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 Preservation Society

Author and naturalist Diane Ackerman once said, “Nothing is more memorable than a smell.  One scent can be unexpected, momentary and fleeting, yet conjure up a childhood summer beside a lake in the mountains.”  There is a new coalition in Burbank that is taking the senses of smell and taste to an extraordinary new level,  known as the women of The Preservation Society.  Co-founded by Chandra McLaughlin (left) and Kristin Vanderlip Taylor (right), their company produces some of the best pickles, relishes, jams and preserves in Los Angeles.   I caught up with them at their recent display booth at the Burbank Ladies Night Out.  This gathering of artisans and  food trucks  takes place on the last Friday of every month at Magnolia Park.  (I’m not altogether sure why they call it Ladies Night Out, as it’s mostly a family oriented event, but I’ll go along with it.)  Their display table had a myriad of samples to try, both sweet and savory, such as their Curry Pumpkin Pickles (pictured below).

The society was created at time when both women were experiencing some challenging alterations in their lives.  One beneficial(and feng shui) way to cope with stress is to turn to a hobby that allows one to create something meaningful and tangible to them.   Some choose to knit, or build things, write or paint.  Whatever the item, the creative wood energy put into the object benefits their environment and life in a positive manner, while helping to reduce stress.  Kristin and Chandra both enjoy the culinary arts.  It was during these arduous times that their pantry shelves began filling up with the most unusual and tasty canned items.

Why exactly are these specific relishes and preserves considered to be good from a feng shui standpoint?  For one, the creative and positive energy put into each jar can be tasted in the recipe, versus, say, something made on an assembly line in a factory.  Factory items usually lack that human influence that goes into handmade food.  They also use mostly organic ingredients.  Our bodies absorb the energy of everything we consume.  Whenever possible, is it always better to choose the organic option of an item over its chemically altered counterpart.  Not only are organic fruits and vegetables healthier for you, they will usually taste much better as well.   (My best friend didn’t care much for tomatoes, until she tried an organic one right off the vine.  Now she can’t get enough of them – as long as they are organic.)

Another feng shui aspect of The Preservation Society is their science of taste.   In addition to being based on produce readily available, each recipe is bold and dynamic in their use of flavorful combinations.   Take their Apricot Saffron with White Pepper preserves (pictured below).   The pepper and saffron (yang elements in this instance), with apricots (a yin element here),  is an alluring example of the taste balance of yin/yang.  Another example would be their Jalapeno Lime Jelly, combining the yin (in this case) of limes with the yang of jalapenos.   Their whole product line can be deconstructed in this manner.  The jams and preserves are much more yin in nature, given the sweetness of the spreads.  Whereas the pickles and relishes are more in the yang category, due to their zesty and piquant impressions.  There is also the aspect of shape and color.  Each canned item has a beautiful, rich hue.  I was most taken with their Spicy Fancy Carrots.  I usually despise carrots, but the warm and passionate colors the heirloom carrots naturally provide really draw one in.  I may have to try them.

Here are the ones I have had either in the recent past, or am currently enjoying:

  • Blueberry Acai Preserves – Purely sublime.  Rich blueberries in a thick spread.  The acai acts as a subtle dance partner here.  Perfect on toast or pancakes.
  • Lime and Juniper Berry Marmalade – Absolutely astounding!  When a little of this is added to a glass of lemonade, or to a gin and tonic, the taste experience is unforgettable.  However, the last jar I purchased was so good, I ended up using it all on toast before I could make a gin and tonic.  Oh well, next time.
  • Dill Chard Stem Relish – Sensational.  A tangy and zesty use for the part of chard that usually gets discarded.  I use this as a topping for fish fillets or chicken breast.  It’s good on sandwiches as well.
  • Sangria Preserves – Rich and powerful.  A thicker version of that delectable beverage.  One can make an instant sangria by added a little of this to a glass of red wine served over ice.  It’s also good when mixed into vanilla yogurt.
  • Pumpkin Butter – Heavenly.  This is perhaps my favorite of them all, but I am biased as I love anything pumpkin.   Perfect on toast or English muffins.
  • Jujube and Emerald Pluot Butter with Ginger – Exotic and refreshing.  I had never tried jujube before, and was thoroughly impressed.  A Chinese plum, jujubes have been used in Chinese medicine for thousands of years.  I usually put this on croissants.
  • Apricot Saffron and White Pepper – Simply beguiling.  This spread is amazing either on toast, or as a glaze for chicken and scallops.
  • Curry Pumpkin Pickles – Enigmatic.  Thin slices of pumpkin influenced by mango, curry and lime.  These are ideal when served atop a burger or thrown into a salad for an unexpected dose of yang energy.

The Preservation Society can ship orders anywhere, and if you live locally in Los Angeles, one can arrange to have special delivery of their items to save on shipping.  For more details on this, please visit their website.  The Society is also environmentally conscious.  Should you decide not to reuse the cute jars the preserves come in, you can recycle them back to The Society for a discount on your next order  ($0.50 for the larger jars , and $0.25 for the smaller ones).

