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Oct 26, 2014
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Sneak Peek: Old Standard

Tuesday, October 14th, 2014

Ben Poremba's newest restaurant, Old Standard, specializes in his favorite food: fried chicken. Located at 1621 Tower Grove Ave., Old Standard opens to the public Oct. 20.


We’ve been craving fried chicken since restaurateur Ben Poremba announced nearly a year ago that he was opening a chicken shack. The restaurant, Old Standard, is located at 1621 Tower Grove Ave., in Botanical Heights, which is anchored by his other eateries, Elaia, Olio and Chouquette. After much renovation to the historic space (It was once a police horse stable.), and a fried chicken research tour that took him to more than 500 eateries around the country, Poremba will open Old Standard’s doors to the public Oct. 20.

Poremba sources chicken from Miller Poultry in Indiana, which raises hormone- and antibiotic-free poultry on an all-vegetable diet. After brining the bird, it is battered and cooked in a pressure fryer. Diners can get their fried chicken half, whole or a la carte – thigh, half-breast or leg. While fried chicken is a main event at Old Standard, guests can get a taste of the South in snacks and sides, many of which feature crispy vegetables and briny pickles to counter the fattiness of fried chicken. A selection of breads and desserts round out the food offerings.

The bar puts a spotlight on American whiskey and soda. Old Standard carries 50 whiskeys, nearly half of which are bourbons. Whiskey-based cocktails are also available. Beer lovers can choose from 10 canned beers (buckets of beer are served in sturdy Coleman lunch boxes) or opt for Old Standard’s proprietary beer on draft, a Pilsner brewed by Urban Chestnut. Teetotalers (and kids) won’t be disappointed in the drink options. Old Standard stocks two dozen bottled sodas and six house-made ones in flavors like rose water-toasted almond and stone fruit-spice. A trio of house-made lemonades and iced teas featuring blends by the London Tea Room, keep the drink vibe on the Southern map.

Old Standard will be open daily. Initial hours will be Monday through Saturday from 4:30 p.m. to midnight and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., with lunch added in six to eight weeks. Here’s what to expect when Old Standard opens doors next Monday:



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-photos by Meera Nagarajan

The Scoop: Former exec chef at The Nest Chris Vomund joins culinary team at Herbie’s

Thursday, October 9th, 2014



Herbie’s Vintage 72 is seeing changes to its kitchen crew. Chris Vomund will join the team at the CWE restaurant Oct. 14. He will initially assume the position of chef de cuisine, but Herbie’s owner Aaron Teitelbaum said the goal is for Vomund to become the restaurant’s executive chef, replacing chef Chris Ladley, who left Herbie’s in September. Teitelbaum called Vomund “a solid cook” whose style suits the classical French cuisine at Herbie’s.

Previously, Vomund was executive chef at The Nest in Frontenac. Upon its closure this summer, he took an interim position as sous chef at 1111 Mississippi. His 12 years of restaurant experience also includes working as kitchen manager at Pi in the CWE, helping to open the Pi carryout location in Chesterfield and managing the kitchen at Hard Rock Cafe at Union Station.

“I’m looking forward to taking classical French and maybe incorporating a little of the great farm-fresh stuff we have in the Midwest,” Vomund said of his new position.

As for Ladley, who ran the kitchen at Herbie’s since March 2013, he has joined chef Rick Lewis’ culinary brigade at Quincy Street Bistro. In addition, he is butchering for The Block. “I spend my Wednesdays breaking down lots of pigs and Fridays doing the same thing with beef,” Ladley said. “It’s nice to have a life again and see my fiancee.”

What I Do: John Rempe of Luxco

Tuesday, October 7th, 2014



At local spirits producer Luxco, someone has to formulate the flavors for Pearl vodka and the other 100-plus alcoholic beverages in its portfolio. For the last 16 years, concocting flavors has been the job of John Rempe, Luxco’s director of corporate research and development, otherwise known as “the mad scientist.”

