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Aug 29, 2015
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Intelligent Content For The Food Fascinated
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SERVING SAINT LOUIS SINCE 1999
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The Scoop: New bottle shop, Cork & Rind, to open in St. Charles

August 28th, 2015

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A new boutique bottle shop is coming to St. Charles. Cork & Rind is opening in the 1,060-square-foot space at 555 First Capitol Drive. Manager Ben Wood said owners Michael and Elizabeth Kinney both grew up in St. Charles and saw an unfulfilled need for this kind of retail in the area.

Wood aims to carefully curate Cork & Rind’s selection of artisan and natural wines such as Theresa Airen and Feudo di Santa Tresa Frappato. “We can tell you the name of the person who made the wine in pretty much every case,” he said. Look also for local craft beer, many of which will lean toward sour with wild fermentation, as well as select spirits and small-batch cheese.

Wood will also offer monthly wine classes like Wine 101, along with periodic specialty classes such as an introduction to French wine.

Cork & Rind will host a soft opening in early September and a grand opening Sept. 18. Regular hours will be Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m.

Tweet Beat: The top tweets from #STL foodies

August 28th, 2015

Are you following us on Twitter? Come on, get Saucy @saucemag

 

 

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The Scoop: Michael David Murphy named beverage director at Bar Italia

August 28th, 2015

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On the heels of Brandon Kerne’s departure, Bar Italia has found a replacement for its now-vacant beverage directorship: Michael David Murphy, who oversaw the beverage program at Gerard Craft’s empire of restaurants, will fill Kerne’s shoes beginning this week.

“This is a really exciting opportunity,” Murphy said, citing the more than 600 bottles now amassed in Bar Italia’s wine library. “The cellar runs deep. There’s not many places in St. Louis that you can go to have wine that is correctly aged and served in its prime for $60 to $70.”

Murphy worked with Robust Wine Bar before managing sommeliers and bartenders at Niche Food Group for the past two and a half years. Under Murphy’s watch, Craft’s Niche earned a spot among Wine Enthusiast’s 100 Best Wine Restaurants in 2013. He will continue to flex his sommelier muscles in his position at Bar Italia.

“This really is, from a sommelier’s perspective, a dream. Brandon did a phenomenal job elevating this into a prestigious program,” Murphy said. He plans to broaden the regional representation of the wine list and continue to evolve the 30-year-old restaurant’s monthly wine dinner program. Yet for the most part, he said, he just wants to keep an already flourishing program going strong.

Mengesha Yohannes, co-owner of Bar Italia, said Murphy’s laidback approach to beverage service differs from Kerne’s, but is no less apt. “He’s very quiet, but there’s a lot of substance,” Yohannes said. “Every time I have a chat with him, I’m always surprised, the hidden passions boiling under the surface. He’s very, very engaging and has a deep passion that comes out in surprising ways. More of a Zen master approach.”

Kerne, who worked with Murphy for several months before his departure to facilitate the transition, was equally enthusiastic. “I cannot recommend (Michael) enough as a professional,” Kerne said. “He is undoubtedly one of the top talents in the city.”

 

 

 

 

The Weekend Project: Egg Rolls

August 27th, 2015

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We confess: Restaurant egg rolls are dead to us – and soon they’ll be dead to you, too. Once you learn how easy and delicious it is to make them at home, all restaurant egg rolls pale in comparison.

Many Asian cultures have their own take on an eggy pancake filled with a predominantly vegetable filling with a bit of meat or seafood, wrapped and paired with a sweet or spicy dipping sauce. Like many Asian dishes, an egg roll is all about balance of flavors and textures.

According to Corinne Trang, author of Essentials of Asian Cuisine, the Cantonese-style egg roll (the one most Americans are familiar with) is likely about 2,000 years old. A wrapper made with wheat and egg is rolled thin and cut into squares for wontons or rolls. Wonton wrappers are easily found at any grocery store and will keep refrigerated for several weeks, even after opening the package.

 

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Our family likes egg rolls so much that we frequently make them as a main course for large gatherings. Paired with rice and a bok choy salad, they make a dazzling dinner. Because the egg roll is the star, our filling recipe is heavy in meat and seafood, but yours don’t have to be. Any mixture of ingredients, seasoned well and then wrapped in dough and fried, is usually quite good (crab Rangoon, anyone?).

