Hello Stranger | Login | Create Account
Oct 07, 2015
Intelligent Content For The Food Fascinated
Email | Text-size: A | A | A

Sneak Peek: Retreat Gastropub in the Central West End

October 6th, 2015



Lace up your boots and hike over to Retreat Gastropub at 2 N. Sarah St., in the Central West End for elevated pub food in modern rustic terrain. As The Scoop reported in February, Travis Howard owns the urban gastropub getaway, which hosts its grand opening Friday, Oct. 9 at 5 p.m.

The 2,000-square-foot space is dominated by a concrete bar, poured and stained on-premise, and backed by salvaged wood from a Missouri barn. Pull up an iron stool or grab a seat at the custom cedar wood tables and benches lining the interior. Repurposed lantern light fixtures interspersed with hanging Edison bulbs light the space. “I wanted it to feel very outdoorsy,” Howard said.

Howard assembled a team, including chef Michael Friedman and bar manager Tim Wiggins, eager to take the same care with food and drink menus that went into the design. The menu is divided into small plates, sandwiches and large plates, and pub classics include several vegetarian options like the poutine made with fried fingerling potatoes, a rich mushroom gravy and cheese curds. There are two burger options: a classic beef patty with cheese or the Farmhouse Burger, consisting of two smashed beef patties, cheese sauce, candied bacon and an over-easy egg. “I wanted to have breakfast on a burger,” Friedman said.

Wiggins has created a selection of house-made shrubs, tinctures and fresh herbs and juices on a seasonally rotating cocktail menu that focuses on rum. “Everyone drinks whiskey. I think rum’s the next wave,” Wiggins said. Aged sipping rums will be offered instead of dessert wines. Look also for draft and canned beer options, as well as wine.

After its grand opening, Retreat Gastropub will be open Wednesday through Monday from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. and until midnight Sunday. Here’s a sneak peek at what to expect when doors open at Retreat this Friday:


This slideshow requires JavaScript.


-photos by Michelle Volansky 



What I Do: Julia Li of Lu Lu Fresh Express

October 6th, 2015




Julia Li grew up in her family’s restaurants, watching them turn out authentic Chinese fare to hungry St. Louisans. But she didn’t jump into the family business right away. Instead, Li began her career in public relations, working for companies like Nickelodeon, Disney and Scratch Music Group. When she recently returned to Lu Lu Seafood & Dim Sum, she used that marketing know-how to take the family business to the next level, launching an entrepreneur center, dishing out healthy offerings and revving up a food truck.

Why did you return to St. Louis?
About a year-and-a-half ago, I found out I have a pituitary adenoma – it’s a benign brain tumor. So it’s not a big deal … but at that time, I reassessed what’s important, and family and creative expression were at the top of that list. Another reason I came back is that our kitchen expanded very fast. About three years ago, Dierbergs approached us to partner with them on satellite locations (inside Dierbergs) called Lu Lu Chinese Express … and we were trying to keep up with demand.

What do you do now?
I’m the one who’s in charge of our Dierbergs relationships, business development and Lu Lu’s Fresh Express – developing the Fresh Express fast-casual concept and making this something that the clientele really enjoy.

How does your work in PR influence the work you do at Lu Lu?
The overarching connection is creating experiences. I’m passionate about delivering really cool experiences and exposing my culture to all types of people.

What is Lu Lu Fresh Express?
It’s our gluten-free, dairy-free, no-MSG options for those who want to eat healthier … Dierbergs carries Lu Lu Fresh Express meals under the name Lu Lu Healthy Balance. And on the Lu Lu’s Fresh Express side, we also have a food truck coming out.

When will it hit city streets?
It’s slated to run Oct. 1. Originally, we were going to do a dim sum truck. Now we’re doing a street food concept with it, things that are griddled, moo shu wraps, things that you can take to-go … We’re aggressively looking for a building to buy, too. We want (a brick-and-mortar) to be open by the beginning of the year.   

You also got involved in Lu Lu’s bar program. What changed?
Before we didn’t really have an official bar program; we kind of just had a bar. Now we’ve completely transformed it. We have about seven specialty cocktails … for instance, the lychee martini made with fresh lychees. The Chivas Regal whiskey green tea is what we all drink in China. You walk in anywhere, and they’ll be like, “Do you want a whiskey green tea?”

What is Create Space?
Create Space has transitioned (from a pop-up artisan market) to a creative entrepreneurship incubator. We’re building a commercial kitchen down the street from (Lu Lu Seafood). The intention is to turn Olive Boulevard into an innovation center for creatives and food makers.

