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Aug 04, 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: Open-Faced Tomato Sandwich

August 3rd, 2015

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When summer tomatoes are at their peak, we abide by one simple rule: Don’t mess with perfection. This Open-Faced Tomato Sandwich showcases them at their best. Toast a piece of hearty five-grain bread and gloss with quality mayo. Pile it high with an assortment of sliced farmers market tomatoes (we love Sungolds, Cherokee Purples and Green Zebras), sprinkle with salt and pepper and take a bite of harvest heaven. Click here for the recipe.

 

-photo by Greg Rannells

The Scoop: New sushi restaurant opens in Webster Groves

August 3rd, 2015

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After seven years managing Blue Ocean Sushi on The Loop, Pui Nammakhot is opening her own restaurant in Webster Groves. The Sushi Station will celebrate its grand opening at 29 N. Gore Ave., in Webster Groves in early September. The restaurant had a soft opening Friday, July 31 and is currently operating with a limited menu.

The full-service sushi restaurant will offer dozens of sushi rolls with fresh fish delivered from Chicago every three days. Sushi Station will seat 35 inside and soon another 25 on an expanded patio. Nammakhot will also offer carry-out and delivery.

The 14 nigiri options include surf clams, shrimp and snapper, while the 17 regular and 24 specialty rolls range from simple vegetarian options to creations like The Old Webster that features salmon, tuna, yellow tail, asparagus, gobo and a honey-wasabi mayo. The Sushi Station also serves a selection of entrees like katsu kare (Japanese-style curry with chicken or pork), udon noodles and Japanese fried rice.

Nammakhot said Webster Groves was the ideal location for her first sushi restaurant. “Webster Groves was always my dream place to come and open and do business in this community,” she said. “Webster Groves is a family community. I wanted to go to a place that doesn’t have much sushi and introduce (it) to the area.”

Nammakhot said she wanted to cater to families, so she planned an affordable menu that isn’t overwhelming spicy and features make-your-own sushi options for especially picky eaters.

On the beverage side, The Sushi Station will feature bottle Japanese brews like Sapporo, Hitachino and Kirin, as well as sake and Japanese whiskey. Currently Sushi Station operates from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday; doors will be open daily after the grand opening.

Hit List: 3 new restaurants to try this month

August 3rd, 2015

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1. Guerrilla Street Food, 3559 Arsenal St., St. Louis, 314.529.1328, guerrillastreetfood.com

Track this city’s Filipino food truck to its new brick-and-mortar restaurant. Periodic specials from the mobile eatery – crab ceviche, duck adobo poutine and the fried chicken delight Iron Manok – have been turned into menu staples at the 26-seat, counter-service restaurant. Besides creative Filipino-inspired dishes, Guerrilla Street offers a half dozen old-school rice bowls like chicken adobo, beef stew (mechado) and its popular Flying Pig. Among sides, try the ube fries made from purple sweet potatoes and the creamed spinach-esque ginataang greens. For a quick nosh, order the longanista corn dog of breaded, deep-fried sweet pork sausage on a stick or lumpia, a Filipino-style egg roll. Can’t decide? Stuff your face with the $25 Kamayan platter (pictured): A dine-in smorgasbord of 15 items eaten with fingers. Wash down the feast with the Calamansi Cooler or the 1-inch Punch, which combines black currant and pineapple juices with coconut milk.

 

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2. Dalie’s Smokehouse, 2951 Dougherty Ferry Road, Valley Park, 636.529.1898, daliessmokehouse.com 

There’s a familiar scent of wood smoke wafting through Valley Park. Doors have opened at Dalie’s Smokehouse, the seventh member of the venerable Pappy’s Smokehouse family. Ribs are the cornerstone of any good barbecue joint; here they receive a rich coating of Papa Joe’s original barbecue sauce, while the Dalie’s smoked chicken is glazed with the sweet heat of cranberry cayenne sauce. Eleven sides are available; we’re pairing our ’cue with chipotle-spiked mac-n-cheese, crunchy fried pickles and hush puppies studded with jalapeno and kernels of sweet corn. For something more hand-held, grab a meaty sandwich like the Cuban featuring pulled pork, ham, Swiss cheese, house pickles and mustard between griddled slices of Vitale’s ciabatta, or attempt to get your mouth around a mountainous Reuben (pictured) piled high with house-made beef pastrami and a layer of pork belly pastrami along with the usual suspects Swiss cheese, sauerkraut and Thousand Island dressing.

