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Jul 30, 2014
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Budget Crunch: 9 delicious dishes and sweet deals to try right now

Tuesday, July 15th, 2014

Welcome to Budget Crunch, wherein intrepid reporter Byron Kerman offers 9 tips on delicious menu items and sweet deals happening now. Got $10? Grab a friend and sample, split and stuff yourselves with these steals.



1. The new Cookies and Cream Frozen Toddy at Crepes Etc. is a cold, blended coffee drink that starts with dark roast cold-brewed Kaldi’s coffee. Both condensed and skim milks are added, and the mixture is blended with ice, Ghiradelli white-chocolate syrup and a scoop of freshly crumbled Oreo cookies. A second scoop of Oreo crumbles is mixed in gently, and the final product is a thick liquid dessert for $6. Mmm…

2. The new One Buck Shuck deal at Bristol Seafood Grill in Creve Coeur means oysters on the half shell are $1 each during daily happy hours. The chef selects about a half-dozen varieties of bivalve for you to hoover, and look for specials on beer, wine and cocktails, too.

3. Is there a traffic jam of cyclists outside Café Ventana for free beignets? This eco-cool promotion seems like a real winner. Just bicycle up to the cafe and tell the barista you did so, and he or she will give you a daily free beignet. This freshly fried square doughnut, dusted with powdered sugar, is the cafe’s sweet reward to for you not burning fossils fuels that day. Were I a Saint Louis University student, I’d be all over this one.



4. Is the phrase “upscale slinger” acceptable? If so, try one out at Onesto. Simply called the Onesto Slinger, home fries are topped with marinated grilled skirt steak, a locally-laid fried egg, house-made smoked chili, shredded cheese and jalapenos for $14. It palliates your hangover, while also making you feel refined, yet unpretentious. Available on the new brunch menu from 10 a.m.to 2 p.m. Sundays.

5. Any excuse to eat at Juniper works for us, so news of the avant-Southern eatery’s new Happy Hour is more than welcome. Available from 4 to 5:30 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday, the half-price happy-hour Snackies include deviled eggs in two flavors, andouille corn dogs with spicy ketchup, and a wild creation called Nashville hot fried chicken skins made with strawberry buttermilk. New $6 happy-hour cocktails priced at $6 include Tim’s Gone to the Keys made with rum, sugar, maraschino juice, and vermouth; and the Tea Julep made from bourbon, sugar, tea and fresh mint.



6. The new St. Louis Bacon Meet-Up Group is celebrating the joys of bacon addiction at its first Bacon Potluck at the Heavy Anchor Friday, July 25. The free event promises all kinds of porky awesomeness, including bacon-themed games and prizes, “bacon karaoke,” and treats made with an obscene amount of bacon. Look for bacon-peanut butter cannoli (pictured), among other dishes – and bring a creation of your own. RSVP here.

7. We have tried the sorbet of the summer, and we pronounce it excellent. Both area locations of Whole Foods (Brentwood and Town & Country) are scooping up a stellar Root Beer Sorbet at the gelato counter. Does it actually have a touch of that fizzy root-beer carbonation about the edges? (No, said one sorbet-scooping dude, we are imagining things.) The root-beer flavor rotates in along with the rest, we’re told, but it is sufficiently popular that it’s usually in the lineup. Look for a Wednesday special of $4 for 12 ounces of any flavor.



8. Amy’s Corner Bakeshop’s Clear the Cases deal is a two-for-one sale on everything in the joint at 2 p.m. Sundays. The staff needs to sell the day’s baked goods before they’re consigned to oblivion, and you benefit. Look for cookies in flavors like white chocolate chip-pretzel and the Monster Cookie, studded with a dozen or more types of candy. Also submitted for your consideration: the coffee cake, the turtle brownie, the tart cherry scone, and the Strawberica cupcake with strawberry cake, vanilla frosting and strawberries on top.

9. Mid-Week Martinis on the Patio at Kirkwood’s Sapore Italian Café has a lot going for it. Two Wednesdays a month, Sapore offers free passed appetizers, $5 martinis (thanks to local sponsor Mastermind Vodka), and live music, from 5 to 7 p.m. The next Mid-Week Martinis on the Patio, billed as a “happy hour, networking and business appreciation event,” is scheduled for Wed., July 23.



Budget Crunch: 10 delicious dishes and sweet deals to try right now

Tuesday, June 17th, 2014

Welcome to Budget Crunch, wherein intrepid reporter Byron Kerman offers 10 tips on delicious menu items and sweet deals happening now. Got $10? Grab a friend and sample, split and stuff yourselves with these steals.




