Spike Mendelsohn introduces the Flipp app and a new recipe

I walked into the Good Stuff Eatery at 22 South Wabash Ave just a few blocks from Millennium Park. I was extremely interested in visiting since the thought of delicious burgers and hand-spun shakes was my chosen favorite food since childhood. The Chicago location of the Good Stuff Eatery opened in 2015 after winning the Chicago Gourmet’s 2014 Hamburger Hop. The Prez burger (President Obama) won the Judge’s Choice Award. The pilot store of Good Stuff Eatery opened on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. in July 2008. This was a family operation owned by the Mendelsohn family with the son, Spike Mendelsohn, at the helm.

Spike is better known, to many, as a celebrity chef. After graduating from the Culinary Institute of America, Spike worked with some of the world’s most renowned chefs and eventually made his television debut on Bravo TV’s Top Chef. Spike went on to appear on several other cooking-related shows, including Life After Top Chef, Iron Chef America, Late Night Chef Fight and Beat Bobby Flay. He also hosted Midnight Feastand Food Network’s Kitchen Sink.

The Good Stuff in Washington became a favorite of President Barack Obama’s which inspired Spike to write a cookbook called The Good Stuff cookbook. Following the opening of the Good Stuff Eatery, Spike opened up We, The Pizza, Béarnaise and Santa Rosa Taqueria.

Today, Spike talks about shopping tips and tricks for the Fourth of July and some of the unique resources available when finding the best prices. That includes the free Flipp app for IOS and Android. You can search weekly ads, coupons and navigate through your favorite stores. The app allows you to check out specific foods or browse a variety of retailers. Once you download the app and add your location, Flipp will locate the stores in your area and you can click on your favorite store to explore its best deals. You can tap a retailer, check out the coupons and load them to your loyalty cards. There are thousands of retailers available including Kroger, Walmart, Big Lots, CVS Pharmacy, Aldi’s, Family Dollar, Home Depot, Loews and Dicks Sporting Goods to name a few.

Spike is truly passionate in giving back to the community; something he was taught at an early age. He has a genuine desire for providing food equity and help others purchase healthy food while saving time and money. Flipp offers shoppers a way to plan and budget for groceries but still choose quality instead of just running into your favorite store at the end of day and choosing items on sale. Spike commented on a Flipp feature where you type milk or peanut butter into the program and a variety of milk options will be displayed such as almond milk or organic peanut butter that demonstrates the Flipp app is focused on quality as well as excellent prices.

Spike came to Chicago because of his sister going to school here when opening the Good Stuff Eatery downtown. He loves to travel and is the first chairman of the Washington DC Food Policy Council where he continually helps to improve school lunches and speaks out in groups that encourage healthy eating.

I enjoyed the Prez burger that was made with apple-wood bacon, onion marmalade, Roquefort cheese, and horseradish mayo. The Chocoholic Shake was, by far, the best. The next time I would like to try the Compass Coffee Shake since coffee is another drink I cannot live without. For the holiday, Spike shared a special recipe below for Mahalo sliders that you can make at home. Consequently, I am planning my own July 4th menu which will include homemade Mahalo burgers with barbecue sauce and pineapple,cucumber slaw. And it has never been so easy and cost effective. My new Flipp app will even tell me when store sales will be ending so I know exactly when I should plan my shopping time.

Mahalo Sliders
– 4 pounds Ground Beef of your choice, leaner the better for sliders, less shrinking
– 1 teaspoon of cayenne
– 1 teaspoon of garlic powder
– 1 tablespoon parsley flakes
– salt/pepper to taste
– 1 tbl olive oil
– cheddar cheese slices for melting

* use a large bowl and add all of your ground meat and break it up, add all seasonings, parsley flakes, oil and mix around aggressively. Using a small scale patty up 2 oz burgers and place on a sheet tray. Season with salt and pepper.

Hawaii roles 2- 12 pcks or enough for everyone to have at least two sliders.
– using butter spray, spray your buns before grilling.

Pineapple Cucumber Slaw
– 2 cups pineapple, small dice
– 2 cups red cabbage, thinly sliced
– 1 medium cucumber, peeled and small diced
– 1/4 cup red onion, small diced
-1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
– 2 tablespoon lime juice
– 1 tablespoon sugar
– salt and pepper to taste

*In a large bowl combine all ingredients. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside

Bbq Sauce
– 2 cups bbq sauce
– 1 tbl of chipotle in can
– 2 tbl of Apple Cider Vinegar
– 1 tbl Molasses

*Add all of these ingredients in a bowl and whisk vigorously, season with salt and pepper…

Assembly
– Make sure to grill the burger only for a minute on each side. Melt cheddar cheese
– toast Hawaiian rolls
– add burgers
– add slaw
– add bbq sauce.

Germanic traditions impact Chicago Christmas culture

By Caryl Clem:

Treasured Christmas memories ignite the passion within us to decorate and celebrate holiday customs. Smelling fresh evergreens in the chilly crisp air erases years as you hunt down the perfect tree with childhood excitement. Later with friends and family transforming bare branches into a living room reigning queen topped by the family heirloom Angel.  Pine cones adorn a red bowed wreath that hangs on the front door, promising a circle of friendship and goodwill within. An Advent Calendar hangs on the wall near the candelabra.   Mistletoe hangs around with sprigs of holly. These customs have Germanic roots.

In the dark months of winter in forests deep, Norsemen stocked their homes with evergreen branches mixed with mistletoe and holly to ward off evil spirits. Since these plants stayed green through the cruel winter season, it was proof these plants had powerful, magic. As Christianity replaced pagan beliefs, St. Boniface declared evergreens represented everlasting life. Ballads circulated throughout Germany praising the mighty  O Tannenbaum by the 1550.  A wealthy German Duchess gave a gift of a decorated Christmas tree with wax candles and blown glass ornaments to the royalty in Paris about 1717. Another German royal gave a tree to a king in England.  Hand carved wooden angels hanging from branches or crowning the top, another Germanic custom.

Advent Calendars

The wife of a Protestant Pastor in Germany during the 1880’s had a little boy who kept asking how many more days until Christmas.  She had a great idea; she decorated 24 boxes with a hidden treat inside.  Each day on the Christmas countdown, the boy opened one box to find a Lebkuchen to eat. Several years later at a printing company in Munich, a young man is busy creating an advent calendar to market. The fun to open doors appears after 1920, popular chocolates add to the enjoyment in the late 1950’s.

Shopping via German Style features an outdoor festival of unique food and decorations.  Several markets are available, check out the online home page for Christkindlmarket for inspiration.

At the Christmas Eve Service, I love giving full throttle to my voice during, “Hark the Herald Angels Sing”.  The composer is none other than German composer, Mendelssohn. Ironically, the Methodist minister who adapted the lyrics to fit this melody, did not know that Mendelssohn never intended it to be a hymn.

Holiday homeland favorites are relished such as red cabbage, sauerbraten, potato dumplings and  Pork SchnitszelThe midday meal beverages star mulled wine, flaming Fire Tong wine /rum punch,  or a hearty eggnog toast. Traditional German desserts of gingerbread men, Stollen, Lebkuchen, or Pfeffernuesse cookies. Many recommendations of Chicago restaurants can be found on Yelp.

German neighborhoods include Old Town, Northwest Side between Chicago Avenue and Fullerton Avenue.  North Avenue had the nickname of “German Broadway. In 1900, one in every four residents was from German descent. Exploring German culture can be done at this cultural center and museum called Dankhaus.