Hello Stranger | Login | Create Account
 
 
 
 
 
  SAUCE MAGAZINE
|
Feb 28, 2017
|
Intelligent Content For The Food Fascinated
|
SERVING SAINT LOUIS SINCE 1999
Email | Text-size: A | A | A

Author Archive

Ones to Watch 2017: Jake Sciales of Farmhaus

Sunday, January 1st, 2017

OTW_Jake_Blog_Jan17

 

Title: Head chef and baker, Farmhaus
Age: 29
Why watch him: On the ice or in the kitchen, he’s a competitor.

The greatest lesson Jake Sciales has learned in his four years baking bread is respect. “Bread doesn’t care how busy you are. It doesn’t care when you need it, how many reservations you have. It does its own thing and you have to adapt and react,” he explained.

Shortly after hiring Sciales, Farmhaus chef-owner Kevin Willmann had his friend Matt Herren, then owner of 222 Artisan Bakery in Edwardsville, teach the crew how to bake bread. It wasn’t long before Sciales was heading up Farmhaus’ bread program. “Two to three weeks after I started, it kind of got tossed on me,” Sciales said.

Sciales looks at restaurant work as a competition for the adrenaline to get though daily challenges. He accepted his new role of bread baker, on top of being chef, like the athlete he is. “I took it as a way to endear myself to the new crew I was joining,” Sciales said. “I wanted to take the responsibility and start contributing to the team.”

Sciales got his start washing dishes at Sky Hi in Columbia, Missouri, after college. He was initially attracted to a career in the restaurant industry for the same reason he played a lot of sports growing up, and still plays hockey every week. “A desk job isn’t a good fit for me,” he said. “Being active and having the rush of cooking, the pressure and intensity of it, drew me, and I ran with it.”

With bread baking, Sciales found a new awareness. “It was almost calming because I just followed the process; there was no cheating it, you just have to do it,” he said. “You have to work with it. It doesn’t work with you.”

Something is definitely working. Willmann insisted Sciales puts out some of the best bread in St. Louis. “He’s ambitious for sure, and reliable, with a magnet of a personality,” he said.

Sciales loves working with Homer, the 20-plus-year-old wild yeast mother used to make Farmhaus’ rustic country loaf, and is pretty into sourdough pretzels now. What’s next? “It jumps around,” he said. “Four, five months ago I was getting into focaccia.” Sciales’ mercurial interests fuel what breads Farmhaus serves, but one thing is clear: “Without Matt and Kevin, I probably wouldn’t be down this road right now.”

Photo by Carmen Troesser

Extra Sauce: Top 5 Dishes of 2016

Thursday, December 29th, 2016

Sauce restaurant critic Michael Renner has tasted his fair share of St. Louis cuisine. All year, he shared his thoughts on New and Notable restaurants. Here, he shares his top five dishes of 2016:

 

5. Hakka Stir Fry at Tai Ke
In a single mouthful, this Taiwanese dish, consisting of matchstick slivers of pork, squid and dried tofu tossed with celery and garlic, managed to defy simplicity with a brilliant concatenation of complex flavors and textures.

 

122916_Renner_Parigi

 

4. Brodetto at Parigi
This tomato-based fish stew was a picture-perfect bowl of snow-white fish, clams, mussels and head-on shrimp in a broth redolent with red wine vinegar and lemon zest. I did not come up for air until each shell was picked clean and every drop of intoxicating broth was sopped up with yeasty, crusty bread.

3. Potpie at Olive & Oak
Puncturing the buttery, flakey robe of crust revealed a treasure of mushrooms, kale, butternut squash and cauliflower through puffs of fragrant steam. The earthy roasted leek gravy proved that not every potpie requires chicken or beef.

 

122916_Renner_Vista

 

2. Vegetable Ramen at Vista Ramen
My veggie ramen at Vista was chock-full of cauliflower, shiitake mushrooms and carrots, though yours may vary. What won’t change is the broth’s deep, funky umami, so rich it seems like a liqueur.

 

122916_Renner_KounterKulture

 

And the No. 1 Dish of the Year…
Catfish Po’ Boy Steamed Bun at Kounter Kulture
A dark-hued, crackling fried coating framed the natural succulence and fresh taste of catfish, all topped with an unforgettable sprinkle of spicy togarashi and douse of creamy shishito pepper-cherry tomato remoulade.

Parigi and Vista Ramen photos by Jonathan Gayman

Related Content
10 Best New Restaurants of 2016

New & Notable: Kounter Kulture

Extra Sauce: Top 5 Dishes of 2015

 

 

Holiday Gift Guide: 5 gifts for your food snob

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2016

HG16_FoodSnob

 

According to David Kamp and Marion Rosenfeld in their snarky Food Snob’s Dictionary, a food snob is someone “who has taken the amateur epicure’s admirable zeal for eating and cooking well to hollandaise-curdling extremes.” Here are a few holiday gift ideas to distinguish your food snob, experienced or aspiring, from the amateurs.

