The Fertile Color of Orange

Bouquet of Flowers in Paper Cone 02At the end of summer, I ventured to a beautiful place I hadn’t been to in a very long time – Massachusetts.  My friend Diane, whom I’ve known since college, was getting married.  A group of us made the voyage across the states for the event.  After a smooth flight, my fellow travelers and I were ravenous, so our lovely hosts and friends, Jen and Keith, took us to an impressive restaurant in Cambridge called Abigail’s.

Abigails Street View

Situated on the first floor of a stylish apartment building in Kendall Square, Abigail’s stands out due to the dynamic orange umbrellas that adorn the dining patio.

Abigails Signage

The restaurant boasts a full bar with a choice beer and wine selection, gourmet food offerings including many BBQ specialties, and a raw bar.  Their brunch menu also looks tantalizing.

Abigails Outside View

As the night was beautiful and tranquil, we chose to sit outside.  This was the view across the street from where I was sitting.  Notice the healthy, thriving trees – a prime example of the wood element.

Diane in Magenta 02

The vision in fuchsia above is the lovely Diane, whose wedding I attended later on in the week.

Dark and Stormy

Dark and Stormy – This is one of my favorite beverages.  Dark rum and ginger beer served over ice, with a lime wedge as garnish.    A simple classic, but Abigail’s does it very well; I ordered two.  The Moscow Mule is similar, except that it uses vodka instead of dark rum.  Sweet and refreshing.

Abigails Seaweed Salad

Seaweed Salad – A selection off of their Raw Bar menu, I had to try it.  Unlike most seaweed salads, this rendition had pieces of edamame mixed throughout.  Light and invigorating.

Abigails Burger and Fries

Fresh Ground Burger and Gouda Fries – American cheese melted onto a ground beef burger, with grilled onions, pickles, and iceberg lettuce on a delicious potato bun.  Their special sauce  is served alongside, similar to a savory aoili.  Satisfying and filling.  For $3.00 more, one can swap standard fries for Gouda Fries.  Small pieces of bacon swim throughout a river of chicken gravy that cover thick-cut fries.   Decadent and addictive.

Abigails Bar

Another item on the menu that caught my eye was a side dish called Summer Chi.  In feng shui, we refer to positive energy as chi.  Summer chi = summer energy.  It turns out the chi dish is a medley of seasonal summer vegetables, which I found intriguing.  (No one at the table ordered it, hence there is no photograph of said chi.)  Industrial Light Fixture

Inside, a long bar extends nearly the whole length of the establishment.  Cool bucket lights hang over the bar, while very industrial sconces take residence in front of the windows.  I really like the metal energy the window fixtures encompass.  Somewhat like a cage housing a rare light source.  I’ve love to have two or three of these lining the balcony of my home in Los Angeles.

Abigails Art

I was fascinated by this enigmatic art piece, which hangs near the main entrance.  I love how the grays, blacks and yellows all mix together in a beneficial way.  Earth, metal, and water elements harmonize here in thought-provoking fashion – an ideal example of good feng shui art in a highly modern style.

Abigail Interior Seating

Shades of yellow and gray, with a little black here and there, are the main colors used throughout.

Frilly Victorian Parasol Orange

In feng shui, the color orange is a dynamic, cheerful shade symbolic of the west.  There is debate as to whether it is representative of the fire element or the earth element.  I would actually say it works for both.  The hue is representative of creativity, fertility, organization, and social interactions.  The color orange can be used in a variety of positive ways:

  • Add some orange pillows or an orange throw to a living room sofa.  This will foster a more social, creative energy in the space.
  • Use as a paint color for kitchens, dining rooms, and children’s play areas.   The color used in these rooms creates a warm, social atmosphere with good conversation.
  • If one is trying to have a baby, add more orange to the bedroom.  The walls can be a painted orange, but it should be an earthy or muted orange, or change some of the curtains or bedding to an orange shade.
  • When used in small doses, orange is excellent for offices as it increases productivity and helps to establish an organized environment.
  • To stimulate creativity, wear the color orange in any shade you desire.  It should be an item you like that is comfortable and stylish.  (I have a rust color cardigan that suits me perfectly.)
  • Eat oranges!  They stimulate one’s immune system with vitamin C and other healthy nutrients.

Personally, I consume a lot of oranges in the form of orange juice.  (I can’t seem to get enough of it.)  My next trip to the Boston area will  hopefully be sometime next spring or summer.  But one thing is definitely certain – I will be visiting Abigail’s again where I plan on eating some oysters underneath one of those vibrant orange umbrellas.

Abigails Umbrellas

Abigail’s Restaurant

291 3rd Street, Cambridge, MA 02140


Hours:  Monday – Friday 11:30 am – 1:00 am,  Saturday 5:00 pm – 1:00 am,  Sunday 11:00 am – 1:00 am

Note:  Closed for lunch on Saturdays.

A Feng Shui Cookbook!

