UG Crew in Full Force at Sexy Singles’ Soiree 2.0

The UG Girls can be described as many things but one of our favorite classifications is single. There ain’t no man holding us down, well, if they are it isn’t in a bad way. Unfortunately, it has been a while since that has happened, or as Josie has said, “I am a born again virgin.” Anyway, we knew we had to attend the Sexy Singles Soiree hosted by our two favorite bloggers and Tweetettes: The Minty and Vixen.

Since Josie and I are not the only Single Ladies in the office (you just did the Beyonce finger move, didn’t you?) we brought in our PR and Accounting interns, Lea and Maria. We were also reunited with our first intern ever, Young Jin, who gave us all the Eating Dog post. The two hosts had specialty cocktails and, as a Jameson girl, I loved the Minty’s drink. Although the interns told me the Vixen’s gin based drink was good and strong as hell. Did I meet the man of dreams? No, not quite but one thing that made a lovely cameo was the first USDA certified organic Tequila called Casa Noble. Relax folks, we did our part for Earth Day! The interns loved this tequila and I can guarantee we will all be looking for it this Cinco de Mayo.

Did I care that I didn’t meet the man of my dreams? Nope, not one bit. We had great drinks, we were at our favorite downtown spot Drago Centro with their Happy Hour which goes all day and every day, and of course we were in fantastic company. Our friends in the blogosphere/Twitterazi made appearances including Hanhonymous, VeronicainLA, and Finer Things.

The night was fantastic and the event thankfully wasn’t a sausage fest, so I had fun with the girls. Speaking of which, what is the female equivalent of a sausage fest? If you can answer that question, you’d be a total Uncouth Gourmand. My favorite part of the event was a game that they had where everyone drew a playing card and then you had to make the best poker hand. This required the group to socialize and talk to one another. I, Carina, am one hell of a competitive girl and I had the King of Spades. I was being rude and rejecting in honor of the game (probably not that far off real life) and told people that I wouldn’t talk to them unless they were atleast a face card. May not have been the best tactic but I was the only girl amongst the four winners, I got a King and Ace Full House. I liked to call us the only winners, but truly we were all winners for getting ourselves out there and opening ourselves up…I am talking about our hearts…get your mind out of the gutter!

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Brunchin’ with the Girls in Pasadena

It’s a mix of insomnia, hypomania, and a lot of love that gets me up in the morning to build this little thing we often refer to as UG. But on this particular morning, I woke up in a bunk bed in Malibu! The problem, however, was that I was supposed to meet Carina, Roni, and her bud Caroline who was in town from Sweden for brunch at Central Park in Pasadena!

We’ve been there only once before. Funny thing about that place is that when we went last time, Carina’s then-boyfriend said this of the pic of us: “Dude, you guys look so hungover!” Don’t be quick to judge – we were and he was right. Therefore, our memory of this place was a little fuzzy. It wasn’t a first choice place. The non-UGs were coming from the monthly Rose Bowl flea market and we were looking for a brunch spot in Pasadena. Carina wanted to try Maison Akira’s $38 French-Japanese buffet brunch. Caroline wanted something a bit more traditional and I, being jobless, didn’t want to spent that much on eggs. Go figure, right? If I could have yolky eggs on everything, I’d be a satisfied woman. But since there aren’t many brunch places in Pasadena, we opted for Central Park.

We had met Roni a couple times before through Arun, the Mayor of Downtown, and she has always intrigued me. She’s from Tel Aviv, a Harvard grad, runs a math club, is a blogette peer, and fronts a band (which she just fired everyone from). Only two words can describe this girl: F-in awesome. When talking to her, you get this feeling that this girl is running her own one-man pirate ship; she is no marginal character. We learned a lot from her and chitchatted about everything from books, movies, music, dating, and life in general. The place was packed so we talked for a bit, and well, we could’ve talked for hours more. It was nice.