 

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3. J McArthurs, 3500 Watson Road, St. Louis. 314.353.9463, jmcarthurs.com 

The farm has hit the table in Lindenwood Park. J McArthurs sources ingredients from more than 15 Missouri and Illinois growers whose bounty chef and co-owner Ben McArthur turns into fresh, seasonal appetizers, main dishes and desserts. Start with a summery composed plate of garden tomatoes studded with country ham and mozzarella or get meatier with sweet and spicy glazed wings. Among entrees, try the shrimp and grits (pictured) or the fish of the day, which sees the catch seared in a cast-iron skillet then plated with a smoked corn bisque, English peas and potato confit. For a sweet ending, slip your spoon into vanilla panna cotta dolloped with seasonal preserves. Pair your fare with one of 16 by-the-glass wines to enjoy in the 40-seat dining room or in the shade of the covered patio.

-photos by Michelle Volansky

 

Extra Sauce: 6 frozen treats to cool down summer

August 2nd, 2015

When it comes to summer in St. Louis, keeping cool is the name of the game. Chill out this summer with 6 cold treats using everything from cucumbers to beer.

 

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1. We may be landlocked, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t “staycation” like it’s Cabo. Mix three types of cream and top with a coil of lime zest for a tropical touch with this Lime-in-the-Coconut Ice Cream.

 

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2. Turn your morning cup of joe into something more decadent: a layered Chocolate-Coffee Ice Cream Cake. Add a splash of Kahlua and bourbon to the ice cream and garnish with cocoa nibs for a grown-up treat.

 

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3. Blitz together vanilla ice cream with caramel, pretzels, chocolate and milk to create the Salty Kisses Milkshake from Fozzie’s Sandwich Emporium in less than five minutes.

 

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4. Adding toasted grains to dessert totally ups the health factor (we assume). This Quinoa Malted Mocha Cooler will rival any Frappuccino. (Check out other beverages you can make with toasted grains.)

 

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5. Refresh your palate with a Cucumber and Honeydew Granita. Like spiked spa water, this icy cocktail is best served poolside.

 

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6. Beer and chocolate is a well-known, loving marriage. Add woodsy maple syrup for a satisfying happy-hour dessert with Square One’s Maple Stout Ice Cream. (Discover other ways to incorporate beer into your cooking.)

Drink This Weekend Edition: Caipirinhas, 2 ways

July 31st, 2015

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I believe no home bar is complete without Brazil’s national spirit, cachaça. Unlike most rums made with molasses, cachaça is made with young sugar cane juice for an earthier, sour funkiness that is unmistakable. These flavors take beautifully to citrus, so it makes sense that Brazil’s national cocktail, the Caipirinha, is a simple mix of sugar and fresh lime. The recipe originates from an old apothecary remedy that called for lime, garlic and honey. Over time, rum was added and the garlic and honey were replaced with sugar to cut the lime’s acidity.

This cocktail is versatile, too. Don’t have limes? Try a cucumber or a more exotic fruit like cherimoya. You don’t even to use cachaça or rum; swap the spirit for vodka and you have a caipiroska. Try these recipes for a traditional Caipirinha and a riff on the classic with refreshing strawberry and cucumber – both perfect for a hot summer weekend.

 

Caipirinha
1 serving

½ cup turbinado sugar
¼ cup water
1 lime, quartered, divided
2 oz. cachaça
1 oz. fresh lime juice

• Combine the sugar and water in a saucepot and heat until sugar is dissolved to make a simple syrup.
• Place 3 lime quarters and ½ ounce simple syrup in a cocktail shaker and muddle. Add cachaça and lime juice, fill with ice and shake a few seconds to combine. Strain into a rocks glass over fresh ice and garnish with muddled fruit and the remaining lime quarter.

Strawberry Cucumber Caipirinha
1 serving

½ cup turbinado sugar
¼ cup water
2 strawberries, stemmed
1 1-inch cucumber slice
1½ oz. cachaça
½ oz. fresh lime juice

• Combine the sugar and water in a saucepot and heat until sugar is dissolved to make a simple syrup.
• Place the strawberries, cucumber and ½ ounce simple syrup in a cocktail shaker and muddle. Add cachaça and lime juice, fill with ice and shake a few seconds to combine. Strain into a rocks glass over fresh ice and garnish with the muddled fruit.

