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July 31, 2008

Arabian Nights in San Francisco

Posted by Jessica T

Bay area yelpers made it out to the Yelp Elite event at Cossu last evening for an exotic night of Moroccan cuisine, booty shaking Arabic beats, a daring sword swallower, hypnotic belly dancers, exotic cocktails, and cold beers.

Yelpers lounged in low seats in the rouge colored Moroccan tent to meet new and old yelpers, have henna applied and get their palms read. Kristin E, Tanya P, and Christopher K, to name a few - all made it out for the festive night.  David D even showed up in full costume! Rebekah K and Adam G owned the dance floor with their amazing dance moves and place was still grooving well past the end of the event.

A huge thanks to Cossu for the delicious bites, and the lovely space, Henna Garden for the impressive entertainment, Snow Queen Vodka for the smooth cocktails, and Red Stripe for the tasty cold beers!

Looking forward to seeing everyone at the next Yelp Elite event!

Tavi Jeremy Peeps Nicoleyeah Morepeeps_2

July 28, 2008

Yelping Yelping 1 2 3...

2707284827_2f0fe1d9d7 Mic check, 1...2...is this thing on?

Swing House recording studios in Hollywood, California has seen some of the most influential bands of our time walk the halls of their music complex over the years. But this past weekend, on Saturday, July 26, 2008, it was the place to see and be seen as the cool kids of Los Angeles - the LA Yelp Elite Squad got together to support independent arts at the 'Yelping Yelping 1 2 3' art & music showcase.

The venue was wall-to-wall with art and music lovers alike celebrating "all things local" along with the folks from the Deli Magazine as they premiered the very first Los Angeles based print issue. Groove 24/7 streaming online radio station provided the soundtrack for the private Yelp Elite preview party before the Barnettes, winner of the 'Yelping Yelping 1 2 3' local band contest, kicked off the night with a killer live performance. Additional live acts to follow included the Deli Magazine's cover band, IO Echo, Swing House regulars, Astra Heights, Austin Hartley-Leonard, and Dylan Trees.   






The eclectic crowd had an array of mixed drinks to choose from, so we must thank our participating sponsors which including Sake2Me, Caramba Tequila, Honest Tea, HINT water, Tito's Vodka, Monster Energy drink, IZZE sparkling juice, Barefoot Wine and of course we can't forget about the Green Truck, 2708115452_cd0e7b5edb_4 LA's only gourmet "roach coach" who provided the yummy organic and wholesome food and drinks throughout the night. 

2708430044_7e4ed078ea People mingled around the studio space, in and out of the live music showcase rooms, and observed the mixed medium artwork that plastered the walls, while our resident badass photographer Amy K snapped the photos and captured the energy and excitement of the night.

Let's not forget to recognize the extremely talented group of artists and musicians involved in putting this show together and a very special thanks goes out to Phil Jaurigui and his amazing crew over at Swing House for letting us share in the experience of such a memorable event!

2707289237_785794fbf8_3 The LA Yelp team would also like to shout out a few of our own, including the newest member of the marketing team, Ms. Sarah A (show her some love folks) and of course, Sherry R for holding down the guest list oh-so-gracefully. Thanks to all who came out to party with us! Until next time...Rock on!


Aunny D

Your LA Yelp Community Manager

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Yelp Around the World, Chicago style!

Say what? Oh, just Yelp Chicago's biggest party ever, Yelp Around the World!

The Chicago Yelp community descended upon Dank Haus German Cultural Center in Lincoln Square for a night of epic proportions. With DJ Nikki C at the musical reigns, The Flaming Dames Burlesque show on hand to spice things up, the Windy City Roller girls skating about and 800 hot yelpers...the night was sure to be one to remember.

Oh, and it was! With sweet sugar rushes provided by Berry Chill, TCHO Chocolates, Bleeding Heart Bakery, Sweet Collective, Marked for Dessert and RR Chocolats and fine food samplings by Venus, Palermo's/Red Ivy, Sura Thai Bistro, Thai Urban Kitchen, The Spot, Dine, The Melting Pot and La Gondola, yelpers had their work cut out for them! Ready and waiting to pamper those eatin', drinkin', break dancin' yelpers were the Henna Shop, Urban Lift Hair Salon, massages by Bloom Yoga, rockstar styles by Strange Beauty Show, Exhale Spa and mini manicures by Nail Avenue. Talk about stimulus overload...in the best way possible!

Special thanks to all of our vendors, Beth P and the Yelp CMs from around the country that showed up and rocked the party! Beck's beer was on tap, Rain Vodka and Buffalo Trace bourbon free flowin' and Black Swan wines to round out the fabulous selection of libations.

Of course we had to capture all the action! Photos from Dan Gin Photography and snapshots from Victoria Sprung of Sprung Photo documented the evening, as well as vintage photo strips courtesy of 312Photobooth.com!

