The Oinkster and the end of 2007
It was serendipitous that what may be my last meal out in 2007, lunch today at the Oinkster, was also at the same place as my first meal out of this year; and what a difference a year makes. We arrived at noon to a packed interior and the overflow venturing out to what was warming up to be a pleasant afternoon. We ordered almost immediately and our food was delivered in no more than ten minutes. Andre Guerrero’s son, Max, now recognizable from last week’s Eye on L.A. report that included Oinkster in its year end round up of the best new restaurants along with Mozza, Craft, and Providence. We ordered the pulled pork sandwich combo for $9.50 and the Oinkster combo for $11.50 which included generous sides of those amazing fries and garlic aioli that can rival Comme Ca. Sandwiches were large enough that we both took half home.
We ended up there when my 88 year old neighbor asked for a ride to Joe’s in Venice, his routine weekend stop, and mentioned if I knew of any good pulled pork places. Well, given that we live in Santa Monica I might have taken him to Baby Blues but then I thought what better day to drive without traffic to Eagle Rock. It took us twenty five minutes each way. He loved the pulled pork, reminisced that his father used to get them Vernor's ginger ale in Detroit, and just called to say the second half is going well with the 60 Minutes rerun; while my pastrami is waiting for Antiques Roadshow. Thankfully, the comparisons to Langer’s have died down and this sandwich readily stands on its own. $22.74 for two which is more than reasonable considering I spent $27 yesterday on a hamburger, tuna salad sandwich and two pieces of cream pie at the Apple Pan. No fries. No beverage. And I like the Apple Pan. I just didn’t think I’d ever be putting it in the special occasion category.
just an aside...as a Michigander-in-exile, I've got fond memories of Vernor's, too--but I've found that, oddly, the bottled Vernor's (on offer at Oinkster) isn't nearly as good as the canned version (not hard to find; my local Vons has it in the mixer section/booze aisle).
what makes Vernor's is the overwhelmingness of it--the stuff I grew up with, you couldn't even put close to your face after first opening it. I don't know if the Michigan version is still that good, but only the canned version comes close out here.
cvc, your neighbor's comment on Vernor's ginger ale brought back memories. In my memory it is still the best ginger ale, but then I was born in Detroit and my Mother gave me warm ginger ale to soothe an upset tummy. (Recent experience with Vernor's is not the same in the rare times I can find it)
My eating-out budget is limited so I appreciate your price-shock = and I enjoy reading about others' adventures, especially when it touches on something I've experienced. Bless you many times over for taking him on this journey.