Driving down Colorado Blvd. in Pasadena is like driving down franchise lane. With shopping lining the streets, it was the perfect place for all the chain restaurants to nestle. As good as the shopping is, it makes finding good food tough. Should I go to California Pizza Kitchen or The Cheesecake Factory? Neither.
A little farther down Colorado Blvd into the neighboring city of Eagle Rock, you’ll come across a little diner-like fast food restaurant. The Oinkster serves their food fast, but the sandwiches and burgers are nothing like typical ‘fast food.’ For instance, Oinkster's French fries come with an addictive garlic aioli, not ketchup.
The restaurant is run by former fine-dining chef Andre Guerrero, who has taken ‘fast food’ to the next level. From slow-cooked pork butt in the pulled pork sandwiches to house-cured pastrami, the food has layers upon layers of flavors and textures.
Their namesake, the Oinkster Pastrami Sandwich, is the perfect example. The pastrami is crusted with crushed black peppercorn and coriander, then smoked for four hours before being sliced and piled onto toasted French bread with caramelized onions for sweetness, Gruyère for tang, and red cabbage coleslaw for fresh crunch. The motto for the Oinkster is slow fast food and the time put in to slow-cook the meat is so apparent in the end product.
After all the time and effort put into the food, one could reasonably expect the sandwiches to be $13 to $15 dollars each, but everything on their menu costs $10 or less. Open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., if you ever find yourself in the greater Los Angeles area, a side trip to Eagle Rock for an Oinkster sandwich would be well worth waiting in Los Angeles' traffic.