Kyle Harlan is bar manager at Mission Taco Joint and a member of the St. Louis USBG chapter.

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

July 31st, 2015

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

 

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JacquiCocktail
Are there rules to Twister? because I am pretty sure we weren’t doing it right. ‪#TwistedTwister ‪@TheGinGirl
https://twitter.com/JacquiCocktail/status/625740442764611584/photo/1

rosemarymints
I need cake. I need a cake bat-signal. Hi, Batman? Bring me cake, pls.

kenrearley
When the whole office wants cookies and ‪@chelsysayshi magically appears with ‪@hotboxcookies seconds later.

 

angelamarie85
People on my Twitter are all “I’m in line for rare beer!” and I’m all “I’m eating an ice cream cone in my car and wish I had tinted windows”

 

 

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CompanionBaker
So honored to have the ‪#breadmonk ‪@FrDomGarramone stop by the shop today. Really a great gentleman.
https://twitter.com/CompanionBaker/status/625768625836830721/photo/1

cbdarden 
Grilled cheese with pulled pork and Mac ‘n cheese.
https://twitter.com/cbdarden/status/626917059763523584/photo/1

MikePSweeney
If you’re watching the ‪@stlbeerweek Instagram, yes, I’m really doing all of this.

 

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

The Weekend Project: A Lebanese Feast

July 30th, 2015

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Since I was a little girl, I’ve spent part of the summer in Chatham, New Jersey. My cousins and I plotted journeys into New York City, escaped to the shore for day or just dangled from the front porch swing of my godparents’ vacation home planning our next adventure.

Chatham is full of culinary delights: funnel cakes and fresh lemonade from the boardwalk, steamer clams from the fabled Berkeley Fish Market, my Aunt Cathy’s homemade granola or Uncle Ron’s chicken piccata. Upstate New Jersey is also home to the quintessential diner, and three years ago, a classic diner with a Lebanese twist opened in my home away from home: Aida’s Cozy Kitchen.

Owner Aida Hajjar opened just in time to help those without electricity and water after Hurricane Sandy. She has been kissing babies, pouring hot coffee, and baking fresh baklava and fig crescent cookies ever since. Traditional diner fare is served all day, but after 11 a.m., the shotgun-style space shines as a darling Lebanese restaurant.

The menu bursts with flavor, but the best dish by far is a plate of garlic bombs. Imagine a hot, cheesy potato fritter balanced by the bright lemon and garlic, all served on a bed of tangy Lebanese cole slaw. I was so inspired by this delicious appetizer that I adapted the recipe for the home cook and created an entire Lebanese feast to accompany it. Garlic bombs are the perfect starter, but pair them with seared lamb and a side dish and you have a spectacular meal. You could even try this recipe with leftover mashed potatoes and entertain a hungry crowd.

 

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The Game Plan
Day 1: Assemble garlic bombs. Prepare beet salad. Prepare lamb chops.
Day 2: Fry garlic bombs. Make cole slaw. Sear lamb chops.

The Shopping List*
4 medium or 2 large russet potatoes
12 cloves roasted garlic (DIY here)
1 cup ricotta or labneh
1 cup grated Romano
1½ tsp. onion powder
1 egg
2 Tbsp. milk
1 cup breadcrumbs
7 medium beets
2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
4 sprigs thyme
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. finely chopped chives
1 tsp. minced fresh ginger
1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 lemon
8 cups thinly sliced cabbage
1 tsp. red pepper paste
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
2 sprigs fresh oregano
12 bone-in lamb chops

*This list assumes you have kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper, flour, vegetable, olive oil and sugar at hand in your kitchen. If not, you will need to purchase those, too.

 

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Garlic Bombs
Adapted from a recipe by Aida Hajjar of Aida’s Cozy Kitchen
4 to 6 servings

4 medium or 2 large russet potatoes, peeled and diced into 1-inch pieces
12 cloves roasted garlic, puréed (DIY here)
1 cup ricotta or labneh
1 cup grated Romano
1½ tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. kosher salt, plus more to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
½ cup flour
1 egg
2 Tbsp. milk
1 cup breadcrumbs
Vegetable oil or lard, for frying

