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Budget Crunch: 6 delicious deals to try now

Thursday, December 22nd, 2016

Got $10 and a friend? Then contributor Holly Fann has six delicious deals you need to devour this month.




1. The burger at Ruth’s Chris Steak House in Clayton is a glorious, meaty, satisfying sammy. Usually priced at $16, the restaurant offers its massive 10-ounce burger with seasoned house-made chips for $10 Thursdays in the bar – a perfect opportunity to indulge in some of the city’s best beef at a budget-friendly price.

2. There are still a few more days to enjoy Anheuser-Busch annual holiday lights display through Dec. 30. After you stroll through the self-guided tour, head to the Biergarten where guests 21 and older can enjoy five 5-ounce samples of A-B beers and ciders. Food stations offer hot snacks; opt for $2.50 s’mores kits ready for the nearby fire pits.




3. Sriracha Granada is a glorious green, locally made hot sauce popping up all over city. With a touch more heat and slightly sweeter than the red Sriracha we are all familiar with, this sauce is delicious on anything from eggs to burgers to pho. Bottles sell for around $6 local shops including Edibles & Essentials and Fields Foods.

4. New to Laclede’s Landing, The Roaring Twenties fills you up on Tuesdays with a Two Dog Tuesday special: two of their loaded hot dogs or sausages, fries and a drink for $10. Try the heart stopping Cuckoo Dog, a beer-battered, deep-fried dog with beer-battered bacon, jack cheese sauce, caramelized onions and mustard, and pair it with the healthier Russo Dog, a veggie dog with cucumbers, tomato, red onions and basil relish.




5. The complex Spiced Caramel Spread sold at the Nathaniel Reid Bakery in Kirkwood is pure velvety caramel flavor. Reid suggested pairing it with fresh fruit, on ice cream, drizzled on pies and tarts or even in savory preparations like on a roast pork or duck breast. For $8.50, you may also enjoy a spoonful of it straight from the jar.

6. The $10 khao soi at Fork & Stix is the perfect remedy for wintertime woes. A gorgeous bowl is filled with a curry broth, egg noodles, red onions, crispy noodles and addictive pickled mustard greens and is perfect to cure what ails you.


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Budget Crunch: 8 delicious deals to try now

Friday, October 7th, 2016

Got $10 and a friend? Then contributor Holly Fann has eight delicious deals you need to devour this month. 





1. Throwback to your arcade days Wednesdays at Start Bar. Hump day includes happy hour specials including half-price pizzas, milkshakes and slushies from 4 to 7 p.m., and all the games are set to free play until close. Ready for endless rounds of Galaga, Mario Kart or skee-ball? Game on!

2. Celebrate the harvest of healthy, gorgeous apples by smothering them in sugary goodness Oct. 8 and Oct. 29 at Whole Foods in Town & Country. Naked apples wait to be dipped, rolled and dotted with caramel, nuts and candies for $5 each. Adults and children are welcome to make and decorate caramel apples from noon to 3 p.m.

3. After a summer of competitive cook-offs at area farmers markets, five chefs have made it to the final round of the Chefs Cook Real Challenge. The Dam’s Matt Galati, Byrd & Barrel’s Ryan McDonald, Bon Vivant Catering’s Wayne Judge, Olive & Oak’s Jesse Mendica and 1818 Chophouse’s Antoine Moussali create delectable bites with goods purchased from Midtown Farmers Market on Oct. 8. Purchase a taste of each for $5 and cast your vote before 1 p.m.




4. With just a ten spot, you can make a night of it at The Silver Ballroom. Play any pinball machine for a couple quarters and have a drink in its Retox Center. Feeling peckish? Grab a substantial $5 to $6 Australian meat pie; flavors include classic beef and cheddar and specials like chicken fajita or a slinger pie.

5. Take a scenic drive the last weekend in October to Kimmswick for two days of apple butter-centered fun. The town’s annual Apple Butter Festival draws thousands of attendees each year with local food booths, crafts, free tastings and live entertainment. The festival runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 29 and 30 and makes a tasty weekend getaway.

