Drink Champagne with Fried Chicken

$10 t-shirts paired with $300 jeans. $26 vintage dress coupled with $600+ heels. Caviar served with Lays potato chips. Duck confit atop a pile of greasy fries; a fine dining poutine. Like fashion, when it comes to mixing high-end and low-end foods, everyone has a different set of rules. Regardless of axiom, when done well, the marriage is undeniably successful. Ergo: Fried Chicken Fridays at Stomping Ground.

Guests that come to nosh on our fried chicken, grits, baked beans, and biscuits instinctually order a can o’ beer — pairing like with like. But I would recommend a glass (or bottle) of Champagne, Prosecco, or sparkling rosé, each containing a high enough acidity to cut through the fat and cleanse the palate; a perfect balance of fat and acid.

Champagne, like designer clothing, is difficult to produce. Centuries old in trade, it is made with tremendous care and patience. After an initial base wine is made, a yeast and sugar mixture is added to it to start a second fermentation. Eventually, the liquid in each bottle takes on the flavors of that yeast — the bread-y, toasty, nutty notes that align perfectly with the crunchy, golden goodness of perfectly fried chicken.

And just like the $10 t-shirt must be designed well and fashionable in its own merit, the fried chicken should have a deeply savory, umami-driven quality so that the wine’s bubbles amplify the crunchy effects of the skin and coating. The meat perfectly juicy, the crust crispy.

Come to think of it, maybe the Champagne is more the conventional part of the pairing and the chicken is the vintage t-shirt of the fashion statement.


  • The latest from Nicole
Head Janitor, Chef, and Proprietor | Stomping Ground
Nicole’s cooking style is rooted in, but not limited to, her love of southern biscuits and her diverse culinary upbringing. A military brat, she spent her childhood in the Chicago suburbs enjoying her great-grandmother Mae’s Lithuanian cooking. As a tween, she moved to Paulding County, Ga. where she begrudgingly fell in love with the charmingly perplex small towns of the Deep South. She fondly remembers grubbing on Martin’s biscuits, late-night Waffle House debauchery and cooking with her family. After graduating from the University of Georgia, Nicole started a marketing career at an art nonprofit in Atlanta. At 25 years old, she became the youngest executive at the local Atlanta NPR affiliate. Chasing her dreams, she moved to Alexandria, Va. where she took a short post in the Whole Foods marketing department. Realizing that cooking had been her true love all along, she began night courses at L’Academie de Cuisine. She completed her apprenticeship at Blue Duck Tavern where she was promoted to a line cook after graduation. From there, Nicole worked as a private chef for busy Washington D.C. executives and their families. As grown-ups tend to do, Nicole realized something about her childhood — the best parts were enjoying small town communities, cooking with her great-grandmother and sharing meals with family and friends. She opened Stomping Ground to build a safe and welcoming community around yummy, handmade food from local sources. As her first foray running her own kitchen, she has shamelessly hired better, smarter cooks to fill her kitchen and your bellies. Her great-grandmother’s recipes often appear on the Stomping Ground menu without advertisement and, no, she won’t tell you the secret ingredients. Nicole lives in Del Ray and won’t shut up about how much she loves living there.

If you wander down Del Ray’s, “The Avenue,” you won’t miss the farm-red building with a rustic fence bordering the patio. Stomping Ground opened two years ago and quickly became popular for its made-from-scratch biscuits and its neighborhood vibe. On weekends, excited guests line up before Stomping Ground opens hoping to be the first to get a just-out-of-the-oven biscuit or a fresh salad. Stomping Ground is mostly known for its fast casual breakfast and lunch but on Thursdays and Fridays they provide a full dinner service after 5:00pm. All meals are built from local, seasonal food that is organic whenever possible.


2309 Mt Vernon Avenue
Alexandria, VA 22301


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