Thursday, August 28, 2008

Father's Office (Culver City)

The obligatory and necessary post about Father's Office - THE place for burgers. The anticipation for Father's Office Culver City to open was nervewracking -drive bys during their construction time led to disappointment, and a sign that said "FO..." When I found out it had finally opened, I managed to drag Owen and Bryan out to eat there, the third night it was open.

For a Wednesday, the place was HOPPING, but then again, maybe it was because it was so shiny and new. We waited in a line just to get in. After being let through their beautiful wooden framed doors, it was confusion everywhere. No host or hostess. But I'm here for the food?

I guess it doesn't matter, and part of the "appeal" of the place - again, it's a bar. You order at the bar, everything, beer, food, whatever, and then pray to high heaven to get a seat before you get your food. We managed a small cramped seat for three, sharing the table with 2 other people. The seating on the patio/open air area is nice, but again, everyone's vying for any seat available, so it's mercenary.

I ended up ordering for the boys, as they saved my seat, and after a longer than average wait (total wait time at this point was about 45 minutes from starting to wait in the line to get in to when we finally got food to the table) they finally set down the fabled magical food.

Father's Office Culver City
The sweet potato fries, "a la carte", served in a mini cart. Cute. These fries are really good though. Some of the best I've had. And no dipping these holy fries in ketchup - they only have aioli (blue cheese kind or regular kind.) I didn't mind at all - with aioli that good, ketchup was the last thing on my mind.
Father's Office Culver City
And HERE is the oh so talked about Father's Office burger. It's a really juicy, delicious, dry aged beef patty, molded in an oval shape to fit the bun, which is more sub sandwich style than hamburger bun style. The bun keeps the caramelized onions (cooked down to a sauce more than anything else - the onions were a shadow of their old oniony selves), maytag blue cheese and gruyere and peppery arugula all together in a perfect package. The fries were super tasty as well, dipped with more aioli.

Father's Office Culver City
Here's how half a burger at Father's Office fits into Owen's hand. A hefty burger, to be sure, but every single bite of this burger is something to be savored. Check out the pink medium cook of the meat, the way the juice of the burger gets caught by the bottom of the's a thing of beauty.

The cheese, especially, has quite a note in this burger - sharp, distinct, but mellowed out by the onion soup topping, and offsets the arugula. It's just a masterpiece. I managed to save half for later, which took all my energy to not just go to town on both halves of this burger in one sitting. The meat, is just SO good. This high quality of meat used for burgers is such a treat.

I just had some fizzy water for a drink, but I wanted to mention that this was some of the best fizzy water I've had - they use the same carbonation system for their beers, I think, so the water is especially bubbly and delicious - plus, it's free. Hooray for that.

So the burgers meet all expectations, but the difficulty of getting this burger is daunting. I can't just order a burger to go and eat it at home - I'd have to wait in line JUST TO GET IN, and then wait in another line, order and pay, and then wait for them to make it, and then wrap the thing up myself, and slink outta there. A lot of trendy people come to drink here, and don't leave (completely understandable, after all it is a BAR...) I just wish they had a restaurant or takeout window or something, ANYTHING for the people who just want a burger and not drinks. But it is not so, so we just follow the rules and wait in line for half an hour just to get a chance to get this mystical burger. I guess if anything, that prevents me from having this burger more than once every season, which is probably better for my heart, hah. Until next season, I will dream of this burger...
3229 Helms Ave., Los Angeles

Sprinkles Cupcakes

My first Sprinkles's like the first time you go to anywhere that has so much buzz around it, like Pinkberry. However, my first experience with these charming cupcakes were not marred with an actual trip to the Sprinkles was brought right to our office! Cam's mom surprised the creative team with a bunch of cupcakes for Cam's birthday! Thanks again!

Here's a pillaged box, with a bunch of them already snatched and consumed. I love the look of these cupcakes and their "trademarked" candy circular nipple thing on top. The frosting looks so clean, and not haphazardly slapped on top. However, it's really difficult to figure out what flavors these cupcakes are. I just had to make an educated guess as to which one I wanted.
Sprinkles Cupcakes
What favors are these? I guess I won't know till I try them all...
Sprinkles Cupcakes
Notably, these set of cupcakes are frosting-less - for the more health conscious cupcake connoisseur. I BELIEVE the flavor is pumpkin. Maybe. I don't know. I only had a half of a cupcake myself.

So, WHAT cupcake did I end up having? I had a strawberry icing, vanilla cake cupcake. And dang, was it good. Flecks of strawberry laced the icing, it was a light flavor, but in the end, a cupcake is a cupcake, and it was sugary as hell. I'm more of a fan of subtle desserts (like fruit flavors, or something sweet but not TOO sweet), but you have to try everything once.

I didn't get a picture of MY cupcake, but Mark offered to display a cupcake he was eating:

Sprinkles Cupcakes
As displayed perfectly by his palm. It's a chocolate sprinkles, chocolate frosting and vanilla cake cupcake. I really like the shape of this cupcake - the sprinkles liberally rolled onto the frosting, the texture it creates. It's a good look.
Sprinkles Cupcakes
And here's a cross section of the cupcake, after a bite has been taken. Look how thick the layer of frosting is - it's a BIG mouthful of creamy sugar. The cake itself is moist enough, but I prefer a moister batter than this.

The cupcakes live up to the name and hype, but I admit I'm not the best judge of cupcake character. Every once and awhile is good though...

