1439 Ivar Avenue
Hollywood, CA 90028
Cha Cha Cha
656 N. Virgil Ave
Silverlake, CA 90004
~ and ~
7953 Santa Monica Boulevard
West Hollywood, CA 90046
Is it just a cliché?
Is it just so played out that it’s comical now?
Why does every online dating/personal “ad” for a guy say the exact same thing? In fact, it doesn't even have to be written, hard evidence; it's just an unspoken universally known truth.
Why does every guy want a girl who is low maintenance – wears little to no makeup, takes little to no time to “get ready” to go out, doesn’t need a wardrobe full of clothes and a separate closet for shoes, and in fact, is perfectly happy to order food in and watch The Simpsons. Not the now-defunct Mr. and Mrs. Jessica Simpson, but the cartoon. The Simpsons is great, low maintenance entertainment.
No guy would ever say, “I want a girl who wears so much makeup we could scratch a heart with my initials+her intitials into her cheek. I want a girl who takes three hours to shower, dry her hair, curl her hair in velcro rollers, has $10,000 worth of clothing, twice as much in shoes, and expects me to take her out to expensive, reservations-required dinners every night excet Monday when she has to wax and bleach. Dammit, I hope she expects flowers on every 1-800-Flowers holiday and even expects them on occasions that have nothing to do with her. I want a girl who wants flowers for herself on Mother’s Day. Why would she want flowers for herself on Mother’s Day if she’s not a mother? Because some day she might be a mother, so I need to drop fifty bucks on a pathetically paltry bouquet of pink and red carnations. Because she might be a mother. Might!”
No guy ever admits he wants a high-maintenance girl.
But the thing is, high-maintenance really is what they want. They say they don’t want a girl who wears too much makeup but why then, three years later, do they say, “Hey Honey, why don’t you put on a little makeup today?” They say they want someone who is low maintenance, but then three year later, they ask, “Babe, we don’t have to leave right away for dinner. Why don’t you shower and get oh, I don’t know, a little dolled up?” Why, three years later, do they throw money at you, beg you to please, please, girl, damn, would you please buy some new clothes instead of wearing that ratty old pair of sweats and yellowed wife beater tank top every single day except once a month when you do laundry?”
But I thought you liked girls who were low maintenance.
No, Britney Jr., men want women who are low maintenance, but look high maintenance.
But women are worse. Okay, maybe not all women. Okay, maybe just one woman. Me. I am terrible, because instead of saying, “Oh yeah? Well this is what you get – sweats, unlaundered tank top, au naturel – take it or leave it!” Instead of challenging, I just take the credit card and...run.
We’ll see who comes back looking low maintenance now!
Somehow, I got myself invited to the Red Carpet Boutique, one of many new “VIP” shopping events that happen every once in a while by invading an ooh-la-la venue, letting vendors set up shop for a few hours, and showcasing local LA designers. Red Carpet Boutique’s Summer Sample Sale was over at the Cabana Club in Hollywood. Truth be told, I wasn’t going because I love shopping. In fact, unless it’s the Farmers’ Market or Surfas, I pretty much hate shopping. I love having pretty clothes and obnoxiously sassy shoes, but I don’t like to shop for them.
I went because the invitation said complimentary drinks. And Cha Cha Cha was catering. Oh yeah, and complimentary drinks. Oops, did I say “drinks” twice? ;)
I also I wanted to see the Cabana Club, which on any other normal weekend evening, I probably wouldn’t be allowed to enter, what with pretty much being a nobody clad in fraying sweatpants, 15 year-old flip flops, and Coke bottle glasses. The venue is tres chic – so chic that it doesn’t need a sign on a very small, dark entrance on Ivar that opens up onto a large outdoor patio bedecked with every manner of furnishing that suggest outdoor oasis – cabanas around the perimeter, palm trees and other such lush tropical foliage, stone and tile, waterfalls, bridges, and a small wraparound pool which, like everyone else who would be there, is only for being seen.
Cha Cha Cha was hidden away under a tent on one end of the patio, guarded by what looked like a horrible horned beast that had been attacked by a rainbow of be-Skittled flavors. I don’t know who made it, where it came from, but no fruit should ever have to endure such an embarrassing makeover to be a centerpiece. My shock and awe notwithstanding, I slipped past the atrocity to take a peek at Cha Cha Cha’s spread, eager to finally taste the Caribbean catnip that hurls people into fiery fits of island ecstasy.
Mere mention of the Caribbean-flavored restaurant in Los Angeles with outposts in Silverlake and West Hollywood, and the immediate response is always something along the lines of “Ohmigod! I love Cha Cha Cha!” I have never been to the restaurant, and to be quite honest, I don’t have a whole lot of experience with Caribbean food other than a few times tasting the quintessential Caribbean food, jerk chicken, and a week-long love affair with a bottle of habanero hot sauce direct from the islands. Ohmy, it burned. It was painful. It hurt so good.
The food smelled good, but if ever there was something to be said about presentation, if ever there was a time to argue in favor of high maintenance, it is right here with the catered food from Cha Cha Cha. Now I understand. Yes, appearance does matter, and unfortunately, the Cha Cha Cha’s food looked wholly unappetizing in the unprotected silver Smart and Final food service trays. I couldn’t bring myself to ladle a taste of the soggy, miserable mess of yellow rice that had been pushed into tiny piles around the tray as if it had been picked over for the good bits. I didn’t even want to go near the shredded tangle of unidenitifiable meat (pork perhaps?) that was drowning in an oil spill that would have made the Exxon Valdez look like a canoe.
Now, this is not to say that the food was bad. I have no idea if it was good, or bad, but it was most certainly ugly enough that a girl like me, who can eat Benito’s nachos right alongside Santa Monica’s finest residents at 4 am, couldn’t taste it. I had to leave Cha Cha Cha and its fruity warrior freak behind.
The vendors were set up on individual tables on the patio and inside. I saw some interesting things – designers who had taken True Religion and other high end jeans and marked them up even higher than the $250 price tag by fancifying them with their own artistry, ridiculously over-adorned t-shirts, slinky slippery sexy tops, pretty little sundresses, and that jewelry, all made by different designers, but which all look suspiciously the same – but nothing so totally swept my wedge heeled sandals right off my feet that I needed to buy another pair.
I was charmed by other things, nothing of which would have contributed in the least to bringing me out of my low maintenance look. Xocai, a chocolate infused with acai and blueberries making it an antioxidant powerhouse, pretty water with just enough of a hint of flavor to make it really expensive, makeup bags from Fluff bedecked with a monkey who must be Hello Kitty’s saucier, sassier tropical cousin, and totally unnecessary lotions and bath stuff that cannot be any better than Jergens, but the packaging was so eekprettyoohsqueal!
I didn’t buy a thing. I came home empty-handed.
And I guess I will have to actually go to Cha Cha Cha to try it.
Just give me a couple hours to shower and get ready, ‘k?
Who Else Ate at Cha Cha Cha?
Fresh Approach Cooking - Dine and Dish at Cha Cha Cha (Mar 2006)
la.foodblogging - Jonah goes to Cha Cha Cha (Mar 2006)
LAist - Cha Cha Cha gets tastebuds dancing (Nov 2005)
Franklin Avenue's Rate-a-Restaurant - #76 Cha Cha Cha (Oct 2005)
Potatomato - Cha Cha Cha (Catering) (Mar 2005)
** a year ago today, sahm gyae tahng is chicken soup for the sweaty soul **