Whew! Catch ya on the flipside...the best is yet to come!

Colleen C
Yelp Chicago Community Manager


Yelp Wins the Gold: Jonathan Gold

Jgold_image In this town the mere mention of Jonathan Gold sends restaurant owners and maitre d's into an all out tizzy. In this installment of the Weekly Yelp our very own, Aunny D sits down with LA's favorite foodie and Pulitzer Prize winning restaurant critic, Jonathan Gold to get the dish on some of his favorites (food and yelpers).

Aunny D: When did you come across Yelp originally? How often do you use Yelp as a resource?

Jonathan Gold: Like everyone else, I think, I started looking at Yelp as the algorithms pushed the site higher and higher up the results pages, and I find a lot of it indispensable. I trust my taste and my experience, but it is undeniably useful to discover what, say, young Taiwanese guys in Hacienda Heights think about a noodle shop in Hacienda Heights designed to appeal to young Taiwanese guys.

AD: Being a native Angeleno, in your opinion, what places (restaurants,  bars, landmarks, etc.) in LA makes this city so unique?

JG: What Los Angeles has over every other place on earth is the serendipity enabled by extreme diversity, so that you really can feel as if you’ve slipped into a wormhole in the space-time continuum and wound up somewhere completely different than where you were 15 minutes ago, where half-timbered Tudor mansions sit next door to Mexican haciendas, Norman villas and Japanese-inspired bungalows.

There are too many to name, but I am very fond of the Alameda Swap Meet, Al & Bea’s at lunchtime, the community gardens off Stanford Street in Watts, the bar at Musso and Frank’s, the mind-blowing southern-Thai curries at Jitlada, the Clark Library down in West Adams, Koreatown in its entirety and the Hollywood Farmers Market.

AD: What would your last meal on earth be (This is a Yelper profile question)?

JG: Until a couple of months ago, I would have said the splendid antipasto buffet, a plate of wild-boar pasta and a Chianina steak cooked in the fireplace at the Hostaria di Costachiara, a country trattoria north of Arezzo that I have been going to every summer for years, of course surrounded by family and friends. Unfortunately for Italian gastronomy, the owner recently had his own last meal. So I’ll go with: whatever Nancy Silverton happens to be cooking that night.  Or maybe a beef roll at 101 Noodle Express.

AD: If you were stranded on a deserted island, what meal and/or restaurant in LA would you miss the most?

JG: During the few years that I was stranded on a desert island – Manhattan – I usually found myself alighting at Golden Deli (Vietnamese spring rolls) and Langer’s (pastrami) within the first 12 hours. And even on the grayest day of an East Coast winter, it was sometimes enough to lean back, close my eyes, and imagine that I was at Ciro’s, my single favorite place in East Los Angeles: an iron-barred, low-ceilinged room; a plate of warm flautas, and the tiny dish of fresh, juicy avocado salsa that the house brings out for free.

AD: We all have our limits, so is there anything you wouldn’t eat?

JG: I find terror in a plate of scrambled eggs.

AD: Dining out as much as you do, do you ever have time to cook at home? If so, where is your favorite place to grocery shop?

JG: I cook at home every night, practically, even on nights when I go out – I have two kids to feed. I shop everywhere, but the bulk of our food comes from the farmers markets in Pasadena and Hollywood, Alexander’s Prime Meats, Fish King and 99 Ranch. And the imported cured meats, pastas, porcini, oils and cheeses at Guidi Marcello are as good as it gets.

AD: Every foodie has a guilty pleasure, so tell me, do you have a favorite fast food restaurant? (Sorry I had to) ;)

JG: The Rosemead branch of Lee’s Sandwiches, the mammoth Vietnamese banh mi operation, has a drive-thru window now.  That’s living: house-made Vietnamese charcuterie on a freshly baked baguette without getting out of your car.

AD: Do you have a favorite Yelper or a Yelp review that has really impressed/stood out to you?

JG: I have to pick just one? Valentina D stands out as a fine writer. I really like the energy Ericka L brings to her reviews. And I think Tony C hates me, but I like the vengeance with which he attacks the restaurant search.

July 21, 2008

Reporting from SF -- The Yelperazzi hit Fashion on the Square!

Posted by Jessica T

Thanks to all of you who came out to the Fashion on the Square event in Union Square this past Saturday. The sun came out in pleasant bursts, and it was a blast seeing such a fun and eclectic mix of styles throughout the day - on the runway and off. The Yelperazzi Photobooth captured a slew of hot looks.

Stay tuned to the Weekly Yelp to learn more about other fun events like this, and to learn where Yelperazzi will be popping up next!

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Yelp Visits The Playhouse!

Aj_vacation AJ's Playhouse on Channel 933 has been entertaining audiences across the county for over 8 years. From interviewing the countries biggest pop stars, to sleeping in a crane for upwards of one week to collect toys for kiddies around the holidays, the Playhouse has undoubtedly touched the lives of thousands living in America's Finest City. Yelp's very own Ruggy J caught up with the host of the top-rated morning show and fellow yelper, AJ M, to learn about his favorite places to play in San Diego.

