I have two separate experiences to shape my review of AAMC.
One is for emergency, weekend treatment of an exotic animal and the other for two older cats and their annual exam and shots.
The emergency visit went well, and I was pleased that I could see an exotic vet with experience with degu (gerbil-like animals that most vets won't see or know nothing about) and they identified over a short period of time, several problems and settled on a comlete hypothesis of why my degu was sick.
I did not like paying the $140 for the emergency visit - but again - no other vet would even look at this type of animal let alone a first visit on a weekend!!! So for that, I am grateful. I ended up euthanizing the animal +$28 because his problem was systemic and lifelong. He was suffering. I made sure to ask them not to perform any treatment without telling me the cost first - this is necessary at all vets. They did have a Tufts intern talk with me face to face - the vets in the back area were examining him and telling the person I talked with what was happening to my little guy. He was also VERY realistic about my options and did not pressure me to try to keep him alive or put him to sleep. He was professional and kind. [October 2009]
The annual visit for my cats was the first time switching them from a small private vet in a different state. The vet who saw them at AAMC was great. She was friendly, smart, and thorough. She also had an assistant to help her hold the cats and record information. The vet (Dr. Mazza) came out to greet me in the waiting room and administered the cat's shots. I don't think the price was too bad - it was ~$125 per cat for the exam and a rabies shot and the other 4 in one shot. Expensive, yes, but not ridiculously. $11 is included - but you only have to pay the "registration fee" once for a new pet. The vet also had a realistic approach to vaccination which was that my indoor cats do not NEED to be tested for leukemia and aids if they have no symptoms and are kept indoors - I was afraid this was going to be a sticking point. She also discouraged a fecal smear test that I suggested. Cool. They were healthy. Nothing more to prove. Oh, and she even looked up the calories I said I was feeding them each day since they are a little overweight and on a strict diet. She could only recommend increasing their exercise and not feeding them any less. [October 2009]
They have PARKING! and separate waiting areas for different types of pet so they don't mix and stress each other out.
The assistants can introduce you to the line and analyze your skin type and recommend products skillfully. I found a few things there I liked. The return policy is great too - except for the pushy attempt at converting one of my returns. I was told the the moisturizer I wanted to return was doing a good job for me and then I just needed to buy 1 more product of oil to put on my skin first. I have very oily skin and am not about to apply oil just to apply a moisturizer. Anyway. They give excellent coupons in the mail if you get on their list.
PROS: good coupons, return policy
CONS: can be pushy about returns
The ladies at French Hand Laundry know the chemistry behind their craft and formulate specifically for various fabrics and materials. They can also mend and clean things you didn't think could be fixed although my experience is with getting a water spot out of satin which they said had not been successful - but looked 100% better to me so I could wear the top again. They also care for the clothing of the Autrey Museum and the day I went in, several of Madonna's costumes were hanging to be cleaned and archived in her collection. Park on the street. Not inexpensive enough for all my cleaning.
PROS: knowledge and skill with unique situations, choice of museums
CONS: not the cheapest.
This place uses an environmentally friendly process for dry cleaning that did not clean my machine washable dress pants. I asked to have a water spot from using Dryel taken out and did not want the fabric abraided in a machine. The pants came back with the same spot. So, I went home and hand washed them in my sink. They dried perfectly. No thanks Fashion Cleaners. Communication was NOT clear.
PROS: lack of attention to detail, poor communication
CONS: expensive, dubious value.
Other places are too expensive or offer disappointing results like leaving the garment dirty when you've specifically pointed out the spot to clean, or pinning pants onto a hangar! Not Nu Way. They are professional every time and treat my clothing with care. The alterations I've had done were excellent - taking in pants and shorts and patching a small hole. Clear communication.
PROS: price, quality
CONS: Have to drive to La Canada
Aram is great with altering dress hems or changing the design of a dress to make it look more flattering or suited to your personality. She is not cheap, but she takes her time with you (no credit payments) and you can trust your special pieces with her. Talent beyond mere hemming. The shop itself it small, but you can find some unique fashion clothing there and unique fashion jewelery.
PROS: Talent, skill
CONS: cash payment, not cheap
I've found unique honey, oil, soap, bread, sauces, and soup here at this small but full shop. You can buy freshly prepared sides and entrees like their delicious cumin carrots with cilantro or fingerling potatoes and herbs or packaged to go sandwiches, brownies, and salads. Their frozen section carries larger version of soups, lasagna and pastas. I enjoy the salmon terrine, various aoilis, coulis, and cream sauces and the imported chocolates. Choices vary but you can purchase a fresh three course meal that looks and tastes like you took hours to make. The service is good.
PROS: variety, quality
I bought a great Jade Harmony natural rubber yoga mat here. A lot of yoga stores sell only pvc mats which are not as environmentally responsible to produce. They sell the owner, Shagagi's DVDs for Hatha yoga here too. The 2 studios which you pass to arrive in the back where the store is are kept dark and there is a mysterious quality to the lighting and incense in the place. It seems intimidating as a beginner to contemplate practicing there. If your are looking for a more spiritual place, as one reviewer put it, the atmophere may certainly aide you.
Perfect gifts for anyone from healthy fruit (don't offer all options in-store) to decadent truffles and sauces. Mostly foods skew toward the dessert end. I give my diabetic mother the sugar free moose munch. The chocolate covered fruits are good too.