 

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The accompanying bok choy salad is delightful in its simplicity, but feel free to toss any other treats you have in the fridge. Pickled shiitake mushrooms, shaved carrots or Chinese black beans will all brighten up the dish if you happen to have them around.

 

The Shopping List*
9 Tbsp. soy sauce
2 Tbsp. vinegar
1 quart plus 7 Tbsp. canola oil (for cooking and frying)
1 Tbsp. minced ginger
3 cups ground pork
1 lb. shrimp
6 cups thinly sliced Napa cabbage
2 cups shredded carrots
1 cup thinly sliced celery
4 cups mung beans
1 package eggroll wrappers
½ cup honey
3 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar
1 Tbsp. sambal
2 Tbsp. whole-grain mustard
2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp. spicy Asian mustard
2 Tbsp. mayonnaise (preferably Kewpie mayonnaise )
4 scallions
6 to 8 cups baby bok
1 Tbsp. gochujang
3 Tbsp. toasted sesame oil

*This list assumes you have kosher salt, black pepper and 2 eggs on hand in your kitchen. If not, you will need to purchase these, too.

The Game Plan
Day 1: Make the filling. Make the sweet and sour sauce. Make the mustard sauce.
Day 2: Wrap and fry the egg rolls. Make the boy choy salad.

 

TheProject_Aug15_02

 

Egg Rolls
24 rolls

7 Tbsp. soy sauce, divided
1 quart plus 6 Tbsp. canola oil, divided
2 Tbsp. vinegar
1 Tbsp. minced ginger
3 cups ground pork
2 cups shredded carrots
1 cup thinly sliced celery
2 to 3 tsp. kosher salt
6 cups thinly sliced Napa cabbage
4 cups mung beans
1 lb. shrimp, peeled, deveined and chopped
2 egg yolks
2 egg whites, beaten
1 package eggroll wrappers

● Day 1: In a medium bowl, whisk together 3 tablespoons soy sauce, 2 tablespoons oil, the vinegar and ginger. Add the ground pork and mix thoroughly. Set aside.
● In a wok or heavy-bottomed sauce pan over high heat, add 2 tablespoons oil. When the oil is very hot, add the pork and stir, cooking until the meat is no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Drain the pork mixture in a fine-mesh sieve and set aside.
● Return the wok to the stove over high heat and add another 2 tablespoons oil. Add the carrots and celery, season with 1 teaspoon salt and stir, keeping the vegetables spread evenly against the entire cooking surface until they soften and release their liquid, 3 to 5 minutes.
● Add the cabbage and the remaining 1 to 2 teaspoon salt and stir 5 to 7 minutes, until the cabbage has shrunk almost half. Add the mung beans and cook another 5 to 7 minutes. Return the pork mixture to the wok, add the shrimp and stir. Add the egg yolks and stir to incorporate.
● Drain the mixture in a large fine-mesh sieve, then transfer it to a large baking sheet to cool to room temperature. Refrigerate overnight.
● Day 2: To wrap egg rolls, place 1 wrapper on a clean work surface so it looks like a diamond. Use a finger to spread egg white on the outer ½-inch border of 1 egg roll wrapper. Place 2 heaping tablespoons filling in a line down the center of the wrapper from the top to the bottom corners. Fold the right corner over the filling tightly, pressing out any air, and secure it to the other side with egg white. Fold the top and bottom corners into the center, sealing them with egg white, then roll gently (as if rolling a burrito) to secure the final corner. Place the finished roll on a rack and cover with plastic wrap to keep from drying out.
● Fill a large deep skillet with the remaining 1 quart canola oil and heat over medium-high until it reaches 350 degrees.
● Working in batches, fry a few egg rolls at a time, turning occasionally, until they are golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove and place on the baking rack to drain.
● Place on a baking rack or several paper towels to drain. Serve with Sweet and Sour Sauce, Dijon Mustard Sauce and Bok Choy Salad. Leftover egg rolls will keep, covered and refrigerated, up to 1 week.

 

TheProject_Aug15_04

 

Sweet and Sour Sauce
¾ cup sauce

½ cup honey
2 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar
1 Tbsp. sambal

● Day 1: Whisk the ingredients together in a small bowl. Serve with Egg Rolls.