Ruggy: You and the other guys on the show (Kalvin, Hula) seem like pretty fun dudes. Where do you head for a "guys night out" in San Diego?

AJ: If we're downtown and we're at a club, it'll probably be Whiskey Girl. But you're much more likely to catch us at a casual watering hole like East Village Tavern and Bowl, Yard House or The Local.

R: On the opposite end of the spectrum...and I don't mean to break any hearts, but I know you recently got married. Where do you and the wifey settle down for date night?

AJ: We love spending Friday night in Old town. It's not quite the same since it changed ownership, but it's still a good time. Old Town Mexican Cafe, and Zocalo Grill are our faves. In the Gaslamp we are big fans of Fleming's, Red Pearl Kitchen and Oceanaire. On the rare occasion we hit La Jolla and we can definitely be spotted getting our grub on just about anywhere in Little Italy. Then it's all about Sunday brunch at Urban Mo's.

R: If some of your listeners want to find you sippin' some syrup, which watering holes might they catch ya?

AJ: I live in Mission Valley so if we're in my hood we'll be at McGregor's or Oggi's. I also think a cold beer on a sunny Sunday afternoon at Lahaina's is about as good as it gets.

R: An earthquake is about to hit Southern California and break San Diego off into the Pacific Ocean. Where do you go for your last hang?

AJ: Probably McGregor's. I don't go there as much as I use to, but I've lived and worked in the area for years, so it definitely holds a lot of memories.

R: San Diego is well known for its endless array of Mexican food eateries...where are some of your favorites?

AJ: Tacos El Gordo on Palm Avenue is my favorite spot for legitimate tacos. El Agave in the Old Town area has amazing mole sauces and a huge tequila selection.

R: You're a big baseball fan, where are your "go-to" spots before a Padres game?

AJ: Our favorite new Padres area bar is the Tilted Kilt, but you're just as likely to catch me kickin' it at The Local. And once again, we love East Village Tavern and Bowl.

You can catch AJ's Playhouse on Channel 933 every weekday morning from 5am-10am!

Willie Nelson bio author Joe Nick Patoski: The Extended Interview

In his own words, "Texans by nature are independent, free-thinkers, open, outgoing and friendly." That sentence certainly describes Joe Nick Patoski, whose recent work chronicling Texan ambassador Willie Nelson (Willie Nelson: An Epic Life) has been met with rave reviews. Joe Nick might be the only author (certainly the only one who's written for Rolling Stone and Texas Monthly) holding book signings at Poodie's Hilltop Bar in Spicewood, but he's also someone who's spent a good deal of time during his fifty-five years in Texas in and around Austin and parts related. So naturally Yelp Austin's own Kevin N asked him about some of his favorite spots.

KN: It would stand to reason that you wrote most of An Epic Life from home (either symbolically or literally). But this area's full of places where one might sit down and work on the next great novel or bio. Where do you head to fire up your creative juices?

JNP: I go immerse myself in the Blanco River, then retreat to my hidey hole of an office, which once upon a time was the laundry room. My friend Kevin Phinney wrote his book Souled American at a Starbucks. While it would appear cool to be out in public, writing, that ain’t me, babe. I prefer showing my bidness in public when it’s done.

KN: Let's talk food. You've been on record as a pretty enthusiastic BBQ supporter. Where do you go out of your way to sample some?

JNP: I dig ‘cue. I’ll go out of the way just about anywhere to sample some. Kansas City is a great BBQ town and so is Memphis. But generally, I know that to sample anywhere else outside of Texas requires a little bit of caveat emptor. Anywhere inside the Central Texas BBQ belt which stretches from Llano to Mason to Junction to Pleasanton to Halletsville to Taylor, and especially around Luling and Lockhart, is worth exploring. In my book the best barbecue in Texas is at Luling City Market although the Luling Barbecue across 183 is pretty great too. Smitty’s, Louie Mueller’s, Cooper’s in Mason are also at the top of my list. Then again, I think I smoke the best pork ribs in Texas although my beef brisket needs more practice.

KN: It's got to be hard to cover musicians without ultimately conjuring an opinion about the best places to see them play. Where are your favorite venues to see a great show?

JNP: Best places to see a show? Someone’s living room, a tiny club, the Broken Spoke, the Continental, Red Rocks in Denver, Carnegie Hall.

KN: One of the best things about living in Central Texas is being able to show visitors around. When you have out of towners in, where do you head?

