12.25.2009

Merry Christmas Los Angeles




There's an urban legend that says there is no traffic in Los Angeles over the holidays. Word has it, all the transplants from other cities skip town to spend the season with their families. If it's true that freeways are wide open during rush hour, it sounds both end-of-the-world creepy, and beautiful.

Enjoy that wonderful gift, and have a merry Christmas.

12.17.2009

Is it Still Cool to be a Scientologist?


Just asking, because my safety level is in direct proportion to how powerful the "church" is, when it comes to trash talkin'. All sorts of people turn up dead for speaking up, according to Xenu.net. I don't want to die, but man are they stupid.

I must report something that happened a few years ago, which made my suspicions about Scientology crescendo into mild paranoia. I was standing beside a building a few years ago, when a plane smashed into it. Simple as that. I lived off Melrose right by Fairfax High School. The pilot flying overhead had been experiencing technical difficulties and tried to land in the high school's football field. He missed and flew into an apartment building, killing five people.

Neighbors and students from Fairfax High School fled to the scene, as people jumped from second story windows and flew through the lobby doors screaming. Jet fuel ignited a white-hot fire in the building, and black smoke choked the air. Just as firetrucks began to arrive, so did a van. Skidding to a stop next to the high school, the van door slid open and out hopped an organized row of Scientologists, all in matching yellow t-shirts. They descended upon the crowd, offering support, water bottles, whatever.

My roommate at the time slowly turned to me. We stared wide-eyed at one another, wondering the exact same thing. How did the Scientologists manage to organize and arrive so quickly? They got there almost as fast as the fire trucks did. As confused people roamed the streets wondering if their cat was going to burn in the furnace that was once their apartment building, the Scientologists stroked backs, gave knowing nods and held little counseling sessions on the curb.

I'm not saying that the Scientologists orchestrated the crash so they could take advantage of vulnerable people and brainwash new recruits. I'm just saying the van with the yellow t-shirted crew arrived reeeeeeeally quickly.

Note to Scientologists: I've got two big dogs and nosy neighbors. I'd like to see you try.

12.10.2009

The Best Little Art Gallery in L.A.

I know, I know, Rembrandt and Toulouse Lautrec are brilliant, blah blah blah. Now that that's out of the way, I love the Crazy 4 Cult gallery...more than a friend. Celebrating pop culture, you will fall in love with romanticized adaptations of Edward Scissorhands, and fall on the floor laughing when you see renderings of the sickest families in film history.

If you can't make it to their Melrose space, check out Crazy 4 Cult right HERE.








In order from the top, the family portraits are from The Shining, The Jerk, There Will Be Blood, and...The Lost Boys!


"Death by Stereo!!"

12.03.2009

Who DIDN'T want to do the lift?


Every girl has dreamt of doing it. Even a few men. Before my wedding, I toyed with the idea of reenacting Dirty Dancing's Nobody puts baby in a corner dance sequence. But 90% of my wedding party was on the East Coast. Oh who am I kidding? I wasn't tiny enough and the groom wasn't strong enough. Plus my billowing Oleg Cassini would swallow him up, making it look as if he were attacked by a giant dollop of whipped cream.

Here in Hollywood, people love film. Whether they dish out $2.00 for a second-run showing in Pasadena, or $56.00 at the Arclight on opening weekend - it's the reason so many of us are here. We all have a fantasy movie we'd love to cast ourselves in. And let no man protest. I've seen that Star Wars light saber scene with accompanying sound effects more often than I'd appreciate.

Meatheads fantasise about being a foul-mouthed criminal in Reservoir Dogs, and before that they dreamed of riding their bikes into the sky with E.T. Young girls pretended to walk the yellow brick road, and when older played out the closing scene in Casablanca. Then there is, of course, the lift.

Most of us however, will never grace the silver screen. Luckily, all of our embarrassing and ego-driven Hollywood fantasies can come true with YooStar. We can literally, er, digitally insert ourselves into some of the most memorable film scenes in history. For all you struggling here in the City of Angels, if you're frustrated by a day of auditions for antacids and sundries of the feminine hygiene persuasion, it's a way to force yourself into Hollywood - if only electronically. Drunk idiots everywhere will convince themselves that reenacting a scene in Fight Club is really cool, and you'll have a front row seat. Perhaps you can write this program off on your taxes, because this tool could sharpen your chops. Hell, it may feel better than the real thing - no more auditioning and hello ice cream. I'm just sayin'.

