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/

A Garden Oasis at Carhartt

The bewitching grace of the colorful  fish called koi has long attracted mortals.  In the folklore of many eastern countries, koi is considered to be a symbol of strength, endurance, courage and abundance.  It was also believed that the larger the koi one owned, the more prosperous one would become.  As I was entering the Carhartt Tasting Room, I was immediately taken with the colossal fish sculpture acting as guardian to the establishment.  The intricate metalwork of the delicate fins and scales is a truly beautiful thing to behold.  I am honestly not certain what kind of fish it is, but it reminded me of the stately koi.  Also known as “swimming flowers,” koi are available in a wide variety of colors, usually white, yellow, orange, red, black, or any combination thereof.  If we can judge by the grandiose size of this fish, then Carhartt must be thriving in its prosperity.

Located in the wine hamlet of Los Olivos, Carhartt is perhaps one of the smallest tasting rooms I’ve ever visited.  Photographs, mostly of the winemakers and nearby landscapes, adorn the walls of the matchbook-sized room.  But what really captured my attention was the heavenly garden in back.  Guests are invited to have their tastings out here when the weather is fine, as well as to just come and enjoy a glass or bottle at their leisure.  From a feng shui perspective, this tranquil oasis has all of the five elements represented, blending together in perfect unity:

  • Wood – The trees and lush plants in the garden.
  • Fire-The colors of the flowers and flower pots, as well as the wine in our glasses.
  • Metal -Parts of the fountain and patio furniture, and the metal signage
  • Earth – The stone of the fountain, the terra cotta flower pots, and brick tile on the ground.
  • Water – The elegant fountain, part of which is made from a wine barrel (pictured below)

Notice the little stone frog perched in the fountain.  Frogs, in feng shui folklore, attract luck and wealth, especially when paired with other items such as water and flowers.  Also, this specific frog is placed diagonally from the main entrance to the garden, which can help to attract wealth to the environment.  I think the frog is cute, and adds a healthy energy to the fountain and surroundings.  And I think I spot some real living fish in the pond, too.

And now on to the wine.  All six of the intricate wines we tried were intoxicating and lovely.  The two that really impressed me were the 2010 Sangiovese and the 2009 Syrah.  The Sangiovese had a deep, silky sheen in color and tasted divine, with hints of strawberry and oak.

The Syrah won my heart, however.  A deep, blood red wine with suggestions of chocolate, pepper, and blackberry.  It was love at first taste.  A bottle of this fine liquid gem accompanied me back home.  I will most assuredly be purchasing this again.

Another aspect I love about Carhartt wines are the labels on the bottle.  Each varietal has a different animal on it.  The Syrah has a pig, the Merlot a pheasant, the Sangiovese a rooster.  All of these animals have different meanings and symbolism, both in feng shui and other historical avenues.

The rustic class and simplicity of Carhartt made for a wonderful wine savoring experience.  They also played amazing music during the tasting, including some selections from the Oh Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack, most of it being a fusion of mellow bluegrass and jazz.   For a truly excellent outdoor wine tasting experience, visit the fine people at Carhartt.  And, don’t forget to pay homage to the giant metal fish in front.

Carhartt Tasting Room and Winery

2990A Grand Avenue, Los Olivos, CA 93441

805 693-5100

Hours:  Tasting room open daily 11:00 to 5:00.

http://www.carharttvineyard.com