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Virginia and I headed in to Los Angeles to pick up some skirt steaks from the farmer’s market and swung by Father’s Office for the office burger among other things. Father’s Office is a gastropub that is extremely busy for dinner and since you have to seat yourself and order at the bar, it was a good thing we came for lunch. From what I understand it is a battle for seats and food in the evenings. This would be a nice hangout if it wasn’t so pricy and in LA. The layout is clean and modern with a lot of space both inside and out. We grabbed some menus took a look and ordered some food. I also ordered a tasty craft beer from their enormous selection of mid to ridiculously expensive varieties.
Our appetizers came out first, sweet potato fries with a garlic and blue cheese aioli and some fancy bone marrow. The fries were dusted with salt and some herbs; a smart move meant to connect the sweetness of the fries with the savory notes in the aioli. The fries were cooked well albeit a little greasy but this was the first time I enjoyed dipping sweet potatoes into a non sweet condiment. I also liked the way they were served. It looked like the fry basket they were cooked in, very clever.
Next, I moved on to my roasted bone marrow. The dish was two pieces of bone with a few toast points on top of a parsley salad. On the side was a small pile of sel gris (grey sea salt) meant to add onto the marrow once it was out of the bone. This was a tasty appetizer, well roasted marrow and perfectly toasted bread. The salad was a throw away and I believe just meant for color but the salt did draw out the richness of the marrow. My comment on this dish is that for the price I would have liked the bones sawed in half. I don’t particularly like digging inside bone at a restaurant, if they had cut the bone lengthwise after roasting it would have looked nicer and would have been easier to scoop out onto the toast. A successful dish but not for the feint of heart because marrow has both a unique texture and a strong beef flavor. You have to be a true carnivore to enjoy marrow, good thing I am.
As we finished up out appetizers my burger arrived. The highly talked about Office Burger. This burger was some non nondescript meat on a bun with some unique toppings. It was the toppings that made the burger but at least the meat wasn’t a cheap base. I go on rants from time to time about using good meat for burgers and hot dogs so I am glad they didn’t choose to skimp on the beef. The toppings were inventive and all things that I like. Caramelized onions for sweetness, bacon for, well, bacon. Two kind of cheese, Maytag blue and Gruyere. The cheese was what made this burger special. Both added saltiness to the burger but then diverged a bit. The blue cheese was sharp and crumbly while the Gruyere was a little sweet and creamy. Combined they created a depth of flavor that made the burger memorable. The last topping and the smartest was the addition of arugula. This bold, mustardy, peppery green cut through all the rich flavors on the burger and allowed you too keep coming back for more. Any other green would not have stood up to the cheese, onions, and bacon. Smart move by the chef. All in all this was a solid burger and well worth the $12 price tag.
While I would not go out of my way to come back, Father’s Office is a good local haunt and one I would frequent if I lived in the area. Solid food and solid beer but a tad overpriced. I wonder what it really looks like on a Saturday night but since I don’t deal well in a packed environment, I will just take other people’s word for it.
Overall Review: 7/10
Check out their menu and beer options here p.s their website is somewhat annoying
Article first published as Restaurant Review (Philadelphia): Smokin Betty’s on Blogcritics.
I took a trip to Philadelphia for a wedding and was extremely excited to stop by Smokin Betty’s for their famous Turduken Burger. I took the train into center city and walked the few blocks from the market to the restaurant. Upon my arrival I noticed how nice the interior of the restaurant looked. For a comfort food place it looked rustic but upscale. The wait staff was very polite though my waiter did take a while to come talk to me for the first time. I was also excited by the large craft beer selection and quickly ordered a nice Blonde Ale. A few minutes later I ordered my turduken burger with a side of sweet potato fries.
After about ten minutes my glorious burger arrived and I just took a few seconds to look at it lovingly. Maybe you should do the same:
|Who needs a pickle, really?|
After staring at the burger for a bit I cut it in half and dug right in. So for those who do not know, a turduken is a turkey stuffed with a duck stuffed with a chicken filled with stuffing, so a turduken burger has all the meats cooked together and the rest of Thanksgiving as toppings. I will say that I have not eaten many turkey burgers in my day, usually I am beef all the way, but I would imagine that this patty tasted very similar to a normal turkey burger. I would say that the difference would be a richer flavor because of the duck fat but if I hadn’t known I would have just thought it was a traditional turkey burger. Did this make a difference? Absolutely not! The burger patty was full of flavor and dripped juices right down my arm.
