Street of Dreams: Susan Feniger’s Culinary Delights

Street Restaurant Sign

Years ago when I first visited New York, my friend Petra insisted that I try all of the classic street food Manhattan had to offer.  This included the bagel, the pizza slice, the hot dog, the pretzel, and the ever famed knish (and a few others).  As I ventured around the city,  I would occasionally spot a food stand or truck, and would try one of the items on the list.  It was shortly after this trip that I started really paying attention to street food and food trucks for unique culinary experiences.  Coincidentally, shortly after I returned to Los Angeles, the food truck craze was just coming into vogue.  Since then, I have had some amazing meals and memories created around sidewalk food.  So when my friend Kristy suggested we dine at Susan Feniger’s Street, I was thrilled and ecstatic.  I’d been wanting to try Street for ages, and the tantalizing cuisine far exceeded my expectations.

Indian Iced Soda

While waiting for our table, we sat inside at the bar and ordered some drinks.  I went with the Indian Lime Soda.  I found this to be quite similar to a Gimlet.  A generous amount of fresh lime juice and gin, served over ice.  Celery salt and cumin rim the glass.  The libation provides the ideal balance of yin and yang with the flavors, from sweet to savory, and from mellow to tart.  Absolutely excellent.

Crisps and Jelly

We were seated outside on their elegant patio. Unobtrusive umbrellas create a protective awning under which we sat.   These crisps, pictured above, came complimentary with the meal.  I found them highly addictive.  I didn’t sample the jelly that accompanied them, because I found they were tasty enough on their own.

Biig Fred's Red

We brought a bottle of wine with us from one of my favorite wineries, Robert Renzoni out of Temecula.  This is a fine table wine called Big Fred’s Red.  Hints of cherry and blueberry come across gallantly, with a slight oaken tinge.  Sensational and divine.  We then ordered a bottle from Street’s impressive wine list.  We went with their Barbera.  Unfortunately, I cannot recall the winery it is from, but it is the only Barbera they have, and only available by the whole bottle.  It was a rich, smooth red that accompanied the food perfectly.  I loved it.

Potato Samosas

Potato Samosas – Golden pyramids of delectable potato served deep-fried with a trio of sauces:  minty yogurt, cucumber chilli and a tamarind chutney.  Each Indian based sauce was savory and impeccable, and good alone or mixed with the others.  The samosas come four to an order, and are purely sublime.  I could eat them all day.

Chicken and Waffles

Chicken, Bacon, and Waffle Croquettes – Two chicken and bacon “meatballs”, reposed on a lounge of comfy waffle.   Enshrouded in a mildly spicy maple syrup, this was a scrumptious delight.  Here, too, is another prime example of the yin and yang of taste, where savory meets sweet.  I also like how the waffle is cut on the diagonal, adding the triangle shape of the fire element to the dish.

Angry Eggs

Angry Eggs – These, too, have the fire element present, but more in the form of heat – as in the use of green and red sriracha.  A nouveau take on the classic deviled variety, these eggs have a burst of spice.  Two pieces come to an order.  Zesty and unforgettable.

Kaya Eggs

Kaya Toast – This is my friend Lori’s favorite item at Street, and it may be their best-selling dish.  A generous amount of thick coconut jam is sandwiched between toast, and then cut into fours mini sandwiches.  Served alongside is a runny fried egg covered in soy sauce.  The correct way to eat this is to dip the coconut  sandwich into the yolk and soy and eat it with a little of the egg.  Delicious and decadent.

Pizza of the Day

The Daily Pizza – Street offers five different items that change every day, which include a Pizza, a Rice Bowl, a Salad, an Asian Inspired Noodle, and a Market Vegetable.  Pictured above was that day’s Daily Pizza.  Caramelized onions and bacon gave a highly tasteful performance here.  I also really liked the crust.  I generally prefer thin to thick crust, but even then I leave the end piece on the plate.  Not here.   The crust, end piece, and all the toppings were quickly devoured.

Fish and Chips

Fish and Chips – Thick cuts of yucca fries act as the sidekick to strips of  fluffy striped bass.  An enticing Peruvian panca sauce is drizzled on top.  Succulent and well-seasoned.

Tatsutage Fried Chicken

Tatsutage Fried Chicken-Japanese style fried chicken.  The breading on the chicken is astounding and rich.  Shredded carrots and an alluring white sauce garland the morsels.  Tofu can also be substituted for the chicken.  Almost rapturous in its taste, this was one of my favorites.  A must-have.

