricier than other places – like $5 ($4.50 + tax) and as legitimately good as cold brew gets. It’s got less of a bite than other cold brews I’ve had and more of a light roast kind of taste.

All in all, it’s gotten better.

Useful:Funny:Cool: 2


Previous review

Pricey + Tax.

Menus that do not include prices make me feel uncomfortable. It not only seems like pretentious nonsense but it puts me in an awkward position to have to inquire about prices, and then feel guilty about it. When it’s a chalkboard, and a price could easily be put next to the item, I feel like there’s a level of intent in what they are doing. And this puts me in the predicament of not feeling like the type of customer they’d want in their shop.

I am updating this review from two to three stars. The $4 americano was good. There is decent seating here along with the storefront windows if the tables are being used. This place seems to have a strange way its space flows, as if it would make sense that once you enter in, you’d be greeted by a barista behind a counter, rather than a refrigerator. The people who work here are friendly.

Useful:Funny:Cool: 1


Posted by Chris Girard in Yelp
Chris G’s Best Yelp Reviews: Barnsdall Park – 3/5 and 2/5 Stars (Updated Review)

Chris G’s Best Yelp Reviews: Barnsdall Park – 3/5 and 2/5 Stars (Updated Review)

Barnsdall Art Park
4800 Hollywood Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90027

I got to see the grand re-opening of the Hollyhock House, aka Aline Barnsdall’s Egyptian-style mausoleum. Her morbid fortress is much adieu about something! It is constructed with the modernist wand of Frank Lloyd Wright and is actually a lot more spectacular on the INSIDE than the house looks on the outside

I came here because I actually was passing by Barnsdall Park at one in the morning on my bike. I saw all of the cars coming inside and I recall reading that the Hollyhock House was renovated, the mayor came and cut the rope and there was a free ‘self-guided tour’ of the house all night. I knew I would never ever pay for a guided tour in the future, so I thought this was indeed a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Barnsdall’s big open casket looked like how a flapper with money would want to languish in the afterlife – probably not with all the gawking people. I wanted to take photos but my phone died as I waited in line for over two hours, between 1 am and 3:30 am, to go inside and see it. It was a non-stop all-night viewing. In fact, I believe other people are currently waiting in line to see it as I write this.

The one word that comes to mind when I viewed the Hollyhock House was ‘horizontal’. Even though the building was up high, everything inside emphasized being straight on one plane. It really brought my eye to see the cool angular furniture and then the panoramic views of the flickering lights of nighttime Los Angeles from below. Since everything that I saw was level, you are sort of met with the windows to the sky and the electricity below. I wonder whether Barnsdall had the same kind of view here 80 or 90 years ago, whether the lights emitted from early 20th-century electricity were the same kind of brightness and look. The house looks Egyptian with its architecture and golden tones from the wood floors, so being elevated on one plane seemed otherworldly and afterlife-ish.

Barnsdall Park, I still hate you. I think the car-centric navigation to and from the park has a lot left to be desired. But I’m kind of realizing that the one-directional ‘grand driveway’ helps perpetuate the foreboding fortress-like architecture of the Frank Lloyd Wright building looking down on the little people of East Hollywood below.

Useful:Funny:Cool: 4


Previous Review

I don’t think I could dislike a park more than I do Barnsdall Park. I truly hate Barnsdall Park. It’s awful.

Can we bulldoze the Frank Lloyd Wright fortress, parking lot, and fences and add trees and have a large hippie hill for people to camp, dance, drink and lay on? The fortress-like architecture and the fortress-like structure (psycho-geography) of the park make hanging out at Barnsdall park feel like lunch at Macy’s Plaza.

I’ve been to a few events besides the Farmer’s Market here on Wednesdays (from noon to 6 pm) and I live close to the park. Most of the events require me to walk up the stairwell to the buildings. When I go to an event and hang out here, the event is never very good and usually pretty confusing. People are either crowding the door to an event that is encompassed inside of a boxy midcentury institutional-style building with no windows. Others are lingering in the periphery of the institution along with the pillared foyer to nowhere.

The areas that most of these events are housed at feel like they are a moat to the Hollyhock House, which is a sour relic of Frank Lloyd Wright. The actual Hollyhock House looks like a boxy Egyptian-styled mausoleum. It looks like a morbid fortress. At first glance, it looks like one of the more dreary examples of Frank Lloyd Wright’s catalogue raisonné. At second glance, it looks like the kind of place that old flappers with money go to die – see Lady Barnsdall’s big casket for $7!

Barnsdall Park is like a dystopian Parc Guell in Barcelona. Most of Barnsdall Park, like Parc Guell, is for walking up that hill, although, unlike Parc Guell, it’s not really made to walk into or out of, it’s made to walk WITHIN it. The first thing one has to encounter when trying to enter is the huge foreboding poles along Hollywood Blvd. that serve as fences and block walking people from entering except on two opposite sides that open exclusively for a parking lot that it wraps around. If you want to enter, walk through the parking lot. The only time that parking lot is ever really useful to everyone is when there is that farmer’s market on the bottom of it. If you try to enter or exit from the stairs at the non-Hollywood entrance, the Hospital alleyway, good luck because that area is littered with no trespassing signs.

Useful:Funny:Cool: 3


Posted by Chris Girard in Yelp
Chris G’s Best Yelp Reviews: Muddy Paw Coffee Company – 3/5 Stars

Chris G’s Best Yelp Reviews: Muddy Paw Coffee Company – 3/5 Stars

Muddy Paw Coffee Company
$$ Coffee & Tea, Bakeries
3320 Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90026

There’s something really furry about this store; I feel like when I bike past here on Sunset at 2 a.m., people are dressed as dogs inside, pulling on each others’ leashes and dry humping.

I will go no further than to say the two times I got a cold brew here were radically different. I came in here about a year ago, and the older guy who was working here gave me quite a disgusting iced coffee. It was served from a large plastic milk carton and tasted like brewing Folger’s and pouring it in said empty milk carton and letting it sit in a refrigerator for an hour.

I came here this past week, asked for a cold brew and the girl with really thick glasses gave me an iced Americano in a plastic cup, which was filled 1/3 to the top. There was so little of this coffee that ice was piled on top of the little coffee in it! I felt cheated but confused as to whether this is a normal drink. I get iced coffee nearly 365 days a year from all the places in the land and never have been given a cup of iced coffee 1/3 full. First-world problems, huh? Too bad it was good too!

I remember when this store was originally a clothing store with a coffee stand in the back and it has come a long way since then. I mean, now they love dogs, got rid of the clothes, and moved the stand.

2 Stars!
(+ 1 Star for being furry)

Useful:Funny:Cool: 3


Posted by Chris Girard in Yelp
Chris G’s Best Yelp Reviews: Hop Woo BBQ and Seafood – 3/5 Stars

Chris G’s Best Yelp Reviews: Hop Woo BBQ and Seafood – 3/5 Stars

Hop Woo BBQ & Seafood
$$ Chinese, Seafood
845 N Broadway
Los Angeles, CA 90012

I have been here more times because of Groupon than have any other restaurant. I also have come here a lot prior to the days of Groupon. It seems like anyone who gets their MFA from an art school in Los Angeles is required to have some type of performance or exhibit in this area, hence when I run in them artistic circles, I usually end up there – then here or Hop Louie or Full House.

Their vegetarian food offers the quintessentially soggy vegetables that I’ve come to experience as being authentic at least to the way restaurants prepare them Chinatown. The mixed vegetables to schezuan eggplant to hollow vegetables from Hop Woo taste like they’re boiled with a plump texture underneath a slick layer of oil on top of them. I don’t dislike them. I just prefer how they prepare the soft tofu this way for their ma po tofu. The ma po sauce is very tasty and the dish is probably my favorite here. It tastes very salty though but for me, I like it however wouldn’t particularly recommend it for other people as I tend to like saltier saucy things.

The atmosphere is nice enough for groups but the service here is hard to describe. They don’t have bad service per se. They’re just consistently not focused on the human. I found that to be the case too when I went to a cafe on a layover in Guanzhou, China, so I think it’s just the way things are done. They’re usually as distracted by setting or bussing tables as they are taking orders, which often takes about 15 minutes to do after being seated. However they usually immediately give you tea, Spanish peanuts and crackers to munch on. I guarantee you that tea will go cold by the time they take your order so drink up first.

They’re one of a handful of places that don’t have restrictions towards how many Groupons you can use here. So they never give me a hard time about redeeming Groupon. But if you do the Groupon, print it out as they will hold onto your phone for ten or fifteen minutes while writing down the code, processing it, and simultaneously setting or bussing said tables.

Useful:Funny:Cool: 0


Posted by Chris Girard in Yelp
Chris G’s Best Yelp Reviews: LA County Department of Registrar – 2/5 Stars

Chris G’s Best Yelp Reviews: LA County Department of Registrar – 2/5 Stars

LA County Department Of Registrar
Public Services & Government
14340 W Sylvan St
Van Nuys, CA 91401

Beware if you ask to get married in a civil ceremony the same day as you submit your marriage certificate, you will be met with a middle-aged registrar clerk who will look at you as if she got jabbed with a thumbtack on the back of her neck. Their 20 square foot chapel with vertical blinds is booked a month in advance so you can either book your 15-minute wedding a month later from here or from a fine (actually, a not-so-fine) list of other locations in LA County.

This place is a bit like coming to a nice Department of Public Social Services with a line that takes only about an hour to get through upon entering at 8:45 am. It has no security checkpoint as the people who matter are all protected behind glass windows. You enter from a line directly to your left once you enter the front door. From there, you get a mixed bag of fiancees, people who appear to be couples, and a scattered few lacking proofs that they were ever born, waiting in line.

In many ways, this hour-long line seemed to be the path of least resistance whose who want to get hitched perhaps without the trouble of the expensive wedding industry or society. When I was there, I noticed a few people looked so incredibly young to get married with very nervous body language, perhaps due to disapproving parents, religious guilt, or baby. There was also a handful of same-sex couples and transgendered people wanting to get married too. Some people in line were dressed in suits and gowns. And some were dressed in jackets and jeans.

Useful:Funny:Cool: 0


Posted by Chris Girard in Yelp
Chris G’s Best Yelp Reviews: US Bank Tower and the Crappy Slide – 3/5 Stars

Chris G’s Best Yelp Reviews: US Bank Tower and the Crappy Slide – 3/5 Stars

YEE: Brunch at US Bank Tower
Yelp Events
633 West 5th Street
Los Angeles, CA 90071

Much of this 4 3/5 star review constitutes the gratitude I have towards Katie and everyone else who helps her put on these events. This is the best Yelp Event I’ve ever been to. It was pretty fun to finally get to see the reason why that awesome little coffee shop Barista Society doesn’t exist in the lobby area anymore and was moved all the way to the back of US Bank Tower.

The Skyspace experience, which consisted of watching videos while going up elevators, definitely felt overly dramatized for what is essentially a great rooftop view of the (soon to be) second biggest building in the vicinity. The clean and stark white decor and minimalist furniture felt a bit like a VIP Lounge at an airport and definitely held onto the vibe that this is still a bank tower but hey – we’re dedicating a handful of floors to try and be a bit Hollywood. I am glad that this event allowed me to slide down that slide of theirs, which was what I was very excited to try and do.

US Bank Tower Slide –

I watched a silent film from 1920 and that was a time when the ambitious slides existed! Back then you had slides that will make you fly 15 feet in the air. Now there are too many rules to slide down a one-story slide that made me feel like a lame child. You sit on a metal slide on top of a dirty burlap blanket. Hold the blanket with both hands! Hold the blanket with both hands Christopher! Not worth $8!