1. The mad scientists at 5 Star Burgers give you The Potsticker ($9.50), a melding of Vietnamese and American comfort foods. A Geisert Farms pork patty, Vietnamese slaw and peanut-hoisin sauce are sandwiched together between a bun is a returning favorite for 5 Star BOTM (Burger of the Month) fans. It’s available through June at the Clayton and Kirkwood locations.

2. Mike Shannon turns 75 in 2014, and fans of the Cards broadcaster and his eateries can celebrate during the Cardinals season. Busch on draft is just 75 cents a pint  on Thursday nights at Mike Shannon’s Grill in Edwardsville and two hours before first pitch at every home opener at The Outfield downtown.  It’s a nod to one of Shannon’s famous catchphrases about the pleasures of “ice-cold frosty Busch.”

3. You can bring your kids to all manner of story times around town, but we particularly dig the one with the free sweet stuff. At all three area locations of The Cup, Cupcake Story Time includes a cupcake-themed story read to the kiddos, complimentary Kaldi’s coffee for the parents, and a “buttercup,” a one-ounce cup of frosting for the little ones. This month’s Cupcake Story Times take place June 18 at 10 a.m. in Chesterfield, June 24 at 10 a.m. in Edwardsville and June 24 at 10:30 a.m. in the Central West End location.




4. Complimentary samples of Belgian beer are part of the deal at a special free book signing this month at Left Bank Books. Author Joe Stange signs the seventh edition of “Good Beer Guide Belgium” at 6 p.m. June 20. The book is a complete guide to of Belgian beer, with information on breweries, beers and bars from around the country, with advice on traveling, where to stay, what to eat and what to bring home. The beer tasting is courtesy of the just-opened Craft Beer Cellar in Clayton.

5. Mission Taco’s new Summer Cocktail Menu is sweet, fruity, fresh and adventurous. Consider the Raspberry Caipirinha, made with cachaca (distilled sugar cane), raspberry agua fresca, lime and simple syrup ($7). The La Flor de Borracha (“the flower of the drunkard”) is mixed up with London dry gin, hibiscus agua fresca, Big O ginger liqueur and lemon juice ($7). The Delmar Boulevardier joins bourbon, Aperol, sweet vermouth and bitters ($8). Look for these boozy refreshers and 10 more intriguing elixirs on the new drink menu.




6. The ink has barely dried on the inaugural Breakfast Menu for the recently relocated The Shack, and everything looks so fun. The Three Little Pigs omelet is filled with ham, bacon, pork belly, onions and bell peppers, smothered in “Shack cheese,” and served with hashbrowns and an English muffin ($8.50). The Shack’s Big Crunch is Texas french toast encrusted with Corn Flakes ($8). The New Yorker Skillet features smoked pastrami, Swiss cheese and spicy mustard over hashbrowns, topped with eggs ($8.50). The drink menu includes hangover stoppers like the Meaty Mary, a bloody mary made with cucumber vodka, bacon, a cheese cube, house seasonings on the rim, and a beef jerky straw ($9). Breakfast is served daily 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.

7. The new Free Lunch @ SLCL program works with Operation Food Search to give complimentary lunches to kids ages 2 to 18 at three St. Louis County Library branches. Children can enjoy nutritious lunches and fun activities at the Florissant Valley, Rock Road and Weber Road Branches, weekdays from noon to 1 p.m. through Aug. 15. There’s no need to call ahead; just show up.




8. It’s not often that Ted Drewes introduces a new concrete flavor, and frankly, any excuse to dump dessert into our custard-hole works for us. The newest excuse is Brennan’s Blend, an “Abaco mocha” and hazelnut concrete named after KMOX radio host Charlie Brennan. Abaco mocha is Drewes’ coffee-rum flavor, and when mixed with hazelnut and finished with a drizzle of caramel, it’s a winner. Depending on the size, it runs $3.40 to $6.20.

9. The new lineup of Foot-Long Hot Dogs at Wentzville’s Tattooed Dog is formidable. The all-beef dogs come in varieties like the Big Kahuna Dog, with teriyaki mustard, grilled pineapple and fresh cilantro; the Bacon Bleu Dog, with bacon, blue cheese crumbles, roasted apple and spicy honey mustard; and the eponymous Tattooed Dog, with chili, onion, shredded cheese, jalapeno and “twisted” (read “spicy”) sour cream (All foot-long dogs are $10.75.).

10. It’s tart, it’s refreshing, and we want to marry it. It’s Meyer Lemon Poppy Seed Ice Cream, available this Wednesday at Serendipity Homemade Ice Cream in Webster Groves. Ice cream flavors, like mild summer nights, are fleeting. Get this one while you can for $3 a scoop.