Here at UG, you get a more playful and, often times, less sophisticated worldview of food. Admittedly, our blogosphere buds do this just as passionately, but more beautifully and probably a lot more couthly than we do. I’ll try my best to explain. We sat down and were all super hungry. After indecisively narrowing my entree down to waffles and eggs, an impulsive urge for a turkey club came upon me as I coveted my table neighbor’s food. Carina ordered the eggs sardu, Roni the croissant french toast, and Caroline ordered the shrimp pasta.

The meals got to us and they looked edible enough to tickle our pickle. We dove in. I try to write as honest and true as possible so that anyone sitting at the same table before me, at the same establishment, about to eat the same food can relate on some level – albeit without the company. And perhaps it was our excitement, our hunger, or the lack of Pasadena brunch spots – but these butter loving babes didn’t melt.

In fact, it sucked. I mean it was only a slight notch above typical diner fare for probably double the price.

But fear not. Like any loyal dater, we’ll just have to give it another shot. Plus, this brunch place does impress more with a hungover body…so I am sure this can continue to be a morning after place. However, after a whirlwind weekend in Malibu, it just simply didn’t stack up.

Yelp Party at J Lounge: Yelp vs. Citysearch continues…

As you’ve read, our lovely Miss. Minty is far cooler than the UG girls, so when she asked me to be her “plus one” for the Yelp.com party at J Lounge in downtown, I willingly agreed. I met her there a bit shy of 7P and the line was surprisingly not worrisome. It was a cold night and I don’t know why but I decided to wear my most scandalous looking ensemble. Our friend, Arun, always takes one look at me and says “JoMo, where’s the rest of your outfit?!” He’s certainly right most of the time and I really should start gauging the efficacy of my outfits in relation to the weather.

I was far ahead of Minty in line but Minty, despite being a Yelp Elite, exerted much willpower and didn’t cut in line with me. You really got to admire that girl. At exactly 7P, the doors opened and the line moved rather briskly. In no time at all, I was inside and headed upstairs with some of Minty’s peers and grabbed a specialty cocktail. I scoped up the place and saw a rather disproportionate amount of sweet to savory vendors. There were five sweet vendors inside and a few others outside. Not a usual sweet aficionado, I admit that the adorable little suckers below by Dollhouse Bake Shoppe were adorable. They were not for sample, but I don’t even think I could even bring myself to eat such beautiful and petite goodies.

I was told there would be over 1K people there, but I must admit that I was a little shocked at the low turnout. But hey, I thought the night was still young  and we continued outside and waited for more patrons to arrive. To our surprise there was a runway show with women dressed as flight attendants passing out food on a catwalk. I was confused. I later found out that they were from Kitchen 12000. The company is in Glendale and I heard about it over a year ago and have been meaning to try it. It seems like an interesting group of founders and, well, I am glad I got to see the live show in action. The experience was memorable but I think it fell short of the point. As we looked around, people were just confused. Why were girls on catwalks and stages?!! And most importantly, why were they showing you how to put on a life vest and safety belts?! It seemed out of place and a gratuitous display of scantily clad women. It just seemed strange and unfitting for the occasion. And trust me, I come from a design background where form usually overrides function, but I (and everyone else) could not see the sense in it – especially, with this devoted crowd where food always takes precedent over anything. However, I have seen their food pics online and I am eager to try it (minus the flight attendants).

After 26 years, I have recently picked up coffee as a preferred beverage and perhaps the funniest moment came from the stoner-looking guy on the patio who was pushing his coffee and coffee flavored desserts. He was handing out medical bottles with coffee beans in it and a sticker that said “legalize it”. I don’t know if he was an actor but he was acting stoned and said to me, “take this coffee, man, it’s dangerous. It’ll keep you up all night.” I laughed and took a bottle and some deserts. On one hand, Kitchen 12000 failed in connecting it’s experience to its product, Coffee Nugs created a memorable touch-point that was novel and funny. I can appreciate that.

VeronicaInLA and I have become buddies over the past few weeks and she joined us for the ending festivities. We spent a bit more time at the Yelp party and headed to the new Big Wangs in downtown to meet up with a few new friends. I will report back soon.

