Let me take you away to a place (once again, located in Flagstaff, AZ) called DIABLO BURGER.
Diablo Burger is located in a little square in downtown Flagstaff. Immediately upon walking up, you find yourself staring at a very bizarre mural painted by local artist Joe Sorren:
Day sitting at our table waiting to get down on some meat.
For your (my) pleasure, I am going to post a little more of his work. BECAUSE I LOVE IT.
Once you enter D.B., the cashier greets you and offers you a minute to look over the menu. This venue is extremely small inside with 4 community tables and a narrow path to the outside patio. It gets a little claustrophobic in there when it is busy so it’s best to have an idea of what you want before entering.
Diablo offers 9 stylized burgers as well as the option to create your own. (I should preface with the fact that I have had at least 3 of these bad boys, and I will one day eat my way through this menu.) Of course they offer a salad, a grilled cheese, and a veggie burger. The prices seem a little high, but once you read their mission statement, you learn that they are an “all local foods-based burger joint”, meaning all the delicious shit they use comes from within 250 miles. The cows get weekly massages, whiskey sours by the pool, the whole 9 yards*, and it is obvious in the flavor of every item I have had here.
Then it was time for Day and I to order. On a whim, I ordered “The Netzky”.
Before I go any further, I would like to share a haiku I wrote:
I am not vegetarian:
But when I do,
I add bacon.
I promise you I am not a vegetarian. I really, truly, totally love meat.
“The Netzky” is Diablo’s veggie burger made from local eggs, veggies, and heirloom legumes and just so happens to be wheat/dairy free. Sounds dry and boring, right? WRONG, but we will get back to that.
“The Netzky” is served with 2 toppings of your choice, a pickle, tomato, lettuce and some of the best damn frites I have had. I asked the kind fellow at the register to please throw some Swiss cheese, hatch chile mayo, grilled onions and of course, BACON. I got excited and went over my 2 toppings, but they weren’t mad at me. In addition, I asked for it to be served on their gluten-free bun because it made me feel better about myself.
We snatched a community table all to ourselves on the outside patio where there are only 5 communal tables in addition to the inside seating. We waited about 7-10 minutes before the lovely food runner brought us our meal, and made sure we had everything we needed before leaving us to our own devices. The presentation is always beautiful (as beautiful as a burger can be, I suppose) with a db brand charred on every bun, lest you forget where you are.
I took my first bite; second, third, before I realized that I was kind of obsessed with the veggie patty. It was not dry, it was not boring, and it did not fall apart all over the place. It was a medley of delicious vegetables and seasonings blended together and smashed into patty form while keeping the consistency of a real burger patty, lightly charred on either side and still somehow moist on the inside. The hatch chile mayo added the perfect amount of zest, complimenting the tanginess of the grilled onions. The gluten-free bun was one of the best I have ever tried. I suspect it is made with cornmeal, but did not crumble in my hands like every other glutard bread.
This “burger” might be able to turn just about anyone vegetarian, but I couldn’t have that, so now lets get to the bacon. Bacon in general just tastes good. This bacon tasted better than good. Fat in the right places, not too crispy, not too chewy, and possibly made out of a pig that had just finished a spa day down the street. It tasted like a happy pig. They weaved the 4 pieces before cooking it, so not once did I have to put it back on my sandwich. Nothing could have been done to make this veggie burg any better.
Oh, the frites. You can’t stop eating them even if the button on your pants is about to pop off. Always crispy and never a floppy one in the bunch. These puppies are tossed in fennel and rosemary that give them a character I have never experienced with any french fry. It’s almost like roasted potatoes at Thanksgiving, but all the time, and I approve.
I was able to eat my whole sandwich, most of my fries, and still not feel like I needed to lie down afterward. I am going to assume this has to do with the integrity of their ingredients? Yeah, let’s go with that.
Overall, I LOVE this place. The employees are always genuine and helpful, never once have I felt unwelcome. The food exceeds beyond most places I have eaten in Phoenix. My one complaint being the space restriction inside, and on days that I don’t feel like socializing with strangers, I wish they had smaller, non-communal tables. It can be embarrassing eating a burger 2 times the size of your mouth in front of someone you don’t know. Or maybe you’re into that.
Go to Diablo Burger in Flagstaff, eat it, and then come give me a high five.
P.S.- They just opened one in Tucson.
(*This is a fabrication I made to make the cows seem like pimps.)