Milk ‘n Sugar


Last week, the wife and I had the good fortune to again meet up with another fantastic food blogger. Mark, from No Special Effects, was in L.A. from the Philippines for a few days so we decided to snatch him away from his hotel in El Segundo and take him to one of our favorite watering holes: Father’s Office.

Although F.O. is known for its burgers (some say the best in Los Angeles), I’m drawn there for the semi-hard-to-find microbrewed beers and cocktails (there are two F.O. locations: one in Santa Monica and one in Culver City/Los Angeles, and only the L.A. locale serves the cocktails). In fact, we live about an hour from F.O. but the wife and I manage to go there a few times a year just to wet our whistles.

Even though F.O. boasts a highly regarded burger, I still prefer that of ol’ reliable In-N-Out or even the burgers at Apple Pan. Don’t get me wrong, the Office Burger is a great burger, but I’m more of an old-fashioned simple burger type, whereas the Office Burger is somewhat of an upscale gourmet sandwich that features a patty of great quality ground beef topped with arugula, gruyere and maytag bleu cheeses, and a compote of onions and bacon, all pressed between a kaiser roll.

With that said, no matter how much I tell myself “I’ll try something else this time” whenever I step into F.O., I still find myself always ordering their burger–I feel like I’m missing out if I don’t order it. This time around, the wife and I split a burger, some sweet potato fries, and a wonderful heirloom tomato salad that was dressed with ricotta cheese, herbs and microgreens, and a cucumber vinaigrette. Mark had himself an Office Burger of his own (which he seemed to enjoy) and some regular fries.

During the course of a Negroni cocktail and 2 or 3 or 4 beers (I lost count), we discussed things like Saturday Night Live, The Office, rampant STDs at USC, and the strictness of Filipino parents. The range of this conversation was perhaps due in large part to the aforementioned beverages that I consumed, so I’m not totally sure that Mark completely followed my ramblings. Luckily, my wife was in tow to keep me and my liver in check.

Sadly, I don’t have any pictures from Father’s Office, but Mark does. But what I do have pictures of is the wonderful pasalubong that Mark brought for us from the Philippines:



For those not in the know, pastillas de leche are a Philippine candy made with just milk and sugar. The milk is boiled with sugar until it thickens, then the concoction is rolled in more sugar to coat, formed into small log shapes, and then wrapped in paper.


The pastillas Mark gave to us are from Iya’s Jumbo Pastillas, and they are indeed jumbo. I’m used to smaller sized pastillas, but these were a good leprechaun thumb’s worth of pastilla:


Some pastillas are made from cow’s milk, carabao’s milk, or even condensed milk. The pastillas Mark gifted us with are soft and supremely creamy and sweet, so much so that I can’t eat more than one at a time, but they are soooo good. I’m not sure what ours are made of, but based on the cows pictured on the packaging, I’m going to guess cow’s milk.

So thanks once again to Mark for hanging out with us and giving us some great candy. When you become a fancy-pants doctor out here, we’ll have to celebrate again with more drinks.

Recycled Gumbo

One last thing I want to mention is that the nice folks over at BakitWhy wanted to reuse my piece on Filipino-Americans and Gumbo that I wrote last year. BakitWhy is a website dedicated to highlighting the Fil-Am lifestyle and community and they are featuring an ongoing series this month (so far here, here, and here) for Filipino-American History month. So take a gander.

  • Erin October 12, 2008, 6:02 pm

    Great now I have to have a burger for dinner. . .extra cheese.

  • Mila October 12, 2008, 7:04 pm

    I think those jumbo pastillas are the best found locally (manila) these days. She also has a toasted pastillas version that’s divine, it’s my mom’s favorite treat.

  • Manggy October 12, 2008, 7:52 pm

    I’m glad you enjoyed them, Marvin… You are making me realize just how much of a sweet tooth I am. I have 5 of those at a time!
    I “seemed” to enjoy the burger? Haha, you are too funny :) Granted, my eyes did not roll to the back of my head but I think that rarely happens in reality. It was really one of the best burgers I’ve had… But now you’ve just made me more curious about In and Out.
    Do you ever get hungry and think about the food you weren’t able to finish and wish you could ‘port it to the present time so you could? I am so thinking that about the last remaining bites of the burger right now 😉 Thanks so much for my wonderful lunch and shopping trip Marvin! Believe me, I could not tell you were tipsy at all! If I did, I would have pushed wifey into driving, haha!

