Hello Stranger | Login | Create Account
 
 
 
 
 
  SAUCE MAGAZINE
|
Dec 04, 2016
|
Intelligent Content For The Food Fascinated
|
SERVING SAINT LOUIS SINCE 1999
Email | Text-size: A | A | A

By the Book: Hubert Keller’s Souvenirs by Hubert Keller and Penelope Wisner

December 2nd, 2016

BTB_Nov16_Round3_1

 

Paging through Hubert Keller’s memoir/cookbook is intimidating. The man grew up in a kitchen in France. He’s cooked on more continents than I’ve been to. He’s served presidents and is apparently really into DJing (actually that last one made him more approachable thanks to goofy photos of him spinning with some guy named Frenchy Le Freak).

There are some seriously daunting recipes. I wasn’t going to make brioche dough, pastry cream, poached pears and a glaze all for one dessert. But further reading turns up milkshakes and a beer burger, too. The book is about his life, which hasn’t taken place entirely in fine-dining kitchens.

I chose to make the appropriately French but delightfully simple Galette des Rois – the traditional French king cake made with puff pastry and a rich almond filling. I’d made this seasonal dish before, but Keller’s recipe was better with a nice rum addition to the filling and an egg yolk wash that made the pastry brown and glisten (all my egg washes will be yolks-only from now on). The cake is practically done for you with frozen puff pastry – I’ll definitely make this again.

Skill level: French. Some recipes are simple with big payoff, but some are fine-dining level and could be prohibitively complicated for home cooks.
Other recipes to try: Spicy sesame kettle corn, poached pear brioche galette
The verdict: Keller and the three kings rule.

 

BTB_Nov16_Round3_2

 

Gallette des Rois/ Three Kings Cake
Serves about 8

8 Tbsp. (1 stick) unsalted butter
½ cup sugar
1 large egg
3 large egg yolks, divided
1 cup finely ground almonds
2 Tbsp. unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting work surface
2 Tbsp. dark rum
1½ lbs. puff pastry, divided
1 dried dean or 1 peeled baby carrot
1 Tbsp. powdered sugar

• In a mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugar together until very light and fluffy. Beat in the whole egg and 1 of the egg yolks until smooth. Stir in the almonds, 2 tablespoons flour and rum until evenly combined. Cover and refrigerate.
• Brush an ungreased baking sheet very lightly with water. Dust a work surface lightly with flour and roll 10 ounces of the pastry until 1/16th inch thick and trim into an 11-inch circle. Transfer it to the prepared baking sheet. Mound the almond filling on the dough, leaving a 1-inch border all around. Press the dried bean into the filling. In a small bowl, whisk the remaining 2 egg yolks with 1-teaspoon water. Brush the border with a little of the egg wash.
• On a lightly floured work surface, roll the remaining dough until 1/8-inch thick and trim into an 11-inch circle. Lay it over the filling and press the top and bottom pastry layers together to seal. Trim the pastry so the edges are even. If you like, make a scalloped border all the way around: with your thumbnail facing toward the cake, press your thumb down onto the pastry border. Position a teaspoon on one side of your thumb and pull the pastry back toward the cake with the spoon, snugging it up nicely. Move your thumb to the opposite side of the scallop and repeat all the way around to form a deeply wavy, decorative edge. If the dough warms too much and becomes soft and sticky, refrigerate the cake to allow it to firm up.
• Brush the egg wash over the entire top of the cake. With the back of a paring knife, without cutting into the pastry, draw a decorative pattern of cross-hatched lines or petals by marking sets of curved lines like open and closed parentheses.
• Chill the cake while the oven preheats to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Pierce a few holes through the pastry to allow steam to escape and dust the top with the powdered sugar. Bake until puffed and golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Lower the heat to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and continue to bake until the cake is firm, shiny on top, and toasty brown, about 5 minutes. If the sugar has not melted, run the cake quickly under a very hot broiler to finish glazing. Serve it warm or at room temperature. The cake is best served the same day it is baked. Any leftovers can be rewarmed gently before serving.

Reprinted with permission Andrews McMeel Publishing

Drink This Weekend Edition: Spruce Brown Ale at Old Bakery Beer Co.

