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Apr 21, 2015
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Intelligent Content For The Food Fascinated
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SERVING SAINT LOUIS SINCE 1999
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Meatless Monday: Crispy Shaved Asparagus

April 20th, 2015

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Make one of the earliest spring vegetables even better with a swim in the fryer. Use a potato peeler to shred a pound of trimmed asparagus into a mountain of thin strips, then flash-fry them in a pot of hot vegetable oil. Toss them with your favorite salad for an unexpectedly delightful crunch. Need inspiration? We have a hundred or so to get you started. Get the recipe for Crispy Shaved Asparagus here.

-photo by Jonathan Gayman

The List: 20 dishes, drinks, faces and places we love now – Part 3

April 20th, 2015

Each year, the Sauce editors compile an annual tribute to the dishes, drinks, people and places we love in The Lou: The List. Here, Part 3 of our 2015 lineup, featuring a host with the most, a beer lover’s paradise, the best cup of grits in town, a booming business district and your entire childhood rolled into ice cream.

What’s on your list? Share with #TheSauceList on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and check out Parts 1 and 2 of The List here.

 

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11. Kimberly Hoskin-Westcott at Cleveland-Heath

Cleveland-Heath doesn’t take reservations, which means the wait for a table could be up to an hour on a busy weekend night. Yet, I don’t mind because I get to chat with Kimberly Hoskin-Westcott, a hostess so vivacious, affable and just gosh-darn nice that I’m almost disappointed at the rare occurrence when Cleveland-Heath doesn’t have a wait.

Watching her at the front of the house – greeting new customers, hugging regulars, admiring a shy child’s toy – it’s easy to assume she’s been doing this all her life, yet Hoskin-Westcott has worked in the restaurant industry for only two years. She attributes her hosting style – part entertainer, part ambassador and part traffic controller – to her 30 years of customer service at a New York communications company and more than 30 years as a professional jazz singer.

Even when a waiting list runs 25 names long, Hoskin-Westcott has an uncanny ability to make each customer feel like her top priority – and as she’ll tell you, they are. She believes the worst thing customers can feel is that the host has forgotten them. “You try to let them know they can trust you: trust you to get them a seat, trust you know their time is valuable,” she said. “I keep an eye on them from when they first come in to when they leave. … I try to make sure that I have a level of integrity and that people say, ‘Yeah, she’s going to help me out.’”  – C.K.

 

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12. Ka-Boomm at Jilly’s Ice Cream Bar

How do you go Ka-Boomm at Jilly’s Ice Cream Bar? Start with a Tahitian vanilla ice cream base, then swirl in decadent brownie chunks made with 58-percent dark Swiss chocolate, Oreos and mini M&M’s for good measure. The name is short for kid-approved, brownie, Oreo, M&M’s, but the young and old dig it equally. “It is so whimsical when you see the tie-dye effect that the M&M’s give it,” said chef Casey Shiller, who created this Jilly’s fan favorite with fellow chef Dana Holland. “It’s kid-approved, but it’s kick-ass, too.” We’ll take a double scoop in a confetti waffle cone, please.  – L.F.

 

13. Cherokee Street

While Cherokee Street is still known for its antique shops, international farmers market and authentic Mexican fare (for good reason), the South City strip running between Broadway and Gravois is also becoming known for, well, just that. No longer is Cherokee a smattering of restaurants and stores concentrated around a couple city blocks; we have a full business district on our hands. Don’t believe us? Next time you’re attacking the requisite torta at Taqueria El Bronco, afterward, visit one of these eclectic venues, and when you’re done, keep exploring.

1. With just seven seats, cozy is an understatement at Cherokee Street’s newest cafe, The Little Dipper, where soups and sandwiches are the specialty, including its filling vegetarian wheatburger. 2. The Fortune Teller Bar serves up masterful cocktails along with unconventional bites such as the vegetarian chili accompanied with a slice of Black Bear Lickhalter rye bread.

3. Hearty Russian dumplings laced with creme fraiche are one of the culinary highlights at ArtBar, a colorful watering hole that also showcases local art, and hosts comedy open mics, live bands and burlesque bingos. 4. Athlete Eats features scrumptious but sensible entrees for the customer who enjoys dishes like grass-fed, bunless bulgogi burgers along with tailor-made, cold-pressed fruit juices.  – M.B.

