Yep, the first post in this new idea is totally on a Monday, but I’m on a short vacation, and this Monday IS my new Sunday, and that’s just also how things work around here sometime. The idea is to talk about these amazing sandwiches and the beer, wine, and cocktails to pair with them, after I finished a sandwich-free diet reset, and am trying to focus on only eating good sandwiches. Bad sandwiches aren’t worth the bread they’re slapped together on.
First entry goes to my pals at G&O, at Grand and Ogden in an old converted gas station. They’re participating in a James Beard competition to make a blended burger, with the focus being on mushrooms. Chef Cam took the blend concept to a new level when he turned it into an Arancini burger! Arancini originated in Sicily, Italy, and are rice balls, usually stuffed with veggies and sauce or ragu, and then deep fried to a golden-orange color (which is why the name is similar to the italian word for “orange.”)
This Arancini burger is a blend of 4 kinds of mushrooms – brown clamshell, trumpet, forest nameko, and velvet pioppini – with brown rice, ground beef, garlic, shallot, eggs, bread crumbs. That gets deep fried, rested on a pillow-y, non-fermented brioche bun, and then topped with arugula salad, sherry mustard vinaigrette, and a black truffle aioli. There’s a richness to the burger that doesn’t overwhelm you, gets complimented by the aioli, and then gets cut by the earthy acidity of the vinaigrette.
Strangely, the reason for my visit to G&O that day was a simple, work-related one. I had glassware for G&O to use to pour a spectacular beer from Sünner Brauerei, their Kellerbier. Sünner brewed the first kolsch, before the style even had a name, and their Kellerbier is an unfiltered version of the same beer. A creamier body, with a breadier character and a livelier hop presence differentiate this beer from their regular kolsch. Owner Turan Yon actually made the point almost immediately, that the Sünner Kellerbier seemed to go splendidly with the Mushroom Arancini burger. The Sünner Kellerbier’s bitterness and dry finish let the flavors of the Arancini linger, while complimenting the earthiness of the burger and the arugula. Where many beers would clash with truffles, or overemphasize them, the Kellerbier leaves them to do their truffle thing and aids the vinaigrette in balancing the richness.