Budget Crunch: 10 delicious dishes and sweet deals to try right now

Thursday, May 8th, 2014

Welcome to Budget Crunch, wherein intrepid reporter Byron Kerman offers 10 tips on delicious menu items and sweet deals happening now. Got $10? Grab a friend and sample, split and stuff yourselves with these steals.



1. Condiment lovers eat at Dirty Dogz just to sample from the amazing selection of more than 200 mustards, hot sauces and more at each location (which just happens to be inside three local Home Depots). Wanna try wasabi mustard, chili dog-flavored mustard, lime-flavored Chohula hot sauce or almost anything else? They’re all free with purchase, so put ‘em on your dog, kielbasa, hot link, brat, etc. Dirty Harry would be appalled, but they even have ketchup.

2. Let the civilized life begin with Lavender Lemonade, available now at The Mud House. Locally grown lavender becomes house-made lavender simple syrup, which is then mixed into house-made lemonade. Served in a mason jar and garnished with a lemon wedge, it’s refreshment incarnate at $2.75 a glass.



3. When the students at the International Culinary School at the Art Institute of St. Louis hand you the bill for your lunch at Creativ Eats Restaurant, you may start laughing. After all, a sweet three-course prix fixe meal for $9 is a sleeper of a deal. The recently announced Florida-Caribbean fusion menu features your choice of scallop and shrimp ceviche or black bean and sweet potato soup; an entree of pulled jerk chicken, Cuban skirt steak, grouper en papillote or a curried vegetable empanada; and a dessert of tres leches sorbet with pineapple or coconut gelatin scallops with passion fruit and boysenberry sauces and topped with “Key lime caviar.” The student-operated restaurant, located in St. Charles, takes reservations for lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays; call 636.688.3055.

4. The new spring menu at The Fountain on Locust includes the yummy Fig and Bacon Pie ($8) a flatbread topped with house-made fig spread, bacon, apple slices and gorgonzola cheese. Yes, please.



5. Did you know Milagro Modern Mexican rocks a tasty, budget-friendly Mexican Sunday Brunch? Menu choices include a Baja omelet with lump crabmeat, spinach, avocado and panela cheese, topped with chipotle hollandaise ($10); cinnamon-raisin bread French toast stuffed with sweetened, rum-soaked plantains ($8); and churros y chocolate, cinnamon-sugar doughnuts served with Mexican chocolate dipping sauce ($5).

6. You may not need more than one drink at The Restaurant at The Cheshire’s happy hour, which starts at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. That’s when their absinthe-based cocktails like the Hemingway (Saint George Absinthe, crème de violet liqueur, sparkling wine and lavender bitters) or a Sazerac with an absinthe wash are $6 each. Pair that potent concoction with $5 food items like Cheshire fish and chips, Cheshire cheeseburger (also with fries), or steamed mussels. Then again, it does go until 6:30 p.m., so maybe you have time to peruse that cocktail list again.



7. It might not be a secret for much longer, but Capitalist Pig has just debuted a monthly Off the Menu Secret Lunch Club. If 10 or more people RSVP for the lunch, chef-owner Ron Buechele makes it happen. The lunch, tentatively scheduled for noon Thurs., May 29, will feature off-menu items like smoked pork belly buns (a riff on a David Chang recipe) made from house-made steamed bao buns and slow-smoked, crispy pork belly with a topping of pickled daikon, carrot and jalapeno.  Did I mention it’s a steal at $10? Email ron@madart.com for reservations.

8. Vinyl Side Monday is a fun promotion at the The Royale whereby whoever brings in a record for the DJ to spin after 10 p.m. on Mondays gets a free half-pint of any beer on draft. Current draft selections include Goose Island Illinois Imperial IPA, Civil Life English-Style Pale Ale, and Lagunitas Under Investigation Shut-Down Ale.



9. Trying one of just about everything in a single go is totally do-able at the famous 5 Star Burgers Happy Hour. From 4 to 6 p.m. daily, diners pay just $1.50 for mini-burgers, fried chicken sandwiches, mini turkey burgers and veggie-burger sliders. Fries and sweet-potato fries are $1.25 and $1.50, respectively, and fried pickles, onion rings and crispy cheese curds are just $2. Draft beers are half-price, and house wines are $3.50.

10. The Starr Special Milkshake ($4.50) at MoKaBe’s Coffeehouse is not for children; it’s for adults who want all the energy children have. Espresso grounds and chocolate bits are mixed into the shake for a caffeine-and-sugar jolt that can speed the earth on its axis. One MoKaBe’s barista said the consistency of the espresso and chocolate is that of crumbled Oreos. I say the power rush is that of a newly crowned dictator.