How popular is flavored alcohol?
Ten years ago, you didn’t see anything on the shelf in terms of all the different flavors. Now’s it’s just exploded. The main one I’m focused on now is Pearl. We’ve got 19 different flavors. Other than that, it’s flavored whiskies. There’s cherry, honey. Cocktails are starting to come back, ready to drink – just open and pour.

How many flavors are in your lab?
Several hundred. I’m constantly updating my library of flavors and extracts.

What are typical ingredients that go into flavored vodka?
Your alcohol base, which is your vodka; a sweetener – in Pearl, it’s sucrose, it’s real sugar; natural flavoring extracts – for the most part, we try to use all-natural flavors; and water.

How long does it take to move a flavored product from R&D into production?
It can take me a few days or weeks to develop a product that I think is good, but once I do that, every ingredient that I use in terms of flavoring has to be approved by the federal government. I use those approvals and submit my formula to the government. Once that’s approved, we have to get labels approved. What used to take only a few months now takes a year.

Why did you create vodkas flavored like wedding cake and whipped cream?
Wedding cake and whipped cream were a response to what was happening in the market. Everything was shifting to ultra sweet, confectionary-type flavors.

So the vodka drinker isn’t into savory flavors?
That’s what we’re looking at going forward – basil, cilantro, those herbaceous infusions. Traditionally, the flavored vodka market focused on fruit, then it got to the ultra sweet. Now, it’s turning less sweet, into a more adult-type palate.

What flavor surprised you by how it was received – good or bad?
Pearl Cucumber. I developed it three years before we launched it. When I developed it, it wasn’t received (well) at all. Wait three years, all of a sudden, people are demanding cucumber. Now it’s huge. That’s one of our great flavors in Pearl right now.

How do you feel when a flavor doesn’t go over well?
You have to develop pretty thick skin to do what I’m doing. I’m the one creating it and I think it’s great. I’m pitching it to sales and marketing. I’m sitting in a room, people are tasting it. When I first started doing it, people would spit it out. You can’t let it get to you. “OK, I’ll go and redo it.”

What Pearl flavor are you most proud of?
The cucumber and the plum. When you open the bottle, it smells exactly like the fruit. That’s what I’ve always tried to accomplish: (Be) true to the fruit, not candy-ish. Pomegranate was the first Pearl flavor I developed – that’s my baby. It’s by far and away the most successful flavor.

How satisfying is your job?
It’s a huge amount of satisfaction. Every time I go to the store, even with my kids, I’m like, “We gotta walk down through this aisle.” My kids are like, “Why are we walking down the alcohol aisle again, Dad?” I’m like, “Because I gotta see my stuff.”

-photo by Ashley Gieseking

By the Book: Gunnar Karl Gíslason’s Beer Mustard

Saturday, October 4th, 2014



It’s too bad Iceland is so far away from St. Louis. Not for easy access to the northern lights, geysers or glaciers (though they are on my bucket list), but rather, to visit Dill, the restaurant in Reykjavík run by Gunnar Gíslason, Iceland’s most celebrated contemporary chef.

Reading Gíslason’s new cookbook, North: The New Nordic Cuisine of Iceland, it’s clear why he’s has been lauded for showcasing his Nordic country’s culinary heritage. I think it would be safe to go a step further and posit Gíslason among a class of chefs around the globe currently shaping a culinary movement called regionalism. The term is cropping up more often to mean the use of ingredients native to a particular place. As I see it, regionalism isn’t just about sourcing what is grown and raised locally, but sourcing what has always been local. Indigenous edibles certainly include what is grown or caught in the wild, and in the book, Gíslasont takes the reader on a remarkable culinary adventure through land and sea in and around his homeland.

For lack of materials, I dismissed trying time-honored Icelandic techniques discussed in North, such as dirt-smoking fish using a dried block of compressed hay and sheep manure. Making skyr, a traditional Icelandic yogurt, sounded interesting until I learned about Gíslason’s extensive mustard program at Dill. One of his mustard recipes calls for beer, and conveniently it’s October – high season for beer and mustard.




