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Best Burger With a Conscience
Diablo Burger – Puebla, Baby
People have been raving about Diablo Burger in Flagstaff for a while now, so our expectations were high the moment we walked through the doors and into the tiny space with the rock ’n’ roll concert posters on the walls. But our hopes were completely blown out of the water when the daily special – Puebla, Baby – arrived. Every DB burger is made with local, open-range, antibiotic- and growth-hormone-free beef and served on a branded English muffin. The burgers are small in diameter, but incredibly thick and cooked to medium-rare perfection. Puebla, Baby was topped with a chili rellano stuffed with chevre and pine nuts and deep-fried in tempura. We also loved The Blake: homemade Hatch chili mayo, roasted green chilies and sharp cheddar cheese. The burgers are served with mixed greens and fries dusted with rosemary. Diablo Burger, named after Canyon Diablo located 40 miles east of Flagstaff, is focused on anything and everything local – make sure you read its explanation for why the establishment doesn’t acccept credit cards. Despite the restaurant’s devilish name and logo, there’s absolutely nothing sinful about Diablo Burger. $9 – EAF
Diablo Burger, 120 N. Leroux St. in Heritage Square in downtown Flagstaff (928-774-3274).
Best Buffalo Burger
The Grille at ShadowRock – Bison Burger
I’ll admit it: I’m not one for exotic burgers. In my opinion, buffaloes belong roaming the plains of Yellowstone National Park, posing for postcard photos for tourists, not served on a bun. But in Sedona, buffalo burgers are on dozens of menus, so I put my prejudices aside and started the taste test. The verdict: Buffalo burgers rock. And the Bison Burger at The Grille at ShadowRock at Hilton Sedona Resort & Spa is among the best. Buffalo is much leaner (thus purported to be better-for-you) than beef, so order yours medium-rare if you like your burgers juicy. The Grille serves its buffalo burger topped with grilled onions and Pepper Jack cheese all on a corn-meal-crusted kaiser roll. Lettuce, tomato, pickles and red onion are served on the side. “Sea Salt Potato Sticks,”resort-speak for wickedly addicting french fries, accompany the burger. Expect a mildly gamey flavor and a texture nearly identical to beef. Even our waiter, who said she isn’t a fan of red meat, said the Bison Burger is her favorite thing on the menu. It’s hard to go wrong with that kind of recommendation. $16.50 – EAF
The Grille at ShadowRock at Hilton Sedona Resort & Spa, 90 Ridge Trail Drive in the Village of Oak Creek (928-284-4040).
Best Veggie Burger
D’Lish – Jamaican Jerk Pineapple Burger
Vegetarians are people, too. They shouldn’t be relegated to old-fashioned garden burgers that taste like cardboard and have the consistency of sawdust. So when you’re in Sedona and craving a meatless burger, head to Red Rock Country’s vegetarian hot spot, D’Lish. The Jamaican Jerk Pineapple Burger is our fave: a tempeh patty smothered in a homemade jerk sauce and topped with grilled golden pineapple, lettuce, tomato and vegenaise. A toasted bun encrusted with sesame seeds holds the entire concoction together, but this one is messy, folks. The pineapple gives the burger a slight sweetness and the tempeh has a flaky, moist consistency – no sawdust here. Blue-corn chips and a small salad accompany the burger. If you’re not a fan of Caribbean flavors, D’Lish offers build-your-own burgers where you even have the option of choosing your “meat”; try hemp and millet, walnut, quinoa portobello or black bean; and top it off with Thai peanut spread or red pesto spread, among others. Now how often can you order a burger and leave the restaurant feeling like you did something good for your planet and for your body? $9.75 – EAF
D’Lish, 3190 W. SR 89A in West Sedona (928-203-9393).