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Mar 23, 2018
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Awesome Eats: BBC Asian Bar and Cafe’s Chef Salad

Wednesday, May 1st, 2013

Think salads are the consolation prize for vegetarians and waistline watchers? Then you haven’t had the Chef Salad at BBC Asian Bar and Cafe. This sweet and spicy starter is salad in its greatest form: Tender marinated squid, warm mushrooms, juicy cucumbers, crisp kaiware sprouts and spicy mayonnaise all come together to deliver bold Asian flavors and an eclectic fusion of textures. So grab your chopsticks and dig in. This should prove once and for all that great salads really do exist.

BBC Asian Bar and Cafe, 243 N. Euclid Ave., St. Louis, 314.361.7770

— photo by Greg Rannells

The Month in Review: April 2013

Tuesday, April 30th, 2013


As we say goodbye to another month, we’re crossing our fingers that April’s abundance of showers really will bring a few flowers. May means ball games, al fresco dining (and drinking!), the reopening of farmers markets and, hopefully, your thriving gardens. But before our next issue hits newsstands tomorrow, we take a look back at some of our favorite stories, recipes, dishes and drinks from April.

Vegetize It columnist Beth Styles got back to salad’s roots with a kale Caesar that turns to seaweed for a taste of the sea; bar-happy couple Ted and Jamie Kilgore gave us inspiration for brunch-time sipping; a familiar face put gourmet twists on some old favorites; spirits columnist Ligaya Figueras told you about a bold, bittersweet liqueur that’s picking up steam behind the bar; we showed you how easy it is to stock your pantry with homemade salts; we went all Buddy the Elf on the perfect pancake stack; we gave you a glimpse of the new taqueria that has everyone talking; you proved that you really, really like us; New and Notable reviewer Michael Renner gave us a seat at his table at The Cheshire’s chic new spot; we proved that sorghum is the new maple syrup; we told you why the Big Muddy had us at hello; managing editor Stacy Schultz revealed what she’ll do for a great cup of coffee; associate editor Julie Cohen paid respect to all things New York Magazine; we tried not to eat the entire Swedish crumb loaf from Federhofer’s; a couple creative bartenders brought the grill to your glass; art director Meera Nagarajan fantasized about summers in Provence; contributing writer Byron Kerman tracked down a stellar slice of pizza; we offered a peek into the coolest pop-up yet; Baked columnist Amrita Rawat welcomed spring with fruit-forward cupcakes; we revealed the trends we’ve got our eyes on; we found the best seat at downtown’s new MX Theater; and a culinary couple announced that they will celebrate spring Spanish style.

The Perfect Morning Routine

Sunday, April 28th, 2013

In theory, it’s easy to be romanced into a stroll around Forest Park when the sun is shining and the trail is lined with the buds of spring. But what’s really worth kicking the covers off on a sleepy Sunday morning? A great cup of coffee. And thanks to Kaldi’s new hand-brew bar, I’m happy to slip on my sneakers to take a walk around (arguably) our city’s most beautiful park whether the Mercury climbs to 100 or drops all the way down to 20. The pot of gold at the end of my six-mile rainbow: a piping hot carafe of hand-brewed pour-over coffee and a cupful of yogurt parfait complete with granola, fresh mint, berries and a layer of spoonable, lickable, craveable citrus-vanilla yogurt. The hour that follows is spent sipping, scooping and some of the finest people-watching in town. So that’s where you’ll find me just about every weekend – I’m the one in the corner with a dirty spoon, a sleepy dog and an empty mug.

Kaldi’s, 700 DeMun Ave., Clayton, 314.727.9955, kaldiscoffee.com

For more from The List 2013: The people, places, dishes and drinks we love, click here.

— photo by Greg Rannells

Trendwatch: A look at what’s on the plate, in the glass and atop our wish list right now

Thursday, April 25th, 2013

Thai Food Rising: Just as GQ’s Alan Richman named D.C.’s Northern Thai gem Little Serow the Most Outstanding Restaurant of 2013, our own little outlier from up North opened its doors. At Fork & Stix in The Loop, Southern Thai standbys like pad thai and coconut curry play second fiddle to Northern specialties like pork belly-boasting Hung Lay Curry, lemongrass-laden sausage Sai Oua and the fantastic creamy Khao Soi soup (pictured). Here’s to less stir-fries and more funk.

