Q: Any advice on pairing wine with chicken and waffles?
—Chris Martin, Westchester, Ill.
A: Rodney Alex famously poured sparkling wine when serving Orange Crush waffles and Harold's fried chicken for the "Dirty Bird Bubble Bath" brunch on Sundays at Chicago's Juicy Wine Co. The bubbles gave a certain oomph to fried chicken—anything fried, actually. And the wine's toastiness worked with the yeasty flavor of the waffles.
Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page also go for bubbly in their book, "What to Drink with What You Eat." They particularly like Spanish cava or Italian prosecco with fried chicken served hot or cold. But the duo doesn't stop there. Try a dry Spanish sherry with fried chicken from Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen,' they suggest, or an Alsatian gewurztraminer, pinot noir or dry Spanish sherry with KFC's.
While a dry or brut sparkling wine is the norm for bubbly these days, you might want to consider the slightly sweeter extra dry or even the sweeter still demi-sec if the waffles are going to be festooned with lots of fruit or whipped cream.
I really like your question because pairing sparkling wine with "fun" foods offers me an opportunity to underscore just how much of blast you can have with bubbly. Too often, especially as Valentine's Day approaches, people get intimidated by the whole "Champagne thing": the price tag, the French words on the label, the rituals.
Relax! Raise a glass of whatever you have and toast the one you love.
Do you have a question about food or drink? E-mail Bill Daley at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Snail mail inquiries should be sent to: Bill Daley, Chicago Tribune, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago 60611.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times