The other day, I read a Yelp review that was succinct, factually accurate, opined intelligently about the food at the restaurant, made cogent arguments why I should spend my hard-earned cash elsewhere, and didn't contain cutesy txt-speak.
Then I woke up, and resolved to do at least one more episode–lucky number 13–of the Red Pencil Diaries, wherein I plumb the illiterate, misinformed, entitled depths of America's most popular social restaurant review site.
I'm not quite sure what to say to someone whose expectations were a Krabby Patty from an imaginary restaurant on a children's television show.
I'm also not sure what Erica L. expected after finding "a twinkie in the zombie apocalpyse" (Mick's Karma Bar is located in the plaza of a bunch of soulless corporate towers in the most vanilla, soul-deadening suburb in a county of suburbs). How many corporate-plaza cafés have you been to with tons of seating, Erica? And did you miss the tables outside? Here where it's hot and sunny, we like to sit in the breeze. We do not, however, leave bottles of sauces and napkins outside for anyone to make off with. Maybe it's different on Planet Erica.
The comment about the salt shakers was a good one; it's important to base your dining decisions on the evil intentions of salt shakers. You saved a life tonight, Erica. But hey, at least you can spell.
This is a compelling, punctuation-filled, heart-wrenching story of a woman who drove for one hour on the 91 freeway to get pho at the fortieth highest-rated pho place in Little Saigon. She ordered "pho" with wontons in it, and then discovered, to her horror, that Asian people in general, and Vietnamese people in particular, eat pork. She sent it back, then discovered that the pork cartel had infiltrated her spring rolls, too.
At this point, I'd like to conjecture publicly about what sort of meat normally comes in wonton soup in the Inland Empire, since every bowl of wonton soup I have ever had is a) obviously not pho and b) contains obvious pork floating in it. Spring rolls, too–the pork is obvious through the glistening soft skin of the noodle wrapper.
But I digress. I have a menu from Pho Quang Trung (home of the best chicken pho with gizzard and unlaid eggs in OC) that dates from around the time of her review. I cannot for the life of me figure out what she actually ordered. The entire menu is devoid, in both English and Vietnamese, of wontons (called hoành thánh in Vietnamese). Clearly, embarrassed by the experience they inflicted on this poor woman, the usually-disinterested staff at Pho Quang Trung removed the evidence and secretly replaced all the menus in existence.
It was too late for Lucy D. and her husband, though; angered by bland soup, they returned to paradisiacal Riverside, never again to explore how Vietnamese people actually eat.
Sometimes it's fun to pretend we're detectives in the Yelp Forensics Department, isn't it, children? Will you help me figure out the Case of Al C. and the Difficult Ralphs?
Let's see. Here is your first clue: It was really easy for him to park, despite the fact that Ralphs parking lots are usually arteriosclerotic hells ofSUV-driving cell phone blabbers and shopping cart meanderers.
Second clue: It was really hard to find a way to enter the store, because "most of the ways in [were] blocked"–in other words, only one of the doors was open.
Third clue: It was really, really quiet, especially in the Baconnaise aisle.
Have you solved the mystery yet, junior detectives?
Yes, that's right. Al C. went to the Fullerton Ralphs at 11:30 p.m. on a Monday.
Here you go, Jen, a sentence-by-sentence deconstruction of your out-of-breath, fat jogger of a review:
"They don't open until 5."
Did you miss the whole information bar at the top of Pie Society's Yelp page, the thing that said they're open from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m.? Also, most people don't start drinking before 5, even on Saturday.
"Entrance is an unmarked door."
Which any employee is happy to tell you about. Haven't you ever heard of a speakeasy? Be glad you didn't visit La Descarga, where you have to enter through a second-floor coat closet. You run the real risk of coming out gabardine.
"They opened late."
So, let's get this straight, you were standing outside a bar waiting for them to open? This is Southern California; we don't have the love affair with our watches that people in New York or Hamburg do.
"They didn't tell us the bar would be overrun/closed by a (planned) party."
Fair enough. Pie Society's pretty small, even when they open the side room.
"Majority of menu isn't available until 8 p.m."
As it states pretty clearly on the menu. Before 8 p.m., you can order from the front of the house and a runner will bring it back to you. Any staff member could have told you that, or you could have taken the initiative and wandered up front and asked.
"How long does it take them to make an old fashion [sic]? 10 minutes and counting."
Oh no! You had to wait 10 minutes for your alcohol in a bar that was "overrun" by a party! Next time order a shot. And never, ever go to any bar with more than four people in it.
"How many strikes is that now?"
How many fingers am I holding up? (Hint: It's one on each hand.)
Morbid curiosity (does anyone like this place, and if so, have they been institutionalized?) made me look this place up, and you, Noelani A., make it onto the list of terrible Yelp reviews because you earwormed me with "Rapper's Delight". Now I'm going to go to bed and dream about terrible hip hop and the worst restaurant I have ever reviewed.