Describe the working dynamic between you and your mom, Jenny Lu.
My mom is the mastermind of how the restaurant functions. She does a phenomenal job with providing delicious, authentic, healthy, real Chinese food. What I bring to the table is recognizing this artisanal value. Every dumpling is handmade and has 11 folds in it. It’s a beautiful process. Everything in Chinese cuisine is about balance. I’m helping to bring that to a general public.

Is it ever challenging to work so close with family?
We have our conflicts at times, and it’s mostly because I come from a world of entertainment, so I see things as: ‘How can we deliver the best product with the best brand at the exact right time?’ My parents, who have decades of business experience, know what works, and so it’s almost like we’re advising each other. They tell me how it is … and I’ll constantly challenge them, and in that process we innovate – because it really is a combination of both. It’s a balance that does the trick.

-photo by Ashley Gieseking

Meatless Monday: Meatloaf

October 5th, 2015



This stick-to-your-ribs Meatless Monday meal is the perfect kickoff to October. A full pound of baby portobello mushrooms are cooked down, then combined with cooked brown rice, oat bran and wheat germ. Add an umami punch with a combo of mustard, ketchup, Heinz 57 and vegetarian Worcestershire sauce, then hold it all together with eggs and milk. Bake 45 minutes, then serve with buttery mashed potatoes. Click here for this meat-free meatloaf recipe.

-photo by Greg Rannells

Hit List: 5 new STL places you must try this month

October 5th, 2015



1. Reeds American Table: 7322 Manchester Road, Maplewood, 314.899.9821, reedsamericantable.com

Doors are finally open at Reeds American Table, chef Matt Daughaday’s first solo eatery. Arrive early to grab a seat at the bar and snack on Daughaday’s bacon fat-fried cornbread (made famous from his days as chef at Taste) and let beverage director Andrey Ivanov select your new favorite wine while you wait for your table. Once you’re seated, start with the roasted cauliflower small plate, where the stems are used to create a bed of puréed curried cauliflower under roasted florets topped with tangy pickled raisins and gremolada. Don’t miss the roasted chicken leg quarter (pictured) served with oyster mushrooms and sauteed kale, and save room for pastry chef Summer Wright’s take on an apple-date crisp or her velvety vanilla panna cotta. Peruse Ivanov’s Russian novel-length beverage menu with suggested wine pairings for nearly every dish. Those not in the mood for wine can enjoy six rotating draft beers (with a much larger bottle selection) or one of seven house cocktails from the full bar.




2. Milque Toast: 2212 S. Jefferson Ave., St. Louis, 314.833.0085, milquetoastbar.org

There’s more than bread and butter at Milque Toast, a teeny breakfast and lunch eatery serving up big flavors on sliced bread. Indulge your childhood dreams with the Nutty S’mores Toast, a thick slice of Breadsmith brioche topped with a layer of Nutella and toasted marshmallows. Then move on to more adult fare, like a slice of Red Guitar’s pain à l’ancienne topped with sauteed mushrooms, a smear of Heartland Creamery goat cheese and a drizzle of truffle oil, or bite into the house-made gravlax and sliced cucumber served on traditional rujbrød and topped with a dollop of horseradish cream and capers. Can’t decide? Try a bit of everything at a Danish-inspired Smørrebrød weekend brunch (pictured), when five chef-selected toasts are served with side dishes. Enjoy a mug of Mississippi Mud coffee, a glass of house-made nut milk or a cup of rosy hibiscus tea that pairs perfectly with the sunny patio.



3. Standard Brewing Co.: 12322 Dorsett Road, Maryland Heights, 314.548.2270, standardbrewingstl.com

After teaching others to homebrew at J2 Brewing, owners Jeff Harlan and Jeff Jones have opened Standard Brewing Co. in Maryland Heights. Beer goes the extra mile at Standard, as spent grains find their way into many dishes on the in-house Pulse Pizza menu. Step up to the sprawling bar and order the well-rounded Enigma IPA. Pair it with fat, house-made soft pretzels and an accompanying beer cheese sauce made with Standard’s Klassisch hefeweizen. Hungrier patrons can nosh on house-made pizzas featuring crust made with Enigma IPA spent grains. The beer averse can select from Standard’s cocktail menu that favors local distillers, including spirits from Cardinal Sin, Pinckney Bend and Still 630.





4. Cork & Rind: 555 First Capitol Drive, St. Charles, 636.896.4404, corkandrind.com

Neighborhood bottle shop Cork & Rind has opened doors in St. Charles, featuring a carefully curated selection of artisan and natural wines. Look for picks like Terre Rouge l’Quest syrah from California or Cascina Ulivi Semplicemente Bianco from Italy’s Piedmont region. Beer fans can get their fix, too, stocking up on local options from Alpha Brewing, Crown Valley and 4 Hands, as well as national players like Rogue and Uinta. Choose your bottle, then make it a party with a selection of imported and domestic cheeses, salami, crackers, nuts, olives and more from Fox River Dairy, Salume Beddu and Volpi.


