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Underrated / Overrated

December 27, 2007

Underrated

The Old World charm of this downtown institution in the heart of nowhere has been overshadowed by trendier upstarts, but you can't beat this place for the always fine food (including perfect steaks) and service, which is professional yet free of the obsequious, minute-by-minute check-ins of wait staffs at more pretentious spots. Best of all, it's open 24/7 (the breakfasts are worth traveling for) and offers shuttle service to the Walt Disney Concert Hall, Nokia Theatre, Music Center and Staples Center.

We're not big fans of regular-sized cookies or candy, but M&Ms or chocolate chip cookies in miniature form makes us want to scarf down bags -- something to do with the ratio of the exterior to the interior ups the deliciousness factor. Or maybe it's simply that mini size is always preferable -- a la Mini Britney and Britney Spears.

PACIFIC DINING CAR

MINIATURE CANDY

THE GUIDE

As wrapping paper. We avoided the guilt and cost of buying overpriced wrapping paper by recycling the section you're holding in your hands. We've heard it works really well as bird cage and cat box lining too.

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OVERRATED

THE CHAMPAGNE TOAST

The dirty little secret of New Year's promoters makes its annual appearance: After paying $100 or more for a ticket to a club or a dinner, the promise of a "free" glass of quality bubbly as midnight strikes on Jan. 1. And then the sad reality: half a glass of Korbel Brut from BevMo.

OPRAH

The woman's power has reached epic and disturbing proportions. Who else could elevate a singer as undistinguished as Josh Groban into the bestselling artist of the year? Josh Groban! Next up: Jump off a bridge.

MY BAD

Can we retire this played-out expression? Or at least slap an age limit on it? Hearing people over 30 utter the idiotic and ungrammatical expression is deeply sad -- like a 65-year-old guy with a ratty ponytail.

MUTT MANAGEMENT

Apparently there were pooch emporiums that offered Santa photo ops. And J. Crew now sells a $60-and-up "Crewmutts" line offering dry clean-only(!) sweaters and hoodies. Seriously, when dogs start looking sharper than their owners, it's time to remember who wears the pants.

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