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Local Edition Papers

Concealed behind an unassuming storefront, there is a hidden gem of a lounge in San Francisco known as Local Edition.  Housed in the basement of the vintage Examiner building in the Financial District, Hearst inspired cocktails and mid-century libations permeate the area that once contained the newspaper’s printing presses.  Upon hearing of this great bar, some of my friends and I decided to make some headlines of our own on a Monday Night, and headed down for a drink.

Local Bar 02

The entrance to Local Edition is located on Market, not far from 3rd Street.  After one’s checked in with the doorman, a staircase leads down to the submerged tavern.  For residences, I am not a fan of basement level apartments (also known as garden apartments).  These offer far too much yin energy, as one’s home is literally underground, completely surrounded by the earth (similar to a burial plot).  Those who inhabit such dwellings can suffer from a variety of issues, including  feelings of being stagnant, and poor health.  However, this is not a residence – it’s a bar.   When bars or restaurants reuse subterranean spaces like this, it adds a wonderful yang energy to a very yin space.

Local Bank Seating

Everywhere one looks, the history of William Randolph Hearst and The Examiner has been captivated and transformed.  Famous newspapers are showcased throughout in frames or under glass tables (pictured at the top of the post).  Vintage manual typewriters are displayed as monuments to a bygone era of news reporting.  Even the marble-topped tables make a statement.  Not only are they beautiful, durable, and a wonderful example of the earth element, the marble used is remnants leftover from the construction of Heart Castle.

Local Table 01

Honoring and preserving history is of vital importance to every generation.  In order to evolve and grow, we look to the  past to see our former successes and our unfortunate mistakes.  Using this knowledge helps us to decide which paths to take, inspires us to create and innovate to new heights, and further enriches us as a people.

How is preserving history good feng shui?  Well, first you have the green aspect.  When one reuses or repurposes an Local Typewritersobject or material in a new fashion, this helps to reduce energy and resources that would be needed to make something brand new.   It’s also a way of clearing clutter.  An item that has been sitting around collecting dust is employed in a new way, thus changing negative energy into positive energy.

There is also the matter of style, which I find to be of great importance in feng shui.  In our home environments, one common factor is that everyone has their own sense of what they do and do not like.  And, either knowingly or not, history influences our individual style.  There can be a particular time period we are drawn to – or music from a decade we can’t seem to get enough of – or an allure to vintage clothing of a specific era.  We take samples of the past and intermingle them into our modern tastes.  Having items that are personally nostalgic in one’s environment is comforting, and gives one a sense of peace and belonging.

Local Leather Seating

History influences us in all kinds of beneficial ways.  One example is in alcohol and mixed drinks.  All of the specialty cocktails at Local Edition are influenced by vintage recipes with modern flare, looking at those from the 1950’s and 1960’s.  Many of the libations derive their names from things of a newspaper origin, or anything connected to William Randolph Hearst.  One drink I didn’t get to try was The Rosebud, a tequila based beverage with vanilla simple syrup and sea salt.  The namesake of this concoction was actress Marion Davies, Hearst’s mistress of over thirty years.  Rosebud was her nickname.  Let’s look at the libations I did try:

The Eagle

The Eagle – My friend Rachel could not stop talking about this drink, so I had to try it – and I’m so glad I did!  Bourbon, soda water, and a root beer simple syrup combined make this an incredible beverage.  I could drink these all day.  Refreshing and addictive.

Local Edition Cocktail

Local Edition Cocktail – The namesake of the establishment, this is Local’s own edition of an Old Fashioned.   Bourbon, cherry-infused bitters, and an orange peel simple syrup are the main components of this headliner.  Strong and bold.

Rex Roth and Fidel and Che

Rexroth – Pictured on the left is the Rexroth, named for the famed poet and political activist.  A complex mixture including Peychaud’s bitters, pisco, and an egg white, this was intriguing and unforgettable – much like Rexroth’s poetry.   His writings are poignant and impressive.  A selection of his work can be found at Poemhunter:  http://www.poemhunter.com/kenneth-rexroth/poems/

Fidel and Che – On the right is Fidel and Che, a unique twist on a mojito.  Although rum, lime, and mint are used as in traditional mojitos, this drink also uses aperol, an Italian apertif similar to campari.  Vibrant and invigorating.

