Wine pairings at a burger joint?

Wine & Burgers

Wine & Burgers?  You find wine pairings for all kinds of crazy things these days, girl scout cookies, junk food and yes cheese fries.  I live in Vegas and it is an amazing town.  I’m lucky enough to work near a Shake Shack, you know great simple burgers that started  in 2004 in Manhattan’s Madison Square Park. The one at the New York New York Hotel and Casino in Vegas was the first on the west coast.  The place usually has a line and it’s pretty quick.  Read the Shake Shake story.

Wine & Burgers?

Wine & Burgers

The menu board with all it’s mix and match goodness.


The menu board has a wide selection of sandwiches, sides shakes, concretes and even treats for your four legged friends.    And if the menu isn’t extensive enough for you, insiders tell me you can mix and match all of the basics, kind of like the secret ‘animal style” at In & Out.  Not sure if you want a burger or a chicken sandwich?  You can just have both, the chicken patty on top of the burger.  Want to take it a step further, have them top that with the ‘Shroom burger, a portabella stuffed with melted muenster and cheddar.  Or try their Smoke Shake and top that bacon with some peanut butter sauce from the shake menu!  So the mix and match combinations are endless.  Then…you can choose your beverage.  Being a wine blogger, I opted for a glass of wine.  Yep…they serve wine at Shake Shack. Frog’s Leap Vineyard is in Rutherford California, in Napa Valley and they make a special red blend as well as a white blend for Shake Shack.  Mind you you can also order several other wines, by the half bottle, bottle or carafe.  They revolve the wine menu but you can find great wines like a Talley Chardonnay from Arroyo Grande or a Pinot Noir from Merry Edwards Vineyard in the Russian River Valley and it being Vegas they have a full bottle of Krug Champagne if you just won big and want to spend $250!  Of course this is nothing new to Shake Shack when they opened the first location they featured a half-bottle of Opus One, one of the world’s most expensive wines. Picking up a tray with a burger, fries and a glass of wine and taking it out to sit and watch the people go by on the Vegas strip is a thing of beauty.

Not just Wine…organic biodynamic Wine

Frog’s Leap produces organic & biodynamic wines and created these blends specifically to pair with the Shack menu.  I highly recommend giving the Frog’s Leap Story a read.  You will see why Frog’s Leap and Shake Shack are such a good pairing.

“The Shack white is a Sauvignon Blanc that is fermented and aged in steel tanks and has 12.5% alcohol, while the red is made from Cabernet Sauvignon with a little bit of Cabernet Franc, aged for 11 months in French oak, and contains 13% alcohol, Rosati says. Those percentages are slightly on the low side and help keep the wine fresh on the palate.”David Marcus, The Street – quoting Mark Rosati, Shake Shack’s culinary development manager in February of 2015.

On to the Wine & Burger Pairings!

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So….what about the wine & burger pairings you ask?  Well my first was the Shack White paired with cheese fries.  Simple Yukon potato crinkle cut fries topped with drippy Cheddar and American cheese.  All that ooey gooey goodness can coat your palate though…so a sip of Shack white which is a zippy Sav Blanc, cut through the layers cleansed my palate and had me diving back in for more gooey messy cheesy fries.

My next pairing I shared with Michael.  We went late night after a show.  I got the ‘Shroom Burger he got the Smoke Shack, we shared fries and got a glass of the Shack White and Red.  The red was great with both burgers and the white paired nicely with the ‘Sroom burger and the fries.  I must admit that I was tempted by the Champagne.  Those bubbles would be the perfect palate cleanser and what could be more perfectly Vegas than chomping on a burger and cheese fries and sipping champagne, right on the strip!

So if you find yourself in Vegas, do it!  Shake Shake is at the NYNY Hotel and Casino on the corner of Las Vegas Blvd and Tropicana.

And stop back here for more insights on pairings, wines, wineries and winemakers!

Crushed Grape Chronicles, where have you been?

Blue Lizard Farm, Project Hoop House

Crushed Grape Chronicles, where have you been?

Blue Lizard Indiegogo

It’s true, it’s been a little quiet on Crushed Grape Chronicles as of late, but there’s a good reason. You see we have another blog called 4Farm2Mrkt. 4Farm2Mrkt is a blog that talks about the Farmers Markets in Las Vegas and the people you meet there.

Good wine, good food, good people…these things go hand in hand.

