Saturday, July 13, 2013

Nobody Ever Told Me I Had A Blog!

     Well, well, well.  I'm back...for now.  Much has happened since I've last blogged: I moved from the city to the valley; I got a dog; I have an amazing boyfriend, who now lives with me; I've added some tattoos; and I just finished my third year of full-time teaching.  Needless to say, life has been good...real good.  Where I am is where I'm meant to be, and all roads - dark, scary, windy, bright, and smooth - have lead me here.  It's hard to believe I'm in the throws of another summer vacation, leaving behind my third year of teaching and, quite possibly, the best group of kids I've had so far.

    Say hi to Max, my almost-3-year old Bichon Poo!
    I rescued him from Bark 'N' Bitches, which is located
    on Fairfax, just south of Melrose.  What a face!!

     Now that the violins have stopped playing, I can tell you about some of the places and people I've discovered on my magical journey called "Life."

BARK 'N' BITCHES: By far and away, this is the best place to rescue a dog.  Bark 'N' Bitches works with Jimi's Angels to help save the lives of hundreds of dogs.  I had been toying with the idea of rescuing a dog for a few years, and I knew the time was right when I moved into a ranchion (better known as "The Villa") with a massive backyard.  I headed over to WeHo with my brother and his friend, Joey, and they helped me to find the most perfect pup.  Max is everything you could ask for in a dog: lovable, cuddly, silly, energetic, playful, cute, kind...I can't get enough of him!!  Everyone who works at Bark 'N' Bitches is super knowledgeable and helpful.  Max is one of three BNB rescues within my close circle of friends (what up, Benny and Jack?!), and all of these four-legged boyzzz are amazing, healthy dogs.  If you're looking to rescue, which I hope you are, then look no further.  You'll foster for two days, and then, if you're a legit owner, you can very well adopt!  Arf!  

BLAZING SADDLES: "Candy gram for Mongo!"  No, not that "Blazing Saddles!"  I'm talking about the spin studio, just north of Ventura and east of Woodman (on Allott, a couple of doors north of Ventura).  Blazing Saddles is purely a spin studio, filled with top notch spin bikes, a JBL sound system, and teachers who will motivate you and whip your ass in 45, sweat-filled minutes.  Each instructor I've been to is amazing: Susan pushes you to your highest potential; I love TC's music choice; Shirley has incredible energy; Joe has nice biceps; and Steve has a dry sense of humor that tickles you pink while jumping on a bike.  I always leave there covered in sweat (sexy, I know), feeling grateful that I subjected my body to torture with a groovy soundtrack.  Use your money wisely and buy yourself the $300 unlimited summer spin (expires 9/2/13).  Happy Birthday to ME!

LA CAVA: Courtesy of one of my families this year, I now have my favorite Italian restaurant in the San Fernando Valley.  La Cava is your basic Italian restaurant - nice, but not overly priced, with delicious food, a killer wine selection, and the humble service you'd expect from a small town.  The best part of La Cava?  They have gluten free pasta!  Hell-to-the-YEAH!  Hats off to you, La Cava, and don't judge me when I lick the Risotto de Contadino plate when I finish.  

ANTONIO MOJARRO: My cousin Rachel (a.k.a. Lil' Blumpkin) introduced me to the one-and-only Antonio Mojarro, tattoo artist and downright cool guy.  Antonio has done my past few pieces, and I love every one of them.  He's willing to work with you to give you the perfect design, is incredibly artistic, comes prepared with brand new (clean!) equipment, and is just so nice.

My most recent tattoo, on my left shoulder, thanks 
to Antonio.  "Where you are is where you're meant 
to be."  True story.  

If you have any itch for ink, contact me, so I can give you his glorious information.  He also has tattooed some of my friends, and all customers leave satisfied.  Oh, and yeah, he travels to you!

TAMMI SATIN-SHAW: My hair is H.O.T.T., hot, hot HOT!  Tammi is a mother of one of my former students, and she kills at hair color.  She took me from black to blond (with a hint of hot pink, a-thank you) in a couple fell swoops.  She works from home and makes you feel like you're at home in her leopard-print salon.  She gives a great cut, too.  If you're lucky, you may even get to meet her delicious daughter.  Tammi's located in the San Fernando Valley, so contact me if you're interested in letting her shape your locks.  Damn, girl, you look goooooooood!

