Wine with Fast Food? Who Knew!

Good healthy eating keeps us vibrant and in shape.  But most people, including the Windy City Wine Guy, love to splurge every once in a while and delve into some fast food.  A good, cold beer always goes well in most instances, but wine can enhance and be affected by fast foods.  I recently read a great article about beer pairings and my brother-in-law sent me an email link on choosing the right wine with fast food.  Now its time for some of my personal favorite pairings..

  1. Pizza.  There are many styles and Chicago has some of the best.  For delivery try Phil's.  This pizza has thinner crust and go for the sausage.  I pair this with Falesco Vitiano ($8.99).  Dining out I love Salerno's on Grand.  A killer spinach ricotta pizza with tangy tomato sauce paired with Mastroberardino's Lacryma Christi Rosso from Campania, Italy- the birthplace of pizza!

  2. Cheeseburger.  Hands down best fast burger in town- Portillo's.  For me it's a double bacon from Ontario and Clark drive thru.  Cabernet Franc, ala Miles' burger and $2.5k/bottle bev choice '61Cheval Blanc in Sideways, and rich Merlot can cut through the grease and cheese and mingle with the flavor.  I choose Colombia Crest Grand Estate Merlot ($8.99).

  3. Breaded Fried Chicken.  Harold's Chicken Shack #62 on Wabash serves great chicken.  The biggest difference between them and the others is chicken is cooked to order in beef/vegetable oil mix for added flavor.  Paired with a yeasty traditional method sparkling wine like Domaine Chandon ($14.99) is fried bready heaven!  Get some okra and watch the hot sauce- those bubbles could flame you up!

  4. Fried Seafood.  Lawrence's Fisheries on Canal is open 24/7 offering anything from the best breaded shrimp to frog legs.  I'm going with a big white here- Yering Station Chardonnay ($11.99).  The slight oak will mingle with breading while the fruit and acidity accompanies cocktail sauce.  Get the breaded mushrooms while you're at it.

  5. Hot Dog and Fries.  It doesn't get much better than Hot Doug's.  Want more substance?  Come on Fridays and Saturadays when the fries are cooked in duck fat!  For the rich fat, go for a Pinot Noir- Buena Vista ($17.99) from Carneros.  The acidity and light tannins will mingle with the fat and goes well with sausage.  The fruitiness will accompany celery salt and mustard.  Bon apetit.

  6. Gyros.  Rodity's in Greektown is great and accessible, but I love Kings and Queens in Berwyn.  I enjoy Penfold's Koonunga Hill Shiraz ($7.99).  Shiraz is perfect for lamb plus the natural acidity will go well with the tomatoes and onions.  The rich tzatziki sauce will mingle with the oaky fruit- make sure to ask for extra on the side please.

  7. BBQ.  The range of sauces used for BBQ food is wide with descriptions of sweet, tangy, zingy, spicy, etc.  Watch the sauce for the pairing.  All the meats are smokey and rich so a full racey white (Cote du Rhone Blanc) or fruity red can go well.  I love The Patio Restaurant on Harlem.  A chicken/rib combo with the juicy and lightly spiced Gascon Malbec ($9.99) is perfect.  Also love Pilsners with BBQ(oops!).

  8. Mexican.  This cuisine can get spicy so you have to watch the pairing even before the hot sauce.  Arturo's Tacos has some of the best and is open 24/7.  I love the al pastor tacos and burritos add avocado is excellent.  They have two sauces: a mild green and spicy red.  For lighter spice pair it up with dry and fruity Bastianich Rosato ($13.99) and hot spice go for sweeter Milat Chenin Blanc ($18).  Sometimes Taco Bell comes into play and I love my Nacho Bellgrande.  Same wines apply- Milat with Fire sauce!

  9. Thai, Chinese, and Indian take-out.  A lot of options in Chicago and I love Ma & I on Michigan Ave.  Spicy Pad Thai dishes paired with Gustave Lorentz Gewurztraminer ($11.49) and it's sweet fruit and light spice are perfect.  This wine pairs well with sweet n sour, curry, and hot dishes from Eastern Asia.  Try Gustave's Pinot Gris and Riesling with the cuisines as well.

  10. Italian Sandwiches.  There are two kind- hot and cold.  Hot sandwiches include beef, sausage, breaded steak and chicken, egg and pepper, and meatball.  Cold sandwiches are deli meat selections.  They can have hot and sweet peppers, cheese, oil, and/or tomato sauce on them.  Hot sandwiches are best at Ricobene's(Breaded Steak), Freddie's(Chicken Parm and Combo), Portillo's(Big Beef), and Panozzo's(Meatball).  Pair any and all of these up with Sangiovese: Caparzo Rosso di Montalcino ($17.99).  Deli sandwiches are best at Fontano's- try the Big "I", add oil, no mayo.  Pairs great with Feudi di San Gregorio Falanghina ($14.79).

 What's your favorite fast food spots and pairings?  Let the Windy City Wine Guy know!

(Image courtesy of Flickr)