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The Week In Yelp: Where Bad Reviews Get Worse By Doubling As Poems

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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.jpgThis week we’re going to delve into the softer, gentler, more poetic side of "restaurant reviews." But before we get into the legions of Yelp bards, I’m going to humiliate myself by letting everyone read this mortifying little verse that I published in my high school literary magazine in 1994. It’s poetry week, after all, here at The Week In Yelp?

A Riddle In Sixteen

it’s like being four and having chocolate ice cream / sticky-gooey all over your chin / then reaching up for mama’s fat hand / and she looks down at you / and can’t help but smile and stroke your soft hair / because she knows that you are hers / and you are just happy because you are loved / and you can just purr and be gentle and sticky-faced / and there is no confusion about who you love and who loves / you and what you want / and you wear short dresses with your baby-fat legs and / you just run to dandelions and tumble and fall giggling / because you / got it / and / nobody else did

Wee! This was published in my high school literary magazine next to an extremely phallic-looking student drawing of a candle dripping wax. The day after the magazine came out, I suddenly began receiving notes in class from dudes who had otherwise never spoken a word to me, saying that they had read my poem and asking me if I wanted to go out. Had they understood the deep, underlying meaning of my poem and?fallen in love? Had all of my tortured sixteen-year old dreams come true? Then I found out that the whole high school was talking about how some chick in the eleventh grade snuck a poem into the lit mag about oral sex. And that’s how for one special moment this nerd somehow became the Blow Job Queen of her high school. Oh poetry!

Ahem. Moving on. This week we’re rounding up the dorks who write poems about bars and restaurants and then post them on Yelp as “reviews.” And this is why Yelp is like, really helpful with figuring out where to go for dinner. But hey, at least the poetry is awesome.

First up, a review of Revival written in the style of Green Eggs and Ham, but with nose candy and whores.

I've been to Revival in the rain
I've been to Revival on my way to a plane
I've been to Revival in the snow
I've been to Revival on blow.
I've been to Revival for a smoke
I've been to Revival as a joke

I've touched something sticky in the lounge
I've smoked a butt on its ample grounds

I've hooked up with a skank
I've broken the bank
I've peed on the floor (not really)
I've begged 'em for more


I've been to Revival before!

It’s not going to win any Pulitzer Prizes, and it sure doesn’t make me want to go to Revival, but he gave it four stars, and I think he probably really did pee on the floor. So, you know. That was helpful.

Next up, a short poem about something called a “spuderito.” A tortilla filled with French fries, cheese and hot sauce? Um, fire up the gravity bong and bring me one pronto?

a poem for you:

spuderito up in this piece,
tortilla, hot sauce, fries and cheese.


i just had my 50th spuderito. this time i tried it with beans and beef, too. it was the size of was pretty large. not like, hollenbeck (see el tepeyac) large, but sizeable just the same.

i love the taste of rick's mexican food in a guilty-pleasure kind of way. the hot sauce has a vinegary sort of tang and the beef is very taco-bell like. or like the kind of thing you would stuff in ortega pre-made taco shells (see below).

but this isn't your standard greasy spoon hamburger stand burrito or taco. no, there are layers of flavor here, but you need to be a burrito veteran to truly appreciate them...

rick's is the kind of place that you should probably avoid if you:

a. think mexican food starts and ends with taquerias.
b. think mexican food starts and ends with el torito.
c. can't see the charm in americanized mexican food that some mexican people apparently still like to eat.

and don't go expecting baja fresh or la serenata...just go with an appetite and an open mind.

So, it was more of a spuderito stanza than a complete poem, but we can’t all be Emily Dickinsons. And he did manage to rhyme “piece” and “cheese,” which is just impressively not right. But hey, anyone who notched fifty spuderitos in his belt, and wrote a poem to commemorate the event on Yelp has both dedication and probable psychological disorder. And I can’t knock that.

Seriously, though, I need a spuderito. Like, now.

Anyway, this next chick’s poem somehow creates a metaphor for Doug Arango’s sea bass based on her sexual fulfillment. I know, I feel yucky, too.

Because Doug Arango's is one of the most underated restaurants in Los Angeles, I feel compelled to sing it's praises... with a poem.

Whenever my parents come up to dine,
I know I must find a place with good wine.
But beverage alone won't satisfy their bellies,
They also require only the tastiest of delicacies.
Doug Arango's fulfilled my needs like a man,
My sea bass was delightful -- I was a huge fan!
My parents loved their seared scallops as well,
And the caesar salad was unbelievable swell.
It was a lovely meal from beginning to end,
Enough to leave my pants in need of a mend!

Oh, happy faces! Isn’t life just unbelievable swell! Especially when you have a meal so lovely that it leaves your pants in need of a mend. (What?). Also, lady, didn’t anyone ever tell you that sea bass plus having your needs fulfilled “like a man” equals no-no?

And finally, a convoluted rhyme scheme about a San Francisco sandwich shop. It uses the word “doth” which makes it all Shakespearean and shit, which is, you know, really smart and stuff.

A badly rhyming poem for Lee's

How I love thee, Lee
Salad bar galore
You make my lunches cheap and fast
And with the $5.95 and under it costs me, my money doth last

Yelp: Where restaurant reviews rhyme (sorta), and I still have no idea where I should go to dinner. I’d like to end this with some sort of poetic flourish, but all I can think of is The End. I should have been a restaurant reviewer?

—Amy Blair