JNP: Momma was a travel agent and I guess it’s in my blood because I love showing folks around the area. I usually try to size up their interests first, but if I’m doing Austin, the Capitol, the University (Ransom Center, LBJ Library), Barton Springs, Threadgill’s South (for the music history), Mt. Bonnell and Mayfield Park, the Spoke, Barton Creek (when it’s running).and the South Austin Museum of Popular Culture are on the itinerary. Outside of the city, I enjoy showing off West Cave Preserve, Hamilton Pool (not the ugly ass development springing up around it), the Ladybird Wildflower Center, Wimberley, the Blanco Bowling Club and Fischer Hall. How far out do you want to go?

KN: It's also a gas to uncover new and cool places that most folks haven't caught onto just yet. Know of any hidden gems?

JNP: Yes I do, and I’m not about to share them or they won’t be hidden anymore. I spent much of my 22 years in Austin hyping the city to friends out of town. After what’s transpired, I apologize. I’ve learned to keep the really special spots to myself.

KN: With all the love you've been receiving on this book, have you sorted out what your next project's going to be? Clifford Antone? Leslie? Just kidding. But really, who?

JNP: Clifford talked to me about helping him on the book he was writing two weeks before he passed. Leslie? Nah. Too easy. But there is some appeal to rear back and write my take on Austin if I could figure out who I could use as the subject to write that story, just as Willie was a means to write about Texas. I’m already working on a coffee table book with the Sand County Foundation, profiling ten families in the western United States who’ve been recognized for their exemplary stewardship and sustainable ranching, farming, and forestry practices. It’s got nothing to do with Austin or music but has plenty to do with figuring out how to keep the wide open spaces of Texas wide open. These families lead by example.


A Midsummer Night's Yelp in Atlanta!

Posted by Deanna Jue

A Midsummer NIght's Yelp at Table 1280 was a doozy! On Thursday, July 17th, 2008, Atlanta yelpers flocked to this Renzo Piano designed-Woodruff Arts Center-modernly stunning space to par-tay with some of the hottest Yelpers this side of I-285. We took over the patio and lounge. . . and the 'Fabulous' artwork hanging on the wall describes the party quite well, too! DJ Numbskull cranked out tunes under a moonlight sky on the patio, while yelpers got their cheese on behind the (props intended) photo booth, too!

Feeling relaxed? Probably thanks to Shannon and posse from the Art of Touch Massage doling out complimentary mini massages to all! Or. . . it could be one too many Yelpermelon Fizzes, the signature drink created just for us! It was awesome to see so many new yelpy faces out there and the perfect setting to mingle. The staff passed hors d'oeuvres around, including amazing treats like gazpacho, chicken salad crostinis, risotto balls and tons more! The night's delight ended with a mini dessert bar, too!
Thanks so much to Josh at Table 1280 for having us for an INCREDIBLE event and also to the wonderful staff! Also many thanks to lovely photo booth done by Atlanta Photography's Frank L and Max S, and one heck of a roving photographer in Trent C! Be sure to check out more photos at the event's dedicated page!

Thanks to everyone who organized, attended and showed us some yelp love at A Midsummer Night's Yelp . . . and until next time, SYOY!

Deanna J
Yelp Atlanta Community Manager

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Yelp Mantra: Silicon Valley Elite Squad is Awesome

Posted by Connie Chang

2680568094_cd913090e3 On July 17th, Silicon Valley yelpers and their guests gathered in Downtown Palo Alto for an intimate Elite Mantra Experience!

Throughout the evening, guests sampled hors d'oeuvres that paired California freshness with bold but not overpowering flavors and spices of India, including Lamb Lollipops, Firecracker Chicken Drumsticks, Handmade Samosas, Naanizzas and Fresh Tandoor-Baked Naan Breads. The food paired nicely with the complimentary Pinot Blanc and Pinot Noir, as well as the variety of fresh organic cocktail shots with names like "Temptress," "Savona" and "Pomegranate Crush."

To see photos of the event, take a look at the Mantra photos talk thread and check out the reviews to hear more about what Silicon Valley yelpers had to say about the evening's festivities!


July 18, 2008

Yelp Spanish Soiree at Sol Y Sombra!

The Phoenix Elite Squad packed the patio at Sol Y Sombra Wednesday night, July 16th, and enjoyed beautiful views along with plenty of tapas, Peroni, and a variety of sangria. Jetta R made her debut and reveals that she thought "the food was amazing, the sangria was like whoa, the shwag (sic) was actually useful, and the company was the shizzle." Other new faces included Jason W, Adam M, Julia T, and Misty S.

Chef Aaron May now has a Yelp fan club due to the delectable menu! Favorite tapas were the tortilla espanola, pollo colonial, baby back ribs, and patatas bravas. Four White Walls Photography captured the fun on film and blog! To check out more photos, click here. Special thanks to Tiffany C for coming in to help out all the way from Denver!