Dijon Mustard Sauce
½ cup sauce

2 Tbsp. whole-grain mustard
2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp. spicy Asian mustard
2 Tbsp. mayonnaise (preferably Kewpie mayonnaise )
1 Tbsp. canola or sesame oil
2 scallions, sliced very thin.

● Day 1: Whisk the ingredients in a small bowl. Serve with Egg Rolls.

 

TheProject_Aug15_05

 

Bok Choy Salad
6 to 8 servings

6 to 8 cups baby bok choy, torn into bite sized pieces
½ cup sliced scallions
3 Tbsp. toasted sesame oil
1 Tbsp. gochujang
1 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar
1 to 2 tsp. dark soy sauce
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

● Day 2: In a large mixing bowl, toss together the bok choy and scallions. Set aside.
● In a small bowl, whisk together the sesame oil,gochujang, vinegar and soy sauce until the gochujang has dissolved. Toss the salad with the dressing, season to taste with salt and pepper, and serve.

 

TheProject_Aug15_07

 

 

The Scoop: Edibles & Essentials to open in St. Louis Hills

August 27th, 2015

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St. Louis Hills will soon see the opening of Edibles & Essentials, a counter service cafe and market at 5815 Hampton Ave. Chef-owner Matthew Borchardt said the 1,600-square-foot space will include an artisan market and a counter-service cafe showcasing dishes from around the world.

Borchardt most recently served as a consulting chef for Taze Mediterranean Street Food, along with previous roles at Cafe Provencal, Frazer’s Restaurant & Lounge and a program director position at L’Ecole Culinaire. For his first independent venture, Borchard is opening his shop on home turf.

“My wife and I met as next-door neighbors in Clifton Heights. My parents’ house was in the Lindenwood Park area right up the street from Mom’s Deli. I love the St. Louis Hills area,” Borchardt said.

On the market side, Edibles & Essentials will offer a variety of imported and locally sourced goods including oils and vinegars, breads, cheeses, wine and spirits, spices, cured meats, cookbooks, cookware, kitchen utensils and kitchen gadgets. A small butcher counter will also feature a selection of hand-cut steaks, chops and seafood.

The cafe will feature globally inspired cuisine and fresh, seasonal ingredients. Standard menu items will include small plates like french fries, sauteed spinach or crab cakes and larger entrees such as a roasted pork sandwich and grilled meats. The menu will also feature charcuterie boards paired with jams, jellies, cheeses, pickles and breads. Both international and local bottled brews and wines by the glass or bottle will also be available for customers. Borchardt hopes to seat 20 inside and an additional 30 under a covered courtyard.

 

 

 

 

Baked: Caramel Espresso Flan Cake

August 27th, 2015

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I love to bake something special for my birthday. It’s time for me to celebrate with something over the top, something I’ve hidden away to try but always put off due to time constraints. This caramel espresso flan cake was perfect for this year’s birthday treat.

It’s an espresso flan on top with a light buttery sponge cake on the bottom – both baked at the same time. The flan is added first, and when the sponge cake batter is spread over the top, it’s so light that it floats above the flan. When it’s baked, it leaves a magical hybrid layer in the middle.

As if that weren’t enough, a hidden caramel layer is spread along the bottom during baking. When the cake is flipped and served, the caramel slowly seeps past the flan and into the sponge cake over time. Indeed, the cake is better a day or two after it is made, but it’s well worth the wait.

This beautiful dessert is a showstopper, and the combination of caramel and espresso is addictive. The flan is smooth and soft, as an egg custard should be, while the cake is spongy and delicate. You won’t regret the time and effort put into this one. Enjoy and happy baking!