Elite Mimosas –

Mimosas were awesome. There were mimosa servers at the very beginning who evanesced soon after the first 20 minutes. The blonde female bartender was awful and very argumentative about Yelp Elite members’ requests. I got a really simple mimosa so no complaints here but some Asian girl (I realize that this event was 80% Asian girls) in front of us asked for more juice in her mimosa and the woman went off about how she can’t do that – that’s NOT how a mimosa is made. It was funny to witness and I am certain that nobody took her to the side and told her that this was going to be a jungle of bitchy writers.

Food –

Fruit at the croissant table and the salad at the Eggs Benedict table were delish – coffee was good too. Somebody posted a picture of the bagel stack amongst the other food and wrote ‘as good as it looks!’ They probably did not try those bagels! Those bagels were stale and realized why that stack stayed pretty high the entire time I was there! I probably was the only person who was hopeful and gave it a go twice – I tried two of them – poppy/sesame medley and plain and they were dry and crackly. The bussers who found bagels dangling on top of mimosa flutes were the unfortunate ones who found my bagels.

People –

I didn’t talk to anyone else but my chaperone and a couple of people visiting the tower unassociated with the event – but they seemed happy to have come here and pay. So I think that this thing definitely suits its purpose for those visiting and trying to see the sights, you can definitely do that here.

Useful:Funny:Cool: 3


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

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

Imperial Spa
$$ Day Spas, Massage, Saunas
1875 Geary Blvd
San Francisco, CA 94115

I know now why most of the people who give this place rave reviews seem to be women. The men’s and women’s massage/acupuncture/steam/spa rooms are segregated but the men’s room doesn’t have the relaxing hot stone room, which is a huge bummer, in Korean. It also seems to have way less amenities in general. If you’re a man, you won’t get to lay on hot rocks nor get to gain equilibrium of your body’s energy or whatever wishful pseudoscience the hot stones are supposed to do. The men’s section has six plastic chairs for that instead.

I came into San Francisco after a long bus ride and felt gross. I checked Groupon out and I saw that this place had a Groupon deal going for sixteen bucks. I thought, a hot shower and relaxing steam room, why not?

After giving the woman in front the Groupon and then entering their really nice and spacious locker room and vanity room, the first thought I had of the spa, steam, and sauna rooms was a big fat underwhelming sigh. The entire steam and sauna area is about the same size of the locker room! The room is a 500 square foot room that is as tall as it is high. Why did you make such a grand locker room for such a tiny space?!

The room contained a tiny cold water pool, a tiny sauna, a tiny steam room that wasn’t very hot, and a decent-sized sauna that was incredibly hot. The steam room and sauna could comfortably seat six smaller framed men and a few more for standing room. There were five or six showers. One was kind of broken, two were out of shampoo, and one had a plastic chair with a bunch of towels hanging on top of it. At least one of those showers worked fine. There were also three or four sitting showers with buckets filled with shaving cream water and toothpaste.

I am glad I found that Groupon a few minutes before I entered because I now feel slightly jipped instead of incredibly jipped. I spent less money on two-story Korean spas with six rooms in Los Angeles. At least I got to shave, brush my teeth and sit in some hot bubbly water for a couple of hours before feeling refreshed and leaving.

Useful: 6  Funny: 6  Cool: 2


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

Chris G’s Best Yelp Reviews: Michael Levine Fabrics – 3/5 Stars

Michael Levine Fabrics 26
$$ Fabric Stores
920 Maple Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90015

Michael Levine is a last alternative kind of fabric store. When I can’t quickly find what I want along the perimeters of Los Angeles St. or 9th Street, I end up coming here. Usually, I am lazy and willing to spend a few bucks more than I would at a smaller fabric store. It is probably the biggest fabric store in the area. It is as good as the other big fabric stores I go to, but it feels a bit more indie and cooler than the other ones. I think I am mistaking their clutter, griminess, and haphazard organization for being cool. They don’t have aisles here, more like a maze of intertwining tables.

I have come here for three or four Halloweens. I am helping make an abominable snowman costume this year. Other years included a homemade He-man, and a brony. It usually has everything I need! One particular thing that stands out for me is their selection of dyes. I love their iDye. I had a pair of cotton shorts that I got from Urban Outfitters for $10 that bleached in the sun within a month. I used a cool blue-grey-ish color, mixed the iDye in a pot, mixed the shorts in the iDye, stirred for an hour, and ended up with a pair of jet black shorts. Be careful!

Useful 8 Funny 6 Cool 5


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

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

Melrose Hostel
646 N Western Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90004

I needed a place to stay on the cheap between subletting my studio in Hollywood and flying to my studio in Madrid. I called them up and I decided to stay here because the guy, possibly the owner, who I spoke with on the phone was incredibly friendly. He told me about a 5% discount on their website and bicycle parking on the roof. It is cheaper than any of the other rates offered on other websites. It was like $28 a night! It’s against their rules to be an Angelino and stay here, so I used proof of my travels and Spanish residence to create a loophole that I could jump through.

This hostel is small and it’s furnished like a Boba shop. They’re located in the middle of Koreatown’s furniture row and the decor looks like an amalgamation of leftover furniture of nearby stores that have gone out of business. They’ve basically got three rooms with 14 beds each: Men, Women, Unisex. There is a common room on the ground level with a television, a refrigerator, a communal table, and a couch. The Men’s room is a bit cheaper than the other rooms, and it was full every night. Since LA is synonymous with homelessness and a lack of affordable housing, it’s probably not surprising to find a share of older people who normally wouldn’t stay at hostels anywhere else in the world sharing bunk beds here. Each of the rooms has got lockers. They seem like repurposed high school or gym lockers from 40 years ago with lock mechanisms that you sort of have to wiggle the lock in and out of.

The breakfast is very delicious with fresh watermelon, blueberries, strawberries, cantaloupe, bagels (prepackaged), bread, orange juice, and coffee. However it runs out at 8 am and depending on who’s working that morning, it takes a long time to refill. PARTICULARLY – the Asian woman who wears sandals absolutely hates refilling the breakfast. She gave me an attitude and raised the orange juice and milk cartons when I asked if she could refill the one small coffee maker that they use since it was empty for like the 15 minutes I was there from 7:45 – 8 am. Yeah, it’s unusual that one worker is in charge of checking people out, refilling breakfast, and basically everything – so get another person to keep an eye on it!

There are a few other bicyclists who stayed here too. They got a system of which you could lock up bikes at the top of the hostel. They’ve got an incredible rooftop that is mostly used as a smoking patio, sadly. But it is also used for lounging. And then the bikes. I’m saying this as someone who works out obsessively, it is tricky to get a bicycle up those steep steps to the rooftop! I can see a weaker person completely losing their grip. You not only have to walk up stairs, but maneuver the bicycle along a winding passageway and hunch where the ceiling gets low, while keeping the bike high enough to not hit the stairs. But I believe this is on whoever brings a bike, because you need to possess at least a semi-advanced level of competency to bicycle along any part of Melrose. Melrose is absolutely narrow and horrifying to bicycle, especially where the cars are pushing past you to get onto the 101 onramp, and Western, which is less crazy but doesn’t have a bike lane either.

Useful: 7  Funny: 6  Cool: 5


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

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

Aer Lingus
200 World Way
Los Angeles, CA 90045

Aer Dingus has many empty seats. It has an outdated movie viewing console. It plays a propaganda film at the end of each flight puffing the joys of Ireland like an over-inflated balloon.

I was on a roundtrip flight to Barcelona from LAX. I got one of those cheap flights for $500-some-odd dollars with one of the stops on the flight landing in Dublin. My other flights were British Airways and American Airlines, which offer updated movie consoles and seat partitions that go all the way up. However, they are filled to the brim in comparison.

The joys of having such an empty flight include having my own row. You really can’t enjoy having your own row because the seat partitions only go so high at a 45-degree angle. But I still wanted the woman sitting next to me gone. And she wanted me gone. Fortunately, we were on the same wavelength but I couldn’t go anywhere since I had a vegan meal coming to my seat number.

When she left, I stretched out my leg a little bit and watched Swiss Army Man. My partner was dying somewhere in the back of the plane due to eating day-old fish tapas in Barcelona, complaining about not laying comfortable on a row of chairs with partitions at 45 degree angles high. So if you want to actually lay down and sleep on transatlantic flights, like on Virgin Atlantic, American, and Air New Zealand when they’re empty, you can’t do that too comfortably on this one. Not sure how sustainable these empty flights to and from Ireland are, since I doubt they make any money on most of them, but their emptiness makes it a very comfortable and inexpensive way with getting to and from Europe.

Useful: 4  Funny: 2  Cool: 3


Posted by Chris Girard in Yelp
Chris G’s Best Yelp Reviews: Clifton’s Cafeteria- 3/5 Stars

Chris G’s Best Yelp Reviews: Clifton’s Cafeteria- 3/5 Stars

Clifton’s Republic
$$ Bars, Venues & Event Spaces, Dance Clubs
648 S Broadway
Los Angeles, CA 90014

Clifton’s Cafeteria looks like it’s been through a rock tumbler but still offers an old-timey kind of charm about it. All of the old pictures of how it used to be are not here anymore. This isn’t a how-it-used-to-be place anymore but an old cafeteria that is repurposed by branding and marketing to offer generic American buffet-style food at not-cafeteria prices. I enjoy the over-polished urban decor with mood lighting because it is pleasing and acts as a window to its authentic past behind its new Las Vegas veneer. So, fortunately, for me, seeing old concrete walls behind what was cleaned and stripped off feels a little authentic by it being like a museum presentation piece.

You begin your journey by walking left from the host stand to the first-floor cafeteria. You see a carving station, $meat (however much sliced-on-demand meat is), $3 cups of quinoa, $6 soups, $6 ‘side salad’ and $11 ‘dinner size’ salad. And everything else that is at least $3. Freebies include that you can grab water in a paper Coca-Cola cup and bread rolls are free. You carry a tray, and are responsible for grabbing a napkin and forks first.

We sat on the second-floor bar. My friend grabbed a Manhattan from a very slow bartender. I finished my $6 small side salad while he was waiting for his drink. The salad was good and I added onions, mushrooms, cucumbers, spinach, carrots, and vinaigrette. The guy doing the bar was either kind of new at his job or doesn’t have a bar manager who carries a bullwhip. I work at a music venue with bartenders that fill a drink in one hand and place napkins on the bar in the other, while simultaneously taking new orders. It took about ten minutes for him to get his drink with three other people there. After he finished his drink and food, we went back to the bar. I then took out my iPhone timer to see how long it would take for this guy to get him his check and credit card from the computer at the bar. It took four and a half minutes while serving two more customers.

We didn’t have time to try the third-floor bar but went upstairs to look at it. It is incredibly attractive. It offers a lot of beauty and quietness and feels a bit more upscale and not like a place for high traffic like the two previous floors. The only thing I thought was of how something feels subliminal about the image on the tv screen of a cathedral at the very center of the third-floor bar. What are we supposed to pay reverence to?

Useful: 4  Funny: 0  Cool: 1


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

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

Araya’s Place – Thai Vegan Restaurant
$$ Vegan, Thai
8101 Beverly Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90048

Avaya’s place is more like a 3.5 out of 5 stars. The food is not bad. But I am rounding down to 3 stars because it simply was too expensive and average tasting for Thai vegan.