Wednesday, August 06, 2008


For my cousins' graduation lunch, she had set up the restaurant to be at a place conveniently close to LMU, and her choice was this restaurant named Piknic. It's located in the new complex in Playa del Rey - I didn't even know it existed, since it was well hidden from the main street (I usually zoom by on Jefferson Blvd. in my best effort to get away from the gnarly traffic of the Marina..) This place almost seemed exclusive, since it was the only restaurant in the group of high end condos and apartments. The place was bursting with people, and most of them nicely dressed. This was the place to be!

Emileigh had a huge reservation with Piknic, but most of the party didn't get there until later because of traffic from LMU. A lot of second cousins were gathering, and we were encouraged to order...since we were starving, we did...
Emileigh LMU graduation 2008
We ordered some spinach artichoke dip, which came at the same time as everything else, so it was kind of awkward. We were starving so I forgot to take a picture until we had dug into it a bit. It was pretty good!
Emileigh LMU graduation 2008
A half demolished French Onion Soup...there was a ton of cheese on this, and the soup itself was rich and deep. A really solid french onion soup, enough of a crouton to broth ratio, with plenty of carmelized onions in the soup.
Emileigh LMU graduation 2008
I ended up getting a Steak sandwich. Isn't it a thing of beauty? The steak itself was really good, not overcooked or dry, and a good amount of cheese melted all over it. The bread was especially good, and kept everything inside the sandwich - check those grill marks! The fries were really tasty, good mix of textures.
Emileigh LMU graduation 2008
Owen got a turkey club sandwich, as he usually does and will whenever there's one on the menu and it's lunchtime. This was a killer club. The bread was nice and grilled, and thick, like texas toast. The bacon was ample, and I think there was avocado on there as well. The turkey was from a carved bird - the most preferred kind of turkey! Owen requested sweet potato fries, which he prefers over regular fries. He could not stop eating them!

Owen really wants to come back here for a breakfast sometime. They have an ample menu of smoothies with fresh fruits, and the breakfasts that the others had ordered looked pretty good as well.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Wood Ranch BBQ and Grill

On a rare rainy day in LA during lunch, we headed over to Farmer's Market/The Grove to meet up with some other coworkers that were already eating at Chipotle. However, the place was full to bursting with people, and we decided to run to the other side of the parking lot and check out Wood Ranch BBQ and Grill. The place was pretty full, but we managed to get a booth pretty quickly.

The menu was pretty standard BBQ place fare - I'm assuming it's a chain, but it's not a chain I've been to or heard of other than this place, so it's new to me. We all decided on the lunch special, as the choices for their combos were reasonable and we all wanted soup, to warm us up.

Wood Ranch BBQ and Grill at the Grove
A breadbasket arrived, with very delicious rolls. I think they had been coated in butter and herbs. These were still warm and fresh, and had a good crust to them.
Wood Ranch BBQ and Grill at the Grove
We all got the clam chowder. Pretty decent, but nothing out of this world. Considering how hot it's been around LA, the thought of soup is almost too much right now! But on that day, the warm soup was perfect for the cold day outside.
Wood Ranch BBQ and Grill at the Grove
My combo consisted of half of a BBQ beef sandwich, with au jus, and a loaded baked potato, with cheese, bacon bits, sour cream and chives and butter on the side. I liked the bread on this sandwich, and the au jus was a bit salty but good for dipping. I managed only a few bites of the baked potato and brought the rest of it home to share with Owen :)
Wood Ranch BBQ and Grill at the Grove
Similarly, Annette and Grace chose half sandwiches (pretty much the same as mine), and Grace chose mashed potatoes, while Annette chose mac and cheese. It was good, but it was a lotta food.

This place was actually pretty okay. I usually have a dislike of most chain restaurants, but this was pretty good. I'd go again, but with so many choices at Farmer's Market, and Dupar's down the way, it might be awhile before I work my way back here.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Obi Bear

Ray had been singing the praises of Obi Bear's Korean fried chicken, so we met up there for a late dinner. The area around Obi Bear is a bit dodgy - I felt a little nervous as I was walking down the street from my car, (I wasn't aware of Obi Bear's parking lot, which is like a secret or something - no signs, just a caged area for cars. I ended up parking on Western, which was a few blocks away.) Funnily enough, Obi Bear is right next to an AA meeting place - convenient for people who fall off the wagon, I suppose. Location is everything!

Anyways, walking inside, there is the bar, and a bunch of booths. There was no seating in the non smoking area, so we had to go to the smoking area. On to the food!
Obi Bear
Some salty snacks to get people in the mood for drinking. Dried salt coated peas, pretty good- nice and crunchy.
Obi Bear
So here's what we got - the Korean fried chicken. It came with shredded cabbage with a thousand islandly sauce on top, jalapenos and the chicken, of course. There's also a tiny dish of seasoned salt too, I forgot to get a picture of that.

Here's a close up of the radishes, which definitely separates Korean fried chicken from other fried chicken I've had. The radishes are in a sweet brine, crunchy and with a good bite to each piece.

Obi Bear
So here's the lowdown on this chicken - first off, it tasted a lot like chinese fried chicken, which I used to have when I was younger, during big Chinese banquets. (where are the shrimp chips!?) Take a piece of the chicken (with the paper thin fried skin, if you can). The seasoned salt is sprinkled on top. Take a bite, then quickly grab a piece of radish, and eat that right afterwards. The combination of sour, salty, crispy, crunchy, savory and textures is just...great. Swallow, repeat process. A bite of salad inbetween this cycle is always good too. A solid thumbs up from me.

I haven't had the other incantations of Korean fried chicken yet (Kyochon, Bonchon) but I heard about the gnarly wait times for ordering (sometimes up to 40 minutes?). Obi Bear's chicken came out pretty quickly, so I have no complaints there. I'm coming back - now that I finally know where their parking lot is.