 

Caramel Espresso Flan Cake
Adapted from a recipe at Lady and Pups
8 servings

1 cup granulated sugar
4 Tbsp. water
1½ cups half and half
2 Tbsp. espresso powder
Pinch of cinnamon
6 egg yolks, divided
2 eggs
1/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
4½ Tbsp. unsalted butter
1/3 cup plus 1 Tbsp. flour
¼ cup whole milk
3 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
4 egg whites

• Pour 1 inch water in a baking dish large enough to hold a 9-inch cake pan and place it in the oven. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Lightly oil a 9-inch round cake pan and set aside.
• In a large saucepan, bring the sugar and water to a boil over medium heat without stirring. Cook until the sugar turns light brown, about 8 minutes, then remove from heat and swirl the pan gently until the caramel turns deep amber, 10 to 15 seconds.
• Set aside 2 to 3 tablespoons caramel and pour the remainder in the cake pan. Rotate the pan to evenly distribute the caramel on the bottom.
• Let the saucepan cool but do not wash it. Add the half and half, espresso powder and cinnamon and return the pot to the stove over medium heat. Bring to a bare simmer, stirring with a wooden spoon until the espresso powder is completely dissolved in the half and half, 5 to 8 minutes.
• In a mixing bowl, whisk 4 egg yolks, 2 eggs and the condensed milk together. Using a hand mixer, carefully pour the hot espresso cream into the egg mixture, beating on low to medium-low speed until combined. Pour into the prepared cake pan.
• Cut a long, 3-inch wide strip of parchment paper and lightly grease both sides. Line the top half of the cake pan above the flan layer with the parchment paper to prevent the cake layer from sticking (the flan will easily release from the pan).
• In a clean large saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter until it begins to bubble. Add the flour, whisk quickly until incorporated and remove from heat. Whisk in the milk and the brown sugar until the sugar melts. Let cool slightly, 2 to 4 minutes.
• Whisk in the remaining 2 egg yolks and the vanilla extract until the cake batter is thick and even. Set aside.
• In a medium mixing bowl, use a hand mixer on high speed to beat the egg whites to soft peaks, 2 to 3 minutes. Add half the egg whites to the cake batter in the saucepan and whisk gently until combined. Gently fold in the remaining egg whites.
• Carefully pour the cake batter over the flan layer. It will appear to sink to the bottom, but it will rise back up since the batter is lighter than the custard. Smooth the top.
• Place the pan in the middle of the water-filled baking dish, return it to the oven and immediately lower the temperature to 340 degrees. Bake 50 to 55 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out completely clean.
• Let the cake cool 30 minutes. Gently remove the parchment paper and run a knife around the inside edge of the pan to loosen the flan. Place a large plate on top of the cake pan and quickly invert to remove it from the pan. (If any caramel sticks to the bottom of the cake pan, warm on the stove over low heat until it’s loose and pour it over the cake.) Warm and drizzle the reserved caramel over the top as well.
• Refrigerate uncovered 1 to 2 days for the cake to absorb the caramel. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

The Scoop: Lumiere Place reopens Sundeckers downtown

August 26th, 2015

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Less than a year after closing its doors for good, Sundeckers Bar & Grill has reopened on The Landing under new ownership.

Lumiere Place purchased the property and several blocks around it a few years ago and decided to reopen the casual downtown bar and grill this summer. Though no longer involved, the former owner struck a deal with Lumiere that allowed them to keep the name, according to manager Branko Popovic. “We actually opened two weeks ago with a liquor license. We opened about a month ago just for lunch because we were waiting on the liquor license,” Popovic said.

Sundeckers is also currently looking for a new brewing home for its signature beer, Bases Loaded, after its former collaborators closed up shop, but they’ll continue to feature local and national options. “We have, obviously, Schlafly, Fat Tire. We have a Budweiser, Shock Top, Goose Island IPA, and we’re looking at a couple other small breweries,” Popovic said.

The menu has also undergone some changes. Sundecker’s ever-popular half-pound burger remains a menu staple, and Popovic estimates that the Philly Cheesesteak sandwich is the second most popular item.

The property got a bit of a facelift prior to reopening, receiving a new kitchen and some cosmetic updates and additional TVs. One thing that absolutely wasn’t touched, however, is the historic bar. There are more renovation plans in the mix – Popovic said that the hope is to have the back patio completely redone either by the end of this year or early next spring.

The Scoop: Josh Charles is named executive chef at Element

August 25th, 2015

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{From left, Josh Charles and fellow Ones to Watch alum John Fausz}

Area rising star Josh Charles has just landed his first exec chef gig. Beginning Sept. 1, Charles will helm the kitchen at Element.