 

1. Acorns & Cattails
Most chefs know how to forage without poisoning themselves. For the rest of us, St. Louis native Rob Connoley’s smartly written, beautifully photographed cookbook provides inspiration and instruction for gathering and preparing food. We hope Connoley serves some of these recipes in the restaurant he plans to open in St. Louis next year. $35. Kitchen Conservatory, 8021 Clayton Road, Clayton, 314.862.2665, kitchenconservatory.com

2. VAIN Vanilla Sampler
Regular vanilla extract is so, uh, vanilla. VAIN Foods of Kansas City, Missouri switches out the standard neutral grain alcohol in favor of more interesting spirits to make its vanilla. Try Mexican vanilla in Kentucky bourbon, Indonesian vanilla in ginger spirits, Ugandan in orange spirits and Madagascar vanilla in both cane rum and vodka in this five-pack sampler. $40. Larder & Cupboard, 7310 Manchester Road, Maplewood, 314.300.8995, larderandcupboard.com

3. Wine Wands
Sometimes even the most conscientious don’t have time to chill their wine to the proper temperature. In such dire straights, the hoi polloi use ice cubes, a practice eschewed by any self-respecting food snob. Keep this set of two stainless-steel wine chillers in the freezer to cool down a glass of wine in a hurry, preempting such an embarrassing situation. $40. Williams-Sonoma, Plaza Frontenac, 1701 S. Lindbergh Blvd., Frontenac, 314.567.9211, williams-sonoma.com

4. Anova Precision Cooker Sous Vide WiFi
While rash enthusiasts bought aquarium-sized sous vide immersion circulators, food snobs knew something better had to be in the works. Like cell phones, sous vide technology has produced a manageably sized device. It’s lightweight, attaches to any pot and connects to a smartphone so you can cook remotely and receive temperature notifications. $199. Crate & Barrel, 1 The Boulevard, Richmond Heights, 314.725.6380, crateandbarrel.com

5. Halcyon Knives
Halcyon Forge is a one-man show in which Joseph Schrum makes beautiful, high-carbon steel knives in his backyard work shed in Sedalia. Schrum uses reclaimed materials like old saw blades and wood scavenged from riverbanks. Buy his designs or order custom knives made with, say, a resin laminate handle incorporating a memento. But prepare to wait six months for the custom gift to arrive. He’s that good. $140 to $425. Bertarelli Cutlery, 1927 Marconi Ave., St. Louis, 314.664.4005; halcyonforge.com

 

More Holiday Gift Guides
• Holiday Gift Guide: 5 gifts for the person you have to shop for
• Holiday Gift Guide: 5 gifts to stock a starter kitchen
• Holiday Gift Guide: 5 gifts for your boozehound
• Holiday Gifts 2015: Gifts for the Food Snob

 

Ones to Watch 2016: J.T. Gelineau

Sunday, January 3rd, 2016

122815_otw_JT

 

Title: Owner, Mushrooms Naturally
Age: 31
Why Watch Him: His mycological enterprise is mushrooming.

Mysterious, fascinating, beautiful and delicious. That’s how J.T. Gelineau described the all-consuming object of his obsession: the mushroom. A former chef who grew up digging in dirt and gardening, Gelineau’s fascination with mushrooms comes, well, naturally. Now his business Mushrooms Naturally, which started part time in his small basement, has grown into a 3,000-square-foot warehouse in O’Fallon, Missouri. “My wife is a very tolerant woman, but she told me to move it someplace else,” Gelineau said.

Self-taught in mycology, the biology of mushrooms, Gelineau starts everything from scratch, in petri dishes. Unusual varieties like royal trumpet, hen-of-the-woods, white beech and black poplar line rack after rack of industrial shelving, popping out of bags of mineral-enhanced sawdust “soil” like some sci-fi farm from The Day of the Triffids. “I really like growing vegetables, but this is just so much more challenging,” he said. “It appealed to me from the chef’s point of view of the food and organization.”

As a former chef, he also knows what a high-end kitchen wants, according to one of Gelineau’s clients, Anthony Devoti, chef-owner of Five Bistro. “The stuff that he’s growing is beautiful,” Devoti said. “And with us trying to stay local and hyper-local, he’s growing those here in St. Louis.” They’re also exceptionally fresh, since Gelineau delivers mushrooms picked and sorted within three days of harvest.

