Besides that it's all about burgers and milkshakes, there is much more to like about Spike Mendelsohn's "The Good Stuff Cookbook," named after his D.C. eatery (which might make its way to Chicago one of these days.) Recipes are simple and produce fun, boldly flavored, gorgeous food. There's an entire chapter on the retro wedge salad, for crying out loud.
But since burgers and shakes are the main attractions, I asked Mendelsohn for his top tips when making these classics. We didn't have space to run these in today's Food pages, so take note now:
1. Toast the buns on both sides.
2. When you're doing building the burger, bun and all, wrap it in a big square of wax paper and let it sit for a minute or two. Mendelsohn learned this tip from his grandfather. "It literally steams it for a little but, keeps the burger hot and just gives it a great texture," he says. And nope, it won't get soggy.
1. Use a custard -- or the best premium ice cream you can find -- as the base for your shake. Mendelsohn uses a custard made fresh daily at his restaurant.
2. Use a handheld immersion blender, not a blender; if you don't have an immersion blender, they're not that big of an investment, and they're also genius for soups and sauces. "A blender creates friction; you'll end up with a watery shake," he says.
Here, too, Mendelsohn's recipe for basic mayonnaise, which we didn't have room for in print:
Homemade Basic Mayonnaise
Makes about 2 cups
2 large eggs
4 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 cups grapeseed oil
Add eggs, mustard, vinegar and salt to a food processor or blender. Process for 30 seconds in food processor, or 10 seconds in blender. With motor running, drizzle in oil slowly at first, then add in a thin, steady stream until all the oil is added and the mixture is smooth. Stop the motor and taste. If sauce is too thick, thin it with a little hot water. If too thin, process a little longer. The mayo can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 1 week.