The Unvegan

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Arizona Culinary Hall of Fame 2017
One and Another Citizen Public House
Media Night at SanTan Brewing Company
Spicy at Sauce

‘California’

Panic at Pannikin

Commence panicking.
Commence panicking.

Coffee shops aren’t generally known for their food, but Pannikin in Encinitas isn’t your typical coffee shop. The place has a full-on menu and nearly every type of coffee or tea that exists in the world. But a look at the menu revealed very little in terms of meat – some turkey and some ham. Fortunately, there was something on the menu that drew me in.

A Touch of Canada at The Kroft

Canada goes down south.
Canada goes down south.

There can be no doubt that I am a man who loves his poutine. In a lot of senses I am a purist, but when a place gets the right kind of creative I can get behind it. The Kroft in Tustin, Orange County started lighting up my social media feed months ago with some beautiful food pics. It took a while to find an excuse to get down there, but when I did I couldn’t help but make a stop.

Fox and Goose and Brunch

Capitol idea.
Capitol idea.

While in Sac Town, it’s advisable to check out the State Capitol. It really is a beautiful building with a sprawling grounds showing off some of the best flora of California. And just up the street from there you can find what seemed the be the coolest place in town to grab brunch: Fox and Goose. With a dingy interior and pretty sweet patio, this British Pub drew me right in.

The Cheese Skirt Experience at The Squeeze Inn

More cheese please.
More cheese please.

There are few places in the world (if any) that I have been fixating on visiting for as long as The Squeeze Inn. The trouble is that despite all of my years in California there is rarely a reason for anyone to visit Sacramento. This, by the way, is not meant to be a knock on Sac Town, but the State Capitol isn’t exactly a big draw. Finally, though, some random couple I know got married up there and I convinced them to invite me (solely so I could hit up The Squeeze Inn).

A Waffle Sandwich at Bruxie

Yes, that is a sandwich.
Yes, that is a sandwich.

While chicken and waffles are just about the most confusingly delicious combination of food. But there hasn’t been a lot of innovation in that dish for very long. Well, at least not until Bruxie came along, offering waffles as sandwiches. There are a number of options within the chicken category and plenty outside of it as well. I opted for what seemed to be their newest creation: Nashville Hot Chicken.

Getting My Kicks at Apollo

My oh my.
My oh my.

Route 66 is one of those legendary American “things,” like baseball and winning wars, which helped define our country once, but have since been replaced by other American “things,” like the interstate system, football and losing wars/diplomacy. Once upon a time, the route was dotted with the best America had to offer, but now there are mostly ghost towns. Some, like Victorville, California have been propped up by continuing to be a main route. In Victorville’s case, it just happens to be right on the way to Las Vegas.

A Mediterranean Evening at Catalan

A bowl of duck.
A bowl of duck.

The Palm Springs area isn’t exactly known for its culinary prowess. You see, septuagenarians don’t really care how their food tastes as long as they can be done with dinner by 6:00. Nonetheless, there are a few places willing to take some risks and offer unique eats (even if they do sport an early bird special to boot). One of these is Catalan in Rancho Mirage, a Mediterranean restaurant in the sense of the European parts of the Mediterranean at least.

Smoking at Firehouse Subs

With bits of real fire, so you know it's good.
With bits of real fire, so you know it’s good.

According to Anthony Bourdain, firemen make some of the best food around because they have some sort of crazy camaraderie in which they are always cooking for each other. Maybe Firehouse Subs came from that. Or maybe it was because some firemen wanted to make some extra cash and thought it would be a good schtick. Either way, Firehouse Subs exists and I finally tried it out in the middle of Palm Desert.

Mysteriously Delicious at Nessy Burgers

Found you!
Found you!

A long, long time ago a coworker of mine told me Nessy Burgers had the best burgers in the world. Now, I consider myself an aficionado of burgers so this obviously had a lasting impact on me, especially considering that Nessy Burgers is essentially in the middle of nowhere. When we arrived to the hidden trailer in Fallbrook (just outside of Temecula), my wife remarked that it might be called “Nessy” because it was hard to find, like its namesake Loch Ness Monster.

The Road to Seoul is Paved with Meat

It all starts with a plate.
It all starts with a plate.

While Pittsburgh is not devoid of Korean food, there is no city on earth outside of Korea that serves up Korean food like LA. With that in mind, I made my way to Road to Seoul in Koreatown for a final meal before catching a red-eye back to Pittsburgh. Hey, if I can’t give myself the meat sweats on a flight, why even sleep?