The List: Noodle-Stretchers Extraordinaire at Corner 17

Friday, April 18th, 2014
Welcome to The List, our annual homage to the people, places, dishes and drinks we love in St. Louis. Don’t miss a single pick; click here to read the whole List and share your thoughts on Twitter with #thesaucelist.



Come for the noodles, stay for the show. At 8-month-old Corner 17 Chinese noodle shop in The Loop, a glass enclosure in the corner of the restaurant allows diners to watch chefs Wang and Yixiu Zheng expertly stretch wheat dough into made-to-order noodles. Noodle stretchers pull the dough and fold it in two again and again, doubling the number of long noodles with each fluid motion before throwing the noodles in boiling water. It’s mesmerizing.

Yi Yao, Corner 17’s manager, said the greatest challenge of the operation is getting the ratio of flour-to-water correct, or, she warned, the dough may turn out too thick and then rip during stretching. The feedback for the culinary performance has been so pronounced, she added, that Corner 17 is considering offering a class in noodle making.

6623 Delmar Blvd., University City, 314.727.2402

-photo by Greg Rannells

Budget Crunch: 10 delicious dishes and sweet deals to try right now

Thursday, April 10th, 2014
Welcome to Budget Crunch, wherein intrepid reporter Byron Kerman offers 10 tips on delicious menu items and sweet deals happening now. Got $10? Grab a friend and sample, split and stuff yourselves with these steals.


1. You say, “Cannoli Happy Hour,” and we say, “Happy? Pshaw – more like ecstatic.” On Tuesday nights at Piccione Pastry in the U. City Loop, every cannoli is half off from 8 to 9 p.m. Rotating flavors may include chocolate chip, pistachio, citrus, chocolate, strawberry, gooey butter, coconut cream, cookie dough, chocolate-mint brownie, black cherry-Marsala, traditional and more.

2. Don’t let the fancy craft beer at the Flying Saucer slosh around your tum-tum without food. The Beerknurd Brunch Buffet is a $10 affair that runs every Sunday from noon “’til the food runs out.” The buffet always includes a make-your-own breakfast burrito station featuring eggs, bacon, sausage, shredded cheese and soft-taco shells. Other dishes may include biscuits and gravy, fruit and muffins.



3. Dig the sweet treats platter at Pan D’Olive. The $5 Dessert Sampler includes baklava, tiramisu and chocolate mousse and is available during happy hour, which takes place weekdays 4 to 7 p.m.

4. When a doughnut shop stays open at night, one tends to take notice. Over at Collinsville’s Glazy Squares Donuts & Ice Cream, the owners have just extended their daily hours until 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, and 9 p.m. every other night of the week. Hot dogs and chili dogs are now available ($1.75 to $3.25), along with 16 flavors of ice cream ($2.75 to $3.75), plus ice cream floats. On select nights, you can buy a baker’s dozen of your favorite doughnuts at half price ($4.25). Check Glazy’s Facebook page or join its email list to learn when that discount is offered.

5. Tuesday night is when the mad scientists of SqWires unleash their creations upon an eager public. SqWare Plates are small-plate portions of new dishes that just might find a more permanent place on the menu. The half-dozen tastes, which change each week, run $5 each or five for $20. Last week’s newbies included grilled chive chicken with a creamy Ozark Forest Mushroom saute, barbecued oysters broiled in a house sauce and onions, primavera and Parmesan arancini, mussels with rosemary fries, a prosciutto quiche with mixed greens, and English pizza with house-made tomato sauce and three cheeses.



6. Some people come to Three Kings Public House just for the breakfast cereal. Of course, I’m referring to the venerated Captain Crunch Shrimp ($10), an app that melds spicy and sweet to wonderful effect. Six jumbo shrimp are breaded in a mix of crushed Captain Crunch cereal and seasoned flour, fried golden brown, and served with Asian slaw and a spicy Thai dipping sauce.

7. One of the most unexpected sandwiches in town is surely the Sardine Sandwich ($9) at the Schlafly Bottleworks. Skinless, olive oil-cured sardine fillets, spicy mustard, pickled onions and lettuce get to know each other on grilled white bread (with a side of potato salad). It’s pleasantly fishy, not too oily, and plenty salty – drink lotsa water.

8. Get lost, Sunday brunch. We’re cottoning to the Saturday Brunch at Annie Moon’s Bakery. The $12 buffet includes buttermilk biscuits and gravy, quiches, casseroles, fruit salad, soups, wraps, French toast, and more, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.