Like any good society, they are very active in the community.  When not turning jalapenos into jelly, Kristin is an art educator and the Development Director for the Life Through Art Foundation.  This children’s foundation focuses on providing support for underprivileged students and artists to participate in artistic studies they would otherwise be unable to attend.  One of their upcoming events is the Life Through Art Holiday Artisanal Fair.  This will be held in the upstairs portion of The Federal Bar in NoHo on Saturday, December 15th from 10:00 am – 3:00 pm.  The Preservation Society will be there in full swing to provide jams and relishes in time for the holiday season (these make great gifts).  One can also catch the Society in action at Holiday in the Park, another of the festive events located in Burbank’s Magnolia Park this Friday, November 16th, from 5:30 pm – 9:30 pm.  I may stop by there this Friday evening, in fact.  I’m going out-of-town for Turkey Day, and I may need some additional jars of pumpkin butter for a brunch or two I’m attending…

Guests at the October Ladies Night Out sample the wares of The Preservation Society.

The Preservation Society

http://preservation-society.com/
The Preservation Society’s Upcoming Events

 

Holiday in the Park

Friday, November 16th from 5:30 pm – 9:30 pm

Burbank, CA, near the corner of Hollywood Way and Magnolia Boulevard.

http://events.frommers.com/sisp/index.htm?fx=event&event_id=231517

Note:  This is the same location for the monthly Burbank Ladies Night Out.

 

Life Through Art Holiday Artisanal Fair

Saturday, December 15th from 10:00 am – 3:00 pm

The Federal Bar (upstairs), 5303 Lankershim Boulevard, NoHo 91601

http://www.ltaf.org/wordpress/

Note:  If you are interested in being a vendor for this event, please download an application at http://www.ltaf.org/wordpress/holidayfair

My Ninja, My Love…

Red Lego Ninja

My friend Kristin, a successful actress and model,  moved to France.  As models are sometimes apt to do, she moved to Paris for work, leaving me the sole custody of her Ninja.  No, it’s not a cat, dog, or turtle – but a blender.   I’ve had torn relationships with blenders in the past.  They always make promises to accomplish goals, then barely put in any effort to get them done.   Sometimes they refuse to do anything at all, and just sit there glaring at me as they repose on the formica.  The current blender I have has been exiled to the pantry – after it protested to blend ice for margaritas.   But then Kristin introduced me to the Ninja.  And other friends of mine had mentioned the Ninja as well; how it creates these dream-like smoothies and fantastic sauces.  Was this indeed an appliance I could count on?  So Kristin left the country and I got the blender.

The model I have is the Ninja Pulse.  Pictured above, it comes with everything displayed, as well as a cookbook and instruction manual.  I felt immediately at ease with this appliance.  And then the experiments began.  Pasta sauces, smoothies, and soups are the main things I use it for; although it can also be used as a coffee bean grinder and mixer.  I also use it to dice onions and other vegetables into smaller morsels.  The key here is not to blend it too much, or it becomes more liquified than desired.  However, because of a very happy accident, I created an amazing sandwich spread:  pureed onion.  I was attempting to dice two white onions, and I blended it a little too heavily.   I decided to make the most of my mistake, added a little water, and processed it some more.  A smooth, low-calorie spread was born!  Not only is it good on sandwiches, it can also be used at a thickener for soups and sauces, and as a topping for potatoes.  One could add spices or Parmesan cheese to it as well, but I kept mine pure and basic.  Take a look at the finished product below.

Another recipe I invented was Creamy Curry Soup.  I took two broccoli stalks (sans the florets) and half a white onion.  I pureed both together until it was a nice thick paste.  Then, I heated up a can of cream of chicken soup.  Added to this was my broccoli paste, fresh spinach leaves, two sliced avocados, a myriad of spices, and yellow curry powder.  I like it spicy, so I added a lot of yellow curry, as well as cumin, chili powder, and dried cilantro.  Phenomenal was the word that sprang to mind as I savored the first taste of this creation.  This could also be made vegetarian easily, just substitute cream of mushroom or cream of celery for the soup.  Or one could go the other direction and add chicken breast to the brew.  I had mine with some fresh bread, but it would be equally good served over rice.

One smoothie recipe I love involves a banana, about a cup of frozen strawberries, six or so ice cubes, and cranberry juice.  Pulsed until liquid form, this can either be consumed right away as a beverage, or put in the freezer as a chilled dessert.  I haven’t done so yet, but it would be amazing with vodka or tequila added to it as well.  The finished product is pictured above.

How, exactly, this is blender feng shui?  Well, it falls into many categories.  For one, is a multifaceted kitchen machine, so it can perform a variety of tasks.  It also takes up very little space in the kitchen, thus avoiding clutter.  Also, the more healthy and taste-filled food and beverages are, the more abundant and auspicious they become.  It also makes eating healthy a lot easier.  If I’m not in the mood to eat more nutritious  items, I just chop and puree them down, and then add them to things.  My vegetable intake has tripled since the Ninja came to live with me.  Also, it adds a beneficial metal element to the kitchen, in both color and material.  However, most kitchens are usually brimming with metal energy due to the  other main fixtures in the room, such as the stove, refrigerator, and sink.

