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October 30, 2007

YOU are the reason San Diego really IS America's Finest City!

Posted by Meg McLean

It's no secret that last week was beyond traumatic for all of San Diego. The Firestorm of 2007 threatened lives, brought houses to the ground and wreaked havoc on our amazing city. And while it's been devastating, this horrible time has proven one thing: San Diego really IS America's Finest City. We pulled together to protect lives and property, to comfort, shelter and love those who suffered. This Weekly is a tribute to you all.

While the men and women in yellow fought the flames, hundreds of incredible humanitarians volunteered at the many shelters popping up around the county. TJ T witnessed a remarkable sight at The Rock Church that included an extraordinary receiving line for donations with hundreds of bright, smiling volunteers accepting goods, encouraging new arrivals, creating an atmosphere of hope and friendship. "I'm blown away by your dedication, Rock Church, and if there is ever a place that seemed to enact the values of sharing, love, and Christian service, it was the Rock on that smoky, hazy, Tuesday." Paul S witnessed the owner of "San Diego Ice Co dropping off 12,000 lbs of ice at Qualcomm Stadium to use for cold water and beverages and noted that at least 1000 boxes of Krispy Kreme Donuts were dropped off for breakfast and Subway sandwiches were dropped off regularly." Our own Lins C was just one of the many who found shelter at Qualcomm Stadium.

Many companies also jumped in and donated services to help fire victims. Tiffany S shares, "Office Depot is offering free Internet and fax services to evacuees, a unique way to extend a hand." The Salvation Army is offering free clothing to anyone who needs it and is taking monetary donations for the relief effort (make sure to note 2007 Firestorm San Diego on your donation form). The American Red Cross even implemented their "Safe and Well" web site, urging all those who have evacuated or who expect to evacuate Southern California's wildfires to register their well-being here.

The Yelp community even came together to support our own community member Erin O, who lost her family home in Rancho Bernardo.  Spearheaded by Rainier T, "Strangers" from across the country became friends when they opened their hearts and offered a virtual hug to Erin and her family through the donation thread. Truly amazing.

Last but not least, there really are no words to describe the amazing efforts of every firefighter working to contain the fires. The high temperatures, fast-paced winds, the smoke, the countless sleepless hours while you braved the flames... you are our heroes, the epitome of strength and courage.

Our thoughts and prayers are with you, San Diego.

If you have any questions or comments about this week's weekly, please email sd@yelp.com.

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Yelper Erin O. hugs her mother, Patricia; father, Patrick; and sister Lauren in front of the remains of her parents' Rancho Bernardo home. Photo credit: Don Kohlbauer / The Union Tribune

October 29, 2007

San Diego Yelpers take comfort in friends at Urban Solace

Posted by Meg McLean

With the tragedy of Firestorm 2007 still lingering throughout San Diego, it was the perfect time for San Diego’s Yelp Elite to get together at Urban Solace to show some love.  TJ T, might have encapsulated the evening best “Urban Solace's owner was extraordinarily gracious and welcoming, and seeing the community come together after the fires (especially Erin O) made the event so much more worth it.”

Owners Scott, Matt (the awesome chef) and Young-Mi who helped put the Urban Solace Yelp Elite Event together, were all on top of their game! The incredible evening began providing us with a vast amount of tasty delights that tantalized our tastebuds for almost 3 hours! A few yelpers compared  Meg M to a PG-13 Meg 1797130329_b0c9073e8cRyanImages in “When Harry Met Sally” whenever she got her hands on the sweet and savory Monte Diego sandwich, which was to die for! The sweet potato fries were also a definite hit as well as the mac n’ cheese and watermelon salad! The whole spread was HEAVENLY! 

Now let’s talk tasty beverages!  Urban Solace definitely treated us right with the “flowing wine (red or white) and beer (miller lite), which of course helps anything good become great” according to Lee FMatt R agrees“terrific wines (*wow* that merlot was good)” and would also like to give props to the “tremendous waitstaff.” Christy R also seconds that “Scott and his staff made us feel so welcome.  You would have thought we were paying customers, they treated us that well!  The food was incredible, the wine was delicious and flowed freely.  5 stars for that alone.”Warren

As AMAZING as the entire experience at Urban Solace was, the real winner of the night was the community.  The last week brought us all closer together and it was definitely comforting to be among friends.  Miss Erin O. and her beautiful smile even took some time away from sifting through the ashes of her home in Rancho Bernardo to join in the love and found solace in the company of the Elite crew. It’d be pretty hard not to smile a bit when the “Sultan of Yelp” appeared with his Elite T-Shirt around his head (aka “Dubbs” aka Warren W.) or when Jae_cowboy Jae L, found his new Halloween costume, the "Yelp cowboy" and “brought it” with his interpretive dance and his Yelp Bandanna.

