A lot of restaurants are all bark and no bite. They are full of too much hype and not enough flavor. From food trucks to hole in the walls to 5 star establishments, I'm here to answer the question on everyone's mind, "Is it really that good!" I am not an Iron Chef let alone a line cook. I'm just an ordinary girl who loves to eat extraordinary food.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Oinkster

I read a tweet that said “Go to The Oinkster for their Ube Shake.” That’s all it took to convince me to go. I’ve heard of the place, but didn’t know it was so popular until I went on their website to make sure that the shake was still available. Then I was told that this Eagle Rock, CA eatery was featured on Foodnetwork’s DDD. So of course, I had to search for that episode to see what was featured. Their pastrami and pulled pork sandwiches were showcased. So, our order consisted of a cheeseburger, Oinkster pastrami with fries and garlic aioli, BBQ pulled pork sandwich, piggy fries, and an ube shake.

Let’s start with the fries. “Belgian Fries” twice fried fries, basically.  They were definitely crispy and fried perfectly. They were good by themselves but with the garlic aioli, they were delicious. You can really taste the garlic and the aioli itself was a lot thicker in consistency. It wasn’t like a “spread” consistency like mayonnaise or salad dressing. It was thicker, like whipped butter. You could stand a fry in it and the fry would stay in place. The garlic taste wasn’t overwhelming, you can definitely taste it but in a sweeter, more delicate form.

The Piggy Fries are Belgian fries topped with thousand island dressing, caramelized onions and shredded cheddar cheese. The thousand island dressing wasn't as tart as other dressings I've  had, but it did have a similar taste to the Big Mac dressing. It didn't have as much tang. Although there was nothing wrong with it, I could pass on this next time and stick with the regular fries with the garlic aioli.

On to their cheeseburger.  The cheeseburger had melted cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, pickles and thousand island spread. The patty was juicy and had that char taste. The bun was soft and sweet but nothing out of the ordinary. It was well made cheeseburger but I wouldn't say it was the best cheeseburger I’ve ever eaten.

I ate half of the Oinkster Pastrami. It had caramelized onions, Gruyere cheese and a red cabbage slaw. The amount of the pastrami to bread was perfect. It wasn't like those obnoxiously filled sandwiches where your jaw hurts from taking bites out of the sandwich. The pastrami itself was thicker than what I’ve seen. It’s not the flimsy, thin slices of pastrami. The pastrami had good flavor. It was peppery and salty.  The cabbage slaw gave it a  little kick.  I’ve never had that on a pastrami sandwich. The bread was warm, soft and it soaked up the juices from the pastrami but it wasn’t soggy. I’m not a huge fan of pastrami sandwiches, but this sandwich was good enough for me to eat my portion.

The BBQ Pulled Sandwich wasn’t the pulled pork sandwich that I was accustomed to.  I'm used to pulled pork sandwiches being on a bun, topped with coleslaw and the pork being mixed in a sweet, thick BBQ sauce.  This one was on a roll and it didn't have the normal coleslaw topping.  It had caramelized onions, red cabbage slaw and their Carolina BBQ sauce on the side. I first bit into the sandwich without the sauce. The pork was tender and had lots of flavor. I’ve never had a pulled pork sandwich with Carolina sauce before. This sauce is a thin vinegar based sauce with lots of spices. I poured it onto the pulled pork, took a bite and it was heaven. The sauce has so much flavor that I didn't  need too  much of it. I’d have to say that this was a good pulled pork sandwich. I like my sauces on the tangy side rather than sweet, so I may like this style pulled pork sandwich a little better.

Onto the menu item that I came here for, their ube shake. Ube is a Filipino dessert made from purple yams and sweetened with sugar and coconut milk.  Ube has this vibrant yet deep purple color. So when I got my shake and it was light purple, I was a little worried that there may have been a little too much ice cream for the amount of ube. After one big sip, I was proven wrong.   For all you ube lovers, this shake is for you! The Oinkster makes their shakes with Fosselman’s ice-cream. Fosselman’s is famous for their ice-cream (we’ll save this for another post.) Anyway, this shake was thick but you’re still able to drink it with a straw. Some sips you get that smooth velvety pure ube taste.

But some of the sips, you get that same velvety texture but then get little chunks of ube that you can bite on and enjoy. I didn't want to sip it, I wanted to gulp it. I was halfway done with it before I realized I better start eating my meals.  If any part of my meal was awful, this would be a good way for me to forget all about it. 

This was a really good meal. For the 2 sandwiches, a cheeseburger, 2 order of fries, 2 drinks and the shake, the total meal cost $38. Not bad for the quantity and definitely worth every penny for the quality of food.  If The Oinkster was closer, I would definitely be a regular. I am also looking forward to trying out the other restaurants by the owner and chef of The Oinkster, Andre Guerrero.  He also opened up Senor Fred and Boho.  So readers, look out for future blogs ; ).


  1. I saw the episode of D,D & D when Guy ate here and we literally rushed over there and tried it the next day. I grew up in Pasadena and never knew about this place. I was moaning with every bite of my Pastrami sandwich. The other customers thought I had issues, but I couldn't help it! The sandwich was so good with the slaw on it and the garlic aioli is fab! Now I have to go back and try that shake! Thx ;)

  2. Great post! This will definitely be on my list when we roadtrip it back to LA from the Bay.

  3. Thanks for the comments. I really did like this place. The shake is a MUST!

  4. delighted to have just discovered your blog! i am going to oinkster in a few weeks with friends and now i know what to order.

  5. Thank you so much for taking the time to post a comment. If you are on Twitter, my user is MVfoodblog. Thx!

  6. Dying to know how to make that garlic aioli...

  7. Dying to know how to make that garlic aioli...