The Pulitzer

The Pulitzer – Named after the famed publisher and journalist, The Pulitzer was the ideal libation to close the evening,  Scotch, honey, angostura bitters and manzanilla sherry served straight up in a small goblet with an orange peel garnish.  Very strong, and perfect for sipping.  Daring and memorable.

Local Table 02

Comfortable  seating, walls draped in scarlet fabric, and high ceilings evoke a romantic and relaxing atmosphere.  Although reservations are not required, my party and I did make some just to be safe.   Decanter service is provided should one desire a favorite bottled spirit.  Local Edition also offers great live music on Wednesdays and Saturdays.  On the record, I will state that is a brilliant and highly auspicious place to grab a drink.  Off the record – This place is awesome!  I can’t wait to come back here again – for the drinks and the history.

Local Edition Entrance

Local Edition

691 Market Street, San Francisco, CA 94105

415 795-1375

Hours:  Monday – Friday 5:00 pm – 2:00 am,   Saturday 7:00 pm – 2:00 am

http://localeditionsf.com/

Shaun Local 03

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Mochas Among the Greenery

Wendy and Colorful Trees

“If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.”  Now, while I agree wholeheartedly with Cicero here, I feel he may have omitted a few other necessities in life – such as one’s morning cup of coffee.  I function much better after I’ve had two cups of that delicious brew.  It awakens my senses as part of my daily ritual for facing the world.   Coffee can be highly useful and beneficial in a variety of manners.  One of the many ways I use coffee is to reuse it’s byproduct – coffee grounds.  I have a small garden on my balcony at home, and I have found used coffee grounds are excellent as plant food, due to its high levels of potassium, nitrogen, and other trace minerals – all of which are important for healthy plant growth.  But is there such a place where coffee and plants come together in a beautiful, harmonious environment?  Yes, there is.

Grubb Nursery 01

Located in the Bayview area of San Francisco, there lies a hidden garden of wondrous delights known as Flora Grubb Gardens.  Established by landscape designer Flora Grubb (yes, that is her real name) and French chef Saul Nadler in 2003, this charming array of plants and plant accoutrement is a feast for the senses.   There is also a fountain within the garden, in the form of Ritual Coffee Roasters,  a coffee distributor that has one of its stores inside. Established in 2005 and launching a coffee revolution, Ritual’s main goal is “to craft the very best cup of coffee available anywhere.  Period.”   One may get tea or coffee, and wander about the luscious grounds, admiring the elegant plants and handiwork of clever artisans.  I ordered a mocha from the friendly and attentive barista.  It was that flawless cup of perfection true coffee connoisseurs seek.  I sipped my beverage and began my journey among the greenery.

Vertical Garden on Metal Wall

One of my current obsessions is vertical gardens.  They provide a beautiful, living wall of art, and introduce the wood element to an environment in a chic and unexpected way.  Pictured above is a grouping of six vertical panels of rich succulents.   Each panel measures 20″ by 20″ and is available for purchase at Flora Grubb, or at their online store (plants not included).  I’d love to try my hand at creating a vertical herb garden perhaps using one of these boxes.  More information about the D.I.Y. vertical garden panel is available here:  http://shop.floragrubb.com/vertical-succulent-garden-d-i-y-panel/  Flora Grubb also offers a great tutorial on making you own vertical garden:  http://floragrubb.com/florasblog/?p=894

Grubb Furniture 03

Since Christmas, I’ve been debating what to do with my leftover string  lights.  I’m thinking of draping them along some kind of metalwork, like the beautiful filigree pieces above,  Using reclaimed scraps from a variety of sources, they make great conversation pieces, and work well indoors or out.  Although more intended for vines and foliage, I think string lights would adorn them quite nicely.  Classy and colorful Fermob garden furniture can be seen throughout.  The neon green-yellow chair on the right is part of their Luxembourg Collection, while the other pieces are all part of their Bistro Collection, which is based on the original French design patented in 1889.   I’ve been thinking about acquiring some of those folding chairs, too.  I really like the blue one in the bottom left.   More information about their Bistro furniture can be found here:  http://floragrubb.com/florasblog/?p=2450