Now, as you can see by the picture there is much more to this burger than a patty. This burger was a Thanksgiving meal on a bun. A fluffy and flavorful bun, just like the rolls you normally get on the big day. Beneath the patty was a layer of stuffing and gravy topped with melted cheese. Generally I find stuffing pretty dry and boring but add gravy and cheese to it and you’ve got a party! Now I know a new stuffing recipe to try out. On top of the patty was a wonderful cranberry chutney. Adding the tang and sweetness to cut through all the rich flavorings of the dish. Truly a perfect addition to the burger and definitely not what you get from the can. Last but certainly not least, fried sweet potato chips, adding the final delicious crunch to the meal. Take a look at the burger from the inside, but first you might want to grab a bib to catch the drool.
|AJ Bombers can take some advice about buns from this place|
There is only one word to describe this burger…epic. I kept cutting it down to make it last longer because I didn’t want it to end. So many flavors dancing around on my palette and all in harmony. It really was Thanksgiving in each and every bite! The most prominent flavor was the cranberry chutney so if you don’t like cranberries you may not like this dish but then again you may love it. All in all a really well designed entree and one that I would go back to again and again over some of my favorite beef burgers.
You probably are thinking, what about the fries. Well no need to worry, they were also pretty great. I have never eaten thick cut sweet potato fries but I was not disappointed. These fries were crunchy on the outside but soft on the inside like potato wedges. Not too greasy but with just enough to add the needed flavor. A really great side dish to a Thanksgiving burger. I will say though that every time I get sweet potato fries I am hoping for a dipping sauce. A brown sugar and cinnamon aioli to be specific, but I never seem to get it. I just can’t get behind dipping them in ketchup.
Next time you are in Philly, check out Smokin Betty’s, get the Turduken burger, and plan to be full for a long time. Probably not the best idea right before a wedding but I toughed it out.
Overall Review: 8/10
Check out Smokin Betty’s here
Finally went to check out The Salted Pig on Friday for lunch. I was hearing great things about this place and was very excited to check it out. The restaurant is set up with two distinct seating areas; one by the bar and one by the kitchen. We sat in the seats at the kitchen counter and were rewarded with some free samples of their deviled eggs. I only ate one and it was good just not something I focused on throughout the meal. I wish the seats at the bar were a little higher up so I could actually see what was going on. It was strange to sit there trying to see what was going on but being unable to do so. Another annoyance was that my server had not tasted many of the items on the menu. It is always alarming to hear a server say “People have told me that this is good” or “I’ve never tried that”. If you really care about your restaurant you will taste and be able to talk about all of the regular menu items.
I ordered the pork belly sandwich with light mayo (As recommended), the brussel sprouts as a side, and the bacon sammy for dessert. I also upgraded to filthy fries which has cheese and roasted garlic on top. When the meal came out I was confused by the brussel sprouts. They were shredded like coleslaw with bacon pieces mixed in. This was a very unique way to eat brussel sprouts but surprisingly it was really good. Since they were shredded it was easy to get bacon in every forkful. Usually it is difficult to get the bacon on your fork with a large brussel sprout but when all items in the dish are similar in size it makes it much easier. My one issue was that it was very liquidy in the dish and became sort of a soup when you got towards the end. I am unsure as to why they did not remove some of the liquid but that was not pleasant.
The pork belly sandwich was good though it was lacking the savory taste that you normally get from bacon. I am not sure what was missing but I was expecting a richer taste that would fill me up since the sandwich was a little small. It was definitely a good idea to ask for light mayo because there was still a decent amount on the sandwich. If I had not asked for light mayo the whole sandwich would have been drowned in it and probably tasted terrible. Thanks yelp reviews! The sandwich also claimed to have mandarin pickles but they merely tasted like mandarin orange slices. I did not taste anything near to a brine that would allow you to call them pickled. Regardless, the sweetness of the orange was as great addition to the sandwich and broke up the monotony that was under flavored pork belly on bread. Overall, a decent sandwich but not one that I would order a second time. Next time I will get the really good or the pig burger.
My Pig Sammy came out last and was, by far, the best thing I ate at this restaurant. Who could argue with candied bacon inside ice cream between to maple cookies? I mean honestly I do not think that it would be possible at any restaurant to mess up that combination and The Salted Pig did not disappoint. Not only did the ice cream taste like bacon but there were pieces of candied bacon inside the ice cream. Almost every creamy bite of the ice cream came with the delicious somehow chewy and crunchy texture of the candied bacon. All of this was balanced by the maple cookies. What a great way to end the meal!
Overall, I enjoyed my meal at the Salted Pig. Some issues with the dishes and the set up of the kitchen counter but it was a fun meal with obvious thought behind the dishes. I would order the brussel sprouts again but I would ask them to drain out some of the liquid. I am not sure if I would order the pork belly again there are other options that I would rather try. I would recommend this place as a nice lunch hangout and hear that their happy hour deals are great. Next time I will go after work to try some of their many beers on tap. I mean this place calls itself a Gastropub so I need to test out its beer selection. By the way, the filthy fries were awesome. I mean roasted garlic and beer cheese on fries? How could that not be awesome!