Until the next time,


Gabi K

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Yelp Boston Rocks the Mic

Posted by Ligaya T

Img_0978 The Elite gang and guests packed into Club Cafe last night to take to the stage for karaoke! Cheryl Y crooned "Killing Me Softly" so sweetly and got the crowd swaying. John S, at his first Elite event ever, brought the house down with his rendition of "Before He Cheats." And everyone really started shaking it with Malena L's "Be My Lover." When Ari F got up there for "Poison" the live text feed sure got some naughty messages! Yep, it's been confirmed, yelpers have got some serious pipes!Img_0948

So cool to see a mix of fresh and familiar folks all singing in harmony. Meredith K, Jenne K, Scott B and all the other newly anointed Elites that came out to play, thanks for giving us a shot! As always it's the energy of our peoples that make these nights fun, right? Maybe the PBR tall boys and sweet Effen cocktails mixed by Tony and Todd factored in somehow, hmm?

Img_0942It was our ravishing MC Jeffrey H and DJ Aga who made it all happen and kept the party going all night long - you two are AWESOME! The whole crew at CC were so accommodating, friendly and fun - thank you all so much! You'd best bet you'll be seeing us again...

Wanna hear stories? Check the reviews.
Wanna see the silliness? Peep the pix. And Beth E's too!
Wanna come party? Snag a badge.

As Tristan B and John L reminded us last night "Don't Stop Believing" -- and we're going to give you a reason to once a month forevermore!

Ligaya T


July 15, 2008

Austin Yelpers Head East to Imperia!

Well, in an Asian Fusion and sushi sense, anyway. Austin yelpers experienced the culinary stylings of one of downtown's hip eateries, Imperia, which just opened a sushi (wing?) recently. Fusion delights, sushi smorgasbord, and some Hogue cabernet and chardonnay later and we were well on our way to a jam-packed delightful evening of revelry and each other. It's always so great to see so many fabulous yelpers, from some of our all-time faves to some awesome new faces. Special thanks to Sarah P. from Minneapolis who came in to help. Here's raising a glass (and a spider roll?) to next time!Imperia75 Imperia12 Imperia15 Imperia21 Imperia39

July 14, 2008

Free Slurpee Day pub crawl!

So, every year on July 11th (7-11 on the calendar), 7-Eleven participates in "Free Slurpee Day." Noble idea, and most patrons are content with one free eight-ounce Slurpee sample on this prestigious day. NOT Yelp San Diego!

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In an effort to make the most out of the unofficial holiday, 20 yelpers boarded our Slurpee Pub Crawl bus (provided by The Bounce), en route to 11 different 7-Eleven chains in two hours!

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In the end, with 20 people aboard the bus and a total of 11 eight-ounce Slurpees consumed by each person...we were successfully able to down 1,760 ounces of icy Incredible Hulk syrup in 120 minutes! Talk about brain freeze....

For more pictures of the Slurpee Pub Crawl, CLICK HERE!

Lazy Sunday Yelp Elite party @ Bite

"Lazy Sunday, I wake up in the late afternoon...."

If you have no idea what that means, check out this link.

It was Yelp Elite time once again yesterday, and as always, SD Yelp came out in full force. Being that Mr. Pibb and Red Vines were readily available throughout the confines of Bite, yelpers discovered that YES...that combination is "crazy delicious."

As always, the crunk juice was 'a flowin'. Widmer and Kona beer came correct! The perfect beer combination for a "lazy Sunday." Props to Wilson Creek for donating some almond champagne to the cause as well. Of course, we'd be remiss not to big up Bite for accommodating the festivities. We had the joint all to ourselves for two hours, and everyone had a stellar time.

Nice touches with the Chronicles of Narnia on the projection screen, and the "snack attack" cupcakes.

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For more pictures of the event, click here!

July 11, 2008

Yelp Takes Over H Street NE

Hstreetsign H Street NE/The Atlas District isn't regularly a locale that a typical District denizen thinks of when pondering where to go out for a night on the town.  It's a little gritty, it's still rough around the edges, but it's one of DC's most up-and-coming neighborhoods.  Last night, it was also the destination of the Yelp Elite Squad as they descended upon H Street for an extensive, elaborate tour of discovery of one of DC's hidden gems!Hstreet2

Yelp Elites like Laura V and PC W arrived in style on DC's premier party bus, KegBus!  The Elite pre-party at The Pug commenced as the first swanky motorcoach pulled up.  Justin S downed some some Vodka YelpTeanis, mixed up by SurReal Vodka and Honest Tea, while Pabst beers were being amply sampled by Monty C.  The lovely Philly CM, Carrie E, was in attendance to lend a hand (and pour some beer).

Crowdpug The event kicked into high gear as non-Elite yelpers joined the shindig for the biggest, baddest bar crawl that Yelp DC has seen yet! Palace of Wonders, The Red and The Black, Sticky Rice, The Pug, The H Street Martini Lounge, Granville Moore's, and The Rock N Roll Hotel all opened their doors to yelpers, with our many amazing sponsors offering samples of their products at each location.  Premium Distributors brought in a bevy of different brews, including Magic Hat, Woodchuck, Pabst, Peroni, Dogfish Head, and Sierra Nevada.  Zonin Wines was pouring deliciously clean prosecco, and Nestle offered up some much-needed Aqua Panna and Pellegrino to keep everyone hydrated.

