Friday, February 11, 2011

Which Wine for a Burger? Good Stuff Eatery, Washington DC

I don’t believe I made it very clear in the first article, but I want to assure you that we will be exploring the full spectrum of food and wine.  While doing so, we will avoid the real or perceived snobbery that is sometimes associated with us winos and foodies.  On the other hand, when we begin to describe wines, food, processes, and the “why’s” of food and wine working together, we will necessarily use appropriate technical/industry terms.  No worries – we will make crystal clear anything that is not common English.

To prove we are not fixated on fine dining and $100 bottles of wine, I thought our experience from last night might be a good place to start.  My wife, good friend Steve, and I went to the Good Stuff Eatery located at 303 Pennsylvania Avenue S.E., Washington DC.


Good Stuff Eatery specializes in burgers, salads, handspun shakes, and fries…and all FRESH.  I had heard good things about Good Stuff Eatery, so finally decided to pay them a visit last night.

Good Eats Menu

I had a medium rare “Spike’s Sunnyside” that is appointed with dairy fresh cheese, applewood bacon, a farm fresh egg on a brioche bun with Good Stuff sauce.  And it was cooked to perfection!  Unfortunately, Good Stuff Eatery does not serve wine – but that does not mean I was not thinking about it!  So my mental debate started – what wine would go best with this burger?

Untitled picture

Whenever I start thinking about a pairing I first ask “who is the star of the show?”  In other words, which ingredient(s) are the features in the dish?  In this case, the burger is clearly the star, but the bacon was playing a strong supporting role with a fine performance by the egg.  The key characteristics of these co-stars are the sweet and salty flavors.  The sweet goodness of the egg yolk coupled with the totally rocking honey tones of the applewood bacon (BTW – prepared perfectly; well done but not crispy) give the real clues to selecting a wine.

My wine decision was one of balancing the sweetness of the egg yolk and bacon.  This presented two immediate and distinct paths; a wine with a balancing acidity or a wine featuring spicy flavors to stand up to the sweet and salt.  While either approach would work, I decided on the spicy route.  My imaginary bottle of wine complimenting this awesome burger would be either a nicely complex Zinfandel featuring some fun spiciness, a Syrah, or Shiraz, each of which offer dark berry, plum, and pepper flavors (pepper – that would be the spicy part).

Thanks to Chef Spike Medelsohn for creating some ridiculously good burgers.  Also with regards to credits…the photography is not mine.  The images are all from the Good Stuff Eatery website.  I encourage you to visit the site, then visit the restaurant.  You will not be disappointed.

In vino veritas, buen provecho.



  1. Nice recovery mate! It was a great burger indeed.

  2. I concur with your pairing! I actually came to the same two choices as I was reading, based on your description of the flavors. I would have to actually taste the burger before deciding between the Zin and the Shiraz though. I'll have to check out Good Stuff Eatery for myself! Cheers!