 

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14. Craft Beer Cellar

Whether you know a dunkel from a Doppelbock or just light brew from dark, when visiting Craft Beer Cellar, snobbery is one of the few beer descriptors you won’t run across. “We’re not beer snobs, we’re beer geeks,” explained co-owner Ryan Nickelson. “We are excited about what beer is and how it’s made. It’s about sharing good beer with good people.” With the shop’s specialty being mixed six- and 12-packs, if you have trouble choosing between the 600 to 800 local, national and international craft beers available on any given day, allow the highly knowledgeable yet down-to-earth staff to lend its expertise. Come in to chat, indulge in free beer samples at the tasting bar, and when you buy too many bottles to tote, be prepared for the geeks to insist on carrying your purchases to your car – courtesy is their thing, too.  – K.S.

 

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15. Grits at SoHo Restaurant & Lounge 

There’s no better evidence of a Southerner’s DNA than the way she cooks grits. Called polenta by Yanks and Philistines, there are plenty of imitators out there, but few standouts. At The Grove’s SoHo Restaurant & Lounge, the grits fashioned by executive chef Ceaira Jackson are bona fide. Steaming, buttery, cheesy mounds of the stuff make exquisite brunch pairings with the fried catfish, chicken and waffles or even red velvet pancakes. You’ll shout for joy. You’ll gobble them up. You’ll beg for more. SoHo’s contribution to the classic – and deceptively difficult – Southern standard is a display of true grit.  – G.F.

 

-Kimberly Hoskin-Wescott photo and ice cream photo by Carmen Troesser; beer photo by Jonathan Gayman; grits photo by Elizabeth Maxson

By the Book: Erin McKenna’s Carrot Bread

April 18th, 2015

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As fellow gluten-free and dairy-free diners can attest, eating with dietary restrictions is easier said than done. At restaurants, we must ignore our friends’ barely-concealed cringes as we deconstruct an entree to conform to our needs. At home, we spend hours scouring niche food blogs for our next meal. Perhaps the biggest test of my willpower, though, is when an unknowing waiter places an overflowing bread basket in front of me. After years of coveting that basket of forbidden gluten, I was thrilled when my editor Catherine Klene dropped a copy of Bread & Butter: Gluten-Free Vegan Recipes to Fill Your Bread Basket by my desk.

Sauce interns get to try a lot of food on the job, and my editors always search for something I can eat among the loot, usually only to be foiled — a slice of cake might be gluten-free, but not dairy-free, or vice versa. That’s why McKenna’s book, featuring indulgent recipes that are gluten-free and vegan, seemed the perfect end to a semester-long quest for “something Tori can eat.”

McKenna, who also passed on the bread basket for two decades due to a gluten sensitivity, now runs BabyCakes, a gluten-free vegan bakery with locations in New York City, Los Angeles and Orlando. Based on recipes pioneered in her bakery, her new cookbook begins with a break down of basic ingredients and baking tips invaluable to those new to specialty baking. From there, her book is broken up into chapters by category: morning treats, breads (of course), sandwiches, pizza and focaccia, kids’ recipes, international cuisine, puff pastries and tarts, snacks, dips and dressings (including vegan butter!), and desserts. While the pain au chocolate looked tempting, I chose the carrot bread because it looked both doable and delicious.

 

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McKenna’s recipes are straightforward and concise throughout, usually taking no more than a page of text punctuated with beautiful photos and colorful design. Her carrot bread calls for walnut oil or coconut oil, vegan sugar, gluten-free baking flour (we used Cup 4 Cup), arrowroot, xanthan gum, shredded carrots and optional chopped walnuts. Gluten-free home cooks already have most of these items in our kitchen pantries.

As an amateur baker, I found McKenna’s instructions easy to follow. The only painstaking part of the baking process was shredding all those carrots. Next time, I’ll do this the night before or use the shredder attachment on a food processor. Also be aware that this recipe takes some time – as a yeast bread, the dough needs an hour to rise, and then requires another 35 minutes in the oven. Keep a good book on hand or start trolling the Internet for more niche foodie blogs.

Despite these few bumps, I found the finished product to be well worth the wait. For someone who hasn’t eaten bread, much less homemade bread, in quite some time, McKenna’s carrot bread truly was a treat. I found the bread to be spongy and light, with a slight texture and crunch from the walnuts. Though the book claims that even non gluten-free and vegan people will love this recipe, my Sauce coworkers claim they could tell the difference. Still, for those gluten-free and vegan among us, this carrot bread is a real indulgence.

