Thursday, March 06, 2003


I hadn't been to Ita-Cho in probably a year or two, but went last night. Right next door to Angelini, thus, it's another one of the "within walking distance" choices in my hood. We had their Japanese fried chicken, which was delicious. But we also had their eggplant marinated in miso. I usually hate eggplant. Check that: I always hate eggplant. But this eggplant was so sweet, and didn't have the usual eggplanty texture. It was very nice. After that, and some requisite edamame, we had some sashimi -- halibut and yellowtail. Doesn't sound like a lot of food, but we were full, and lo and behold, it was only a $45 bill for two. Not bad at all.

I rarely go to Ita-Cho, and this was the best experience I've had there. I find the lighting a bit too bright, and the design a bit too plain. That said, last night was an amusing array of B-level celebrities: Eric from Hole, Heather Graham, and Julie Delpy. No, sadly not all together. Now that would have been something.

Monday, March 03, 2003


A true Los Angeles phenomenon are the burger and hot dog kiosks which litter the city. From Mo's Mo Better Meaty Meat Burgers on Pico, to Jay's Jayburger in Los Feliz, to Yucca's Tacos and Burritos on Hillhurst, the city is full of small stands where one can find yummy grease to clog one's arteries. I might compile a list of these. Some day.
father's office

There's been much hype and even more newsprint inches devoted to the burger at Father's Office on Montana. FO, a long-standing Santa Monica dive bar, was bought and refurbished and redesigned, with Chef Yoon, an emigre from Michael's designing the menu -- and designing the burger, which probably wins the gourmet burger sweepstakes in LA. (It's comparing apples and oranges to compare a high-end burger with the glories of a burger from Apple Pan, In-N-Out, Pie and Burger, and other LA low-end burger kiosk choices.)

The burger comes served on a french type roll -- it's a long burger -- with terrific quality meat, "bacon compote," gruyere cheese, caramelized onions, and maybe a little bit of arugula. It also comes served with fries and a little bit of mayonaisse, Belgian-style.

"We do not have ketchup," a waitress snidely informed me on my maiden voyage. Doesn't matter. The burger is so full of flavor, no additional condiments are necessary. And the fries, well, they're terrific, too. There are other appetizers on the menu -- I've had the patatas, which are mighty tasty, and the almonds and olives, but really, don't come for the tapas. Come for the burgers.

Father's Office is, above all else, a bar, and there's an enormous list of beers on tap -- from larger fellas like Anchor Steam and Sierra Nevada, to small folks like Mendocino Brewing Company. The beer list is helpfully separated by category -- ambers, pilsners, stouts, etc.

The drawback to Father's Office? The crowd and the noise. There's no line system or list to get a table to eat. You basically have to pinpoint a table where you see that the people seated might be finishing up their meal and hover nearby. (Only there, you might be out of luck and after finishing their burgers, they might want to just sit and drink for a while -- I recommend looking for older people eating, as they're less likely to hang around.) Or you could try the strategy of "making friends" with people seated, asking them if they'll choose you to be the recipients of their table when they leave.

Once you do get to sit, you'll find that the acoustics are painful -- think tarmac at LAX -- and you'll have to select one of your crew to go up to the bar to put the orders in -- no table service here. But it's all right. It's okay. You're about to eat one of the world's great burger concoctions. Sit back and relax, and bring your tray table and seat back to their upright position.