Avaya’s place serves the standard watery red tofu curry that you could find at any given Thai restaurant in Los Angeles. Thai Patio or Red Corner Asia, for example, have the same watery red curry that they serve in a similar portion for half the price of Araya’s $10 lunch special. No Bueno in Thai. You, dear reader, may say that “those places are not vegan though.” My rebuttal would be to name other Thai vegan examples, like The Vegan Joint or Vegan House, which would give you a heaping big bowl of curry with rice for the same $10 price. And their curries are thick and way more flavorful.

Don’t get me wrong, there was nothing majorly wrong with Araya’s red curry. The tofu was firm and the vegetables were fresh. The red curry though tastes pretty weak and uninspired. I asked for extra spicy. The chirpy younger woman who was serving me, I don’t know her name but I’ll call her ‘Gabby’ since all she did was talk to the other table she was serving for the 20 minutes I was there, told me that they’ll make the curry an extra spicy ’10 on a 1 to 5 scale’. The curry tasted like it had a lot of spice added after the curry was cooked. It wasn’t ‘extra spicy’ but the level of spiciness that I have come to expect from most Thai places not serving a Thai person. They also serve Thom Kha soup and similarly put the spices in post hoc, and it’s similarly unmemorable.

All I have to say is that this is surprising to me that it’s a 4.5 out of 5-star average rating. I guess I had high expectations coming in here, but this place would not stand a chance to hold that 4.5/5 rating in my Thai Town hood.

Useful:Funny:Cool: 1


Posted by Chris Girard in Yelp
Chris G’s Best Yelp Reviews: MatchaBar 3/5 Stars (Owner Comment)

Chris G’s Best Yelp Reviews: MatchaBar 3/5 Stars (Owner Comment)

MatchaBar – CLOSED
$ Coffee & Tea, Vegan, Breakfast & Brunch
3534 Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90026

Matcha is fine but there’s an epidemic of banality and too much storage space on people’s phones. I am glad I didn’t eat here because when I sat down to try this thing, this woman then sat next to me and was obsessively photographing her drink and smiling at her phone while doing it for the duration of while I was there. I felt a mixture of pity and embarrassment that maybe in a more naive state of my life that could have been me, contributing to the ugly photo pool of our consumption. And partly because she was so close to me that people would think we were buddies and I was indulging her hobby.

Anyway, give me a cold brew. Matcha is one of those things that tastes no different anywhere I go. It’s the type of milk and sweetener that affects how the matcha powder tastes. It’s nice to be offered coconut milk at no additional price as this thing tasted as good as I could expect, though there was a part of me that hoped to have a higher expectation. But it was fine. It tasted as good as the best ones I have come to try over the many years. Meaning, good. But as I am not a big matcha person, I never fathomed a need to have matcha in such a pressing way, that there would be a store dedicated to it. Nor have I had a need to photograph my matcha cup and post it on here, to assure my 300 or whatever friends on Yelp that this drink is indeed green.

On a Saturday, this place had a line. It seemed to get busy, then it stopped, then it got busy again. They are nearby the human mouse trap Millie’s Diner so there’s a ton of people in the vicinity, and being on a patio nearby the narrow sidewalk of the hubbub is a bit anxiety-inducing. But they indeed offer a type of minuscule sitting arrangement in front and wifi, which are two nice enough things to look forward to if looking for a hang out spot in the area.


Useful:Funny:Cool: 0

Comment from Max F. of MatchaBar
Business Owner

Hi Chris,

Thanks for taking the time to come to MatchaBar and leaving us a review. I am sorry that some of our other customers seemed to sully in the way of your experience. Obviously we can’t really control how deep someone is going to go in on their photo shoot.

I would love to get some more feedback from you – if you could send me a message i have a few questions I would love to ask. As I read your review it seems to say that we are doing just about as good a job as any Matcha spot could do – because you’re not that into Matcha…

For future reference (maybe you missed it in-store) we do have an amazing coffee partner and serve up a full coffee/espresso menu for individuals such as yourself who just don’t really get down on Matcha. Bar9 (roaster in culver city) has an awesome cold brew system which is actually why we brought them on board. If you are in the area again and are in the mood – I urge you to give it a go.

Thanks and thanks again,


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

Chris G’s Best Yelp Reviews: The Literary Guillotine – 3/5 Stars

The Literary Guillotine – CLOSED
$$ Bookstores
204 Locust St
Santa Cruz, CA 95060

I bought A Thousand Plateaus a thousand days ago from The Literary Guillotine for a course I was taking in 2009. About eighty days after a thousand days ago, I chucked A Thousand Plateaus through an open door of the Santa Cruz Art Museum, never to see it again.

And three days ago, I get a letter from my Ph.D. examiner:

Please include citations from A Thousand Plateaus by Deleuze and Guattari.

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! And then I realized I still haven’t woken up from my nightmare. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! NOT DELEUZE AND GUATTARI!

The hangover of Deleuzian critical theory begins to wash from the shore again as I remember reading and re-reading A Thousand Plateaus from a thousand days ago.

How I’ve cited scores upon scores of sources for a research paper desperately hoping to avoid running into this schizophrenic telephone book of critical theory that I had bought and chucked to escape.

He/they/me/we wrote on Page 10 that “[e]very rhizome contains lines of segmentarity according to which it is stratified, territorialized, organized, signified, attributed, etc., as” blah blah blah “constantly flees. There is a rupture” and rupture and rupture and rupture AND RUPTURE AND RUPTURE. “These lines always tie back to one another.”

You see Chris G. from Yelp, once you enter the ‘rhizome’, you will never leave the ‘rhizome’. The book of critical theory that you have despised so comes back to cling to you forever. Deleuze and Guattari really fucking miss you and want to burrow throughout your citations and demand credit.

This storage-sized bookstore in downtown Santa Cruz is a cauldron of spells of critical theory. It is stacked with course books upon course books for purchase. Do people ever read critical theory for shits and giggles? Any-who, somehow the things you don’t want to remember, the places you never want to re-visit in your mind again, the books you don’t want to miss become part of your life again.

I didn’t choose Deleuze and Guattari, but somehow my most hated book became the most crucial one to write about.

Useful:Funny:Cool: 0


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

Chris G’s Best Yelp Reviews: Tommaso Ristorante Italiano – 3/5 Stars

Tommaso Ristorante Italiano
$$ Italian, Pizza, Seafood
1042 Kearny St
San Francisco, CA 94133

Where to begin…

Back in the mid-2000s, there was a boy who liked a girl named Lauren. Lauren lived in a custom-built house on a hill in Corte Madera in Marin. She wore black asymmetrical dresses, and had black asymmetrical hair. She liked writing passive-aggressive letters on postcards and looking at brightly colored cupcakes that would adorn the windowsills of bakeries. She was the type who did not like to be stereotyped and yet would predictably disagree with this description.

The boy invited the girl to meet his parents who were visiting from out of town. They were finicky about the restaurants they dined at. The parents were anal-retentive and unadventurous but liked Italian food. The boy chose Tommaso’s.

The parents balked. Porn theaters were in the neighborhood, a fake $100 bill was rolling along the asphalt in the wind… They were seated on a small folding table hastily placed in the front of the restaurant. It was busy. The portions were too small for the parents, and the conversation was pat and topical. The best part of the dinner was the sauce.

To sum it up, the boy spent more time trying to impress his parents with the choice of restaurant than accommodating the girl with black hair and black asymmetrical dress, who never spoke to him again.

Tommaso’s was not Macaroni Grill for the parents. And not a good place to reconcile lovers of fake Italian food with lovers of cute windowsill cupcakes.

Good sauce.

Useful:Funny:Cool: 0


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

Chris G’s Best Yelp Reviews: Pink’s Hot Dogs – 3/5 Stars

Pink’s Hot Dogs
$ Hot Dogs
709 N La Brea Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90038

If hot dogs are the opiate for the masses then this place is a megachurch. This place was empty the time I went. I was close to Pink’s Hot Dogs, hungry and the line was not longer than three people standing there so I decided to try a Pink’s hot dog. The line was so quick, that I still needed another minute to see if they would take credit cards and if there was a minimum amount needed to order (they do take cards and there was no minimum charge). So I let the pacing dude with a backward hat, shin-length shorts, and a skateboard behind me order first.

It was 11 am. The mood of all of us Hollywood rednecks queueing to form the long line that made this place famous was already becoming electric. I knew if I didn’t eat then and there, then I probably would not come back. It was seriously do or die.

I can look up the fancy title for the vegan hot dog with guacamole I got but I am frankly too lazy and it is insignificant enough for anyone to give it a name. The most important thing about it is that it is the only veggie option at this place. So the only veggie option here is what I ordered. It was as good as boiling a tofu pup, putting it on top of a fresh Oroweat hot dog bun, and adding Del Taco-grade guacamole on it. It was very, very simple, plain, and about $4. As Warhol once said, a coca-cola is always equally satisfying, it is never better or worse than the one before it or the one after it. But with hot dogs.

Useful:Funny:Cool: 3


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

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

Philz Coffee
$ Coffee & Tea, Breakfast & Brunch
801 S Hope St
Los Angeles, CA 90017

I remember being in an SAT prep class in high school and having picked my nose that it began to bleed uncontrollably fast all over the desk. I ran out of the classroom with the bloody nose to the hallway bathroom. Nobody said anything as I ran out covering my nose, as it was an advanced class so everyone was inhibited and good.

When I got back, there were drops of blood all over the top of my desk that nobody was looking at. Everyone was too into their own world, trying to read faster. That moment kind of dawned on me when I realized I was sitting very isolated on a communal table at Philz Coffee with a large hot black coffee that spilled down my arm and onto the desk.

I quickly pressed 3-0-3-3 to open the bathroom door and pour water over my burning arm. When I got back, everyone that is sitting a foot or two away from me is still on their laptops and ignoring the big brown puddle of coffee.

Everything about how this place runs is robotic, too. It makes me wonder whether the coffee shop makes the people this way or the other way around. Philz, not just at this location, is made like a conveyor belt for a caffeinated human. The clockwise line to the baristas, to the cashier to the big power-stripped communal table to the exit is so over-practical in a way that I feel like some places are only made for walking, others for waiting and others for sitting.

Order, – here –
Wait, – here –
Work, – here –
Socialize, – here –
Exit, – here –

The coffee however is good. Everything is pour-over, so medium coffees type 1 2 3 4 5 & 6 have such-and-such notes. I got the barista who just loved making coffee and made me her own special blend. It tasted fine. I grimaced when I tasted the dry chocolate essence of the Mocha Tesora. And I love how the big inedibly fresh mint leaves take up half the drink, not.

Useful:Funny:Cool: 4



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

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

Tribal Cafe
$ Juice Bars & Smoothies, Delis
1651 W Temple St
Los Angeles, CA 90026

This place is disorganized, and incredibly expansive, expansive, expansive, keeps expanding ideas and making them broader and broader, rather than rich. Let’s talk about working for a high-end fashion atelier that’s trying to turn into a marijuana dispensary and create a menu out of smoking from a crystal-encrusted glass pipe.

They’re taking on so many completely different types of foods that the result looks like a series of very confusing salads. Why not just tear down the kitchen wall, turn into a hippie Hometown Buffet and offer a create-your-own salad bar?! So I think the harshest criticism I could give this place is that it offers too many options on their menu that are pretty half-baked after they’re baked. Their menu is a mess. It’s confusing. I think of what religion must have been like in the 1000s. Their menu consists of these large white confusing sheets of scrolls of proclamations side by side, four or five of them. Some of them have vegan sprinkled on to them. Some have wraps and burgers, then a tidal wave takes us from the Mediterranean to Vietnam to the Philippines. There are so many food options, their employees don’t even know them by name, but by letter and number combinations. I think the Bahn Mi Bowl was ‘B2’.

