The humble sandwich. Long a staple of lunch, dinner, and breakfast all over the country. It's a simple thing really, just a couple of slices of bread enclosing any number of potential ingredients — peanut butter and jelly, meats, and cheese just to name a few. As simple a thing as it is to make, preparing the "perfect" sandwich is also very elusive, as is finding the best sandwich shop.
In the L.A. area one of the best places in my humble opinion was Gene's Grinders, essentially a sub shop that twenty years later still haunts my dreams along with La Tolteca and In-N-Out. But fear not you Austinites in the oft ignored northwest corner of town, for we now have a sandwich shop which stands tall among the tallest — The Noble Pig.
When people think of the northwest Austin/Cedar Park area, most think of single family homes, and Lake Line Mall, and not much else. The truth though is that some great restaurants have been setting up shop in this area. They may not have the trendy appeal of South Congress, or 6th Street but what they do have is food on par with any you'll find in Austin.
One such place is the relatively new shop, The Noble Pig. Situated just north of Lakeline Mall in a small strip center next to a gas station, they put out some of the best sandwiches you are likely to find anywhere in town. Eschewing the usual cold cut fare of the many sub shops in the area, the good folks at The Noble Pig serve their sandwiches on slices of bread that they bake fresh daily. In fact the majority of what they serve is made in house.
We tried two sandwiches and I came back the next day for breakfast. The first sandwich was the one that really grabbed our attention, the Duck Pastrami. Seriously, all they had to do was put a duck-based item on the menu and they would have had me, but they went the extra step and turned it into pastrami! Bless them. A generous portion of duck with Russian dressing on your choice of bread. This is an excellent sandwich, and I intend to get one for myself the next time I go back. We also got the eponymous Noble Pig: pulled pork, spicy ham, bacon, and provolone. This one is a great introduction to The Noble Pig. Each sandwich comes served with house made pickles, which are also available for purchase by the jar.
The next morning I showed up for breakfast and ordered the blueberry waffle. The waffle is actually a half waffle, I would have preferred the whole thing but such is life. It came with eggs, sausage, and fresh blueberry compote. It was very good all around, the blueberries tasted fresh, the eggs were done just right, and the sausage was fantastic.
The next time I come in for breakfast I'll probably get the biscuits and gravy. They ran out of biscuits when I came in so I wasn't able to get the biscuits and gravy. In fact I sat down in time to see the last plate biscuits brought out. It was a sad, sad thing. Remember how I said they make pretty much everything in house, well that includes the bread, biscuits, and all of the meat products too. The duck, the pork, the bacon, and even the breakfast sausage are all made in house. This kind of care and attention to detail really sets them apart and makes them worth a try.
How much will a trip to the Noble Pig set you back? Not much, prices range between $3 and $5 for breakfast and $7 and $8 for lunch. That kind of pricing puts them on par even with some of the major chains, but their sandwiches are much fresher, and in our opinion far superior. So the next time you are up in the northwest area, and we all know you will be at some point, swing by and grab a sandwich!
The Austin Food Junkies are Alex Artibee, Matt Braley, and Dave Braley, "Two guys who love food, and one chef, trained at the Texas Culinary Institute." Check out their reviews of other Austin area restaurants on their blog, Austin Food Junkies.