Viva Fresh Mexican Grill, Culver City {restaurant}

Viva Fresh Mexican Grill - Fresh Salsas
02. So, what’s YOUR Name?

I say I “registered for” like I just wiped the ramen broth from my bottom lip with the less-conspicuous wrist-side of my navy flannel pajama sleeve, walk-scoot-rolled up to my desk in my too-cheap-to-be-real-Herman-Miller chair and spent 25 seconds signing up like someone signs up for*. Email address. Password. Easy.

It wasn’t easy. At the third step, I stopped…

They asked me for a username.

Whoa whoa whoa. You want my username from the get-go? Isn’t that, like, a little soon? Like referring to me by Mrs. YourLastName before we’ve even left the bar? Not that it was early just because it was early, but I didn’t have one. If a username is required within the first few seconds in order to continue the registration process, that means you basically have to already have one before you even actually register.

Who has a username already picked out, as if we just sit around on Sunday afternoons coming up with representative-but-not-too-revealing usernames like QueSyrahSyrah (I’m punny and drink wine and my actual name might be Sarah) or QueCornasCornas (I’m punny and a wine nerd) or TacosNTruffles (both down to earth and likes to enjoy life’s luxuries) to file away for use when the occasion suddenly arises, like the nanosecond you decide to register for an online dating site? Shouldn’t we wait until after we go through that whole “getting to know you” Q&A and get comfortable and see what our own answers about what kind of movies we like and our ideal way to spend a vacation reveal about ourselves before we permanently brand ourselves with the hot iron of a couple of words on which so much — dare I say “everything,” yes I dare — on which everything rides?

Alone in my apartment at 3 AM on a weekend night trying to get to that point where I wouldn’t be alone at 3 am on a weekend night, I actually may have been spouting all of this to my computer screen, out loud.

Your username could be the beginning of happily ever before. Your username — the actual words, how it’s spelled, capitalization, clever use of non-alpha-numeric characters — could be what catches TheOne’s eye as he scrolls through his emailed matches. An entire future montage of Krug Champagne, shared small plates, weekends in Palm Springs, Sunday night suppers, and then diamonds, ivory silk and layers of tulle could be wholly dependent on the username that you choose. You need time to put some deep, strategic thought into a username, otherwise you might pick something so ineffectual that it could potentially end a beautiful life journey together before it even begins!

I’m a marketer. Names, logos, anything that represents your brand is my daily occupation. It took me months, no literally, months, to come up with my blog name after multiple namestorming sessions, whiteboarding, and tossing around Harvey balls. (I still have the full list of possible blog names, taglines and header designs from 2004. Let me help you start a food blog!) It takes me days to pick out a check design and matching address label that will accurately represent me to the only person who ever sees my checks, the bookeeper in my landlord’s office (mine are Hello Kitty). I’m pretty sure I took all four years in high school to pick out my senior quote that is forever associated with me because it is immortalized in print next to a black and white half-page portrait of myself in prescription sunglasses, a Limited sweater and a very bad perm.

How was I supposed to pick a username on the spot?!

I was caught off-guard. I was flustered. I can’t do this.

Bitches gotta eat. But bitches also gotta lotta work to do and have neither the time nor the psychological capacity to pick a username.

I buckled under the mental exhaustion from just thinking about thinking of a username and clicked right out of the site. Nope, I am not doing this.

But then I went back and found the FAQs! Turns out, you can change your username.

As with so many other things in life, I had overestimated the level of commitment required, overreacted, and undermined my own future happiness.

Also? You can change your gender. So, you know, there’s that.

What You Missed and of Course, More to Come

00. Preface
01. Exhausted. Desperate. Starving.
Viva Fresh Mexican Grill - Veggie Burrito

Viva Fresh Mexican Grill

Viva Fresh Mexican Grill isn’t dirty, dive-y, and hidden enough to be a cool foodie date place, nor is it one of those douche-y “elevated Mexican” restaurants that are fancy enough for you to hate the food but at least get to put on a dress that’s on the sluttiest end of sophisticated that you can get away with. It’s just a small, clean, fast-casual Mexican restaurant in a strip mall near LAX that you stop by on your way home from picking up your sister and brother-in-law who haven’t eaten a decent taco in weeks because they’ve been in Korea.

