Gulen’s at Century City Mall. Oops, I Mean Westfield Shopping Extravaganza

gulen's mediterranean, century city mall, century city, los angeles, ca

Gulen’s Mediterranean
at the Century City Mall
now Westfield Shopping Center
10250 Santa Monica Blvd.
Los Angeles CA 90067
Dining in the new Century City

Is it right to call it “Labor Day” when one does not labor?

Way back in the 1800s when people actually labored, we observed Labor Day as a time of rest, presumably because people didn’t have weekends, holidays or vacation, right? So they got one day of rest for the whole year. Thank god. And we think we’re overworked.

Labor Day is sucky for me.

Technically, the entire country except Chinese restaurants and the Ralphs has Labor Day off, and since I am technically American, I have the Labor Day “off,” but technically I don’t have a real, full-time job from which to be off, so technically, I have been reminded yet again that I am a fully-unemployed, Labor-less bum.

Fantastic.

But let’s be real here. Even if I did have a full-time job, it would literally be a full-time job because I am a web geek, and in the parallel Matrix known as The Internets, the concept of “time” exists only in the form of now and later, as in “Buy it NOW” and the countdown clock on that fingerscrossed lowball bid you placed on a pair of ankle-strap Gucci platforms. There is no full-“time,” or part-“time,” or day-“time” or night-“time.” There just IS.

On the Web, work just IS, and there is no such thing as “time off.” There is no such thing as night and day, as if “day” were a time when you presumably work, and “night” were a time that you actually got to go home from work and sit around a big round table with your family and catch up on the day and then go to sleep with a giant food coma after two helpings of noodle casserole.

There are no weekends. There are no holidays, as in “holiday, n. any day of exemption from work,” but there sure are holidays, as in “holiday, n. every day of the year that can be expressed with either 1) an eCard from Hallmark or eGreetings or sugarqube, or 2) a small graphical embellishments on the Google logo that makes you spend more money when you search for “wedge-heeled knee-high boots” because dammit, it’s International w00t!!1! Groundhog Awareness Month, and grrlfren, you need to celebrate with those Chloés. Now click submit, it’s a holiday!

On so-called “real” holidays like Christmas Day for you, you have to work because the International Date Line is not a toll-free number. Somewhere on the planet, it is not yet Christmas Day, and somewhere else on the planet, it is already the day after Christmas, which means other people are working, so you should, too. Even if Christmas Day was at the exact same time for the entire planet, there is probably some tiny island of hatred in a sea of tears where the Grinch lives, and the Grinch has Internet access. And it doesn’t matter what religion the rest of the world is because nobody believes in Jesus but everyone believes in that jolly fatman in a red suit and his sweatshop of midgets who surf Amazon Wishlists and always choose the “Giftwrap this Item” option.

You have to be working on Christmas Day because the Grinch and Santa both have Internet.

So if I had a no-concept-of-time job, I still wouldn’t get to observe Labor Day.

But at least I’d have the promise of a paltry little paycheck.

*sigh*

As much as I love the freedom of not laboring and spending my days blogging, I do miss the freedom that is afforded with that M thing. You know.

Money.

Why am I doing this? Why do I let myself live in semi-poverty, when I could technically go back to technology and do geeky corporate stuff and make enough money to live like the pimp-ess I perpetrate now in my state of semi-poverty? Why do I do this?!??!

Oh yeah, because I love it.

With total disregard for my state of full-time unemployment, I did the stupidest thing an unemployed person with no M-thing can do.

I went shopping in Century City – at the Century City Mall!

Oops. Did I say Century City Mall? I meant “Westfield Shopping at the New Century City.”

Along with a billion other people who never have a chance to “get outdoors” because they’re presumably working so hard in their little air conditioned cubicles indoors but are actually shopping online, I took the day to experience the open air, the sunshine, the Great Outdoors – at the open air shoppingness of Century City. La experiences “outdoors” at the mall. Ha!

The new mall is nice. Other than the horrible movie theaters in which I felt so clautrophobic during Armageddon that I threw up, though, Century City didn’t really need a makeover. But this is LA, perpetually in a state of “in-progress.” Earthquake retrofitting, street-widening, thigh narrowing, bust enhancing and skin tightening, it had to be done.

