Eat at The Oinkster I have always loved watching Guy Fieri‘s Diners, Drive-ins and Dives along with Food Network’s The Best Thing I Ever Ate, because they always feature good food that I would want to try for myself. And if the restaurant is within my reach and within my price range, well then, it’s perfect! This is one of those restaurants.
I’ve wanted to eat at The Oinkster ever since it was featured on Triple D. I heard Guy say “Eagle Rock, CA” and was instantly hooked. Eagle Rock is right next to Glendale, which is where I used to live. Well then! … And so the obsession started.
I probably watched this video ohhhh ten(?) times. I did it to excite myself. To build the anticipation. To get me craving sandwiches I’ve never even tasted before.
Now I dare you to tell me that didn’t make you hungry. Okay, maybe if you’re a vegetarian or a health freak… but if you’re normal then most likely that got your mouth “watering” as they like to say. (But really it’s saliva. :])
Okay so now let’s organize my thoughts for a sec. Let’s start from the beginning…
FIRST. For some unidentifiable reason, I was really nervous as I walked in the restaurant. I don’t know why, it just felt like a long anticipated blind date. I didn’t know what he would look like, smell like… taste like. *naughty naughty* So when I first walked into the place I was kind of surprised/a little disappointed. Watching the segment on Triple D, I thought that the place would be bigger and a little bit more like a McDonald’s and a little less like KJ’s or Troy’s. Now, you probably don’t know those two restaurants so you can’t really compare… but it has sort of a diner feel to it. But kind of a ghetto diner. The menu (as in the board that they wrote the menu on) was pretty ghetto. I think it was the kind where you put up each individual letter. Not really sure.
SECOND. I ordered the Oinkster Pastrami Combo, which is what was featured on the show, so of course I had to try it! I had to pay $13.59 which is a little on the high side, but it comes with the sandwich, belgian fries, and a drink. And I didn’t really mind paying that much since I’ve waited so long for this special moment. So they give you a number when you order and it’s on a little stand. And you take that to your table and you wait. This is where it’s kind of different. As you can see on the receipt this place wants to be known as “slow fast food”. So it kind of mixes “fine dining” or at least a “restaurant” feel because with that magic number, they know who you are and what you ordered. So the server comes to you and calls you by name and gives you your food. (Even if they don’t pronounce it correctly, it’s okay. It’s still good service.) Now I guess this is how a regular American diner works, but in Glendale, KJ’s and Troy’s and all those little places that aren’t really diners, but still are (does this make sense?), don’t work that way. Here, you tell your server what you want. Which is awk if he’s the only server and he’s running all over the place… and he’s a hipster. Oh well.
THIRD. I would like to make a note of this because I believe it is noteworthy. I felt even more at ease and welcomed because I heard Conor Oberst‘s sweet, sweet voice playing on their radio. The thing is, I get really surprised when someone knows Bright Eyes or if other people acknowledge their music. Somehow I feel like I’m the only one who appreciates their music or is used to their sound or accepts their songs as “normal”. Mostly because they’re not mainstream. (Omg what a hipster thing to say). So I’m sitting there with my sister, and we’re waiting for our food, and I hear this:
And it was heaven. So as you can see, instantly, The Oinkster and I found a connection.
FOURTH. Now, let me refer back to my examples: KJ’s and Troy’s. Both in (the ghetto part of) Glendale. Well, KJ’s has long since gone out of business, but let me just tell you. That place had the best curly fries. Ever. And you dip it in their chocolate shakes. MMM. And Troy’s? Greasy burger goodness anyone? The thing about these places is that they serve good food. Fatty, but freaking delicious. And it’s the same with The Oinkster. Sure it doesn’t look like much. But look at this:
I mean, what else is there to say?
I actually ate the caramelized onions in the sandwich even though I HATE onions. But I wanted the full experience, so what the heck? They didn’t even taste like onions. They tasted sweet. And I was kind of nervous that the meat would be really salty, because that’s something that I don’t like about certain meats. And the fact that they put a lot of it in the sandwich made me nervous. Well, it filled me up pretty quickly but it was not salty at all. (Taken out of context, the previous sentence would be rated R.) I love the spice rub lining the outer part of the pastrami slices. I thought it was quite a good sandwich. I mean, the first bite didn’t make me go OMG!, but I definitely think it’s something I’ll start craving later on. I also had a bite of my sister’s pulled pork sandwich and let me just say… the barbecue sauce was good!
Speaking of sauces, I think that was the best part. The freshly made garlic aioli and the chipotle ketchup did make me go OMG!. I quite enjoyed dipping my belgian fries in their goodness.
All in all, the time we spent at The Oinkster was good. The food was good and I’ll definitely go back there, but I think Guy’s reactions were a bit exaggerated. I think maybe it’s because he got all of the food freshly made and super juicy right out of the oven. Nevertheless, the food still had some “kick” when it reached our table.
So there it is: I waited so long, but I FINALLY popped my Oinkster cherry. And it was fun.