The (Not At All) Guilty Pleasure: Vegan Burger Where To Get It: Pig & Pickle, 2922 N Hayden Road (at Thomas Rd), Scottsdale Price: $8 What It Really Costs: One little test of willpower.
It's a lot of fun writing about guilty pleasures all over town. I'm a dedicated carnivore, but every now and then, I just have to lay off the meat-and-grease beat. I have to find vegetables, preferably not wrapped in a Monte Cristo sandwich. Lately, the place I turn for this is Scottsdale newcomer Pig & Pickle. I know -- surprising, given the name.
See Also: First Taste: Pig & Pickle Pretty Perfect
One of the items on their menu, as with more than a few casual restaurants around town, is a vegetarian burger. Unlike most places around town that prefer to offer prefab patties (blech), or a portobello mushroom burger (yawn), Pig & Pickle makes their own. As a bonus, it's vegan.
Pig & Pickle's vegan burger is something of a rarity among vegan offerings: It's good. It's really good. (I can't believe I just wrote that a vegan burger is terrific, but it's true!) The patty is delicious, the vegetables topping the burger are numerous, and the bun holds up its supporting role with aplomb. It's one of the most satisfying dishes I've had in quite a while, leaving me happy and full without feeling like I need to take a nap afterward. My one quibble with it is that the patty is pretty soft, squishing out from between the surrounding bun and plentiful veggie stack. But this is a minor quibble at best.
There is a choice of available sides. The Dump Truck tossed salad is pretty good, but I feel like there's already enough salad between the buns. A sandwich like this begs for fries (hey, you're eating a vegan burger, so splurge), and P&P's are outstanding. For a $1 upcharge, you can get a pair of the Tot of the Day. These aren't your traditional Tater Tots (tee-em); they are closer to mashed potato croquettes, each about the size of an egg. If that day's combination sounds like a good idea, go for it. You'll be glad you did.
I've saved the best for last. With a name like Pig & Pickle, it's no surprise that the proprietors have a proclivity toward pork products. Even the vegan burger cannot escape this fate. On the menu, an optional add-on to the vegan burger is bacon. Of course. It makes perfect sense. While the burger is good on its own, it's downright addictive with those smoky, salty planks of pork. Even better, turning your once-virtuous dinner into a hypocrite's paradise is no additional charge. That's right, the vegan burger is eight bucks whether you get the bacon or not. So, you might as well throw it on there. What do you have to lose?