11.26.2009

Thank You Los Angeles!


This Thanksgiving, I'd like to thank Los Angeles for...

Portos Bakery! (their potato balls are abusive)

Frog Island Comedy! (Pacino & Pacino Talent Agency is still tops)

$2 matinees at Academy Cinemas in Pasadena! (and their variety of popcorn powder toppings like jalapeno & sour cream & onion)

Boba Loca! (when oh when will you open in Studio City?)

Cinespia Screenings at Hollywood Forever Cemetery! (and thanks for letting us bring booze!)

Pho at Golden Deli! (so worth the drive)

The Pasadena Community Youth Orchestra! (selflessly giving back to L.A.)

Thank you!

xoxo,
fayeruz

11.21.2009

The Legend of Johnny Blaze

Los Angeles has its fair share of hauntings. There's the house in Culver City that inspired the movie The Entity, the Queen Mary ship in Long Beach, etc.

But there's one place in Los Angeles that's haunted by a living soul, a creature so bizarre that upon encountering it, he makes the space within it's walls a live historical site. This place is a karaoke bar called Dimples, and it's haunted by a man named Johnny Blaze.

He looks like Rick Moranis, swaggers like Elvis, wears a leather jacket a la The Fonz and cannot do a song on stage without breaking out in a violent karate frenzy, complete with sound effects.

We stood in silent awe as he took over the stage, singing, kicking and chopping the air until the whirling dervish was awash with sweat and swooshing sound effects. He roams the place after his performance, handing out his card, winking and telling anyone who will listen of his big Hollywood plans.

Like any haunted place, half the visitors are there to patronize the business, and the other half are there in hopes of experiencing the in-house ghost. So many people have left the place completely freaked out, that word spread like wildfire around Los Angeles and even Jimmy Kimmel couldn't resist having him do a song on his show. For those who may have missed the unnatural phenomenon, you can see his official site.

11.14.2009

L.A. Weekly: Arts & Entertainment, Plastic Surgery & Escorts

I love the L.A. Weekly, even if they won't hire me as a writer.

L.A. Weekly helped me fall in love with this town; not an easy task for an East Coast transplant. To avoid that cliche trap of complaining loudly and claiming intellectual superiority simply because I grew up on the Eastern seaboard, I turned to this publication. Every fall when their highly-anticipated "Best of" issue is released, I grab a cup of coffee and attack it with a pair of scissors. I did try the "Best Tacos" and I did drive up to the "Best View of the Ocean" - I was determined to love it here.

The thing that separates L.A. Weekly from all other city papers, is that:

- 20 pages in the front are dedicated to plastic surgery

- 20 pages in the back are dedicated to escorts

But with this dwindling economy, these ridiculous ads are fewer. The paper is lighter. Less advertisers means less revenue, and I can't have my weekly shutting their doors on me. I love editorial the best of course, but what's an issue of L.A. Weekly without trashy ads of Filipino girls clutching their breasts and begging for the affection of strangers? What about the plastic surgery ads featuring girls with inflated inner-tube lips covered in frosted pink gloss circa '84?

There are even fewer vaginal rejuvenation ads, which must mean the porn industry is tanking. Lord knows what that will do to our pitiful economy. Here's to hoping L.A. Weekly won't ever, ever leave us!

Vaginal Rejuvenation Ad

11.07.2009

How to Make a Quick Buck Off the Desperately Unemployed

I won't name the popular "media marketplace" that threw this so-called party, because God knows, I may need them one day. Times are tough, so when I was invited to their networking party at swanky Social Hollywood, (better known as the scene for drunken antics by Paris Hilton), I was drunk with the promise of making connections in this bleak market. So did hundreds of others.

But this networking party felt like a shameless scheme to make a quick buck. It's as if the semi-media moguls sniffed out our desperation and hatched a scheme to swipe our money. Perhaps they are are struggling like the rest of us, and reserved the club for a night to hike up prices and split the profits.

How to tell if you're being hoodwinked:

1) The valet parking costs as much as dinner at Chaya

2) No open bar, but plenty of "drink specials" that insult you by their use of the word "special"

3) Too cheap to hire sufficient help, one bartender spins wildly to serve a line of 30 people, most of whom cannot afford the drink "special" in the first place

4) No entertainment, just a bunch of strangers standing in line bonding over how insane it is to have one bartender serve a party of a few hundred

5) No food. Not even a plate of germ-infested pretzels.