December 2nd, 2016

120216_dtwe

 

The St. Louis beer scene is ripe with collaborations and local support. The most recent example can be found just across the Mississippi in Alton. Old Bakery Beer Co. has teamed up with The Nature Institute to offer a series of special brews showcasing ingredients locally foraged at TNI’s managed property. This series showcases 12 cask beers offered on the first Friday of every month through October 2017.

Each combination highlights a native Illinois plant and its importance to the environment. Over the course of this yearlong series, imbibers can vote for their favorite combination. Old Bakery will brew the winner at full scale and release it to the public at this time next year. And if that wasn’t enough, half of the proceeds from specialty beer sold benefits TNI’s research and education program.

The first in this series, a Persimmon Pub Ale, was offered in November during Alton Craft Beer Week, but fear not, local beer drinkers – the second cask is tapped tonight, Dec. 2, at 5 p.m. Head to Alton for the Spruce Brown Ale, Old Bakery’s A-Town Brown Ale hopped up with Simcoe and Chinook and finished with spruce tips. It’s festive, creative and sure to be delicious served at cask temperature.

Can’t make it tonight for the second release? Cask No. 3, Hairy Mountain Porter – a porter brewed with Hairy Mountain mint – debuts Jan. 6, 2017.

 

Related Content
Drink This Weekend Edition: 3 Big Black Friday Beers

Sauce Guide to Beer 2016

• Sneak Peek: The Old Bakery Beer Co.

 

Baked: Chocolate Chai Cupcakes

December 2nd, 2016

113016_baked

 

Pumpkin spice dominates lattes and baked goods right now, but there’s something special about chai spices. Pairing cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg and ginger with deep, rich chocolate gives a boost to each bite. The ReTrailer recently cold-brewed its Don’t Chai Know masala chai blend, and the concentrate is the best part: heavily ginger based and infused with all the best masala spices. It’s available at Larder & Cupboard and meant to be blended with milk, but I added it to these super moist chocolate cupcakes for a tangy, spicy kick. It’s the perfect fall dessert. Enjoy and happy baking!

 

Chocolate Chai Cupcakes
Adapted from a recipe at Sally’s Baking Addiction
1 dozen cupcakes

¾ cup chai concentrate*, divided
1 Tbsp. plus a splash heavy cream, divided
1 cup sugar
⅓ cup canola oil
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 tsp. vanilla extract
¾ cup flour
¾ cup cocoa powder, divided
¾ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
Pinch of kosher salt
2 cups powdered sugar
½ cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature

• Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners.
• In a small bowl, stir together ½ cup chai concentrate and 1 tablespoon heavy cream. Set aside.
• In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla until combined. Add the chai-cream mixture, flour, ½ cup cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt and the chai-cream mixture and whisk until just combined.
• Evenly divide the batter among the muffin cups. Bake 18 to 22 minutes, until a knife inserted into the middle of a cupcake comes out clean. Let cool completely.
• Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, make the frosting by beating the powdered sugar, butter and the remaining ¼ cup chai concentrate, ¼ cup cocoa powder and splash of cream on medium speed until fluffy. The frosting should be thick but spreadable.
• When the cupcakes have cooled, top them liberally with frosting.

* Chai concentrate is available at Larder & Cupboard.

 

More Baked Recipes
Baked: Roasted Sriracha Pumpkin Seeds

Baked: Tropezienne Tarts

Baked: Chocolate Chip-Orange Muffins

• Baked: Chai-Chocolate Chip Scones

 

The Scoop: Guerrilla Street Food to open second STL location in new Trops

December 1st, 2016

120116_guerrillast

 { 800-pound gorilla }

 

Guerrilla Street Food has found a second home – inside the new Tropical Liqueurs. As The Scoop reported in June, Tropical Liqueurs is moving from its current location in Soulard to at 4104 Manchester Ave., in The Grove. Its last day in Soulard is this Sunday, Dec. 4.

At the time, Billy Thompson, a co-owner of the frozen cocktail bar, spoke excitedly about the neighborhood, the building and the possibility of partnering with a local restaurant at the new space. This possibility became reality when Trops decided to join forces with Brian Hardesty and Joel Crespo of Guerrilla Street Food. The new space is slated to open in early March.

