According to some, the term Dim Sum in Cantonese means Pointing to your Heart’s Desire. To the more general populace, it is the name given to Chinese appetizers, snacks and some breakfast cuisine. I found my heart’s desire in a quaint little bistro in Studio City called Take a Bao. Located right on Ventura Boulevard, this restaurant offers a great Happy Hour that I was dying to check out. I was also curious to see what feng shui elements are at play here, based solely on the use of rectangles. Rectangles in feng shui are symbolic of the wood element. The wood element is beneficial in a variety of ways, including new life, business growth, and stability in a nurturing environment. It is also considered the ideal shape for a residential dwelling. Wooden rectangles painted an earthy gray are the predominate decoration outside the bar. And inside, the rectangle shape can be seen throughout. Take a look at the the interior below.
Rectangles are everywhere to be seen, from the tabletops, to the shape of the windows and doors,to the chair backs, and even on the table caddies. Now while the restaurant is predominantly modern in its design, I really liked some of the vintage touches added to the environment – such as the elegant blue and white urn pictured here, and the carved side cabinets (painted black to match, of course.) It’s a classy mixture of old and new items.
And now on to the food! The Happy Hour at Take a Bao is quite good, with bao and small plates ranging in the $2.00 – $4.00 category, and alcoholic beverages from $4.00 – $7.00. And their regular menu prices aren’t bad, either. It is more of a casual style restaurant, where one orders from the register, and the items are brought to you. We decided to sit at the bar. And here’s what we had:
Banh Mi Bao – Grilled pork, chiles, carrots, cilantro, bean sprouts and a spicy garlic aioli are the dominate headliners in this masterpiece. Unlike other varieties, the bao here at Take is more like a mushu or a taco, with one’s choice of a white or wheat bun, stuffed with the desired filling, and presented on a wooden board. Lettuce is also available if one doesn’t want the carb of the bun. I opted for the wheat option, pictured above. Savory and mouthwatering, I could have consumed these all night…but I only had the one. Notice the green rectangle underneath the bao. The wood element makes yet another appearance with the material of the cutting board, the rectangular shape of the little mat, and the green color of the little mat…intriguing. The wood element also signifies freshness as well.
Old Fashioned – One of my favorite cocktails, this classic beverage is made with Maker’s Mark bourbon. Notice the large, solitary ice cube in the glass. With only one ice cube, the drink doesn’t get watered down as much as with multiple pieces of ice. Very stylish, this drink is strong and bold – definitely not for the faint of heart.
Tofu Popcorn – Bite-sized tofu cleverly deep fried into the most stunning snack. Garnished with scallions, and served with a delectable cilantro-cashew sauce, these quickly disappeared into the cavernous realms of my stomach. I would venture to say that even those who do not care for tofu would like this dish. I highly recommend it.
Sumac Steak Fries – A timeless bar food classic! These thick cut wands of potato goodness are seasoned to perfection, served with ketchup on the side. Simply great.
The other drinks I had here were:
- Raymond “R” Collection Field Blend – A rich and romantic red wine blend. One can taste the cherry influence amidst the deep tannins
- Gizz Fizz- Vanilla based beverage with Seagram’s Gin. Sweet and refreshing.
- Creamsicle – A dream come true! An amazing mixture of fresh orange juice, vanilla, and vanilla vodka. Not overly sweet, but just right. A perfect dessert cocktail.
The bathrooms here are also a little more social than most. The sink for both restrooms is a long, stainless steel tub located in the hallway with a large mirror above. One aspect I really like here is the use of stones at the bottom of the sink. Stones are an earth element, and when used correctly, can help ground the room from precious chi (energy) draining away down the drain. This is also especially important in keeping abundance and wealth within an environment. For most of my clients, I usually do not recommend stones for the bottom of a sink because they can be difficult to clean. However, I love how it looks, and do this in my own home. If one wants to use these to help keep abundant energy within a residence, I suggest getting smaller stones or river rocks and placing them in a wide bowl or container. Place said container on top of the tank of the toilet, or on a shelf directly above the tank. Rinse these stones out about once a month. If you really like the idea of stones in the sink, I suggest getting perhaps four or five large, flat stones and placing them over the drain. The flatness of the rocks will make them easier to clean, rather than lots of small stones or pebbles. Also, notice the shape of the sink – it’s another rectangle.
Another thing I like about Take a Bao is the convenient parking. In a city where everyone drives, finding parking is important. A generous lot is provided for patrons – this becomes valet in the evening, but during Happy Hour it shouldn’t be an issue. I found parking around the corner near Carpenter Elementary on a residential street. This bar is definitely one of my new favorite spots. Take a Bao deserves a standing ovation.
Take a Bao
11838 Ventura Blvd, Studio City, CA 91604
Hours: Happy Hour: Monday – Friday 4:00 – 6:00, Bar: Monday – Saturday 11:30 – 11:00, Sunday 11:30 – 10:00
Note: Kitchen usually stops serving an hour before closing, except for their special late night menu on Friday and Saturday.