Gíslason’s mustard recipe is the kind that will make home cooks with a well-stocked pantry giddy as they root through shelves for mustard seeds, juniper berries and whole allspice.




It takes little skill and about 10 seconds to mix the dry mustard and mustard seeds with a bottle of beer. Gíslason’s recipe calls for arctic thyme beer or another pale ale. Were I in Iceland, I’d have hunted down some arctic thyme beer, but I’m in St. Louis, so I grabbed a can of Schlafly. Call it regionalism – or argue the definition of regionalism over a beer since you’ll have 12 hours to kill while the mustard-laden beer rests in the fridge.




Cider vinegar, juniper, allspice and thyme are the basis for a pickling solution that is brought to a boil before sugar and salt are added. The herbal brine is then combined with the beer-mustard seed mixture, transferred to a glass jar and refrigerated. Find something else to do for the next three weeks – like participating in a local pumpkin beer-drinking competition.




Home-made condiments are always a delight to have on hand. In this case, after 21 days, you’ll have a crunchy, colorful, tangy whole-grain mustard that can be the star of an impromptu meat and cheese board. All you’ll need is a local (or regional) beer to go with it.


Gunnar Karl Gíslason’s Beer Mustard
Makes about 1½ cups

1¼ cups artic thyme beer or other pale ale
1 Tbsp. dry yellow mustard
3 Tbsp. black mustard seeds
3 Tbsp. yellow mustard seeds
½ cup cider vinegar
6 juniper berries
6 whole allspice
3 Tbsp. dried artic thyme
1½ Tbsp. light brown sugar
2 Tbsp. sea salt

• In a bowl, stir together the beer, dry mustard and mustard seeds, mixing well. Cover and refrigerate for 12 hours.
• Combine the vinegar, juniper, allspice and thyme in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Add the sugar and salt and stir until dissolved. Remove from the heat, add the mustard seed base, and mix well. Transfer to a heatproof glass jar and let cool to room temperature. Cap tightly and refrigerate for 3 weeks before using.

Reprinted with permission from 10 Speed Press

What one food is not the same without mustard? Tell us in the comments below for a chance to win a copy of North.

Sneak Peek: Rooster on South Grand

Thursday, October 2nd, 2014

Nearly a year ago, restaurateur Dave Bailey announced his plans to open a second location for his breakfast, lunch and brunch cafe, Rooster, at 3150 S. Grand Blvd., in South City. After an extensive rehab to the former Hamiltonian Bank & Trust building, the historic, glass box-style building is now ready for diners.

At its newest location, Rooster will offer the same morning and lunch fare that has garnered it national praise. However, the daily eatery will also operate during evening hours. The dinner menu, which Bailey described as “country French with a South City influence,” is divided into starters and entrees. The former includes items such as risotto cakes, mac-n-cheese, steak tartare, a house charcuterie plate, cured salmon and a couple salads. Among the dozen main dishes, guests will find protein-laden options to satisfy carnivores, pescatarians and vegetarians alike, including fried chicken, Missouri trout, beef brisket with braised cabbage and spaetzel, and a root vegetable hash.

The expansive 200-seat interior features sweeping floor-to-ceiling glass windows, with two 40-foot community tables extending the length of the main dining room. A patio is dotted with picnic tables than can accommodate another 150 guests.

A 3,000-square-foot lower level now serves as a bakery and commissary kitchen for Bailey’s entire family of restaurants (Baileys’ Range, Baileys’ Chocolate Bar, Bridge and Small Batch). The commissary kitchen was previously located downtown. The kitchen will also serve Bailey’s upcoming barbecue restaurant and rooftop bar at 1011 Olive St., downtown. Those venues are on target to open this spring, Bailey said, but names have not been finalized yet.

Rooster opens doors to the public Monday,Oct. 6. Here’s a look at what’s in store at this new restaurant on South Grand.