By the way, they got the number wrong for the ‘B2’ and the results looked -very- creative for a Bahn Mi Bowl. At first, went with it. I tried to make it taste like a Bahn Mi in my mind, but now I realized I just got the wrong food order after looking at the menu online. It was a Curry Spice Veggie & Quinoa Bowl but strangely with freshly cut apples on top. Try imagining me imagining that be a Bahn Mi. It was an awkward combination of fresh warm kale, quinoa, a medley of vegetables, and cold apples on top. It didn’t have the peanuts and pickled carrots I was hoping for. But I am glad this kale salad wasn’t tossed because I was enjoying all of these different types of vegetables separately. The ingredients were very fresh and pristine!

Hence, I conclude that, in totality, the food is very hit or miss. But because the ingredients are incredibly fresh, they’ve gotten a provisional 3.5/5 Stars. I’ll be back to try something a bit more safe and popular in the future.

Useful:Funny:Cool: 0


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

Chris G’s Best Yelp Reviews: Casey’s Irish Pub – 3/5 Stars

Casey’s Irish Pub
$$ Pubs, Irish, Sports Bars
613 S Grand Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90017

3.5 Stars.

Casey’s Irish Pub ruined a pair of my jeans years ago. I was casually meeting with someone for an afternoon chat of sorts, I sat on one of the patio seats that they had apparently just painted black. I was wearing a pair of light denim jeans that day and there was no ‘wet paint’ sign, no warning, nothing. After hearing about this guy who was very full of himself’s photographic achievements on Instagram and my nodding as he was scrolling down on his feed and showing me how clever he was with photo compositions, I stood up and discovered I had a ring of black paint on my jeans. It was the fast-drying type of paint and my sitting on fast-drying paint helped dry it faster, thus making washing the paint off impossible. I tried in their little bathroom. I also tried bleaching it out, no dice…

For years I grimaced every time I walked down Grand and looked down on their gorge of a patio at their black furniture because of the black death of those jeans. Until! Years later, Duolingo, the language learning app for phones, hosted their very first ever Spanish language meeting for Duolingo users here. The spot here is pretty spacious for a large group meeting like that. Even though it’s questionably a series of rooms, much emptier and awkwardly set up than others, it’s got an ample amount of space. If it were up to me, I would just remove all the walls and make it a very large space. And then… you could host bands and stuff. As someone who was speaking butchered Spanish to a bunch of other people speaking butchered Spanish, we heard and understood each other just fine, for the most part. We were set upright in the middle of the loud bar and it never got too loud or crazy.

It was a cool spot to meet. Their bartenders were fast. And they have an incredible cider here, as I hope one would find at an Irish Pub.

Useful:Funny:Cool: 2


Posted by Chris Girard in Yelp
Chris G’s Best Yelp Reviews: Los Angeles City College – 3/5 Stars

Chris G’s Best Yelp Reviews: Los Angeles City College – 3/5 Stars

Los Angeles City College
Colleges & Universities
855 N Vermont Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90029

LACC seems to exist on the tuition of students that shouldn’t be in college. It’s better to have no-shows than no one show at all! In keeping with the tradition of its most famous alumnus dropout Charles Bukowski, a lot of bums drop out of this college. They cut in line on free taco day before doing so. In my experience of the five classes I’ve taken here, about 40% of the class ends up disappearing at the end. LACC incentivizes this behavior by taking out the burden of even having to go online and press the withdrawal button. It’s the first college that I’ve been to whose departments expect teachers to drop students who stop showing up.

I don’t know what the future holds for LACC. They seem to think it’s in for another heyday with all of the construction happening and platitudes of hope being offered in the form of writing scholarship themes. But the attendance level is very low and the slow burn of gentrification in East Hollywood might bring no hope! I’m used to campuses actively being busy in the middle of the day but everyday feels like Saturday here. It’s a strange experience, given Santa Monica and Vermont is busy. And on an actual Saturday, you can hear the echo of footsteps and see a tumbleweed roll.

It’s a shame because they have some great professors. I’ve been talking Spanish classes here and the college offers professors who are more talented and passionate than even the ‘good’ teachers at the UC school I’ve attended. One thing that I appreciate about the teachers at LACC is that they’re humble. The level of self-absorption of some teachers at the research university I attended, in my experience, is that of Narcissus at the podium overlooking a reflecting pool.

The bad things about LACC are the cliches of the crime-ridden inner city school minus its overpopulation. The emptiness of the campus due to its underpopulation makes my bike more unsafe for a bike than locking up on Santa Monica or Vermont or Melrose. I had to get a second u-lock as my back bike tire got swiped twice in one month here by the same asshat with the equipment and know-how to remove back tires from vintage bikes. Also, it’s the first college campus I’ve been to where being asked for change by many different types of people on campus is part of the college experience. Bukowski would be one of them.

Useful:Funny:Cool: 3


Posted by Chris Girard in Yelp
Chris G’s Best Yelp Reviews: Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse – 2/5 Stars and 3/5 Stars

Chris G’s Best Yelp Reviews: Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse – 2/5 Stars and 3/5 Stars

Virgin Atlantic Airways
5758 W Century Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90045

The focus of this review is on the people at Virgin Atlantic catering who are in charge of supplying condiments to ‘vegan’ meals at the Los Angeles base.

While the Virgin Atlantic outbound flights from Los Angeles never include vegan condiments for the meals from Los Angeles flights outward to London, the condiments from London to Los Angeles are always vegan.

Based on over ten flights during the past two years to London, I have concluded that Americans do not know what a vegan option constitutes, while Britons are all over it.

Every time I have ever taken a flight from Los Angeles to London, the three condiments I always get include:

One Country Crock butter spread (whey)
One Naturally Fresh salad dressing (whey)
One gratuitous packet of non-dairy creamer (whey)

Whey might be the lazy condiment of choice for the ‘vegan’ meal but Virgin Atlantic actually knows what ‘vegan’ constitutes because all the condiments from outbound flights from London are, in fact, vegan. They use:

Vinegar/oil already on top of salad
One ‘Bebo’ butter spread

While I guarantee that I will soon receive a comment from human resources disassociating their Los Angeles catering services with the ones from the catering services from London, Virgin is Virgin. Take initiative and look at other Virgins that do it better.

Useful:Funny:Cool: 0


Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse
Airport Lounges
Nelson Road
London TW6 1QG
United Kingdom

If you genuinely feel satisfied after watching people being turned away at a club you are inside or after laughing when somebody from coach is being scolded for using your first-class bathroom on an airplane, exclusive clubhouses are probably for you. I get satisfied, but I am more misanthropic than rich. And I got in here completely by accident.

The perks of Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse include swinging plastic bubble seats and a fake fire animation on an LCD screen that is shaped like a fireplace. Honestly, the best part of the first-class lounge is the floating plastic bubble chair. Even the bubble chairs are more of a pop-art aesthetic than for actually sitting in. There is a handful of them grouped together. You can go on your laptop, use their free wifi (codes located on the menu) and sit on the bubble chairs suspended on a rope, rotating you 360 degrees. Weee! Then after maybe 10 or 20 minutes of sitting in them, they start getting humid and then uncomfortable. The entire place is a dining area, too. Menu items are pricey but if you like airport alcohol, they’ve got it.

I fly on Virgin Atlantic from Los Angeles to London at least six times a year on coach, and I don’t even know how I got in here. Since I got into this place by a fluke of happenstance rather than spending $$$$ on an Upper-Class seat, this posh oasis inside Heathrow seems to be as satisfying as the mod decadence that a 1960s television set could bring. Basically, I was looking for a bathroom. Nobody was in front. Lo and behold, the best part of Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse is its dark and fancy bathrooms with towels.

Useful:Funny:Cool: 3


Posted by Chris Girard in Yelp
Chris G’s Best Yelp Reviews: Yelp – 2/5 Stars and 3/5 Stars

Chris G’s Best Yelp Reviews: Yelp – 2/5 Stars and 3/5 Stars

Mass Media
140 New Montgomery St
San Francisco, CA 94105

Updated review

Yelp’s new photo-centric layout sucks. Is yelp turning into food Instagram? On top of that, all of the large browser-size photos featured are of MEAT.

L A R G E – M E A T – P H O T O

Meat Meat Meat
(Review Snippet)
Meat Meat Meat
Meat Meat Meat Meat
Meat Meat Meat
Meat Meat Meat Meat
Meat Meat Meat
Meat Meat Meat Meat
Meat Meat Meat
Meat Meat Meat Meat
Meat Meat Meat
(Footer Menu)

Useful: 12  Funny:Cool: 3


Previous review

I am surprised that Yelp removes reviews from its own page! It/robot/they/intern removed my review from their page citing it contains inappropriate content per case #3071386. I am unclear whether it’s the language or the sentiment in itself that is more inappropriate, but I’ll censor the (what I believe he/she/it/they believes is) naughty language so that this review stays up this time!

Removed review:

There’s something oddly phallic about women who post pictures of their nails for nail salons on Yelp. It strikes me as odd that every time I log onto Yelp, I am greeted by pictures of painted fingernails posted for nail salons. It’s almost the equivalent of the woman’s (CENSORED) pic. It seems to be a movement that is not gay per se – but cultivated around a community of self-pleasure around their own/others fingernails, i.e. people who think their cuticles are the shit. An “I’ll show you mine if you show me yours” comparative on coloring, girth, and of course size. Ask a straight guy who throws his (CENSORED) pic around the net and he’ll swear up and down it’s not sexual, well maybe sexual but more of an autocratic sexuality – the pleasure of being admired or watched. That’s kind of what I have come to expect with nail pics, it’s a pleasurable, maybe sexual experience to know that people are checking out and admiring her fingers.

Maybe it’s a feminist reclamation of the body because most guys care as little about nails as women do about dicks, or conversely care as little about nails as other parts of her body. Or, the painted fingernail is not about the guy being put into the equation at all. I don’t think guys care about nails or seek them out as I saw one set of painted nails on Yelp, aquatic blue with white anchors painted in the middle get like 50 likes, by not one guy, and by at least three Tricias.

Useful:Funny:Cool: 3


Previous review

  • Yelp has given me more open doors for getting my foot into places than my undergrad Journalism degree ever could. (Surprise! Your Yelp reviews make more interesting portfolio pieces than the ones about college.)

  • Ruby at Yelp keeps wanting me to know that Ruby has deleted my reviews.

Before deleting reviews Ruby, please look up the description of the modifier you use to flag a reason to censor someone.

To lack a ‘substantive’ consumer experience means:

The consumer experience reflected on my 300-word description of my first-hand experience with the property wasn’t um ‘real’. Say it, Merriam-Webster.

Oh, but it was real Ruby! I don’t make things up. Maybe what’s real to you is news to me but if being a tool throughout your sheltered life has never gotten you laid yet Ruby, I am certainly happy to say that I am not offering my services, whether ‘substantive’ or imagined to you.

I even wrote to Yelp regarding this dilemma of Ruby censorship. I sent the case number in. Veronica, who responded back a few days later, didn’t care to look into the case number before presuming I was complaining about my reviews being filtered and sent me over a generalized FAQ about Yelp’s filter system.

Yelp your platform is cool but the people you pay to censor or shirk more ‘substantive responses to the people you regulate, are the tools of tools. Yelp is popular because of the people you don’t pay. If you let Ruby off the leash any more than you do, it may implode.

