With great amusement I read the L.A. Times so-called reproduction of the Office Burger from Father's Office in Santa Monica. The burger seems simple enough - premium quality ground beef, a French roll, fresh arugula, Maytag bleu cheese, good gruyere cheese - but the most mystifying element that baffled the Times staff was the "bacon compote" and carmelized onions.
Having gorged on FO's delicious conconction myself more than a dozen times, I could not fathom the presence of ketchup, Worchestershire sauce and liquid smoke in the "bacon compote," as the Times suggested. I even tried making the L.A. Times recipe at home myself for comparison purposes and found that the results were not even close.
While scanning the shelves at Surfas this weekend, I stumbled across a product that showed great promise of being the "secret" ingredient - Stonewall Kitchen's roasted garlic and onion jam. The banter between Inthebiz and WLA about certain items at FO coming from a jar (some tapas items, I assumed) made me think I was on to something. While I don't recall the presence of garlic on the burger, this stuff looks and tastes extremely close to onion concoction that tops the Father's Office burger. By adding big, fat-free chunks of bacon to this it tasted exactly the same to me. It had the right combination of sweetness and smokiness that eluded the Times "experts."
Maybe Sang Yoon makes his own onion jam/compote/whatever you want to call it. I think he probably calls it "bacon compote" on the menu to throw people off the path. But maybe the cooks just spoon some onion jam out of a jar, toss in some bacon chunks and heat it up before slathering it over the burger.