6) No speech given by the head of this organization to give out a message, interact with or unite the crowd. Just a raffle that no one would buy a ticket for because no one would buy the prize in the first place.

7) The raffle item is an overpriced service that the company itself offers

I would have loved to pitch my book, but I never spoke with anyone. It all felt too awkward. People either came and huddled with their friends or skulked in corners of the beautiful bar, seeing how the Paris Hiltons of the world spend their time. Apparently, bars that cater to the rich and famous have no qualms about the dangers of open firelaces and the potential damage to plush white carpeting. And when I say plush, I mean the carpet was a couple of inches thick. You sink into it while you walk, as if in a freshly-fallen snow. If it were someone's home, I would have had to take my shoes off.

We were being robbed, but everything and everyone was so pretty, that most of us didn't notice.

10.30.2009

Movin' On Up

One way you can tell whether or not you've moved up in the world is to take a walk in your neighborhood around Halloween.

My old neighbors would weave paper decorations between the bars on their windows if they had time between bouts of domestic violence. In this place, strings of softly-lit jack-o-lantern lights are woven through vintage wood fences and bougainvillea. Just a few of years ago I lived off Hollywood Boulevard, and was proud of the 4'x5' rectangle of grass that was my front yard. It was ingrained in my psyche that if it wasn't nailed down, it would be gone in the morning.

Now look at me, strolling past makeshift graveyards sprouting from emerald green lawns, clusters of rare pumpkins sit beside Adirondack porch chairs, and scarecrows stand beside stacks of hay. Giant spiders the size of Smartcars sit on roofs, with the inflater humming by the gable of a bedroom window. I bet it's the child's window, and the soothing hum of that air pump brings back all the excitement of Halloween year after year.

Some parts of my old Hollywood neighborhood were so sketchy, I could close my eyes, throw a rock and feel a certain guarantee that I would hit an Armenian drug dealer or tacky sports car. Having spent all their dough on hair gel and car parts that make vehicles so loud they sound insecure, there was no money left to liven up their shabby home fronts. With strewn trash, people screaming over blaring TVs and cobwebs, it was Halloween rear-round, baby.

Here, perky young families close up their pools, pull out the Halloween box from their tidy garages and try to be scary. The effect is of course over-the-top cuteness, and thank God. No one wants to actually be scared when walking through their neighborhood at night. I prefer "Boo!" to "Bitch, gimme your bag" any day of the year.

Happy Halloween.

10.22.2009

Yes, but what about the jeans?

Above: Joe's "Jeans" a.k.a. The Emperor's New Clothes

I am by no means a political Conservative, though I am beginning to wonder what's so bad about conserving. After all, we're applauded if we conserve water, energy and our principles.

My principles are the driving force behind this blog. Los Angeles is entrenched in a denim billboard war, and it's not over how desirable the jeans are, but by how shocking the images are. Corporations are pushing for shock value over quality product, and we're the idiots eating it up. Or are we?

Yes, this is exactly what happens when you wear Bongo.

Are we feeding the beast by thinking, "Dude, there was a chick giving a guy oral in the Guess Jeans ad, so I'm hitting the Beverly Center today!"? It's like making reservations at an expensive restaurant that serves absolutely nothing on fine china because it's the hottest new diet trend and Ashlee Simpson eats there.

What exactly is this young man doing?

Sex is obviously the mode du jour to push product on us. But once we become numb to it, what will they shock us with next?

Jeans superimposed onto holocaust victims?
Jeans worn by malnourished African children with flies on their face?
How about some amputees?

Yes, she won the photo shoot lottery, but...seriously?

Back to the issue of conservation, let's grasp onto what little dignity we have left. We get enough of a hard time about living in Los Angeles, why give them ammo? These billboards are embarrassing and make us look stupid.

Nice jeans, a**hole.

10.15.2009

Seriously?

One of the best things about Los Angeles is the Latino culture. I love it all, from front yard parties blasting ranchera to Dia de los Muertos. But no culture, whether Chinese or Norwegian, should let their daughters dress like a tramp. Or, let them wear a dress that looks like a Disney princess went to Vegas and slummed around with a showgirl then stumbled into a bordello and didn't leave until she got tangled in the sales bin at Michaels.

Though she wore cornrows to her own quinceanera, she was a nice girl. That's why I'm speaking out. That thing she has on cost as much as a wedding dress, and I'd like to know who the cruel people behind this operation are.

10.08.2009

Elle Yes!