Gilding the Goat: We’ve long seen goat’s milk used for fresh cheese and get turned into slightly sour desserts. But now the meat of this horn-rimmed roamer is slipping onto menus as well. For a special aptly titled The Goat Rodeo, Guerrilla Street Food braised a goat leg in palm sugar and Filipino lager before shredding it over jasmine rice, and showering it with marinated Napa cabbage, Sriracha cream sauce and scallions. Sidney Street Cafe’s Kevin Nashan turned the tough, strongly flavored flesh into porchetta, while both The Rustic Goat and Five Star Burgers have experimented with grinding it into a rich take on a burger.

Wish List: New Jew Food: From whipped-lardo challah with bacon charoset at The Pass & Provisions in Houston to everything on the menu at Brooklyn’s Montreal-inspired Mile End Deli, classic Jewish deli fare is seeing an artisanal second coming. Could this trend grace STL tables? The gourmet Passover seder Anthony Devoti held at Five Bistro last month gives at least one lox-loving Jew hope.

Fired Up: The barbecue biz is on fire and newly opened Vernon’s BBQ, Hendricks BBQ, SugarFire Smoke House, Lampert’s BBQ, Wilson’s BBQ and Capitalist Pig have rib-lovers from St. Charles to Soulard licking their chops. The perk to opening in chilly temps? Pit masters can work out the kinks before kicking into high gear come prime barbecue season.

Eating Your Curds and Whey: Cheese curds – the semisolid portion of coagulated milk that gets separated from the liquid (whey) during cheese making – are the new finger food. At Five Star Burgers, you can nibble these mozzarella sticks-come-french fries with your burger, atop tomato soup or as a curly-cued bar snack. At Dressel’s Public House, you can dip ‘em into a smoked tomato sauce, and you can munch on Marcoot Creamery’s garlic-and-herb variety with a frothy brew at Perennial Artisan Ales.

Gateway Green: Now that kale has our palates singing the praises of bitter greens, look for mustard greens to make a play for its prominent place on menus. Wilted into goose sugo tagliatelle at Five Bistro, accompanying caramel-edged pork cheeks at Home Wine Kitchen, or sitting pretty beneath sous vide porchetta di testa at Vino Nadoz and rainbow trout at Harvest, these spicy, pungent leaves may even take us beyond new-wave Caesar salads.

The Night Shift: The bracingly bitter Italian liqueur Fernet-Branca isn’t new behind the bar, but it is gaining a broader customer base. At one of the best family of restaurants in town, Fernet appears to be the nightcap of choice for Gerard Craft’s crew.

— photo by Carmen Troesser

This week, Stacy Schultz is obsessed with …

Thursday, April 25th, 2013

{When I devoured the big, fatty hunks of extra smoky, extra thick-cut bacon hiding in the roasted Brussels sprouts at Kelly English Steakhouse last year, I pummeled chef English with questions. Turns out chefs wait years to get their hands on Allan Benton’s bacon, perfectly produced on Benton’s Tennessee farm. I’ve obsessively stalked this swine ever since: tracking it down on menus at Luke, Farmhaus and in this house-made gnocchi at soon-to-open Central Table Food Hall. Last month, I spotted it at The Wine & Cheese Place in Clayton, used it in everything I cooked for the next week and poured its fat into the jar labeled “lard” in my fridge. That’s one point for me. Game on.}

{The floating island has been a staple on Brasserie’s dessert menu for years, but I hadn’t actually tasted it until I, recently, spent a gorgeous Sunday on Brasserie’s patio. After an especially gluttonous brunch of French onion soup, beignets and eggs en cocotte, I was sure I’d take one look at dessert and leave my spoon firmly on the table. But the second I saw that thick pouf of soft meringue, it was all over. A single bite is salty, sweet, creamy and crunchy. Indulgent yet light. Classic yet confounding. If this is what France tastes like, I’ll meet you there tomorrow.     — photo by Ashley Gieseking}