I ate a Veggie Burrito the one time I went to Viva Fresh. It was pretty good.

The best thing about Viva Fresh is their salsa bar, which is — you guessed it — fresh.

The second best thing is their beverage selection. They have cans of both Budweiser and Bud Light with Clamato, which of course, might possibly be the worst name ever for a drink. Or for anything.

(expert dating tip: Don’t ever use the word “taco” or “clam” in your online dating username.)

Viva Fresh Mexican Grill
6515 Sepulveda Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90045
Clamato Budweiser

Viva Fresh Mexican Grill - Burrito Butt

Viva Fresh Mexican Grill

Viva Fresh Mexican Grill

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  • Diane

    Sarah, Sarah! Help me start a food blog! I actually brainstormed names with friends on video chat today, and the best anyone came up with was, “Diane, A Broad.”

    • Sarah J. Gim

      diane! start a food blog! yes!

      what do you want to write about/focus on? dining out, cooking, culinary travel? (“Diane, a Broad” would be perfect if it’s food travel) just general food obsessionism?!

      • Diane

        I’ve got a bare-bones one started (with a working title) at I think I generally focus on the last, but I just happen to be abroad for a year or so, so there’s a lot of travel in there as well.

      • thyme (sarah)

        Sorry to ‘butt right in here’  but I think that name is fantastic.  I love the double meaning, especially if you are on some sort of assignment/move “abroad”.  People LOVE reading about people living and eating in foreign cultures!  Sorry..I’ll “butt out” down.  Too much coffee this morning!

    • Sarah J. Gim

      diane! so i hadn’t realized you had already started it (until i clicked your comment) so yes, it’s sort of travel… Diane, a Broad is so cute! and lets you continue with that name if/when you go somewhere else besides Paris :)

      • Diane, A Broad

        Done aaand done.

      • Sarah J. Gim

         diane! love it! glad you are now in it! :D good luck trying to get out…

  • Sarah

    This is so funny! Before my fiance met me he tried the online dating thing and his username was– wait for it– Charmingly_Helpless. He later admitted that this conjures images of a baby bird in sunglasses trying to pick up chicks.

    • Sarah J. Gim

      aw, but that name is actually kind of cute! like prince charming who’s sort of just lost (make me think of most of the Disney princes, actually)

  • Cjdeboer

    Laughing so hard, so recognisable!!! I had to write up a couple of lines on who I am and what makes me tick and what makes me happy, like a short commercial to lure in potential buyers. I wrote, I posted, I shut off computer (it was late, in a weekend, I was home alone). Reactions did really come.  When rereading what I wrote, I was sure of it: I have got to be the most boring person around and NO man was gonna go for that crap: I’m happy when my house smells of fresh laundry.. it’s true but I don’tnecessarily get a man’s vote with THAT line.. it was back to the drawing board! But great fun, hope for you too!!  

    • Sarah J. Gim

      cjdeboer: how hilarious is it that on the “Favorite Things” section of my profile, I had “smell of fresh laundry?!?!”

  • thyme (sarah)

    You so have me HOOKED in with your clever stories.  I am laughing, giggling, and downright guffawing at your hilarious play-by-play thoughts on the “user name” for your dating site.  They should make a movie about your life and pair it with food blogging because…it is REALLY funny!  

  • Pictures Of Stars

    Thanks for sharing the information . I loved your post. it is nice to be here. you have lot of stuff to read. Keep posting ….

  • Barbara | Creative Culinary

    Funny and right on. My daughter is thinking about using; I’ll forewarn her to be prepared.

  • rooth

    HAHA, good tip about not using “taco” or “clam” – love your blog and looking forward to reading more

    • Sarah J. Gim

       rooth! thank you! looking forward to writing more! (if i can ever get past these daily writing blocks!)

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