Check me out. I’m Chris G. I’m legit. I have old faded pink Elite badges next to my name. I had a review of the day once. It wasn’t a cute puffed-up anecdote about a place I was raving about either!


Useful:Funny:Cool: 3


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

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

Caffe Primo – CLOSED
$$ Coffee & Tea, Italian, Cafes
612 S Flower St
Los Angeles, CA 90017

Caffe Primo downtown looks like a ghost ship of Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks painting from 1942. Instead of a corner diner, it’s like one of those old-fashioned Italian style ‘caffes’ from the era that serves espressos or cappuccinos in tiny mugs. It is a very big and boxy street corner restaurant encased in large sheets of glass that you can see everything inside of it – and that’s not such a great thing in this case.

The ground level of this restaurant is below the street level of the sidewalk, so when you pass by this place on some streets, you are looking down on this restaurant behind the glass. The way the light hits the building during the day casts a gray shadow under the glass, so everything inside looks like the dim figures from a low contrast ratio television from the 1980s. There are a lot of rows of stark white tables and handfuls of gray melancholy looking people inside. I think they need less glass and more openness to the neighborhood, as this large glass wall makes this place appear like a human zoo. For years I passed this place by when I would either go to the downtown library or gym and never felt it beckoned me to come here.

When I was finally beckoned to come here due to Groupon, I was weary to go through the tiny door. So before I did, I took almost 20 minutes going through all of their Yelp reviews of the vegan wraps and bowls, which is usually what I prefer and decided to play it safe. Nothing about the reviews had stood out as having a consensus about anything particularly outstanding here, at least vegan-wise. I concluded that I should just stick with a salad. Let me tell you – I am glad I did. Their quinoa salad minus cheese was fresh and came with quite a nice portion. It comes with asparagus, avocado, craisins, walnuts, mint, onions, tomato, cucumber in a lemon vinaigrette dressing. And it was delicious.

You wait in the front, order in the front, you get a number. You wait at the table. And you get food. It was absolutely empty when I went and took about fifteen or twenty minutes to get the food. We were in no rush though. Something to note too: Since the size of this place is massive and there are a plethora of seat offerings, the level of stuffiness varies with some of the rooms. The air doesn’t flow to some of the glass-enclosed rooms and feels a bit more warm and humid than next to where the doors are. It might be beneficial to get faux walls to replace these large slabs of midcentury glass.

Useful:Funny:Cool: 0


Posted by Chris Girard in Yelp
Chris G’s Best Yelp Reviews: Indie 103.1 – 3/5 Stars

Chris G’s Best Yelp Reviews: Indie 103.1 – 3/5 Stars

Indie 103.1 – CLOSED
Radio Stations
5700 Wilshire Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90036

Less talk, more rock was so Indie 103.1.

Until the DJs began to talk.

Now I feel like I have invisible friends in my car leeching on me for rides; the type who won’t stop talking to each other. The point of the conversations is that there is no point to be made! It’s like staying at a party for way too long, listening to trite anecdotes and band names being dropped; and yet you just can’t leave! You give them the benefit of the doubt that their conversations will lead somewhere until you’re offered a more compelling distraction and go home.

I recently turned the radio off after the first thirty seconds of Jonesy’s Jukebox when Jonesy whined: “I don’t want to do this today. Ugh… (pause). I really don’t want to do this…. (long pause). I don’t… want… to… do… this…” You stupid cow. I would DO ANYTHING to have my own radio show and play the music I’d like to share. The dead air time is like a spit on the face of every listener and is a reflection of what kind of pricks this radio station airs. I wish prickness wasn’t synonymous with good music taste and this station makes me feel a little in despair.

Speaking of synonymous, their taste in good music is also on par with my music taste and I appreciate their good music. I wouldn’t mind being the ideology of a quiet DJ because I’m not a prick. (Hire me?) Politically speaking, if corporate radio can do anything it knows how to do well, it’s to make more regulations and gag its DJs and strictly play music the DJs select to play. Corporation, I hope this message is relayed back to you.

Useful:Funny:Cool: 6


Posted by Chris Girard in Yelp
Chris G’s Best Yelp Reviews: Saturn Cafe – 3/5 Stars (Owner Response)

Chris G’s Best Yelp Reviews: Saturn Cafe – 3/5 Stars (Owner Response)

Saturn Cafe – CLOSED
$$ Vegetarian, Breakfast & Brunch, Vegan
145 Laurel St
Santa Cruz, CA 95060

What do you really expect from a diner that is open until 3 a.m.? The cafe is the vegetarian equivalent to a burger, fries, and a shake at Denny’s. The food is decent but nothing to write home about. Besides, specialty chefs don’t work after hours. The veggie burger flippers are tattooed rebels just like the rest of us!

The best part of this diner is the lively after-hours. I followed 30 people here after a straight edge hardcore show at the Porter Soundbox. Needless to say, the tables were filled with lots of people in black hoodies.

Useful:Funny:Cool: 0


Owner Response:

Hi Chris

Thanks for taking the time to write about us.
I am sorry to hear that you did not enjoy your food very much.
I wanted to take a minute and reply to your comment comparing the Saturn to Denny’s.

My business partner and I both work really hard at hiring staff members that many places won’t hire purely based on the way they look.

We also spend a lot of time creating a menu that is always fun and sometimes healthy and absolutely 100% Vegetarian. We do our best to pick up organic items whenever we can. I assure you Denny’s does not have an organic house salad. The ice cream we carry comes from a small farm in Santa Barbara that only makes small batches at time. All of our salad dressing is made in house it is never store bought. We even have a house made veggie patty that I think taste pretty good and is totally fresh.

Again I truly appreciate you spending your hard earned cash with us and then taking the time to write about it.

I just needed to say a little about the Denny’s piece.

Hope you have a good day,
Ernesto Quintero


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

Chris G’s Best Yelp Reviews: Urth Caffé Melrose – 3/5 Stars

Urth Caffé- Melrose
$$ Coffee & Tea, Breakfast & Brunch, Bakeries
8565 Melrose Ave
West Hollywood, CA 90069

I told the person in front that I’d like a tofu scramble to-go. When I opened my bag, I found that I got tofu WITH a scramble to-go.

Wha? I told the person that handed me the bag that they messed up and he insisted that they didn’t. He kept insinuating that I got hooked up with a huge scramble as if I got two for one. The tofus were sliced into six rectangles. On the to-go menu, it says substitute tofu for $1.50 and I told the guy in front that I’d like a scramble with tofu instead, which he charged that $1.50 for, so I am not asking for something that is supposedly nonexistent.

Well anyway, management was more than helpful when I got the reins tightened after talking to Urth Caffe customer service, first to a woman who (surprisingly or unsurprisingly) spoke little English for someone in that role who basically did not understand anything I was saying except when I asked for a supervisor. Then I talked to the supervisor who finally understood that the to-go menu I guess has a misprint and says it can substitute tofu for eggs when it can’t. He called management there and they gave me a few tiny gift certificates.

A couple of weeks later, I am checking their to-go menu and THE SAME MISPRINT is on there:

Sub tofu $1.50 under the breakfast scrambles.

All I can say is that I will keep enduring the insufferable crowds here and am sticking with their matcha boba with almond milk because it is delicioso. I sometimes stick to the kid’s PB&J (it’s really good and filling), or to a less of an extent their veggie sandwiches, which are more pricey than filling, or the plum rolls, which came with veggies, cold firm brown rice, and didn’t come with plum. I am probably just sticking to the matcha boba with almond milk. While I really don’t have much of a dislike for the food of this place, their busy location makes it easy to dislike. Although the ambiance is quite an interesting anthropological people-watch and consists of the West Hollywood conventional and quite the mix of rich preppy Middle Easterners, the men who look like they’re from old money Bostonians without having ever lived there and the women, on the flip side, sporting couture modesty veils, apparently on blind dates together.

This is what Urth Caffé calls a “Tofu Scramble”.

Useful:Funny:Cool: 3


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

Chris G’s Best Yelp Reviews: Gold’s Gym Glendale – 3/5 Stars

Gold’s Gym
Gyms, Trainers
3211-A Galleria Way
Glendale, CA 91210

I’m a fan of the dead mall phenomenon. And places, like Gold’s Gym, that wouldn’t normally be in malls are now moving in and repurposing them. Dead malls are malls that were once thriving in the 80s and 90s and are now empty with abandoned storefronts. I regularly watch this guy, Dan Bell, on YouTube who documents many of the American dead malls on his channel and they’re tragically great to fall asleep to.

One thing I’ve noticed about these dead malls is that Gold’s Gym in particular is converting many of these dead mall vacant storefronts into large gyms. I’m not sure if Glendale Galleria has ever been ‘dead’, but it’s certainly been dead to me! I’ve lived in LA since 2011 and have never had even known there was an ‘inside’ portion of the Glendale Galleria until this week. It’s very old-fashioned looking. It’s very tan on the inside and car-centric. Meaning, you have to go through a parking lot to get in. There’s ONE clogged elevator from the street level door that leads to the parking lot. And absolutely no bicycle parking on street level. I parked my bicycle against a signpost underneath an overpass bridge. But at least it’s next to the elevator.

This Gold’s Gym is as busy and large as Gold’s Gym Downtown LA. To me, it’s really no different in structure and it’s as crowded as Gold’s Gym Downtown LA. I’m actually surprised at all the negative reviews. The machines are new and everything was up and running when I visited this week. There seemed to be ‘enough’ available machines to use when I visited at 5 pm on a weekday. The major problem with this gym is its layout. They wanted to be creative in essentially an uncreative space and break the grid pattern of gym equipment up. They added a circle of machines in the middle of the grid for those who are on a time crunch to move in order when the light turns from red to green or something. Problem is, nobody, including me, has time to figure how to use this system out when the machines we want to use are only located in this circle. It’s really easy to bump into someone navigating this circle to get to another machine since there is no clockwise or counterclockwise direction to begin with. And I bumped into quite a few people getting out of the circle and back into the grid. It has quite a large steam room and sauna! It’s not cruisy unlike the Gold’s Gyms in Downtown and Hollywood! They’re really big and kind of located in a hidden part of the dressing room, just waiting for all the gays in Glendale to come out of the woodwork.

Another problem, although this is more of a cultural one than about the gym, is that there is a hydro-massage chair area, which is dead center in the middle of the gym and freaky to look at. There is an entranceway into a dim room with humans in these large black leather recliners staring at small bright televisions in front of large bright flat-screen televisions that are blasting advertisements. It reminds me of two things: the meme of a 24 Hour Fitness gym entrance in Florida with two massive escalators in-between a narrow ten-step stairwell to get into the gym. And two: the dystopian scene in Wall-E with fat humans who survive the pollution apocalypse and float in space in automated hovercrafts, completely oblivious, watching televisions on a recliner. It’s a sad reflection of our culture. But I do like that they have a ‘kids area’ for parents. And that there is now a Gold’s Gym in-between Downtown LA and Pasadena.

Useful:Funny:Cool: 2


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

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

Cafe Gratitude
$$ Vegan, Vegetarian, Cafes
639 N Larchmont Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90004

LA is such a city of fake gratitude that I can see how a Cafe Gratitude would work better here than in San Francisco. Years before they closed all the locations down in the Bay Area, it felt a lot more casual and hippie and like a cafe. You sit wherever you like, and servers with green dreadlocks casually greet you. It was inexpensive and felt a bit more gritty and bohemian. Now spending $15 on beans, tempeh, and two stale hardened cheese biscuits in a clean, upscale bistro with a smiling server who takes credit cards makes me feel like a smile back is $gratitude.

