Bon Vivant's written and pictorial diary of her culinary adventures that will amuse and excite your virtual taste buds...

Friday, July 27, 2007

Father's Office

A preview of coming attractions:

Those who have never been to Father’s Office in Santa Monica have heard the legends: it is tiny, tiny, tiny; the employees have serious attitude; and most importantly it has the best burger in the region if the not the entire United States.

Tiny? I wonder if the naysayers who make this claim have actually been to a tiny restaurant (Vietnamese Soy Café comes to mind). I was expecting the place to be of Lilliputian proportions and was worried that half of our party of 13 would not be seated even though we were first in line. I would say that Father’s Office is tiny by dim sum palace standards but it seats about 50 people easily.

Missing was the purported Father’s Office attitude; my bartender was so nice and helped me pick a great beer to go with my burger: Racer Five IPA (I normally don’t like IPAs but this was really good and went great with the burger) brewed by Bear Republic Brewery up in Sonoma County. The owner, Sang Yoon, is diligent about serving artisanal beers that compliment his gourmet burger. While my glass cost about $2.75 he has beers available that I believe are several hundred dollars per bottle. Just be careful about which beers you order Dear Reader.

But the legend of the phenomenal burger is indeed fact - it is quite delicious. The meat is of obvious high quality and I believe it is a mixture of ground sirloin and chuck. The carmelized onions, Maytag Blue, arugula, and toasted French roll just highlight the wonderful beef, and all of the components work really well together. Six conversations about one thing:

The rest of the items that we tried were extremely good. The sweet potato fries are absolutely incredible (I don’t even like sweet potato fries.) These are a must to order with the burger - don’t be tempted to order the regular fries like I was as they are not so great. My favorite item that day was the spiced olives. I was just blown away but the complex Moroccan spices that enveloped the olives. I definitely want to go back to Father’s Office to get non-burger items (the goat cheese gratin and the white anchovies are calling me, “Bon V, come to me…”); if the kitchen can put out olives that are to die for, imagine what the other items must taste like.

I do have a few criticisms though. While most people in our party complained of their burger being undercooked, my burger was overcooked. It was still tasty and juicy but I think that it would have been better (for me, at least) if it were a little less well done. The burger was supposed to have Gruyere cheese on it but it seemed to be absent from my particular burger. And the main problem for me, and this might sound silly to some (or even most) but even though the burger is truly excellent it seems more like a steak sandwich than a burger.

Father’s Office
1018 Montana Avenue
Santa Monica, CA 90403

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Monday, July 16, 2007

A Moveable Feast - Part One

Ah, Dear Reader, it's my favorite time of the year - Hollywood Bowl season! That's right, July 9th marked the first of many Bowl Shows and great picnics. We went to see "Die Zauberflote" (that's "The Magic Flute" to you.) Unfortunately, Sumi Jo was not feeling well that night and her famous aria, "Der Holle Rache Kocht in Meinem Herzen" (that's "Hell's Vengence Boils in My Heart" to you) suffered but the picnic was fabulous!

Our starter - La Quercia prosciutto:

Oh, man, this producer of American prosciutto is giving Gli Italiani a run for their argento. It was really excellent and the pork is from Berkshire pigs raised humanely in Iowa (they also make pancetta, speck, and guanciale). We served this with a mediocre brie from Whole Foods and the absolutely wonderful Two-Seeded Lavosh cracker bread from Rustic Bakery in Marin. I first bought this at the Cowgirl Cremery store in the Foodie Building in San Francisco but luckily I've been able to find it down here - for $2 more!

A photo of our sup:

Hear the commentary (and see Raven's hand!):

And our wine (organic grapes Dear Reader):

Now, I'm going to get on a soap box Dear Reader: with all the news about contaminated food lately, please consider buying and eating local foods, or if not too local, then food raised/grown by people who practice organic/sustainable/humane farming in the U.S. Every little effort helps. And the food tastes better too.

La Quercia

Robert Sinsky Vineyards

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