Saturday, September 20, 2008

LOL Cool J

Or is tha
Seriously, how many kids will want to buy LL Cool J's new brand of 'hip' clothing for back-to-school? I don't think your average 4th grader is familiar with "Around the Way Girl" or "Doin' It," but you never know.

At least it's 40% off...

Fans and Swords and Junk, Oh My

The Th

The Väase has been at MOA a long, long time, possibly since the mall opened in 1992. It's a weird store, with giant fans, swords, vases (väases?), statues, and an overall dose of Strange. But for me, it will forever be tainted by the rumor I heard years ago that one of my highschool classmates took a girl to the back of the store and showed her his wang.

Yes, of ALL stores in MOA, how creative to do this at The Väase rather than some dank back hallway, or perhaps a fitting room at Marshall's. So to me, The Väase will always be a store of "junk."


Take a bite out of McGruff

This "warning" in the 4th floor East parking ramp has been vandalized by an odd looking red and white rectangular sticker in the bottom left corner. McGruff needs some reinforcements, I reckon...time to call Smokey the Bear?

Hey other Greek fast food restaurants--suck it!

't b
Don't be fooled by the lame name "Opa!", which has been used and abused by pop culture in marketing all things "Greek." This food court gem is GOOD, at least for a food court. Yes, it's a chain, with a ton of locations in Canada, but still, it's really pretty tasty. And it's certainly the best Greek fast food restaurant I know of.

The main thing that impresses me is that they know how to make a gyro or pita wrap in such a way that the contents don't spill out at the bottom. I can't even begin to tell you how many failed gyros I've eaten in my day...most were just time bombs poorly wrapped in pita bread, eventually exploding all over my plate.

The deft employees at Opa!, on the other hand, not only include a plastic wrapper for their gyros and pitas, but they actually TWIST it at the bottom, and everything stays amazingly neat. What a concept! No spills! And this is not to mention how good the fava bean (falafel) wrap really is, especially with diced jalapeños, feta, tomatoes, onions, creamy tzaziki sauce, and maybe even hummus (yes, fava upon fava).

If I can compare apples and oranges--and yes, I will do that--Opa! is probably the best food court fare MOA has to offer. I know food court business has been slow through the economic downturn, and Opa! had been hit hard according to its manager, so I hope they weather the storm. They have set an example for the right way to do Greek fast food. (Ok I suspect the PC term is "Mediterranean" not Greek. Not as easy to type though.)

This reeks...

...of desperation. Anytime a store or restaurant has to wallpaper an entire empty storefront with an ad for itself and place ads all over the mall, it's usually just code for "we're covering up how much we suck by looking important with all these ads." The Corona restaurant (Cantina #1) is just begging for this dubious honor.

To be fair, I haven't eaten there yet. But there's just too much fun to be had mocking this place. So I'm hoping it really does suck.


As in About Damn Time. Sears took heed of my tirade and finally carpeted the entryway I mentioned several posts earlier. The ugly concrete slab has been draped with a richly detailed, heavy-duty, charcoal gray, checkerboard patterned carpet.

It's gorgeous.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

17 free movie tickets later...

So does this mean you can just go to every American Eagle store in town, try on a pair of jeans, and get a free movie ticket each time?

(Ok so they probably track you in a database. I'm just being idealistic here.)

Forlorn Popcorn

A m
Now THIS is the real reason I go to MOA.

As I passed by a closed, draped kiosk several hours after the mall closed, I spotted this lonely, full box of popcorn cradled inside the kiosk's umbra.

I couldn't help but feel like I'd found a kindred spirit here. Here, in the wee hours, was a lonely popcorn box in the mall all by itself. ALL by itself.

Such melancholy...

Such pathos...

Such...BEAUTY!! *sniffle*

Update: Food court not such a ripoff anymore

Things have changed at the Nickelodeon Universe food court. Gone is the $9 almost everything is a little over $5. Also gone is seemingly half the menu.