The surprisingly stale I Am Resolved macadamia cashew cheddar biscuits tasted like they’ve been sitting out all day and definitely were not made at the same time the good beans and tempeh were made, as well as the yummy collards, yams, coleslaw, etc. Perhaps that’s what I should go for next time are the more raw vegetable and nut-based dishes because the oven is probably used only once a day – if that. And I already did just that by ordering the I Am Dazzling vegan caesar salad the next time I came here. Let me tell you that Veggie Grill has a better vegan caesar salad for 1/3 cheaper. The crushed brazil nuts that act as ‘parmesan cheese’ in the I Am Dazzling here definitely still tastes like raw nuts and does not make up for a sharp cheese that it desperately needs. I have been vegan for over 15 years so I am not comparing to ‘real’ cheese in a caesar salad, just the better vegan caesar salads I’ve had in my lifetime. The salad is also underwhelming for the price and the cashew caesar dressing could be more plentiful.

Now I can’t believe I just got into a fight with management at Cafe GRATITUDE over them giving me a hard time about honoring a 10% neighbor discount as a member of this amazing writers’ community/large shared office space next door. Everything is communal and built around trust and cooperation over there. These people at the writers’ community told me that they set up this special discount with the general manager Alice Liu who apparently told them that the managers “all knew” about the discount. One of these managers that “knew” looks at me as if I am crazy and insisted that giving me 10% off would be a favor “just this once”. She even photographed my card because it must’ve been some type of scam I’ve been pulling. What neighbors! I guess the confusion comes not from management but from corporate, aka the vegan sellout owners, who told them as an act of gratitude to discontinue neighbor discounts but to eagerly offer people to sign up for ‘Gratification’ cards as a way to earn ‘gratitude points’ for every fifteen dollars you spend on tempeh. I think that’s why this place thrives in LA.

All in all, all I can say is that I’ve been here so many damn times and gratitude exists here no more. It’s expensive, but still, it has pretty good food and a nice upscale bistro atmosphere. I stopped myself from writing a review here for many years and that was a true act of gratitude towards a friendship with a handsome server who moved up north after years of being here since it first opened. The one great thing about this place is their only milkshake ever that they offer. The vegan mint milkshake is incredible and worth coming here for by itself.

Useful:Funny:Cool: 8


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

Chris G’s Best Yelp Reviews: Museum of Death – 3/5 Stars

Museum Of Death – CLOSED
6031 Hollywood Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90028

About 24,999 out of 25,000 people who currently die are not murdered so this Museum of Death is not for them!

To the one, I am glad that there are no actual dead bodies here. Just a lot of blood, hair, letters, and -pictures- of dead bodies from the 20th (and some 19th) century. Old gore. I came here on my birthday. I live down the street from it and was curious to see it for the sake of passing it by hundreds of times. I got someone to buy me a ticket as a birthday present and we went. They are located across the street from a busy hostel and the clientele is not much different than that – younger people who are on a day trip to Hollywood. It fills up with a bunch of smelly midwesterners, European midwesterners, and a hispanic mom with her baby in a stroller. Surprisingly, this place held a lot of people at 2pm on a weekday. Agoraphobics and claustrophobics – watch out. The inside of this place is built like a narrow maze that is cluttered and stuffy. If there was a fire, there would be many deaths in The Museum of Death! And the thought of this place as a potential fire hazard freaked me out as much as the graphic stuff.

The presentation of this place offers no focused direction. You can sufficiently see everything within an hour and they offer at least something from almost all of the famous murders in American history. The first thing I thought upon entering the serial killer drawing room was that it smelled musty. Many of the things here are kind of aged and yellowed and appear as if they would probably be difficult to remove off the wall that they are stuck on. Everything in here is at least 15 or 20 years old. Actually – to come to think of it – nothing in here really dates past 2000. Everything dates from the late Victorian era (coffins/embalming/specimens) to black-and-white era murder photos (like the Black Dahlia) to the 1980s and 1990s ‘contemporary’ murders, blurry point-and-shoot glossy photographs of dead mullet-heads. There were also late 20th century drawings from serial killers. The most vivid to me was the newest stuff – watching a video of a guy’s jaw getting blown off from an execution-style shooting I think in Iran in the 1990s. I believe the owner of this place probably lost his passion for collecting this stuff at some point 15 years ago or was in jail for dabbling in the murder paraphernalia black market. The owner had to flee San Diego and take his museum goodies to Hollywood after getting in trouble for acquiring a set of bunk beds from the Heaven’s Gate cult murders.

This place can not only use more updating, like bloody bullet-holed textbooks from Columbine High School or Luka Magnotta’s one-way ticket to Berlin, for example, but it needs more ventilation and a lot more cleaning. We went in at the same time when some guy with A LOT of cologne came in. Something about looking at bones, hair, and drawings from serial killers in a narrow, winding, and unventilated room while smelling this guy’s heavy cologne made me feel nauseous. Something dreadful is in the air and it isn’t bad juju – it is stench and it collects.

Useful:Funny:Cool: 3


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

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

121 2nd Street
San Francisco, CA 94105

The year 2003 was the year of the internet. Half the people in the Web 2.0 digital world didn’t own their own digital camera yet and relied on scanned prints or webcam images of themselves to represent their avatars. The cool people had their own two or three megapixel cameras. It began as the year of Friendster and ended as the year of MySpace.

MySpace wouldn’t have become MySpace if the stupid Friendster servers didn’t stop working in the middle of summer 2003. You got all the bored teenagers addicted to Web 2.0 like crack and then you take it away from them by not investing in more efficient servers. Bad bad Friendster. On top of that, a rumor spread that you considered charging users to contact people. Bad bad bad Friendster!

So after the Friendster exodus occurred around Summer 2003, MySpace became as popular as Yelp is today. It was comfortably popular. Rockstars in Los Angeles who currently own hundreds of thousands of friends on their MySpace page owned a mere few hundred and that was a high number compared to Friendster. Friendster limited the number of friends you can add and MySpace was no-holds-barred.

On top of that, MySpace was in general A LOT better than Friendster. The servers weren’t slow. There was a blog, a message board, and the ability to edit your own html on your page. You carried more confidence that the website wouldn’t abruptly fail when you were writing your friend a long message so communication between friends was a lot better. The teenagers who were addicted to the internet went fanatical over the new website. I was 20-years-old and the website was fun and pretentious. Pretentiousness that wasn’t profitable.

Let’s jump five years later. All the teenagers are in their early to mid-20s now. They’ve become slightly wrinkled around the eyes and fatter. Pretentiousness became profitable. Bands and miscellaneous groups that are dependent on the website for promotion are almost as prevalent as the number of people that are actually on the website. The website is a large gentrified digital mall now. It’s lost its edge.

A few days ago, I was offered money to give up my MySpace handle to a hip-hop artist. Do you want to know what I said? I said I’m interested. If I can cash in from what MySpace has become today, I say this is a catalyst to buck Yahoo 2.0. I’m under surveillance when I click on each page and I imagine five vulture companies that separately advertise “VEGAN GOODS CLICK HERE” or something else based on my interests (in other words, MySpace allows advertisers to record my information to profit off me) are making a moneybag.

Besides the dynamics of the website, I can’t rant about the people on here because they represent the normal demographic of the US population. I did get contacted by my biological mother. Problem was, I already have one.

Useful:Funny:Cool: 7


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

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

Alta Coffee
$ Coffee & Tea, Breakfast & Brunch
506 31st St
Newport Beach, CA 92663

The two baristas at Alta were the dichotomy to an ancient Greek Tragedy and Comedy the night I went. It was the tale of two baristas. The guy with a beard and tattoos was so jovial while the guy with a cast on his hand was so jaded that both were in stark contrast to each other.

While I preferred jovial with tattoos, jaded I was sympathetic to. Jovial was so helpful, he gave me three alternative routes to getting out of the peninsula if I was to get lost and somehow miss the very obvious bridge.

Jaded was so miserable, I purposely took an extra second to get my money out a little longer to watch him get increasingly irritated. He was so moody while he was making the drinks, it was funny to watch his uninhibited emotions and curt responses to the demanding atmosphere around him. Hey, it’s tough to steam drinks with a cast and it’s impossible to do much else like swim, hold beer, jack off and use TiVo with your left hand. There are probably too many lonely nights with his five huskies at his parents’ mansion off Newport Coast. Cheer up, sad one.

Alta is okay. I give the gimp unfriendly guy credit for sufficiently warming the soy chai. (No foam but I didn’t expect any.) The lack of reliable wifi and power outlets was somewhat of a disillusion. It seems like more of an enjoyable place to come during the day than at night.

Useful:Funny: 10  Cool: 5


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

Chris G’s Best Yelp Reviews: The Getty Villa – 3/5 Stars

The Getty Villa
Botanical Gardens, Art Museums
17985 Pacific Coast Hwy
Pacific Palisades, CA 90272

These turkeys really, really want you to DRIVE here.

No, this turkey is not driving. This turkey took the two-hour number 2 Sunset bus from Sunset and Western all the way over here, to Sunset and Pacific Coast Highway. Be sure you take the Sunset bus that says P.C.H. and not to U.C.L.A./Westwood. Be sleepy, as the bus ride is long but only costs $1.50. Also be sure to give yourself a lot of room to get here when you book your reservation and print out your ticket. I left at 1:30 p.m. for my 4 p.m. ticket.

Once I got there, I walked about 1/3 of a mile from the end of Sunset and Pacific Coast Highway to the pearly gates of The Getty Villa. Tip: Get your feet sandy, rather than run over. If walking to The Getty Villa from Sunset, be sure to walk along the beach and not along the east side of the highway. The sidewalk abruptly ends and becomes all Pacific Coast Highway with fast-moving cars, which is dangerous to navigate. Great city planning, LA. There are a lot of ruins in this region due to the mudslides. Be ready to traverse around jagged concrete slabs that jut towards the ocean and stop.

When you reach The Getty Villa, there is a restricted staircase and next to it, a long driveway with a security guard ready to check your ticket stub. If you didn’t drive, you have to cross the street three times to get across. You need to cross Pacific Coast Highway along the pedestrian walkway that yields to pedestrians once every 10 minutes. Then you have to cross the driveway after all of the cars that are forced to park in the Getty Villa cross it. Add another 5 minutes. You have to cross into an open gated area and an empty driveway and up the driveway to talk to the security guard. It takes a minute to figure out where you’re going. It states in the front entrance to be prepared to show a receipt of bus fare to ‘prove’ that you didn’t park along the coast.

It took about three minutes to convince the guard that I didn’t somehow park my car along the coast and avoid the $15 parking fee. He said he saw me coming from the southern side and it obviously appeared that I parked there. I said I didn’t. He said prove it. So I needed to somehow ‘prove’ that I didn’t drive to The Getty Villa. Since I didn’t even expect to have to get a receipt from my bus driver (I paid cash), I told him I used a TAP card and showed him that. He then asked about the bus I used and why I didn’t use some other bus that drops people off closer. (Sunset was more direct and I didn’t want to pay another $1.50 to transfer). I explained to him that I lived in Hollywood, showed him my ID and explained the proximity of Hollywood Blvd. to Sunset Blvd., hence taking the Sunset bus. He conceded, since he couldn’t really prove that I parked on the coast for free. Although there was a button to call a van to pick you up, the guard insisted that I wait and I don’t call it.