As I sit here at my wobbly kitchen table, trying to muster up some more new ideas, all that comes to mind is the spin class I took this morning, the cupcakes and cornbread I baked this afternoon (yep, I can safely say that I inherited my mama's baking gene), and the shower that I should take before date night with my handsome man.  If all goes well in this blogging world, I shall be back soon.  Cheers!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

"O" Yeah

My newest tattoo, courtesy of Dave Hatton

Okay, this is now officially the longest I've gone without blogging. Yes, I'm still being hip. Yes, I'm still trying new places. Yes, I'm still gettin' my workout on. Although, I am ever so fortunate to have a full time job that takes up the majority of my time, which hinders my blogging updates. I've finally reached my career goal of becoming a full time elementary school teacher. I work at an amazing school in the San Fernando Valley and teach 20 adorable second graders who, as chatty as they can be, truly light up my days. Even though my voice is shot and my energy drained, I can look back on these seven post-college years and see that all the dedication, hard work, and trying times have led me here. I'm a teacher. This is where I want to be.

And now, your reviews for the day:

Red O 8155 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90046
Holy shit. Without a doubt, one of the best restaurants I've ever eaten in. Created by Rick Bayless, winner of "Top Chef Masters," this Mexican joint has the perfect combination of taste, ambiance, and Los Angeles class. My cousin chose this place for his birthday and, although I knew the bill would be a pretty penny, it was WELL worth it. Our menu looked something like this (mind you, there were seven of us): Albacore tuna ceviche, Yellow-Fin tuna ceviche, chicken en mole poblano, beef short rib sope, pork belly sope, duck taquitos, fresh corn and goat cheese tamales, Oaxacan chicken tamale (my bro and I weren't fans of this one), crab and shrimp enchiladas (O...M...G), Tinga Poblana, carne asada, goat cheese cheesecake (a little intense for me), bunuelos, and cajeta ice cream. Wowie zowie. The bill came to $60 per person, although take one bite of those pork belly sopes and you'll be running back for more. Rezzies are hard to snag, so book in advance. Parking is street or valet, and don't forget to check out the tequila bar attached to the restaurant. Who's with me??

Izaka-ya by Katsu-ya 8420 W. 3rd Street, Los Angeles 90048
Hands down, one of the best sushi restaurants in LA. And, lucky me, it's a stone's throw from my apartment. Had a girls' night out here with one of my closest ladies, and we indulged. Miss O introduced me to the creamy rock shrimp tempura, which was out of this world. Combine that with baked crab, tuna on crispy rice, Robert rolls, fresh fish, sake, and good company, and you've got the perfect night out. It's pricey, but not much more than you'd pay at any other legit sushi joint. Make a reservation or you'll be locked in quite a wait. Parking is street or valet. When you're done, walk a few doors west and pop into St. Nick's for a drink or two. Mmm mmm good!

Velvet Grip Tattoo 7213.5 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles 90046
Dave Hatton rocks my world. He's a no frills artist who tells it like it is. He makes the experience vulgar and entertaining -- just how I like it -- and he does an amazing job. If you want a tattoo, go see Dave. Tell him I sent you.

What's better than working out without realizing you're actually working out? Nothing! Zumba is a combination of Latin and African beats that works you from head to toe. Since my gym closed for renovation and my schedule leaves me very little time to even breathe, I needed a workout that would be convenient, yet successful. Drop $75 and you'll get the dvd series and toning sticks -- totally worth it. Don't be surprised if you look like a total jackass when doing the moves; fortunately, this is geared for the comfort of your own home. I shut my windows, close the blinds, and shake what my mama gave me (my apologies to the neighbors downstairs). You'll be sweating within the first 10 minutes and craving to move like the people in the video (keep dreaming). Oh, and yes, Beto looks like he smokes some serious crack. His eyes are a wee bit too dilated when they do those close-ups. You can't blame him, though. He's made an empire off of shaking his hips. Rock on, Beto. Rock on.

Download this:
History (feat. Will Young) by Groove Armada and Mr. McGee by Zero 7, both of which make me very, very happy.

And, finally I will leave you with this quote for the day, which is a little insight into my life at the moment:
"When I come to the edge of all the light
I know, and am about to step off into the
darkness of the unknown, FAITH is knowing
one of two things will happen ...

Either there will be something solid to
stand on or I will be taught how to fly."

Monday, June 7, 2010

I'm Bringing Blogging Back

The Hangover Pizza at Vesta in Astoria, NY.

Cutting a rug on the dance floor with the Yearbook guy from "Can't Hardly Wait".

Getting to know Pickup Artists Kosmo and Matador at Les Deux.

Nothing but love for Elizabeth Banks at Bar Lubitsch.

