The Unvegan

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Rocks Your Socks

Pickle me this, pickle me that.

When striving to live the high life, there is nothing better than a good, honest unvegan meal at a tasty price. In Chicago, and I imagine in all other major metropolitan areas, knowledge of the specials around town allows us to fulfill our unvegan needs without crippling the budget, especially on weeknights.

On Wednesdays, Rocks, a bar with very good burgers and locations in Lincoln Park and Lakeview, has a special of $5.00 burgers and $5.00 24 oz. beers. The latter is a distinction in which I differ a little bit from some other unvegans. When I am eating, my first choice for accompanying beverage is cola and my second choice is water. As I tend to eat really fast, I really don’t like consuming alcohol with my food.

Glancing at the burger menu, I was treated to a bevy of unvegan options. Eventually, I settled on the 2X4 burger which consists of two 4oz burger patties stuffed with pepperjack cheese and bacon. This was not all; the unvegan delight also is topped with jalapeno mayo, bacon bits, lettuce, tomatoes, and onions. I of course would not let the lettuce, tomatoes, and onions compromise such a wonderful unvegan creation and made sure to order my burger without those unwanted garnishes.

Further, seeing that the “Rocks Burger” came with a pretzel bun–and I have in the past argued for the superiority of pretzel buns over the norm–I asked the waiter if I could make the substitution and my request was happily obliged. The burger also came with a choice of side and I chose curly fries. I cannot recall a time in my life where I have ever been dissatisfied with my decision to order curly fries.

About a half hour later, the burger came and it looked DELIGHTFUL except for one glaring flaw. Pickles. These were not listed anywhere on the menu and came as an unwelcome surprise. If I ordered my burger without dastardly lettuce, tomatoes, and onions, why in the world would I want pickles? Thankfully, they were off to the side and did not infect any of my flavor with dreaded pickle juice. Crisis averted.

Overall, the burger was spectacular. The cacophony of ingredients complemented each other perfectly; bacon in between the patties and bacon bits on top were an especially welcome combination of unvegan bliss. The burger was spicy enough to be flavorful but not so spicy that it compromised the integrity of the meal. The ground beef was fresh and succulent and the pretzel bun was a cherry on top. Once again, curly fries failed to let me down.

If I was in the neighborhood on a normal night and in the mood for a burger (read: a normal night), Rocks would always be a viable option. The burgers are uniquely tasty enough to warrant their $10-11 price tags. With their Wednesday specials factored in, Rocks is a no-brainer and even a destination location. Just make sure to order without the pickles.

@RGSpiegel blogs at