I have to say, Yelp’s most charming facet is its members, and in LA, its members are fabulous. And hell, any company that can bring all those cool ass people together and throw a party to celebrate, is f-in ok in my book. However, I will say this – I have yet to attend a CitySearch party and from what Carina says, there’s a new player in town and she’s slowly usurping the hearts of many of Yelp’s Elite and early adopters. I’d watch my back, Yelp. Just sayin’…

Girls Night Out and a Happy Birthday to Yxta in Dwtn LA!

Monday night was GNO and the UGs were in full-force. There were five girls, one boy, and one birthday. Jesse’s baby, Yxta, in downtown turned one on Monday and the gals thought it would be a great night to paint the town red. We all showed up at around 6:30 and Jesse had provided free apps and $5 margaritas. Jesse, despite being a Princeton grad, decided that his life’s calling was to be a restaurateur. He’s a native Angelino and, in fact, his family owns El Arco Iris in Highland Park. I’ve been to El Arco once before, but my good friend, Krissy, has been going there since age 10 and loves it. We were Yxta’s first customers a year ago at their soft opening, so when I heard about the birthday party, I had to round-up my ladies and trek off to 6th and Central for a drink.

It was a great GNO. I won’t disclose any names but one chickadee referred to her vagina as a Skittles bag because she discriminates against no color skin. Veronica, a bit drunky and as foul-mouthed as ever, commented by stating “It’s a small world… in your vagina.”

FYI – It looks like these urbanites will be starting a Podcast with stories detailing dates, restaurants, and uncouth moments. You may just have to listen for it. Not to mention that our TV teaser should be out sometime next week. Holler at me if you’d like to be a part of the focus group. It will take place next week over what else? Cocktails.

Yxta, uncouth gourmands, guacamole

Yxta is off the beaten path in downtown and all my local downtowners really enjoy it. There’s always ample parking and the bartenders are always super cute and super nice. We got there right on time and met with our newest bestie. She was already at the bar, had ordered a drink, received a complimentary appetizer, and had guacamole ready for us. We LOVE her! The place was packed like I’d never seen in before and the staff was busily maneuvering through crowds and filling glasses. We decided that the gang of girls were not going to fit inside so we moved our stuff and relocated outside. It was a beautiful day and we decided that picture quality and space would be best suited outdoors.

The rest of the girls arrived and we ordered a round of drinks. We waited quite sometime for drinks but were laughing and being merry so it wasn’t a huge deal. (I assume they were not anticipating the large crowd.) Jesse was sweet though. He apologized and sent over some more guacamole to make amends. Food and kind words were exchanged and he was forgiven. A boy I used to date and I often frequented Yxta together and it was always like clockwork: He’d always order the same enchiladas and I the Pollo al Pastor. However, this time I changed it up and ordered the calabasitas platter, which was delicious. I was left secretly craving the Pollo al Pastor, but I suppose old habits have to die at some point. Carina and Ashley ordered the Albondigas soup . Veronica in LA ordered the potato tacos, an a Mayor Arun fav, which could be a very viable vegetarian option. We shared a taco platter, which I recommend because it was delicious!

Charles, our only male bestie that evening, was mortified by all the girl talk. Frankly, I can’t blame him. I imagine we are worse than the boys when talking about “girl stuff.” He went to the bathroom and when he sat down Carina started talking about menopause. He shook his head and was a good sport the whole night. For God’s sake, truffle making is his hobby – He must possess a lot of patience.

Yxta – Good food and a great place to take your ladies to have a drink and a laugh.

