Prosperity on Tap: The Draft Wines at Lucky Devil’s

Lucky Devils Bar 01

Amidst the City of Angels there resides a persuasive creature known as Lucky Devil’s.  This classy bistro first won my heart two years ago with their succulent ribs.  But when it was brought to my attention that they had tap wine, I decided it was time to pay them a long overdue visit.  Located on Hollywood Boulevard, it is the elegant red building pictured below.  (One  can’t helped but be charmed by the cute devil illustration on the marquee. )

Lucky Devils

Keg, or draft wine has been popular in Europe for centuries, and although it’s been introduced to America from time to time, it never really caught on until 2011.  And it’s still a relatively new concept for the Los Angeles market.  The benefits of keg wine versus bottled wine are quite extensive.   Wine barrels are completely reusable, either continuing their original life purpose as kegs, or being crafted into furniture or garden planters.   The keg storage of the wine preserves every single drop of the libation, whereas when it goes into bottles, some wine gets splashed around, thus wasting product.  Kegs also weigh less than bottles per unit, therefore less energy is used in distribution.   Not to mention the excess use of corks, and glass to make the bottles.  There is also the matter of taste.  The wood from the barrels influences wine in a highly auspicious manner.  Most wine looses some of this elemental influence when it is stored in glass vessels for long periods of time.   Wine from a barrel will have a more genuine taste to it than its bottled counterparts.   Not that I’m disparaging bottled wine in the slightest – I love both kinds.  However, keg wine has that beneficial wood element more directly connected to the liquid, which bottled wine lacks.   (When visiting wineries in Temecula or Santa Barbara, some of my fellow wine connoisseurs and I like to have our tastings in the barrel room, as one can usually try things right out of the keg.  Not all wineries offer this, but many do; they just don’t advertise.)

One would think that all of these prosperous attributes would make keg wine less expensive to purchase by the glass.  However, I have found most places serving draft wine in Los Angeles mark the cost up even more than wine out of the bottle.   Lucky Devil’s, however, does not do this.  Reasonably priced,  their wine is available in four different sizes, with 3 ounce and 6 ounce pours if one wants a glass, or the 16 ounce and 32 ounce servings ideal for sharing.   For a 6 ounce pour, most wines run $8.00 – $9.00.  Pictured below is a glass of the Fulton Lane Cabernet Franc ’08.   This luscious red has mellow suggestions of black raspberry, vanilla and cherry.  Lovely and sophisticated.

Lucky Devils Cab Franc

Of their sixteen offerings, I sampled a total of eight.  Here are my opinions of the other seven I tried:

  • Baileyana Chardonnay ’11 – This sweet wine was wonderful!  Hints of pineapple and oak are highly prevalent.  I could easily drink a whole carafe of this on a hot summer day.
  • Silvertap Chardonnay ’11 – Much more savory than the above.  This would be ideal  paired with pork or turkey.  Smooth and classy.
  • Shannon Ridge Sauvignon Blanc ’11 – An appealing white that enhanced the flavors of the goat cheese monumentally, with hints of pear.  Crisp and lively.
  • Boat Dock Rose of Grenache ’10 – Quite different from most blush wines, this had an almost creamy essence to it, without being overly sweet.  Although it’s not a dessert wine, I would have this at the end of dinner.  Intriguing and unique.
  • Pop-Chiles Sangiovese ’09 – Citrus and black pepper are the commanding influences in this balmy red.  Bold and contemporary.
  • Pardi Cabernet Sauvignon ’09 – A curious cab blend with hints of spice and orange.  Cool and complex.
  • Parducci Wine Cellars Pinot Noir ’10 – This is that pinot noir dream that every wine lover seeks out, with suggestions of cranberry and cherry.  Smooth and sophisticated.

Truffle Chips

Truffle Parmesan Chips – A perfect appetizer for any meal, although one may want to order two of these if the party is more than three people.  Alluring truffle sea salt and grated parmesan are the beneficial influences over these fresh-cut chips.  Dangerously good and very addictive.  This went very well with the Fulton Lane.

Flaming Goat Half Order

The Flaming Goat – Those born under the Goat, the eighth sign of the Chinese Zodiac, are said to possess many virtuous qualities including creativity, kindness, and a keen business sense.  The Flaming Goat here possesses a great virtue in taste.  Grilled bread covered with Laura Chenel goat cheese and red bell pepper.  The flaming aspect comes from a hint of habanero chile.  This is a little spicy, and I loved it!  Pictured above is half of a full order.  Fiery and decadent.

Tandoori Pizza

Tandoori Chicken and Goat Cheese Pizza – All of the pizzas here are served on a delicious and savory flat bread.  The mixture of the sweetness of the tandoori, mint and chutney combined with the spice of jalapeno, cilantro and onion provide that ideal taste balance of yin and yang.  Mozzarella and goat cheese are both used, and help to draw out the mellow red curry influences in the tomato sauce.  The flat breads are a generous personal size and perfect for sharing or as a stand alone meal.   Exotic and excellent.

