Last week, the wife and I had the good fortune to again meet up with another fantastic food blogger. Mark, from No Special Effects, was in L.A. from the Philippines for a few days so we decided to snatch him away from his hotel in El Segundo and take him to one of our favorite watering holes: Father's Office.
Although F.O. is known for its burgers (some say the best in Los Angeles), I'm drawn there for the semi-hard-to-find microbrewed beers and cocktails (there are two F.O. locations: one in Santa Monica and one in Culver City/Los Angeles, and only the L.A. locale serves the cocktails). In fact, we live about an hour from F.O. but the wife and I manage to go there a few times a year just to wet our whistles.
Even though F.O. boasts a highly regarded burger, I still prefer that of ol' reliable In-N-Out or even the burgers at Apple Pan. Don't get me wrong, the Office Burger is a great burger, but I'm more of an old-fashioned simple burger type, whereas the Office Burger is somewhat of an upscale gourmet sandwich that features a patty of great quality ground beef topped with arugula, gruyere and maytag bleu cheeses, and a compote of onions and bacon, all pressed between a kaiser roll.
With that said, no matter how much I tell myself "I'll try something else this time" whenever I step into F.O., I still find myself always ordering their burger--I feel like I'm missing out if I don't order it. This time around, the wife and I split a burger, some sweet potato fries, and a wonderful heirloom tomato salad that was dressed with ricotta cheese, herbs and microgreens, and a cucumber vinaigrette. Mark had himself an Office Burger of his own (which he seemed to enjoy) and some regular fries.
During the course of a Negroni cocktail and 2 or 3 or 4 beers (I lost count), we discussed things like Saturday Night Live, The Office, rampant STDs at USC, and the strictness of Filipino parents. The range of this conversation was perhaps due in large part to the aforementioned beverages that I consumed, so I'm not totally sure that Mark completely followed my ramblings. Luckily, my wife was in tow to keep me and my liver in check.
For those not in the know, pastillas de leche are a Philippine candy made with just milk and sugar. The milk is boiled with sugar until it thickens, then the concoction is rolled in more sugar to coat, formed into small log shapes, and then wrapped in paper.
The pastillas Mark gave to us are from Iya's Jumbo Pastillas, and they are indeed jumbo. I'm used to smaller sized pastillas, but these were a good leprechaun thumb's worth of pastilla:
Some pastillas are made from cow's milk, carabao's milk, or even condensed milk. The pastillas Mark gifted us with are soft and supremely creamy and sweet, so much so that I can't eat more than one at a time, but they are soooo good. I'm not sure what ours are made of, but based on the cows pictured on the packaging, I'm going to guess cow's milk.
So thanks once again to Mark for hanging out with us and giving us some great candy. When you become a fancy-pants doctor out here, we'll have to celebrate again with more drinks.
One last thing I want to mention is that the nice folks over at BakitWhy wanted to reuse my piece on Filipino-Americans and Gumbo that I wrote last year. BakitWhy is a website dedicated to highlighting the Fil-Am lifestyle and community and they are featuring an ongoing series this month (so far here, here, and here) for Filipino-American History month. So take a gander.