Recently we started working with a micro farm in Caliente Nevada on an Indiegogo campaign to save their farm. We met Rodney and Christine Mehring of Blue Lizard Farm at the Downtown 3rd Farmers Market. Caliente is in Lincoln County about 2 ½ North of Las Vegas on the Great Basin Hwy. They grow a variety of produce in their 13 hoop houses that they bring to the farmers markets and Chefs in Las Vegas. They deliver weekly to restaurants that include: B & B Ristorante, Sensi, Carnevino and PublicUs. These are restaurants with Chefs and owners who believe in supporting small farms and farmers and know that they are getting a higher quality product to serve to their guests by buying local.


Blue Lizard Farm, Rodney & Christine

Blue Lizard Farm, Rodney & Christine


A few words from Rodney…

“My farm is failing not because plants don’t grow or I can’t sell my goods. I sell out every week and I have run out of hoop house space to grow. It’s failing because of transportation costs. I need more hoop houses and produce to make the trip to market more cost effective. We spend $2000.00 each month on transportation and are behind on all our bills. We are tapped out we have put every dollar we have into this farm. We have a clear goal to expand. We can’t do this without your help. I know we are asking for a lot from the public, but if you look at what the farm gives back its really worth it. We try to live as green as we can. We are a net help to the environment by sequestering carbon by growing good food and composting. Food that is free of harmful pesticides.

I read all the time, not as much as I would like to, the farm comes second after family, so those two keep us busy. I read just the other day that your food travels 3000 miles on average before you get to eat it. That’s a long ways. What happens in that time period to the food? My food only has to travel 150 miles.

I need your support so we can continue to do this work of feeding the world good food and responsible food. Las Vegas is a world vacation point, so we really do help feed the world with our little farm.

Please donate to our Indiegogo campaign and I promise I will do my part to bring great food to the world.”

Blue Lizard Farm’s Project Hoop House on Indiegogo

So…we ask you to support this local food movement. Join our campaign. Every donation makes a difference, a big difference to saving this farm. Follow our Facebook page at @ProjectHoopHouse or on Twitter at @ProjectHoopHous and see the daily life of this hard working family on their farm. Then share it with your friends!

It takes a community, thank you for being a part of ours!

Wine and containers…drinking wine at bin702 at the Downtown Container Park

While it’s January, we are having spring-time temps in Vegas.  Well at least that’s what Michael tells me, I’m still usually freezing. None the less we set out into the 63 degree and sunny weather early this afternoon to try a little wine at the Downtown Container Park.  We had been down a couple months ago to wander around and check it out and thought today was a good chance to head back down and visit Bin702 the wine bar.

As we got to the container park, there were people going in, the park was busy and while not crowded, it  felt comfortable.  Lots of the tables around the park were filled with people enjoying a bite to eat, a cocktail or coffee.  The grassy area in front of the stage was covered in strollers, kids and parents relaxing and enjoying the day.

A view of the bar from the patio at bin702

A view of the bar from the patio at bin702

We headed over to Bin702 were there were a couple of outside tables with people and a few filled tables inside.  It’s a container, so it’s not really big.  The decor is dark woods and warm and while it was lovely, we opted to head back outside.  We each ordered a glass of wine and a sandwich.  The menu is small but covers everything you would need, with a variety of sandwiches, paninis and salads, as well as charcuterie platters.

They have 12 different wines by the glass, 3 different sparklers, a couple of “good” beers on tap as well as around 16 beers or ales bottled or canned that run the gamut from Bud Light to couple really nice

The staff here is great!  I did my usual of choosing what I wanted to eat and asking for pairing suggestions.  No deer in headlights here!  She recommended two wines and told me what she thought they would bring to the dish (I love that!).

Inside the container at bin702

Inside the container at bin702

As we chose to sit outside, they rang us up and poured the wine into plastic cups (no glass out by the park!) and promised to bring our sandwiches out when they were ready.  The sandwiches came with a great side salad.  Michael got a lobster salad sandwich with a glass of Pinot Grigio from Sicily and I has the Grilled Harvarti on Brioche with an Albarino from Edna Valley California.  We mixed and matched and Michael found he liked his lobster better with my Albarino.

All in all it was a beautiful afternoon and a relaxing meal OUTSIDE IN JANUARY!  I mean, what’s not to love!

We were here early between 2:30 and 4:00, but if you show up a little later you can enjoy Live bands at the container park that begin at 5pm every night but Wednesday.  and on the weekends there are multiple events, with one or two daytime concerts, an evening band and then something later (8:00 or 9:30).

This place has good energy, head to downtown Vegas and check it out.

bin702 at the Downtown Container Park

bin702 at the Downtown Container Park