The grand finale ensued at Sticky Rice, where box seat tickets to a DC United game and a Nats game were raffled off to the cheers of the crowd.

Photographers Jane K and Lillian C captured the madness and motion of the throngs of yelpers as we took over the neighborhood. Check out the pictures on flickr!

Hey H Street NE - thanks for having us.  We'll be back for more!Hstreet3 Hstreet6Hstreet5_2

July 10, 2008

More Yelp in Your Pocket

In the beginning, there was Yelp. Then, we went mini with Yelp Mobile to bring all those great Yelp reviews to your cell. And now, for all you iPhone lovers out there, there is Yelp for your iPhone.

Use the app to search for places to eat, sleep and shop with a special iPhone twist: find places near you. We've got quick links to bars, restaurants, drug stores and coffee nearby. And if you want to search for something specific that's close (burritos, Irish pubs, gas stations) we've got you covered there, too.

Once you've got your list of businesses to peruse, you can filter them down by price, neighborhood, distance and whether they are open now. So when you are starving for a slice at 2 AM, impress your friends as your deftly find the nearest open pizza joint. And of course, you can read reviews to make sure you and your friends will be not only full, but happy with your pick.

We're excited about Yelp for the iPhone, and hope you are too. Download it now on the iPhone App Store.

July 07, 2008

Yelp Goes to Google: Marissa Mayer

Posted by Connie Chang

L When Marissa Mayer, Google's Vice President of Search Products & User Experience, isn't managing and overseeing their product release process, she's on the quest to becoming Yelp Elite. Yelp's own Connie C and Nish N met up with Marissa at the Googleplex, which they discovered is truly one of the happiest places in Silicon Valley.

Connie C: Tell us something about yourself we can't find out on Google. Something really juicy.

Marissa M: I'm a veritable expert on Priceline-ing in San Francisco. Four years ago, I decided that it would be better if I started spending more time in the city on the weekends. It would get me out more and spend less time at work on the weekends. Larry and Sergey were telling me that I work too many hours, and dared me to stay in SF each weekend. So the way I did it was through Priceline.com by putting in low ball offers. I'd go out more and through this whole process I became an expert on SF Priceline-ing. I mapped out and analyzed all kinds of Priceline cheats and workarounds. For example, if you bid on a 4-star hotel in the Union Square area and your bid is rejected, you can add the Civic Center area (which has no 4-star hotels) and bid again on the same set of hotels with a slightly higher offer -- which you aren't supposed to be able to do.

Nish N: What are some of the hotels that you really scored with?

Marissa M: I stayed in The Stanford Court in Nob Hill, Grand Hyatt in Union Square, Hilton, Hotel Triton, and Hotel Adagio.

Nish N: You were one of the first employees at Google, having been with them for nearly a decade now. Before there was the Googleplex - with over 17 cafes to dine at - what were your favorite lunch spots in the area?

Marissa M: Andale was a big favorite of ours.

Nish N:
Did we hear correctly that you have one here?

Marissa M: We do, we're keeping the tradition alive! We also liked Pluto's, Pasta? and the Whole Foods deli. Overall, University Avenue has a great feel; there's a bunch of great restaurants and places to eat that are close together. It's amazing that such a small city like Palo Alto and small downtown area has so many great restaurants. Actually, that's what inspired the cafe set-up that you see here. Basically when we moved here from Palo Alto to Mt. View, we were suddenly like, "Wait, where do we go?" We did Waiters on Wheels for a while and then we hired a chef so we'd have a continuation of the good food we had on University Avenue. Of course as we grew, and we could actually branch out, we started offering an array of cafes. The goal was to create a place that had as much choice and variety that was as good as University Avenue.

Nish N: What's your favorite cafe here?

Marissa M: I'm partial to Charlie's. If you really like organic food, No Name Cafe has great organic food. And from a novel aspect, there's Andale. It's a trip to go to a chain you go to all the time and have to pay for lunch, and then it's in your office building and it's free.

Connie C: Your work schedule must be pretty intense. Where do you like to go to wind down after a hectic week?

Marissa M: I like to hit the Sports Club LA after work on Fridays. I can get a nice long run or swim in and then take a sauna before going out.

Nish N: Happy belated birthday! How did you celebrate?