{I first worked with rhubarb last spring, taming its über-tart flavor with a sprinkling of sugar, the zest of juicy oranges and slivers of crystallized ginger. I’ve been dreaming of the vibrant stalks ever since. Now that warm air has finally arrived, these ruby-red beauties are stopping farmers market shoppers in their tracks. I can’t wait to melt them down to jam, bake them into cakes, and stew them with smoky bourbon and a sweet vanilla bean. Some things are simply worth waiting for.}

By the Book: Daniel Galmiche’s Sauteed Jumbo Shrimp with Chile and Garlic Butter

Tuesday, April 16th, 2013

Daniel Galmiche’s French Brasserie Cookbook seemed like the ideal tool with which to finally conquer duck confit, one of the dishes I have neatly tucked into my “when I have time” folder. To me, duck confit is the epitome of French food: heavy on technique, time, fat and flavor. I imagined myself waking up early on a Sunday morning, weighing down a few duck legs until they released their juices, cooking them in their own rich fat, slathering them in sweet honey and then roasting them in a piping hot pan until their skin crisped and caramelized. Off to the store I went in search of a few fatty duck legs for my big French adventure. Except that my neighborhood store only had duck breasts and, much to my surprise, entire birds. Refusing to fold but determined not to waste any more gas, I called several other stores and received the same answer. More calls, same story. Looking at the calendar, I’d wasted days of valuable cooking time. If by some strange stroke of quack-filled luck I could track down a few duck legs in time for this post, finding 6 to 8 hours to follow Galmiche’s recipe for confit was out of the question. So I decided to make Sauteed Jumbo Shrimp With Chili and Garlic Butter.

A shrimp dish was the very antithesis of my big culinary quest: quick, easy and requiring ingredients that were readily available at the neighborhood market. Hey, if I couldn’t make a recipe that required a focus on the technique and time that characterized French cuisine, at least I could master fat and flavor. After all, the recipe called for an entire stick of butter.

The instructions were short and straightforward: Just saute the raw crustaceans in a generous amount of oil and butter, remove them from heat, add even more butter to the pan, toss in chiles, garlic and fresh parsley, then return the shrimp to the pan just long enough to coat with the pungent sauce and a squeeze of fresh lime.

The result was as simple and delicious as promised, yet the editor in me would have loved a tad more description. For instance, a small handful of parsley is different for me than it is for you. Exactly which kind of red chile are we talking about here? And, at the very least, how many people does this dish serve? But the recipe reminded the food-lover in me of the way cooking – yes, even French cooking – should be: prepared quickly and made with fresh ingredients that are lying around the house.

The finished dish could have used a bit more lime juice and a bit less butter, but those who are used to cooking with a great European butter like Plugra will love the wonderful richness it lends to the sauce. Feel free to add more shrimp to this recipe since there was enough garlicky butter sauce to bathe at least another six. Or you could just do what I did: Grab a loaf of crusty French bread, sop up all that sauce and bask in the rustic French meal you just created (remarkably, in less than 10 minutes).

Sauteed Jumbo Shrimp with Chili and Garlic Butter
Courtesy of Daniel Galmiche
Approximately 2 servings

8 jumbo or 24 small shrimp, shelled and deveined
2 Tbsp. olive oil
6 Tbsp. butter
1 red chile, seeded and finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed with the flat edge of a knife or your hand and finely chopped
1 small handful flat-leaf parsley, leaves only, finely chopped
Juice and zest of 1 lime
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

• Wash the shrimp and dry them on paper towels.
• Warm the oil and 2 tablespoons of the butter in a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat. When the butter is foaming, throw in the shrimp and saute 4 minutes. Remove the shrimp from the pan and set aside.
• Add the remaining butter, chile, garlic and parsley to the skillet. When the butter is foaming, put the shrimp back in the pan and toss 1 to 2 minutes.
• Season with salt and pepper to taste, add a few drops of lime juice and sprinkle with the lime zest, then serve immediately. Simple and delicious.

What dish do you consider the epitome of French cuisine and why? Tell us in the comments section below for a chance to win a copy French Brasserie Cookbook. We’ll announce the winner in next week’s By the Book column.

And now, we’d like to congratulate Stephanie, whose comment on last week’s By the Book has won her a copy of Lunch in Provence by Rachel McKenna and Jean-André Charial. Stephanie, keep an eye out for an email from the Sauce crew. 

