The Creative Wood Energy of Home

One of the basic principles of feng shui is how the five elements (being wood, fire, earth, metal, and water) interact with each other.   Sometimes when there is a major problem with an environment, one or two of these elements are  either missing, or are not present enough in the area to have an effect.    Of the five, there will be one or two cohesive elements that dominate the space, but the other three or four need to be represented as well.  On a recent visit to one of my favorite spots in Los Feliz, I was captivated by the soothing and nurturing wood element of Home Restaurant.  Most of the seating is outdoors on their spacious and newly remodeled terrace.  Green, thriving trees create a natural canopy over the guests, which fosters a sense of safety and comfort, like picnicking in a lush park; thus attracting a steady flow of guests and business.

The wood element helps people and places to thrive in a variety of ways.  Wood signifies the beginning of new life, as it starts the elemental cycle.  It’s represented by the color green, and is wonderful for new beginnings, increasing one’s prosperity, nourishment, health, creativity, and abundance.  Here at Home, the trees are the main example of the wood element.  As long as plants and trees are healthy and flourishing, they are the prime example of beneficial wood energy.  Dead plants or barren trees are an example of sha, or bad energy, which should be avoided.

Ferns and large, leafy plants are another fine example of wood here at Home.  But don’t let the wooden tabletops or terrace floor fool you.  Many people mistakenly use wood furniture and flooring as a wood element.  This does not work as the wood here is dead, and not thriving.  However, that being said, I’m in favor of wooden flooring and furniture, just not as an example of the wood element.  Home has all five of the elements here displayed beautifully.  For example, take the luxurious stone fountain in the center of the courtyard (pictured above).  The carved lions add a rich fire element to the earthen sculpture, and the moving water flows through it smoothly.  I’m going to guess that there is metal somewhere within the fountain, and with the prospering plants nearby, this is a highly auspicious example of all five elements working together in harmony.  Fire is also depicted here beautifully, in the form of lighting.  Small, Asian-inspired lanterns hang from the trees and building.  There is also a gorgeous vintage lantern (at right), that hangs suspended above the courtyard.  Much larger than the other lanterns, this gypsy light acts as a beacon to guide wayward diners to Home.

This establishment also has an excellent Happy Hour.  Available Monday – Friday from 3:00 to 7:00, beer, wine, well drinks, and  selected food items are available.  They also feature two specialty cocktails, including a Sauza Gold Tequila Margarita (pictured below right).  It is moderately strong, and is well worth the price for $5.00.  Also, it’s very light green in color (more wood energy).

To the left, we have one of their Happy Hour white wines, a Pinot Grigio that is refreshing and delicious.  They also offer a Chardonnay that is quite tasty as well.  A full bar with a choice selection is available to satisfy the palette.

Of their vast selection of food items, here is what I sampled on my last visit:

  • On the left is the Breakfast Quesadilla.  Home serves many of their breakfast items all day, including this one.  A savory tomato basil tortilla provides shelter to eggs, cheese and bacon, with salsa in the middle.  Oh so good.
  • Taking center stage is Not Cho Mamma’s Nachos, with chicken.  Sour cream, enchilada sauce, salsa, cheese and Home’s impressive guacamole completely envelop a large pile of corn tortilla chips.  You will need to use a fork with this.  During Happy Hour, with chicken or beef added, it comes to about $8.5o.  Enticing and decadent.
  • At right is the Home Huevos Rancheros.  My friend Jon insists on ordering Huevos anytime we go out if it’s offered on the menu.  Being a connoisseur of the dish, he feels Home make a stellar version of this classic.  Over-easy eggs, black beans, cheese and peppercorn sauce casually lounge about a bed of corn tortilla chips.  Guacamole, and either potatoes or fruit also come with the dish.

