Archive for July, 2009

office space

  • Filed under: eats
Jul 28, 2009

revisiting Father’s Office

father's office

Sang Yoon had a great concept when he first created the original Father’s Office in Santa Monica. Lets open up a little neighborhood bar, deck it out minimally in blonde wood, pour obscure, hand-picked microbrews, and serve up tasty food to compliment the beer. With pedigree from nearby Michael’s, ex-executive chef Yoon wasn’t going to offer hot wings and beer nuts. The fare would be food he would personally want to nosh while getting his drink on. Best way to describe it: Tapas meets bistro. An array of Spanish influenced bites and small plates, tasty salads, french classics like roasted bone marrow, steak au poivre, duck confit, frites. Well, the food caught on, and the fans came in droves. FO became one of the most frustrating and challenging dining experiences most people would ever encounter. I guess that’s what happens when you try to serve sought-after food in a broom closet. Their ‘order at the bar, then find your own seat’ policy was obviously ill suited for such a small space. Finding a table here was reminiscent of parking on campus during my college days, a cutthroat and often nasty affair. Students would circle the parking lot, stalking would-be departers and open spaces like vultures to a poor dying animal. Squabbles and fits of cussing and finger gesturing frequently ensued. Securing a table was somewhat similar at Father’s Office. The lack of seating inevitably leads to masses of impatient patrons hovering over tables, uncomfortable searing of eyes and muttering under breaths. Not always a fun experience.

So when the much anticipated Father’s Office in Culver City (coined FO 2.0) opened its doors last year, I wondered if Yoon and the gang had improved upon the original version. Even with the hype and buzz that usually surrounds a newly hatched hotspot, 2.0 seemed more accessible. Maybe it was the parking, or the relatively larger capacity plus desirable al fresco patio seating that made it seem less chaotic and claustrophobic. The food was just as I remembered from original. 2.0 appeared to be a worthy upgrade.

office burger; white anchovies; basket of fries

office burger; white anchovies; basket of fries

Fast forward to a year later. Some errands brought us to Culver City and I figured it would be a convenient stop for a bite to eat. With our order placed, and double IPA (and table number tent) in hand, we went to survey the semi-communal tables on the patio. Unfortunately we had hit that unmagical hour, when everyone had just settled in to drink and eat, and no one was in any hurry to part with their valuable seats. Anyone still waiting for a table had made their wagers on the first tables to leave, and had already parked themselves in front of their choices, ready to pounce at the slightest indication of departure. 15 to 20 minutes passed and still no seats for us; waiters began to apologetically hand me plates of food sans table. With more orders arriving, the waiters had no choice but to place the plates on the table in front of us. Hmm, shades of the original Father’s Office? Fortunately the party we were standing next to, upon seeing our predicament, offered to scoot over to make room. Thank God.

yellowfin tuna with yuzu, shiso, cilantro sprouts, tomato 'ceviche'

yellowfin tuna with yuzu, shiso, cilantro sprouts, tomato 'ceviche'

So with a place to set up shop, we tucked in. The Office burger I once raved about was a little underwhelming. The bread a bit too crusty, the caramelized onions too overpowering, and the dry aged beef and little flabby and soggy. The shoestring fries were too thin for my taste; the julienne cut left the potatoes dry. While the white anchovies were as good as previous visits, the yellowfin tuna was the surprise savior of the night. beautiful, glistening slices of barely-seared tuna, dressed with yuzu, shiso oil, on a mound of summer’s best cherry tomatoes, topped with micro cilantro sprouts. deliciously plate-licking good.

I find myself a bit conflicted with FO. I really love any place that serves up great beer and food. However, the wait, crowds, and sometimes mediocre food have tempered my initial enthusiasm over Father’s Office. Maybe it will improve with the next version. We’ll have to wait and see.

Father’s Office
3229 Helms Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90034
(310) 736-2224

bites: san francisco

Jul 10, 2009


Tony Bennett may have left his heart in San Francisco, but I think I left my stomach. Here are just a handful of my favorite eateries. More to come in another entry!

Brenda’s French Soul Food

Who would have imagined that the one of the best Creole restaurants I’ve sampled was in the heart of San Francisco. There may be the naysayers that claim that it’s not completely authentic, and in some ways I may have to agree. I’ve dined throughout the south (North & South Carolina, Savannah, New Orleans), and for the most part, Brenda’s is better. The execution and flavors are superior (most southern/soul/creole/cajun food I’ve tried have been too salty or bland.) A must try is the oyster po-boy (get shrimp if you don’t like oysters). The plump oysters were perfectly seasoned and fried, and bursted with flavor with every bite. The spicy rémoulade countered the richness of the oysters, and the toasted roll was pure, buttery heaven. I do have to admit the beignets were a little bit of a let down, suffering from too much doughiness inside. Overall, a great place for brunch if you can beat the crowds lining out the door.

brenda's french soul food

fried oyster po-boy with chipotle rémoulade; windows to the soul; beignet flight; community coffee and chickory

Brenda’s French Soul Food
652 Polk Street
San Francisco, CA 94102
(415) 345-8100

Pizzeria Delfina

I don’t think there’s enough I can say about this place. Hands down still the best margherita pizza I’ve had in California. The crust is thin, bubbly, and charred, and still able to hold up to the tomato sauce and buffalo mozzarella. And please, no Mozza comparisons. There are none. Delfina has managed to keep their food pure and simple, and utterly delicious. Bravo.

pizzeria delfina

menu; libations; margherita pizza

menu; beer & wine; margherita pizza

Pizzeria Delfina
3611 18th Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 437-6800

Bi-Rite Creamery

Just a skip and hop away from Pizzeria Delfina is the bay’s best ice cream shop. Perfect for dessert after pizza, or a snack, or whatever reason. Flavors like Roasted Banana, Salted Caramel, and Balsamic Strawberry are just different enough to keep it interesting, but in the end it’s Bi-Rite’s ultra-luscious mouth feel that makes it leaps above the rest. Using Strauss Family Organic Dairy doesn’t hurt either.

bi-rite creamery

Bi-Rite Creamery
3692 18th Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 626-5600

Ritual Roasters

Artisan, house-roasted coffee made with love and passion, what’s not to like?

ritual roasters

Ritual Roasters
1026 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 641-1024

Have a great weekend!