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

‘Mexican’

Hash Bash at Hash Kitchen

It starts with huevos.

It’s not often that I eat at a new place (for me) twice before getting a chance to review that place. Yet, that weirdly happened with Hash Kitchen, a breakfast spot (no, not a dispensary) with a few locations around the Phoenix/Scottsdale area. As you may expect, they specialize in Bloody Marys. Okay, but also in different kinds of hash if you’re not in a Bloody Mary mood, which I literally never am.

Wrapped in Delicious at The El Felix

Something good inside?
Something good inside?

What’s in a name? Apparently for The El Felix in Alpharetta, Georgia it’s redundancy. While I cannot explain why it’s The El Felix and not simply El Felix, I can say that this nuevo Mexican restaurant seems to be made for unvegans like me. I had a tough time picking from all the great-looking meaty options, but when the waiter made a strong sell for the Tacos Al Pastor.

An Heirloom Breakfast at Dawn Patrol

But what's inside?
But what’s inside?

As with most breakfast places in Southern California, there has to be some sort of Mexican influence. Dawn Patrol in Santa Barbara is no different. So as I stood in line waiting to place my order, I had plenty of time to think about what to get. Like many breakfasts before, I couldn’t take my eyes off of the Breakfast Burrito.

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.

Birria at Burritos La Palma

Platillo!
Platillo!

A lot of the time, a burrito is just a burrito. Fillings vary in quality and variety, but they are generally the same basic thing. Not so much at Burritos La Palma in El Monte. These burritos came straight from Jerez, Mexico and if you didn’t know any better you might think of them as enchiladas. Burritos La Palma specializes in birria and so that’s what I got.

A Torta at Tortugas

That's some cheese porn.
That’s some cheese porn.

Torta is Mexican for sandwich and there is a sweet semi-new spot in Pasadena that deals pretty much exclusively in that hand food from south of the border. It’s called Tortugas, and is either a reference to turtles, an island in Haiti or a national park (the dry one). Regardless, the place has a great variety of Mexican sandwiches and one in particular screamed out to my unvegan belly.

Brewing Some Pork Belly at Helio Basin

Taco belly!
Taco belly!

Breweries are the best, right? And they typically have awesome food. That’s why I was pretty excited to find out Phoenix was getting a new brewery called Helio Basin and tried to make my way there at the first opportunity. Plus, it didn’t hurt that I had a connection at the place and wanted to show some support.

American Indian at California Chutney

Wait, that's like a salsa bar.
Wait, that’s like a salsa bar.

There’s something about fusion done well that really gets me excited. Throw some Korean BBQ into tacos and I’m sold. Try to make Mexican food Kosher, not so much (don’t underestimate the need for cheese!). But I had never thought of Indian food as something to fuse until I found California Chutney in Old Town Pasadena. This place is all about fusing Indian food with American (and by American I also mean Mexican because, hey, North America).

Foodshop Pops Up Tropically

Beats, not beets.
Beats, not beets.

I’ve always been a little wary of meals in which you cannot choose your food. This is, of course, the case with pop up restaurants. Yet, when I saw Foodshop‘s latest menu, filled with the flavors of the Caribbean, I was convinced to give it a shot. Thus, we took the long drive to Venice to grab some food at an undisclosed location.