Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Bottles Bottles Everywhere

LA County Supervisors are "drawing heat" (not really, but that's what a newscaster would say) for their bottled water with custom-printed labels. The bottles of water (allegedly Arrowhead) have their labels removed and an LA County-logo label placed on them by a modestly paid intern. It prevents free advertising on cable-access TV for bottled water companies, they reason. It costs barely any money and takes very little time.

But that's not really the point, is it? No public official should be drinking bottled water, period. Everyone should have reusable bottles. Put taps and filters in municipal buildings if you want to improve the taste but no bottled water ever. Bottled water is a scourge on the planet and it's in bad taste for public servants to be drinking it in any economic climate.

An odd bit of info in that LA Times article? Three years ago Mayor Villaraigosa told employees to buy their own bottled water. Despite that, spending on bottled water has doubled in that time, to $189,000 a year.

The city could buy reusable bottles wholesale for ~$3 each, most of which would last several years and be way less douche-y.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

HFF Presents: Recession Indulgences

We're all spending less. Most of you are probably still employed, but you're working more, or making less, or maybe you're just perpetually pissing your pants in fear every hour on the half-hour.

But even if you're fearful, you still want to have a good time. Good times make the world go 'round. Gone are the $300 dinners at Gordon Ramsay and the $500 handjobs from Gordon Ramsay, but there are still a few ways to behave decadently without spending decadently.

1. Intelligentsia Coffee. At ~$14 per half-pound or $4.50 for a brewed cup, Intelligentsia is the Rolls Royce of coffee, even if Intelligentsia is infinitely more reliable. Sure it's more than double the prices of even its quality competitors, but it really is that freakin' great. Don't make it your daily drinker, but enjoy a cup of French press every few days to wake up or wind down. Bay Area edition? Blue Bottle.

2. Dinner at Bacaro. I know I've been flogging this spot, but I really do love it so. If you still want to have a semi-upscale and hip night out without dipping into the emergency stash of hundreds taped to your taint, then Bacaro it is. With reasonably priced wines (included a nice new red wine for $15/carafe), fixed price small plates ($7/dish or 3 for $19), and killer happy hours ($1 off wines by the glass on Mondays and $5 small plates from 5-7PM every day) you can have an indulgent night out without having to pimp out your boyfriend for cab money home.

3. Sake. If you've never had a good sake before, hit up a trusted retailer and ask for a recommendation. You'll be surprised what you can find for around $20 a bottle. Take it home, sit down on your stoop or porch or balcony or whatever, take a deep breath or two, and slowly sip.

4. Sex on a Sunday morning. I know this requires some advanced planning for those who don't co-habitate, but give it a try when (and as often as) you can. It'll be self-explanatory.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

I Love Pizzeria Delfina

So Pizzeria Delfina, home of (to my mind) the best mid-priced bourgie pizza in San Francisco, is giving Yelp! a nice big old cockslap across the eyes. How are they doing that? By dressing their staff in t-shirts proudly emblazoned with quotes from some of their worst Yelp! reviews.

I've always strongly believed that, with the exception of some very specific niche businesses and out-of-the-way establishments, Yelp! reviews have virtually no impact on whether a business, especially a restaurant, succeeds or fails.

Restaurants succeed based on quality (of both food and management), value, and location. That's it.

Read about Pizzeria Delfina's big fuck you to Yelp! (and see one of the t-shirts).

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Have I Mentioned I Hate Yelp!?

I'm ecstatic about the increasing negative press shoved upon Yelp! Most recently, Yelp! CEO Jeremy Somethingman defended Yelp!'s decision to not remove content that is blatantly false by saying that Yelp! can't take action based on the remarks of a business owner "who has skin in the game."

That's retarded. And you sir are retarded Mr. Somethingman. Sure if the business owner says "I don't like this review, take it down" you don't. But if the business owner can prove a review is VERIFIABLY FALSE, then of course you should take it down.

I like to think that in some small way I helped start the coalescing of this anti-Yelp! bandwagon. Everybody climb aboard!