A St. Patty's Day smooch with Kevin Connolly at Molly Malone's.

Clearly, we didn't like our meal at Umami.
Why are the onion rings still there? Because we were too full to finish them.

I believe this is the longest I have gone in between blogs. Why, you ask? Because life gets in the way sometimes. Six days ago, my life went from downtown to uptown in the matter of a phone call. For those of you who know me -- I mean, really know me -- you know that I have been working my ass off since getting my teaching credential a year and a half ago. I've subbed, assisted, taught, babysat, and tutored, all while exploring the bleak list of available job options in this horrid economy. I was completely at a loss for what would come this next school year yet, less than a week ago, I learned that all my hard work had paid off. Be it luck, connections, or my driving work ethic, I found out that I was hired as either a second or fourth grade full-time teacher at a highly esteemed LAUSD charter school. The road was long, the competition fierce, and the interviewing process arduous, and all roads led me here: embarking on a position that will reflect all I have been through and all I deserve. To my family and friends who love and support me and instill a strong sense of faith within me, thank you. I love you all dearly and truly could not have done this without you. Throughout this trying time, I also learned that if you send positive energy into the universe, you just might get it back...and I did. I could not have asked for a better birthday present.

Now, Universe, is it too soon for me to send out that same positive energy in terms of finding Mr. Right? Or am I just being selfish? I know, I know, good things come to those who wait, but I've waited 27 years and 364 days and could write a book on all the Mr. Wrongs I've dated. Allow me answer my own question: No. It's not too soon. 28 seems like a good year for him to come my way. Thanks for listening.

Yeah, it's been a few months since I've last blogged, yet despite my down-and-out mentality, I still managed to conquer the east and west coasts. Running into A-Listers like Kevin Connolly and Elizabeth Banks, D-Listers like Kosmo and Matador from VH1's the Pickup Artist, and that Yearbook guy from "Can't Hardly Wait", I've hopped all over this city exploring places old and new. I've discovered delicious eateries and Hollywood hot spots, all without ignoring my local faves.

Umami Burger - Three locations in the LA area, and I went to the one on La Brea
Oh my, my, my. How can you put such delectable treats into words without salivating? (You can't). If you like burgers (I'm talkin' real burgers, none of that veggie or tofu shit), Umami will do no less than satisfy. All burgers are prepared medium-rare and the juice just oozes onto the plate. My friend and I both had the SoCal burger and shared onion rings. When I was finished eating, my body was very confused: Do I feel nauseous? Do I feel full? Or do I feel amazing? The answer is definitely a combination of all three. The Umami elves soak their burgers in some mystery juicy that gives it a flavor unlike any other. And, get this, it's not expensive! I think we each ended up paying $11 and change. Not bad for a gourmet hunk of beef. I'm definitely more of a veggie burger chick, although every once in a while I'll crave a big, hearty meat patty. Umami made me one happy carnivore. Parking is valet and be prepared to wait for a seat. It's worth it.

Les Deux - 1638 N. Las Palmas Ave., Hollywood, CA
Les Deux? More like Les Douche. Really, don't make me wait or charge my guy friends to get in when the outdoor club is empty and the cobblestone floors laugh at my 5-inch Steve Madden gladiators. And don't charge me $10 for drinks if you won't let in any guys to buy them for me. 'Nuff said.

Drai's - Located at the W Hollywood, 6250 Hollywood Blvd., across from the Pantages Theatre
If you don't have a connection or don't know how to schmooze a bouncer, don't expect to get in. Imagine you're on the Vegas Strip, and this place is a blast. $14 drinks (try and meet people who have tables), an elevator to get to the rooftop, a pool, good music, a jam-packed dance floor, and pretty women (the pretty men are difficult to come by). If you like that Hollywood scene, Drai's is definitely for you. Overall, my two experiences at Drai's were enjoyable; the first one, more so, because I was with a group of fabulous ladies and a very sexy Brazilian man was on my jock all night. The second time I went was also chill, although the crowd was not nearly as cool as the people I came with. I recommend taking a cab, since parking in Hollyweird is a biatch.

...and some notable mentions:

All About the Bread - 7111 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles, CA
The sandwiches may not be as good as those at Jersey Mike's, but the bread is made fresh every 30 minutes and out of control delicious.

Hop Kee - 2 Mott Street, NYC 10013
Dirt cheap and damn good. Don't expect that Americanized Chinese nonsense. This is the real deal. My family has been going here for years. Cash only and smack dab in the heart of Chinatown.

