Though most people avoid smoky bars, patrons at Genie Lounge Cafe often come for the smoke. That's because guests aren't smoking cigarettes, but instead puffing on colorful hookahs filled with sweet-smelling, flavored tobaccos. Patrons sip on espresso as they pass around hookah hoses to friends seated on pillow-lined couches, enjoying the combination of flavors woven from drinks, pastries, and the fragrant smoke. On special nights, guests can even watch belly dancers sashay their way through tables to music as exotic and elegant as a zebra in a silk pantsuit.
Certified massage therapist Erin Warfield Shaffer expresses her belief in holistic approaches to wellness by treating bodies to a detoxifying combination of hands, herbs, and hydrotherapy. Shaffer's four massages range from hot-stone techniques that melt tension in backs to reflexology methods that manipulate the feet in an effort to relieve pain in the rest of the body. She also cleanses bodies with such detoxification rituals as the acupoint session, a massage-like treatment that causes key points in the body to absorb healthy herbs so that clients don't have to sleep on a pile of herb-crusted halibut. The center also concocts custom facials and peels that nourish the skin with hydrotherapy, botanicals rich in Vitamin C, and other organic ingredients.
From its first location in West Hollywood to its free-range food truck, Rounds Premium Burgers doles out mighty American burgers made with beef, turkey, chicken, or veggie patties along with a large selection of fries. Specialty rounds include The Slopper, a messy pile of chili, cheese, and onions. Custom burgers start with a foundation of daily-baked bread and a patty, which are then slathered with exotic sauces (from chipotle aioli to buttermilk ranch and tabasco ketchup) and layered with toppings such as crispy onion strings, breaded jalapeños, and grilled pineapple. From the burgers to the sweet-potato fries, the griddlemasters make all of their hearty, old-fashioned fare by hand.
Cuisine Type: Mediterranean-Persian fusion
Reservations: Not offered
Handicap Accessible: Yes
Number of Tables: 25?50
Parking: Parking lot
Most popular offering: Kebabs, hummus, fresh laffa bread, hookah
Delivery / Take-out Available: Yes
Outdoor Seating: Yes
Pro Tip: Weekend evenings [there's a] live DJ, therefore after 9 p.m. there is a crowd. Hookah is served only after 6 p.m.
This past March, Passion Cafe & Lounge got a new owner and a new a chef. Educated at the Culinary Institute, Chef Josh uses his classical training to fuse Mediterranean and Persian influences into a single extensive menu. His specialties include beef schnitzel, hand-breaded filets of meat served over basmati rice, and the simple yet delicious tomato and egg shakshuka, two poached eggs in a hearty tomato-vegetable sauce flavored with garlic, onions, and saffron tea, and ingredient normally only found in cups of hot water and recently pranked hot springs.
Honey-colored and sparkling with spirals of gold thread, the Shisha Cafe Lounge's lush dining room transports its guests to another time and place. Here, votives flicker behind their lanterns' glass panes, refracting light across smooth wooden surfaces as tendrils of flavored smoke undulate through the air, mirroring hookahs' twisted, ornate brass curves.
Shisha's hookah flavors go beyond the traditional, with quirky varieties including White Gummy Bear and Pirates' Cave, which is rumored to give smokers insights into the location of extra-friendly parrots. To complement puffs, a full menu of Mediterranean food satisfies appetites with items such as tabbouleh, freshly baked naan, chipotle hummus, salads, and beef or chicken kebab sandwiches or rice plates.