HERMANO SEGUNDO BACK IN LA: FATHER'S OFFICE AND HARBOUR CAFE
A few days ago, a loyal reader added a sniffy comment to HP’s post about the burger at Ground. It went something along the lines of
“Why do you always eat such revolting food, horrid greasy burgers and endless steaks?”
I usually dismiss anonymous posts as worthless and much as I liked the idea of endless steaks, my initial reaction was to tell her (I assumed it was a woman because the words “horrid” and “greasy” are never used together by anyone to whom the good lord has blessed testicles) to bugger off and find a blog with pictures of kittens to simper over.
HP’s response was, of course, much more to the point, he posted pictures of a big fat juicy steak, although I doubt even he has figured out yet how to make them last for ever. So, prompted by that, here is my own more considered response, yet another burger this time from Father’s Office in Culver City.
Sybil does not eat beef, but had told me so much about the burger at FO, that I had been meaning to go since I first came to LA. There is a lot of schtick involved in ordering a burger in what is, to all intents and purposes, a pub, a decent pub, but a pub never the less. There are no substitutions, they don’t serve ketchup and, your only input is telling them how you want your slab of ground beef cooked. It is obviously a popular choice and, as we sat at the bar and knocked back a couple of cold ones from their huge selection, we watched as order after order were brought out to the hungry crowds of workers from the local Sony studios.
Sybil’s choice of belly pork arrived first. Perfectly passable, with a toothsome lentil base and a good layer of fat, but something that would be all too familiar on any gastropub menu in London. My thoughts were only for the burgers I saw passing by. I have to admit, when my order arrived, I was slightly disappointed. It’s a sandwich more than a traditional burger and the overdose of rocket hid the main ingredient. The beef however was superb, succulent and oozing juices into the bread. The secret is, apparently, that it is ground with cheese, to add flavour and seasoning. It works and justified the $12 cost as I polished it off in a few messy bites.
A bowl of sweet potato fries and a couple of beers brought our bill to $60, a lot to pay for two courses, one of which was a humble burger. But, it was quite a burger and makes the point that DH will continue love our beef long time, whatever some anonymous little girly may think.
By the evening, I was hungry again and ready to join Sybil and some more of her friends to fight our way through the traffic to the San Gabriel Valley and L.A’s ex-pat Hong Kong Community. Harbour Café had been on Sybil’s friend, Felicia’s radar for some time and our table of five sat back and allowed her to order, which was just as well, because the menu was nearly half an inch thick.
She didn’t lead us astray and soon our table was filled with a bubbling stew of beef tendon, chicken with soft chestnuts, pork belly with wilted greens and sticky fried rice. All of these were worth bothering with, but for once, it was the vegetarian dishes that really caught the attention. A dish of melting tofu, served with bamboo skin was popular with everyone, but I was particularly taken with a final dish of snow peas cooked with preserved eggs, which reminded me of similar dishes I had eaten in Yangshuo over a year before.
At $18 a head, a lot cheaper than our morning meal and perhaps enough, perhaps, to persuade our anonymous reader that it isn’t always about the meat