People from Los Angeles take a lot of flack from outsiders. Take Elle Woods for instance. Yes, I know Legally Blonde was just a movie, but how many times have people been accused of being stupid just because they were blonde, bubbly and living outside of Silverlake?

Exactly. I don't care who thinks I'm sniffing glue; Elle Woods is a heroine of mine.

It's because of Elle that:
  • My wedding was pink.
  • I refuse to give up on a somewhat impossible career goal.
  • I'll always have a 90-minute dose of encouragement & happiness when I'm down.
  • My future (currently imaginary) daughter will have an impeccably high self-esteem.

And now because of Elle, I had the most unforgettable date of my life. My (now perfect) husband surprised me with tickets to Broadway's Legally Blonde, and it was the best play I'd ever seen. Opening the program, I noticed that the first song was laughably titled, Omigod You Guys. That's when I knew a good time was upon us. Oh, my (wonderful) husband tried to resist the force of nature that was this play. In fact, as patrons filed in, he said, "Wow, there certainly are a lot of 12 year-olds here." Even afterwards, he desperately clung to Les Miserables as the best Broadway show he'd seen. But in the end, he had to concede. Legally Blonde has no equal, and was filled with color, energy and heart. I was breathless.

Elle Woods is a louder-than-life Los Angeles stereotype that I will always be proud of.

See Legally Blonde in your town!

10.02.2009

Halloween Time, Los Angeles!


Angelenos, I got a sneak preview of Universal Studio's Halloween Horror Nights, and it's a blood-drenched, maze-filled, saw-wielding extravaganza of terror! And I'm pretty sure all the smoke from the fog machines can be seen from the moon. GO.


This is the house from Psycho, complete with a Norman Bates glaring at you from the porch.
















Above right: a plane crash scene with real airplane.


Left: Inside the SAW VI house - the goriest. But not as frightening as masked psychopaths lunging at you with chainsaws through the fog. The smell of gas permeates the air as sparks fly at you when they scrape the chainsaw across the pavement in your path. Are they using method actors for this? If so, we're all in trouble...

9.28.2009

It Ain't Easy Being Gay in Los Angeles

Being gay anywhere is tough. In small towns, if locals aren't trying to save you from "eternal hellfire," they're kicking you in the ribs in dark alleys. Drag queens get so much guff, they have become a population of fierce and fearless fighters.

One might say in a liberal town such as Los Angeles, homosexuals have it easier. But my friend Scott put it all into perspective when he said, "I can't afford to be gay in L.A. - I don't have enough time for the gym!" This town may be liberal politically, but gay men aren't so open-minded when it comes to physical beauty. Each of them aspire to be an Adonis. They all look like soap stars, with six packs, caramel tans and highlights. If you think it's hard being gay in a town where mullets are still the hairstyle of choice, try giving up beer and pizza...forever.

I went to a pool party recently, and the shirtless men created a sea of white mocha-colored muscles hovering above an aqua pool. Every man looked so meticulously toned and groomed, I decided not to swim, but drink and feel sorry for myself.

If you don't believe me, see the videos:

video
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Sigh.

9.21.2009

Seriously?


Moist Women on Melrose is exactly the type of establishment that the makers of Melrose Place want you to know nothing of. Eew.

9.14.2009

Not Jeff Buckley, but...

Musicians in coffee shops have a hard lot. Since coffee houses aren't music venues, and people often flock to them to read and write in peace, many talents are hit with a cold reception. Even Ray LaMontagne had this problem, believe it or not. I myself go to coffee shops to work in anonymity among strangers. When a musician sets up, I feel for them, but don't particularly appreciate the feeling of obligation I have to remove my hands from the keyboard and clap after every song.

But that has all changed. Nathan Gaunt stepped into Portfolio coffee shop while I was hiding out in Long Beach, and he blew us away. All of us. We forgot our books, laptops and our Blackberries be damned. If this guy doesn't become famous, I will lose all hope in the music industry and never turn the radio on again.

Although Nathan Gaunt shies from the comparison to Jeff Buckley, (his influences were Jeff's father Tim Buckley and Led Zeppelin) I must say it: he sounds a lot like Jeff. Buckley's album Grace was beautifully haunting already, but his early death catapulted him to cult status. Nathan Gaunt has the potential to alleviate the angst of any longtime mourners. His angelic voice is also filled with blues and melancholy, vulnerable yet halting. He has nimble guitar fingers and a fun, jaunty live set that makes patrons endear themselves to him. It was no small coincidence that one of his entourage was a laid back, knowing lady by the name of Leah Reid, whom is credited on a couple of Jeff Buckley albums, including Grace.