In true SD Yelp fashion, the party even continued after Urban Solace closed it’s doors as we headed to The Pink Elephant for some more lovely libations and then to the Commonwealth Café for some late-night snackage.  (Texas football, what?)

All in all it was a night filled with good friends, love, laughter, incredible nibblies and free-flowing drinks – all the ingredients for some amazing memories! If you’re not Elite yet and missed out on the festivities, what are you waiting for?! Click here for the 411 on how to become Elite. Who knows, maybe we'll see YOU at the next partaaaay!

Cheers! SYOY!
Your Mistress of Mischief,
M.o.M. aka Meg M.

October 25, 2007

Chicago Yelpers Make Friends at Friendship Chinese

Ellen M, whose yelp days date back to ’05, claims the Yelp event at Friendship Chinese was her “favorite Yelp event to date”. It’s safe to say many yelpers agree that the cocktail hour followed by a 3 course complimentary dinner was absolutely yelptastic!

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The night began with some tasty Tiger Beer with thanks to our favorite beer rep (Miss Dawn L!), as well as a few delicious appetizers. The food & the fun didn’t stop there because Friendship Chinese knows how to feed a group of 100 hungry yelpers! After finding our seats our fantastic servers immediately brought out a pork confit filled “porky pines” taro root dumpling. Mmm, Mmmm…good! And then it came time to choose between the scrumptious sounding steak or salmon. Taylor O was all about the curry sauce on his salmon, while Erika G found her steak to be “meaty-licious”.

The real prize of the evening? Tofu cheese cake! Who knew tofu could taste this good? Both Brett D and Rob L were pleasantly surprised!Rob_l

A few lucky yelpers took home raffle prizes from both Friendship Chinese and Tiger Beer. The lucky couple award for the evening goes to raffle prize winners, Adam S and his lovely +1, Cristin. And after 2 years of attending Yelp events Mesum N finally took home a prize (besides his usual yelp party hangover).

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Thanks to the staff, including Nikki L, at Friendship Chinese for providing us with such an amazing experience!  And a special thank to Tiger Beer for keeping the beer flowing all night long. To view the talented Dan G's photos from the evening click here.

Save the date for the Chicago Holiday Bash on December 4th- stay tuned for more details!

Until then, we’ll SYOY!

Andrea & Elizabeth

October 19, 2007

Opening Atlanta Yelp Elite Party!

Posted by Deanna Jue

What's better than reading fabulous reviews from the Atlanta Yelp Elite squad? Meeting them in person! The first ever Atlanta Yelp Elite party on October 17, 2007 was at swank spot CRU Urban Lounge.

Yelpers swilled their chardonnay and took sips of syrah as they worked the crowd.  Many a yelper are still thinking about the hummus, spanakopita and other apps scattered throughout the bar. DJ Ken kept the mood up with the music, as the Elite slipped on some Yelpstick and met their fellow yelpers!Blog2_2Blog3Blog1

 

October 17, 2007

Yelpers Got Skillz

Posted by Ligaya T

Yelpers gathered for a remarkable event at Nile Lounge in Boston last night! Owners Brendan B and Elite Alex L invited the crew to sample the many flavors of shisha at this lovely hookah cafe while Matthew C, Kit Y and Russ S took to the stage with riveting performances including singing, guitar and slam poetry. Check out this YouTube clip of Russ' finale. 

NileNile2During the breaks, yelpers admired the photoworks of Casey W, Ari F, Jocelyn G, Jim W and Chere P and incredible brush skills of Tracey N, Brian D and Yi-Hwa H on the walls. Guests munched on yummy wraps from Pita Pit and found that a swig of Tiger beer paired perfectly! Those who wished to relax sipped tea from the Tom E and Hana T coordinated menu including exotics like monkey picked iron goddess of mercy oolong and vanilla rooibos.

Nile4Nile3 The roster was a mix of veterans and n00bs alike. We welcomed the return of Kirs P, Sunny N, Dan P and more. Amy K and Matt W joined us for their first Elite event as did Stephanie H who stayed until the after after party where Michael L, Nadya R and Ben L and others wound up dancing to Ace of Base until the AM, hookah hoses dangling from their upturned mouths. It was quite a night!

See the photos and hear the twitter for yourself. Thanks and kudos to all whose creativity and effort made this happen!

Boston Yelpers are a Charitable Bunch!

Posted by Ligaya T

Trish F, Chere P and Ligaya T teamed up to acquire donations for Frosty's Friends and Making Strides Against Breast Cancer by hosting a (platonic) date auction for Boston Yelp. Last Sunday hordes of yelpers flocked to Flash's packed with cash in promise of winning fellow yelpers for a date! Winners randomly selected a prize from sponsors including a dinner for two at Rangzen, hot tub soaks at Urban Oasis, tickets to The Hives at the Middle East and more! Converse also generously donated many cool threads for raffle.