Because it is such an incredible product, the Ninja Pulse can be a little pricey.  I have searched the web, and here are the best places to capture this ninja online:

I have many activities planned for The Ninja and myself.   I foresee a long and blissful array of cookie dough combinations, home-made mashed potatoes, shredded zucchini browns, and dark chocolate raspberry pudding.   My Ninja, you are truly a one-in-a-million appliance.

Black and the Number One

Colors and numbers play an intrinsic role in feng shui.  The number one, for instance, symbolizes water, the colors black and blue, and the north direction.  This number is also the name of a great place I like to grab a drink called Bar One.  Located in North Hollywood, this 1970s-esque establishment disburses a fine selection of beer and wine.   In the type of feng shui that I practice, the direction and manner in which a building faces is very important to how prosperous a structure can be.  The unassuming facade of Bar One happens to face north.  The direction of north and the number one are directly connected.  Also, notice the stonework and single potted tree near the entrance.  The rock siding adds a beneficial earth and metal element to the walls, while the solitary tree (another example of the number one) brings a lively wood element to the front.

Inside the bar, the vintage swankiness continues.  Black and red brocaded walls permeate the environment, while large mirrors help to create the feeling of vastness in the moderate-sized space.   Sumptuous lighting throughout cast a fiery glow over the patrons before the warmth of alcohol seeps into their veins.

The hallway above leads to the restrooms (on the left) and the rear entrance to the small parking lot in back.  There is also plenty of street parking on Whitsett and Burbank boulevards.  And they now serve food!!  The new bar menu at Bar One is created and prepared at a nearby offsite kitchen (soon to be  Steampunk Restaurant opening later this year).  The vittles are then delivered in classic styrofoam take-out containers (another 70’s  motif).   I had some amazing morsels the other night:

Belgian Fries – I have a deep fondness for potatoes in any form, and these exceeded my expectations.  I’m not sure exactly what makes them Belgian, but I do know they are the perfect food for alcohol absorption.  The portion size is ideal, and great for sharing (or not).  They also come with two of their three delicious dipping sauces.  The three to choose from are the HMO Aoili (my favorite), the Currywurst Sauce, or the Chipotle Ketchup.

Currywurst –  A Currywurst is a German street food, which consists of sausages cut into pieces and then cloaked thoroughly in a savory curry sauce.  I love that they use red curry, rather than the more common yellow and green varieties.  It adds a robust fire element to the spicy meal.  Of the three offered, I went with the asiago chicken and fennel sausage.  The blend of mild and more piquant flavors  were the perfect balance of taste.  Given the way it was prepared, and the zesty sauce, I would have to say this is a very yang food item.  A whole currywurst is available on their menu, but for Happy Hour they also offer a highly impressive option – a half order of the currywurst of your choice with fries for $4.00.  While this may be subject to change in the future, I think this is an excellent thing to keep around.

Sweet Potato Flatbread – Pureed sweet potato spreads itself all over as the sauce for this gratifying pizza creation.  Gouda, cheddar, pecans  and smoked bacon comprise the rest of the dish.   According to yin/yang theory, the sweet and savory ingredients here create a well-balanced meal, both in taste and ingredients used.  This was devoured quite quickly.

The other items I tried that are not pictured are:

  • Grenache – I cannot recall the name, but it was a very middle earth red, that was neither too heavy,  nor too spicy.  I absolutely loved it!
  • Cloverdale Ranch Cabernet – A bold cab that makes a statement.  Robust and sophisticated.
  • Sliders – Of the three options, I tried the beef ones.  Onions, pepperjack cheese, and mushrooms are the supporting cast to the cooked-to-perfection burgers.  Two medium-sized sliders come to an order.  Rich and refined.
  • Sangria – A very strong red sangria, served in a pint glass over ice.   Only $4.00 on Happy Hour, this bold libation is the epitome of a summer drink.

As for the best times to visit, I suggest going between 6:00 – 8:00pm.  After 10:00, it can get a little loud and crowded – and one can take advantage of Happy Hour!   For those of you who drink beer (I do not), they have a weekly event every Monday called Mystery Beer Night.  For $3.00, you can have a beer of the bar’s choice all night long.   According to friends of mine, it’s always something good quality, but you’ll just have to be surprised as to what it is.  For a casually auspicious good time, I suggest dropping into Bar One, the premier place to grab a currywurst.

Bar One Beer and Wine Parlour

12518 Burbank Boulevard, North Hollywood, CA 91607

818 509-1938

Hours:  Happy Hour:  Daily from 6:00 – 9:00,  Bar:  Monday – Saturday 6:00 – 2:00,  Sunday 6:00 – 1:00.

Update:  Sad News!  The food menu is no longer being served at Bar One.  If one is hungry, they can walk down a couple of doors to Steampunk and order food, but only before 8:00 pm, as that is Steampunk’s closing time.