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The Week in Yelp: Seeking Atonement By Online "Reviews"

From the people who brought you The Week in Craig, one of the all time great uses of the internet, comes The Week in Yelp, wherein Amy Blair takes aim at the ridiculousness that is the world of Yelp. Her intrepid Yelp-surfing, and words, follow:

2008_01_yelp.jpgIt’s Yom Kippur, party people. Woot woot! Being the Day of Atonement and all, today we're honoring our brethren of the Hebrew persuasion, and instead of looking to Yelp for places where we can stuff our fat faces all day, today we're looking at examples of repentance and forgiveness. Personally I'm not religious at all (as will be blatantly obvious when you read the next sentence I'm about to write – heh). But how much do I love the idea that if I just feel really bad all day, say some prayers and starve myself for twenty-four hours, all the stupid shit I've done all year will be absolved. Poof!

I'm going to hell, huh? Anywho! G'mar Chatimah Tova, y'all. Let the good times roll?

First up, the sin that doth plague us all?anonymous gay Craigslist booty calls!

You remember the last time you cruised Craigslist for sex? You finally agree to go to the guy's apartment, hop in a cab, get to his building and looking at the outside you start getting your regrets? You buzz the buzzer, and walking into the building, the only thought passing through your head is, "What a freaking dump! This guy must be a total loser!"

Yet, when you knock on his door, you are incredibly surprised to see just how nice his apartment is, not the mention that he is really hot.

Do you remember that moment? Yeah...me neither, but that's exactly what it's like walking into Uncle Charlie's bar. The place is...well...nice. Granted, walking in the door, I felt as if I had been transported back to the late 60's when gay bars were illegal. Red cellophane on the windows, and the bar being a freaking flight of stairs up on the second floor of the building (warning...those things are a bitch if you had too much to drink!), they really made the place look nice.

Post work happy hour consisted of the bartender, a 50 something year old DJ working the multiple IPOD machine throwing back tunes of the 80's (Did they just play Sade?) and as soon as I sat down, they offered me a nice bowl of peanuts.

The front bar is your traditional wood grained bar, complete with the regulars sitting in their particular stools, yet even they were friendly and welcoming, with one offering me a bite of his sandwich he got from down the street.

Seeing that I was meeting a date here, I chose to not take a bite of his onion loaded sandwich, and instead had some peanuts while sipping my vodka tonic. Not as strong as the townhouse, but strong enough to be sipped. This was a first date...I wanted to be somewhat sober.

My date arrived 14 minutes late...and I found myself more impressed with the bar and less with him. This is what happens when you get asked out while at a bar. You say yes without really thinking and regret it later. I would sincerely regret this guy.

The middle area of the bar is a piano lounge, where a performer was warming up for his show later. "Yo! Sparkles....shut the hell up so I can hear this date speak to me", I thought, and ironically, the bartender shut the glass doors so he could no longer be heard. Sadly, I was then able to hear my date...and just how stupid he was. I would have rather heard the performer warming up again.

Seeing that this guy and I had NOTHING in common, I ditched him and went to the back patio. Yes...a back patio...with real growing plants!!!! I honestly didn't think plants grew in New York City!

From outside, I saw my date leave. In fact I saw several people leave all at the same time. Sitting next to another patron I asked him about this. "They're all on the train to Connecticut" he explained. It made sense, seeing how close the bar is to Grand Central Terminal. This bar would be a fabulous place to meet a man for that train ride home.

Except I already am home.

And I think that was the problem. Uncle Charlie's for me was just like a Craigslist hookup (Oh shut up...you've all done it.). It's fun at the time, but about 30 minutes after you leave, you're really not interested in going back. In fact...you kind of forget it happened in the first place. It ended up being just a one time thing. I'm going back to the West side.

I don’t know which was the bigger faux pas?the nameless craigslist sex buddies, or ditching his poor, dumb date at the bar while he went out to the patio to meet other dudes. True, I’m not a gay man and I don’t really understand how these things work, but I feel totally bad for the poor guy who got ditched. Mean! What do you think, does he deserve our forgiveness?

Next, the only greater sin in New York than cheating on your significant other on craigslist?cheating on your coffee cart guy. For shame!

Dear Coffee Cart Guy:

Today I cheated on you with another, but I regret it more than words can say-- As I sit here in my cubicle at 9am, regretting my mistake with every sip of this atrocious coffee, I am now sure that you are "the One". You're coffee is by far more superior than any coffee establishment/retailer in the near vicinity. I hate myself for ever doubting you for a minute and allowing my wandering taste buds to cloud my better judgment. I now miss every drop of your savory, bold yet sweet taste, and I am reeling from the thought that I ever traded you in for a one-block tryst. Sure, his cart was accessible, his location perfectly sandwiched between work & bloomies, and yes-- I was seduced by numerous coffee cups that returned each day to the cube farm from his cart.. but they got it wrong. No one knows me better than you do, and he couldn't give me the coffee I craved. Now, I've come to truly appreciate each perfectly blended cup you've presented to me in our rather recent, but blissful courtship.

Sorry for my philandering ways. I will never take you for granted again.

--Your forever devoted caffeine fiend

If you live in New York, you understand that the relationship with your coffee cart guy is a complex one. On the one hand, you need him and can’t live without him. He is your life force (Monday through Friday). Conversely, it is your caffeine addiction that is putting his kids through college, and occasionally your “relationship” can get eerily too close (ladies, you know what I’m talking about). But through it all, the vague, uncomfortable flirting, the waiting in the rain while he makes coffee for an entire construction company, the fact that he’s occasionally just.not.there. You still don’t mess with your coffee man. Beg for forgiveness!

Next question. What’s worse than boning random craigslist dudes and cheating on your coffee cart guy? Being mean to your mom!

your estranged mum will finally forgive you for calling her an overbearing smothering nutcutting Mommie Dearest if you bring her a butter pecan ice cream cake with the following in pink script: I WUV YOU, MUMMY
Well, that’s one way to ask for forgiveness. (Totally creepy).

And last but not least, in the spirit of the holiday, a lovely tale of clemency to warm all of our cold, dead hearts. Ain’t forgiving grand?

I have a personal liking for this place.

The meals here are mediocre and the price is slightly steep for the quality that you're getting. The cute thing about this place is that it's a Chinese restaurant owned by Koreans so it's not necessarily Chinese cuisine done right, but it's definitely Chinese food gone clean.

I usually get the fillet of fish in black bean sauce. I've tried some other dishes, like the wonton soup, mushu stuff, and fried rice... All in all, not too bad... nothing to write home about, but apparently something to "yelp" about...

The reason why I like this place is because it came to my rescue one night. I was starving and wasn't in the mood for any of the fast-food joints in the complex (Subway, Del Taco, Carl's Jr.). That being said, I went into Wok-To-Go... They were closing, but they kindly decided to take my order. I was being a dork and yelling my order from the door because I had my pupster with me... They told me it was okay... So we went in, and as I was placing my order, my pupster decided to be a bad baby and pee'd... Not just a mini-pee, but the owner-embarrassed type... where you think to yourself (when are you going to stop?).

They looked at me, and my crazy black dog, and then said: "No problem, and cleaned up her mini pool."

Therefore, I must like this place. If they can forgive me, I can forgive them.

If the Korean owners of this Chinese restaurant can forgive this lady and her piss-pot mutt, then I’m pretty sure all will be OK in the world. (But fast anyway?we need all the help we can get).

—Amy Blair

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