The nineteen auctionees worked the stage encouraged by much cheering and silliness. They were evidently a desirable bunch as $2,400 was raised for these charities! See the auction action as photographed by Roni E on Flickr. We know the charitable feeling is contagious, so if you'd like to join in the gift buying and distribution with Frosty's attend the bowling gathering on the 19th to plan.

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The Rest of the Story: The Andy Langer Interview, Unabridged

If you had a perfect 24 hours in Austin, what would you do?

Perfect…hmmm. Not to dodge question one, but I’ve had plenty of perfect days not leaving the house. And I’ve had jam-packed perfect days I couldn’t hope to repeat even if I made stops at all the same spots. I suppose the only truly successful routines I have are food-oriented. Indulge me while put on my food critic hat?

Breakfast – The Clarskville location of Galaxy Café for the French toast or Mexican Breakfast. (We eat here a couple time a week…don’t miss the whipped sweet potatoes and chicken bowtie pasta for dinner). Galaxy’s quick, but if we needed even faster, the migas breakfast taco at El Chilito would be a solid second choice.

Late Morning - A trip to the 2nd Street District. I’m a fan of the “new” downtown. I wouldn’t live there – and wonder who’s actually inhabiting all those new condos- but it’s an excellent place to visit. The new Jo’s is a must-stop, the whole strip is pedestrian and dog friendly, and the window-shopping/people-watching is getting good.

Lunch - South Congress. A slice at Home Slice or a sausage Panini at Enoteca Vespaio. As another South Austin alternative, there’s Baby Greens…the drive-thru salad concept is downright genius.

Dinner - If it’s a special occasion, you can’t beat Hudson’s On The Bend. Start with the rattlesnake cakes, follow with the chocolate-espresso rubbed elk and you’ll have a dinner to talk about for the ages. Less expensive favorites include the perennially popular (and well deservedly so) Vespaio and the new Daily Grill at the Domain (the chicken pot pie is literally the size of your head).

After Dinner Drink - The Four Seasons. There’s no better bar in Austin for people-watching and star-sighting. Sure, drinks are expensive, but first-class atmosphere and service ain’t ever been cheap.

Dessert - The Driskill. Their 1886 Café & Bakery is hands-down the best pastry/desert spot in town – so good it’s worth fighting Sixth Street for.

You've seen and interviewed rock stars at most of the venues in town.  What resonates about a venue with you, and do you have a favorite?

Great venues feature bookings and performances that perfectly balance artist-friendly and fan-friendly concerns, the interests of art and commerce, and acts that are local and touring. Great sightlines, good sound, and adequate space to move around are bonuses. The examples of those who do it right are endless, but start with Antone’s, Stubb’s, Emo’s, The Continental Club, The Cactus Café, Threadgill’s World Headquarters, La Zona Rosa, The Saxon Pub, Momo’s, The Parish and the Mohawk. These are all big-name, well-known clubs for a reason. I spend the bulk of my time between Antone’s and Stubb’s, but that’s a personal preference; as much as it sounds like a cop-out, if you’re presenting live music and can get people out to see it, I’m loathe to say any one venue is a bad choice.

Where would you take someone from out of town? What do you consider uniquely Austin?

Most of my guests end up at the grocery. I much prefer the original Central Market to the fancy flagship Whole Foods, but either will impress even the most-jaded out-of-towners. They enter skeptical and leave overwhelmed and jealous. Supermarket Capitol Of The World might be a good city slogan if the music well dries up.  As for other uniquely Austin spots, most of my out-of-town guests at some point wind up at some combination of the Hotel San Jose bar, Las Manitas, Guero’s, Vespiao and Waterloo Records.

Is there a spot you would prefer to keep undiscovered?

The super-tiny upstairs bar at Starlite (I like to call it the “Anne Frank Suite”) is intimate and quiet. Dinner reservations aren’t required. I’d love for it to succeed, but secretly I’d prefer if the Triangle location of Flipnotics stayed as low-key as it’s been…the coffee is excellent and the lack of lines makes it Central Austin’s easiest in-and-out coffee experiences. 

Do you have a favorite spot in your neighborhood?

Two. First off, Genuine Joe’s coffee. Great coffee, good muffins, and nice stay-all-day atmosphere. Plus, a dog and cigarette-friendly porch. What more could you ask for? Second: Little Deli. Absolutely unbeatable handmade sandwiches in what looks like the shopping center that time forgot.

Brunch or late night eats? Compare and Contrast.

I’ve already mentioned the Galaxy’s brunch, but I also darken the doorway of Manny Hattan’s on occasion – never has a bad day begun with an omelet and a bowl of matzoh ball soup. As for the great late-night debate, I’m partial to Kerbey over Magnolia, although not by a wide margin. The short stack at Kerbey has always struck me as just a little more consistent.