9. They make it fun to order dessert at Pairings Wine and Dessert Bar . The petite, two-to-four-bite morsels are $3 each or three for $8. Consider the bacon and blueberry bread pudding a la mode; the chocolate crepes with Frangelico hazelnut chocolate mousse, dark chocolate ganache and hazelnuts; the Key lime cheesecake with candied lime zest; or the house-made ice cream of the day.

10. There are those who walk among us in silent struggle. They are called vegans, and finding foods around town that meet their dietary choices can be challenging – unless we’re talking Monday nights at Gokul Indian Restaurant in the U. City Loop. That’s because on Monday nights, the entire buffet ($12), normally vegetarian, kicks it up a notch and goes 100-percent vegan. The rotating array of dishes on the buffet may include chana saag (spinach and garbanzo beans), jalfrezi (a kind of curry), daal makhani (lentils and beans), aloo (potatoes with) tomato, mutter (green pea) tofu, and desserts like carrot kheer (rice pudding).



The List: The Cookbook Nook at Juniper

Friday, April 4th, 2014

Welcome to The List, our annual homage to the people, places, dishes and drinks we love in St. Louis. Don’t miss a single pick; click here to read the whole List and share your thoughts on Twitter with #thesaucelist.




If you’re a lover of all things food, Juniper’s jam-packed bookcase will not just catch your attention, it will compel you to finally renew your library card. Listen to its shelves groan under dozens of cookbooks and memoirs by culinary heavyweights such as Thomas Keller, Ferran Adrià, Julia Child and Jacques Pépin. More recent hits like David McMillan’s The Art of Living According to Joe Beef or April Bloomfield’s A Girl and Her Pig will have you wondering what recipes Juniper’s chef-owner John Perkins has dog-eared when creating his own rustic and tantalizing menus. – B.K.

360 N. Boyle Ave., St. Louis, 314.329.7696, junipereats.com

Budget Crunch: 10 delicious dishes and sweet deals to try right now

Thursday, March 6th, 2014

Welcome to Budget Crunch, wherein intrepid reporter Byron Kerman offers 10 tips on delicious menu items and sweet deals happening now. Got $10? Grab a friend and sample, split and stuff yourselves with these steals.



1. Soulard’s Epic Pizza & Subs has fun creating wild flavors for pies like the Toasted Ravioli Pizza. It starts with pizza crust and an egg wash, topped with toasted-ravioli meat filling, Provel and mozzarella. After a final sprinkle of bread crumbs, it’s baked and served with a side of marinara. You can order it anytime, by the slice for $3.75 or whole for $17 to $20.

2. Speaking of T-ravs, in honor of National Ravioli Day on March 20, all three Charlie Gitto’s locations will offer half-priced toasted ravioli for $5. Its version of the cute little fried pasta pockets is tasty as heck and a window into the Italian St. Louis of old; Charlie Gitto’s claims to have invented the app in 1947.

3. The Saint Louis University’s School of Law’s restaurant, The Docket, is offering a real bargain for those who like to load up at lunchtime. The Chef’s Table is an all-you-care-to-eat buffet available weekdays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. A recent spread included beef stew, fried chicken, various salads, couscous, mac-n-cheese and veggies. The buffet, which changes daily, is just $10.



4. When a kitchen of Truffles’ caliber puts out a scrumptious lunch for just $5 Tuesday through Friday, it’s worth taking note. Recent blue-plate specials have included a barbecue burger with Parmesan fries, a braised beef short-rib burrito with salad, and chicken and white bean chili with crispy tortillas, sour cream, and shredded white cheddar. All meals include a draft beer, too. You’ll have to hit Truffles’ Facebook page for the magic daily password, though.

5. At the CWE’s Crepes Etc., the weekly Waffle Wednesday deal means all waffles are $5. That includes menu selections like the malted waffle with fresh seasonal berries and cream, the buttermilk-pecan waffle, and the occasional off-menu special waffle du jour.

6. Kids adore the make-your-own-pizza experience Tuesdays from 4 to 8 p.m. at the O’Fallon, Mo., location of Stefanina’s Pizzeria. The kitchen brings the ingredients to the table, where kids 12 and younger are invited to adorn their mini-pizzas with up to three toppings for $5. Then, their creations are baked and brought back to be served to the grateful artists.



7. The revamped brunch menu at Mangia Italiano includes goodies like a chicken and waffle sandwich, an egg sandwich starring prosciutto and blue cheese, smoked salmon hash with poached eggs and bacon, a mixed-green salad with roasted duck and fried eggs, and a build-your-own frittata dish. The bloody mary crowd has not been ignored; a new 65-item build-your-own-bloody buffet is $11 (and $8 for a non-alcoholic version).