And these items are also scrumptious

  • Santa Fe Egg Rolls – A fusion of South meets East, these delectable morsels are served with Home’s luscious guacamole.  I think there’s either four or six pieces to an order.  Mouth-watering.
  • Breakfast Burrito – My usual selection here.  A colossal tomato basil tortilla filled with bacon, eggs, beans, and melted cheeses.  Also served with their popular  guacamole, and either potatoes or fruit.  Really good when paired with a red wine.

My favorite server here, without a doubt,  is Danielle.   She takes expert care of all of her guests in a warm and delightful manner.  Ask to sit in her section if she happens to be working when you visit.  You can’t miss her; she has pretty red hair.  Parking is pretty plentiful in the surrounding neighborhood, just be sure to double-check the street signs.  On my next couple of visits, I plan on trying their Chicken Breast Marsala, and the Banana Walnut Pancakes.

Now, you’re probably wondering, how I can get more wood into my life?  Well, there are a couple of ways.  Here are some suggestions:

  • Get some Living Plants!  Adding trees or plants to your living room, kitchen, or outdoor environment is the fastest way to add wood energy.  If you have children or pets, make sure the plants are non-toxic, and kept out of reach.  Make sure the plants are healthy and thriving.  Dead or decaying plant attract bad energy.
  • What about Faux Plants?  Although real plants are significantly better, not everyone has a green thumb.  Faux plants can work, but they need to be very high quality and look realistic.  Many offices use fake Ficus trees.  The trick with faux plant is the dust.  You HAVE to dust your plant weekly.
  • Paintings – Beautiful landscapes with trees, or paintings of full-blooming flowers is another way to bring creative wood energy into a room.
  • Wall Decals – A new, popular decorative item are removal wall decals.  These provide wall decor other than paint or wallpaper, and make very intriguing visual statements.  These are also more conducive to renters, as they can be easily removed.  Wall Pops  http://www.wallpops.com/ and Elly Nelly  http://www.ellynelly.com/category/wall-graphics  are just two of the many online retailers selling high quality wall art.
  • Visit a Forest!  Find some beautiful land with trees on it, either a more untamed setting, a national park, or a more manicured environment such as Descanso Gardens.   https://fengshuifoodie.com/2012/08/25/descanso-gardens-and-the-camellialounge/

Everyone can benefit from having more wood energy in their lives.  And while you’re contemplating getting a new rubber tree plant, or a print of Claude  Monet’s The Poppy Field, stop by Home and have a breakfast burrito.  There’s no place like it.

Home Restaurant Los Feliz

1760 Hillhurst Avenue, Los Feliz, CA 90027

323 669-0211

Hours:  Sunday – Thursday 9:00 am – 10:00 pm, Friday – Saturday 9:00 am – 11:00 pm,  Happy Hour:  Monday – Friday 3:00 – 7:00

http://www.homelosfeliz.com/

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.

 

Take a Bao

According to some, the term Dim Sum in Cantonese means Pointing to your Heart’s Desire.  To the more general populace, it is the name given to Chinese appetizers, snacks and some breakfast cuisine.  I found my heart’s desire in a quaint little bistro in Studio City called Take a Bao.  Located right on Ventura Boulevard, this restaurant offers a great Happy Hour that I was dying to check out.  I was also curious to see what feng shui elements are at play here, based solely on the use of rectangles.  Rectangles in feng shui are symbolic of the wood element.  The wood element is beneficial in a variety of ways, including new life, business growth, and stability in a nurturing environment.  It is also considered the ideal shape for a residential dwelling.  Wooden rectangles painted an earthy gray are the predominate decoration outside the bar.  And inside, the rectangle shape can be seen throughout.  Take a look at the the interior below.

Rectangles are everywhere to be seen, from the tabletops, to the shape of the windows and doors,to the chair backs, and even on the table caddies.  Now while the restaurant is predominantly modern in its design, I really liked some of the vintage touches added to the environment – such as the elegant blue and white urn pictured here, and the carved side cabinets (painted black to match, of course.)  It’s a classy mixture of old and new items.