Buick Planter

Broken items or things in disrepair often attract sha, negative energy, into an environment.  Is it always important to either fix the damaged item, or re-purpose it in a new and fashionable way.  This classic car, a functional beauty in its heyday, has been reincarnated as a planter.  It’s almost apocalyptic in how the plants, a wood element, have taken over this very metal automobile.  It works brilliantly in this space because you have the other three elements working together in harmony alongside the wood and metal (the sunlight and red wall representing fire, the earth below, and the water sustaining the plants).  I like how they use every available area in the car to house a plant.  There are even trees growing through it!  A miraculous and thought-provoking piece of living art.

Comfy Concrete Chaises.  Photo courtesy of Flora Grubb Gardens.

Comfy Concrete Chaises.  Photo courtesy of Flora Grubb Gardens.

These concrete chaises were deceptively comfortable.  I sat here for a while with my mocha and didn’t want to get up.   Many people have mixed opinions about this pair of cement seating, but I like it.  However, I imagine they would be difficult to move around the property.

Justina, Plant and Coffee

Pictured above is my friend Justina with her coffee and a new addition to her plant family.  It’s a crassula of some kind, but I cannot tell you which one.  It’s cute, though.

Grubb Nursery O2

Gardening is one of those activities that is life-affirming and nourishing at the same time.  From a feng shui perspective, it is one of the few actions that incorporates the physical touch of all five of the elements:

  • Wood – The plants themselves
  • Fire – The sunlight for the plants to grow
  • Earth – The soil in which it grows
  • Metal – Gardening tools and implements
  • Water – Also needed for plants to grow

Yin and yang theory also plays a part here.  Many people use gardening as a stress reducer from their hectic, technological yang-filled lives.  Gardening can be a relaxing yin activity, which helps to replenish and balance out stress levels, bringing one back to nature and away from a highly mechanical world.  In addition to being a creative outlet, gardening is also good exercise for people of every age, from young children to retirees.  Not to mention one can grow their own fruits, vegetables and herbs.  Most home-grown veggies taste far better than the store bought varieties.   There is also aromatherapy of sorts working outdoors provides – the various scents of the soil, plants, flowers and air can literally invigorate the soul through olfactory means.  (The smell of fresh-cut grass is a proven aphrodisiac.)

Grubb Plants

The scenery and items at Flora Grubb Gardens are constantly changing and evolving, with new wares coming in almost every day.   I plan on returning here on my next business trip to San Francisco, to see what is currently being offered.  And to have more Ritual Coffee.  (Used coffee grounds also act as a bug repellent, for insects that meander through the soil, such as ants and slugs.  It’s not toxic to them, but will definitely keep them away.)  Come of think of it, I may not be able to wait that long for Ritual’s fine roasts – thankfully, one can order all of their coffee right here:    http://www.ritualroasters.com/store/  I believe is was Thomas Jefferson who said, “Coffee – the favorite drink of the civilized world.”

Flora Grubb Gardens

1634 Jerrold Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94124

415 626-7259

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

http://www.floragrubb.com/idx/index.php

Ritual Coffee Roasters (located inside Flora Grubb)

415 694-6448

Hours:  Monday – Thursday 9:00 am – 4:00 pm, Friday – Saturday  9:00 am – 4:30 pm,  Sunday 10:00 am – 4:30 pm

http://www.ritualroasters.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 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

The Tequila of L’Scorpion

In ancient Chinese folklore, the scorpion was believed to be one of the Five Poisons, which were five creatures that could cause great harm to people, especially during the summer months.  The first of these five were the snake, centipede and scorpion.  The last two would either be the toad, lizard, spider, or tiger depending on the source of the information.  But all of the sources agree on the first three.  During that era, it was believed that special amulets would protect the wearer from these so-called troublemakers.  It was more likely, however, that these little fiends were probably attracted to the cool environment of buildings from the harsh summer heat, hence why they would cause mischief more so in summer.   The Chinese were not the only ones to notice these  pests.  In Lebanon, The Temple of Eshmun is an ancient sanctuary devoted to the Phoenician God of Healing.  One of the only remaining frescoes on these ruins depicts a snake, centipede, scorpion, and crab, all symbolic of injury and illness.   In modern times, while the scorpion can still cause trouble,  it has redeemed itself in a variety of ways.  Medicinally, scorpion venom has been used in many applications, such as in the treatment for brain cancer,  in dermatological use, and as a pain reliever.  Of course, there is one scorpion that I find to be highly beneficial, and that is tequila serving one known as L’Scorpion.

