It is rare to find good, strong coffee that isn't watered down or burnt, but you can find it at Buon Giorno Caffe. They also have excellent muffins that they warm up for you, and the prices are very reasonable. The staff are friendly.
Boulevard Camera sells all kinds of film and new and used cameras. If you want to buy an older, all-manual camera, you will be able to find one here.
The staff are knowledgeable, patient, and friendly.
Print prices here are not competitive and, as a result, I have never had photos developed here. It is possible that they are of higher quality and that they are not churned out by a machine, but it may just be that they have to charge more because they are so small.
If you are frustrated with drugstore prints and don't want to pay the membership fee at Ritz, or want to talk to an employee who actually knows something about photography, Boulevard is the place to go.
This Goodwill is bright, clean, uncramped, and doesn't smell. The dressing rooms are a good size and have mirrors and locking doors.
They have a kind of small selection of furniture and housewares, and their selection of clothing isn't huge either, but it's about the amount I am willing to browse through to try to find something. That being said, I have never been one to have any luck finding clothes I like at Goodwill.
Sometimes you can get a great deal with their half price tag sale--every week, a certain tag color is designated as half-price. For those of you new to Goodwill, the clothing doesn't have actual pricetags--the tag is that piece of plastic normally used to attach a price tag to clothing, but here they are color-coded. Most clothing articles cost around $4.
When I tried to drop a desk off here, they almost wouldn't take it because of a small defect. I was surprised and annoyed by this, because I don't think people expect to buy perfect items at Goodwill, and it was otherwise in very good condition.
I got my desk chair here for $15 (it had an office supply store price tag that said $190) and my recliner for $20 (it was $40, but half price that week). Granted, both pieces of furniture are from the late 80's or early 90's, but they are fine for my needs.
The selection here is always changing, so if you're lucky you can stumble across something great.
Many people think of places like Goodwill as having disgusting merchandise. It's likely to be out of style or a bit worn, yes, but the fact is, it generally comes from well-to-do homes and is just fine.
I went here in search of a Goodwill store, only to discover that this location is just a dropoff spot. When I parked in the lot behind the store, I tried to enter through the store's open back door. A man who was sitting near the doorway was quite rude about my entering through the open back door. Had I been there to donate anything, I most likely would have taken my stuff elsewhere.
I was able to go here for free because of a special deal offered by the EZ Lube next door (look for coupons in the mail). Otherwise, my standard car wash and vacuum would have cost $12. I would rather get my car washed for $5 at the gas station in most cases.
I was pretty satisfied with the work done, but the interior vacuuming could have been a bit more thorough under and between the seats and in nooks and crannies. The work was completed quickly in spite of it being a busy Saturday morning.
Don't forget to bring a couple of ones for a tip!
Bristol Farms is nothing more than an upscale version of a very large grocery store chain. This means that the store is smaller and the prices are inflated. You can buy the same products the Bristol Farms sells at an ordinary grocery store (like Oreos), but here you can buy them while experiencing claustrophobia, pretentiousness, and unnecessary price markups. If you want gourmet groceries, this is not the place to go.
I have been to this store once, and plan to return. The cheese I bought is of high quality and is reasonably priced. A store employee will give you samples of cheese based on your preferences until you taste something you want to buy. The employee who helped me was somewhat rude, possibly because I am not as upscale as the other clientele, but the other employees seemed quite friendly. They also sell flavored peanut butters, jams, olives, and the like, as well as several kinds of sandwiches and fresh baguettes. They can make you a cheese platter if you give them advance notice, and they occasionally have cheese tastings and chocolate tastings. The piece of chocolate that came with my grilled cheese sandwich was awfully good.
CONS: Difficult parking
The Cut only charges me $40, which is a bargain on the Westside (I've done the research--many places charge $60 or more). I have been here three times and seen two different stylists (one is no longer there; the other is Roberta). Every time I have come away with a haircut that I liked and that kept my hair looking good for several months. The salon is very casual and friendly. They are not pretentious, and I've never had a styling product pushed on me. Finally, it is easy to get in for an appointment, even near a holiday.
Granted, there aren't many in my area, and most of them are bad, but even so, Mao's is very good.
It took me a while to warm up to Mao's, because my first couple of experiences with them were less than exciting. I ordered a vermicelli dish of some sort which is no longer on the menu, thankfully, as it was rather bland. So was a veggie and tofu dish I had from them back in July. Everything else I have eaten from them, however, is very good.
For me to give a restaurant five stars, it would have to surprise my tastebuds with something new and exciting or very intense. While Mao's does not do that, their food is healthy, cheap, generously portioned, tasty, and deliverable.
My early experiences with Mao's consisted almost entirely of black bean chicken, which is quite yummy, but not my favorite. On my last visit, I had the Peace Not War soup (chicken wonton soup). It comes in a huge bowl and I ate the whole thing. The veggies are fresh and crisp and the wontons are delectable. Even more exciting was the orange chicken. Mao's serves up a whole plate full of just meat--I know I need my veggies, but as a child I saw veggies as a cheap filler in Chinese dishes, and I have never really been able to change my mind on this point. Mao's uses high quality white meat (high enough quality that I never ran across a chunk of what the heck is that?).
I also had a dollar salad, which was the best dollar I have spent in a long time. This salad is a simple bowl of romaine lettuce, shredded carrot, wontons, and cucumber in a light, sweet dressing.
For dessert, I had the chocolate pineapple. This dish consists of an innovatively sliced half pineapple with a pot of wine-laced chocolate fondue. The fondue was predictably good, the pineapple fresh and ripe. My favorite part of the dish, however, was the candied ginger meant to be part of the garnish. Yum.
Sharing food with friends, I got to try all of these things for a mere $12 including tax and tip.
CONS: Parking is not a joy in this area.