Hit List: Two new restaurants to try this month

Wednesday, April 3rd, 2013

{John Perkins}

A Good Man is Hard to Find: 360 N. Boyle Ave., St. Louis, 314.632.6754, entrestl.com/presents

If you’ve ever had John Perkins’ food, you know that it is as creative as the ways he delivers it – from his Entre Underground dinners to his first chicken-themed pop-up, Le Coq, this past winter. So hurry up and snag a seat at his newest pop-up, a southern-comfort concept named after the classic Flannery O’Connor short story. Start with a basket of house-baked bread, then bask in the supporting characters – from the pickled beet terrine with goat cheese and blood orange to the jarred sides of house-brined pickles, spiced nuts, sunchoke relish and chow-chow (a low-country mustard-based staple). When you finish off your entree with a blueberry buckle, order it topped with a scoop of buttermilk ice cream, a slightly sour foil to the sweet, juicy berries. This short story ends on Derby Day, so better crack it open soon.

Mission Taco Joint: 
6235 Delmar Blvd., The Loop, 314.932.5430, missiontacostl.com

From Adam and Jason Tilford, the busy brothers behind Milagro Modern Mexican, Barrister’s and Tortillaria Mexican Kitchen, comes this über casual ode to the taquerias dotting San Francisco’s Mission district. Seat yourself, then go with the a la carte tacos, wrapped in house-made tortillas and served with a bowl of onions, cilantro and hunks of lime for the squeezing. Brave souls should try the extra-fiery Nopales Taco (That’s Spanish for cactus.), while carnivores who can’t pass on pork belly will enjoy the crispy bits crumbled atop the tender Roasted Duck Tacos. The bar is in the creative and capable hands of Sanctuaria alum Joel Clark, who opted against an obvious tequila-heavy theme (There’s just one, solid margarita.) in favor of unique bottles like Blackwell Jamaican rum and Del Maguey Single Village mezcals. Sip apricot-heavy The Chaplinesque or place a pint glass under one of the 10 local taps.

– photos by Jonathan Gayman and Carmen Troesser

This week, Stacy Schultz is obsessed with …

Thursday, March 28th, 2013

Despite what you might think, food editors actually eat pretty healthfully. It doesn’t take many 12-course tastings to teach you to pace yourself. Plus, we have access to fresh produce, great recipes and some of the best local vendors around. Yet sometimes, a girl’s gotta splurge …

{I drink water like a camel, but every once in a while, I need something with a little more flavor. I’m not one to crave a Diet Coke, but I will treat myself to this Italian blood orange soda from Villa Italia after a trip down the aisles at Trader Joe’s. Sweet, bubbly and flavored just enough to kick a sweet tooth, it’s even better with a splash of gin.}

{After I finish off one of Five Star Burgers‘ grass-fed patties, I deserve the $1 Ice Cream Shooter. This single scoop of Serendipity ice cream – chocolate, vanilla or salted caramel – is perched atop an old-fashioned cake cone that fits perfectly into the palm of my hand. Dessert isn’t bad for me if it only costs a dollar, right?}

{I can resist an entire cake without flinching, but get me within 100 feet of Darrell Lea Strawberry Licorice, and it’s all over. The fact that the licorice is natural, with no artificial flavors or colors, convinces me that I shouldn’t feel bad about ripping open the bag before I even get to the checkout counter. Available at World Market.}

By the Book: Emily Schuman’s Homemade Pizza Dough

Tuesday, March 26th, 2013

Love her or hate her, you have to give Emily Schuman credit. The woman behind the popular lifestyle blog Cupcakes and Cashmere has made a full-time gig out of writing 150-word posts about nail polish colors and peplum shirts. She also writes the occasional food-related post, though most of her recipes are linked to other blogs, websites and magazines.

But as we wrap up our month of cookbooks penned by bloggers-turned-authors, we couldn’t ignore our curiosity when Schuman’s first book, Cupcakes and Cashmere, arrived at the office. Was it really a cookbook? Was it actually helpful? Could it be a useful tool for beginning cooks?