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Sneak Peek: Three Kings Public House in Des Peres

Thursday, October 2nd, 2014

In March, The Scoop announced that Three Kings Public House, a gastro pub located at 6307 Delmar Blvd., in The Loop, would open a second location in Des Peres. After months renovating the former Mosaic space at 11925 Manchester Road, pub owners Ryan Pinkston, Derek Deavers and Derek Flieg are ready to open doors.

Regulars of The Loop locale can find their favorite dishes from the Three Kings’ menu at the new location, as there are few differences between the two food menus. On the beverage side, craft beer options are deeper at the Des Peres location, which offers 30 beers on tap compared to the two dozen at its sister spot in University City.

The most dramatic difference between the venues is the space itself. Gone is the open kitchen from Mosaic’s run in this strip mall. Instead, a wall divides the 140-seat space between the dining area and the bar section. Reclaimed wood holds court on both sides – on the walls, tables and flooring – with material that hails from torn down city churches and regional barns. A wooden wall also privatizes the patio and decreases noise from busy Manchester Road. Here’s what you’ll find when Three Kings Public House opens Monday, Oct. 6:



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-photos by Ligaya Figueras

Sneak Peek: BaiKu Sushi Lounge

Wednesday, October 1st, 2014

In July, The Scoop broke the news that Café Pintxos at Hotel Ignacio in Midtown was being reconcepted as BaiKu Sushi Lounge. Under the direction of Brad Beracha, owner of now defunct sushi restaurant Miso on Meramec and Araka, BaiKu has come to life. The restaurant is now open for dinner and will offer lunch service beginning Oct. 6.

The sushi menu is extensive. It features specialty nigiri and sashimi, Hawaiian fish flown in daily, a selection of eight specialty rolls and unique chilled appetizers. The sushi bar is manned by BaiKu’s executive sushi chef, Soung Min Lee, formerly sushi chef at Miso as well as Central Table Food Hall. Joining Lee behind the counter is his brother, sous chef Soung Ho Lee.

Hot dishes at BaiKu are prepared in the kitchen at Triumph Grill, which adjoins the first floor of the hotel. Warm appetizers include creatively prepared bites like lobster shumai (Chinese-style dumplings), lettuce cups holding steamed Hawaiian blue prawns and steamed buns. Larger plates feature Korean-style hanger steak, Alaskan salmon and Hawaiian snapper.

BaiKu offers a variety of noodle dishes; guests can choose between soba, udon or ramen, the latter made locally by Midwest Pasta Co. The hot food menu was developed by Triumph executive chef Josh Norris. A native of Maui, Norris said he grew up eating a number of these dishes during his youth on the island.

Premium sake headlines beverage offerings. Rounding out the drink selection are more than 50 beers – including five Japanese brews – and wines chosen for their ability to pair with sushi. Here’s what’s in store at BaiKu:


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-photos by Michelle Volansky

The Scoop: Breakfast is focus at soon-to-open Cabana on The Loop

Wednesday, October 1st, 2014


{From left, Cabana in The Loop owners Latoshia “Hope” Morrow, Wendell Bryant and head chef and general manager Nicole Griffin}


Cabana on The Loop is about to unlock doors as soon as this Saturday, Oct. 4, at 6100 Delmar Blvd., in The Loop. Situated at the corner of Rosedale Avenue in the space most recently occupied by Horseshoe House, Cabana on The Loop will offer American cuisine rooted in Southern cookery. The eatery will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner daily – the latter by reservation only – but the focus will be on morning fare.

The restaurant is a project by husband-and-wife team Wendell Bryant and Latoshia “Hope” Morrow. “We always wanted a family restaurant,” Bryant said. Cabana on The Loop will indeed be a family affair; Bryant’s cousin Nicole Griffin will take on the dual role of directing kitchen operations and managing the restaurant. A graduate of L’Ecole Culinaire, Griffin helped open Southern-inspired SoHo in The Grove in 2012. After a culinary stint in Phoenix, she returned to St. Louis to manage the downtown location of Rib Shack and run her own private catering company.



