Sunday, February 18, 2007


Another one of my birthday treats was a visit to Father's Office in Santa Monica. According to GQ and a number of other magazines, the burger at this little bar could be "the best meal in Los Angeles." I can't argue with that, and I'd say that this burger is second only to the Kobe Burger at Martini house amongst the best burgers I've ever had.

The Office Burger.
Caramelized Onion, Bacon, Gruyere, Maytag Blue, Arugula.

Andrea and I initiated Harry & Kristen to the F.O. experience and we each ordered one of these burgers along with mini-shopping-cart baskets of their regular and sweet potato fries.

Of course, if you visit F.O., you can't forget that it's still a bar with one of the better selections of beers on tap around. My choices of the day were:

North Coast Red Seal Ft. Bragg, California
Full Bodied Generously Hopped Copper Red Pale Ale


Anderson Valley Hop Ottin' India PAle Ale Boonville, California
Very Floral, Dry, Complex and Hoppy

With the burger, the Anderson Valley is a great choice as is a glass of a D-Cubed Napa Valley Zinfandel. For the uninitiated, a warning: get there when they open and avoid the line or wait for tables. It's just THAT popular now.

Saturday, February 17, 2007


Happy 29th, Suni!

Yes we celebrated a few days early since my birthday inconveniently falls on a Wednesday this year, but I can't complain when Andrea takes me to Mastro's! Just like last year, we sat upstairs in the loud and fun "Rat Pack" style dining room. This time, however, we managed to get seated in the section covered by server/rulered-masking-tape-inventor/actor/suspected-mobster, Nicky Vegas. With some guidance from Vegas, here's how our meal went down:

Vanilla-battered Shrimp
We could've left after finishing off these four shrimp, each about the size of your face and SO good.

18 oz Bone-In Filet Mignon
Normally I'd go for the more flavorful Ribeye, but the Bone-In option makes this cut of Filet the best of both worlds. Nicky had the them split this one for us and served one piece to each of us on 400 DEGREE PLATES.
Lobster Mashed Potatoes
A definite must. But since they eliminated half-orders of all their sides, we'll be sure to bring friends next time. This is basically the perfect combo of a lobster tail and garlic mashed potatoes.
Gorgonzola Mac & Cheese
Just....because. You would, too.

Chocolate of course, with obligatory birthday writing. Compliments of Nicky Vegas.

Mastro’s is definitely one of the best steakhouses in LA with it’s fun atmosphere and killer/unique bone-in file. Hopefully I won't have to wait until my next birthday to visit again.

Thanks, Andrea!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007


Happy Valentine's Day!

This year, Andrea and I celebrated our Valentine's Day at Merryvale's Seasons of Napa Valley "LOVEFEST" on Saturday, February 10, 2007 in their famous cask room in St. Helena, CA.

The evening began in the Merryvale tasting room with a glass of Sauvignon Blanc while snacking on mushroom crostini and bacon-wrapped shrimp with basil and garlic. Here we are at the bar sporting our Valentine's colors.

Once in the cask room, we were treated to a feast of four courses catered by Tra Vigne and five Merryvale wines. Here's the breakdown:

Insalata Mista
Garden Greens, Seckle Pears, Candied Walnuts with Point Reyes Blue Cheese
2004 Reserve Chardonnay, Stanley Ranch

Butternut Squash Agnolloti with Sage Butter and Black Truffle
2002 Syrah, Dry Creek

Braised Short Ribs, Soft Polenta, Natural Jus with Horseradish-Meyer Lemon Gremolata
2000 Beckstoffer, Las Amigas Merlot
1999 Profile, Napa Valley

Tra Vigne Tiramisu
Antigua Muscat de Frontignan

The big hit of the dinner had to be the butternut squash pasta. The smell of truffle hit you before they even served the course, and combined with the sweetness of the squash, it was just incredible. Of course, the wines were spectacular as always, and after some second (and third) pours of each, I still had plenty of each wine left at the end of the dinner!

Having been a member of Merryvale's Profile Club for a while now, it was about time we participated in one of their amazing cask room events, and it was definitely worth the trip.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007


While we were in the area for our Valentine's Day dinner at Merryvale, there was no way we'd pass up the opportunity to revisit Martini House for lunch. And why do we continually dine there? The burger.

Grilled Snake River Kobe Beef Burger
Gruyère Cheese, Wine Stewed Onions and Onion Rings

The combination of the perfectly done kobe beef, the onions, cheese, super soft bun and PERFECT panko-crusted onion rings, this has to be one of the top 3 burgers I've had, if not the BEST.

Of course, Martini House isn't just a burger, and this time we managed to sample one more dish.

Wild mushroom fettucine with parmesan cream foam

Martini House is easily worth a special day trip just for lunch (we know, we've done it)!