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Dec 22, 2007 07:33 PM

Oinkster pig-out

Had to go by the Autobooks bookstore in Burbank to pick up brother-in-law's Xmas present; thought we'd lunch at Portos's just down the street. Nope, jammed. Headed to favorite Mex in Glendale - nope, no parking. Okay, can we finally try Oinkster? Sure, what the heck.

Nice big parking lot, not too jammed inside (this was Friday), and we got our first look at the menu. Almost too many attractive choices. We went for the obvious: Mrs. O asked for the pulled pork sandwich, I for the Oinkster pastrami, which deviates from the basic by adding grilled onions, red-cabbage slaw and a slice of Gruyere. Two combos with fries and drinks (we both chose the Oinksterade, a fine and refreshing beverage) came out just on the sunny side of $25. They use the same numbers-on-a-stick table ID system as Porto's, thus giving me the odd feeling of not having left Burbank, except the smells were very different...

The food arrived at the table without too much delay - two plates each bearing a big fat sandwich wrapped in waxed paper and cut in half, plus a pile of perfectly golden fries and cups of garlic mayonnaise, my fry-dip of choice any day. The drinks were insanely large, too. When we dug in, my first bite was a very rewarding revelation of drippy, beefy and spicy pastrami, spiced differently from any I'd had before. My first thought (and the subsequent several dozen) was that this wasn't quite up to Langer's level - a good deal chewier, not so rich, and this roll could never compete with that sublime rye bread - but it'd mop the floor with anything from The Hat. My bite of Mrs. O's pulled pork, though, did not enchant me; the meat tasted steamed rather than barbecued, like the stuff we'd get at BBQ chains in the South. She liked it with the vinegary, spicy sauce poured over, though. The fries, which I've read here have been of uneven wonderfulness, were at this point impeccably done and beyond reproach.

The most stunning revelation for both of us was that we're going to have to split any future meals we try at this joint. She is not used to giant lunches; I, who sort of am, nonetheless found myself waddling ponderously forth from the table, and not particularly interested in thinking about what's for supper. I think one sandwich, one order of fries and a split Oinksterade for the two of us is the future plan - either that, or figure on leftovers. On the other hand, it was all so very good to eat that we'll certainly be back to explore the rest of the menu.

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  1. I'm a big fan of Oinkster. It's one of the places where I never bother to counterargue any negative posts because I'm sitting here thinking, "Sweet, maybe the lines won't be too long." The spiced pastrami gets a narrow edge over the pulled pork, and those fries are great, too. Was the ube milkshake available?

    1 Reply
    1. re: SauceSupreme

      well, SauceSupreme, as one of those who'd posted negatively in the past, I hate to let you down, but I'm back in line. early on, I think they really did have a few problems (largely employee-based) , but they seem to have been sorted...I've gone a good few times since, and have grown *dangerously* fond of the pastrami (basic) and fries. and yes, Will, it's a lot of food. I'm really glad they're in the neighborhood.

    2. You can always split the sandwich and drink and order a large fries to split (which means double fries AND two garlic dipping sauces) - and then split one of the Auntie Em's cupcakes for dessert! (They used to have the dessert display on the counter, but now it's been moved, so you have to actually ask about what kind of cupcakes / desserts they have on hand.)

      I like the pastrami (this is from an "I don't really like pastrami" woman) and the chicken, but love the cheeseburgers (with grilled onions and extra sauce - piles of napkins required!) and when the fries are done just right there's nothing that beats them - when they're not quite perfect they're still heads and tails above other options.

      Still need to try that ube shake, though.

      3 Replies
      1. re: ElsieDee

        Either the cheeseburger or the chicken (anybody tried the chicken?) is going to be my next experiment. While the ube shake is terribly tempting, I would absolutely have to have that by itself - I just can't DO milkshakes as accompaniments to food anymore.

        Happy to know those are Auntie Em's cupcakes after all - I was wondering how anyone could have the chutzpah to offer their own cupcakes anywhere within ten miles of Auntie Em's!

        1. re: Will Owen

          Well I'e been to Oinkster enough times to have gone through the entire menu 2 or 3 times with the exception of the Rotisserie Chicken items. Everything has been very tasty and when there have been minor screw ups (no cheese on a Cheeseburger) they were great, complimentary Cupcakes to take home etc!

          One last thing Will and everyone else that has not tried the Ube Milkshake (featuring Fosselman’s ice cream). It is the BEST milkshake that I have ever had, anywhere!!! And I have had far more than my fair share of milkshakes. So Will, work it out, get thy backside back to Oinkster and lets hear what ya think!

          And To All ChowHounds - A Very Merry/Happy Christmas!!!

          1. re: sel

            It's not my backside I'm concerned about, it's my frontside! And too impassioned an attachment to the Oinkster's menu, even without the shake, will almost certainly guarantee a further expansion.

            And you just HAD to go and tell me the shake was made with Fosselman's! Hey, thanks a big damn bunch...

            Second the motion for merry Christmases, though!

      2. Nice report. Thanks. This and catching them accidentally last night on Eye on L.A. on ABC where they were listed as one of L.A.'s tops along with Mozza, Craft, Providence and Melisse made me hankering for that pulled pork extravaganza.

        2 Replies
        1. re: cvc

          My problem is I would like to try the Ube shake, yet with any sandwich also at the same meal makes for way too much food for this lightweight!
          but the pastrami is wonderful, as are the fries with that garlic-mayo. I hear the burger is good, yet have trouble getting beyond ordering the pastrami, yet again!!!

          1. re: carter

            The last two times I was we shared the shake leaving us happy and wanting more.