8. If you’ve not yet tried new Italian hot spot Cucina Pazzo (or if you have), consider the deals to be had during the restaurant’s weekday happy hour from 4 to 6 p.m. Half-priced appetizers and drinks means that appetizers like the “ricconi,” fried ricotta with crispy pepperoni, basil blossom and tomato confit, or the mortadella corndogs with Moretti beer cheese, jalapeño honey mustard and basil-fennel salad, both go for just $4.50.  

9. If you’re the sort of human who balks at Buffalo sauce, reconsider your predilections and try the pulled-chicken Buffalo sandwich for $8.75 at the Gobble Stop Smokehouse. The Creve Coeur barbecue hut has crafted a mild Buffalo sauce that, when tossed with pulled chicken and served on a bun with onion and pickle, sits astride the border between tangy and spicy just so.

10. There are 32 seats at the 801 Chophouse bar, and those are the only seats where you can order $1 oysters on the half-shell during the restaurant’s weekday happy hour from 4 to 6 p.m. The little guys normally go for $3 to $6 each, so grab a seat early and get to slurping.




Budget Crunch: Delicious dishes and sweet deals right now

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014


{For the Family at Cielo}

Welcome to Budget Crunch, wherein intrepid reporter Byron Kerman offers 10 tips on delicious menu items and sweet deals happening now.

1. It doesn’t get much cheaper than free. And tonight (Jan. 28), a free wine tasting at Elaia and Olio features the wines of Matteo Corregia, a leading producer in the Piedmont region of Italy. It’s a “library tasting,” which means guests get to taste the same wine at various points in its aging process. For instance, you can try one of the wines in its 1996, 2000, 2005 and 2011 vintages. Eighteen wines total will be poured, and most wines will be available for purchase, too. No reservations required.

2. The wintry Urban Harvest Pizza at both Crushed Red locations is a counterintuitive marvel. We certainly wouldn’t have thought of candied walnut pesto, diced bacon, dried cranberries, caramelized onions, roasted corn, mozzarella and (gulp!) stuffing together atop a pizza. It’s sweet, it’s savory, and it works at just $7.50. But you’ve got to try it soon – this is the last week.

3. The German Chocolate Pancakes at Lewy Nine’s Café at River City Casino earn an official, “Holy cow!” They may be on the breakfast menu, but this $9 stack of four deep, dark chocolate pancakes drenched in decadent caramel-pecan syrup and topped with shredded coconut could easily be dessert for four people. Plan to take home leftovers.

4. The Llywelyn’s Pub new $3, $4, $5 Happy Hour is marvel of simplicity. You can get three different items for $3 each: chips with pepper cheese or rarebit sauce, a cup of soup or chili, and the Dragon’s Nest, which is a basket of fried onions and jalapenos. The four-for-$4 lineup includes pub pretzels with pepper cheese, Welsh rarebit, a chef’s choice of mini-sandwiches, and fried Irish pies stuffed with corned beef, white cheddar and mashed potatoes. The five-for-$5 selection features spinach artichoke dip, pub pickles, mini-burgers, a half flatbread, and Irish Mussels – blue mussels steamed in garlic, Jameson Irish Whiskey and butter.

5. The small plates menu at the restaurant with the breathtaking view, Cielo at the Four Seasons St. Louis, has a nifty option for groups. The For the Family includes four small plates, plus almonds, olives and salamino (slices of small salami) for $24. Small plate choices include curried shrimp with cauliflower puree, grilled octopus, wild mushroom arancini, crunchy olives stuffed with beef, pork and veal, and bruschetta with goat cheese, oven-dried tomatoes and pesto.

6. Chaumette Vineyards & Winery in Ste. Genevieve opens an Indian-themed pop-up, a temporary restaurant concept this February and March. Lambay’s India at Chaumette will showcase the skills of executive chef Adam Lambay, the former executive chef at India Rasoi. For $20, a guest chooses three veggie and meat curries from a menu of 16 options, including chicken tikka masala, goat rogan josh, goan shrimp, saag paneer, eggplant pharta, dhal makini and gobi aloo, accompanied by basmati rice, samosas, breads and chutney. The Indian pop-up is hosted in Chaumette’s Barrel Room from 5 to 8:30 p.m. Saturdays in February and March. Reservations required.

7. They call it Wine and Dine Wednesdays, and it means every glass of wine at Mike Shannon’s Grill in Edwardsville, Ill., is half price all day.  We hear the promotion has become super popular, and they’ve added a little something extra with occasional wine sampling from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesdays, too.

8. Everything on the menu at upscale comfort-food hideaway Juniper is special, but let us now sing the praises of the not-so-humble grilled cheese sandwich. This little number features house-made pimento cheese and an eye-opening, bacon-Brussels sprout jam. It’s delish, and while it’s $6 at lunch or dinner, it’s just $4 on the late-night menu after 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.

