Celebrity Chef Spike Mendelsohn was in town last week to talk about some good stuff like burgers, his favorite Chicago haunts and the shopping app Flipp.
I meet up with him at Good Stuff Eatery (22 S. Wabash), a casual burger joint that originated in Washington D.C., and opened a Chicago location in 2015. The franchise, led by Top Chef alum, Mendelsohn, offers a budget friendly menu with emphasis on burgers and shakes.
Chicagoans may remember Mendelsohn for his prize winning burger, The Prez (Obama), that won the Judge's Choice Award at Bon Appetit's Chicago Gourmet Hamburger Hop in 2014.
I asked Mendelsohn how often he gets to Chicago. He said usually about 4 times a year. When in town, he checks out the food scene beyond Good Stuff Eatery. The previous night he dined at his friend and fellow “Top Chef ” contender (season 4) chef Stephanie Izard's "Girl and the Goat."
Mendelsohn who's worked at some pretty fancy places in the past including: The French Laundry, Gerard Boyer in Reims, France and Bouchon in Napa Valley among others, confesses to being is a burger guy.
When I asked him his favorite burger place in Chicago, he said Au Cheval. We agreed on that but he likes his burger topped with an egg--I prefer mine sans egg.
With the 4th of July just around the corner and burgers the number one food of choice for the holiday I grilled him (pun intended) on how to make the best burger.
Here's what he said.
Starting with the meat, Mendelsohn uses a mix of 3 types of beef--brisket, short rib and chuck with a 20 per cent fat to 80 per cent meat ratio. He prefers using one thicker patty rather the double patties that are popular at many burger joints.
For the bread, Mendelsohn favors a potato roll. He doesn't want the bread to over-power the meat and finds the potato roll to be "forgiving." He also uses a larger ratio of meat than bread.
Mendelsohn admits to being a toppings guy—think bacon, barbecue sauce, pickles, cole slaw and cheese. Not just a slice of American cheese but Chef Spike uses three different cheeses. Then oftentimes, he'll top this all off with a fried egg.
He grills his burgers to medium rare.
BEVERAGE OF CHOICE
Mendelsohn likes a brewski with his burger--his brew of choice "Red Stripe."
Flipp is a free shopping app that brings local circulars, coupons and deals to your phone.
Mendelsohn, who personally uses the Flipp app, partnered with Flipp for a special July 4 promotion and is in talks for a continued relationship.
Before speaking with Mendelsohn, I downloaded the app and had a chance to try it out. My verdict: It's a keeper.
It has many of the stores I frequent including Whole Foods, Sunset and Heinens. It also has many of the popular stores in town and across the nation including Walmart, Jewel, Aldi and a host of others. Users can search by product or store and compare prices, make a shopping list and clip coupons.
You can download Flipp for free from the App Store or Google Play.
Click here for more recipes--perfect for the 4th of July and beyond.
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