We also had three items that are not pictured:

  • Pumpkin Cauliflower Cannelloni – Gentle cannelloni filled predominantly with pumpkin.  I love anything with pumpkin, and this vegan pasta dish was intoxicating and filling.
  • Street Cheeseburger – My friend Zach got this, and I’m so glad he did.  A mouthwatering burger with all the usual accoutrement.  I really liked the brioche bun it was served on.  This is quite a large burger, good either as a whole meal, or shared with friends.  Phenomenal.
  • The Daily Rice Bowl – As I said earlier, their daily options change.   When we went, our server Chris highly recommended the rice bowl, and he was right to do so.  Saffron and curry were the main influences of the rice, with luscious pieces of eggplant throughout.  Refreshingly different and complex in flavor.   So good!

Street Patio Interior

I really love the use of color Street encompasses.  The dominating hues on the patio are black and orange.  In feng shui, orange  represents creativity, legacy and fertility.  It also offers a lot of yang energy to the environment, being very warm and lively.  Whereas black, a more yin, cool color, helps to balance out the orange.  I also found all five of the elements harmonizing beautifully here:

  • Fire – The red-orange walls, candles and subdued lighting, as well as the fire pit residing in the middle.
  • Earth – The wood parts of the dining tables and chairs.  When wood is cut down, it effectively “dies” as a wood element.  Therefore, it returns to the earth, becoming an earth element.
  • Metal – The metal parts of the dining tables and chairs.
  • Water – The color black encompassing the furniture and woodwork.
  • Wood – ???

But where was the wood element?  I couldn’t see any living wood at first.  And then I saw them – two large palm trees rising from the ground.  The restaurant environment coexists peacefully around the two living plants.  This is one of the best examples of the wood element I’ve seen in a restaurant.  A photograph of one of these monolithic trees is at the end of the post.

Street Bar

The architect for Street was Neil M. Denari.  Internationally known for his modern, almost futuristic residential and commercial creations, this was Denari’s first restaurant design.  Working closely with Feniger, they wanted to create a space that was welcoming and provocative.  Energy flows very well within the environment, and I love the unique shapes presented in the architecture.  Pictured above is the area right over the entryway and bar.  I love how the curvature of the walls and the wood paneling, further enhanced by the lighting, reminds me of a subway tunnel or an underground walkway.  Thus carrying out the Street theme on varying levels.

Street Interior

The restaurant’s interior offers a more subdued swankiness.  Wood and fire are represented quite differently here than on the patio.  The colors red for fire, and green for wood, are expressed in the hues of the spirited illustrations on the walls.  The murals and wall decor throughout are the products of Studio Huntley-Muir.  Su Huntley and Donna Muir are London-based artists whose innovative line drawings create an ambiance of a lively city populace.  I love how the drawings of people walking about lend to the space an animated yang energy, which is highly beneficial for a dining environment.

Our Server, Chris, was quite knowledgeable about the menu.  His suggestions were spot on, and we were taken care of very well.  Susan Feniger herself also comes around to greet tables personally, which I found wonderful!  She genuinely cares that her guests have an outstanding dining experience on each visit.

Street also has a new Happy Hour, which features a few choice food selections, $5.00 beer and wine options, as well as a $5.00 valet, from 5:00pm – 7:00pm on weekdays.  They also have many vegetarian and vegan options every day, and Meatless Mondays, where even more non-carnivorous items are available.   They also serve lunch on Fridays, with select $5.00 cocktails at the bar from 12:00 – 7:00.  I will be returning to Street very soon for said Happy Hour, and also for their Weekend Brunch (The Hawaiian French Toast sounds incredible).   This auspicious restaurant provides its guests with a trip around the world all under one roof, with various avenues to satisfy even the most discriminating of tastes.  I wonder if, on my next visit, I may find a cheesy knish on the menu…

Street Only Tree

Susan Feniger’s Street

742 North Highland Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90038

323 203-0500

Hours:  Dinner:  Sunday – Thursday  5:00 pm – 10:00 pm,  Friday – Saturday 5:00 pm  – 11:00 pm,  Brunch:  Saturday – Sunday 11:00 am – 3:00 pm,  Lunch:  Friday 12:00 pm – 3:00 pm,  Happy Hour – Monday – Friday 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm

