$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.
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