6. Listening to new tunes and drinking craft beer is always pretty great way to spend a few hours. Music Record Shop on Washington Avenue offers just that and more with their New Music Fridays in-store events. Owners play brand new vinyl releases and serve free Urban Chestnut beer to browsing customers.



7. There are plenty of places in St. Louis to get a cheap tasty burger and crispy fries, but there is nowhere quite like Carl’s Drive In. When a loaded double cheeseburger, fries and a frosty root beer add up to less than $10, Carl’s is a Budget Crunch-approved destination.

8. Doughnuts and beer collide in the ring during Wresting at 4 Hands Brewing Co., a free event on Oct. 22 from 1 to 5 p.m. Local Dynamo Pro wrestlers divide into teams representing 4 Hands and Strange Donuts and take to the mat for a throwdown. Bring a chair and claim your spot, then grab a bite from Seoul Taco, Gioia’s Deli, Slide Piece, Southern and The Fifth Wheel. Wash it down with Apricot Slam, 4 Hands City Wide made with apricots.

Budget Crunch: 8 delicious deals to devour this month

Thursday, September 15th, 2016

Got $10 and a friend? Then contributor Holly Fann has eight delicious deals you need to devour this month. 




{From left, Nudo House’s pork tonkotsu and chicken schmaltz ramen}


1. Construction is still ongoing at Nudo House, the hotly anticipated ramen restaurant from Mai Lee’s Qui Tran and Marie-Anne Velasco, but the duo hopes to reward eager patrons’ patience with a taste on Sept. 26. Tran and Velasco host their next ramen pop-up at Mai Lee in Brentwood, offering two options for $10 each: a pork tonkotsu or a chicken schmaltz version. This cash-only event takes place from noon to 9 p.m., so grab your friends and slurp to your heart’s content.

2. Whether you have little ones at home or are up for some old-fashioned hooky, skip the school bus and head to Eckert’s Millstadt Farm. Normally $12.50 on the weekends, the cost of admission drops to $6 on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Take in the pig races, a petting farm, an underground slide and a pumpkin cannon, then stroll through the orchards to pick your own apples. Tickets available onsite.




{Urban Harvest STL Food Room Farm}


3. If your garden has gone crazy during the last weeks of summer or you couldn’t pass up the flat of ripe peaches at the farmers market, Urban Harvest STL is ready to help during its Preserving the Harvest class at 2:30 p.m. Sept. 17. Learn how best to prepare and keep the season’s bounty at the nonprofit’s Food Roof Farm. The class costs $10; sign up online.

4. While most come to slurp noodle soups at Vista Ramen, don’t neglect the cocktail list. The $9 Cafe Pseudo the perfect sip to say hello to autumn. With flavors that nod toward sweet, roasty Vietnamese coffee, the Pseudo is a combination of Fernet, cold-brew coffee, sweetened condensed milk, coconut milk and Thai basil.




{Martinis at The Fountain on Locust}


5. It’s a madhouse at The Fountain on Locust with weeknight specials. On Tuesdays from 6 to 9 p.m., purchase one ice cream martini and receive a second for $1. Wednesdays bring the $2 plus Meal Madness special from 4 to 6 p.m.; purchase one meal and the next one is $2 plus the change that corresponds to the date (so on Sept. 21, your second meal price will be $2.21). Thursdays see specials on Fountain’s Classic Retro Cocktail menu from 6 to 9 p.m.; get one and the second is half price.

6. The Muddled Pig Gastropub in Maplewood now offers a custom 32-ounce growler for $10. To introduce its shiny new bottles, customers who buy a growler in September get their first fill free from any of the 16 beers on tap, including Ferguson Brewing’s Pecan Brown Ale or Modern Brewery’s Pig Island.



