Allen’s Update Part II

Happy ‘Cue Year! And what better way to start 2010 than by talking about one of our favorites–the original Allen & Son.

You may recall Porky’s post from the previous decade lamenting two changes at Allen and Son–cost and cole slaw. The price increase was indisputable, but the cole question was downright subjective.

Given the special place Keith Allen, slaw and Keith Allen’s slaw hold in this BBQ Jew’s gullet, the only question was when I’d head to Orange County to see for myself. My partner in pork wanted to get a second taste, so Porky and I lunched at Casa Allen.

The infamous cole slaw

I got a side order of slaw to go with my barbecue sandwich to get an unadulterated taste and my first reaction was that it was a tiny bit different. But not due to more mayo, as Porky had suspected. It just tasted a bit different than I remembered. But after a few bites, those concerns washed away and I chalked up my take to the placebo effect.

Still, like true ‘cue hounds, we had to research it a bit further. I asked our waitress if they’d changed anything about the slaw and she said they hadn’t. Later, Porky asked a long-serving waitress the same question, but in this way: “Excuse me, I know you’ve worked here awhile. Is the coleslaw creamier than it used to be or am I losing my mind?”

The waitress, in a sense, called him crazy: “It’s the same. It’s still made by the same man.”  We both got a chuckle out of that.

As for the price change, I’ll echo Porky’s sentiment in saying: While it doesn’t exactly put a smile on my punim, I understand. I’m sure the cost of ingredients’ cost has gone up, even if it’s a very short list. After all, I’m sure swine is more expensive after the Aporkalypse.

One thing you can’t blame the price increase on is a drop in business. It was packed the day we visited! That’s probably because Allen’s aficionados, like myself, are OK with paying a bit more for a barbecue plate if it means Allen and Son keep cooking ‘cue the right way.

May your 2010 be filled with good health, good cheer (and Cheerwine) and good barbecue.