9. Students at Dierbergs School of Cooking‘s Gone to the Dogs class create treats for Fido like pumpkin-peanut butter-flavored bones, “Scooby snacks,” chicken-and-cheddar bites, “pupcakes,” and doggy ice cream. The $25 class takes place Sat., Feb. 8, at the Des Peres location.

10. The Donut Happy Hour at both locations of Ray’s Donuts is a sweet deal. From noon to 2 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays, buy one doughnut and get a second of equal or lesser value for free. Bring a friend – or don’t!





The Ultimate Guide to Thanksgivukkah – Part 2

Friday, November 22nd, 2013


{Beth Boggiano Sorrell’s L’Chaim, It’s Turkey Time}


Thanksgivukkah, the Turkey Day/Festival of Lights hybrid currently enthralling the social media world, promises some truly original (and hopefully delicious) holiday spreads. In the first part of our ultimate guide to these festivities, we dished on what chefs local and national are dreaming up to commemorate the occasion. Today, we plan out your Thanksgivukkah table, from pumpkin challah to sweet-and-sour braised brisket with cranberries and pomegranate seeds.

Many home cooks are heading straight for an obvious crowd-pleaser: sweet potato latkes with a suggested condiment of homemade cranberry sauce or cranberry applesauce. Jewish cooking maven Joan Nathan suggests a curried sweet potato latke, amongst other ideas.

Ambitious bloggers have created entire Thanksgivukkah menus. BuzzFeed’s Christine Byrne dreamed up Manischewitz-brined roast turkey, sweet potato-bourbon noodle kugel, roasted Brussels sprouts with pastrami and pickled red onion, horseradish mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie with a caraway rye crust, and pecan pie rugelach.

Tasty-looking desserts include a scrumptious pumpkin-custard kugel and caramelized corn, thyme and onion doughnut holes at the Joy of Kosher website. Sweet doughnuts might include sweet potato-spiced sufganiyot (Hebrew for jelly doughnuts).

St. Louis blogger Stefani “Cupcake Project” Pollack turned tzimmes, a Jewish warm-fruit compote, into a Thanksgivukkah Tzimmes Pie for Parade Magazine. Still not finished, Pollack whipped up both sweet potato-casserole marshmallows and Manischewitz-Concord grape marshmallows in Hanukkah shapes.

Through project that has literally helped turned Thanksgivukkah into the national buzzword it’s become, Pollack dreamed up a Thanksgivukkah Blogger Potluck that motivated 18 fellow food bloggers nationwide to cook up dishes like chocolate cranberry cake with gelt glaze, pumpkin-glazed cronuts, a nervy onion-bagel and bacon stuffing, challah-cranberry doughnut holes and challah stuffing with turkey sausage, leeks and cherries.

One person Pollack appealed to for ideas was Slow Food St. Louis co-leader Kimberly Henricks-Friedhoff, whose Rhubarb and Honey blog featured a sweet potato noodle kugel that was featured online on Good Morning America.

Even Operation Food Search director of development Karen Klaus intends to carve a Star of David from a gelatinous log of cranberry sauce. It’s low budget, but it has a certain, primitive charm. And St. Louis’ only kosher deli, Kohn’s, is selling a challah-cornbread dressing for the occasion.

On the beverage side, mixologist Beth Boggiano Sorrell of Cocktails Are Go! catering and the STL Libation Lab professionals’ guild has developed two Thanksgivukkah cocktails that are equal parts hilarity and holiday salute. The no-pressure Shiksa Spritzer calls for 1½ ounces rye whisky, ½ ounce Manischewitz and a squeeze of lemon to be added to a tall glass. Then add ice and fill to the top with ginger ale.

L’Chaim, It’s Turkey Time is slightly more involved. Stack 1½ ounces rye whiskey, 1 ounce Manischewitz, ½ ounce Goldschlager, ¼ ounce lemon juice and 2 dashes Jerry Thomas bitters in a cocktail shaker with ice. Strain into a chilled coupe glass and garnish with a lemon twist. This concoction will literally add sparkle to Thanksgivukkah – and quite possibly dizziness, too.

From the crafts department, Brooke Pratt of STL’s Sucre Shop has created biodegradable birchwood utensils printed “Happy Thanksgivukkah.”  Chabad of Greater St. Louis is offering its annual free Menorah Workshop on Nov. 24 at the Home Depot of Brentwood with several Thanksgiving touches. The event includes Thanksgiving-themed decorations for participants to use in crafting their menorah, a snack of latkes with cranberry sauce, and a Thanksgiving canned-food drive to assist the Harvey Kornblum Jewish Food Pantry.

