Follow the culinary adventures and misadventures of the Cooking Agents (Ray and Katie). Watch as we eat/cook our way into adulthood.
Having a good 2 months to try and plan a weeks worth of eats was no easy task, especially with all the available burger options in southern California. I started narrowing down my search by categorizing burgers into classic and gourmet. I wound up with Father’s Office and Umami Burger for gourmet, Hodad’s and In N Out Burger for classic. Sadly, we decided to be responsible and only ended up eating at Father’s Office and In N Out.
Oasis and Cool Down
During our beach day in Santa Monica, we decided to take a 2 mile hike from the pier to Father’s Office to “earn” our burger. After worrying about getting seats, we were able to easily grab a table as it was already 2pm. The lunch crowd trickled down, while still holding enough patrons to keep it from being completely barren. Another perk of Father’s Office is that you have to be 21 to enter so no kids or teens.
We ordered 3 office burgers, a basket of sweet potato fries and beer. The burger was served on an elongated sub like bread and topped with a arugula, Gruyere, Maytag blue cheese and a caramelized onion and bacon compote that was something out of a dream I had a few years ago when I decided that I did in fact love onions. We weren’t able to choose how we wanted the burger cooked, but it came out about between a medium and medium well. It was so juicy that I didn’t even care. The burger was delicious and was more filling than I thought. Sadly, the meat patty took a backseat to the compote though I’m sure that it would have been great by itself. Be sure not to skip the sweet potato fries that were crispy and hot without being overcooked, which is what I run into too frequently with sweet potato fries. The fries also came with a garlic aoli that could kill any vampire within breathing distance so have mints or gum handy. Although I won’t say that Father’s Office had the best burger I’ve ever eaten, I will say that the Office Burger was among the top 3 gourmet burgers I’ve tried and would highly recommend it to others visiting LA or Santa Monica.
Artists at Work
Pour Some In N Out On Me!
On the final leg of our trip back in LA, we hit up a few different bars for cocktails before heading back home when Katie decided to be a complete genius and use the late night dining chip on In N Out before we headed back to my friend’s place for the night. This marked my second visit to In N Out ever and the first time armed with knowledge of the secret menu. I ordered a double double animal style and another t-shirt, which I’m still deciding whether or not to wear to work tomorrow. I passed on the fries since I remembered not liking them that much on the first go around. However, after stealing a few from my friend’s, In N Out fries are back in my good graces and will be an option on my next visit. They were crisp, hot and had plenty of fluffy potato goodness in them. The burger itself was a lot greasier than I remembered. The wrapping it came in was turning translucent as Katie was busy snapping pictures, but oh man did that grease translate well into flavor. I’ve never met a juicier thin patty burger and writing these words are making me visibly angry that there are 45 states in this great country that do not have access to a fresh In N Out burger. If a presidential candidate wants the fatty vote, here’s an idea: RUN ON THE IN N OUT FOR ALL STATES party.
The dragon fruit originated in Middle Earth where man would cultivate the fruit of dragon trees in order to sacrifice them during the summer solstice in order to be spared by dragon attacks during mating season. Hence the name dragon fruit (elvish for don’t get munched on by a dragon).
Better Get Your Hands on Some… Come Dragon Season
It’s really ironic considering the dragon fruit looks more like it’s from another planet rather than looking like a reptile with wings that may or may not breathe fire. Inside the red skin, there is a cream/off white colored flesh with tons of little black seeds. It’s almost as bizarre as the kiwi (the fuzzy brown skin still makes me suspicious)!
Help! My Fruit is an Alian.
In order to get to the flesh, just cut the top and bottom of the fruit off with a knife and then make a slight slit down the peel so that it just touches the flesh. Carefully peel away the skin and you should be able to remove it all in one piece. Be careful to not drop the fruit as it will be slippery. Cut into slices or bite size pieces and enjoy.
Peel Away and Eat Up
This was my first time eating dragon fruit and although it wasn’t a home run, I would definitely eat this in the future. The fruit was mildly sweet and juicy. The little black seeds gave the fruit texture much like a kiwi. A few sites I checked out indicated that the fruit is pretty low on calories, which is a plus since I pretty much consumed the entire fruit for a late night snack.
When I finally grow a pair, the durian better watch out.
