DIFFA’s Burgers and Burgundy at One Arts Plaza

by David Donalson

Burgundy… Chardonnay and Pinot Noir never had it so well as when it is grown here. I have had many different Chardonnays and Pinots and there is just something magical about the wines coming from this area. There was no way a little rain was going to hold me back from going to the DIFFA Burger and Burgundy event hosted by Chef John Tesar at One Arts Plaza.

As it turns out, the rain listened to my pleas for calm and the event was able to be held outside in really pleasant weather. After checking in and receiving a glass to hold my Burgundy, it was time to eat and drink. I had to pass on the creations of Michael Martensen and Lucky Campbell, though I did hear they were delicious, in order to find my first taste of Burgundy.

I found the 2009 Louis Latour sitting next to the grill of Tim Byres, who had a duck burger topped with duck pastrami. I could have just eaten that duck pastrami with the wine and been in heaven. The wine had a bit higher acidity that really melted with the duck fat. Great way to start!  

Next to Chef Byres was Chef Matt McCallister, who was making a lamb burger. I had to wait a minute for a fresh burger and I was not alone. It seems that celebrity chef Aaron Sanchez was able to take some time off from retooling the menu at the House of Blues to show his support for DIFFA and eat some delicious burgers. By the way, the lamb burger was tasty but by this point, it was time for more Burgundy.

Celeb Chef Sanchez and Chef McCallister

Toughest choice was choosing whether to head over to Chef Sakurai’s Yaki-Soba Dog with Chablis or mosey over to Chef Scott Romano’s pork-tastic burger with Drouhin Burgundy. The solution was simple, do both. I personally loved the “burger” from Tei An, a beautiful hot dog bun stuffed with vegetable soba.

This may sound like a crazy combo but it worked so well, especially with the crisp, clean Chablis cutting the texture of the soba and brightening the flavors. Chef Romano’s pork burger on a pretzel roll was also inspiring. I loved the salty roll that held all the piggy goodness. Drouhin Burgundy was the heaviest on the palate among the 2009’s that were present, with good pepper and soft red fruit notes to go along with the slight earthy and tea notes. By now I am in heaven but there were two more stops that really spoke to me, Chef McMillan and our host, Chef Tesar.

Chef McMillan cooked a brisket burger that had grilled, ground and chopped brisket and grilled shishito peppers. “Yummy yummy in my tummy” is what my notes said, though it may have been influenced by the flavors of Burgundy… Honestly though, it had a great smoky flavor and plenty of fat melting into the brioche bun, balanced with a tabasco-enhanced mayo. It was so good we almost ate two.

Thank you Chef Tesar for not only putting on a great event, but also for having such an interesting and delicious burger option, the Tail End Burger. Braised pigs tail ground pork, pork belly with green apple chutney and jalapeno mayo. If that doesn’t get your mouth watering, even after 7 other burgers, you might have a problem. Don’t worry, this burger will help fix that. It was fatty in a good way, with all of the other elements helping to enhance that best feature of the pig.

Burgers and Burgundy was a fantastic combination of great wine, better food and great people supporting DIFFA and their fight against AIDS.

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Filed under chefs, Food, fun with food, Party!, Steven Doyle, Wine

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