Ribs and Sweet Potato Fries

Ribs and Sweet Potato Fries – The legendary ribs I mentioned earlier.  Enshrouded in a piquant bbq sauce, and then slow roasted for seven hours.  Simply wondrous.  The sweet potato fries alongside were good in bringing out the subtlety of the flavors in the hickory marinade.  A pleasingly sumptuous aioli is served with the fries.  Both of these items went extremely well with the Parducci.

Steelhead and Kennebec Fries

Steelhead and Wedge-Cut Fries – For those unfamiliar with Steelhead, it is a variety of rainbow trout.  Lucky Devil’s uses Steelhead in a few of their creations, including the sandwich above.  Cooked to perfection, and served on a delicious role with homemade slaw.  Delicious and tantalizing.  (If trout could be velvet, this would be it.)  Accompanying the Steelhead are wedge-cut fries.  Kennebec potatoes roasted to a golden hue.  Tasty and impressive.

I also tried two other items that are not pictured.

  • Short Rib Sliders – Two soft, Hawaiian roles generously filled with short ribs, wild arugula and a languid horseradish sauce.  I loved every morsel, and devoured them before I could snap a picture.  The Pardi Cab paired perfectly with the short rib.  Irresistible and filling.
  • Smoked Cheddar Grilled Cheese – Comfort food at it’s finest.  Smoked cheddar and a homemade chutney grilled between two toasted pieces of bread.  Perfect for vegetarians.  Partnered alongside the sandwich was a delicious salad of mixed greens with a mildly tangy dressing.  Enticing and opulent.

I had the chance to speak to Lucky Vanous, the owner and creator of this fine establishment.  I was really impressed with his passion for wine and food, and how the two can influence each other in different ways.  One can tell that he absolutely loves what he does, and this type of positive energy is released into the environment.  This is especially vital in making things people absorb – like food and wine – because this chi, or energy, is carried within these items.  An example of this would be Laura Esquivel’s novel Like Water for Chocolate.  The main character of the novel can only express how she truly feels when cooking – by putting her emotions into her food.  Those who ingest the food are then consumed with her feelings.  Some of the situations in the book are a little extreme, but I really like how emotions and energy, and their connection to food, are illustrated.  I feel the positive energy by Lucky and his employees influence the cuisine in a highly beneficial manner.   My server, Brad, took expert care of me.  He was very knowledgeable about wine and wine culture.  The few other employees I also spoke with were helpful and cordial.

Lucky Devils Bar 02

Another winsome trait of Lucky Devil’s is the environment.  They had remodeled some since my last meal here, and the changes are brilliant.  First, there is the color red.  Red is the most auspicious color in the palette.  The element attached to it is fire, and it signifies prosperity, abundance, fame, passion, love, and luck.  In feng shui folklore, many would use red string on items to draw more luck and wealth to their personal areas.  This practice is still used by some today.  From a color science perspective, it’s the hue most people take notice of instantly – hence why it is used symbolically in films more so than other color (such as in The Matrix or Schindler’s List).  A beautiful shade of cardinal covers the outside of the building, with various shades of red and scarlet covering two of the inside walls.  The cool, yin darkness of the tables, upholstery, and ceiling make a perfect balance with the yang of the red hues.  And all five elements are represented here  perfectly:

  • Wood – The trees outside, both along the sidewalk, and in planters lining the patio dining area.
  • Fire – The color red everywhere (including the red wine).
  • Earth – The stone and brick work along the walls, and the brown shades of the furniture.
  • Metal – The wine and beer taps themselves.
  • Water – The black of the upholstery, and the wavy lines along the red walls.

They also solved the beam issue!  As I’ve said before, I am not a fan of ceiling beams.  They can cause many health, financial and emotional issues for those occupying the space.  Here, however, they did exactly what  I would have suggested as the fastest “fix” – paint the ceiling beams the same color as the ceiling, thus making them symbolically “disappear.”  I also really like the height of the ceilings and the way the tables are spread out.  It makes for an easy flow of air and energy (chi).   And I liked the bathrooms.  I laughed out loud when I saw the male and female “sign demons” acting as sentries to the toilets.

Lucky Devils Bathrooms

As for parking, it is Hollywood, so it can be a challenge at times.  There are many pay lots around, and convenient public parking is located right off of Cherokee.  (Although I did find one of the coveted free spaces on the street)   Or one can take the red line and disembark at  Hollywood and Highland, and walk the remaining four blocks.  For beer lovers, there is the Lucky 7 Happy Hour where seven select brews are offered at lower prices (They have a total of twenty-four beers on tap.)  It has been a week since my excursion and I am dying to go back!   I never thought a devil could be so appealing, but this one most assuredly is.  Lucky Devil’s is indeed a place to indulge in heavenly good food and choice wine.

Lucky Devils Sidewalk

Lucky Devil’s

6613 Hollywood Boulevard, Hollywood, CA 90028

323 465-8259

Hours:  Sunday – Thursday  11:30 am – 10:00 pm,  Friday – Saturday 11:30 am – 10:00 pm,  Lucky Seven Happy Hour:  Monday – Friday 4:00 – 7:00

http://www.luckydevils-la.com/index.php

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.