Nathan Gaunt is a native Australian. Lord knows what country he's in at the moment, but I feel a moral obligation to share his music. You will not be disappointed.

Nathan Gaunt official site

Nathan Gaunt on MySpace

9.07.2009

Miss Mish Mash


When you read those tame, overly-PC advice columns that suggest, "Perhaps you should start anew," after someone complains of their mate repeatedly smashing their head against a wall, it makes you long for the old-timers. Old timers would tell you to get out a gun and a shovel and "TCB" - Elvis talk for "taking care of business."

I know an old-timer shoved into the body of a feisty young redhead named "DK" that lives in Venice Beach, and she doles out sound advice on...well, sound. She's a music advice columnist and gives inspiration to those made to feel helpless by the lack of variety on radio and MTV. In this day and age where playlists are bought on corporate radio stations, she scours Los Angeles and beyond for good music, recommending bands, concerts and albums for those needing a good kick. And kick she does. That's what makes her an old-timer. She doesn't pander to musicians and has no qualms about calling them poseurs, hideous or even someone she'd like to cover in whipped cream and lick all over. Like Jeff Buckley, even posthumously.

She turned me on to Jenny Lewis, and I will be forever thankful.

Check her out on Mishmash!

8.21.2009

On the Corner of Self-Absorption and Regression

During the Renaissance, egomaniacs of privilege had paintings of themselves commissioned. They put on dour faces as if inconvenienced by the whole thing, but unless they were of royal lineage, no one was holding a gun to their head. They loved every minute of it. It was all just part of the act.

Later generations went for pop art images of themselves a la Andy Warhol. The bright quadrant of cartoonish images screamed, "I'm hip, I'm rich, and I must be colorblind!" The less wealthy went for caricatures of themselves, sketched at Disneyland and at beach boardwalks.

But Los Angeles isn't just an egomaniac's mecca; it's the land of babies. Once people come into money they hire people to make them grilled cheese sandwiches and make their beds. They get swimming pools and install elaborate water slides. They stand in line for three hours to get the newest iPhone and have public tantrums while waiting for it. What sort of self-portrait would cater to these foot-stomping arm-crossing whiners? They want to see a likeness of themselves sans the flaws, but also want to cater to their over-indulged inner child. What better way to achieve this than to have their image encapsulated in a toy?











The medium du jour? The Etch-A-Sketch, created by Etch-U-Sketch.

You can purchase your likeness in size small or large, without the magic eraser powder. You can order a poster print of your image. You can even purchase a sped-up video of the process to embed into your Facebook page.

For those not nominated, not cast and not auditioning, this slice of validation can be hung over mantels and in the grand foyers of your family home. Hundreds of years from now, your descendants will peer into that red plastic frame and think, "Wow, they really must've been something."

8.15.2009

Hunting Down Kogi









Oh the Kogi truck, that ever-elusive roach coach. Worshipped by hipsters and glorified by L.A. Weekly and Thrillist, the vehicle pops up only in the trendiest of places. Too cool for the old-fashioned Sunset Strip, it swings by The Edison downtown, K-Town, Silverlake - even East L.A. Forgettable, even gang-infested neighborhoods are made trendy by the Kogi truck, and boast about it to all who visit. "Forget the chalk outline of the body on the ground," they insist, "The Kogi truck was here!"

City corners that are desolate one minute will suddenly fill up with cheerful, anticipating crowds. Some aren't even hungry but will eat it anyway. They are determined to taste what the hype is about, and just as determined to brag about it, hence adding to the hype.

What does the Kogi truck serve? Mexican Korean fusion. Warm Mexican corn tacos are filled with Korean barbecue, and seaweed salad replaces the salsa. It's divine. How do I know? My friends and I finally encountered the wandering trendmobile, and were so excited, we took photos.

How does one know where the Kogi truck will spring up? People stalk and hunt Kogi's whereabouts the only way they can; through Twitter. One could go to their new permanent fixture, but it just wouldn't be the same. In this age of convenience, we ironically have a sense of satisfaction of hunting it down ourselves.

Catch the Kogi truck HERE!

8.01.2009

The Haunted House of San Pedro









I wish to report that a friend and I did a drive-by of the infamous haunted house in San Pedro - the Jackie Hernandez house. Urban legend has it that an ashen-faced corpse of a man with a red flannel shirt tormented the resident. Documentary footage showed an orange-reddish substance oozing from the walls, and tests returned claiming it was blood plasma high in copper.