{The Royale patio}


7. There’s one thing both sides of the ballot can agree on: The upcoming presidential debates will surely be entertaining. The Royale hosts a watch party on its outdoor patio Sept. 26 with a $5 Uncle Salvatore Nicholia Forte drink special: a shot of Old Charter bourbon and a 12-ounce Miller High Life. Royale proprietor Steven Fitzpatrick Smith’s Uncle Salvatore was known to hate politics, and Smith said this particular special is the best way to cope with the madness of election season.

8. Enjoy cooling autumn weather and the sweet boing of a rubber ball off your foot during a pick-up game at Kickball in The Park starting at 11 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 17 in Sublette Park. The first 100 attendees will receive a free hot salami sandwich from the Gioia’s Deli food truck.






Budget Crunch: 8 delicious dishes and sweet deals to try now

Friday, August 12th, 2016

Got $10 and a friend? Then intrepid Budget Crunch reporter Holly Fann has eight foodie finds you have to try from taco Wednesdays to funky free classes.




1. Oyster lovers should not miss out on Sqwires$1 oyster special Fridays from 5 to 7 p.m. A fistful of singles will buy a freshly shucked feast of rotating East Coast bivalves or peel-and-eat Gulf shrimp.

2. I’m a big fan of two-for-one deals like the one found Thursday nights at the Pulitzer Arts Foundation and Contemporary Art Museum. From 5 to 7 p.m., take in the current exhibits at both museums and enjoy two-for-one cocktail and small plate specials from the CAM Cafe. Mix and match $8 cocktails like a rum-based Cerveza Libre, $7 wine and $5 beers with small plates like tomato bruchetta or pickled vegetable crostini. While you sip and snack, explore contemporary works, all on an artist’s budget.




3. Five tacos all priced at $3 each at the new 4 Hands Brewing Co. tasting room plus a menu of Mexican-inspired small plates $10 or less (most much less) would be enough to make the Budget Crunch list. Add craft beer, free arcade games and skee-ball, and you’ve got a BC-approved night out for a small handful of cash.

4. Bark at the brewery Thursdays from 4 to 8 p.m. when you bring your pup down to the Anheuser-Busch Biergarten for Yappy Hour. With live music, $2 beer specials, $3 pretzel sticks and $5 orders of wings, you will be as fat and happy as your four-legged companion.




5. The pride of Dutchtown, Iron Barley hosts its 12th annual Tomato Fest on Aug. 14 from noon to 6 p.m. Snack on BLTs and barbecue pizzas for $10 or less and enjoy a street party mashup of live music, food, drinks and all things tomato. The festival benefits Lift for Life Gym.

6. Taco Tuesdays are great, but Taco Wednesdays are extra delicious at Muddled Pig Gastropub when tacos al pastor will set you back a whopping 75 cents each. Wash them all down with Muddled Pig’s bourbon-inflected margarita for $5.




7. Summer fruit season lasts through August at Wind Ridge Farm. You can pick your own blackberries for a ridiculous $3 a pound and peaches for less than $2 a pound (not including the ones that make it straight into your belly). Picking dates are announced via its website, social media and on the Picking Hotline: 636.828.5900.

8. Few things are as trendy (and funky) as fermenting foods. The good folks at Gateway Greening host a free Fermenting Class Aug. 17 at Urban Chestnut Brewing Co. in The Grove as part of their Pints N’ Plants series. Learn how to safely ferment and enjoy a variety of dishes over a pint of our favorite fermented beverage.



Budget Crunch: 8 delicious dishes and sweet deals happening now

Friday, April 15th, 2016

Got $10 and a friend? Then intrepid Budget Crunch reporter Holly Fann has eight foodie finds you have to try, from sloppy hot dogs to fancy seeds.




1. The free mushroom festival at Pere Marquette Lodge on April 17 is the fungus lover’s Coachella: live music, free wine tastings and vendors selling local goods and crafts. The highlight of the festival is Great Morel Hunt, which takes place on the grounds from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Seasoned experts and novice hunters alike will forage for nature’s wrinkly delicacies together with a chance to win prizes for the largest mushroom and biggest haul.

