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

617-945-9086

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.

http://abigailsrestaurant.net/

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/

There’s No Business like Tcho Business

Tcho Wall

Charles M. Schulz once said, “All you need is love.  But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.”  I couldn’t agree more!  Now, while my own chocolate tastes tend to run more towards the darker spectrum of offerings, I am an avid supporter that all chocolate is good.  Or is it?  On one of my recent excursions to San Francisco, I had the opportunity to visit the Tcho Chocolate Factory.  Located on the historic Pier 17 on the Embarcadero, our party of five descended on the refined factory shortly after lunch for their two o’clock tour.  Pronounced Cho, Tcho is the phonetic spelling of the first syllable of the word chocolate (The T is silent).

Tcho Factory

The company was founded in 2005 by Timothy Childs, a former software engineer for NASA, and famed chocolate maker Karl Bittong.  The creators of Wired Magazine and Wired.com, Louis Rossetto and Jane Metcalfe, are its current CEO and president.  The tour began with the guests entering the building (pictured above) and browsing their bountiful gift shop and coffee bar.  First, we were escorted into a curtained off area where our tour guide talked about the history of chocolate, how chocolate is made, benefits of the cacao, and so forth.  Then, we put away our personal bags and hats under lock and key, and donned hair nets to enter the factory.  Due to safety precautions, I was unable to take any photographs inside the actual factory, but if you” notice the silver pipe in the image below, that is where the inner workings of the factory reside.

Tcho Curtain

Our tour guide, whose name I sadly cannot recall, was personable and a wealth of knowledge.  He guided us through the tour with ease.  Afterwards, we adjourned to another curtained off section for a chocolate tasting (pictured above).  Now, unlike wine tasting, which goes from light to dark, chocolate tasting begins dark, and then heads toward the more milky options.  Every single piece of chocolate I tasted was delicious.  Our guide also commented on which chocolates would go well with different kinds of alcohol.  Of the varieties we tasted, my favorite hands down was the PureNotes Dark “Chocolatey” bar.  Comprised of 70% cacao, this was indulgence at its finest.  I bought two bars of this delight (and have eaten half of one while composing this article).  Other chocolate creations that really impressed me were their chocolate covered cherries, using the PureNotes “Fruity” dark chocolate.  I was also taken with the Serious Milk “Cacao” bar.  I prefer dark, but this version of milk chocolate was absolutely sumptuous, containing 53% cacao.  I didn’t personally try this, but at their coffee bar they also have what is called The Chocolate Shot.  It is a small shot of pure drinking chocolate.  My friends Justina and Andres each had one – and they were in a chocolate induced euphoria for the rest of  the day.

Tcho Chocolate Boxes 01

The health benefits of dark chocolate are quite extensive.  In addition to lowering bad cholesterol levels and blood pressure, this edible gem can also lower the risk of heart disease, due to its anti-inflammatory properties.  Enriched heavily in fiber, dark chocolate can also keep hunger at bay, by sustaining that full feeling in the stomach for longer durations of time.   Blood flow and circulation are improved by chocolate because of its blood-thinning attributes.  A study conducted by the University of Reading in 2011 concluded that chocolate may help eyesight as well, because of the increased blood flow to the retina.  The increase in circulation also helps people to stay awake and alert (mmm… mochas).   An Italian study performed in 2005 showed that those who eat chocolate regularly are at  a much lower risk for diabetes, to due their increase in insulin sensitivity.

As for chocolate causing breakouts on one’s skin, that is a complete and utter falsehood.  According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, stress and environmental factors are the main causes for acne breakouts.  Chocolate has no negative side effects for one’s skin.  In fact, flavonoids, a type of antioxidant found in dark chocolate, offers a small amount of UV protection.  Chocolate helps to lower negative hormone levels, thus resulting in the reduction of anxiety and stress.  Many stressed-out people (some with skin issues) turn to chocolate because it relieves tension caused by stress, hence why society made the connection of chocolate and bad skin.

From a feng shui perspective, chocolate is very yin, due to its sweetness and texture.  As for which elements it connects with, there is some debate.  Because of its coloring, I would say Earth.  (From the rich browns of dark chocolate to the caramel hues of milk chocolate)  However, if we examine their mineral properties,  we get something different.   An average dark chocolate bar contains 14% of one’s daily allotment of copper, making it more metal in nature.