Marissa M: I don't like odd numbers, 33 for example. I was going to keep things low key this year but as you know, I love movies. I actually organize movie outings for Google. I was at the movies one day and I walked out and saw the poster for Sex and the City. You know how you spot your own birthday? So there it was on the poster: May 30th. It was my actual birth date. It turned out that my boyfriend was going to be out of town so I thought, Why don't we just have a big girls night where were all go to Sex and the City? So, I was putting it together and I have a few gay friends who were like, "Well, this isn't fair. Stanford Blatch would get to go." So I decided ok and they came. We did an hors d'oeuvres hour at my apartment in the city. My favorite part of it was that we had a foot loose camera. There was a station set up where you could go and pose with your feet and get a picture of your shoes. The idea was that everyone was supposed to wear their most fabulous shoes. For women, you never have enough excuses to wear great shoes.

Yelp_003 Connie C: Tell us more about the company movie outings.

Marissa M: Well, it started out when we were small. On Friday nights, George Herrick and I would pick a movie and ask who wanted to go. We did that for 5 or 6 years running. Then when one of the Star Wars movies came out -- it may have been Star Wars Episode 2 -- we went and bought a whole bunch of tickets. The manager saw us and asked if we wanted to buy all of the tickets in the theater. Our company was about 500 people at the time so we though we could probably use all 330 seats. It was this great company outing. So, what we do now is once every 6 months, we pick a big blockbuster on opening day and give people the afternoon off to go see the movie. We actually just did this a couple weeks ago for Indiana Jones. The movie outings have become really big now because we send 11,000 people to the movies. Because Googlers had to be spread across Silicon Valley, we had some at the AMC Mercado 20, which is just a really great facility with Dolby surround sound and some digital screens, and also at the Century 9 Cinemas in the Westfield SF Shopping Center.

Connie C: Your cupcake and frosting spreadsheets have gained quite a bit of notoriety. When you're not baking your own, where do you go for cupcakes that are just as meticulously made as yours?

Marissa M: I Dream of Cake. My business partner Shinmin Li, while she usually focuses on wedding cakes and larger sculptured cakes, makes the best spice cake cupcakes with cream cheese frosting you'll ever have. There's been one place I've been meaning to try on University Avenue called Satura Cakes. Satura just rolled out this new concept of "Cup-cakes." They're not necessarily even cakes, but they're creating these cup-sized desserts. I've seen them a couple of times and they look delicious.

Connie C: We've seen you gracing the pages of several magazine wearing designers like Oscar de la Renta and Carolina Herrera. When not out painting the town, where do you shop for that casual elegant look? Any secret shoe shops?

Marissa M: I can't give away my secret shopping spots! But, I can tell you where I get my clothes and shoes cared for because there are a few places that do a great job: Town & Country Cleaners for dry cleaning (they have a plant right on the premises), Zvart's Alterations (great professional tailoring, done quickly, competently, and at reasonable prices), and Paul's European Cobblery on California Avenue in Palo Alto (if you need a shoe reheeled, they'll do it in an afternoon). I used to live near California Avenue and there's a great shop there called Leaf & Petal and they stock AG Jeans, which are my favorites.

Connie C: You must have spent a lot of time on University Ave. while you were at Stanford, and you now own a home in Palo Alto. What are some spots downtown that you've frequented over the years?

Marissa M: I live close to University Avenue now so I'll walk over there and grab food at University Coffee Cafe, Il Fornaio, Zibibbo, and Krung Siam, which are some of my favorite places. I'm a huge fan and have been for 15 years of Palo Alto Creamery. It's great for a late night dinner experience (pineapple malts aren't on the menu, but they'll make them for you if you ask) and Gelato Classico is perfect for a small, delicious dessert after dinner (be sure to try the Bavarian Mint or Burgundy Cherry). Apparently, their Ginger gelato is amazing and this Gelato Classico is one of the few in the area that actually stocks Ginger gelato.

Connie C: You live between Palo Alto and San Francisco, right? Have a distinct preference for either?

Marissa M: They both have their own personalities. I like Palo Alto during the week and San Francisco during the weekends.

Nish N:
You’ve been dubbed the “high priestess of simplicity,” since your job revolves around keeping Google’s home page elegantly sparse while remaining highly functional. Any tips for our product team to change Yelp in one way?

Marissa M: The reason to keep things simple is because it makes it fast for the user -- faster to load, faster to look at, read and understand. So, since speed is everything and I'm a self-professed search addict, I would make Yelp's search a lot, LOT faster. 

Yelp_002 Nish N: Google is one of main ways people find out about Yelp. What would you say makes Yelp relevant?

Marissa M: I really like restaurant reviews on Yelp because not only do you get sense of the decor, the service, and the general quality of food, you get recommendations and observations on specific dishes from real customers. I find that I order better after I've read a Yelp review. Like, at Live Sushi in Potrero Hill in the city. It turns out that a few of their dishes are actually live. They have this amazing sea urchin presentation which actually comes out with the whole purple spines and the eggs are striped over the top and is the most dramatic meal I've ever had in SF. I wouldn't have known about it if I hadn't read about it on Yelp. Those are the types of little tidbits you can get off a Yelp review that you can't get off of other reviews.

Connie C: What was the last thing you googled?