Mushrooms Naturally has grown to be one of the largest local suppliers of gourmet mushrooms to St. Louis restaurants in just three years. And if mushrooms weren’t enough, Gelineau recently started making flavored sea salts – from roasted shitake to truffle. Yet another reason to keep your eye on the mushroom man.

– photo by Carmen Troesser

Extra Sauce: Top 5 Dishes of 2015

Thursday, December 31st, 2015

Sauce restaurant critic Michael Renner has tasted his fair share of St. Louis cuisine. All year, he shared his thoughts on New and Notable restaurants. Here, he shares his top five dishes of 2015:

 

5. Dumplings at Private Kitchen
 
Nibble around the edges of the steamed pork dumplings, sip the rich stock and plot how to get more.

 

121815_dish4

 

4. Cluckin’ Hot Fried Chicken at Southern
Four-alarm, “cluckin’ hot” Nashville-style chicken triggers all the pain and pleasure centers with fire and a hint of sweetness. All other fried chicken is milquetoast in comparison.

 

121815_dish2

 

3. Lamb Sugo at Reeds American Table
Thick and meaty lamb sugo, amped up with orange zest and mint, sticks to ruffled creste rigate noodles and to your ribs on a cold night.

 

121815_dish3_rannells

 

2. Whole fish at Público
Whole, head-on yellowtail snapper was stuffed with scallion, bay leaf, jalapeno, lemon and lime and roasted in the wood-fueled oven. It comes with house-made tortillas so you can share with the table. Don’t.

 

121815_dish1

 

And the No. 1 dish of the year…

Cast-iron seared scallops at J. McArthur’s
Cast-iron skillet-seared diver scallops are good enough. Float them in smoked corn bisque with Brussels sprouts, pea shoots and bacon, and you have the best dish of the year.

 

-photos by Jonathan Gayman

 

Extra Sauce: Top 5 Dishes of 2014

Tuesday, December 30th, 2014

Sauce restaurant critic Michael Renner has tasted his fair share of St. Louis cuisine. All year, he shared his thoughts on New and Notable restaurants, from pizza to Southern fare to pasta. Here, he shares his top five dishes of 2014:

 

Top5_NN_05

 

No. 5: Bread Basket at Juniper
Despite all the great food — the deviled eggs, that tangy pimento grilled cheese, fine fried chicken — I’m going with Juniper’s bread basket because even at $9, it’s a worthy indulgence when there’s buttermilk biscuits, cornbread, hush puppies, popovers and fluffy angel biscuits made with lard.

 

Top5_NN_04

 

No. 4: Short Rib Pappardelle at Cucino Pazzo
Perfectly al dente house-made pappardelle noodles, carrots, celery and tender, beefy short ribs braised for 16 hours in red wine all in a sauce of cipollini onions and roasted mushrooms? No wonder it’s their most popular dish.

 

Top5_NN_03

 

No. 3: Venison Chop at Element
Just like baseball season, it’s gone but it sure was memorable. That farm-raised venison was something. Tasting richer than beef, the big, bone-in seared, savory chop lacked the gaminess of its wild cousin. Roasted root vegetables and a smoked Concord grape sauce balanced winter earthiness with subtle sweetness.

 

 

Top5_NN_02

 

No. 2: Hamburger at Three Flags Tavern
Of course Three Flags’ beef brisket was ground in-house, but it was the house-baked potato bun that didn’t disintegrate and the house sauce (mayonnaise, ketchup, mustard and pickle juice) that made this burger such a savory package. A close runner-up: the pan-fried chicken and the accompanying biscuit baked while the bird fries.

And my No. 1 dish of 2014 is…

 

Top5_NN_01

 

 

Lobster Roll at Peacemaker Lobster & Crab Co.

Regardless of the style — Maine (served cold with mayo) or Connecticut (tossed with drawn butter and served warm) — what made these rolls even more notable than the chunks of fresh, tender, sweet lobster was the bun: a split-top brioche bun griddled to a buttery, toasted perfection, soft enough for fingers to gently crunch, yet substantial enough cradle all that meat.

 

And an honorable mention goes to the duck confit at Jax Café Chef-owner Brian Hale showed style and whimsy with a savory chipotle-cherry pancake topped with arugula, creamed corn and a confit of duck leg. A lot of competition for a limited number of taste buds produced surprisingly complementary flavors.

-photos by Jonathan Gayman

The List: Canh Ga Chien at Mi Linh

Wednesday, April 30th, 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.