“We hadn’t thought that a new location in St. Louis was what we wanted to do before,” said Hardesty. “We really didn’t have a serious conversation about a second St. Louis location because we were focusing on Chicago, but this is a cool new development, and we’re excited about this partnership.”

While Tropical Liqueurs will cover the beverages, Guerrilla Street Food will handle all the food. “The location is going to have its own chef and its own specials, but people can still expect to see some of the old-school classics like The Flying Pig, the chicken adobo and the lumpia,” said Hardesty.

Guerrilla Street Food will offer lunch and dinner, as well as weekly brunch service. Hardesty said he looked forward to the fun combination of tropical slushy drinks and Filipino fare. “I think it will be a good addition to the neighborhood and that it will integrate really well with what is already there,” he said. “We’re just really excited to get it started.”

 

Related Content
The Scoop: Tropical Liqueurs to move to The Grove

The Scoop: Tropical Liqueurs to stay open in Soulard, looking for new location

The Scoop: Guerrilla Street Food to open Chicago location

Eat This: Chicken Adobo at Guerrilla Street Food

Olivia Dansky and Brianna Velarde contributed to this report.

Best New Restaurants: No. 10 – Melo’s Pizzeria

December 1st, 2016

To be the best, everything matters – atmosphere, service and food. Here, the places that dazzled us from the moment they opened: St. Louis’ 10 best new restaurants of 2016.

 

120116_melos

{ dom pizza }

 

Five seats, five menu items and a fire crackling merrily in the oven: This is Melo’s. The small but mighty Italian-American pizza shop is run by the Valenza family – brothers Joey, Johnny and Vinny, and their dad Vince Sr., the owner of Blues City Deli, whom you could call their consigliere.

When Vince finally bought the Blues City building in 2013, it came with a teeny garage, big enough to fit a couple cars, or to give life to Joey’s bread-making hobby turned pizza-making obsession.

Happily, Dad went with the latter, and now we’re obsessed, too. The Dom is our favorite, a simple pizza topped with Grana Padano, sliced garlic, fresh basil, oregano and a glug of extra-virgin olive oil. It’s Neapolitan-style, with a thin, wood-fired crust and a perfectly pure crushed tomato sauce, but has an American twist, mixing fresh mozzarella with drier, shredded mozzarella. This transgression makes for a lower moisture content that keeps the dough from getting too wet.

“It’s more of a familiar flavor for people,” Joey said. “I don’t know if it’s our American taste buds, but we think it tastes better.”

Melo’s formula for an Italian-American pie combines the best of both worlds. We appreciate an edited menu, pared down to the bare, most delicious bones.

 

More about Melo’s Pizzeria

• Hit List: 6 new restaurants you must try this month

• Sneak Peek: Melo’s Pizzeria in Benton Park

The Scoop: Blues City Deli owner to open Melo’s Pizza

Photo by Dave Moore

Best New Restaurants: No. 9 – Egg

December 1st, 2016

To be the best, everything matters – atmosphere, service and food. Here, the places that dazzled us from the moment they opened: St. Louis’ 10 Best New Restaurants of 2016.

 

120116_egg

{ cornbread benedict }

Egg, the former weekend brunch pop-up at Spare No Rib, hatched into its own restaurant this October, and we couldn’t be happier.

Certain combinations may sound odd, but don’t let that stop you from ordering chakchouka alongside a cheesy carne asada wrap or a chorizo breakfast taco with the cornbread and gravy.

The eclectic, Tex-Mex-leaning menu is a reflection of chef-owner Lassaad Jeliti’s background, from growing up in Tunisia to running a barbecue/taco joint for the past three years. The chakchouka, a hearty tomato and pepper stew topped with creamy soft-baked eggs and served with toast for dipping, was a childhood breakfast favorite. The Benedicts begin with the sweet, crumbly cornbread Jeliti perfected at Spare No Rib, topped with sauteed veggies or house-smoked pork belly and poached eggs, all drenched in hollandaise.

“They all have similar flavor profiles,” Jeliti said of his influences. “The Mexicans got their flavors from the Spaniards, who got their flavors from [North Africans],” he joked. “That’s my theory, anyway.”

Whatever its heritage, Egg’s flawlessly prepared, wide-ranging fare keeps us coming back for brunch.