Like I said, the new Century City is nice. There has bee
n re-shuffling of the stores to different parts of the mall (Wait! Where is my BCBG dresses?! Oh *phew* There it is); some new stores have come in (LA’s first Container Store coming soon!); the movie theater got a massive facelift and it, along with the food court, is now on the opposite side of the center.

alfresco dining terrace at the new century city mall
not a food court, but “alfresco dining terrace”

Most of the food vendors are the same, but have all done what Beverly Hills BFFs do: they have the same plastic surgeon, same cosmetic dentist, and shop at the same little boutiques on Robertson Blvd. Now, they all look like clones of each other. Unless you know what you want and where it is situated in this place that isn’t called a Food Court, but the “Alfresco Dining Terrace,” you won’t know the difference between Sorabol Korean fast food and Baja Fresh. The signage is all the same sleek and chic shades of blue, silver and grey. Like a nightclub.

We walked through the Alfresco Dining Terrace and weren’t struck by anything in particular. I was craving French fries, but didn’t see my old favorite, Johnny Rockets, so we settled for the next best thing…Mediterranean! Don’t ask me how I make that connection in my head.

gulen's mediterranean in the alfresco dining terrace at the new century city mall
sleek chic, like everyone else
alfresco dining terrace at the new century cty mall
monster mediterranean plate

Gulen’s is in the far corner, and it was promising to see that there was a sizeable line in front of it. “Plates” of like-flavored foods – spanakopita, dolamdes, roast chicken, kebabs, hummus – were in the display case looking extraordinarily unappetizing under shrink-(saran)-wrap protection, but at least Gulen’s was being mindful of food safety. The platters were huge portions, which seems like it’s going to be a good deal because, well, they’re huge portions! Not a good deal, sucker. It’s a huge portion, and you pay for that supernatural portion, with no real option to get a smaller, normal-human-sized portion for a normal, human-sized price.

alfresco dining terrace at the new century city mall, dolmades
dolmades. doh!
gulen's mediterranean in the alfresco dining terrace at the new century city mall, hummus
ho-hummus

The food was okay. A rose by any other name still smells as sweet, and food by any other “alfresco dining terrace” still tastes like a mall food court. The spanakopita had an oddly sour aftertaste, and the dolmades were about as good/bad as the ones that have been sitting in the food bar at Whole Foods for eight hours, but it wasn’t inedible. The salad was fresh and the hummus was good enough. It was nice, however, to eat on heavy plates with real silverware. There is seating on the real “alfresco” dining terrace outside, but what am I, stupid? We ate in the air-conditioned, skylighted dining room, crammed between a very Gap family and a couple overloaded with Bloomingdale’s shopping bags.

Obviously, I will be back to the Westfield in the New Century City because I do have to get outdoors every once in a while. However, I’ll probably eat after I work out.

** a year ago today, i had pizza is my westside story **

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  • santos.

    you didn’t take a photo of what i think is the best part of any meal at century city–the plates. oh, and the $1000+ per set janus et cie outdoor seating. i have a plan involving about $30 in red embroidery, black polo shirts, and clipboards where maybe we can pretend to move out a couple sets to um, my volvo downstairs….are you in?

  • Xericx

    I went there the other day. Abosolutely HORRIBLE across the board.

    Chicken Pita with side of Hummus. grossness.

  • TaraMetBlog

    I just ate at that mall over the weekend too, but went to Harpers before the movie. Food was ok, service slow, but atmosphere and manager nice.

  • Anonymous

    Not to be rude Sarah (you’ve been too helpful in recommending places to eat!) – if you spend your days blogging, why do you have a 1 month backlog? Perhaps all of your trips to yummy places to eat?

  • sarah

    santos: we can just sneak in there after hours. the mall, thankfully, closes at 9 PM. (unlike The Internets, which is open 24 hours!)

    xericx: the pita was pretty good. thick and chewy.

    tara: how is harper’s? i am always curious about the “nicer” dining places in malls. then again, the “nicer” places are usually pf chang’s and the cheesecake factory.

    anonymous: how rude! ;) i am just lazy to upload pictures. and what not. but the stories are written. oh the stories!

  • hermz

    I got an announcement in the mail about the opening of the Container Store. Actually, I got two. How am I on that list??

  • Anonymous

    I’m surprised Gulen’s hasn’t gotten better reviews. Their gyros is one of my favorites – reminds me of what I used to get back in Chicago. The lamb kebabs are good too!

  • Horrible

    This place “Gulen’s Mediterranean” tasted bad, it did not taste anything like the real middle eastern food, their tabouleh was horrible, the meat was filled with all kinds of horrible tasting spices and the workers were horrible. BAD JOB GULEN!!! 1/5 is what I’ll rate. P.S the food doesn’t even tast like mediterranean food at all. HORRIBLE

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