Here, Eat This

Houston's Best Sandwiches: The Pork Tenderloin at Picnic Box Lunches

The Pork Tenderloin from Picnic Box Lunches is like the sandwich your grandmother made you if she happened to be a chef.
The Pork Tenderloin from Picnic Box Lunches is like the sandwich your grandmother made you if she happened to be a chef. Photo by Jeff Balke
We are in search of Houston's best sandwiches because we love sandwiches and we love Houston!

Virtually everything about Picnic Box Lunches (1928 Bissonnet) is cute. The name alone is adorable as is the interior and even the '20s-era vocal jazz on speakers the day I had lunch there. And their actual box lunches are pretty sweet as well. The combo is a sandwich with a cup of fruit, chips and a cookie. It's like a lunch your grandmother makes you if she happened to also be a chef.

Because, for however charming Picnic might be, their sandwiches are serious. That includes the Pork Tenderloin, a spicy almost southwestern sandwich on perhaps the softest sourdough bread I've ever eaten. The in-house slow-roasted pork is sliced thin like deli meat and loaded onto the white bread with pickled onions and an ancho mayo that has a bit of a bite to it.

The whole thing is bold and acidic and definitely not a baloney and cheese with Miracle Whip from grams. The meat is tender and well seasoned, and the ancho mayo provides some nice heat. But, those pickled onions are what brings it all together. They aren't overly pickled in the sense that they have not lost all of their pungent aromatic flavor. It's a bit like getting a sandwich with pickles and onions. That acidic quality cuts through and enhances the heat of the mayonnaise. But the bread is what make it taste like something right out of a home kitchen.

The whole thing is tangy and spicy and remarkably comforting. I had a New York Lemon Sugar cookie on the side. It was like having lunch at the kitchen table but with a better chef.

If you have a sandwich you think is one of the best in town, hit us up. We're always looking for new options.
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Jeff Balke is a writer, editor, photographer, tech expert and native Houstonian. He has written for a wide range of publications and co-authored the official 50th anniversary book for the Houston Rockets.
Contact: Jeff Balke