5. Six Mile Bridge: 11841 Dorsett Road, Maryland Heights, 314.942.2211, sixmilebridgebeer.com

Another brewery is bestowing beer to the masses in Maryland Heights. Six Mile Bridge appeals to the modern drinker with a sleek, industrial tasting room. Grab a seat at the glossy wood bar and have the bartender pull a pint of a Bavarian hefeweizen with notes of banana and light spice, or fill a growler with the Irish red ale, brewed with honey and layered with notes of caramel and toffee. City dwellers can keep an eye out for Six Mile beers on draft at dozens of St. Louis-area bars and restaurants.


-photos by Michelle Volansky 

The Weekend Project: Bagels and Lox

October 2nd, 2015



It wasn’t until we moved to Houston, Texas that I had my first truly memorable bagel. The smell coming from inside New York Bagel & Coffee Shop enticed us before we opened the door. The long line moved at a rapid pace, so I never really had time to choose amid the dozens of flavors. Usually I opted for the choice of indecisives everywhere: an Everything with garlic, salt and every seed imaginable with a bit of cream cheese inside. The result: a warm toothsome exterior that gave way to a soft fluffy inside smeared with just-melted cream cheese – an irresistible Yiddish yin yang.




I admit, I was nervous about writing this piece. What right did I – a Midwest Catholic better acquainted with post-Mass doughnuts and Christmas cookies – have to tackle the elusive homemade bagel without any prior knowledge or Jewish grandmother for guidance? After all, plenty of professional bakeries haven’t mastered this breakfast staple. While I’m sure this gentile still has a long way to go before perfecting the art of the bagel, this is one of the most requested Weekend Projects to hit our table at home.




And how do you make a perfect bagel even better? Add an unctuous layer of gorgeous lox. It seems extravagant, but the reality is much simpler. Just pack salmon fillets with sugar, salt and herbs, wrap tightly, compress and let it cure in the refrigerator for two days. Then remove, rinse and slice for a decadent economical treat.

Since the bagel dough only requires a short rise, this Weekend Project is perfect as the weather begins to cool and you can once again approach your oven for baking. Grab a jar of capers and some thinly sliced red onion for a delicious brunch treat that will easily stretch into next week’s breakfast.


The Gameplan
Day 1: Prepare the lox.
Day 2: Turn the lox.
Day 3: Prepare the bagels. Slice the lox and serve.

The Shopping List*
1 lb. center-cut salmon or other fatty fish
½ cup chopped dill
1 lemon
4 cups bread flour
1 package (2¼ tsp.) active dry yeast
2 Tbsp. barley malt syrup or 1 Tbsp. honey
1 to 2 tsp. desired toppings (salt, Creole salt, sesame seeds, poppy seeds, cinnamon-sugar, etc.)
Cream cheese, capers and thinly sliced red onion for serving

*This list assumes you have kosher salt, an egg and sugar at hand in your kitchen. If not, you will need to purchase those items, too.





Makes 1 pound

1 lb. center-cut salmon or other fatty fish
½ cup kosher salt
½ cup sugar
½ cup chopped dill
4 to 5 thin lemon slices
12 Bagels (recipe follows)
Cream cheese, capers and thinly sliced red onion for serving

Day 1: Mix the salt, sugar and dill together in a small bowl and set aside.
● Rinse the salmon and pat it dry with a paper towel. Check for any small bones that may remain. Place a long sheet of plastic wrap on the counter, then place the fish on top, skin-side down.
● Pack the sugar-salt mixture evenly over the fish, covering all exposed areas. Place the lemon slices on top, then wrap tightly in plastic, pressing out all the air. Wrap the fish in a second layer of plastic.
● Place the fish on a rimmed tray, then place another on top and weigh it down with a large can or heavy object. Place the whole set-up in the refrigerator for 24 hours.
Day 2: Drain any collected liquid and flip the fish. Return the top tray and weights and refrigerate another 24 hours.
Day 3: Remove the fish from the plastic and rinse any remaining salt or sugar with cold water. Pat dry with paper towels and taste a small slice. If too salty, continue rinsing. If too bland, add more salt-sugar mixture, wrap in plastic with let cure another 24 hours.
● Slice thinly and serve on bagels with cream cheese, capers and thinly sliced red onion




12 servings

1½ cups lukewarm water (about 110 degrees)
1 package (2¼ tsp.) active dry yeast
2 Tbsp. barley malt syrup or 1 Tbsp. honey
4 cups bread flour
1 Tbsp. kosher salt
1 large egg
1 to 2 tsp. desired toppings (salt, Creole salt, sesame seeds, poppy seeds, cinnamon-sugar, etc.)