Like any supposedly haunted house, I am never scared of the ghosts, but the fed-up residents who have to deal with weirdos like me. Some say the house was on 355 11th St., but that ended up being a well-preserved Victorian, and didn't match the documentary footage. Like many Californians who think anything built before the 80's is "old," I think residents tagged it as the Hernandez home because Victorians have the generic haunted sheen from horror flicks.

Others said the house is on the 500 block, so we cruised the second alleged address, 591 11th St. After the infamous Manson murders, Sharon Tate's abode was torn down and given an all-new address. That seemed to be the case in San Pedro as well. The house numbered 591 was missing and the facade standing where it should be looked brand new. Did I mention the shirtless chubby guy grilling in the backyard? Yea, that killed it for us.

My friend and I took a picture of both facades. Discuss.

7.25.2009

The Shadiest Casinos in the West

Apparently you can't wear a pink bob wig without being considered a prostitute. At least at casinos on Native American reservations. In Vegas, my pink bob would go virtually unnoticed amidst all the braless blondes and girls that wear shirts for dresses.

It cannot be denied that all casinos have some element of sleaze, but what's with the casinos on reservations? They are exponentially shadier. I won't name the casino, but will say it's nestled in a mountain range by San Diego, and really close to Hellhole Canyon. Everyone talked like they had swallowed a mouth full of gravel. You could make a purse from their skin. I saw hordes of senior citizens, mostly Asian in bright patterned clothing, sitting all alone dumping whatever money they had into slot machines. As casino staff whizzed around them polishing the machines, I wondered if anyone stopped to think that these elderly patrons might be desperate, and pouring the last of what they own into those tiny slits. Or if they cared.

My pink bob was fun in the hotel room, but turned into a dark, dark force when I entered the noisy, beep-filled casino floor. Truckers and men with bloodshot eyes swallowed me up with their eyes, assured I was a prostitute. Their obese wives and girlfriends glared warning signals at me as they hovered over their mates. The senior citizens shook their heads. I knew I wasn't at Mandalay Bay, but weren't there any young people? People who would see my wig as playful and not a desperate cry for paid sex?

It was a fun trip anyhow. I went vintage shopping locally, hiked Hellhole Canyon, visited a llama ranch (see adorable white llama baby, lower right) and spent hours drinking and lounging in our hotel room. And the pink bob was not wasted upon us. Feeling the rejection of the casino floor, we took the party upstairs and had a rockin' bubble bath photo shoot.

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7.18.2009

Bowing to the God of Beer

The man behind the bar placed the beer on the counter. As I reached for the frothy glass, he barked,"No! Put your hands down and bow to the God of Beer." He wasn't kidding. He was austere as he motioned for me to bend over and sip - no hands. With a straight back and my arms behind me, I took a first sip, wondering if I was allowed to use an arm to wipe the foam off my lips. But he was fine with that. The God of Beer had been honored, and now and it was time to relax.

The man I am referring to is Sam Samaniego. I hadn't even wanted the beer. When my husband and I went to The Stuffed Sandwich for dinner, I ordered a soda. Big mistake. Mr. Samaniego gave me a puzzled look, as if only children were allowed to stoop to that level. "It's nothing personal," I said, "I just don't like beer." With a knowing smile he answered,"Of course you do. You just haven't tried the right one yet." He figured it wouldn't be too hard to find me something, as The Stuffed Sandwich is home to over 700 beers. That's right, 700 - the largest collection of beers in any US restaurant.

In an unassuming Los Angeles suburb with an unassuming facade, Sam and his wife Marlene preside over the place. While the establishment's name implies food -and they do make some serious business between two slices of bread - everyone knows this is a mecca for beer lovers.

In 1976, brew pubs were not legal in California so the couple sold imported beers. Soon their collection of 100 varieties climbed to 700, and the walls gleam with so many bottles, you can't help but imagine what the place would be like in an earthquake. He also has an ever-rotating collection of seven beers on tap.

Keep in mind this eccentric establishment cares more for the love of beer than the almighty dollar. If you do not submit to Sam, he will turn you away. My husband ordered a beer from him, and Sam shook his head, eyes closed. "You're not ready for it," he decreed. One must be prepared to answer a flurry of personality questions so that Sam may determine which beer belongs to you. And when he tells you to bow to the God of Beer, well then by God, you must bow.

Visit the Stuffed Sandwich website