If there’s such a thing as counter-programming on trendy Abbot Kinney Boulevard, it would be Pork Belly’s Sandwich Shop, a meat-centric smoke house featuring an edgy cartoon wall mural amidst fashionable boutiques and next to a healthy, juice-centric café.
Jon Swire, who relocated from New Jersey 15 years ago to attend UCLA Anderson School of Management, teamed with business partner Adrian Pujol and took over the Glen Crest BBQ space. They installed a hulking Southern Pride smoker in back, which primarily feasts on hickory wood. Swire recently invited me to Pork Belly’s, and I shared three sandwiches with friends, on the house. Smoky Balls, an Italian-American creation featuring smoked meatballs crafted from pork and beef, reminded me of New Jersey sub sandwiches, but since this is a pork-themed column, let’s focus on The Belly Up (normally $8.95). For their signature sandwich, Pork Belly’s staffers take a smoke buffeted slab of pork belly with meaty consistency and caramelized edges, pile on crunchy, cooling homemade cole slaw and cradle both elements in a soft brioche roll. Simple, but good.
Bonus: each sandwich comes wrapped with a small chocolate chip cookie.
Dose of Vitamin P spotlights my favorite pork dish from the previous week.