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Monday, May 28, 2012

party like a yelp star

despite the fact that i hadn't written a yelp review in probably a year and a half, i somehow managed to score an entry into one of their "yelp's 100 days of summer" exclusive parties.  the invitation i received via e-mail gave me a choice of four days in four different locations, and after checking with lilcee (my go-to partner in crime, if you hadn't noticed) to make sure she was available, i sent in my RSVP and hoped we'd get in.  because there was limited space, only a certain number of folks were going to be given access.  and you know how much i love anything resembling VIP treatment.

obviously, we did get in.  otherwise you wouldn't be reading this right now.  heh.

the venue for our shindig was the ford amphitheater, which i'd seen countless times on our way to and from the hollywood bowl and other fun spots in that area.  i'd never been there before, so it was cool to check out something new.  to us, at least, as it was also lilcee's first visit.

free parking, and it was filling up fast.


there were lots of stairs.

crowds of folks were gathered around tables set up all around the front plaza.  it was a little difficult to tell which line was for what, but we just followed our noses to the grub.  as we waited in the first line, this table was handing out cold-brewed iced coffee samples.  yum.

apologies for the usual blurry photos.  i'm lazy about toting the "good" camera these days and most of my pictures are via the iPhone, if you couldn't tell.  let's face it, i wasn't winning any awards with my photography skills (or lack thereof), anyway.

turns out that the reason for the long ass line for grub was the freshly-made french toast, cooked to perfection about three or four slices at a time.  there was some homemade mac & cheese to snack on as we waited, and it was totally worth the wait.  so good.

next up was a pepper steak sandwich from giamela's.  i'd never heard of this place before, but their offerings were mighty tasty and pretty generously-sized for a "sample."

cake bar had mini margarita cupcakes.  much better than the one i had from [not so] yummy cupcakes a lifetime ago.

at check-in, we'd been handed this tote.

pretty plain, although other folks were walking around with decorated bags that we were eyeing.  turned out that they'd been screen printed with those designs by these nice fellas:

after a 10-second stay under a high-powered dryer, ours were all nice and pretty too.

still holding our sandwiches, we found a quiet area upstairs with a couple of empty tables and lots of fun yelp swag.

after we were done eating, we checked out what looked like a photo booth.  only it was a step above that - you grabbed props and acted out a silly scene for a few seconds with the camera clicking away madly, which resulted in a flip book.

lilcee and i decided we weren't feeling silly enough to think of a scene to do, and decided to skip it altogether.  besides, the line was pretty long by then.  meh.

from pitfire pizza, we snagged some salad and a meatball.

random bubbles in the air and a lovely aroma wafting by alerted us to something interesting down by the entrance to the amphitheater.

the bath petals beauty truck was handing out free samples (again, really generous ones) of several different "flavors" of bath salts.  it was hard to pick just one, but we managed.

our last activity at the event was a tour of the venue, led by the very enthusiastic events coordinator, bill.  this place has been a part of l.a.'s theater scene since the 20's.  pretty interesting.

we learned that there are actually two stages here - one that's indoors and much smaller than the main theater.

it's used to put on workshops and run-throughs and things like that.  also, the ford amphitheater is used to put on productions by small companies throughout the los angeles area.  not that i'm particularly artistically inclined, but that's pretty cool.

as we wound through the bowels of the backstage area towards the main theater, we passed by dressing rooms and what's called the "jesus door" - it was used back when the theater first opened for the actor playing jesus to get from one side of the stage to the other without being detected by the audience.

we got to stand above the stage in an area that's not typically accessible by the public ("you guys are so lucky to be up here," we were told by one of the guides).  sweet vantage point.

i'd always wondered what the story was behind this cross up on the hill.  it's visible from the street, and i never really understood why it was there.  apparently, when the woman who started this theater passed away, she was so beloved by the community for bringing the arts to l.a. that they erected this big ol' white cross in her honor.  of course, because it was on land owned by the government, there were cries of "take it down!" by folks who didn't really do the religion thing.  and when it was taken down, the churchgoing people cried "put it back up!" and it went back and forth and back and forth until the powers-that-be finally decided to bequeath a 10' x 10' section of land to a church in the valley.  they still own that land today, and the cross has stayed there ever since.

our tour ended down at the back of the theater.  we'd enjoyed learning about this venue that we'd never even really knew existed before.

as we made our way back out to the car, i mentioned that i overheard some girls giggling about heading over to sprinkles ice cream.  it had just opened that day, and they feature fun flavors like red velvet and malted milk chocolate.  lilcee's eyes lit up and she said "let's go!  we're just over the hill from there!"

well hell, you don't have to ask me twice.  i consulted the website and found that they didn't close till 11, and it was just 9:30.  a quick consult of the GPS, and we were off.

except that when we got there, we realized something awful.  with the grand opening, lots of social media coverage, and the fact that it's sprinkles for the love of corn...we had this to contend with:

and that wasn't even a quarter of the line.  it went all the way down the street, and would have been at least an hour or two to get through.  eff that noise.  i can make some damn good ice cream at home, after all.  for much less than $6-$8 (yeah) per person, no less.

but...red velvet ice cream in a red velvet waffle cone.  hmmmm.  maybe another day.


  1. You're so good at finding these things to go to, and do!

  2. Sounds like you and Cee had so much fun! I've been dying to try out the Sprinkles ice-cream but haven't been able to justify the drive / cost yet. Someday.


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