I stumbled upon another slice of undiscovered LA recently. The subtitle of this post should read "In which the Mobile Knowledge Worker discovers free wi-fi, great food and wonderful service at a West Hollywood hookah lounge." But I'm getting ahead of my story.
I walked into Ramma Geni Cafe and immediately felt that I had walked into a speakeasy. The bright light of day version.
"Do you serve coffee here?" I asked, rather dubiously.
"We're a tea house and hookah lounge, but yeah, we do coffee."
Never one to stint on experiences, I decided to order both coffee and tea. My eye was caught by the description of Earth Wonder tea on the menu. It was supposed to contain allantoin and to be good for the skin.
"Do you see instantaneous results with this tea?" I asked.
"I don't know about instant," the server replied, with a laugh.
"Well, this is LA, you know..." We chuckled knowingly.
He made the tea and coffee and brought them out to me right away. The coffee was Turkish style and already sweetened. It was fine, though not strong enough for my taste. The tea was really good.
Normally I don't hear like to hear a TV going, but in this environment, it fit and I liked it.
My next order of business was to order food. I chose baba ghanous, houmous and taboule as my 3 choices for the "make your own plate" option. Besides what I ordered, the server (I suspect that he was one of the owners, but I'm not sure) also gave me moussaka on the house. The food was delicious. I adored the moussaka. The baba ghanous was slightly sweet and creamy, the taboule was lemony and had lots of tomato. The houmous was tasty.
From time to time, the server came to check on me to ask how I liked things or whether I needed anything.
One of these times he asked, "Is it [the tea] working?"
"I don't know, you tell me. But look at me in the light."
We laughed. We chatted. I learned that Ramma Geni has been in business for ten years as a night time hookah lounge and tea house. As of March 1, they now open at noon and also serve lunch. I suppose this explains the undiscovered feel.
Somewhere along the way, the TV was turned off and the music came on. I would describe it as Euro dance music.
I normally don't like this kind of music but I loved it in this environment. I got a lot of work done. Maybe it was the beat. Or the tea. Or the moussaka. Perhaps there is a resident genie at Ramma Geni Cafe. For whatever the reason, I felt like the Queen of the Universe.
Outdoor seating, metered street parking.
Ramma Geni Cafe
8500 Melrose Avenue
West Hollywood, CA 90069