OINK Pasadena is not close to me, nor is Eagle Rock, but occasionally I will have business that takes me east. When I am out there, navigating unfamiliar freeways like the 210 and 134, it’s good to have a few markers that I can lay down. After leaving an account I stopped off at one of my favorite places on Colorado Boulevard to grab a sandwich.
A giant A-framed marquee that could be seen from down the street was a welcoming sight as I approached slowly in rush hour. Eric Burdon and the Animals were audible, after parking the car and queuing up for a cheeseburger at The Oinkster.
It had been four years since my last official visit and about two since on unofficial business. Both times were consistently delicious; The Oinkster hybridized the Californian burger stand offering with better ingredients and a methodical approach. I had selected the classic 1/3 lb burger with cheddar cheese—as my own tastes, in cheese, had matured in my absence—and a Boylan’s root beer to wash it down.
In a little more time than it took for me to load up on banana peppers and pickled extras, the cheeseburger arrived, smocked in yellow wax paper inside a red plastic basket. Fresh and warm; the sandwich was the perfect contrast between cold, crisp vegetables set against the warm patty and layer of finely melted cheese. The bit of acidity from the pickles, and the smartly dressed thousand-island sauce added extra layers of flavor in an aptly dubbed ‘classic’ representation. It was excellent and exactly how I remembered it.
My long drive home smacked of nostalgia, bringing to mind the last couple trips I had made to Eagle Rock and recalling a few of my favorite burger stands that I grew up with in Southern California. The Oinkster delivers a familiar cast of flavors exquisitely, not claiming to be new, or quick, but done well.