Tcho Chocolate Boxes 02

Now, why is Tcho a beneficial example of feng shui.  Well, for starters, they employ many green practices in their  chocolate making.  All of the equipment used in their factory was purchased from a former chocolate manufacturer in Germany, and then shipped over.  Rather than build brand new machines, they chose to work with preexisting ones, conserving material and labor.   They also have a program called TchoSource, in which they partner directly with native growers of cacao.  Working hand-in-hand with the growers directly, Tcho provides technology and education, assisting them to hone their craft and improve their lives.  A sad fact that I learned on the tour is that most cacao farmers have never tasted chocolate made from their own beans.  An even worse fact is that there is one large chocolate manufacturer (I won’t say which one) that uses child slave labor to harvest the beans.   Slave labor of any kind is abhorrent, especially when it involves children.   The same manufacturer also puts miniscule amounts of plastic in their chocolate as a filler.  No one should eat plastic; this is bad for one’s bodily environment.  Tcho does not use slave labor, nor do they include toxic things like plastic in their creations.

The tour of the chocolate factory is free, but you must make reservations beforehand at the beginning of each month.   If you don’t have reservations, and you show up, they will do their best to accommodate if there is room on the tour.   Please contact Tcho at the website below for more details.  Also, refrain from wearing jewelry and open-toed shoes on the tour.  Men with facial hair will be asked to wear a beard guard in addition to the hair net.  Valuables are secured in a private locked cabinet while touring the factory.  Children under age eight are not admitted.

Tcho's New Sales Reps.  Photo courtesy of J. Cross.

Tcho’s New Sales Reps. Photo courtesy of J. Cross.

Our personable tour guide also felt, during the chocolate tasting, to point out that my best friend Wendy and I were dressed exactly like some of the packaging of Tcho.  I swear, we did not do this on purpose – it just happened.  However, to commemorate our memorable excursion, we decided to pose for this picture entitled:  Tcho’s New Sales Reps.  Tcho also has a wide array of tantalizing recipes, which are located here:  http://www.tcho.com/tchopros/recipes/    If you’re not in San Francisco, and want to try Tcho, one can order all the chocolate they want from the website below.   Many gourmet markets also carry Tcho, such as Whole Foods.   If you’re a chocolate lover, I highly suggest introducing Tcho to your palette-after all, “a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.”

Tcho:  The New American Chocolate

Pier 17 in San Francisco, CA 94111, on the Embarcadero at Green Street

415 981-0189

Hours:  Monday – Friday  9:00 am – 5:30 pm,  Saturday – Sunday 10:00am – 5:30 pm

Tours:  Daily at 10:30am and 2:00pm

http://www.tcho.com/

The Power of Pumpkin

I made the most amazing dish in my kitchen the other night – Pumpkin Pasta. I love anything pumpkin, and eat it not just in autumn months, but all year long. In feng shui folklore, the pumpkin has a very unique and rich history. A symbol of prosperity and wealth, the pumpkin was favored by the housewives of ancient China. They believed that this golden fruit would bring luck and abundance to all those that lived in the home, especially when placed in the Southeast area of a room or dwelling.

In modern times, the pumpkin is a universal symbol for Thanksgiving and All Hallows Eve. But the pumpkin also has amazing health benefits as well. Loaded with fiber, vitamins A and C, magnesium, and potassium, this golden wonder fruit is also very low in calories. The seeds have all of these benefits as well, and possess essential fatty acids good for brain activity and healthy skin. The flesh of the pumpkin also contains L-tryptophan, a natural chemical that stimulates feelings of happiness and contentment – helping to rid one of depressive and negative feelings

Some feng shui practitioners will suggest using pumpkin boxes filled with certain items to attract wealth. Personally, I feel pumpkin shaped boxes are just pretty to look at, and useful for storage. They would make great additions to a kitchen or dining area to conceal spices, toothpicks, or other small items.

Gold Pumpkin Box

To make the Pumpkin Pasta Sauce, take equal parts pumpkin puree and tomato-based pasta sauce. The puree and sauce can both be made from scratch, if desired, but I usually get the canned pureed pumpkin from the supermarket (along with a store-bought pasta sauce).  But the final ingredient that I feel makes this a well-balanced dish is red wine. Depending on how much I’m making, I usually add half a cup of wine to the mix, or more if making a substantial amount of sauce. The yin of the pumpkin and tomato co-habitat well with the yang energy of the red wine.  Spice it up the way you like.  Some things I’ve added in the past are diced tomatoes, peas, minced garlic, garlic powder, sea salt, cumin, nutmeg, cinnamon, and pieces of chicken breast.  Experiment and have fun.Pumpkin Card Seed Packet

Drago Centro

In traditional feng shui folklore, the dragon is a powerful symbol of strength, success and immortality.  This creature is considered very yang in its energies, and is also a prime example of fertility.  Chinese dragons were not ferocious and cruel as portrayed by other cultures; these large flying beasts were considered benevolent and kind.  Many emperors would use the dragon as their own personal emblem.