 

More about Egg

• First Look: Egg in Benton Park

• The Scoop: Spare No Rib to move to larger space, expand Egg

Photo by Cory Miller

Best New Restaurants: No. 8 – Sheesh Restaurant

December 1st, 2016

To be the best, everything matters – atmosphere, service and food. Here, the places that dazzled us from the moment they opened: St. Louis’ 10 Best New Restaurants of 2016.

 

120116_sheesh

{ adana kebab }

Sheesh Restaurant is more than just another spot to grab great kebabs. Each time we settle around a low copper table etched with intricate scrollwork, we’re transported a long way from South Grand Avenue. The menu of traditional Turkish dishes is all delivered under heavy burnished domes: from large plates to tiny cups of strong Turkish coffee. Every time a server whisks away the copper cloches, each kebab appears with quiet drama through a cloud of steam. Don’t get overwhelmed among the dozens of sharable mezze, richly spiced entrees and sweet buttery desserts; order one of our five go-to dishes at Sheesh:

1. Baba Ghanoush
The kitchen doesn’t cut any corners with this classic Turkish dip. The smoky eggplant and rich tahini are balanced by garlic and lemon, but it’s the sprinkle of savory, pungent sumac that makes this starter so addictive.

2. Ezogelin Soup
Shove off, Campbell’s. This tomato soup is bulked up with bulgur, rice and lentils for a comforting bowl that actually feels like a meal.

3. Adana Kebab
Tender ground lamb intensely seasoned with Turkish spices (we meet again, sumac) is formed around a blade and grilled before it arrives atop a bed of delicate rice pilaf. This is what kebabs aspire to be.

4. Sheesh Tawook
Not to be outdone by its lamb counterpart, chunks of chicken breast are served juicy and packed with flavor thanks to a lemony marinade with tomato and pepper paste.

5. Knafeh
The best of baklava and cheesecake come together in knafeh, a disc of hot Turkish cheese covered in layer of crunchy, buttery phyllo and soused in sweet syrup.

 

More about Sheesh Restaurant

• Lunch Rush: Sheesh Restaurant

• Hit List: 6 new restaurants you must try this month

• First Look: Sheesh Restaurant on South Grand

Photo by Elizabeth Maxson

Best New Restaurants: No. 7 – The Preston

December 1st, 2016

To be the best, everything matters – atmosphere, service and food. Here, the places that dazzled us from the moment they opened: St. Louis’ 10 Best New Restaurants of 2016.

 

 120116_thepreston

 

Hotel bars aim for luxury and sophistication, but most miss the mark, landing in chintz and disappointment. The Preston at The Chase Park Plaza hits a rare bull’s-eye with stylish leather chairs, cool gray wainscoting and stiff drinks served in cut crystal glasses on a marble bar. The atmosphere is swanky, but still comfortable with a refined, masculine elegance.

Service at the bar and in the dining room strikes the sweet spot of being attentive without getting in the way of conversation, with a staff dressed as smartly as the room. Some original cocktails have a classic vibe, like Goodnight Mr. Preston, which stares you down with bourbon, Carpano Antica sweet vermouth, Benedictine and bitters. But others, like Smokey and The Bandito, have more drama with hickory smoke and poblano-infused tequila.

Pecan-encrusted pork tenderloin may sound like boring hotel food, but one bite of the ultra tender meat glazed in barbecue jus and pulled through the bright orange and green swirls of carrot and pea purees, and you’ll want to check into The Chase and spend the whole night. Before you pick up your room key, order the salty-sweet pretzel croissants – at any time of day, at any point in the meal; just get them.

And take a moment, as you’re cozied into the rounded plaid banquettes in dim, flattering lighting, to appreciate how rare it is to realize the fantasy of accommodations that aren’t just expensive, but downright glamorous.

 

More about The Preston

• First Look: The Preston in the Central West End

• Hit List: 6 must-try restaurants in March

Nightlife: The Preston

Photo by Jonathan Gayman

Best New Restaurants: No. 6 – Porano Pasta

December 1st, 2016

To be the best, everything matters – atmosphere, service and food. Here, the places that dazzled us from the moment they opened:St. Louis’ 10 Best New Restaurants of 2016.