Day 3: In the bowl of a stand mixer, stir together the water, yeast and barley malt syrup. Let stand 10 minutes, until bubbles begin to form and the mixture smells yeasty.
● Add 1 cup flour and mix on low speed to incorporate the flour, 1 minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add 2 cups flour. Mix on medium speed until the flour is fully integrated. Add the salt and the remaining 1 cup flour and mix on medium speed until the dough is fully mixed and creates a well-formed ball.
● Raise the speed to medium-high to knead the dough 10 minutes. Remove the bowl, cover with a clean dry towel and let rise 20 minutes. The dough will expand, but not double in size.
● Bring 2 quarts water to boil in a wide shallow pot over high heat. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
● Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured, clean work surface. Use a sharp knife to slice the dough into 12 equal pieces. Roll each dough ball into an 8-inch rope. Wet the ends with water and twist them tightly together to form a 3-inch wide ring. Place the rings on a floured surface and cover with the towel to rise 10 minutes.
● Drop 3 to 4 bagels into the water, taking care not to crowd them, and boil 1½ minutes, then flip them gently with a slotted spoon and let boil another 1½ minutes. Remove and place on a rack to dry. Repeat with the remaining dough. Place 6 bagels each on parchment-lined baking sheets.
● In a small bowl, beat the egg and 1 tablespoon water to form an egg wash. Brush the tops of the bagels liberally and season with desired toppings.
● Bake 15 minutes, then rotate the pans and bake another 10 minutes, until the bagels are golden brown. Bagels will keep in a paper bag at room temperature for a few days or frozen in plastic up to 6 months.




-photos by Michelle Volansky  

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

October 2nd, 2015

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




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

By the Book: ‘Drinking with the Saints’ by Michael P. Foley

October 2nd, 2015

Welcome to the new By the Book, where the Sauce editors choose a monthly theme and pit cookbooks in a head-to-head battle to see who comes out on top. And the winner? We hand the champion over to you in a By the Book Facebook giveaway. In honor of our annual Guide to Drinking, we’re kicking the new BTB off with cocktail books. Last week, we shook up a Detroiter from Cocktails on Tap. Next up: Drinking with the Saints by Michael P. Foley.




Drinking with the Saints is for those interested in Catholic history or those looking for an excuse to drink every night – in fact, both might be required. Organized as a calendar, drink recipes are paired with saints’ feast days and short biographies. Ranging from classic and vintage cocktails to themed inventions, most are simple but require a fully stocked bar.

I chose to make the Green Ghost cocktail; on a Thursday afternoon, it sounded refreshing with gin, Green Chartreuse and lime juice. Also (full disclosure) I know the author of Drinking with the Saints and was privy to tastings while he developed the lengthy book. I remembered the Green Ghost as a perfectly tart cocktail.

Reminiscent of a Last Word with gin, Green Chartreuse and lime juice, the Green Ghost has no Maraschino liqueur to sweeten and soften the in-your-face, herbaceous tag team of gin and Chartreuse. I enjoyed the tangy cocktail, but would have preferred a milder gin to the Beefeater we had available at Sauce HQ. Something like Hendrick’s would provide a better backdrop for the alluring complexity of Green Chartreuse and fresh citrus.

The Rundown
Skill level: Beginner. Recipes are simple and straightforward, but some drinks do demand ingredients you’ve never heard of.
This book is for: People interested in saints and cocktails – Catholic drinkers’ coffee tables.
Other recipes to try: For a crowd, make the complex but balanced Prompt Succor Punch, which includes gin, Yellow Chartreuse, Herbsaint and citrus.
The winner: Cocktails on Tap. Even for saints, the complexity of the Detroiter was hard to beat.




Green Ghost
1 serving

2 oz. gin
½ oz. Green Chartreuse
½ oz. lime juice

• Pour all ingredients into a shaker filled with ice and shake 40 times. Strain into a cocktail glass.


Extra Sauce: Sauce Pumpkin Beer Hunt 2015

October 1st, 2015



It’s back! ‘Tis the season for bonfires, cable-knit sweaters and for die-hard devotees, that greatest of St. Louis beer traditions: pumpkin beer. With more than 20 area brews to choose from, you’ve got your pick of the pumpkin patch.

