The Unvegan

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‘Burger’

Wagging the Beef at Vernales

So many things on this burger.

Harbor Springs in Northern Michigan is a long way from Japan, but that doesn’t stop a place called Vernales from sporting a Wagyu Brisket Burger. You see, Vernales is kind of a sports bar masquerading as an upscale restaurant, so it only makes sense that if they are going to serve a burger, it’s going to include some fancy beef. And after a long time looking over the menu, I knew that burger was what I had to have.

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.