 

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Carrot Bread
Makes 1 7-by-4-by-3-inch loaf

3 Tbsp. walnut oil or melted unscented coconut oil, plus more for the pan
1½ cups warm water (about 100 degrees)
4 Tbsp. vegan sugar
2¼ tsp. active dry yeast
2 cups Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free All-Purpose Baking Flour
2 Tbsp. arrowroot
½ tsp. xanthan gum
1 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
1½ tsp. salt
2 cups firmly packed shredded carrots
¾ cup chopped walnuts (optional)

• Lightly grease a 7-by-4-by-3-inch loaf pan with oil.
• In a small bowl, combine the oil, warm water, sugar and yeast. Stir once and set aside to proof until it bubbles, about 10 minutes.
• In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, arrowroot, xanthan gum, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Pour in the yeast mixture and, using a rubber spatula, stir until it is the consistency of cake batter. If the dough is too thick, add additional warm water one splash at a time. Fold in the carrots and the walnuts (if using). Pour the dough into the prepared loaf pan, cover with a dish towel, and let the dough rise for 1 hour.
• Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
• Bake the bread for 20 minutes, and then rotate the pan 180 degrees. Bake until the crust is golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 15 minutes.
• Let the bread cool in the pan for 1 hour before slicing.

Reprinted with permission from Clarkson Potter

What’s the most creative recipe you’ve used to accommodate someone’s dietary restrictions? Tell us in the comments below for a chance to win a copy of Erin McKenna’s Bread & Butter.

Drink This Weekend Edition: 4 Hands Send Help

April 17th, 2015

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When Send Help skateboards jumped on board (see what I did there?) for a collaboration with 4 Hands Brewing Co., the perfect summer beer was born. Send Help, a crushable, dry-hopped blonde ale, is light enough to satisfy in summer heat and hoppy enough to pacify the biggest hopheads.

This beer takes a grain bill similar to 4 Hands Single Speed and ramps it up with Amarillo, Simcoe and El Dorado hops to lend a crisp bitterness and abundant aroma reminiscent of citrus and fresh-cut grass. At 4.5 percent, Send Help is light on ABV but big on flavor. Pour it in a glass or drink it straight from the can this weekend, then head to the official launch party at Flamingo Bowl Tuesday, April 21 at 9 p.m. for a round with the 4 Hands brewers.

Send Help is a can-only release for now, with draft available at the brewery. You can find it through July all over the Metro area at bottle shops and grocery stores. An early frontrunner for beer of the summer, Send Help is sure to quench a lot of people’s thirst, so whether you’re a veteran on your skateboard or a poser looking for a refreshing brew, stock up on this one.

 

 

 

The Scoop: Weber Grill Restaurant set to take over former BlackFinn spot at The Galleria

April 17th, 2015

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Weber Grill Restaurant is coming to St. Louis. The Chicago-based company recently announced plans to open its fifth location in early October in 9,000-square-feet of the space formerly occupied by BlackFinn American Grille at the Saint Louis Galleria in Brentwood.

“St. Louis became our top choice based on the culinary traditions, casual dining lifestyle, affinity for patio dining and love for great barbecue and grilling,” restaurant president R. Bryan Gerrish said in a press release. “We love the central location of the Saint Louis Galleria, as well as the strong mall traffic, ease of parking and variety of shopping, dining and entertainment that it offers.”

The 200-seat restaurant will include 130 outdoor patio seats and offer dine-in and carryout options. Diners can enjoy starters, salads and pizzas and choose from an assortment of steaks, burgers, seafood and classic barbecue options, all prepared on Weber charcoal kettle grills. An extensive wine list will also be offered, including a handful of local craft beer selections.

Meghan Parra, Weber Grill Restaurant sales and marketing director, said the restaurant will also feature a grill academy, which will function as an interactive, hands-on grilling facility. “We plan on offering grilling classes for public and private events and providing interactive dining nights for guests,” Parra said. “We will be keeping the area active every day.” Weber Grill Restaurants’ other locations currently offer both hands-on and demonstration-style classes ranging from $45 to $85.

