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Restaurants & Bars 9

Oinkster pig-out

Will Owen | Dec 22, 2007 07:33 PM

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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