Father's Office Burgers

I love life here in Houston, but there are 1 or 2 things I occasionally miss about my days in Los Angeles. Of course I miss the weather, wonderful people, walking from my apartment down to the pier and shopping (well, at least Wahoo's has followed me to The Woodlands!), oh, and I can't forget Trader Joe's (ha ha - I just spent 45 minutes on the TJ's website, including filling out a 'request that TJ's come to your city' comment form!). I have to plan return trips to LA around the food-themed things - can't get there too late on Friday night if we're there for the weekend, because Sasabune isn't open on Saturday or Sunday. Have to keep one evening open for Father's Office, since they're closed for lunch.

Father's Office - home of my favorite burger, well, ever. It's a tiny bar, formerly a dive bar (before my time) but 'gentrified', which brought yummy food but ridiculous lines waiting for tables, which are first-come-first-served. I hear their second location is much more spacious but lacking in atmosphere. The chef does not allow substitutions, but the burger is perfect (for me - my vegetarian and no-pork friends are out of luck) just the way it is, medium rare and with a side of sweet potato fries. Yeah, those are great too, especially with the blue cheese aioli served alongside. Honestly, I usually use frozen sweet potato fries but I do like to make a nice homemade basic aioli and crumble in some blue cheese - will include that recipe below as well.

I haven't been able to take Joe to Father's Office yet, so I did the next best thing - brought a pretty good imitation to our dinner table. I found several forums and other sites with copycat recipes, as well as a 'recipe' from the chef, Sang Yoon, who basically listed the 6 main ingredients in the onion-bacon compote, which makes the Father's Office burger a Father's Office burger. I'm sure he uses good, fancy steak too, but I find that my mom's hamburger recipe using regular ol' ground beef is ideal for the FO burger.

I just did another online search, and I can't find the page where I found the recipe which really does duplicate the flavors well (but thank you, unsung commenter!). There's a copycat recipe posted on several sites that includes liquid smoke and ketchup and may be just fine, but I love the simplicity and flavor of the one I'm posting:

Almost Father's Office Burger

Makes 4 burgers

1/2-3/4 cup applewood-smoked bacon strips, chopped
1 cup chopped onion
1 tsp minced garlic
5-6 Tbsp brown sugar, dark
1/4 cup balsalmic vinegar
1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp garlic salt
1 ounce blue cheese, crumbled
4 ounces Gruyere cheese, diced
4 French demi-baguettes, halved and toasted
1 cup baby arugula

Cook bacon in a saute pan. Remove about 2/3 of the bacon and add chopped onion to the bacon fat. Saute until transparent. Add garlic and saute an additional 2-3 minutes, then reduce the heat to medium, add brown sugar and continue to cook until the mixture is caramelized and gooey (but not too gooey - it'll harden when it cools! Mine usually takes around 10 minutes). Turn heat up to high and deglaze pan with balsalmic vinegar, remove from heat.

Mix the ground beef, Worcestershire sauce, and garlic salt, and divide into 4 thick patties. Grill (preferably outside!) to specifications.

Assemble your burgers:

Place a burger on a baguette half. Combine the blue cheese and Gruyere and divide evenly among the 4 burgers. Top with 1/4 cup of arugula on each and about 1 Tbsp of bacon-onion compote. Serve open-faced, with a side of sweet potato fries and blue cheese aioli.


Blue cheese aioli

Makes about 1/2 cup.


2 garlic cloves
1 large egg yolk
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 ounce blue cheese, crumbled

Mince and mash garlic to a paste with a pinch of salt using a large heavy knife. Whisk together yolk, lemon juice, and mustard in a bowl.

Combine oils and add, a few drops at a time, to yolk mixture, whisking constantly, until all oil is incorporated and mixture is emulsified. If mixture separates, stop adding oil and continue whisking until mixture comes together, then resume adding oil.

Whisk in garlic paste and season with salt and pepper. If aioli is too thick, whisk in 1 or 2 drops of water. Fold in blue cheese crumbles. Chill, covered, until ready to use.


  1. dammmmmmmmm yall eat so well...can u come cook for us one night please?? yummm


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