My friend Katherine and I came here the other night for an incredible tequila tasting, and we were both quite impressed.  The lounge is nestled among costume stores and restaurants on Hollywood Boulevard, not too far from Hollywood and Highland.  I love the elaborate metalwork on the bar and glass doors.  Shades of vibrant red throughout, from the outside awning to the booths upholstery in back, add passion and warmth to the environment, as does the sensual lighting.

Lanterns and sconces, as well as a vintage tin-tiled ceiling are the prime examples of the metal in the space.  I love when buildings incorporate brick into their design, be it natural brick or brick veneer.  Here it  adds a beautiful and stylish earth element to the setting, which acts a bridge between the fire and metal elements.   The curvature of the metalwork adds a much-needed water element to the area, with the rectangular shapes of the bar and the very room itself symbolizing the final element, wood.  Even though it is made of metal, I would also venture to stay that the stripper pole in the rear of the lounge is another example of wood energy feeding fire – or as creative energy feeding passion.  It’s discretely displayed, while still being very attainable to all the patrons – should the mood strike them to use it.  Neither Katherine nor I felt the inclination.  The enormously high ceilings – I’m estimating them to be about eighteen feet high – also assist in a good flow of chi throughout the environment.

Four different tequilas were served to us, ranching from mescal (with an actual scorpion inside the bottle) to a nine months aged tequila.  All of them were good, but my favorite by far was the third option provided by Don Julio – which happens to be my favorite brand of tequila.

Guacamole with Chips – A generous portion of guacamole was served to us on a large platter, with strips of white corn tortilla chips.   L’Scorpion’s guacamole has a sting to it, with fresh green jalapenos added to the party.  Zesty and sensational;  I loved it!

Carnitas Tacos – We each got two carnitas tacos, and they were incredible.  The carnitas was some of the best I’ve ever had.  A small mound of refried beans accompanied the dish.  I added some to my tacos, and it was perfect!  I also like the modern presentation of the tacos on rectangular plates.

Flan – I feel all flan should be consumed by candlelight.  Light-as-air, this was the ideal addition to the meal.   It was impressive on its own, but when paired with the tequila, it was overwhelmingly  good.

In addition to their abundant tequila selection, L’Scorpion also offers a choice drink menu.  I went with their Jalapeno Margarita, because I like it spicy and full of yang energy.  On the rocks with salt and limes, this was a refreshing and strong libation.  The jalapeno in it offered just enough of a slap to get one’s attention.  I may get it just a little spicier next time, just to see how it is.   Katherine ordered the Paloma, which consists of tequila and Squirt soda mixed together with fresh lime juice.  Unbeknownst to me, it is quite popular to mix Squirt and tequila together in various parts of Mexico.  Citrus is the main forerunner of tastes in this beverage.    Intriguing.

As it’s located in the heart of Hollywood, parking can be a difficult task.  I would suggest bringing cash for one of the paid lots.  Another option is to take the metro and exit at Hollywood and Highland.  I did this and then walked the two short blocks to the bar.  Just remember the subway closes around midnight.  If you are going for a more mellow, yin mood, I would advise  going early in the evening when they open at 6:00.  However, if you want more of a lively, yang mood, go later in the evening after 10:00.  L’Scorpion will definitely needle its way into heart and soul – but don’t worry.  The perfect inoculation is more tequila.

L’Scorpion Tequila Bar

6679 Hollywood Boulevard, Hollywood, CA 90028

951 250-3800

Hours:  Sunday – Friday  6:00 pm – 2:00 am,  Saturday 1:30pm – 2:00 am

http://lscorpion.com/