16 February 2009

I Saw Chef Spike!

Yes, it's true. I saw Chef Spike today [an aside- just in case you are not Top Chef obsessed like I am, Spike was a contestant on season 4 and charmed us all with his quirky style and delicious looking food] Towards the end of season four of Top Chef, we started to hear some rumors here in DC that Spike would be opening up a restaurant. Pretty soon a website was up for Good Stuff Eatery. It didn't have much besides a concept- burgers, fries and shakes but made only with the best ingredients, and a prospective opening date, Spring 2008.  DC already has a lot of burger joints but this one would have a semi-celebrity at the helm and  K* and I immediately made plans to go, but, as the best laid plans are wont to do, they got delayed.

Finally, we made specific plans for our pilgrimage.  Presidents' Day, since we were both of from school and work, was it.  On the way, K* and I had debated to likelihood of Chef Spike being at Good Stuff.  She was more hopeful than I, as I imagined that Spike would be, well I don't know what else exactly he might be doing other than running his own restaurant but I figured there must be something.  We walked in to the converted row house and joined the bunch of people standing near the cashier and then I saw him. I will admit, I squealed a little. Spike was behind the counter, expediting the orders, wearing his trademark fedora. I felt a bit better for behaving like a 13 year old at a Jonas Brothers concert when a woman who walked in behind us did the exact same thing.

As I tried to concentrate on the menu instead of the pseudo-celebrity chef, I saw there were about 8 burger choices from the plain to jacked up versions with options of egg, bacon, cheese and assorted other toppings, along with fries, Chef Spike's fries (seasoned with thyme), onion petals and milkshakes. I like to keep it simple with burgers and got the Farmhouse Cheddar along with an order of Chef's fries and K* got the Colletti's Smokehouse with fried onion, bacon and BBQ sauce and the famed marshmallow milkshake. A few minutes later we got our orders, found a table and got ready to try our first taste of a Top Chef worthy meal.

As I pulled my burger out of the bag, I noticed it was on the smaller side and had been squished a bit into the wrapper which seemed rather odd- I mean, why would anyone squish a bun on purpose? I took out the fries, heavily seasoned with the thyme and managed to control my excitement and appetite just long enough to take the above photo and then dug in.

The burger was delicious. Really, really good. Juicy, cooked medium-rare and had the perfect amount of toppings, enough to taste everything but not too much to overwhelm the meat. The fries could have been crispier but had a great flavor and were cooked well on the inside. The milkshake though, was a revelation. Normally I don't love milkshakes (why not just eat ice cream?) or marshmallows (chemicalized sugar just doesn't appeal to me) so I was quite skeptical when K* wanted to get the toasted marshmallow milkshake. I expected to try a sip and then politely pass the glass back to her. I couldn't have been more wrong. The milkshake was so smooth and creamy it was like drinking liquid creme brulee. It had a subtle toasted sugar taste, not at all like a commercial marshmallow even though it had on sitting on top. I loved the burger but hands down I would go back and have a milkshake. For lunch. By itself.

Beside this litany of praise I have 2 minor complaints. 1) You don't get to pick how you like your burger done and 2) there is little consistency with how the burgers are cooked. Mine was medium rare, far less done than I usually order it and K*'s was quite well done, much to close to incineration stage for her liking. It wasn't that huge a deal and both of us still really liked our meal, but a minor point, one that I think both of us expected Chef Spike would have taken care of. Overall though I'm glad I finally got to go and I'm thinking of what other Top Chef fans I can round up to justify another trip in the near future.

Good Stuff Eatery
303 Pennsylvania Ave, SE
Capitol South Metro
Closed Sundays
Burgers $5-8
Fries $2.75-$4
Milkshakes $3.50-$4.75 but totally worth it


Sue said...

Wow!!! I didn't even LIKE Spike on the show and it would have been thrilling to see him in person. There's something about seeing someone on television (especially on a reality type show when we think we know them) and then seeing them in real life that's really exciting. What is that about anyway?

I'm glad his food was really great. I don't get the squooshed bun either.

kat said...

Its great that someone who didn't win can still get a career kick up from being on top chef

Cynthia said...

I can imagine your squeals of delight :)