When I think of dragons, I think of the large, modern sculpture outside of Drago Centro.  Bright orange in color, this stair-like construct adds a wonderful fire and metal element to its surroundings.  Granted, it doesn’t look literally like a dragon, but it has that feeling.

Drago Centro is one of my favorite places in Los Angeles.   Housed in the base of a highrise, Drago offers a bustling oasis amidst the rampant energies of downtown.  Upon entering, one can see some of their fine wine collection in a massive glass vault.  The restaurant is decorated in modern taste, with earth tones throughout.  They also use real slate and marble whenever possible in the decor.  The use of various earth element suggests to the diner that they are in for a very wholesome and grounding meal.

Rather than dine in their chic and stylish restaurant, I prefer the social interaction of the Lounge area.  The Lounge is dominated by a bar hued in greens and yellows (pictured above).  A marble-topped table extends the length of the space, with further seating outside.   There’s also has a special Lounge menu that changes periodically.  The food and beverages offered are choice and sophisticated.  Here’s what I had on my most recent visit:

Le Ostriche – Four mouthwatering oysters are presented on a white plate, served on a bed of salt.  I get these every time, and they are absolutely excellent.   The shell left over from the oyster is also another example of an earth element.  Seashells are not a water element, as you would think.  I could explain why, but it might ruin one’s appetite for the oysters, and everyone should try them.

La Pizza Margherita – A Classic!  Tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese create the perfect balance atop a flatbread.  Fresh basil, a must for any margherita, embellishes the creation, adding a savory wood element to the meal.   Basil can be considered a wood element for two primary reasons.  One, its green in color, and green is associated with wood.  Two, basil is a plant, as are trees.  Hence, the wood element is present.

El Diablo – This drink takes yin and yang theory to a new level.  One of the basics in many Chinese philosophies,  yin and yang theory deals with how opposites are dependent upon one another, and both must exist together to achieve perfect balance and harmony.   And within each side of these contrary forces dwells a part of its exact opposite.   For example, night is dark, but there is bright moon present for light.  Hence, darkness (yin) with a little piece of light (yang) within it at all times.

The yin of the lime juice and cassis liqueur, with the yang of the ginger beer and tequila in the El Diablo, create a good balance of ingredients.  Also, two ingredients are alcoholic and two are not , illustrating another example of symmetry.   It also has two ingredients that are no stranger to one another (limes and tequila) paired with two items that are usually not comrades (cassis and ginger beer).

The fire element is also present in the beverage, both in its name and color.  As for its taste – its sheer perfection.

Calamari –  Tendrils of luxurious calamari breaded and served upon a napkin.  Notice in the picture above how it looks as if the calamari is within a flower, with how the napkin is folded.  This little touch suggest to the diner that they are eating something natural, beautiful and fresh.  A delicious aioli filled with enticing herbs  is served alongside.

Il Tramezzino – A luscious pressed panini served with provolone and prosciutto.  But what really make this sandwich auspicious is the black truffle butter used.  Wrapped in brown paper, the smell of truffles add a powerful aromatic chi (good energy) to the air.

Some other things I’ve tried there recently were:

  • Planeta Chardonnay – Sadly no longer offered on their Lounge menu, this was a very nice white wine, with hints of crisp pear.  It may still be available, just not on the Lounge menu.
  • Castelvero Barbera – A divine red that warms the soul.
  • The Derby – Vermouth, bourbon, and orange curcao trio together well in this vintage inspired beverage.

Another touch I really like here, oddly enough, are the place mats.  They’re of a woven mesh, pseudo-square in design, witch lends a subconscious stability and appeal to anything served upon it.   Drago does provide free parking, or one can take the red line to the nearby 7th Street Metro stop, and then proceed two or so blocks.  The Lounge menu is served throughout the day and evening, seven days a week, with most of the items averaging in the $6.00 – $7.00 range.  In fact, I have a feeling I’ll be there again next week…

Drago Centro

525 South Flower Street, Los Angeles, CA 90071

213  228-8998

Hours:    Lounge open Monday – Saturday  5:00pm – 10:00pm,  Sunday 5:00pm – 9:00pm

http://www.dragocentro.com/