So it's safe to eat there now. That is, if you want shitty food that costs less than it used to.

Storefronts 101

Yeah, this REALLY evokes a bright, happy rainbow.

Who says there's no irony at MOA...

The lazy side of Sears

This is the entrance to Sears on the 3rd floor from the parking ramp. For what seems like an eternity Sears has failed to carpet or tile the floor. They tore off the old carpet and left it this way loooong ago.

Well, I'm tired of this barren, worn-out, dusty, cold slab for all the world to see. COVER THE FLOOR, Sears! Get on it!!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Let's play a game of Boring

Mose Mou
Moose Mountain Adventure Golf, which has been open since early 2008, is the latest in a string of lame-o amusement enterprises occupying the space across from the North food court. I predict its imminent demise.

This is actually the mall's second mini golf course. When MOA opened in 1992 the space was originally Golf Mountain, which sucked. After it closed down, it was replaced by General Mills Cereal Adventure, a cereal themed amusement park where you could see giant statues of Sonny the cuckoo bird (I'm KOO-KOO for COCOA PUFFS!), and the Trix Rabbit, and other cereal themed "role models." You could even make your very own cereal by combining 2 cereals in the same bowl, a concept never attempted anywhere before.

But kids didn't give a crap, so it was replaced by Dinosaur Walk Museum. Kids love dinosaurs, right? Well, not when they're in a museum that sucks ass. Kids want giant dino-robots that roar and move around, not just a bunch of bones strung together to resemble something "educational."

Dinosaur Walk's demise came earlier this year, and rumors surfaced it would be replaced by a skater park with a giant ramp. But all the slacker skaters apparently were content with their halfpipes in Burnsville, so the space gave way to its second incredibly shitty mini golf course, Moose Mountain.

The only thing that differentiates Moose Mountain from the original Golf Mountain is the addition of a mountain shaped vaguely like a moose and some lame looking trains. Ok the trains aren't all that bad...but let's get real. When I play mini golf, I want COOL stuff. I want WINDMILLS and CRAZY UPSIDE-DOWN other words, things that are FUN. To me, that's what separates a good mini golf course from being just a bunch of putting greens.

But there's nothing cool on this course. Every hole looks roughly the spinning obstacles, no crazy loop-de-loops, just boring green after boring green amid endless faux-rock. And guess what? People have figured it out. I rarely see more than 1 or 2 people on the course, as I frequently observe from the nearby food court. When it first opened, they would blare the same Swing-era trumpet song over and over in an annoying attempt to attract customers. The opposite effect was achieved.

I'm convinced the space occupied by Moose Mountain will never succeed, no matter what it is. It will always be some misguided, insipid entity designed to bore the general public. By this time next year I'm sure it will be something new yet again, but I wish they'd just fess up and rename it the Forest of Fail.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Books of note

As I caroused through MOA's Barnes & Noble today, the following books caught my attention...

If you want to know "how it is" you could read this book by "Pepa" of late 80s/early 90s hip hop group Salt-n-Pepa. Admittedly, all I care about is whether the book contains the complete lyrics to "Push It."

This book, entitled Live and Yearn, will apparently give you the "Sexth Sense." Sounds hot.

This Extreme Pumpkins II book just plain looks sweet.

Wow, now you can conquer breast cancer even if you're a "Dummy." (This one makes me a bit uneasy)

A day late & more than a few dollars short

Yes, Lacoste finally has a store at MOA, where you can buy a polo with a gator on it for 8 times the price of a comparable polo without a gator. A little behind the times too...Lacoste had a resurgence about 5 years ago on the East coast, where it vaulted from the brand your grandpa used to wear to the brand preppy East Coast kids wore with popped collars.

Aside from everything I just said, I really have nothing against Lacoste...

Saturday, September 6, 2008

A matter of perspective?

I was a bit confused as to why "Fats" would be advertised anywhere. Turns out I just had it from the wrong angle.