 

 

Tweet Beat: The week’s best tweets from #STL foodies

April 17th, 2015

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

 

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Pigpicker
Congrats to our newest family member. ‪#MontanaBBQ

MegaKelseyM
I would patronize a place that serves cold pizza and breakfast tacos. Coffee would be necessary too.

jayeedoubleeff
I definitely understand why it would still take you 5 minutes to order something after standing in a line for 10…

 

 

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cristinalupay
lavender-lemonade. thank you ‪@whiskbakeshop for being amazing. ‪#vsco ‪#vscocam ‪#spring

keschaberg
Ladies
Stop wearing heels to beer fests
not cute

jenncloud
Does it mean you’re getting old when going to a nice grocery store is like going to Target anymore…? “Just a few things” I said…

Balisong
Being a dutiful friend and making sure ‪@megakelseym experiences Smothered Pork Steaks and Mac &… ‪https://instagram.com/p/1hKCG3v7Rb/

Think you should be on this list? Follow us and let us know @saucemag

 

The Scoop: J. Devoti Grocery to open inside Five Bistro

April 17th, 2015

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{Anthony Devoti’s grandfather (third from left) with employees from the original J. Devoti Grocery}

 

Five Bistro chef-owner Anthony Devoti is set to resurrect a family tradition this May. Devoti’s great-grandfather, Joe Devoti, opened J. Devoti Grocery off Olive Boulevard after immigrating to St. Louis from Italy, and his son (Anthony Devoti’s grandfather) operated it for decades. More than 100 years later, the fourth generation is bringing back the J. Devoti’s inside his restaurant.

The permanent grocery will replace Devoti’s rotating pop-up concept on the bar side of Five. The grocery will feature a small, carefully selected stock of local cheese, wine, produce, canned and preserved offerings from the restaurant’s ample garden and baked treats – including those famous macarons – from pastry chef (and a member of this year’s Ones to Watch class) Britt Simpson.

“I’ve wanted to do something like this for three years,” Devoti said. “My aunt recently showed me this picture and I thought, ‘This is it.’ It’s all really worked and is a family thing.”

It’s also a staff thing. Devoti said the crew at Five Bistro supports the idea, and now that he is not on the line every night, he can focus on expanding the retail side. Part of that expansion, he said, will include the addition of Saturday lunch featuring burgers made with house-butchered beef. Devoti also hopes to add a lamb burger using Jenna Pohl’s Midwest Lamb. Pohl is also a member of the 2015 Ones to Watch Class.

“You can spend Saturday hitting all the shops on The Hill, then hit us for some boutique olive oil and a burger,” Devoti said. “This really fits our beliefs of selling properly made, top-quality food.”

 

The Weekend Project: Goat Cheese & Crackers

April 16th, 2015

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Everyone daydreams of escape. I knew a restaurant owner and bartender who would search online for photos of beautiful boats for sale after particularly rough Saturday night service, dreaming of a nautical getaway. Likewise, my friend and I worked at The Wine and Cheese Place in high school, and as we cleaned the cheese boards and meat slicers at the end of business, we talked about one day owning a goat farm and making delicious cheese.

St. Louis doesn’t exactly have rolling verdant pastures for my fantasy goats to roam, but thanks to goat milk’s wide availability, I can still fulfill my daydreams of making herbed goat cheese. DIY goat cheese and crackers is a simple project that can be accomplished leisurely over two days or in a few hours with a bottle of rosé to sip while you work.

Since it’s a soft cheese, fresh chevre only requires a few hours refrigeration and just two ingredients: goat milk and lemon juice. No complicated rennet tabs, no aging or hunting for raw product – just a carton of goat milk and a few lemons from your local grocery produces rich, creamy cheese that can be flavored with any combination of fresh herbs, salt or peppercorns. Just make sure to squeeze any remaining liquid (whey) from the cheese curds, or your final product will look more like melted ice cream.

 

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Admittedly, this cracker recipe has a close relationship with a cookie. If you are like me and often contemplate reducing sugar and butter in recipes to make things “healthier,” resist the impulse with these treats. You’ll end up with sad, bitter biscuits even the birds will scorn.

(Get crackin’ on homemade crackers. Try this recipe for Rosemary-Parmesan Crackers, this one for Pimento Cheese Crackers, and for the healthy among us, a recipe for Veggie Flax Crackers.)

The rich sweetness of the wheat and butter in these whole-wheat crackers pairs perfectly with the lemony tang of fresh goat cheese.

 

The Shopping List*

1 quart goat milk
Juice of 2 to 3 lemons
5 cloves roasted garlic (DIY here)
2 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh chives
1 tsp. minced fresh thyme
2 cups whole-wheat flour
1 cup wheat bran
3 Tbsp. brown sugar
½ tsp. baking soda
¾ cup (1½ sticks) cold butter

*This list assumes you have kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper, granulated sugar, and all-purpose flour at hand in your kitchen. If not, you will need to purchase those items, too.

The Gameplan
Day 1: Start the goat cheese. Prepare the cracker dough.
Day 2: Flavor the goat cheese. Bake the crackers.