Vesta - 2102 30th Avenue, Astoria, NY, 11102
Incredible Italian food. Breakfast, lunch, or dinner, you'll always get a good meal and great service. Try the Hangover Pizza. Holy crap. Forget the Aleeve and water, eggs on a thin-crust meatlovers pizza should do the trick.

I apologize for the lack reviews this time around. I have been to so many places between here and New York that it's hard to remember what stands out about each place. Hopefully this holds you over for now though. With summer just days away and the weight of finding a job off my shoulders, I should be good to blog.

Up next, the Hip Chick celebrates 28 at Cobras and Matadors and Barney's Beanery. This weekend, she takes on Vegas. Cheers!

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Goin' Downtown to...Little Tokyo

Gyoza, Fresh Water Eel, and the famous Ramen Bowl at Daikokuya.

A tasty Pink Lemon Drop at the Far Bar, perfectly rimmed with sugar.

For those of you who are dedicated Hip Chick LA readers (nothing but love), you know this is primarily a what's-good-in-LA food blog. Well, kids, I have been spending time with a mystery man who provides some stiff good eats competition in my life. New relationships should bring about new experiences, and I'm glad I reconnected with someone who tantalizes my palate, and my blog. Kudos to you, mystery man. Kudos to you.

Amidst a sea of ramen houses in Little Tokyo, Daikokuya (on 1st in between Alameda and Broadway) is the only one with a bustling crowd and steady flow of clientele. My excuse for food made well is that it's made with love, although said mystery man says the ramen cooks overnight...I'll go ahead and agree with him on this one. Even though a bowl filled with ramen noodles, pork, and an egg is not my dining forte, this stuff was pretty tasty. I opted for the teriyaki fresh water eel, which was amazing. Although not all people are fans of the eel, it tops the list of my all time favorite sushi delicacies. Needless to say, I was one happy camper; that is, until I had to pop a Tums for eating too much. Oops. We also started off with the gyoza - pork and veggie filled dumplings - that, when paired with its sauce, is pretty damn great. Portions are huge, so come with an empty tummy, and parking is super easy, with a pay lot located right across the street.

If you find yourself having to wait for space in this ramen house of Tokyo love, don't fret. Just a few doors down from Daikokuya, you'll find the Far Bar, an eclectic little joint whose inconspicuous entrance is dimly lit with twinkle lights and slightly reminiscent of West Hollywood's douchebag-filled Roger Room. Half indoors, half outdoors, the Far Bar has a great ambiance, chill bartenders, and a menu of deliciously-smelling items that we would have tried, had we not been #28 on Daikokuya's wait list. There's a huge selection of drinks, from beer, to hard liquor, to wine, to girlie drinks (re: Pink Lemon Drop) and so forth. If you arrive early enough, you'll have no trouble snagging a seat, and the Far Bar is the ideal spot for killing time while waiting to stuff yourself silly.

Download this: "Acapella" by Kelis. It's a positive shift from hip hop to electronic that will still make your milkshake bring all the boys to the yard.

Monday, January 18, 2010

"Homemade Goodness - Since 1978"

...and that's about how long my family has been going to Al Gelato. Located on the southeast corner of Gregory and Robertson, Al Gelato is a family-run establishment, serving up homemade Italian food, gelato, and some of the most unbelievable cakes and pies you've ever eaten. I completely credit my taste for good food to those who raised me, and one of my earliest memories of Al Gelato is meeting George Gaynes (a.k.a. "Henry") from "Punky Brewster" at the gelato counter and getting an autographed pic of him.

Al Gelato brings some of the best Italian food in L.A. The portions are huge, with meatballs the size of a large apple, the sauce is sweet (there has to be crack in it), the pizza the desserts have a fan base of their own. My dad loves the Devil's Food cake, my brother loves the yellow cake with chocolate frosting, my cousin, Matt, loves the bread pudding, and I will always have a spot in my heart for the Deep Dish Apple Pie, heated up with caramel sauce. I'm not a huge fan of gelato, in general, although that's what Al Gelato is known for.

The place is cash only and metered parking is easy to find. When my brother and I went last week, we ordered a large cheese pizza, a half portion of rigatoni with a meatball, yellow cake with coffee crunch gelato, and apple pie, and the bill ran us $55. Seem expensive? We had leftovers that lasted us for days. This place is reasonably priced and well worth it. Do not miss it if you're out in the city.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Two Months Too Late?

