When you compare fried chicken and sparkling wine to caviar and champagne, the following conclusions come easy. Is the chicken combo less classy? Sure. Less expensive? Definitely. More probable to fingerprint your wine flute? A greasy guarantee.
If you’ve never sampled the two together, Kensington Quarters is hosting an entire evening devoted to the marriage of bubbly-meets-buttermilk-battered-chicken. It’s one of several creative food-pairing events scheduled to unfold during the eight-day Philly Wine Week, which runs Thursday to March 29.
“With the casualization of wine, you get more people interested in it,” says Tim Kweeder, general manager of Kensington Quarters. “You can enjoy it while rocking out to the Stones versus feeling the need to act like a wine snob and put on classical music.”
Philly Wine Week is designed to pique the interests of both wine novices and experts alike, through dozens of events at venues citywide. From special happy hour deals to educational meet-the-maker nights to wine pong tournaments to the interesting food pairing occasions that follow, events of all kinds will unfold.
While Beethoven, cabernet, and Gouda will always be a great go-to, bars and restaurants throughout the city are ready to prove that jerky and Riesling, a cheesesteak and a full-bodied red, and hot wings and rose are all excellent options, too. Pick your favorite combinations, and get ready to cheers with, perhaps, a Tastykake in hand.
Cheesesteaks and Wine? At Pinot Boutique
Chow down on a range of Philly favorites, all paired with local wines, at Pinot Boutique’s “Cheesesteaks and Wine?” event. The one-hour tasting entails four courses of iconic City of Brotherly Love eats, including Tastykakes, soft pretzels, and Goldenberg’s Peanut Chews, in addition to the event’s namesake food — the cheesesteak — of course.
What pairs well with a whiz wit order? According to Pinot Boutique owner Dan Soskin, a full-bodied red is the way to go.
“We wanted to match the weight of the wine with the weight of the food, so we chose a particular red blend from Pinnacle Ridge Winery,” says Soskin. “The cheesesteak has savory flavors from the meat that compliment the smoky characteristics and the earthy qualities of the wine.”
Soskin believes that while certain foods are more challenging than others, nearly any dish can be complemented by a wine when you understand the principles of pairing.
Guests of the event will get to discover if this personally rings true, as they sample a “peanut butter and jelly” Peanut Chew pairing featuring Concord grape wine, a Butterscotch Krimpet combo that calls on a white wine accented with butterscotch flavor notes, and more. Tickets are $35 and should be purchased in advance online.
5 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Pinot Boutique, 227 Market St., $35, 215-627-9463, phillywineweek.org
Fried Chicken/Sparkling Wine … Mick Jagger/Keith Richards at Kensington Quarters
Once a weekly affair, the fried chicken and sparkling wine special returns to the menu at Kensington Quarters for a one-night-only celebration during Philly Wine Week.
“Something about the way the bubbles cut through the fried chicken makes it simply an awesome pairing,” explains Kweeder.
For $20, the Fishtown restaurant will serve up its buttermilk-fried half-chicken with a selection of sides, such as seasonal, local veggies and a biscuit, along with a glass of sparkling wine from your choice of six different options.
Further enhancing the sensory experience, deep cuts from the Rolling Stones will play all night, allowing you to kick back and relax until the doors close.
5 to 10 p.m. Tuesday, Kensington Quarters, 1310 Frankford Ave., $20, 267-314-5086, phillywineweek.org
Wine and Jerky at Jet Wine Bar
Clench your thirst after sampling a salty jerky with a fine glass of Portugieser wine. That’s the idea behind Jet Wine Bar’s Wine and Jerky night, featuring an array of dried meats from locally based Side Project Jerky.
“Wine likes umami and salty and earthy, and all those things occur in jerky,” notes Jet Wine Bar owner Jill Weber. “The pairing is a fun way to show off that wine doesn’t need to be super serious.”
Two beef- and one pork-based jerky will be paired alongside a selection of complimentary wines, made up of two reds and one white. Participants will get to observe how different spices go with different wines by comparing and contrasting each jerky with each wine.
“It’s fun to taste how a wine can go wonderfully with one jerky but taste terribly with another, all based off of the flavors used to season the meat,” says Weber.
4 to 11:30 p.m. Monday, Jet Wine Bar, 1525 South St., pay as you go, 215-735-1116, phillywineweek.org
“Put a Bird on It!” Wine + Wings Wednesday at Tria Taproom
Tria Taproom is “putting a bird on Philly Wine Week” (a riff off of a skit from hit TV show Portlandia) with its Wine + Wings Wednesday event. The bar plans to pair Oregon natural wines with two different styles of wings.
“In much of the world, wine is thought of as a part of the meal, rather than a separate beverage to be reserved for special occasions,” says Tria and Tria Taproom wine director Michael McCaulley. “This event is our playful way of bringing it to its rightful place at the table alongside a food that’s better known as a companion for light beer and sports. We hope it’ll inspire more people to pair wine with foods that they’ve never thought of as ‘wine-friendly’ before.”
An Oregonian pinot noir is suggested for the Taproom’s green chile sauce wings, while a rose is the wine of choice for the second Sriracha-honey butter offering. Each plate will include the rather classic wing and wine pairing of cheese, a Gorgonzola that serves to balance out the acidic-meets-savory snack.
Noon to 11:30 p.m. March 28, Tria Taproom, 2005 Walnut St., pay as you go, 215-557-8277, phillywineweek.org