You're not much of a drinker, but where would you recommend someone go for a good pour?

The places I like – primarily Club De Ville, the original Opal Devine’s, and the Longbranch – tend to be easy, low-frill hangs. They’re bar’s bars built around lounging and talking – not hustling drinks. Lovejoys also fits the bill, although I get there less often than perhaps I should. I’m also a long-time fan/friend of Fourth Street impresarios Matt Luckie and Will Muntz; Matt’s Belmont and Will’s Lucky Lounge aren’t like the bars mentioned above, but definitely make the cut for quality, consistency, and friendliness.

What's a spot that you warn people away from?

As a whole, Sixth Street just isn’t what it used to be – nor is it terribly representative of nightlife in Austin. Maybe it’s that I’m not in college. But have you ever waited in line for the Parish and seen the kind of folks that consider Sixth Street fun? Most of em’ have fake-ID’s or are brides-to-be plastered in sex toys, celebrating their last night of freedom. Post-Steamboat, post-Black Cat, there’s exactly four reasons to be near anywhere Sixth –Best Wurst, Casino El Camino and yes, The Parish. (Lovejoys and the side-door of Emo’s don’t count). I’m not much of a South Austin guy, but there’s more soul in a half block of South Congress than the entire run of Sixth.

Langer




Above: Andy interviewing Los Lonely Boys.

October 16, 2007

Das ist der Elite Yelptoberfest auf NYC!

Posted by Sam Perwin

Img_1236 The über-hot Yelp Elite squad of New York City strolled down to the West Side of Rivington Street last night to sample some beery delights in the smokin' hot downstairs lounge of Loreley Biergarten.  We sipped 3 kinds of beer courtesy of the folks at Beck's, and munched on three kinds of sausages, schnitzel, and cheeses from the kitchen of our fabulous hosts.

Img_1220 It was a night of newbies and veterans alike.  This marked the first Elite Event for the fabulous Miss Tina R, Melissa F, and Chris J.  And we saw some old favorites like Alex W, Christine J, and Victoria H.

Much love to Katja, our sexy German bar wench, and the whole rest of the crew at Loreley. 

Pics are here - oh, and don't forget if you want to review the Event, do it here!

See you next time, oh Elite ones,
Your fearless leader,
~Sam P.

October 08, 2007

Austin Yelpers Get the Game Ball @ Moonshine!

So, what could be better than watching the big game?  How about watching the big game with a room full of cool yelpers, some amazing cocktails from Paula's Texas Spirits, and doing the whole thing under the patio canopy (with a tasty buffet of appetizers) at Moonshine!  That's what went down on Saturday, as Austin Yelpers got together to watch the Texas-Oklahoma game and revel in the camaraderie of one another.  And though OU eked out a 28-21 victory on this day, a room chock full of Yelpers made us all feel like winners!

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October 05, 2007

For All You Graph Geeks

Posted by Audrey Tsang

Ratinggraph_3 You might have noticed, starting last night, a little link added at the top of each business page called "Rating Details."  This is the first of a few new experiments on how to make the Yelp rating even more informative and useful.

The first graph, the Ratings Breakdown, shows you how many of each rating the business has received.  That way you can see if it was a close tie or if the average was brought down by a few outliers. 

The second graph, Ratings Over Time, shows the average rating on any particular day of the reviews written in the six months prior to that day.  It gives a sense of how ratings have changed with time. 

Phew!  Have we gotten too numbers-numbers here?  Well, if nothing else, sit back and enjoy the nifty way those graphs do that animate-y thing.

And while you're there, check out the new options for sorting reviews on the business pages.  Quickly find and read the reviews you're most interested in.  And did you see the "People Who View This Also Viewed These..." section to help you find other great businesses?  The Yelp Engineering Elves have been busy!

October 02, 2007

A Cup of Joe with Geo

Posted by Michelle B

Kaitlyn M, Seattle Yelp Intern Extraordinaire , and I got the chance to sit down with the Blue Scholars' MC Geologic to find out what he considers "the best of the best" in Seattle. Who knew an MC would like caramel in his mochas, dig reading comics, and be so polite and friendly?

You can read all about it in this weeks version of The Weekly Yelp.

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October 01, 2007

Walk Score is now using the Yelp API

Just recently Walk Score launched a new version of their site that uses the Yelp API to display pictures, ratings and reviews. Walk Score calculates the walkability of an address by locating nearby  stores, restaurants, schools, parks, etc.

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I think the Walk Score team has done a great job integrating the Yelp API, it's really nice to see rating and review information when determining how walkable my neighborhood is.


If you'd like more information on the Yelp API please visit our "Yelp for Developers" site.

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