New kicks (re: brown pumps), courtesy of Shoes for the Stars on Melrose

The s'more cookie at the Apple Farm in San Luis Obispo, CA

All right, guys, I know I haven't blogged in forever; although two months since my last blog is better than never, right? Let's just say I haven't had a dull moment and this is the first time in a long time where my mind feels a bit relaxed and ready to unwind (a.k.a. my lesson planning and grading are done for the day and I can reawaken the Hip Chick for a few moments). I just completed a fantastic winter break, beginning with the brief visit of my Hetzi/Pea from SF, two fun-filled weeks with my cousin - my love - Ally, visiting from New York, and a road trip up and down the CA coast with my cousin and brother. Today's notable mentions span Cali from the north to the south and are just a few of the many gems I've (re)discovered in the past couple of months:

The Apple Farm San Luis Obispo, CA
The chocolate chip cookies are to die for. Although the s'more cookie (see above) is delicious, it's not nearly as moist (heh) as the plain ol' chocolate chip cookie; soft and chewy with half-melted mouth is watering already! The Apple Farm is worth the stop off the 101 if you're driving up/down the coast. They're also known for their boxed lunches, which will cost you $13 a pop.

Sears Fine Food San Francisco, CA
This place is famous for their pancakes (18 in the large stack!) and breakfast comfort foods. Even though their flapjacks are rather popular, order the french toast. We ordered it for the whole table and scarfed it down like it was going out of style. Really glad I ordered granola and fruit for my main meal, so as to add some sort of health factor to the calorie consumption on the trip. Although you'll encounter big crowds hovering outside, the long line moves quickly and the food is worth the wait.

The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf Location: Every corner in California
Starbucks can suck it. The Coffee Bean has THE best green tea soy lattes. As I say to my students when my directions don't warrant a response, "No questions asked." Now that I live a stone's throw from a CB, you can find me there a few mornings a week. I'll take the Genmaicha.

Shoes for the Stars 7558 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles
I recently purchased an adorable leather dress at Le Joli (709 N. Sierra Bonita Ave., cross street is Melrose), my new favorite clothing store on Melrose. I purchased a dress and sequined shorts (yeah, I said it) without breaking the bank, and I almost tipped the lady who owns the store. She was so nice!! This dress deserved a fabulous new pair of shoes, despite the fact that I already have about 60 (the apple doesn't fall far from my father's tree) at home. So Ally and I cruised down the street to Shoes for the Stars, where a very nice transexual sold me ridiculously high (yet surprisingly comfortable) brown pumps. If you have a style that's unique and a bit off the beaten path, check out this funky little place. Women, men, and TS's welcome. You can never have too many shoes, right??

I'm sure I'm forgetting some places, yet these are the few that stand out. Oh, be sure to stop in Big Sur off Highway 1 for an awesome hike and a bite to eat at Nepenthe, a lodge-like restaurant with unbelievable views of the ocean and California Coast.

Fit tip for you Angelinos: Walk, walk, walk! No one in LA walks! It's January 6, 75 degrees and sunny, and the rest of the people in the country are getting frostbite on their unmentionables. Take your dog to Runyon, hike Fryman, stroll the Santa Monica Pier, or throw on some comfy shoes and explore your own neighborhood. Walking in LA is a great way to burn calories without even realizing you're working out.

Here are some of my New Year's Resolutions (most aren't so deep, so bear with me):
1. Keep up the workouts. Although working with a trainer may be pricey, mine has kicked my ass into the best shape I've ever been in.
2. If I don't get a boyfriend by my 28th birthday (June 8: note it), I'm getting a dog. Shihtzu, Lhasapoo, Shihpoo - one of them will be mine (Lhasapoo preferred, wink wink, Gaylan).
3. Take a trip to Vegas - "Hangover" style. This is already in the works, with the date TBD.
4. Continue to count my blessings for the amazing family and friends in my life. Without them, I don't know where I'd be.
5. Say "Peace out" to all the douchebags who have graced my life for the past few years. A new decade means a new me. I'm over entertaining the pedestrians who have little to offer me besides brain teasers and wasted text messages.

Download this:
"Beautiful" by Goldfrapp. Best if played at a high volume. Don't be surprised if you hear it blasting through my open windows as I barrel through Laurel Canyon. Rock on.

Wishing a happy and healthy New Year to all my readers out there. Cheers!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

A Hodgepodge of Blogs

A full Indian dinner at Anarkali; or, in my brother's words, "Holy Rhea!"

The amazing work of Mike at Studio City Tattoo.