 

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Herbed Goat Cheese
Makes 1 cup

1 quart goat milk
Juice of 3 lemons
5 cloves roasted garlic (DIY here)
2 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh chives
1 tsp. minced fresh thyme, minced
¾ tsp. kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Day 1: Prepare an ice water batch in a large metal bowl and set aside.
• In a nonreactive 5-quart saucepan, gently warm the goat milk over medium heat until it reaches 180 degrees and small bubbles start to form on the sides of the pot. Remove from heat and pour the milk into a small metal bowl.
• Stir in two-thirds of the lemon juice. Place the smaller bowl into the ice bath and refrigerate until small white particles form in a pale yellow liquid, 20 to 30 minutes (If nothing happens, add the remaining one-third of the lemon juice and refrigerate until curds form.).
• Remove the small bowl from the ice bath and discard the cold water. Line a fine-mesh sieve with cheesecloth and place it over the large bowl.
• Pour the curdled milk through the sieve to separate the curds, making sure the bottom of the sieve does not touch the liquid (whey) in the bowl. Refrigerate at least 1½ hours or overnight.
Day 2: Gather the ends of the cheesecloth together and gently squeeze the remaining whey from the curds. (Reserve 1 cup whey for the Whole-Wheat Crackers recipe.) Discard the remaining whey.
• Scrape the soft white curds into a mixing bowl. Add the roasted garlic, chives, thyme, salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly and season to taste. Cheese will keep, covered, in the refrigerator up to 1 week.

 

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Whole-Wheat Crackers
24 to 30 crackers

2 cups whole-wheat flour
1 cup wheat bran
3 Tbsp. brown sugar
3 Tbsp. granulated sugar
1 tsp. kosher salt
½ tsp. baking soda
¾ cup (1½ sticks) cold butter, cut into 1/3-inch cubes
1 cup reserved cold whey, milk or water
All-purpose flour, for dusting

Day 1: In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the whole-wheat flour, wheat bran, brown sugar, granulated sugar, salt and baking soda until just mixed. Add the butter and pulse until a coarse mixture forms and the butter is the size of small peas.
• With the machine running, pour the whey into the mixture until a moist dough just comes together. Form the dough into a 2-inch-thick disk and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate at least 20 minutes or overnight.
Day 2: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
• Dust the work surface with flour and roll out the chilled dough to 3/8-inch thick. Use a 1½-to-2-inch glass or pastry mold to cut out circles and place them on an ungreased cookie sheet.
• Bake 15 to 18 minutes, until the crackers are firm and the bottoms are golden-brown. Let the crackers cool completely on the hot baking sheet to crisp. Crackers will keep in an airtight container up to 1 week.

 

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-photos by Michelle Volansky 

Second location of Shack Restaurant opens today in Frontenac

April 14th, 2015

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Shack Restaurant officially opens its second location today, April 14, at 731 S. Lindbergh Blvd., the spot previously occupied by now closed The Pig.

The “breakfast, lunch and sometimes dinner” joint is in fact expanding dinner hours at the new Frontenac location to Tuesday through Saturday from 4 p.m. until close, while dinner service will end at the original Valley Park location. OH Hospitality Group co-owner Brant Baldanza said that space will be available in the evening for private events.
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While the Frontenac Shack menu will largely mirror that of the Valley Park location, it will boast an on-site smoker, which will be used for all manner of proteins: salmon, ham, turkey, pork butt, short ribs, wings and brisket. New menu items include dishes like a hearty portion of house-smoked salmon (pictured) served atop a slice of rye toast with onions, tomatoes and a sunny-side-up egg, all drizzled with a dill crème fraiche and briny capers. Also look for new dinner offerings like the Short Slided, two smoked short rib sliders on mini brioche buns with white cheddar, horseradish and a side of au jus and crispy chips.

 

-photos by Michelle Volansky

 

 

Meatless Monday: Leeks Vinaigrette with Eggs

April 13th, 2015

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Odds are, you still have a hardboiled egg or two lingering in your fridge after Easter. Make quick work of them with a quick, healthy Meatless Monday meal that requires just five ingredients. Slice and boil a few leeks until just tender, then shock them in cold water to preserve their vibrant color. Whisk together a classic vinaigrette of olive oil, red wine vinegar and Dijon mustard, then drizzle it over the leeks and top with chopped egg and fresh tarragon. Get the recipe for this speedy vegetarian meal here.

 

 

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