  • Jikuu October 13, 2008, 6:37 am

    That sounds like a nice bar.
    I might be confused, but that looks a lot like polvaron. Are they the same thing, or are they slightly different? Google and Wiki are failing me at the moment. They know nothing about Filipinos. *shakes fist*

  • greasemonkey October 14, 2008, 8:17 am

    its cool how you guys get along so well! kinda guilty about coveting pastillas when im munching on chocnut. i havent tried iya’s, i usually get sevillas (but the last one i got from the greenhills branch wasn’t so great, it had 2 or 3 bad pieces). what i havent seen for ages are the thin pastillas with intricate japanese paper wrappers cut like parol (christmas lantern) tails.. about polvoron, theyre made from toasted flour, sugar and butter (with other ingredients too like toasted pinipig, cashews, pili, etc) the more pillo of us would ask you to whistle while you have one. 😉

  • rita October 14, 2008, 9:07 am

    burgers… one of my comfort foods. it’s so difficult to find a good one here in germany.
    i remember those pastillas when i was kid. haven’t seen one in years! anyhoodles, enjoy those pastillas!

  • Mila October 15, 2008, 7:38 pm

    Whoa, you mean Manggy didn’t have a burger at In-n-out???? What????!! Fedex one now!

  • joey October 16, 2008, 7:27 am

    I can imagine what a fun meal that was! Nice to see you guys met up :) That burger sounds awesome…as are Iya’s jumbo pastillas 😉

  • Julie October 20, 2008, 7:55 am

    The day I saw an In ‘n’ Out here in AZ was a very good day. The last time I went, at 10 p.m. in the middle of the week, there was a line 15 cars long.
    I haven’t had pastillas since I was a kid. I still remember them as the sweetest thing I’ve ever put in my mouth.

  • Katrina October 20, 2008, 8:11 am

    How cool that you met Manggy, since some of us over here haven’t! (I almost did once, but didn’t make it to the party.) Sounds like a fun conversation!
    I agree with Mila — those are the best pastillas available. While they’re called “jumbo” now, back when we were kids, all pastillas were that size. I guess it’s a sign of the times that most that you see now are half the size and aren’t as creamy. And yes, next time, try to taste the toasted kind, too. It’s sort of like a dry dulce de leche. MMM!

  • Burnt Lumpia October 20, 2008, 1:58 pm

    Go with gruyere and blue, Erin!
    I love these pastillas, Mila! I didn’t think they could be improved upon, but toasted? That must have a different flavor altogether.
    Hi Manggy! Yes, I constantly wish I could port food to the present so I could eat it again. It was our pleasure to take you around. And don’t worry, I wasn’t too tipsy to drive;)
    Hello Jikuu. Polveron is packaged in a similar way, but it is a much different candy. Polveron is made from milk powder, I think, and is therefore dry and powdery. It’s kinda like eating sweet flour.
    Hi greasemonkey! Yes, whistling while eating polveron is quite the challenge:)
    Rita, I actually have an aunt that lives in Germany, so you’re not the lone pinoy there. I think she lives in Hamburg or thereabouts.
    It’s a shame, isn’t it Mila? 😛
    Yes, a good time was had by all, joey.
    I couldn’t imagine living in a state w/out In N OUt, Julie. Good to know they are in AZ.
    Katrina, the pastillas I’ve had in the past were smaller, and kinda dry and crumbly. So I’m glad I got my hands on the good stuff!

  • _ts of [eatingclub] vancouver October 27, 2008, 10:38 pm

    PASTILLAS!!!! =D
    Yes, I do remember them to be that size “normally.” They are not “jumbo” at all! And like Mark, I have no problem downing a handful in one sitting. More than 5, I’ll just say.
    (Hey, did somebody say CHOCNUT?!)

  • Burnt Lumpia October 29, 2008, 2:38 pm

    I happen to not be a fan of chocnut, ts. But then again, I didn’t grow up with it. I had it during my last visit to the philippines and thought it was just OK.

  • Rancho Cucamonga June 8, 2012, 5:35 am

    “pastillas” one of my favourit sweets. I had enough of pastillas during my visit to philipines. Great post, thanks for sharing.

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