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October 27, 2010

The Taste Bud: I ate a pig sandwich (and I feel fine)

In the shadow of a McDonald’s near the corner of Phillips Lane and Preston Highway sits a food destination for the smart among us. Sure, sure, Frank’s Meat and Produce may look like a simple produce stand, featuring a harvest of fresh vegetables, fruits and plants, but as one local blogger put it, it’s actually “carnivore heaven.”

And this meat-based Utopia includes pig sandwiches. Let’s start from the beginning.

My friend Amy convinced me to meet her for lunch at Frank’s on a promise. In an e-mail, she wrote that Frank’s has “killer ribs and braunzsweiger (sp? shoulda just said liverwurst — easier to spell!).”

Clearly, she meant braunschweiger (I admit it: I had to look it up), a type of liverwurst made with pork liver that she described as “poor man’s pâté” — which is, interestingly, a distinction I have always bestowed upon potted meat food product.

But when we met for lunch, I decided to zig just as she zagged, and opted for the $4 pork chop sandwich instead of the braunch … the brownsch … the poor man’s pâté sandwich. I’m not sure why I did it; it was an impulse decision. However, when I asked for the pork chop, the friendly guy behind the deli counter said, “You want barbecue sauce on that?” OK, now we’re getting somewhere.

As I mentioned, Frank’s is essentially a produce stand combined with a deli counter, so we ended up eating our lunch on a blanket in a nearby lot where several people were walking their dogs. Hmm … be sure to choose your spot wisely if you do the same.

I had ordered a side of German potato salad to go with my lunch, while Amy chose her old standby favorite, macaroni salad. OK, now we’re getting to the “pig sandwich” part of this story. Why? Because when I opened the Styrofoam container holding my sandwich, I was surprised (pleasantly so) to see that the chop they’d placed in the fresh sesame seed bun actually had to be folded over to fit inside the box. The thing was enormous.

And thus, I dubbed it a “pig sandwich.” It seemed like so much more than just a chop — and it certainly made a mockery of those state fair pork chop sandwiches you pay $7 or $8 for. It was tender and delicious, and the Frank’s signature barbecue sauce was the perfect touch. Did I mention it was only $4?

Meanwhile, Amy’s (see correct spelling, paragraph four) sandwich — which was just $2.50, by the way — was pretty darn tasty as well, certainly far beyond any potted meat I’ve ever encountered. It consisted of two generous chunks of the liverwurst stuff I can’t spell, Swiss cheese, red onions and topped with yellow mustard on rye bread. The wurst had a tasty spice to it that played especially well alongside the onions. We did, however, both agree spicy mustard would have been a better choice for the condiment, so as to complete the package.

Both of our sides were quite good as well, with the German potato salad having the traditional tangy flavor (made with vinegar, not mayo), and let’s face it — anything with tender, big hunks of potato and bacon in it is worthy fare. The mac salad was good, too, made with the smaller Kraft-style macaroni, along with random cubes of mild cheddar cheese, celery and red pepper. (“The red peppers class it up,” Amy noted.)

The whole shebang, with two drinks, cost us just over $11. Seriously? And now you know why I mentioned that there’s a McDonald’s next door. This was to point out that you’re an idiot if you pay $5 for a No. 6 value meal when Frank’s is
next door.

Sure, the Taco Bell two doors down might be tempting, but you can still do better. But if you get the braunsch … weiger, you might want to bone up on your Germanic language skills. That, or just ask for the poor man’s pâté.