The Tasting Panel magazine

July 2010

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Page 66 of 96

merrIll shIndler’s WORD OF MOUTH Expensive Burgers, More Expensive Wine I t’s a phenomenon that began, of course, in Las Vegas, where excess is the standard-issue, par-for-the-course way of doing things. I mean, really, where else but in Las Vegas would anyone think that a high-end hamburger served as a package meal with a hugely expensive bottle of wine would be, simply, the way things are supposed to be? The roots of the phenomenon go back a decade, to master French chef Hubert Keller, who was busily experimenting with hamburgers at his Burger Bar project in Mandalay Bay, while waiting for his elegant Fleur de Lys restaurant to open. He came up with the notion of the FleurBurger 5000—a burger of Kobe beef and foie gras slathered with truffle sauce, served on a truffled brioche bun with black truffles on the side (just in case). The burger comes with a bottle of Château Pétrus 1990, served in a fine wine glass produced by Ichendorf. For $5,000, you get to keep the stemware. And you get a certificate authenticating the fact that you’re a genuine high roller—suitable for framing. Not to be outdone, the With convenience and elegance, the TorkScrew™ screw cap wine opener allows for proper opening and presentation of virtually any bottled beverage, including corked bottles and Champagne. FleurBurger 5000 was followed by the $6,000 Combo Meal at The Palms in Las Vegas, which started serving a Carl’s Jr./Hardee’s $6 burger with a $5,994 bottle of Pétrus 1982 on its room service menu. You don’t get to keep the wine glass in this case. But the burger is served with french fries—which seems like a fair trade-off . . . not! It’s an outré notion, the idea of matching burgers (high-end or low-end) with wine (very high-end)—a bit of nostalgie de la boue mixed with the Gilded Age. It’s nutty. And, you can do it without flying to Las Vegas. At Wolfgang Puck’s iconic Spago in Beverly Hills, there’s a grilled prime hamburger on the lunch menu, served with smoked onion marmalade, garlic aioli and Vermont farmhouse cheddar. It goes very well with a 1988 Pétrus for $3,700, or if you’re on a budget, the 1996 Lafite for $1,150. For more details visit Wholesaler, reseller and winery pricing available A product | Made in America US and worldwide patents pending At db Bistro Moderne in New York, you can get the Original db Burger—sirloin filled with red wine–braised short ribs and black truffles on a parmesan bun with pommes frites or pommes soufflés—and wash it down with a $550 bottle of Château Angélus 2003 or a $1,295 bottle of Harlan Estate 2004 Meritage. And at David Burke’s Primehouse in The James Hotel in Chicago, you can get the 40-day dry-aged Greshburger—shaved prime rib and smoked mozzarella on a potato bun, with Moroccan ketchup and beer-battered onion rings. Goes quite nicely with a $530 bottle of Château Pichon-Lalande 1989. Though this being Chicago, City of the Big Shoulders and all that, a beer is good too. You can get a mug of Goose Island Honker’s Ale for $6.

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