http://www.eatatstreet.com/

The Tequila of L’Scorpion

In ancient Chinese folklore, the scorpion was believed to be one of the Five Poisons, which were five creatures that could cause great harm to people, especially during the summer months.  The first of these five were the snake, centipede and scorpion.  The last two would either be the toad, lizard, spider, or tiger depending on the source of the information.  But all of the sources agree on the first three.  During that era, it was believed that special amulets would protect the wearer from these so-called troublemakers.  It was more likely, however, that these little fiends were probably attracted to the cool environment of buildings from the harsh summer heat, hence why they would cause mischief more so in summer.   The Chinese were not the only ones to notice these  pests.  In Lebanon, The Temple of Eshmun is an ancient sanctuary devoted to the Phoenician God of Healing.  One of the only remaining frescoes on these ruins depicts a snake, centipede, scorpion, and crab, all symbolic of injury and illness.   In modern times, while the scorpion can still cause trouble,  it has redeemed itself in a variety of ways.  Medicinally, scorpion venom has been used in many applications, such as in the treatment for brain cancer,  in dermatological use, and as a pain reliever.  Of course, there is one scorpion that I find to be highly beneficial, and that is tequila serving one known as L’Scorpion.

My friend Katherine and I came here the other night for an incredible tequila tasting, and we were both quite impressed.  The lounge is nestled among costume stores and restaurants on Hollywood Boulevard, not too far from Hollywood and Highland.  I love the elaborate metalwork on the bar and glass doors.  Shades of vibrant red throughout, from the outside awning to the booths upholstery in back, add passion and warmth to the environment, as does the sensual lighting.

Lanterns and sconces, as well as a vintage tin-tiled ceiling are the prime examples of the metal in the space.  I love when buildings incorporate brick into their design, be it natural brick or brick veneer.  Here it  adds a beautiful and stylish earth element to the setting, which acts a bridge between the fire and metal elements.   The curvature of the metalwork adds a much-needed water element to the area, with the rectangular shapes of the bar and the very room itself symbolizing the final element, wood.  Even though it is made of metal, I would also venture to stay that the stripper pole in the rear of the lounge is another example of wood energy feeding fire – or as creative energy feeding passion.  It’s discretely displayed, while still being very attainable to all the patrons – should the mood strike them to use it.  Neither Katherine nor I felt the inclination.  The enormously high ceilings – I’m estimating them to be about eighteen feet high – also assist in a good flow of chi throughout the environment.

Four different tequilas were served to us, ranching from mescal (with an actual scorpion inside the bottle) to a nine months aged tequila.  All of them were good, but my favorite by far was the third option provided by Don Julio – which happens to be my favorite brand of tequila.

Guacamole with Chips – A generous portion of guacamole was served to us on a large platter, with strips of white corn tortilla chips.   L’Scorpion’s guacamole has a sting to it, with fresh green jalapenos added to the party.  Zesty and sensational;  I loved it!

Carnitas Tacos – We each got two carnitas tacos, and they were incredible.  The carnitas was some of the best I’ve ever had.  A small mound of refried beans accompanied the dish.  I added some to my tacos, and it was perfect!  I also like the modern presentation of the tacos on rectangular plates.

Flan – I feel all flan should be consumed by candlelight.  Light-as-air, this was the ideal addition to the meal.   It was impressive on its own, but when paired with the tequila, it was overwhelmingly  good.

In addition to their abundant tequila selection, L’Scorpion also offers a choice drink menu.  I went with their Jalapeno Margarita, because I like it spicy and full of yang energy.  On the rocks with salt and limes, this was a refreshing and strong libation.  The jalapeno in it offered just enough of a slap to get one’s attention.  I may get it just a little spicier next time, just to see how it is.   Katherine ordered the Paloma, which consists of tequila and Squirt soda mixed together with fresh lime juice.  Unbeknownst to me, it is quite popular to mix Squirt and tequila together in various parts of Mexico.  Citrus is the main forerunner of tastes in this beverage.    Intriguing.

As it’s located in the heart of Hollywood, parking can be a difficult task.  I would suggest bringing cash for one of the paid lots.  Another option is to take the metro and exit at Hollywood and Highland.  I did this and then walked the two short blocks to the bar.  Just remember the subway closes around midnight.  If you are going for a more mellow, yin mood, I would advise  going early in the evening when they open at 6:00.  However, if you want more of a lively, yang mood, go later in the evening after 10:00.  L’Scorpion will definitely needle its way into heart and soul – but don’t worry.  The perfect inoculation is more tequila.

L’Scorpion Tequila Bar

6679 Hollywood Boulevard, Hollywood, CA 90028

951 250-3800

Hours:  Sunday – Friday  6:00 pm – 2:00 am,  Saturday 1:30pm – 2:00 am

http://lscorpion.com/