Yxta Mexican Cocina
601 South Central Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90021-1050
(213) 622-5540

Takin it to the (Rush) Street and Pole

The Minty, our friend Megan from Drago Centro, and us UG girls had been planning a GNO for a few weeks. We had chosen to do Wednesday night because Minty would just be getting back from Seattle. While we were ironing out the details for our night out, Josie and I received an invite to a Ladies Pole Dancing Media Dinner at Rush Street in Culver City for that special Wednesday. We thought that combining our girls night out with their more sophisticated ladies night was the way to go. Our ladies agreed and on Wednesday we all piled in to Megan’s car and headed to the event. Josie and I have only ever danced on  poles at the Menage or other times when we are a little intoxicado. We never know what to do or how to do it. When we arrived at the event they eased us into something that we are experts at, eating and drinking. There were yummy appetizers spread on the large L-shaped table filled with some of our favorite female bloggers. Caroline on Crack was there, along with my new Citysearch friend Kelly.

Our favorites of the appetizers were these portobello fries with a great balsamic dip. We were thrilled and full from the appetizers and drinks and then the waitress came by and asked if we knew what we wanted for our entree. Why aren’t all media dinners this fantastic? Josie ordered the dish that everyone was talking about the mac n’ cheese and the sausage pizza. They may not have been calorie friendly but they were beautiful and her dishes were getting eyed all night as the women at the table opted to eat something more sensible. After all, none of us knew what was awaiting us upstairs at the pole. Minty ordered the pork chops and I had the shrimp salad knowing that a full stomach would not be able to spin on the pole as freely as I would have liked.

After we were done with our dinner we drank some more liquid courage and headed to the second floor of Rush Street. I had been there once before with Josie and Minty but the place was so packed that time that we just danced somewhat near in the pole on the crowded dance floor. As we got upstairs the scene was very different it was just the girls from the table and we all looked at the pole with a bit of hesitation and nervousness. The founder and creator of Polistic, Katie Marie, was there and sat down to explain a few things to us women. She explained that she used to be a financial planner and that we must forget whatever it is we think about pole dancing because it will be totally different. I was intrigued. She has a studio in Studio City that teaches both sexy pilates and pole dancing and she spilled the beans that we would all be receiving a gift certificate to a free class. I was excited and I figured that if I was going to go to the class I better start practicing my moves now.

The instructors showed us some moves and then they began asking for volunteers. The girls were all a little bit nervous but I loved the Polistic rule that you had to cheer for everyone.

Josie was one of the first to try her hands and legs at the pole.

She did a great job for her first time and, of course, as soon as she finished she yelled “Carina” for me to go next. I quickly pointed to Kelly and started cheers to be changed from my name to hers. Kelly is the Editor of Citysearch LA and a lot of fun so I was pleased that she happily took the next spot on the pole.

After I saw Megan and Caroline on Crack go, I finally decided to hit the pole.

The instructors tell you where to place your hands and legs and as soon as you stick out your hips (i.e. booty out) they give you a little push and you go swinging. It was really so much fun, like a ride or something. I was smiling and when I was on to my second trick the owner told me that she could tell that I was a natural. Of course, later in the night Josie told me that another instructor said that she was the best. They probably say it to everyone but the UGs love to brag and after a quick lesson we are both convinced we are experts.

So there you go, we learned some pole dancing moves and we feel like we are better people for it. It was a fun night just with the girls and now Josie and I are checking our calendars to see when we can go to the Polistic studio for further instruction. From the good cocktails, to the delicious grub, to the pole dancing upstairs Rush Street in Culver City is the place to be on a Wednesday night! Thankfully, for all of you ladies every Wednesday night at Rush is Ladies Night with drink specials, pole dancing lessons, great music, and yummy bites.

We owe a big thank you to  JS2 Communications, Rush Street and Polistic for putting on this fantastic event! You made our Girls Night Out so much better than we ever could have planned. While we were in the car looking through our gift bags, Minty screamed because of the X-Rated fusion liqueur, Josie went nuts for the mirror and lip gloss, and I was thrilled about my Polistic intro class gift certificate and another gift certificate for Focus Self-Defense and Fitness. Awesome, as much as the UG Girls love eating and drinking, it is good to counter balance it with some physical activity.