• Day 1: Place the potatoes in a medium pot. Fill with enough water to cover the potatoes by 1 inch. Partially cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Boil 20 minutes, until fork tender. Drain and place in a large mixing bowl.
• Use a potato masher or pastry cutter to mash the potatoes until smooth. Add the ricotta, Romano, onion powder, salt and pepper and mash until the texture is smooth and even. Taste and adjust seasoning.
• Prepare to dredge by pouring the flour in a shallow dish. In another dish, whisk the egg and milk together to create an egg wash. In a third dish, pour the breadcrumbs.
• Use your hands to form ¼ cup potato mixture into a ball. Gently roll the ball in the flour to lightly coat, then dip it in the egg wash, gently letting the excess drip off. Roll it in the breadcrumbs, shake off any excess, and place on a large plate. Repeat with the remaining potato mixture. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
• Day 2: Fill a deep cast-iron or heavy-bottomed skillet with 2 to 3 inches vegetable oil or lard. Warm over high heat until it reaches 350 degrees, then lower to medium, adjusting as necessary to maintain a consistent temperature. Working in batches of 4, fry the potato balls 1 to 2 minutes, until golden-brown all over and warm throughout. Remove and let drain on a paper towel-lined plate.
• Serve hot over a bed of Lebanese Cole Slaw (recipe follows).

 

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Roasted Beet Salad
4 to 6 servings

7 medium beets, root and stem ends trimmed
5 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
2 tsp. kosher salt, divided
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
4 sprigs thyme
1 clove garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. finely chopped chives
1 tsp. minced fresh ginger
1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar

Day 1: Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Place a 2-foot long sheet of heavy-duty aluminum foil over a baking sheet.
• Place the beets in the center of the foil and evenly coat with 2 tablespoons olive oil, the apple cider vinegar, 1 teaspoon salt and pepper to taste. Scatter the thyme sprigs over the top and fold the foil into a tight packet.
• Roast 45 minutes, until the beets are fork tender. Unwrap and let cool enough to handle.
• Use a clean old dishtowel to rub the skins from the beets. Reserve 1 beet for the Lebanese Cole Slaw (recipe follows).
• Dice the remaining 6 beets into ¼-inch cubes and place in a large mixing bowl. Add the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil, the garlic, chives, ginger, balsamic vinegar, the remaining 1 teaspoon salt and pepper to taste. Toss, refrigerate until ready to serve.

 

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Lebanese Cole Slaw
4 to 6 servings

8 cups thinly sliced cabbage
2 tsp. kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
1 tsp. red pepper paste
1 reserved Roasted Beet (recipe above)
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp. sugar
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Day 2: In a large mixing bowl, toss together the cabbage, salt and red pepper paste, then use your hands to massage the cabbage 3 to 5 minutes to soften.
• Crush the beet in your hands, adding the juice to the cabbage. Discard the crushed beet. Add the lemon juice, sugar and pepper and stir. Taste and adjust seasoning. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

 

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Pan-Seared Lamb Chops
6 servings

2 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh oregano
1 tsp. kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
12 bone-in lamb chops
2 to 3 Tbsp. olive oil

Day 1: In a large shallow baking dish, combine the garlic, rosemary, oregano, salt and pepper. Coat the lamb chops in the herb mixture, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight.
Day 2: In a large, heavy-bottomed skillet, warm the olive oil over high heat until it ripples, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the lamb chops and sear 3 to 4 minutes on each side until browned. Flip and sear the other side 2 to 3 minutes. Let rest on a cutting board 5 minutes before servings.

 

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-photos by Michelle Volansky 

Baked: Healthier Chocolate Cookies

July 29th, 2015

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These cookies are a bit of a departure from my usual recipes. I don’t cook with artificial sugars or try to replace everything with a healthier alternative at the cost of flavor, so when I set out to make a not-as–bad-for-you cookie, I wanted something that still tasted like dessert.

The result: These cookies taste just as good as their decadent counterparts. Instead of butter or oil, I used cashew butter. The heart-healthy fats and boost in protein means it will fill you up much more than a traditional cookie.

I also replaced granulated white sugar with coconut sugar, which is sourced from coconut blossom trees but tastes nothing like coconut. This type of sugar burns quicker than regular sugar (that means a shorter baking time) and tastes slightly less sweet. And yes, there is a half-cup of chocolate chips in the recipe, but I use dark instead of milk or white chocolate for the added antioxidant benefits.

It’s hard to eat just one, but at least you can devour them with less guilt. Enjoy and happy baking!

