Posts Tagged ‘Paris’

Best Supper Ever: Battlecat Speaks!

BSELast year, I got a curious friend request from something called “Best Supper Ever” on MySpace. I initially thought it might be spam, but when I clicked on the link to investigate further, I was bombarded with, well, awesomeness. I also knew some of the group’s founding members, so that helped met start following their silly supper antics, too.

Since its early days, Best Supper Ever has had a mission — to rate and review LA restaurants in search of, well, the best supper ever. The group of 20something diners then post their reviews in an easy-to-digest, visually delightful little module, with clever commentary from nicknamed reviewers, a wallet-pain chart that makes me grin every time I see it, and photos that make me want to start a supper club of my own (or at least get invited along to a BSE feast).

The brainchild of Marissa Mukavetz, AKA Battlecat, she rounded up her rag-tag group of friends, put her degree in photography and graphic design to work, and started a side project which is gaining new fans by the day.

Since I’ve always wanted to hang with the cool kids, I asked Battlecat to do an interview so I could learn more about the mechanics of the BSE, how it got its look and how I could go out to dinner, too. I also learned that Battlecat likes talking about herself in the third person.

BSE in Paris
Me showing some BSE love at the Louvre

France: Where did you get the idea to start BSE?
Battlecat: Three woebegone friends were on a long hike in the ferocious Malibu wilderness. They were hungry… cold… and detrimentally bored with the same ol’ night-life scene in Los Angeles. So they came up with a mission to change the world as they knew it. At least as far as eating out goes.

How often do you go out for dinner?
Battlecat: BSE meals are every other week. The default day is Thursday, but if you’re hosting the dinner that week and you want to stay home and watch Lost, you can move the dinner to Wednesday or something.

How do you choose where to go for dinner?
Battlecat: Well, we go down the list of the 12 founding members of the BSE, and each gets to choose a restaurant. The very first BSE was technically La La’s Argentinian Grill on Melrose in West Hollywood. I think that was chosen ’cause it was walking-distance to the person’s house who picked it. Ha.

BSE Teamsters
The founding BSE teamsters

Who gets invited to dinner? Can anyone join the club?
Battlecat: The founding teamsters who are supposed to be the only ones who choose the restaurants, but we’re pretty lax about that rule and have electoral votes for outside people to host dinners, too. We also have weekly columns on various subjects that really anyone who wants to write can, like “Margarita Tuesdays” and the “Math Column.”

When you become a BSE teamster on our website, you are treated as one of our own — we send you comments, we reply to every single email we get, and we just slam you with adoration and reverence beyond your wildest nightmares. For example, if you regularly email the BSE and we run into you on the street, be forewarned that you’ll probably get screamed at in a fury of love, tackled, and go home in a new shirt made of BSE stickers.

How did you choose your nicknames?
Battlecat: Each founding member chose their names on their own. So I’m not really sure how Nipples or Garbage came about, but I know I thought Battlecat (He-Man’s devoted companion/mode of transportation) was a perfect match for me. Especially since I’m usually the designated driver. And I wear a suit of armor regularly.

What has been your favorite dinner so far?
Battlecat: OOoo… tough question. But I’d have to say Medieval Times was hands down the most fun I’ve had in the past 5 years of my life. Something about screaming and no napkins got me going. I’m all about the atmosphere.

BSE at Medieval Times
BSE goes to Medieval Times

Have there been any dinner disasters?
Battlecat: Oh man, there was a very early-on BSE that was at Havana’s, a Cuban restaurant on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood. The Citysearch review said that it had live music and dancers and looked like a rowdy good time. This is obviously why you should never use Citysearch: When we got there, we were one of the two parties in the whole place and it was in a shopping plaza. There was one server/bartender/hostess/cook taking care of us who served us the driest chicken on the planet — which took about an hour and a half to get. Then, the only other patron in the building had a STROKE! (I kid you not.) Following that, ambulances came, there were fireman, yada yada yada. It was hilariously awful.

Do waiters and other restaurant staff hate you?
Battlecat: One would think. But we are an inordinately cheerful group — I think our unceasing good moods spread through the restaurant when we’re there. BSE evenings frequently end in a sing-a-long with the staff. We have video if you need verification on that statement.

How many people are visiting your MySpace page?
Battlecat: We’re what you consider a “secret” club, so we’re very elite momentarily. Haha — we get around 1,000 hits a day, but we get new friend requests daily, and our numbers increase daily, too.

Who takes the photos and how do they get that awesome glowy effect?
Battlecat: Ha ha… well, Battlecat is the in-house BSE photographer. I actually have a degree in photography and graphic design from Kent State in Ohio (holla!), so that comes in handy when building the reviews. As for the “glowy” effect — I WILL NEVER REVEAL MY METHODS! But if you own a 2004 Cannon Elf SD110, you probably know my secrets far too well.

Who does the graphic design work on the site?
Battlecat: Battlecat, Battlecat, Battlecat! Who would’ve thought that what you learned in school could be FUN!? Not me.