 

120116_porano

{ ‘nduja pizza }

Porano Pasta is the fast-casual restaurant we have been waiting for. It took Gerard Craft, the chef mind behind Niche Food Group, to combine affordability and speed with such quality ingredients and consistently well-executed food.

Walk in and notice the restaurant’s towering ceilings and wall-sized illustrations of Italian and St. Louis landmarks. Sunshine pours in through floor-to-ceiling windows and upbeat pop music fills the air (Ace of Base, anyone?).

Queue up to build your bowl from a variety of starches, sauces, proteins and toppings. The possibilities are endless, but we’re loyal to a combination we call the Suzie Bowl (That’s Suzie Craft, marketing director of Niche Food Group.): a half-kale, half-farro base, anchovy dressing, spicy tofu, green olives, crispy garlic, herbs and a drizzle of Mike’s Hot Honey. Spicy and sweet with briny bites, fresh crunch and pops of intense garlic and herbs – it’s been hard to order anything else since she suggested it on opening day.

While such healthy options are available, comfort combinations should also be indulged in, like a strozzapreti pasta bowl with Alfredo sauce, grilled chicken, herbs and toasted almonds. It’s a version of fettuccine Alfredo also known as our Achilles’ heel. Or go for executive chef Michael Petres’ new Detroit-style pizza: square focaccia-like dough with edge-to-edge cheese that bubbles at the brink into a salty, crackling border. Pair that with a Negroni slushie, and you’re in for a good night.

Niche Food Group took a national, fast-casual business model and made it work. Will it ever be a franchise? The possibilities, like their bowls, seem endless.

 

Related Content

Lunch Rush: Porano Pasta

• Hit List: 4 new must-try restaurants in February

• Sneak Peek: Porano Pasta on Washington Avenue

The Scoop: Gerard Craft to open fifth restaurant downtown 

Photo by Carmen Troesser

Best New Restaurants: No. 5 – Nixta

December 1st, 2016

To be the best, everything matters – atmosphere, service and food. Here, the places that dazzled us from the moment they opened: St. Louis’ 10 Best New Restaurants of 2016.

 

120116_nixta1

{ from left, chef Tello Carreón and owner Ben Poremba}

Surrounded by hip Latin music and tropical plants at Nixta’s recent soft opening, we kept spontaneously exhaling and saying, “This feels like vacation.” Along with the bright, beachy colors and dim, candlelit atmosphere of Ben Poremba’s newest restaurant, the menu is strewn with flowers and fruit: ceviche served with a fragrant, viscid sphere of rose water espuma; pork belly al pastor topped with caramelized pineapple pico de gallo; a sea scallop in a pool of green, bergamot-infused aguachile sprinkled with tiny whole blooms.

This pretty chiaroscuro of rich meats and delicate seafoods, deep dark mole and bright vegetal spice, is thanks to executive chef Tello Carreón. He’s the reason Poremba wanted to open a Mexican restaurant.

They got to know each other in the kitchen of Poremba’s fine-dining restaurant Elaia, just down the street. “I like his cooking a lot and thought a modern take on Mexican food – his kind of food – would make a great restaurant,” Poremba said. Why look outside – why go to New York to research new ideas – when you have such talent inside your own St. Louis kitchens?

Carreón’s passion for creativity is reflected in unexpected dishes, like the tuna tostada with lime-white shoyu glaze, and in more traditional offerings he grew up eating. “What I’m trying to say is you don’t have to be stuck with the same ingredients,” Carreón said. Which is why he paired his grandma’s classic mole recipe with braised beef cheeks instead of the expected chicken.

“I like to have dishes fresh and more alive than you typically find them. I want to elevate them a little more – bring them to life,” Carreón said. “I think I have the taste, the cuisine that people want to try.”

We think so too, jefe.

 

More about Nixta

• Sneak Peek: Nixta in Botanical Heights

• The Scoop: Ben Poremba to open Mexican restaurant, Nixta, in former Old Standard space

The Scoop: Old Standard Fried Chicken to close

Photo by Carmen Troesser

RSS FEEDS
Keep up with one or all of your favorite Sauce Magazine columns
Conceived and created by Bent Mind Creative Group, LLC 1999-2016, 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