True mall beauty

This wavy purple/blue thing hanging from the ceiling near the South food court means a great deal to me.

Don't ask why. It just does.

At least they're honest

Nickelodeon Universe, the former Camp Snoopy, has a revamped foodcourt with the most overpriced foodcourt food I've ever seen. Get a shitty turkey sandwich for over $9. Get shitty beefaroni for over $9. Get a small soda for $2 with no refills. Don't get a free cup of water...they don't have any.

Just avoid this place.

Startling new blue wall and ceiling

This is insane

False advertising is NOT healthy

Healthy Express has been at MOA for a long, long time (possibly since the mall opened), and yet I had never eaten there until yesterday. I ordered a "Garden Chiliburger," as it was advertised on the menu, with a soda.

To my dismay, the chili portion came separate from the burger.

This is false advertising, my friends.

Instead of naming it "Gardenburger with a side of Chili" we are subjected to a blatant lie. And while the burger and chili both were adequate in their own right, I can only imagine what the true combination of savory chili lovingly topped on my veggieburger would have been like.

I will be filing a complaint with the Better Business Bureau.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

DEB finally leaves 1984 behind...for 1986

In a bold move, womens clothing store DEB has remodeled its storefront to get away from the early mid-80s look and move more to a more current, late mid-80s design. On the left we see the old DEB, with its outdated horizontal pink neon things flanking the DEB sign. To the right we see the updated version, with cool metallic things instead. The new DEB sign also has a little less "Early 80s Pink" in it, and instead sports a bit more periwinkle. Rumor has it they may start selling Zubaz as early as next year.

ssssssssssssssOriginal, dated version ssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssNewer, still dated version

Which Mexico do YOU crave?

Corona Beer company has recently opened a new "Mexican" restaurant on the mall's nearly dead 4th floor called Cantina #1. When I went to check it out, the host practically begged me to eat there. Never a good sign.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

New generic fountain added


A new, rather plain looking fountain has been added to the South side.

Same fountain from a different angle.



Abercrombie unveils new funeral home storefront

Looking for a new casket? Then you might be fooled into stepping into RUEHL, a new store owned by the same folks that brought us Abercrombie & Fitch. With stately iron fences and an "eternal" brick facade, you may be surprised to find overpriced plaid shirts and khakis instead of urns and embalming fluid.

Now admittedly, I kinda saw this coming. Abercrombie's other stores at the mall--Hollister, Gilly Hicks, and Abercrombie itself--have dark exteriors with dark windows and sometimes pillars. But seriously...RUEHL is just frightful. It now appears Abercrombie has confused "classy and mysterious" with "mournful and macabre." Not that Abercrombie was ever actually classy or mysterious...

Pissed off...

Behind this barricade announcing the soon-to-be 753rd Verizon store at the mall once proudly stood a Dairy Queen and Orange Julius. Let me make myself very clear: if I want a delicious Dilly Bar or a creamy "orange" drink, I certainly won't find them at this up-and-coming Verizon store.

Fuck you, Verizon.

Off the campaign trail

John McCain stopping by an edgy t-shirt shop. He purchased the sweet skull-and-crutches shirt pictured to his right. Such a badass.

I forget what this store used to be

I can't for the life of me remember what was here before it closed. If anyone remembers please let me know.

Doin' time at Chipotle

Welcome to Jail.

You can now eat a burrito at the new penitentiary themed Chipotle at Mall of America. Yes, it's true Chipotle has always had a moderny-metallic, spare feel to it. But this one takes it a step further by implementing row after row of prison-style benches. And the layout is incredibly poorly planned, feeling confining or even claustrophobic. This is despite having large windows peering out into the mall's hallway, where you can gaze at the "free world."

I had a brief talk with an employee about the jail cafeteria theme, and she tried explain the need for Chipotle to try "new layouts and new materials." This leads me to believe barbed wire will soon separate the cash register from hungry guests.

<---Babies screaming to get out of Jailpotle