Whisk it. Whisk it good.


In culinary school, you learn how to make mayonnaise in the “classic” technique: using a whisk. The art of incorporating air into the egg yolks till they’re pale yellow in color and like “ribbons” when you run your spatula or finger through. A little salt is added with lemon juice, vinegar and Dijon mustard. Then whisk whisk whisk! And whisk some more as you very slowly drizzle droplets of oil into the mixture. Whisk whisk whisk. Repeat until the mixture is completely emulsified, like (you guessed it!) mayonnaise. It’s a good workout, really.

I’m used to making mayonnaise this way at home. But at an old job I made mayonnaise quite often. In very large batches. Like, 22 quarts. Weekly. (Which is pretty gross when you think about it.)  In that case, I would make the mayo with a Robot Coupe (an industrial-size food processor which costs upwards of $2000) or by using a large, hand-held Robot Coupe Power Mixer which looks like a slightly larger version of the Ghostbuster’s Proton Gun (minus the Proton Pack).

Using a food processor makes this recipe quite easy. Of course, if you don’t have a food processor, you can always go old-school with the whisk method. I liken myself to be an old-school kinda gal, so I prefer the latter.


Garlic Aioli
Recipe slightly adapted from the Food Network
Yields 1/2 cup

3 ea. egg yolks
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 1/2 cups oil (preferably vegetable, canola or peanut oil)
Salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
4 garlic cloves, minced

METHOD (the whisk method)
In a glass bowl whisk the egg yolks together till they’re a pale yellow color.

In a separate bowl combine the lemon juice and the vinegar. Add half of the mixture to the egg yolks. Start whisking briskly, then you can start slowly (and there’s an emphasis on slowly) a few droplets of the oil into the bowl. Continue to whisk the mixture, adding drops of the oil at a time. Once the mixture starts to thicken a bit, you can start adding the oil in a slow but steady stream, alternating between streaming the oil and whisking.

When half of the oil has been added to the bowl, add in the rest of the lemon juice, vinegar mixture and the minced garlic, continuing to whisk until all of the oil has been incorporated and you have a nice, thick (like mayonnaise!) emulsion. Add the Dijon mustard, salt and pepper to taste. Set aside. (Refrigerate the aioli for up to 1 week.)



METHOD (the tech-y route)
Place the egg yolks into a food processor. Process the yolks until they’re a pale yellow color. Add a pinch of salt and continue to pulse. Add the lemon juice, vinegar, Dijon and agave and pulse till well combined. Slowly stream in the oil, pulsing between small batches. Pulse until all of the oil is added. By now you should have a nice thick emulsion. Prepare the garlic as instructed above and place into the aioli.

Recreating The Father’s Office Burger » HERE


Visions of a Cheeseburger


Arguably the best burger I’ve ever had (thus far) is from Father’s Office, a gastropub with two locations in L.A. The famous, “Father’s Office Burger” has been garnered as the very first “Gourmet Burger,” created by FO’s Owner-Executive Chef Sang Yoon, in 2001. (That’s the Chef Sang, who you may’ve seen on the last season of  Top Chef Masters.)

The dry-aged beef patty is topped with a French onion soup-like jam, applewood-smoked bacon compote, melted gruyere and bleu cheese and a bed of arugula. The gastropub has a very strict no-substitutions, no modifications policy. Don’t even think about asking for ketchup–that’s considered taboo at the Office.

My first dining experience at FO was 9 years ago with my good friend Connie, who took me to this place that she deemed had “the best burger, EVER.” That’s pretty big shoes to fill, I thought. As we sat at the dimly lit bar, she warned me right away not to ask for any condiments or to even try to modify the burger in any way. “I’m not a fan of Bleu cheese,” I said. “Trust me, it’s good,” she assured me. The first bite was this incredible mouth-watering, melt-in-your-mouth explosion of flavors: the umami from the beef, the sweetness from the caramelized onions, the hint of smokiness from the bacon, the tang from the bleu cheese and the peppery and crunchy bite from the arugula. I couldn’t believe it. She was right: hand’s down, this is truly the best burger I’ve ever had.

Since my move almost 4 years ago to the East Bay, I often crave that L.A. burger that reminds me of home. For those of you who have never tried the Father’s Office burger, you’re in luck. With a little research, recipe testing in my kitchen, and taste memory, I’ve found a recipe that tastes as close to the real thing as possible. Of course, nothing beats the original, but until my next trek down south, this will do.

Who makes the best burger you’ve ever had? Share your answers in the comments below! I’d love to hear your stories and suggestions!

The Father’s Office Burger
Recipe slightly adapted from Bakelist
Yields 2 burgers

For the Balsamic Bacon Onion Jam

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
1 large yellow onion, peeled and julienned
4 slices applewood bacon, cut into lardons
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup water
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Heat a saute pan over medium-high. Once hot, add a tablespoon of EVOO and bacon into the pan with the onions, stirring occasionally. Once the onions become translucent in color, lower the heat to medium, continuing to render out the bacon fat. If the bacon begins to burn before the onions caramelize, add some water to the pan and lower the heat. This should help.

Once the onions begin to turn a golden brown color, add the balsamic vinegar and water to the pan. Cover and cook for an additional 10 minutes or until all of the liquid is dissolved. Season to taste. Remove from the heat.

For the Burgers

14 ounces ground beef (preferably dry-aged)
2 buns, buttered and lightly toasted
4 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated
2 ounces Bleu cheese crumbles
1/2 cup baby arugula, washed and patted dry
*1/2 cup garlic aioli (see my recipe HERE)

Heat a cast-iron skillet, grill or, non-stick pan with a little oil over medium-high heat.


The crispy cheese bits that hit the pan are the best snacks!

While you’re waiting for your pan to heat up, shape the beef into two 7-ounce patties. Season both sides with salt and pepper. Place the patties onto the pan and allow to sear for 3-4 minutes per side. In the last minute of cooking, place the cheeses atop each patty. Cover with a lid for another minute or until melted.

Butter the burger buns and place on the grill or oven on broil for 1-2 minutes, just until lightly toasted.



This aioli is seriously good for French fry dipping

Spread the toasted buns with the garlic aioli.


The more cheese, the better.

Top the bottom bun with a patty.


This just keeps on getting better, right?

Then add 1-2 tablespoons of the balsamic onion-bacon jam.


If you like, you can place more arugula into a small bowl, hit it with a pinch of salt, a splash of EVOO, some freshly ground black pepper, and mix it together for a side salad in lieu of fries.

Finish with the arugula, then the top bun. Serve with shoestring fries and the rest of your aioli.