{The cereal bar at Cabana in The Loop will feature 20 cereals displayed in dispensers around the bar.}


At Cabana in The Loop, Griffin will return to a down-home cooking style similar to that from her yearlong tenure at SoHo, including shrimp and grits, biscuits and gravy and chicken and waffles. Look also for a number of omelets, such as the Soul Food Omelet that features collard greens and smothered turkey. Morning mainstays like pancakes are on the menu, as is build-your-own French toast. If diving into a bowl of cereal is your wake-me-up meal, Cabana in The Loop will open your eyes with its cereal bar, featuring 20 varieties behind the bar. Customers can add toppings such as chocolate chips, M&Ms or pecans. “It’s something different that The Loop doesn’t have,” Griffin said.



 {Cabana in The Loop’s shrimp and grits are plated with crisp turkey bacon.}

Lunch items include a few salads with house-made dressings, appetizers like honey-glazed onions, and a variety of chicken wings, sandwiches, burgers and wraps. When dinner service is added, that menu will change weekly. Cabana in The Loop will not serve alcohol. The new eatery’s initial hours of operation will 6:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Its tropical name comes not from the cuisine, Bryant said, but from a longing for an unfulfilled island getaway. “We wanted to take a vacation for so long, but we can’t do it,” he said, adding that besides opening a restaurant, the couple is expecting their third child in November.


-photos by Michelle Volanksy






The Scoop: Parker’s Table amps up specialty food focus with new staff

Monday, September 29th, 2014



Customers at Parker’s Table have long enjoyed the artisan food offerings that owner Jon Parker carries at his Richmond Heights boutique wine shop, from dried bulk pastas to fine cheese and specialty European condiments. Now, a recent addition to the staff is set to bring patrons even more options when shopping at 7118 Oakland Ave.

New shop manager Karl Runge joined the crew at Parker’s Table earlier this month. Runge comes from Whole Foods Market, where he worked as specialty team leader for wine, beer and cheese for more than a decade, most recently at the Whole Foods location in Brentwood. Prior to that, Runge lived in Richmond, Virginia, working for retailers similar to his new employer.

“It’s in my roots to work at a place like Parker’s Table,” Runge said. “My duties are going to revolve around the cheese case and food selection in the shop. We’ll be bringing on lots of fun, new products. The shop has expanded over the years. We have more room to bring in new stuff from local producers and from further afield. We want to round out the fact that we have a great wine selection with food.”

Runge will also draw on his knowledge of specialty food in the coming months as Parker’s Table prepares to open a kitchen. The Scoop reported in January that Parker’s Table would add a bakery component to the business; Runge said the bakery is still a question mark, but the shop’s full kitchen will offer a daily lunch menu featuring many of the same ingredients sold on its shelves. “It will be more grab-and-go than a dining area or cafe,” he said. Look for lunchtime fare to roll out in January 2015.


Meatless Monday: Veggie burgers, three ways

Monday, September 22nd, 2014



Too often, at-home veggie burgers mean microwaving frozen patties packed with brown rice and whole host of not-so-natural ingredients. But in fact, it’s simple to make veggie burgers at home, and if you have a can of beans, an egg or even leftover pasta, we’ve got three simple veggie burgers that can be on the table in no time.

1. These Falafel Sliders, pictured, are packed with flavor thanks to garlic, red pepper, cumin, coriander and ground turmeric, and are the perfect size for sharing. Get the recipe here. 

2. Italian Bean Burgers use overcooked pasta to bind together white beans, red onion, sun-dried tomatoes and herbs for an delicious, vegan take on a classic veggie burger. Get the recipe here.

3. No brown rice flour here – this is a real Black Bean Burger. Two full cups of black beans are pulsed together with edamame and smoky chile powder for heat. Get the recipe here.

Click here to learn more about how to make your own veggie burgers.


-photo by Carmen Troesser

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