Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Getting down and Dirty at Pig Pen Delicacy

Pig Pen Delicacy
2222 Michelson Dr. 
Irvine, CA 92612

It's probably not any surprise to most of you that my Instagram feed is filled with tons of food pictures. I follow a few friends and family, but other than that my IG feed is filled with photos from restaurants, fellow food bloggers, and other food people I have managed to pick up along the way.

As a result, I see a lot of what I would term, Instagram-inspired food creations dominating my food feed. Some examples include unicorn/rainbow colored foods, food taken with pets, outrageously large foods, and one of the most popular kinds of Instagram-inspired foods, the mash-up, which brings two kinds of foods together to form an almost Frankenstein kind of creation. It's one of those that got me to visit Pig Pen Delicacy recently.

Pig Pen Delicacy used to inhabit another OC food hall, the 4th Street Market, but now they have taken up residency at the newly opened Trade Food Hall in Irvine, along with a spot at Steelcraft Marketplace in Long Beach. PPD comes to us from the successful guys that have brought us the wildly popular Afters Ice Cream, and one of my favorite burger spots, GD Bro Burger. PPD is their ode to pork and using it to update American comfort foods. That sentence alone has got me excited to try the food here.

Pig Pen Delicacy is located straight back from the entrance of Trade Food Hall, right between Andrew Gruel's veggie concept Butterleaf, and the seafood-centric Portside, which I've made a mental note to visit very soon. When we got here at just a little after 6 on a recent Tuesday evening, I was relieved to find that there was no line, which is not usually the case on weekends and at lunchtime during the work week. I ordered rather quickly because of course, I knew what I wanted before even getting into my car to come here. Let's see if all the praise on Instagram is warranted.

Before we get to the real reason I came here, I started with these Parmesan Truffle Tots ($6.49) which were a special offered on this particular day. I know that the pork belly fries are the most popular item here, but I had other things to eat and wanted something a little lighter to go along with my heavier entree. There's something about these little barrels of potato which just evokes a happiness over me. These tots were dressed with truffle oil, lightly salted, and then finished off with a drizzle of garlic aioli, parsley, and parmesan cheese. Since these were not drowned in stuff they retained their crunch throughout their short stay at our table. I got the hint of truffle, which is what you really want since truffle oil can really overpower. A little more garlic aioli would have made these even better.

Now the real reason I came here, the Mac Daddy Burger ($11.49). Yes, what you are seeing is real, and it actually rocked. This burger starts with a third-pound beef patty and is then topped with American cheese, candied bacon, and barbecue sauce, then sandwiched between two mac and cheese buns. I was afraid the fried mac and cheese buns would fall apart, but they held together very well. The candied bacon did get lost here, but the sweet barbecue sauce helped to cut the cheese a bit. Predictably this was a very filling burger, but not as greasy as I imagined it would be.

Even though I came to Pig Pen Delicacy to try what I'd consider being a novelty burger, I gained a new respect for the food here. This is not just a burger that is meant to shock you, they also want you to enjoy it, and I see myself enjoying it many times over with each passing visit to Trade Food Hall. I also look forward to trying their other creations, such as their pulled pork sandwich, pork belly sliders, and their buffalo tots. I also have a feeling that PPD is not ones to rest on their laurels, they will most likely come up with something new, which will undoubtedly become a big hit on Instagram, and get me to try it right away.

Out of five peanuts, (because according to a Gallup survey, the 5th most popular Peanuts character is Pig Pen, the always dirty friend of Charlie Brown), five being best to zero being worst, Pig Pen Delicacy gets 3.5 peanuts.

For more information about Pig Pen Delicacy, head to their website here: http://pigpendelicacy.com/

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