Marissa M: There are two. First: Chrome tangle -- I love the way it's both a toy and essentially a piece of art. I searched for it on image search to show a friend what they look like. The second: The Lost Episode Guide.

Nish N: And the last place you looked up on Yelp?

Marissa M: Spruce, and to see reviews on Secret Agent Salon. I have been going to Melissa Wagner there for highlights for 7 years. She does an amazing job. She said "Yelp is absolutely amazing." 80% of her referrals come from Yelp. She's great. I hesitate to even say anything because she's so good and I'd hate for it to be harder for me to get an appointment.        

July 02, 2008

Reporting from SF -- The yelperazzi take on Gay Pride!

Posted by Nicole Grant

Hot on the heels of the legalization of gay marriage in California, San Franciscans and visitors came out in droves to Civic Center to celebrate Gay Pride! The yelperazzi were there in full force to take FREE photos of glamorous party-goers in their fishnets, high heels, body paint, afros and what have you. Yelpers like Preston B and Maya S made it out for the festivities, and Pride did not disappoint.

Don’t forget to share your wild stories on Yelp! Review your experience of watching the Parade or of the SF Gay Pride Festival, or where you went afterwards, whether it be The Cafe or The Cinch. Thanks to Richard T for the gorgeous photos, and for capturing the spirit of Pride!


Nicole G
Da Mayor, San Francisco

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July 01, 2008

Sexy Mamas and the City

Posted by Jessica T

We've been noticing that more and more young parents and parents-to-be have been looking to Yelp to find reliable obgyns, hip maternity wear, child-friendly parks and fun baby boutiques, so we decided it was high time we did a daytime SF Yelp event for moms and dads and parents-to-be. Carrie Bradshaw's hip style and complicated love life in the Sex and the City movie set the scene for the first ever Yelp Movie Screening for Mothers at the Presidio Theater.

Moms like Juanita C and Kristen N, new dad Josh M and mother-to-be Shoyi C came from all over the city with their beautiful babies and pregnant bellies in tow. It was an exciting day full of on-screen fun, Yelp popcorn and totes, adorable sleeping tots and wide-eyed cuties who gurgled with delight at Carrie's fabulous wardrobe. Moreover, it was a perfect way to let moms and dads kick back, relax, and enjoy a big screen movie.

But it was actually Nicole G, Connie C and I who had the most fun watching the parade of precious yelpers-to-be enter and leave the theater, many of them sporting huge toothless smiles and their complimentary "Oops I Yelped in My Pants" bibs!

Yelp Open Mic at Socha

Posted by Jessica T

Everyday we come across compelling reviews on Yelp. The unofficial Yelp Open Mic at Socha was a great venue for Useful, Funny and Cool yelpers to get up on stage, grab the mic and become star performers in the process.

It was a blast!

I helped organize the event with Candice D, who was the lovely emcee, keeping us in stitches all night. JT F kicked off the show with his projected ASCII review. We heard about bull body parts from Broke Ass Stuart. Haru K seduced us with her self written melodies. Nobu K let us know why he loves Koo so much. Lisa W gave us the lowdown on moving. Joshua L was nothing short of fierce. Janney B let us "choose our own adventure" at the Power Exchange. Mick F brought unreal animation to his Good Vibrations experience. Darin I closed the night with a breathtaking performance of why Little Star pizza is the go-to place after an uncomfortable meeting with an ex.

This is only a sampling of the phenomenal performances throughout the night, proving that yelpers are not only incredible reviewers, but five star performers.

Watch out Hollywood!

Darin Mick Broke_4 Janney Haru_3 Candice

A Midsummer Chill-Out in Washington, D.C.

Jenn_tangysweetTangysweetgroup The DC Yelp Elite Squad was ready to brave the rain and the wind to make it into the chic, contemporary sanctuary of Tangysweet Yogurt Bar for Yelp's Midsummer Chill-Out.

Elite yelpers, new and old, came out for various flavors of tangy and sweet fro-yo (or is it frogurt?), a bevy of delicious toppings, and were faced with a challenging decision of helping Tangysweet decide on the upcoming three flavors to offer to the general public.  Harpoon Brewery came through with a summery selection of paired beers to cool off these sweaty attendees.

Catching up over neon-lit wall-mounted high-tops inspired by the Living Lights of LAX, Elite yelpers like Catherine R, Irene Y, and Brendan J mingled and sampled the swirled goodness of frozen yogurt.  Su K's baby daughter Jenna was also in attendance, proudly displaying her new yelper bib!

KevinkathleentangyBrendanTangysweet3  Thanks to Jane K and Lillian C for capturing all of the excitement for us - scope out the great photos here.  Thanks to Amy S of Brooklyn Yelp for turning out to help us! Thanks to Tangysweet for hosting us, and to Harpoon Brewery for providing libations!

Here's to new beginnings, Yelp DC,
-Kevin L & Miriam W