 

Healthier Chocolate Cookies
Adapted from a Chelsea’s Messy Apron recipe
12 to 15 servings

1 cup unsalted cashew butter, room temperature
2/3 cup coconut sugar
1 large egg
4 Tbsp. dark cocoa powder
½ tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. baking soda
Pinch of kosher salt
½ cup dark chocolate chips

Ÿ• Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
• In a large bowl, stir together the cashew butter, coconut sugar and egg until combined. Stir in the cocoa powder, vanilla, baking soda and salt until combined, then add the chocolate chips and stir.
• Form 2 tablespoons dough into a ball and place 1 to 2 inches apart on the cookie sheet. Press the tops of each ball gently to flatten.
• Bake 6 to 8 minutes, then let cool on the cookie sheet. Cookies will become firmer as they cool.

 

Readers’ Choice 2015: Favorite Frozen Desserts – Ted Drewes

July 29th, 2015

A trip to Ted Drewes is a St. Louis tradition. Your favorite place for frozen desserts has been inverting bright yellow cups filled with thick, rich custard before handing them over to your greedy little fingers for decades. Single-topping concretes – Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, anyone? – are tried-and-true, and when you want to pile on the calories, Ted’s custard crew comes through with specialties like Hawaiian (pineapple, banana, coconut and macadamia nuts) and Cardinal Sin (cherries and hot fudge). With dozens of toppings and add-ons, the mixing and matching possibilities are endless. Here, six of our favorite concrete creations from this town’s beloved custard stand.

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Clockwise from top left: Coconut, chocolate chips and almonds – Michelle Volansky, production designer | Oreos and cookie dough – Meera Nagarajan, art director | Hot fudge and raspberries – Rebecca Biundo, intern | Banana, marshmallow and hot fudge – Angie Rosenberg, account executive | Heath Bar, banana and hot fudge – Allyson Mace, publisher | Pretzels and chocolate chips – Catherine Klene, managing editor, digital

-photos by Jonathan Gayman 

The Scoop: St. Louis sommelier Brandon Kerne to depart Bar Italia for Texas

July 29th, 2015

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Editor’s note: This post was updated at 5 p.m. July 30 to include comments from Bar Italia co-owner Mengesha Yohannes. 

 

When Brandon Kerne first took a job as a server after a brief stint at Monsanto, he was young and a little rudderless. Now, the industry greenhorn who blossomed into one of the most recognizable sommeliers in St. Louis is taking his talents to Houston’s Pappas Bros. Steakhouse.

Kerne announced Monday, July 27, that he is leaving his post as beverage director at Bar Italia for his new position as a sommelier on Sept. 1. “I have had the opportunity to work with some of the deepest, most exciting lists in town, and I have worked side by side with the best of the best in this city. I am very grateful,” he said via email.

Kerne began talks with Pappas Bros. Steakhouse in May, and the pieces soon fell into place. “Everything just made sense,” he said. “I am really pumped about tackling a 200-page wine list and returning to a list that covers the entirety of the wine world.”

Kerne, who has also worked with the wine programs at Olio, Elaia and 33 Wine Bar, developed an unorthodox system for Bar Italia’s wines that prioritized tasting notes and characteristics over the name and vintage of the wine itself. He is also among the handful of St. Louis sommeliers studying for the notoriously punishing master sommelier exam. Kerne said Pappas Bros. has graduated several master sommeliers, and he said the move to Houston was partly to continue preparation for the exam.

“I am actually moving directly into an apartment with two other advanced sommeliers (the certification tier immediately below master) in Houston,” he said.

Kerne acknowledged that leaving St. Louis behind will be bittersweet. “The Yohannes brothers are some of the most interesting, charismatic people I have worked for,” he said. “I’m still incredibly enthused about what we are accomplishing with my team at Bar Italia, and I look forward to watching them continue their growth from afar.”

Bar Italia co-owner Mengesha Yohannes said he was proud of his beverage director. “It’s not a loss, it’s a progression,” he said. “What (Brandon) does and what his cohorts do … is remarkably intense and dedicated. They are all ferocious. As soon as he got his advanced sommelier pin, it was clear this young man was headed places.”

Yohannes said he has a few replacements for Kerne in mind, but declined to name any specifically. For the moment, he’s hoping to continue Bar Italia’s run as a nucleus for top wine talent in St. Louis, even considering collaborative direction for the restaurant’s wine program.

-photo by Ashley Gieseking

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