About ten minutes later, the van came. It took me up to the top. From there is another clusterfuck of weird navigation. You need to take an elevator to an empty hallway that leads to a stairwell that leads to the museum. After one hour of seeing ancient artifacts from civilizations that have been in existence for thousands of years and had time to make a lot of statues, plates and trinkets, I was satisfied and left. The docents are knowledgeable and can answer questions. I read on Wikipedia about one of their directors or trustees having some type of sketchy relationship with acquiring museum objects on the black market, but got caught and had to give back millions of dollars worth of stuff to the respective countries. Sadly, that bit of history about this museum interested me more than the work that was displayed here.

Okay heading back down SHOULD have been easier. But the van that picked us up and drove back down, instead of sensibly using the driveway to drop people off at the bottom, decided to take a long, meandering scenic route from an adjacent and empty private road to Sunset Blvd. This drive took about 15 minutes. They’ve got a ton of unused land surrounding this tiny museum and apparently it’s all made for driving to and from it. We basically passed my bus stop from Sunset Blvd. and then got stuck in traffic after turning right on Pacific Coast Highway. Sadly, I hope they realize that walking and alternative methods of transportation are slowly beginning to triumph car culture in Los Angeles.

All in all, a nice museum in a horrific psycho-geographical layout. It is definitely worth it, for a one time visit.

Useful:Funny:Cool: 3


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

Chris G’s Best Yelp Reviews: Graffiti Sublime Coffee – 3/5 Stars

Graffiti Sublime Coffee – CLOSED
$$ Coffee & Tea, American (New)
180 S La Brea Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90036

When I first entered this place, it was very white, postmodern and musty.

An awful up-beat jazz saxophone solo blasts in the background, which jars the kind of sedate people sitting on laptops kind of atmosphere; and the baristas, especially the male, were nice to me. He waved as I left! Iced tea is the cheapest drink at $4. The wifi passcode was jeSSIca lAnge or someone with a celEbRIty’s name. PtUi pTuI!

In general, it was such a jarring place that my visceral reaction kicked in an endorphin rush like successful conceptual artwork. I was looking at edgy pop art across the street, and the feeling could be best described when I saw a painting of Queen Elizabeth portrait from British £ and her face was painted with rouge, lipstick, light blue eyeshadow and blonde hair. The Queen looked like a transvestite Marilyn Monroe screen print by Warhol.

Despite how weird this place is, I didn’t hate it. I stayed well after my wifi expired, which is probably against the rules. (Note: European-style coffee shop rules, no extras, no appeasement to breaking them.) I totally saw someone ‘sneak’ into the coffee shop by jumping the tiny black gate through the patio in front to meet his friend and not pay for a mandatory drink first. I didn’t stay long enough to see if he was tortured and beheaded.

The iced tea was good. The patio, where the loud saxo-mo-phone playing wasn’t playing, was attractive.

Useful:Funny: 11  Cool: 2


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

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

BoltBus – CLOSED
800 N Alameda St
Los Angeles, CA 90012

I am breaking this down to the actual bus experience versus the Groupon experience:


Bolt Bus has one of the most craptastic systems for redeeming the Groupon. You have to do A LOT of emailing and then a lot of inputting of data in order to redeem the Groupon. I felt like I was really working for that three dollars I saved. They will NOT redeem the Groupon with you over the phone.

Groupon was $21, roundtrip bus without Groupon was $24. They claim the rides are worth $80. I asked myself if it was worth saving $3 to do three or four days worth of work.

Their system for redeeming the Groupon is first to sign up for an account. Okay. Then email their rewards department and let them know that you purchased a Groupon and give them your account information for both Groupon and Bolt Bus. Okay. Don’t forget to email them the 6 or seven digit number from the coupon that’s in your Groupon folder. Okay. Then once the guy on the email gets back to you, it took him two days in my case, he will tell you that your account is credited two rides. Whew, done. Hooray!

NOT SO FAST! The Bolt Bus website is down. I was taken aback. A google search for Bolt Bus Los Angeles comes up with Mega Bus Los Angeles. Weird. I call to double-check they didn’t go out of business in the past 24 hours since I contacted them last. My fear is a business on Groupon unexpectedly going out of business without notice. It’s a legitimate fear, see horror stories (with snarky owner comments) on AQIYL Photography.

No, they’re still riding from Los Angeles. And whew, we’re only halfway done. The site should be back up in less than 12 hours. More instructions after he emails me back!

In order to get these rides credited, set up your bus ride then once you get your roundtrip set up, a popup box appears. Enter 0-0-2 on the bottom right of the popup box in the white form box and over the underscore, but only after clicking on the white form box twice. It won’t work if you click on the white box once because it needs to be input over the ___ underscore, not before it. I didn’t click on the white form box twice and typed in ‘002’ before the ___ underscore appeared. So stupidly, ‘002’ was not properly entered and I purchased another ticket. I had to call them to refund my card.

On the line was a really unfriendly guy speaking in a Southern/African American dialect. He said that I ‘dones’ it wrong and he will reverse the charge card and I would need to redo it. I asked if he could just redeem the Groupon from the phone. “No.” “Okay.” No response back. I waited for about ten or fifteen seconds to see if he would say something else. He didn’t. It was dead on the line. So I hung up. (Bolt Bus, you really should screen your calls or at least make your employees feel like they are!)

I entered ‘002’ over the literal ___ underscore on the white box after clicking on it. I’ve taken and taught Computer Science courses and this was one of the crappiest and least intuitive methods of inputting data I’ve seen on an actual running business. It reminded me of a goofy project that a 19-year-old undergrad Computer Science major who is just learning how to create a form would make in CS 1 to prove that he or she can make something interactive for credit. Type ‘002’ over random underscore to make a smiley face appear or else a frown will appear.


I am writing this review on the bus’ wifi right now. The bus is big, fat and shiny and located in the left-hand side of the front of Union Station. It is NOT located where the other busses are at the back. There is no sign, which is disconcerting, but I made a phone call and the lady said it was “across from the Mosaic Apartments on the flat parking lot.” What the hell are the Mosaic apartments? I walk around and see some large apartment complex to the left of Union Station. Ohhhh.

The bus, unlike Megabus, is one story, but the seats are larger and more comfy. The bus is incredibly clean. Like new, perhaps. (This company began running out of Los Angeles 6 months ago.) There are two outlets per seating section, the rest stop is 30 minutes and located in Avenal (not Kettleman City like MegaBus, booo) and consists of one boxed in shopping-gas station complex with a touristy gift shop/bodega, Subway and a taqueria. All in all, this bus is all I could ever ask for.

Sadly, this particular bus stops in San Jose, and then San Francisco, and then Oakland. That is a lot of stops, but there are maybe 20 people on this bus so I guess it would be silly to have a bus dedicated to the one goofball who claims he is going to San Jose.

Useful:Funny:Cool: 0


Posted by Chris Girard in Yelp
Chris G’s Best Yelp Reviews: Monty’s Good Burger (and Owner Response) – 3/5 Stars

Chris G’s Best Yelp Reviews: Monty’s Good Burger (and Owner Response) – 3/5 Stars

Monty’s Good Burger
$$ Burgers, Vegan, Fast Food
516 S Western Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90020

3.5 Stars!

The basic vegan burger was an incredible vegan burger but every fiber of my being can’t reconcile paying $11 for a burger that’s served by itself around a piece of paper. I’ve had vegan burgers from all over the world, and this is something I would expect paying $6-8 or perhaps barely more than $10 with fries or something else thrown in for the price tag. I came here expecting that it included the fries or tater tots. Oh no. God no! Those are $4 extra. (I was speechless looking at a $16 price tag with tax on the total!) I had a really awkward interaction with the guy who was putting in my order until I realized that I was the one who was being a completely confused entitled crazy person.

I have a hopeful feeling that a lot of the price goes to a living wage for all of the workers and it’s not just the pretension of the expensive quality ingredients of the lettuce, for example. But living wage or not, it’s NOT the living wager’s burger! If you’re not working at a cushy PR firm and willing to pay for it, it IS worth trying! What made this burger special was how the patty was so finely grilled and moist, and the cheese was gooey soft, that it tasted incredible around their soft potato bun. It was probably one of the ‘closest to the real thing’ type of vegan burgers I’ve ever tried that could be comparable to a good fast food restaurant’s burger. You have to have the technological innovation in fake meat preparation to get a patty to taste like this. And the one hopeful thing to me is that in five years, there will be a lot more (and cheaper) burgers like just like theirs. This is not to devalue this burger I enjoyed, however, because there is definitely a skill in grilling a burger to taste like this.

Finally, the sauce! I sort of did the Free Sauce Yelp Check-In wrong, and felt really embarrassed because I ended up getting a side sauce I probably wasn’t entitled to. I got to try the garlic aioli inside the burger and the ranch dressing as a ‘dip’ outside of it. I could hardly taste the garlic aioli at all inside of the burger and tasted no different than the ranch, which kind of bummed me out. So I am not sure if it was garlic aioli that was put into the burger. Or if I was confused yet again. And I am taking into consideration that this garlic aioli is apparently a house favorite according to the guy who I was talking to. So I was hoping for a punch of garlic. Nevertheless, if there is a next time, I need to not be confused and get more garlic aioli sauce.

Useful: 15  Funny:Cool: 6


Owner Response:


Im sorry about your lackluster experience at Monty’s. I assure you that your review and thoughts are very meaningful to us.

First off, send me your email address so I can refund your money through PayPal. We do not want anyone to be unsatisfied with the food, service or concept.

Pricing…. we know it’s expensive. It’s by design. We start our staff at $15/hour, use only compostable products and source our produce within 30 miles. Except for the cookies that come from Phoenix. The impossible patties cost 6x any other vegan option. Although you may know of and like other products more, we have specifically chosen Impossible based on the alignment of our mission to get meat eaters to consume less real meat.
We absolutely know that the pricing is not for everyone. As the impossle pricing comes down, we will adjust accordingly. But for now, our costs are extremely high.

These are not excuses or reason to say that your opinion doesn’t matter. It matters and we listen and learn from every review we read.

Again, I’m sorry you had a bad experience and hope this info gives you a bit more background.

Thank you for reading,


Posted by Chris Girard in Yelp
Chris G’s Best Yelp Reviews: Revolution Books/Libros Revolucion – 3/5 Stars

Chris G’s Best Yelp Reviews: Revolution Books/Libros Revolucion – 3/5 Stars

Revolution Books/Libros Revolucion – CLOSED
$ Bookstores
220 Glendale Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90026

My experience with Revolution Books was strange. I appreciate the aim of this place but the damn emphasis on some dude I have never heard of before, apparently a leader and speaker for the ‘Revolutionary Communist Party’ named Bob Avakian, is too ‘dear leader’ for me. I assume he must fund this bookstore/info shop, which offers a scant (mildly put) selection of critical books; it is not an Adorno or Jameson kind of bookstore.

I walk in, having passed this place on my bike hundreds of times, and am greeted and go towards the right, which includes maybe five bookcases of shelves. Very empty. Although I’m impressed that they dedicate about one of these shelves to Spanish speakers in a patronizing ‘good for them’ white person kind of way, there was nothing I found interesting. They have a lot of Margaret Atwood books and have a critical Handmaid’s Tail reading group, which made my partner extremely excited to hear about.

