The Unvegan

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Burn, Baby Burn, Jalapeno Inferno
Many Slices of Humble Pie
Three Tacos at First Watch
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Scottsdale85251

Battling Withdrawal at Rehab Burger Therapy

The p, the b and the j.

In the short time I’ve spent living in Phoenix, I’ve had me a few burgers, but I until heading to Rehab Burger Therapy, I had not yet made my way to a place specializing in those delicious ground beef and bun combinations. I arrived in Old Town Scottsdale thinking I was going to go to town on some meat on meat action, but my meal took an unexpected turn.

Brew and a Burger at Two Brothers Brewery

Looking classy.

Is there anything better in the world for two brothers to do than to build a brewery? Well, that’s what one pair of brothers thought (allegedly) when they put together Two Brothers Brewery, a microbrewery with locations mostly around the Chicago area, but also one in Scottsdale because Chicago places seem to feel welcome here.

A Big Ass Burger at Roaring Fork

It starts with queso.

There are a few things that you can always assume I will want to try. One is cheese dip and another is gigantic burgers (among other things). So, when I heard that a place called Roaring Fork in Scottsdale had something called the Big Ass Burger, it didn’t take much convincing to get me there. Getting me to eat outside in the middle of the desert summer, on the other hand, was a different story. But such is life when you want to take advantage of what is one of the best happy hours in the Phoenix area.

And while the Big Ass Burger has a nice discount during happy hour, there is also a little something called Queso Con Puerco, which is a cheesy dip that has braised pork mixed in. It comes with tortilla chips for dipping, but I could have easily eaten this stuff by the spoonful. The queso has a perfect thickness and viscosity, while the pork adds a meaty dimension that really every dipping sauce should have. It’s cheesy, porky goodness and it makes the world a better place simply by existing.

As for the Big Ass Burger, it comes topped with smoked pepper bacon, cheddar, poblano pepper, lettuce, tomato, pickles and onions. And also fries on the side. I ordered without the lettuce, tomato, pickles and onions, and at a medium-rare.

Go on, pretend you’ve seen something prettier.

When it arrived, I could immediately tell that it lived up to its name. It was undoubtedly big, and would certainly contribute to the size of my ass. And somehow they found a bun to contain the meat. As I bit in, my mouth met with a juicy burger that was well-seasoned. Actually, it may have been a little too well-seasoned, as it was a little tough to handle the salt content of some of the bites. It was slightly overcooked, but not enough to really disappoint, and the bun was just a little too big. Now, with these complaints being said, they are all pretty minor and I don’t want it to seem like I didn’t like the Big Ass Burger.

On the contrary, I found it to be a very delicious experience and one that I won’t soon forget. Plus, there’s really no way to top the value for the money here during happy hour. My only hope is that next time (and there will be a next time) the meat is cooked a little more to my liking.

KK’s at Lo-Lo’s Chicken and Waffles

Exactly as it should be.
Exactly as it should be.

Chicken and Waffles isn’t just for Roscoe’s. In fact, in the Phoenix area it’s pretty much synonymous with Lo-Lo’s. Lo-Lo’s House of Chicken and Waffles, that is. For a place with “Hood Classics” as a section of the menu, Lo-Lo’s is surprisingly nice and clean inside, compared to the old beat up diner style of Roscoe’s. Nonetheless, there was plenty on the menu calling my name.

Chowing Like a Cowboy at Cowboy Ciao

Damn you arugula.
Damn you arugula.

Over in Old Town Scottsdale is a spot that has Scottsdale written all over it. It’s called Cowboy Ciao and is kind of a blend of the cowboy-ness of the area and the hoity-toity as well. After a quick look at the menu, I realized that with a few slight changes to the menu I would love to eat just about everything. That is, because just about everything had a hint of vegetable to please the “ciao” crowd in addition to the “cowboy” crowd.

Stuck Between a Pig & Pickle

Should've seen it coming.
Should’ve seen it coming.

After landing in Phoenix, the wife and I were in need of some food. She likes pickles and I like pigs, so we stopped at a place called Pig & Pickle. With a name like that, you could probably guess that it was trendy, hipsterish and had some sort of deviled eggs. Well, at least the first two are right, but I suspect deviled eggs will make their way onto the menu at some point. The menu had a nice variety of piggy items and even a few that weren’t if that’s not your thing.

Almost Sporty at Don & Charlie’s

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Pile ’em high.

It’s very rare that I require a TV in restaurant. After all, my favorite sport of college football is often finished before it’s anywhere close to dinner time. But every once in a while it happens, like when I was in Phoenix and my Tigers happened to be playing in the World Series (yes, this review is way delayed). My upcoming family recommended Don & Charlie’s, a Mecca for baseball fans and my family took the suggestion.

Getting New Mexican at Carlsbad Tavern

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Green chilies? How surprising!

When I think of New Mexico, a couple things come to mind. 1) Bugs Bunny should’ve taken a left turn at Albuquerque. 2) Carlsbad Cavern is supposed to be awesome. 3) They love green chilies on everything. Well a restaurant in Scottsdale, Arizona has taken a pun from Carlsbad Cavern, thrown green chilies in and somehow failed to include Bugs Bunny. It’s called Carlsbad Tavern and I went in search of a burger instead of a bunny.

A Taste of Home at Upper Deck (REBRANDED)

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If you hail from the great state of Michigan, you know why I took a picture of this.

EDIT: Apparently this place is now called Blitz, but still reps the state of Michigan.

A couple weeks ago I headed to Phoenix with the girlfriend for a wedding. But this wasn’t just any weekend, it happened to be the weekend of the Michigan-Michigan State game. It’s usually a pretty big game, but with both teams undefeated (at the time), it was a game I couldn’t miss. Fortunately, said girlfriend found an interesting bar for me to watch it at in Old Town Scottsdale. It was called Upper Deck Sports Grille and was dedicated to Michigan and Michigan State fans. You would think Phoenix would be big enough to host ex-Michiganders at more than one bar, but you would be wrong.

It’s Not Always Time for Bacon (CLOSED)

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Where’s all the bacon?

Every once in a blue moon, a restaurant comes along that you just can’t pass up. Sometimes it’s Taco Bell, and sometimes it’s a place called Bacon in Scottsdale. Although clearly capitalizing on the current bacon trend, the name sounded great to me when the girlfriend’s family suggested it. Since it was Father’s Day, we expected a long line, so we called in advance and a table was ready for us by the time we got there.