Neighborhood: Culver City
9546 Washington Blvd
Culver City, CA 90232
(310) 837-9546

Neighborhood Profile: Exploring Venice in the Rain

Yes, the Westside is far for us Eastsiders, but Venice is one of those cool towns that is always worth going to. This last Friday was the first Friday of the month and you know what that means, First Fridays in Venice on Abbott Kinney. Abbott Kinney is not just the main drag in Venice it was also the name of the founder of the city who wanted to make the city a cultural center with art, food, and interesting people. If you have ever seen the Venice canals, that was created because he was modeling the city after Venice, Italy. This particular Friday was pouring. Josie was at a Lakers game and I was catching up with one of my favorite college friends, Nora. We made it out to the event at around 9pm. The official hours of First Fridays is 6pm to 10pm and all of the art galleries, bars, and restaurants are filled with locals getting to know the businesses. It may have been raining but there was no parking in sight. When we finally stopped, we needed a drink badly. We went to the Otheroom, where I have been once before with Nora. After that I was starving and I knew that there was a parking lot filled with food trucks nearby. We downed a drink and headed over. I was thrilled to see the Border Grill truck there, not just because I wanted to try it but also because my Pasadena food blogging friend Hot Pink Manolos was working it. I recently told her via Twitter that I missed her and she said the gourmet taco truck consumes most of her life now. This fact used to make me sad until I tried the food, now I want to her to keep on doing what she is doing.

Nora got a carne asada taco and I had the ceviche and the famous BG lemonade that I have downed at one too many events after a lot of adult drinking. Christina told me to poke the top with my straw like you would with boba. I had a funny flashback in my mind of doing such an act. A year or so ago I was deathly ill (I am a bit dramatic with illness) after 2 days of not leaving the house I decided to venture out to my favorite mall, the one in Arcadia. I bought a milk tea boba and then I thought to myself that my favorite part about boba is the insertion of the straw. At the time I was feverish and somehow poured the entire boba drink down my shirt. I left the mall in tears as clearly I was still too sick to be around the healthy people that know that a cup has to be help upwards instead of facing down while they are daydreaming. Clearly my mind, even at a normal temperature, is a wandering one. Let’s get back to the first Friday and my BG food. The ceviche was served in a corn cone that was then covered in a paper cone. The fish was very good quality and there were pickled onions on top, I wholeheartedly believe that everything should be pickled. In order to not eat our food with raindrops we headed into Nora’s car for comfort. I am sensitive to salt so the dish was too salty for me. Josie normally puts a ton of salt and lemon on everything and proclaims it is because she is Mexican. I understand the lemon element but the salt part is difficult for me to grasp. As a kid, I always loved those frozen ice cream cones with the hard chocolate on the bottom that fills the last triangle of the cone. When I got to the end of this cone I noticed a similiar thing, but this one had black beans at the bottom. When I discovered this part the whole dish totally came together. I mixed it up and it was a buffer not only  for the bottom of the cone but also for the salt that was overpowering the dish for me. The truth of the matter is that I say everything is too salty, but this was really great. Josie would tell me, “You aren’t Mexican, you don’t understand.” That is probably true. I will totally seek out this truck again, plus I think it may be the only way I can see my friend HPM again.

After we were done eating and the car smelled profusely of onions. I recommended we head to a bar in Venice that I heard about only that day. All I knew about this bar was that the bartenders wore naughty nurse outfits and it was in Venice. I asked my Twitter friends and FoodforFel and CitizenRobot came to my rescue in telling me the name of the bar was the Good Hurt. I am an overly dramatic hypocondriac neurotic Jewish woman, so it is safe to say I love going to the doctor. Despite never actually having anything wrong with me I can talk about my ailments for days and I love that my particular doctor indulges me by letting me be tested for everything. A hospital themed bar is right up my alley. The bartenders were hot and well, “Hello Nurse.” My biggest complaint with this establishment was that they only served beer, wine, vodka, and tequila. What, no whiskey? Let me go to what is right with this bar: big booths, pool tables, interesting music acts (Seeing Thingz was playing that night) and my favorite part was the lollipop jars at every table. It was the strangest most awesome bar I have ever been to; my mind was blown.

