The Unvegan

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Burgers and Dumplings at Village Tavern
Scottsdale Culinary Fest 2018
Breakfast in a Brew Box
Finz to the Left, Finz to the Right

‘Lamb’

Rockin’ Taco Rumble 2018

Get them votes.

Tacos, tacos and more tacos. That was the premise of the Rockin’ Taco Rumble in Downtown Phoenix on March 2nd, 2018. $45 got you unlimited tacos, six drinks and a wooden nickel to vote for your favorite taco. It took place at Events on Jackson, which was a pretty cool venue, but what was much less cool was the fact that some spots were already running out of tacos by the time I arrived and the lines were crazy long. Nevertheless, I persisted and was able to identify some favorites.

Harlowe’s Brings French Dips to Pasadena

Lamb dip!
Lamb dip!

The French Dip is one of food items that is not actually French. You know, like French Fries. In fact, it is originally from LA, with a couple spots claiming to have the original. While French Dips are nothing new to Pasadena, it is definitely new to have a place totally dedicated to those moist sandwiches. That place goes by the name of Harlowe’s.

The Bestia of What’s Around

Burrato and then some.
Burrato and then some.

LA isn’t an easy place to have sustained success. And I’m not just talking about the entertainment industry, I’m talking about food. You see, one day you can’t get a reservation at a place and the next it’s being replaced by a hot new thing. Yet, there are exceptions, like In-n-Out. But also Bestia, an Italian spot downtown that still requires reservations months out.

Burgers, Bourbon + Beer 2016

Flaming up good.
Flaming up good.

There was a time when Diners, Drive-ins and Dives was pretty much the best food-related alliteration. Then came Los Angeles Magazine’s Burgers, Bourbon + Beer, laying out some of the best consumable things in the world. The event took place in Santa Monica at The Victorian and showcased a number of bite-sized burgers (no, not sliders), a few bourbons and beers from Golden Road. Oh, and there was ice cream, chocolate and music as well. But you’re at Unvegan.com, which means everything took a back stage to the burgers. Better yet, this was a competition, so instead of just mass-producing burgers, these were all cooked to perfection. Not even I could eat all of them, but I did my damnedest.

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.

A Good Burn at Jack Stack Barbecue

Saucy.
Saucy.

On my rapid journey across the country once again, my buddy suggested stopping at Fiorella’s Jack Stack Barbecue in the Country Club Plaza in Kansas City. Having traversed this path before, I was eager to get back to Gates, but he said this would be worth it and I deserved it because it was my birthday. Since he hails from Kansas City and knows good food I took his word.

A Common Burger at The Commoner

Stupid, stupid pickles.
Stupid, stupid pickles.

After hearing such great things about the place, I finally had to check out The Commoner in Downtown Pittsburgh. It’s one of those newfangled trendy spots (located inside the similarly trendy Hotel Monaco), but unfortunately the lunch menu isn’t as vast as the dinner menu. But burgers were still on the menu so I was eager to try one out.

A Lamb Good Time at The Cafe at the Frick

Now with real lamb!
Now with real lamb!

At some point The Cafe at the Frick came up as a place I needed to grab a meal at. This, of course, came as a surprise because most museum cafes offer up barely passable food to a captive audience. But I figured why the hell not and headed to the Frick for lunch. As could probably be expected, my wife and I were decades younger than the next youngest patron that hadn’t been dragged there by grandparents, but we hoped that our still active taste buds would be rewarded.