On Sunday, I went to the Sowa Open Market for the first time to check out the food trucks and farmers market. After arriving around 10:30am, I took a stroll to see what was available and created a shopping list in my head. Corn, tomatoes, peaches and plums came to mind, yet I also left with string beans, cherry tomatoes and blueberries. Typical. This wasn’t like haymarket where food goes bad in 24-48 hours. I still have them going strong in my fridge and have been enjoying them all week. I spent a total of $21 for 3 ears of corn, 3 tomatoes, 2 peaches, a pint of blueberries, plums, cherry tomatoes, and about a half pounds of string beans.
Best Produce of the Summer So Far.
Lush, Full Herbs… Ways to Inaccurately Describe My Herb Garden…
When Pigs Fly Bread.
For people not in the Boston area, food truck business has been booming and they’ve been popping up all over town as permits and license restrictions have become more lenient. However, having food trucks gathered at a single location is a huge draw and they are at Sowa every Sunday. For lunch, I got a lamb skewer from Silk Road BBQ (which is actually a food stand), but was left disappointed since it cost $8 and was essentially 5 large chunks of lamb and left me hungry. It tasted decent, but wasn’t worth the price and was regretting passing up the chance to try M&M Ribs. However, the guy was friendly and also offered me a sample of pulled pork.
This past weekend I kicked off my BBQ season by busting out my charcoal grill for some BBQ chicken. I’m down to two bottles of supermarket sauce- Stubb’s BBQ sauce and Sweet Baby Ray’s Honey Chipotle Sauce. The chicken turned out tangy for Stubb’s, smokey and sweet with a slight after burn for SBR. For everyday BBQ, I’m leaning towards the sweetness of KC Masterpiece and Sweet Baby Ray’s over the likes of Stubb’s, Open Pit, and Mississippi. Out of the more vinegary sauces, Stubb’s is the leader.
Stubb’s One of My Favorite Bottled BBQ Sauce Designs
Remove chicken drumsticks from fridge and rub with BBQ sauce. Heat charcoal in a chimney starter until briquettes are all heated and grey. Pour coal into one side of of the grill to make a two zone fire. Place chicken on indirect heat side and cover. Make sure the side of the lid with open vents is the side with the chicken. Let cook in indirect heat for about 20 minutes. Brush additional sauce over chicken and let cook for another 10 minutes. Brush more sauce over chicken and move chicken to direct heat. Watch chicken carefully and rotate pieces to get an even char to get the skin crispy. Add more sauce if desired. Cook until juices run clear or until 180 degrees internal temperature.
Two Zone Fire- Barely
Hot, Sweet, and Irresistible. Just. Like. Me.
In typical Ray fashion, I had friends over this past weekend and had a few days of pure gluttony. When friends come over, I try my best to get a sense of they are looking to try wherever I’m living and plan the weekend around meals that will be satisfying and give Boston a chance to impress.
To begin our journey, we headed to the North End since it would be a little less crowded on a Thursday night. We got on line at Giacomo’s and after 30 minutes, we were treated to calamari, garlic bread and pasta. Calamari was good, but could have been fried better. The marinara sauce was tangy and had a homemade taste to it. Pass on the garlic bread. Lobster Ravioli was finished off quickly as the portion size was small. Linguine with Fra-como sauce and shrimp and scallops and swordfish with a cream sauce were wins. Next, we braved the only semi-hectic crowds at Mike’s Pastry for cannolis. Peanut butter, yellow cream and pistachio all safe bets.
The next day, berry tarts from the previous day were for breakfast followed by UBurger. After some afternoon beer at Sam Adam’s Brewery, it was time for dinner at Yankee Lobster Fish Market were all 3 of us enjoyed clam chowder and Lobster Rolls. This was probably the most fulfilling meal of the weekend for me both because of the concept of fresh seafood by the water at the start of summer. Perfectly crispy fries and a long walk down Seaport Blvd. help too.
Lobster Roll from Yankee Lobster Fish Market
The next day, we hit up a few Asian establishments including Japonaise Bakery for some sweets including their Azuki Cream Bun, cakes and mochi. Take a pass on the cake and head straight for the Japanese cream items and pastries. For lunch we hopped between Bonchon Chicken for some wings, pork buns, and fried octopus balls and Jojo Taipei for soup dumplings, scallion pancakes and minced pork over rice. Finally for dinner, we headed to Redbones for some BBQ. St. Louis ribs won out above all and the smoked brisket was dry. Before my friends left, we had dim sum at Hei La Moon in Chinatown. If you’re concerned about my health right now, rest assured that I’ve been eating like a rabbit since the weekend.
Almond Cake with Oranges and Cream with an Azuki Mochi