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OUR MONTHLY MENU OF TRENDS & TIDBITS
By D Magazine |

A M B 1 E N C E



Feng Shui and You



An ancient art feeds the spirit.



IT WAS A TRUE CASE OF EAST meets West four years ago when Anzu owner Phina Nakamoto hired Dallas architectural designer Paul Draper to renovate her McKinney Avenue restaurant using feng shui, the ancient Chinese art of placement.

In Hong Kong, China and Japan, feng shui masters select restaurant sites and consult on in tenor design, to assure that guests experience physical and mental well-being.

While feng shui is relatively new to Dallas, Draper was not new to feng shui, having worked throughout the Pacific Rim. “Feng shui is not an exact science,” designer Draper notes. “I was prepared to be flexible, knowing Full well there was flexibility on the other end.”

The feng shui master approved Anzu’s rectangular layout and the mini-gardens in the foyer, But. the exposed metal trusses and skylights were “bad feng shui,” and the renovation budget wouldn’t allow for a false ceiling.

The solution had to be inexpensive, and what’s cheaper than paper-or origami? Draper recalled thai according to feng shui, gifts of 1,000 origami folded paper cranes portend health and good fortune. It took nearly 45,000 paper cranes made in i long Kong, Taiwan and Dallas to hide the trusses.

This feng shui “cure” became a competitive advantage for Anzu, as patrons remember the restaurant that nurtures the spirits, as well as tantalizes the palates, of its guests.

-Kim H. Krisco

CHEAP EATS



GENERAL PAO



THE AMBIENCE HERE leaves a little to be desired, but no matter-the all-you-can-eat (are costs as little as $5.25 for a weekday lunch to $7.99 for a seafood-studded dinner buffet, Two huge buffet tables, one devoted to fruit and salad, the other to soups and entrées, command everyone’s attention, and there are few customers who don’t share a plate or two of watermelon.

Take note: This buffet offers more than 100 choices! While fried foods (won ton, egg rolls, sweet & saur chicken, etc.) are very popular, stir-fried entrées, like the chicken/mush room combo, draw rave reviews, perhaps because they’re impeccably fresh. Some of Pao’s food is laughably bad-like the so-called “grilled steak,” beef slices in a murky gravy, but anything made with chicken is good, and the vegetables are reliably fresh. While you can load up on soft-serve ice cream and unlimited toppings for dessert, opt instead for the doughnut-type disc called “fried bread.” Mighty good. 1311 Plaza Dr., Garland, 686-8691. -Suzanne Hough

GRAPEVINE



BIG RED BOOM ROLLS ON



The red wine boom, with its acute shortages and fast-rising prices, continues to shake up wine lists and rattle store shelves. Merlot has been the most dynamic of the red boomers, generating double-digit sales increases in each of the last four years. “Merlot is just idiotic,” says John Rector, vice president of sales and marketing at Sigel’s. “I’ve never seen growth in any [wine] category like this,”

Consumer thirsts are also boosting volume supermarket sales of red zinfandel {try the 1993 Fetzer Barrel Select-Tom Thumb $9.99, Sigel’s $8.99), and pinot noir (Napa Ridge 1994 North Coast Pinot Noir-Tom Thumb $6.99, Applejacks, $5.99), with increases of 61 percent and 54 percent respectively through the first quarter of 1996. But shortages and price hikes are hitting these wines too.

What wines will emerge as the next hot reds in the current supply constraint/high-price turmoil? Ronn Wiegand, publisher of the trade journal Restaurant Wine, says that in the restaurant market-where wine trends are often set-syrah (the Australians call it shiraz) and sangiovese are generating considerable interest. A classic varietal from the Rhone Valley of France, syrah is a rich wine with deep color, often harboring earthy, spicy components. The 1994 Rothbury Estate Shiraz is generous with crisp plum flavors and peppered, earthy tones (Sigel’s, $9,991. Sangiovese, the Italian red that is the principal grape used to make Chianti, is a fresh, medium-bodied wine with forward fruit and hints of spice. Try the 1994 Antinori Santa Christina sangiovese (Eatzi’s $7.99, Sigel’s, $6.99), a bright, silky red with refreshing cherry aromas. -Mark Stuertz