One of the two wimmin (I’m trying to sound earnest) who were standing in front, asked me if I heard about this film screening they apparently sponsored the other night. I said I didn’t. She said ‘oh, you must listen to Bob Avakian speak!’ Um, okay. She guided me to a DVD player with headphones connected to it. It was sitting isolated in the middle of the room. She asked me which section of this Bob Avakian speech collection I would like to listen to. I chose #3, which I can’t remember what it was about now but apparently that DVD was lost. Um, okay. So I chose #5.

I nearly died inside as they were standing there watching me as I watched this DVD film of him speak. I don’t remember anything he said but he certainly was a fluid sounding speaker and I’m certain he made good points. But I was still in the fog of having come back from the Hollywood Farmers Market and not totally ready to take anything in. And they were fucking looking at me as I watched this.

I took the headphones off. They then, still facing me, stood next to each other and asked me about what I thought of the film. I think they wanted me to say something about how outraged I am about the state of affairs of this country. I didn’t want them to probe me so I mustered up something about having never heard of Bob Avakian. ‘Interesting’ was interjected somewhere in my comments. I signed up for their mailing list and gave them a dollar for their newsletter and left.

Apparently when you sign up for a list, they sign you up on MULTIPLE lists. I was signed up for a magazine and their general email, which they only send you two or three emails a day for. Oh, and if you give them your number, they WILL call you! If you find phone calls from strangers intrusive, do not leave your number! I repeat: do NOT leave your number! But if you love personal phone calls from numbers you are not familiar with, then please by all means leave your number here!

About two weeks later, I received a personal call from them. I didn’t answer it and they left a voicemail about a revolution BBQ. Hello Chris. We are holding an event, donation is such and such. Bring your friends. Two weeks after that, I get another call from them: Hello Chris. We hope you are appalled as we are about the ATROCITY (impressive emphasis) of Trevon Martin’s court ruling. Please call us back if you agree.

Oh, I agree. But I am not calling back.

Useful: 10  Funny:Cool: 2


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

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

Portfolio Coffeehouse
$ Coffee & Tea, Cafes
2300 E 4th St
Long Beach, CA 90814

ROTD 5/12/2008 (Review Of The Day for Orange County)

I have been rubbed the wrong way by Portfolio. A fifty cent charge for “no ice”? That’s so ridiculous, that I am kind of confused as to how they could even justify their stance without a finding bunch of holes to the idea of charging more for something less.

Man, I am so rubbed the wrong way. My knee-jerk reaction is to confront someone while I am peeved, but I will wait until I calm down.

ICE, and how we Americans love ice, melts in drinks fast that are meant to be drank slowly like teas. I never ever could drink iced coffees or teas because they would turn watery at the bottom. It’s gross.

ICE, and lots of it, is a phenomenon only here. The few places in Europe that do serve ice, serve three cubes in the drink at most.

The ICE acts as a buffer to giving away too much drink? If the extra few ounces of drink is what is worth fifty cents more, then give a few ounces less of the drink. It’s ridiculous to charge 25% more for something that could easily be tossed away or spilled on the counter.

Man, this is so ridiculous that I am ashamed at myself for ranting about an extra fitty cents but it’s the principle of having a voice against something that I believe is utterly stupid.

The casual yet edgy atmosphere of Portfolio’s is a four star coffee shop with an aforementioned one star flaw.

This lively coffeeshop is known for their long successful interaction with the local artist community. Portfolio’s has a distinct vibe as being community-oriented; there is no plausible definition for “hipster” (as my friend said, people who describe hipsters are usually describing themselves) so I won’t go there.

Paintings by community college surrealists and neo-baroque townies line the wall. And their weekly Wednesday open mic night starts at 9 p.m. sharp. You must sign up when the clipboard’s out at 9 p.m. or else the punk rock girl will deny you. They aren’t pulling your leg when they say it’s open mic either. Can I have that with no ice?

Useful: 18  Funny: 18  Cool: 14


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

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

Natura Spa – CLOSED
$$ Day Spas, Skin Care
3240 Wilshire Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90010

Natura Spa is basement level. Natura Spa is basement level. Natura Spa is basement level. I watched a video on how repetition is the key to memory. I had a Groupon for two here. I visit spas often with varying levels of Korean culture infused to each. I have a coworker who absolutely loves this place and I was probably going to visit based on her recommendation alone. She goes here often. It seems a lot of people who keep this afloat has seen its better days. After visiting here, I feel like I’ve seen better days myself.

When we entered, we were dropped off from an Uber into the grand driveway of an eerie dim building. It was reminiscent of that spooky old hotel in Downtown LA where they found a girl who drowned in the water tank after everyone was complaining about the rancid water. There is one light next to one desk with a security guard in the middle. He pointed to a cavern of plywood behind him amidst a massive construction project in the lobby. There is literally this 200 foot path made out of large 10 foot high plywood boards that one walks straight and then makes a sharp right that leads to one elevator door at the end of it.

The elevator only has floors listed, nothing else. Even the address on Yelp gives no clue to this floor of this spa. So I had to call the front desk of Natura Spa on my cell phone while standing in the elevator. Receptionist said basement. She hangs up. I literally press B and see her two seconds later when the door opens. Two guys who saw that we were clumsy at knowing our surroundings pushed in front of us and just walked through and past the reception area into the spa. I think they were regulars. The receptionist just kind of shrugged.

She took our Groupon and just kind of let us through with keys to lockers located at on opposite ends, no directions, nothing. I never been here before and I felt like I had to go through a bizarre rude awakening to what this spa was all about. First off, robes are not needed late at night. Robes are not only discouraged but forbidden in all of the men’s steam and sauna rooms. The gender-neutral relaxation area, which consists of recliners and television had only men. It was kind of an awful place. The sauna even had a television in it! Terrible. Even though I showered literally before I got to the spa, some guy in the sauna told me to get out of the hot tub and that I needed to shower. There is a sign that he pointed to, an incredibly specific sign that states everyone needs to shower in this room first. Fine.

Maybe it was because of that creepy hotel vibe I got, that I noticed that everyone there looked like they’ve been regulars here for years. They’ve all had their slow ritualistic zombie patterns, sitting in the hot tub, moving to the cold pool, then moving to the steam room. The entire area is one medium sized room that consisted of a steam room, sauna, few showers, a cold pool and an ice room. So you can watch everyone from everywhere you sit in this one room. And more importantly, they can watch you.

I spent 90 minutes here trying not to be a spa zombie and had a good enough and relaxing time as I do with all spas. But the televisions, the creepy hotel vibe at night, the hotel ‘regulars’ and more televisions, will make me avoid passing through the plywood maze to this place in the future.

Useful: Funny: 19  Cool: 4


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

Chris G’s Best Yelp Reviews: Guardian Arms Apartments – 3/5 Stars

I really like living in this building. It’s the biggest building on Hollywood that is east of the 101 and it’s got such a morbid and colorful history. The Black Dahlia lived here. So did many drug addicts and bums, although they’re for the most part kicked out now. Back when it was a hotel in the 1950s, police brawled with the lushes that they kicked out for sleeping in the hallways. Old people die here, the coroner parks in front. Crazy people yelling at the top of their lungs have been escorted out of here by police. A suicide happened last year, someone jumped from one of the upper floors and was found on the alleyway next to Harvard & Stone. It’s a very big, dramatic, beautiful and solid Hollywood building. If there is a major earthquake (which will 90% likely happen before 2050), we will all survive due to how strong and well-built this thick concrete building is.


With gentrification comes property companies foaming at the mouth, then high rent prices, and then an exodus of all of the crazy people that gave a story to this building. I have lived here for almost four years, before the new property company purchased this building and substantially increased rent prices, and the only thing I give credit to Polaris/M West Holdings is that they got rid of the roach infestation that Statewide Enterprises never could do. Literally, roaches used to crawl out of the drains en masse. Otherwise I really do not like Polaris/M West Holdings and think their whitewashing/gentrification project to this building is rather despicable.

I don’t know who these people are or if they even live in this area but they seem to have grand ideas on what they want done to this building and who they want living here. Last year, they offered $8,000+ to all of the occupied units to move out so that they could undergo construction on the building and make it into an ultra-posh dream building to justify the $500/month and climbing rent increases to each of the units. I am one of the few tenants that did NOT accept their $8,000 offer to move out. For those like me who didn’t accept the offer, we’d have an increase to our rent on top of the yearly rent control increase (thank goodness for rent control as Polaris/M West are extremely consistent when it comes to increasing my rent each year for as much as they can legally get). Ultimately, Polaris/M West reneged on the deal for the 30 or so units that agreed to move out, decided not to pay anyone but went through construction anyway.

They most recently replaced our sexy chaise lounges in the lobby with ugly business furniture. I could see them one day having a self-congratulatory presentation in our business lobby about this building’s million dollar turnover with their ‘aggressive leasing’, as I quote one of M West’s successful ‘case studies’ on their website. It would be complete with upwards graphs, corporate high fives and champagne before they go back to their big houses in the hills.


Brent, haha, is not a jerk, but pretty damn flaky when it comes to maintenance requests. I believe he pays more attention to the many young women with small dogs who moved into the building in the past year, so good luck with getting repairs done if you’re not one of them! It’s funny to read all of these gushing five star reviews about him promptly emailing them back because he -never- -ever- -ever- emails me back. I am pretty damn courteous and respectful too. I try to be reasonable and not demanding, but unfortunately I am also not a girl, nor a girl that owns a small dog. The one time that he sent a maintenance guy to my unit, two out of three of the repairs that he made broke within a day. At least the leaky faucet stayed fixed.

Maintenance request fails:

  • Cracked window since mid 2014
  • Palm tree leaf and bamboo hitting/obstructing cracked window
  • Broken sink drain (maintenance guy came, fixed it, and it broke the next day)
  • Broken bathroom tile partition (maintenance guy oddly super glued it instead of screwing it back in, it fell off the next day)
  • Broken bathtub drain
  • Water pressure issues for hot water (biggest small issue)

Overall, I generally love this building, its colorful history, the people and the peaceful yet cool atmosphere that Polaris/M West is trying to kill and will likely stay here for a long time. Maybe I need to be more of a dick about it, but the repair requests are ones I can overlook on a day to day basis. I am hopeful that as for this avaricious property company that owns the building that ‘this too shall pass’.

Useful: 23  Funny: 14  Cool: 8


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

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

Psychic Horizons
Supernatural Readings, Meditation Centers
972 Valencia St
San Francisco, CA 94110

I am quite a skeptic of this place because the whole idea of a psychic-training school rubs me counterclockwise. I always wondered whether the psychics at psychic horizons really knew I came in here as a farce.

I had a past life reading here once by a group of clairvoyant trainees in meditation. Please note: I was receptive and did not cloud perceptions with a closed mind. They didn’t give me anything relevant, really yet the information “is what I make of it” metaphorically. I know, I know.

In one hour, I learned I was once a boxer, a hunter, a seamstress, a potter, a mammy, an indigenous boy and an astroid barnacle. I also learned how open each layer of my aura was by specific percentages. That information served me no purpose nor relevance. I was given a cassette tape of my reading for future bemusement.

The school is a converted victorian home. The waiting room is upstairs. You can sign up for readings there. Student readings are $35 and other readings are upwards of $50. The introductory class is free. For zero dollars, you are taught how to meditate while sitting in a chair. They also teach you how to focus in the center of your head and envision healing lights to cleanse your energy.

If you’re amazed at the end, you’ll be cordially invited to sign up for the level one training program for quite a few hundred more dollars. I watched many people sign up and pay after sitting in their chairs, envisioning orbs. It changed their lives.

Useful: 17 Funny: 34 Cool: 9


Posted by Chris Girard in Yelp