After flipping through the glossy pages, it’s clear that this is hardly a cookbook. On second look, there are, indeed, Food and Entertainment sections in all of the chapters, which are divided into seasons. And there, in between a smoky eye how-to and advice on designing a bookshelf, are recipes for chocolate chip cookies, a vodka martini and a berry pie to enjoy in the height of summer. Still needing a lot more convincing, I decided upon Schuman’s recipe for homemade pizza dough. Pizza dough is one of the trickiest tasks to master in the kitchen, and if I was to decide whether a handful of recipes could push this lifestyle log into cookbook territory, this recipe would surely be an adequate test.

The final pizza fell firmly into the “fine” category – a texture that teetered between thick and thin, slightly salty and a little less chewy than I preferred. The recipe, however, proved that Schuman isn’t quite ready to be named a cookbook author, as it lacked very basic details, which, without, would have surely tripped up a beginner baker.

For instance, she recommends using a pizza stone but doesn’t instruct you to place it in the oven when you’re preheating – a fatal mistake, since this is the only way to get the stone brutally hot enough to adequately crisp the crust. Schuman also lacks consistency in her instructions. She notes that the dough recipe makes enough for 2 10-inch pizzas but forgets to tell you to separate the dough into 2 balls and even opts for vague advice to roll the dough out “to your desired size” instead of providing the correct size guidelines. Most frustrating of all: The dough took more than twice as long to double in size as the recipe stated.

While all of these missteps weren’t enough to ruin my dinner – I knew when to place the stone in the oven and had plenty of rising time to spare on a snowy Sunday – they were enough to answer my questions about Schuman’s first foray into print. Her recipes won’t turn a good cook into a great one or even give a novice cook an extra boost of confidence. But if you want to know how to apply bright lipstick, you know where to go.

Homemade Pizza Dough
Makes enough for two 10-inch thin-crust pizzas

¾ cup warm water (It should be between 105 and 110 degrees.)
1 packet active dry yeast (not fast-acting)
½ tsp. sugar
2½ cups all-purpose flour (You can also substitute part or all whole wheat.)
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 tsp. salt

• Preheat the oven to its highest temperature (Mine is 500 degrees.).
• Pour the warm water into a large bowl, sprinkle in the yeast and sugar, and let the mixture sit for 5 minutes until it’s slightly bubbly. Stir in the flour, olive oil and salt until it forms a ball (If it seems dry, you can add a teaspoon of water at a time until it comes together, but make sure it doesn’t get overly sticky.).
• Place the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead until it’s smooth and elastic. Use the same bowl and drizzle in just enough olive oil to coat the bowl (so the dough doesn’t stick). Place the ball of dough inside and cover it with a damp cloth. Let it rise for about 45 minutes, or until it’s doubled in size.
• If you’re using a pizza peel (the long wooden paddle used to transfer pizza to and from the oven), sprinkle on a little cornmeal (This will help the pizza slide off onto the heated pizza stone in the oven.), and roll the dough to the desired size. Don’t worry if you don’t have these tools; simply sprinkle cornmeal onto a baking sheet and place the pizza directly in the oven.
• Now you’re ready to add your favorite toppings (I love the combination of sauteed onions, sage and fennel sausage.). When you’ve done that, bake the pizza until the bottom of the crust is golden brown and the cheese – if you’ve used any – is melted, roughly 7 to 10 minutes.

Tools (helpful but not necessary):
Pizza Peel: Great way to transfer the pizza to the oven
Pizza Stone: This gets really, really hot, so it helps make a crispy crust.
Pizza Cutter: Easiest way to cut up a pizza.

Which food blogger do you love and wish would publish a cookbook? Name the blogger, provide a link to his or her blog, and explain why the blog is awesome in the comments section below for a chance to win a copy of Cupcakes and Cashmere by Emily Schuman. We’ll announce the winner in next week’s By the Book column. 

And now we’d like to congratulate Jenny, whose comment on last week’s By the Book has won her a signed copy of The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook by Deb Perelman. Jenny, keep an eye out for an email from the Sauce crew.

Make This: Rotisserie Chicken Pot Pie

Friday, March 22nd, 2013

Chicken pot pie doesn’t have to be an all-day affair. The secret to a bowl of creamy comfort in less than an hour: frozen puff pastry and a rotisserie chicken from the market. Find the quick and easy recipe for Rotisserie Chicken Pot Pie here.

Had no idea what that grocery store rotisserie chicken could do? Click here to find another reason to fall in love with this secret ingredient.

— photo by Jonathan Gayman

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