Here's a deep dark secret: I have a Yelp! account. I started it solely to make fun of one reviewer who had a particularly asinine review. However my sarcasm was perhaps too good and she took my backhanded compliments as fronthanded compliments and proceded to, near as I could tell, ask me out on a date. Weird. Point is, because of my Yelp! account I receive the weekly Yelp! newsletter.

This newsletter is perhaps the steamiest pile of shit I've ever read.


"Welcome to Westchester! In case you’re a little lost, it’s that place you were stuck in during your six hour delay at LAX. Yup, sound familiar now?

No Yelp!, it still doesn't sound familiar. Because A, why would I leave LAX during a mere six hour layover? And B, how the fuck would I know it was Westchester if I did?

It may not seem like much, but this little nook nestled in-between Culver City and Inglewood boasts dozens of hotels, three universities, a bustling cultural scene... and a plethora of choice restaurants. Who knew getting stuck at the airport could be so much fun? Well, yelpers did, of course!

Once again, if you're STUCK AT THE AIRPORT you're not leaving the airport to go to Westchester. Also, nooks aren't nestled, things are nestled in nooks.

Westchester definitely holds its fair share of LA history, much of which might lie within the walls of classic steakhouse The Buggy Whip, which Ethan H calls "strange and awesome." Strange, perhaps, but their steak has Ethan reverting to caveman terms within seconds: "Me like steak. Me like tasty steak. Me like BIG, tasty steak." Guess that about sums it up!

Why does Westchester hold its share of LA History? Elaborate please. And what sums what up? Me like steak sums up the history of LA in the walls of a steakhouse? Assembling words in order and punctuating them with a common American idiom does not a statement make, Yelp!

For historically delectable diner fare, Mishka F recommends the chicken and waffles at Pann's: "It was instant gratification. The chicken wings were fresh outta the fryer while the waffles were exactly the way fresh waffles should taste. Woah."

Continuing with this history conceit I see. Well--nothing else to say on this one, actually.

Need a quick, perhaps more timely, breakfast? Hit up The Coffee Co with Diana L for a blissful breakfast burrito: "It had melted cheese on top! I heart melted cheese, especially when I'm not expecting it." Um, surprise?!

What exactly is a timely breakfast? Is that an egg that knows that morning's stock prices? Or a pancake that makes an astute joke about foreign exchange rates? And you weren't expecting melted cheese in a breakfast burrito? Are you autistic?

Melted cheese might also be a major factor at Truxton's American Bistro, where Robert H fell head over heels for their Gilly Burger: "I had completely ignored my buddies' conversations as I was one with my burger... I have a new love!" Our hearts are melting with just the thought of it!

Whoever writes this steaming bloody runny feces of a newsletter really likes to superficially link clauses together with like words. Also, melted cheese is a major factor about what at Truxton's? It's just a factor? Is that it? A factor at Truxton's American Bistro is melted cheese? My head hurts.

Being in LA's jetsetter mecca, it would only be appropriate to highlight some global gastronomy, including Swiss-inspired Chalet Edelweiss. Known for great fondue and pizza, Jefferson L touts that "the food is tasty and the draft beer selection is refreshingly unique." Lederhosen, here we come!

Why are you going to lederhosen? Lederhosen are clothing. You can come in and on lederhosen, but I don't think you can come to lederhosen.

East and West collide at KC Cafe, bewildering the heck out of Melina L: "Crepes... and boba? Once I got over my confusion and settled in, I was one happy snacker."

Actually, there was this thing called "imperialism" and it brought lots of French food and culinary techniques to southeast Asia, starting over a hundred years ago. The Vietnamese and Japanese do crepes like Melina L. does four dicks at once: with a smile, a nod, and a lot of skill.

Craving a feast from the East? Caroline C Thai's one on for Ayara, while Lee S admits that Kanpai Sushi "makes me want to work harder, just so I can afford my next fix of pepper toro, sea bass skewers, and baked spicy creamy blue crab hand roll (a roll so good they gave it a seven-word name!)." Mmm, sounds far from an inflight meal to us!