Prove your love for pumpkin beer this month during our Sauce Pumpkin Beer Hunt Instagram Contest. Here’s how it works:

1. Follow @SauceMag on Instagram.

2. Work your way through our Sauce Pumpkin Beer Hunt Check List (click here for a printable version) and get drinking! Each time you enjoy a pumpkin beer from the list, take a photo of you with your brew and tell us what you’re drinking and where on Instagram. Tag @SauceMag use the #SaucePumpkinBeerHunt hashtag so we know you checked another off your list.

3. When you’ve finished your last beer, tell us in your final post. The first Sauce follower to correctly complete the Sauce Pumpkin Beer Hunt challenge by Friday, Oct. 31 at noon receives a $100 prize package to Craft Beer Cellar.

Must be 21 or older to participate and to claim the prize.


First Look: Union Loafers Cafe and Bread Bakery in Botanical Heights

October 1st, 2015



After years of planning, renovating and baking, Ted Wilson and Sean Netzer quietly opened Union Loafers Cafe and Bread Bakery yesterday, Sept. 30, at 1629 Tower Grove Ave., in Botanical Heights. As The Scoop reported in June 2012 and July 2013, this highly anticipated bakery will turn out naturally leavened, hearth-baked breads. The small team at Union Loafers includes Brian Lagerstrom, formerly of Niche and a member of the Sauce Ones to Watch class of 2015.

Union Loafers serves up a lunch menu of sandwiches, open-faced tartines, soups and salads. “Everything’s made from scratch. Especially the bread,” Wilson said, and he means everything – including pickles, mayonnaise, jams and even butter, all made from Missouri dairy. “The only thing we’re not doing is curing meat – yet.”

After the grand opening this Sunday, Oct. 4, drop in for lunch from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. or buy a loaf of fresh bread from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. (or until supply runs out) Tuesdays through Sundays. Union Loafers is currently waiting on a liquor license, but Wilson hopes to stock a bar with a selection of beer, wine and whiskey.


This slideshow requires JavaScript.

-photos by Meera Nagarajan



Extra Sauce: Where to buy local fresh pasta

September 30th, 2015



A beautiful plate of pasta is nothing short of enchanting – rich aromas, nuanced flavors and the painstaking presentation of the professional chef. It’s easy to boil a pot of noodles, but turning strands of wet spaghetti into a Michelin-starred dish can be a tall order for the home cook. Here, area chefs share their better-than-Nonna’s recipes and secrets for everything you need to take your pasta from basic to bellissima. Pro tip No. 1: Start with fresh pasta. Here’s where to get it in St. Louis.

Stellina: 3342 Watson Road, St. Louis, 314.256.1600, stellinapasta.com
Pasta available: Semolina or whole-wheat fettuccine, semolina or whole-wheat walnut tagliatelle, agnolotti, lasagna (by special request)
Price: $3 per 5-oz. nest

Katie’s Pizza & Pasta: 9568 Manchester Road, Rock Hill, 314.942.6555, katiespizzaandpasta.com
Pasta available: Arugula reginette, black spaghetti, bucatini, capellini, fiori, lemon pappardelle, paccheri, pappardelle, spaghetti, tagliatelle
Price: $5 per pound

Pastaria: 7734 Forsyth Blvd., Clayton, 314.862.6603, pastariastl.com
Pasta available: Bucatini, canestri, chitarra, gargenelli, pappardelle, regular and whole-wheat strozzapreti
Price: $6.25 per pound

Midwest Pasta Co.: 2023 Cherokee St., St. Louis, 314-772-7560, midwestpastaco.com
Pasta available:
Laminated – angel hair, vermicelli, spaghetti, linguine, fettuccine, tagliatelle, pappardelle
Extruded – penne, rigatoni, ziti, conchiglie (shells), bucatini, rotelle, radiatore, macaroni, torini, fusilli, cresta di gallo, cavatappi
Gnocchi – egg, spinach, garlic, chive, sun-dried tomato, sweet potato
Ravioli – black bean, butternut squash, four cheese, goat cheese, gorgonzola, lobster, mushroom, spinach and walnut, ricotta and sun-dried tomato, white truffle
Tortellini and Tortelloni – beef and Pork, chicken
Gluten-Free – fettuccine, spaghetti, penne, rigatoni, farfalle (bow ties), lasagna sheets, gnocchi
Price: Approximately $4 per pound


-photo by Greg Rannells 

Keep up with one or all of your favorite Sauce Magazine columns
Conceived and created by Bent Mind Creative Group, LLC 1999-2015, Bent Mind Creative Group, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
Sauce Magazine 1820 Chouteau Ave. St. Louis, Missouri 63103.
PH: 314-772-8004 FAX: 314-241-8004