And now on to the food!  The Happy Hour at Take a Bao is quite good, with bao and small plates ranging in the $2.00 – $4.00 category, and alcoholic beverages from $4.00 – $7.00.  And their regular menu prices aren’t bad, either.  It is more of a casual style restaurant, where one orders from the register, and the items are brought to you.  We decided to sit at the bar. And here’s what we had:

Banh Mi Bao – Grilled pork, chiles, carrots, cilantro, bean sprouts and a spicy garlic aioli are the dominate headliners in this masterpiece.  Unlike other varieties, the bao here at Take is more like a mushu or a taco, with one’s choice of a white or wheat bun, stuffed with the desired filling, and presented on a wooden board.  Lettuce is also available if one doesn’t want the carb of the bun.  I opted for the wheat option, pictured above.   Savory and mouthwatering, I could have consumed these all night…but I only had the one.  Notice the green rectangle underneath the bao.  The wood element makes yet another appearance with the material of the cutting board, the rectangular shape of the little mat, and the green color of the little mat…intriguing.  The wood element also signifies freshness as well.

Old Fashioned – One of my favorite cocktails, this classic beverage is made with Maker’s Mark bourbon.  Notice the large, solitary ice cube in the glass.  With only one ice cube, the drink doesn’t get watered down as much as with multiple pieces of ice. Very stylish, this drink is strong and bold – definitely not for the faint of heart.

Tofu Popcorn – Bite-sized tofu cleverly deep fried into the most stunning snack.  Garnished with scallions, and served with a delectable cilantro-cashew sauce, these quickly disappeared into the cavernous realms of my stomach.  I would venture to say that even those who do not care for tofu would like this dish.  I highly recommend it.

Sumac Steak Fries – A timeless bar food classic!  These thick cut wands of potato goodness are seasoned to perfection, served with ketchup on the side.  Simply great.

The other drinks I had here were:

  • Raymond “R” Collection Field Blend – A rich and romantic red wine blend.  One can taste the cherry influence amidst the deep tannins
  • Gizz Fizz- Vanilla based beverage with Seagram’s Gin.  Sweet and refreshing.
  • Creamsicle – A dream come true!  An amazing mixture of fresh orange juice, vanilla, and vanilla vodka.  Not overly sweet, but just right.  A perfect dessert cocktail.

The bathrooms here are also a little more social than most.  The sink for both restrooms is a long, stainless steel tub located in the hallway with a large mirror above.  One aspect I really like here is the use of stones at the bottom of the sink.  Stones are an earth element, and when used correctly, can help ground the room from precious chi (energy) draining away down the drain.  This is also especially important in keeping abundance and wealth within an environment.  For most of my clients, I usually do not recommend stones for the bottom of a sink because they can be difficult to clean.  However, I love how it looks, and do this in my own home.  If one wants to use these to help keep abundant energy within a residence, I suggest getting smaller stones or river rocks and placing them in a wide bowl or container.  Place said container on top of the tank of the toilet, or on a shelf directly above the tank.  Rinse these stones out about once a month.  If you really like the idea of stones in the sink, I suggest getting perhaps four or five large, flat stones and placing them over the drain.  The flatness of the rocks will make them easier to clean, rather than lots of small stones or pebbles.  Also, notice the shape of the sink – it’s another rectangle.

Another thing I like about Take a Bao is the convenient parking.  In a city where everyone drives, finding parking is important.  A generous lot is provided for patrons – this becomes valet in the evening, but during Happy Hour it shouldn’t be an issue.  I found parking around the corner near Carpenter Elementary on a residential street.  This bar is definitely one of my new favorite spots.  Take a Bao deserves a standing ovation.

Take a Bao

11838 Ventura Blvd, Studio City, CA 91604

818 691-7223

Hours:   Happy Hour:  Monday – Friday 4:00 – 6:00,  Bar:  Monday – Saturday 11:30 – 11:00,  Sunday 11:30 – 10:00

Note:  Kitchen usually stops serving an hour before closing, except for their special late night menu on Friday and Saturday.

http://www.takeabao.com/