One of my favorite things to do is browse used bookstores.  I could do this for hours, and have – literally.  Or, if I don’t feel so inclined to leave the house, I do it online.  When browsing the plethora of books available on the world-wide web, I stumbled upon an intriguing and thought-provoking book called Feng Shui Food.  This cookbook is a collaborative effort between feng shui consultant Simon Brown,  and restaurant chef Steven Saunders.  Simon Brown has been a feng shui consultant since 1993, and operates Chi Energy, a holistic health institute in London.  He was also one of the first practitioners to bring feng shui classes to the United Kingdom.  Steve Saunders is a highly acclaimed chef.  Having worked on many televised cooking shows (including his own), he is the co-director of the Aspire Group, a restaurant company that has dining establishments all over the United Kingdom, as well as a few exotic locales.  Both gentlemen have authored numerous books, but this is their only joint venture.  So I purchased Feng Shui Food, and awaited its hasty arrival.

The book gives an intriguing, fresh perspective to cooking along feng shui guidelines.   Divided into five separate sections, the first chapter deals with feng shui basics, yin and yang theory, the five elements, as well as what things attract healthy chi to a kitchen.  The second chapter is nearly all recipes for appetizers and soups, entrees, side dishes, and desserts.  These are organized by yin and yang, with more yin items on the left side of the page, and yang items situated on the right.  Also, the two British authors give corresponding commentary about each dish, both from culinary and feng shui perspectives.

The third chapter, titled Menus for Success, looks at ways to create a certain kind of atmosphere, depending on what one is attempting to achieve.  From a romantic dinner for two, to a children’s lunch, to a meal for reconciliation.  In addition to even more recipes, this section also has a wide variety of tips and suggestions.  The fourth chapter goes into this further, for specific special events, such at weddings or Christmas dinner.  The fifth chapter is all about dining outside of the home.  They include ideas about selecting the right kind of environment for dining depending on the occasion.  An appendix is also located at the back, with even further recipes for oils, sauces, breads, desserts, and a few other items (some of which are required for recipes located elsewhere in the book).  Nearly all of the recipes in Feng Shui Food are vegetarian or pescatarean in nature.   Energy, or chi,  is in our food as well, and when one consumes animal flesh or animal products (dairy or eggs), we take in the energy of that creature.  A certain amount of “dead energy” comes with eating meat, hence why most of the recipes in this book are vegetable or fish based.  Although I support the vegetarian lifestyle completely, I am definitely a carnivore.  But, when I crave a hamburger or New York steak, I tend to look for more organic and humane options.  The book suggests – and I agree – that organic is the best way to go for all food items, when possible.

Many of the informative tidbits s in Feng Shui Food are highly valuable, especially when it comes to attaining a balanced meal from a feng shui perspective.  And all of the recipes are simply mouthwatering.   But then came the difficult part – which recipe do I start with?  I decided to go with Petit Pois a la Francaise, located on page 54 of the book.   I selected this side dish because I liked all of the ingredients, and it seemed rather easy to make.  Although I did play with some of the components.

2 pounds of fresh or frozen peas are the main act in this dish.  I opted for the frozen sweet peas from a fine French store I frequent known as Target  (Their Market Pantry selection of generic food items are very high quality – especially their instant oatmeal).  Rather than use the required shallots, I used finely diced scallions.  I also didn’t have any vegetable broth.  Since I had no present desire to my own, so I took a shortcut by way of beef bouillon.  I also neglected to purchase fresh mint,   so I opted for rosemary as a substitute.

One thing I loved about these peas is they use honey to add a distinct sweet flavor.  Although it requires only one tablespoon, I added a little over two.   I was also concerned about the heavy cream required.  I was expecting it to be cream laden, but the ratio of cream to peas is pretty sparse, so calorie-wise, it isn’t too bad.  Tahini can also be substituted for the cream.

Other than my few alterations, I followed the recipe exactly.  The final product is pictured above.  The recipe states that it’s for four people (nearly all of the recipes in the book are for a party of four).  Here, I disagree.  This amount would easily serve anywhere between six to eight individuals.   While I enjoyed the rosemary, I feel the mint would have complimented the honey on the vegetables much better.  Element wise, I love how wood-based this meal is, with the greenery and fresh herbs.  Simon Brown also indicates this dish is great for wanting to be more creative or more inspired, and I agree completely.  I’ve been adding these peas to Chinese fried rice, macaroni and cheese, scrambled eggs, or leaving as is as the perfect side dish.

Where is the best place to get this wondrous book?  Published in the UK in 1999, and United States in 2000, one’s best bet would be online.  I’ve compiled a list of the most affordable places to order Feng Shui Food below:

This book is sensational, and I highly recommend it to any novice or experienced chef.  As for my further culinary adventures with Feng Shui Food, I plan on making their Lemon Oil and Basil Oil (or perhaps combining the two), Honey and Raspberry Fool, Fried Lentil Cakes with Cumin, and  Lasagna of Spinach Pasta and Wild Mushrooms.  I better get started cooking…