 

042814milinh

Last year, I loved Mi Linh’s Canh Ga Chien so much that it made my Top 5 Dishes of 2013 list. Lightly breaded with rice flour and cornstarch, deep-fried and then sauteed with butter, red pepper flakes, garlic and diced onions, these chicken wings made me wish I could eat them every day. Then there was a shake-up in the family-run restaurant, and head chef Nelson Tran – brother of owner Dee Dee Tran – was out. How are the wings now? During a return visit, the dish was overloaded with scallions and garlic, but the light and crispy coating still cracked with the first bite, the meat was still juicy, the gentle heat still warmed my lips, and the wings still glistened – as did my fingers – with butter and oil. My verdict? I’m still eating them.

9737 Manchester Road, Rock Hill, 314.918.8868, milinh.net

-photo by Jonathan Gayman

Michael Renner’s Top 5 Dishes of 2013

Monday, December 30th, 2013

Sauce restaurant critic Michael Renner has tasted his fair share of St. Louis cuisine. All year, he shared his thoughts on New and Notable restaurants, from vegetarian fare to barbecue to fine dining. Here, he shares his top five dishes of 2013:

123013_03_centraltable

 

No. 5: Spanish octopus at Central Table Food Hall
Even more striking than the two thick tentacles was how tender they were: braised for six hours and finished on the grill. Served with aerated fennel foam, caramelized fennel and its fresh fronds, and jiggling slabs of tomato water gelée, it’s as though though the ocean washed up on your plate, complete with froth, seaweed and jellyfish.

No. 4: Roasted pork loin at Elaia
No ordinary roasting could produce the tender-smooth texture of this Berkshire pork loin when it was on the menu earlier this year. Only six hours in a CVap, or what chef-owner Ben Poremba calls his “magical oven,” could yield such transcendence.

 

123013_02_libertine

 

No. 3: Fried chicken at The Libertine 
Chef Josh Galliano’s New Orleans roots shine with this version: brined in sweet tea, soaked in spicy buttermilk, coated in cornmeal and flour, and deep-fried in lard and canola oil for a shaggy, crunchy crust laden with paprika and black pepper.

No. 2:  Spring garlic soup at Niche
Tiny, airy raw garlic “marshmallows” floated to the top when hot liquid was poured over them. A steamy cloud scented with citrusy-spicy bergamot leaves, preserved lemon purée and bits of dried beets and carrots wafted from the bowl; this was not soup, it was an elixir.

 

And my No. 1 dish of 2013 is…

 

123013_01_milinh

Canh Ga Chien (fried butter garlic chicken wings) at Mi Linh
Fried then sauteed, these wings are juicy and garlicky, crackling with each bite. Your fingers glisten with butter and oil; your lips warm from the gentle heat. You wish you could eat these wings every night for the rest of your life.

- Central Table Food Hall photo by Greg Rannells; The Libertine and Mi Linh photos by Jonathan Gayman

In This Issue: New and Notable – Mi Linh

Thursday, November 7th, 2013
110113_newandnotable

 

How does one judge a new Vietnamese restaurant in a city touting more than 30 restaurants featuring the same cuisine? What makes a new place better than the rest when they all offer pretty much the same dishes? Is it fair to judge a restaurant by just one dish?

Maybe Dee Dee Tran and her brother Nelson Tran pondered these questions when they opened Mi Linh, their 5-month-old Vietnamese restaurant in Rock Hill (She’s the general manager; he runs the kitchen.). However, with Nelson’s 20-year tenure in the restaurant industry (working in kitchens from New York to Seattle) and Dee Dee’s experience in running other businesses, the Trans certainly don’t have to prove themselves.

But oh, how they do! And for good measure – again and again.

To read more about what Michael Renner thought of Mi Lihn, click here.

-photo by Johnathan Gayman

 

In This Issue: New and Notable – Prasino

Wednesday, October 9th, 2013
100113_newandnotable

 
At Prasino, the new mini-chain restaurant in St. Charles, the employees say PRÄH-suh-no. The translation app on my phone says PRÄH-see-no. Tomato or tomahto, prasino is Greek for “green,” as in “environmentally sound.” The St. Charles spot is one of four locations for the 4-year-old family of restaurants self-billed as eco-friendly. It’s also the chain’s first foray outside of Chicagoland.

Prasino’s business plan is driven by eco-friendly kitchen practices, energy and water-saving appliances, and as many locally sourced raw ingredients as possible. Your server will spend a good two minutes explaining just how environmentally conscious Prasino is, to the point that you’ll look around for the Greenpeace seal of approval.

To read what reviewer Michael Renner thought of this new St. Charles restaurants, click here.

-Photo by Jonathan Gayman

 

 

RSS FEEDS
Keep up with one or all of your favorite Sauce Magazine columns
Conceived and created by Bent Mind Creative Group, LLC 1999-2017, Bent Mind Creative Group, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
Sauce Magazine 1820 Chouteau Ave. St. Louis, Missouri 63103.
PH: 314-772-8004 FAX: 314-241-8004