BSE Pain Chart
The BSE pain chart

Why is BSE on MySpace as opposed to a blog or other type of site?
Battlecat: Myspace is super-easy to use. And I’m into that… because I’m lazy. And it’s just way easier to get readers cause it’s such an intense network. It’s nice that it’s interactive, too — people can post comments or pictures and everyone can see them. And we can post comments to people, too. WE WORK FOR THE PEOPLE! WE ARE THE PEOPLE! HASTA LA VISTA BOREDOM!

Do you think you could ever make any money off this idea?
Battlecat: Well, the original idea was to create an outlet for our friends to actually do something to entertain each other, as opposed to sitting on bar stools and starring at each other — not particularly to be lucrative. But if we could get our act together and start a real website outside of Myspace, we could probably make some advertising money. I really don’t know.

The BSE TV show has also been mulled around a bit. We’ll see. It’s hard because each of us in the BSE are just real people with 9-to-5 jobs, so there isn’t much extra time to work with. That’s also the charm of us, too. In the end, the concept of the BSE is pretty much golden, and it’s more fun than I’ve ever had in regards to a nightlife scene. So I’m pretty sure I’ll be a millionaire in about 2 months.

What’s the long-term plan for BSE? World domination?
Battlecat: Well, we’re in search of the BEST SUPPER EVER! Duh. I don’t know what we’ll do when we find it. I guess be on the search for a “better” supper.

Thanks, Garbage, for setting up this interview. Everyone else, don’t forget to go visit the BSE!

Even More Paris Lights: Views from the Eiffel Tower

Sorry that these have started to get out of order, but once I was done writing I felt there were still so many photos I wanted to share!

Paris

Paris

Paris

Still want to see more? Evan has all the photos up on his site here.

More Paris Lights: Champs Elysees at Night

Since I only posted a small photo of this earlier and it was really pretty, here’s another photo of the Champs Elysees at night, line with blue-lit trees, facing the Louvre (and the ferris wheel, which you can see at the end of the street).

Champs Elysees

Neat Paris Picture: Candles at Notre Dame

Candles in Notre Dame

Cool Facade: Wavy Building

wavy buildingWalking down Avenue George V in Paris, we noticed an odd site up ahead — a wavy, Dali-esque building. Even stranger: It wasn’t in our guidebook.

The building looked like it was melting and we could see it from many blocks away, so it seemed like it was something important.

As we got closer and closer, though, we realized it was just a painted/printed facade hiding construction on an apartment building near the Four Seasons.

How inventive! I wish it could stay that way, though I don’t think that’s what the building behind it will look like.

Definitely worth a look if you’re in the area. All its street-facing sides are covered like this.

wavy building

Paris Museums: L’Orangerie

Monet Water Lilies

Sunday, we met up with Evan’s grandparents, who were also visiting Paris for the weekend, and went to the Orangerie to see its small collection of art. The most impressive thing there was two large oval rooms with Monet’s Water Lilies on the walls. The rooms were filled with diffuse natural light that came in through the glass roof and was filtered through white fabric.

The rest of the collection didn’t appeal to me all that much.

Monet Water Lilies, Orangerie

Climbing the Eiffel Tower

Eiffel Tower

Snow on the Eiffel TowerAfter our lovely long walk to our hotel, we dropped off our bags and headed to the Eiffel tower, which was only a few blocks away. We had to wait in line for a while, and decided to take the stairs up to the second floor then the elevator up to the top, since the line was shorter to do it that way.

It was a bit cold and windy, but once we started our climb, we got warm quite quickly. We stopped on the first floor to take a look at the vistas and check out the touristy attractions up there. The biggest surprise was that the outer ring of the observation deck was covered in snow and people were snowshoeing for some sort of special exhibit. We didn’t put on snowshoes, but we did walk through the snow almost the whole way around.

Getting up to the second floor seemed to take even longer. And I just found out that in total, we climbed 1,652 stairs. And we took them back down again, too. By the time we reached the second level, it was dusk and the city’s lights were starting to come on.

Eiffel TowerThe views were even better than from the first floor, though the smaller area was more crowded, and we spent a lot of time taking photos.

From there, we took the elevator up to the top of the tower, which was a bit of a scary ride, though the views were wonderful. We were squished like sardines in a little elevator, and Evan and I managed to be against the windowed walls, so we had some quite breathtaking views. It was quite a sizable ride.

Once up top, it was fully dark and the tower’s strobe lights were turned on, which were really dizzying when we were on the outdoor observation deck. We took even more photos — of us, the views, the lights… you can see them all on Evan’s photo site.

We took the elevator back down to the second floor and walked down the 1,652 steps we came up, stopping along the way to take even more photos. And on our way back to the hotel, we stopped in the Champs de Mars park to take even more photos.

We found that you also have an amazing view from across the Seine at the Trocadero, and stopped later on for even more photos, and had a midnight drink outside on the heated patio of a cafe behind the Trocadero which had wonderful views, too.

Eiffel Tower