Before you know it, Thanksgivukkah will be over. But wait! In 2014, Purim comes a day before St. Patrick’s Day; hamentaschen made with whiskey-soaked prunes, anyone?



The Ultimate Guide to Thanksgivukkah – Part 1

Thursday, November 21st, 2013

{The traditional Thanksgivukkah menurkey. Yes, really.}


A giant inflatable dreidel balloon will make its first appearance on the streets of Manhattan during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. The Hanukkah toy is featured in honor of something you may have heard about: this year’s rare overlap of Hanukkah and Thanksgiving, dubbed Thanksgivukkah by the Internet population.

People are making a giant fuss over the fact that the first of Hanukkah’s eight-day stretch lands on Thanksgiving Day. The two holidays haven’t coincided since 1918 and won’t again until 2070, say those who know such things. What’s more, the next time the first day of Hanukkah is scheduled to land on Thanksgiving is 78,000 years hence, should humanity survive to that point.

Thanksgiving is already an overload of too much food, but for families who celebrate Hanukkah with traditional fried treats like potato latkes and jelly doughnuts, it will be that much more decadent. A number of chefs, bloggers and crafters have taken to the Internet to unleash their shotgun amalgams of traditional Jewish and Thanksgiving tropes (Have you bought your “menurkey” yet?) to make the holiday a fried, sweet potato-filled, doughnut-y freak show. And many of the over-the-top dishes actually sound fantastic.

Earlier this month, Boston pop-up restaurant Kitchen Kibitz, which spotlights modern Jewish cuisine, offered mash-ups of “traditional Jewish foods with elements inspired by New England’s autumn season: think pumpkin-seed challah, sunchoke latkes with sugar beet and pumpkin sauce, and pecan pie rugelach with chocolate gelt.”

L.A.’s Dog Haus hot dog eateries are offering the Thanksgivukkah Dog, “a smoked turkey sausage mixed with bits of whiskey-soaked cranberries and brown-sugared sweet potatoes, then topped with tater tots – signifying latkes – and drizzled in apple-raspberry compote.” Website Serious Eats dropped the obscene “latke-crusted turkey stuffing fritters with liquid cranberry cores and turkey schmaltz gravy.”

Requisite doughnuts to be found include the savory, such as pumpkin-flavored doughnuts stuffed with turkey and your choice of cranberry sauce or gravy sold by a Manhattan bakery, and the sweet, like sweet potato doughnuts with toasted marshmallow filling. Need chocolate? Gobble up chocolate coins wishing you “Gobble Tov.” And taking the foodie fetish to its natural conclusion, another site has provided a helpful Thanksgivukkah beer pairing recommendation list.

Here at home, local chefs have crafted their own Thanksgivukkah creations, even if some haven’t made it to the plate just yet. The Libertine executive chef Josh Galliano said if pressed into service, he’d contemplate a kugel with seasonal persimmons or an ambitious turducken made with layers of matzo-meal stuffing.

River City Casino & Hotel executive chef John Johnson dreams of turkey Benedict made with a sweet potato latke in place of the English muffin, an apple pie with top crust of a transformed kugel, and mincemeat folded into the dough of a swirled challah. He said he intends to make sage-flavored jelly doughnuts filled with cranberry sauce and served with turkey and gravy this week.

The ever-creative executive chef Liz Schuster of Tenacious Eats said she whips up a challah stuffing for her family turkey that also incorporates Missouri black trumpet chanterelles, roasted shallots, garlic, toasted fennel seed, fresh sage and rosemary. She also wraps turkey legs in fresh sage leaves, turkey bacon and collared greens, then braises them in beef stock before dousing with a demiglace of Bing cherries, apricots, golden raisins and cranberries. The Jewish aspect of the latter dish, she said, is that the turkey bacon and the kosher beef bullion cubes she uses make the entire dish kosher. Schuster also has made a savory root-vegetable bread pudding with a challah base using oven-roasted shallots, mirepoix, caramelized mushrooms, custard and fresh thyme.

She has designs on matzo ball soup made with roasted root vegetables, a challah pumpkin French toast topped with toasted pecans and maple syrup, a baked apple pie with a rugelach streusel atop it, and a wild caprese dish using latkes stacked with cheese, tomato and sage.

Dreaming of your own sweet potato latkes and challah dressings? Inspired to tackle Thanksgivukkah in your own home? Check out part 2 of our Ultimate Guide for recipes, drinks and even decorating ideas. It’s gets deliciously weird.

-photo courtesy of Menurkey.com




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