While there is a lot of buzz in the food world today about The Oinkster‘s Burger Week (in which they do their own take on classic burgers from around the country), I just made it to The Oinkster myself for the first time last week to see about their real menu. It was my first time in Eagle Rock and was nothing short of an eye-opening experience. The Oinkster itself resides in a building that was once a typical LA-style fast food burger joint and still retains much of that charm. It calls itself a purveyor of “slow fast food” and I had been wanting to check it out for just about as long as I’ve been aware of its existence.
While The Oinkster’s two week house-cured pastrami is the most well-known of its offerings, a quick look at reviews told me that pretty much everything they made was edible gold. With this in mind, the fiancee and I pretty much ordered the whole menu. I got myself a cheddar cheeseburger topped with pastrami and without the pickles, lettuce, onion and tomato it normally comes with. It also came with their own thousand island dressing, which I was cool with. Then we got their Piggy Fries, which are topped with thousand island, shredded cheddar and caramelized onions. Basically, they are the equivalent of animal-style fries from In-N-Out. For my sake, we got the onions on the side. Unbeknownst to us, the fries used for Piggy Fries were the same as their Belgian Fries, which we got a half order of thinking they were different. With these, we got a side of their supposedly amazing garlic aioli for dipping. Finally, I got myself an Ube Shake to top off this whole gorge-fest.
Let’s start with the cheeseburger, which was truly awesome. Pastrami, like the fried egg, is a severely underrated burger topping and this pastrami was no slouch. It was definitely different from the pastrami usually found in Jewish Delis, but this didn’t make it any less delicious. The regular burger components were also great, from the perfectly melted cheese to the tasty, but not overwhelming thousand island dressing. The bun reflected the fast food origins, while the beef was a good, thick grind and so juicy that my jeans had to be rushed to the laundry after the burger dripped all over them.
The Piggy Fries were also a delight and the actual fries were unquestionably better than those of In-N-Out. While I knew these were fried, there was no greasiness to them and they were really crispy. I’m not sure how they got them this way, but I wasn’t going to complain. Although they were doused with thousand island, they maintained their crunch and I could have easily seen these fries tackling chili with nary a sog. This take on the animal fries was definitely better than the original, although I think melting the cheese would have made them even better.
The Belgian Fries turned out to be the same Kennebec potatoes as the other fries and the only real difference was that they were naked. But this fry nudity made them perfect for dipping into The Oinkster’s garlic aioli sauce. I’ve never really met a bad garlic aioli and The Oinkster didn’t do any damage to that trend. Unlike some garlic aiolis, though, the garlic flavor in this was a bit more subtle. Nonetheless, it didn’t stop me from dipping huge dollops onto my fries.
And then there was the Ube Shake. If you know me well, you know I’m pretty obsessive about all things taro and the ube is often confused with the taro, as they are both purple tubers. It’s also probably often confused because they are both delicious. This shake was no exception, as it coupled the sweet starchy taste of the ube with milk and blended it into perfect balance. It is a uniquely fantastic flavor that any visitor to The Oinkster should try, even if they are more interested in the beer.
So as you can tell, our little trip to Eagle Rock was certainly a success. The Oinkster took the fast food concept to entirely new heights while keeping prices at a more than reasonable level. And it really seems like you can’t go wrong with anything on the menu. We went on Friday night, and as soon as we ordered and got our food, the line went flying out the door. So expect a wait, but it will be worth every minute. And if you’re thinking about heading out this week to try out one of their specialty burgers, I can’t imagine you can go wrong.