Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The Bizarro Review

First off, you must never go to Iceland. And if you go there, you must never go to the Blue Lagoon. No matter what anyone says, do not go. Why? Because you'll be like me and the new wifee: constantly dreaming of going back.

The Blue Lagoon is a spa lover's delight. The geothermal pool is filled with a milky blue water that is rich in silica and sulfur, reportedly quite lovely on the skin. It's different from mineral hot springs because the water is fed from the sea (Iceland is an island) and flows from the ground through lava formations. Pressure from the heat blows the water to the surface where the energy is captured into turbines for Iceland's power supply. Well, something like that anyway.

Anyway, you'll hate it. Don't go there, especially when I plan to go there next. It's getting fricking crowded as it is, so I'm serious about this. What's worse is the Iceland currency, the krona, got devalued a few months ago, so the place is slightly cheaper than much of Europe, which means you can stay longer and go to the Blue Lagoon right off the plane and just before boarding on your return flight. After all, it's located about 10 minutes from the main airport, so plan your trip around it. Well, that's what I would do. You, on the other hand, should stay away.

I don't know why I'm mentioning this but Iceland Air is the only airline you can use to fly there, and it's a short 6-hour flight from Boston or New York. There's even the possibility they may fly from the West Coast... but I hope not. That would be too damn easy. And I need to take my wife to Gotham for dinner.

We stayed at a hotel that was right in the heart of Reykjavik. If I can only remember the name of it, I'd tell you, but I'd rather not. There's also a swell tapas restaurant around the corner. But it's only swell because it's the most popular restaurant in the city. And it's open late, which is important when you realize that toward June 21, Iceland is under perpetual daylight, and your stomach won't know what the hell to do with itself.

Partying can get extra noisy on the weekends, so stay outside the city center if you're old and grumpy and worry more about getting a good night's sleep. Oh what the hell was the name of that hotel? I think something like Hotel Reykjavik or something.

If you come back to Los Angeles, like we eventually had to do, then definitely go to the new Father's Office on Venice Blvd. in the Helms Bakery complex. Go there often and never go to the Santa Monica one. Why? Because the bartenders suck at the Helms Bakery location and I want you to go there so I can go to the Santa Monica one and enjoy no lines and better service.

Now, here's a place I'm glad people don't usually go to. In fact, Yelpers don't really like the place. More power to me. As for you, you need to stay away, too. It's called Ebisu and it's in Little Tokyo.

Most Yelpers talk about how it doesn't compare to other izakaya places they've been to. I'm glad. Stay at your favorite ones, because the izakaya places I love aren't necessarily great for their food or their atmosphere. They're all pretty standard, and that's just fine because the food is supposed to accompany all the drinking that you're trying to do. That's why the most popular ones in Koreatown look like dives. And the best ones in Japan look like Denny's.

I have no idea about the origins of izakaya, but if I had to hazard a guess, I'd say they sprung up in college towns where students could get a pitcher of beer and some cheap salty eats to soak up some of the alcohol. Eventually those students grew up and desired the same atmosphere closer to home, so they added sake and soju to the menu and other fine items, many of them deep fried, so that you could actually make a meal of all those drinking-associated foods.

Anyway, all you folks near Little Tokyo, stay away from Ebisu. Please!

One place that I wrote about recently, Metropol, has been getting way too crowded lately. Please, you people, don't go there either. I want a table and a plate of Coq au vin with a side of fries whenever I please.

Oh, and if you should be traveling in the Mediterranean, stay away from Valletta, Malta. It's too far for you anyway. Go somewhere closer like Rome or Venice where they need your cameras to pickpocket, or better yet, go to Tunisia where the cab drivers will rip you off. No, absolutely do not go to Malta. You'll hate it. And can you believe they speak mostly English there? The nerve!

So there you have it folks. Stay the frick away from any of my faves and go back to Yelp amongst the posers and fakers who know nada about nothing. Or something like that.

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