Well, friends, I still have no complaints about living in the city. Despite the hustle and bustle of being in the heart of Los Angeles and falling asleep to the sound of my downstairs neighbor getting her ass slapped, I really do love it here. There's nothing that compares to living close to family and friends, and I constantly am befuddled by how quickly time flies when you're having fun. This week's mish mosh of spots is listed in the order of which they were visited:

Studio City Tattoo 11032 Ventura Blvd., Studio City
A friend recommended the artist, Mike, to me. I went with said friend to get her tattoo and was rather impressed with Mike's efficient and smooth work. Before I left the shop, I chatted with Mike and showed him some sketches of what I wanted. He asked me to email the sketches and to give him a few days to create a design around a previously existing tattoo. Four days, 30 minutes, and a glass of wine later, I was thrilled with the outcome. Mike's intricate work on my bony right foot was more than I could have asked for. Tattoos come with a hefty price tag (the shop's minimum is $80), which is well worth the investment for a piece of art that will last you forever. I think I'm done with my tattoo frenzy (are you happy, dad?), although I'd go back to see Mike if I ever got the urge to be inked.

BLD 7450 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles
Thank you, LA Restaurant Week! For a $26 prix fixe plus an $18 wine pairing, my friend, Mara, and I got to experience one of LA's most talked about eateries. We each got an appetizer (bacon-wrapped figs), entree (butternut squash lasagna), and dessert (bread pudding). Clearly, the foods in parentheses were my selections for the evening. I'm a firm believer that a meal is well worth the splurge if it pleasantly haunts your palate for weeks to come. We thoroughly enjoyed our meal, before wishing a hearty Shabbat Shalom to all those nice Jews we saw on the walk to the Village Idiot.

Oak Fire Grill (formerly Stone Fire Grill) 829 N. La Cienega Blvd., West Hollywood
For some reason, this sports bar/pizzeria has turned into my new family dinner spot. The thin crust pizzas are delectable and delicious and the Happy Hour deals can't be beat. The other night I went to Oak Fire with my girl, Talia, newly-engaged and co-creator of the Three Day Rule. She asked me to accompany her to Oak Fire (the night the Yankees won the World Series oh heeeeeeeeeeeeeey!) to take some pictures of guys on the town. To our surprise, we were turned down by bar fly douchebags who wouldn't let us snap even one shot. They were rude, too! Um, are you kidding me?? I'd be flattered if some cute dudes approached me for their website which highlights eligible young singles on the town! Whatevs. Short and sweet: go to Oak Fire for the Happy Hour and the food, not for the dudes. Ew.

I do hope to see all you 21+ singles at the Three Day Rule's next mixer at Bar Lubitsch on Wednesday, November 18, from 8-10pm. I mean, who isn't excited to meet Mr. or Mrs. Right [Now]??

Rush Street 9546 Washington Blvd., Culver City
My good friend, Jess, recommended this place for dinner and a drink the other night. We met up Thursday night after work for a night of fantastic company, awesome food, and great service. The place didn't fill up until around 7:30, making it easy for us to snag a table without a reservation. The turkey burger was moist, the sweet potato fries were crisp, the mac 'n' cheese was garlicky and amazing, and the first round of drinks was free. This is a great spot for meeting friends or a date. There's a stripper pole (say whaaaa?!) on the second floor behind the bar and a patio open for dining, drinking, and smoking (ick). Park in the lot off Cardiff; it's free for the first two hours and $1 every hour after that.

Prix 8776 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood
I've raved about Roger before and I'll rave about him again. I'm now a return customer and I've gone to Roger for two of my nine piercings. He's been in the business for 11 years and has pricked the best of the best, including the Osbourne family, P. Diddy/Puff Daddy/Sean "Puffy" Combs, and LaToya Jackson. This salon is clean and thorough with a friendly and fun staff. No doubt you should call and ask for Roger for your next piercing. My N.T. and I have a love-love relationship with him. Gotta love the Rog.

Anarkali 7013 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles
Still my favorite Indian restaurant in L.A. Last night I went with my girl, E, and we indulged to the point of physical pain (I still believe there's a little Indian man Bollywood dancing inside my tummy). The food never disappoints and their Chicken Tikka Masala can't be beat. They started us off with free Samosas and topped us off with Rice Pudding, on the house. Be sure to print the $10, dine-in only coupon before you go, and they might even give you another one at the end of the meal, like they did for each of us last night. Park at a meter and save yourself the cost of valet.

Download this: "Memories" by David Guetta. It's one of those songs you can relate to.