For the last three years, Charles, a member of the Sauce Ones to Watch class of 2014, has worked at restaurateur Ben Poremba’s Elaia, where he quickly climbed from garde manger to chef de cuisine. Charles announced he planned to leave Poremba’s restaurant group earlier this month, but his next move had not been determined.

“(Element) owners Carol and Stacy Hastie had seen that I didn’t have a landing zone yet. They called. We sat down and talked about it. It seemed like a good fit,” Charles said. He was impressed by the restaurant’s design, and as an avid rock climber, he appreciated the restaurant’s close proximity to Climb So Ill, a climbing facility in the same building.

Charles said he will have full autonomy in the kitchen, unlike when Element first opened in fall 2013 and multiple chefs collaborated. “They are leaving it in my hands to decide the menu,” he said. “I’ll still do comfort food, but expand on it a bit. I want to use the flavors from across the world to really define comfort food.”

Look for a new dinner menu to launch the second week of September and a revamped lunch menu to follow soon after. Charles also anticipates adding a separate bar menu.

Element co-owner Carol Hastie was not immediately available for comment.

-photo by Carmen Troesser

 

 

First Look: Six Mile Bridge in Maryland Heights

August 25th, 2015

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Six Mile Bridge opened its doors Friday, Aug., 21, at 11841 Dorsett Road in Maryland Heights. As The Scoop reported in July, owners Ryan and Lindsay Sherring started brewing beer in Cape Town, South Africa before moving to St. Louis.

Though focused on distribution, Six Mile Bridge also has a 2,000-square-foot tasting room fronting its 4,000-square-foot brewing space. For now, the tasting room will offer popcorn for snacking, but the Sherrings hope to partner with local chefs on a food menu and open a kitchen soon.

The sleek industrial, high-ceilinged space boasts a glossy wood bar, a chalk art mural depicting the brewing process by local artist Sarah Doriani and ample seating to enjoy a pint. Six Mile Bridge is starting with three beers: an Irish red ale brewed with honey, a Bavarian hefeweizen with banana and light spice notes and a session IPA. Look for a stout this fall, as Six Mile Bridge slowly expands its offerings. Pull a pint at the bar, bring a growler home or look for its brews around town at local bars and restaurants.

Six Mile Bridge is open Fridays from 5 to 11 p.m. and Saturdays noon to 11 p.m. Here’s a first look at what to expect when you head to Maryland Heights:

 

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-photos by Michelle Volansky 

The Scoop: The Garden on Grand to open this fall

August 25th, 2015

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{Chef Kore Wilbert and his children}

 

South Grand will welcome its newest eatery this fall when The Garden on Grand, a progressive, fresh dining restaurant serving up breakfast, lunch and dinner opens its doors at 2245 S. Grand Blvd. Hoping to appeal as much to the neighborhood as to the health conscious, chef Kore Wilbert will put organic, locally grown ingredients into meals for vegetarians and meat lovers alike.

“You can serve things like pork that aren’t traditionally considered healthy, but in the right portion size and paired with something healthy, you can have balance,” said Wilbert who came aboard eight months ago after serving as executive sous chef at DePaul Health Center.

Owner Cevin Lee was inspired to open the restaurant following his own journey into “raw, almost vegan” eating, which he said all but freed him from debilitating arthritis pain. “In three months of going cold turkey, I was basically able to get my immune system back to normal. It’s a lifestyle commitment and removing things from your body that shouldn’t be there and putting things in that your body needs,” said Lee whose family has owned neighboring Hong Kong Express for nearly 25 years.

Drawing on Lee’s Asian heritage and Wilbert’s affinity for Mediterranean cuisine, the menu is shaping up to be a house take on a variety of international classics like chop suey-style dishes, bahn mi and assorted Italian dishes. “We’re trying to do dishes that will please the neighborhood but are also healthy and wholesome,” Wilbert said.

Some of those wholesome ingredients include locally sourced produce including heirloom zucchini and zucchini blossoms, which will be grown specifically for The Garden on Grand. The restaurant will also include a fresh juice bar and will seat up to 55 diners.

Editor’s note: This post was updated Aug. 27 at 2 p.m. with the correct name of The Garden on Grand and an additional quote from owner Cevin Lee. 

-photo by Ashley Gieseking

 

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