If the purpose of First Fridays is to get to know Venice better, then it completely succeeded. Sure I like the Otheroom and the other main establishments on the main drag that are hip and interesting but my style is a little more off the beaten path. I was born and raised in Santa Cruz where there are very few chains allowed in and a movement of activists and bumper stickers that say, “Keep Santa Cruz Weird.” As much as I have come to love well crafted cocktails, drive-thrus, and menus where everything taste just as you imagine it, there is something to be said for these unique finds that make a city so interesting. Thank god for Abbott Kinney and recognizing the need for cultural pockets long before every city was cookie cutter.

A Mini-Vacay in Culver City for a Night

LA is a vast land of 88 cities and 8 million people, it is no surprise that exploring these new cities and people can sometime feel like a mini vacation. Our friend, French Chef Wife, recently said that despite living in LA for many years she was having her first meal in Slverlake the other night. We understand, as much as we strive to explore, we are still eastsiders in our heart and get annoyed every time we pass the 405. Josie always says that those that love LA the most are the ones that venture out of their regular areas. After a previous weekend in Man Diego, we had the weird feeling that the following weekend had to be epic. What does a vacation include: unusual food, scandalous clothes, stripper poles, meeting new bartenders? We got all of that and only had to venture to Culver City last Saturday night.

Our unusual food for the evening met our vacation standards and actually surpassed them. I had Indonesian food at Simpang in Culver City with The Minty and two yelpers, one of who was a native Indonesian that did all of our ordering. We had several appetizers and plates but I can share with you only my favorites. The first picture was the spider, which Jenny (the Indonesian) ordered prior to us ever sitting down. It was a fabulous vegetable fritter that was fried and looked like its animal name. I also ordered the mie tek tek noodles which were sweet and a good addition to the meal. The rest of the dishes weren’t all that memorable to me and it seems like a lot of work to find the names and cross-reference for spelling. Although, if you would like a complete description that made up our Indonesian feast check The Minty’s post. As with most meals, there was one dish that took the cake. The dish of the night was without question the nasi bungkus! It came wrapped up like a present and you opened up the paper and then the banana leaves to reveal a mixture of rice that had a protein on each corner. There was chicken curry in one corner, beef rendang in another, citrus infused veggies, and eggs. Rather than a boxing match all of these sides worked marvelously together in unison. It was the dish I am sure I will soon crave and have fond memories of, it was fragrant and colorful perfection.

Josie was ready to go out after a long day at work, my partner works 4 jobs and 6 days a week, and joined us at our next stop. After a quick Jameson with The Minty, we all went to Rush Street for a birthday party of another Yelper. The bar was more than packed. According to someone in the party we were only let up to the second floor, where the stripper pole was, with false pretenses and using the name Lauren. Uncouth! Upstairs was so crowded and we had an answer to the age old question: Where do people on the Westside hang out? We stayed for a few hours, Josie got in to a fight with a couple on the dance floor for getting in their stripper pole space and a good night was had by all.

Around midnight, we debated going home but instead opted for checking out the hipster bar the Mandrake. We were amazed by the princess parking in front but we learned that they were closed for a private party. Our other bar in the area to check out was Bigfoot West. Josie and I are regulars at the Bigfoot in Los Feliz, so were excited to check out their second location. It is more sophisticated than the Lodge location but didn’t have that same kitschyness. Sure the bartenders are better, the crowd is cooler (not Rockabilly), but I didn’t like it as much. The stump ceiling was cool but it felt more like a movie set and the shell of a real bar. I suppose you don’t really have to chose, although I think Josie and Minty preferred this West version.

Anyway, Culver City gave us a night to remember. We are so fortunate to live in LA, which offers us so many neighborhood and cities to explore but wherever you live get out of your nook and venture out. Each exploration will act as a vacation to your every day.