on a recent Friday evening I decided I was really, really
hungry, however I also wanted the gourmet equivalent of barbecue.
My choice was simple: Oink and Moo Burgers and Barbecue in
and Moo, which is located on the corner of North Pico Avenue
& Alvarado Street a couple of blocks off of Mission Road,
has been aptly described as both “funky” and “artsy”.
It is as if someone who had actual artistic flair was inspired
to outdo the décor of TGI Fridays.
& Jennifer Arbel, who opened Oink and Moo last August,
take their food, how it is prepared and where it comes from
very seriously, but don't take themselves seriously. You get
that when you pick up a menu and see the logo, which is a
representation of Che Guevara as a pig. According to Jonathan,
this isn’t a political statement, but rather their desire
to “bring a food revolution to Fallbrook.”
believe in getting back to basics,” he told me. “We
opened the restaurant because we thought that Fallbrook needed
food made from scratch, given a lot of love. We make our own
rubs. Our biscuits are made from scratch. Our burger patties
are hand-ground from one hundred percent Black Angus beef
steak and brisket. We know what goes into it. We have our
own herb garden in the back of the restaurant. When we can,
we buy local produce.”
also don’t serve processed foods and they spend an inordinate
amount of time on such things as cooking their pulled pork
and barbecued baby back ribs. According to Jonathan, it can
take anywhere from three hours to seven days to cook.
Arbels have put a lot of themselves into their establishment.
All of the décor was designed, executed and painted
by Jennifer, who says she isn’t an artist—but
seems to have a natural talent for it. Jonathan built the
was trained as a chef at the University of Las Vegas hospitality
program and at Cornell University. He has been in the restaurant
business for most of his life, with jobs ranging from chef
to restaurant manager. He met his wife in San Francisco when
she came to work for him in a restaurant he managed.
they moved to Fallbrook, they decided that they wanted to
open a restaurant and use what they had learned in the business
in the Bay Area. Oink and Moo is a true mom-and-pop eatery.
“It was our goal to bring back to Fallbrook the kind
of quality food and service that we had in San Francisco,”
play our music really loud and mix it up with old-fashioned
rock and roll and country,” says Jonathan. This encourages
a casual, convivial atmosphere conducive to good friends and
and Moo has a Monster Burger Eating Challenge that was suggested
by the reality TV show Man Vs. Food in which they place a
burger of Himilayan proportions (it’s stacked about
a foot high!) in front of the challenger—who must finish
it or pay for it. The winner of the challenge will get to
name the burger, and add an item to it for the next challenger.
So far six have tried and failed.
my hosts asked me what I wanted for dinner, I replied, “Chef's
choice,” which in my view is always a smart move when
dining in a restaurant you are unfamiliar with.
started dinner with BBQ Pork Lettuce Cups, which won the first
place 2012 Taste of Fallbrook award. This succulent dish is
made from slow-cooked pork topped with honey-roasted nuts
and cilantro, with a side of sweet chili vinegar for dipping.
This was a delicious introduction into the wonderful world
of Oink & Moo.
I sampled the Mac & Cheese Fritters, which starts with
the house Mac & Cheese—which is itself a sumptuous
example of what I like to call “adult mac and cheese”—rolled
into a ball and covered in bread crumbs, then wrapped in bacon
and deep fried. It was served with a side of Pomodoro sauce.
This is an incredible delicacy and well worth the trip all
I tried some of the House Truffle Fries, which are hand cut
shoestring potatoes infused with truffle oil and served with
garlic aioli, which is a delicious variation on mayonnaise.
much as I liked the above-mentioned fries, they paled in comparison
to the Sweet Potato Fries seasoned with a honey maple drizzle.
I’ll give this side dish three exclamation points!!!
I tucked into the main event (one of them anyway), the Moo
La La Burger, which is the signature house burger and is made
with a generous hand ground beef patty topped with fresh lettuce,
tomato and brie cheese, and wrapped in bacon and served open
face because you might have to ratchet open your jaw to fit
it all into your mouth! I ordered mine rare and wasn’t
also sampled the Baby Back Ribs served with Little Oinker
Biscuits. The meat falls off the bone. The sauce is sweet
and tangy and has a great little zip to it.
and Moo is a great place for an evening with your family or
spouse, and definitely perfect for a gathering.
are open Wednesday-Sunday 4:30–9 p.m., and are closed
Mondays and Tuesday. If you have questions or want to make
reservations, call 760-451-6005.