2. Clayton’s Craft Beer Cellar is a sort of nirvana for craft beer lovers, and now it’s a democracy, too. Each Wednesday, cast your vote in the Crowdsourced Happy Hour online (check CBC’s Facebook and Twitter for the link) and choose which two brews should be sipped at the evening’s half-price happy hour from 6 to 8 p.m. Winner, winner, craft beer for dinner.




3. Truffles Restaurant in Clayton has a tasty little next-door neighbor – Truffles Butchery, which also serves up ready-to-eat items like sandwiches. A new menu addition, the Black and Blue Steak Sandwich is a hearty $10 pick. Enjoy a healthy serving of finest quality aged beef tenderloin marinated in bourbon and served with caramelized onions, blue cheese and lettuce and tomato stacked on brioche.

4. Black Thorn Pizza and Pub is not only a great South Grand watering hole, but also a pizza lover’s secret spot. For almost 20 years, owner Dave Difani has made pizzas, and for an easy $9, you can nosh on a 10-inch two-topping pan pizza, hot from the oven, gooey with mozzarella and a golden brown crust.




5. Southwest Diner now serves up tamale on (what else?) Tamale Tuesdays. Unwrap the corn husks to reveal steamed masa stuffed with pork or vegetables and topped with red or green chili or a combo “Christmas” sauce. A ten spot will get you four generous tamales, enough to satiate even the hungriest Tex-Mex lover.

6. The horticulture nerds at SeedGeeks are ready to help you kickstart your summer garden. The SeedGeeks sell packets of untreated, non-GMO heirloom seeds to shoppers at the Tower Grover and Schlafly farmers markets. Grab a few packets of vegetable and herb seeds for a mere $1.50 to $3 each.




7. Not ready to fire up your grill just yet? Get a taste of summer at Steve’s Hot Dogs with the Backyard BBQ Dog, is a sloppy mess that sees a quarter-pound smoked hot dog smothered with baked beans, potato salad, bacon and barbecue sauce. Getting a bite with each element is a mighty feat indeed.

8. Dine Out For The Birds at The Purple Martin and support local wildlife on April 21, when a portion of the restaurant’s proceeds will benefit Wild Bird Rehabilitation’s Songbird Hospital. There, ornithologists care for injured, ill and orphaned native wild songbirds and then release them back into their natural habitat once they are healthy. Take a seat at the bar or on the outdoor patio and sip a signature Purple Martin cocktail (a mix of Malibu Rum, vodka, grape soda and a lemon squeeze for $8) and feel good knowing you helped a little bird regain its song.


-photos by Holly Fann


Budget Crunch: 8 delicious dishes and sweet deals to try now

Tuesday, March 15th, 2016

Got $10 and a friend? Then intrepid Budget Crunch reporter Holly Fann has eight foodie finds you have to try, from Election Day treats to fancy fish fry dates.




1. ArtBar Saint Louis’ Tom Halaska has a special Election Day tradition: a free toasty G&W bologna grilled cheese sammy and a cold can of beer to those donning an “I Voted” sticker. After you perform your civic duty today, grab a free bite for a price that can’t be beat.

2. When the weather can still turn wintery, a bowl of comforting chicken and dumplings at Mama Josephine’s hits the spot. A hearty helping of chicken and tender, rich dumplings take a warm soak in savory chicken stock. The meal will cost you around $9 and will satisfy the hungriest appetite.




3. This Budget Crunch pick can be found at The Muddled Pig in Maplewood: the Tuesday Burger, Beer and Bourbon. Each week, a house burger, choice of 4 Hands brew and a shot of Buffalo Trace will only set you back a 10 spot.

4. The Silver Ballroom might be best known for the walls of pinball games, but owner Steve “Doc” Dachroeden has a delicious secret. He regularly slices up beef top round and creates his punk rock brand of dehydrated beef called Circle Jerky. A snack-sized bag runs $4, leaving enough quarters left for a shot, a few tunes on the jukebox and a game or two of pinball.




5. For more than 60 years, Carl’s Deli has been slicing and stacking deli meats for its inch-thick sandwiches. We’ve already professed our love for its mammoth Reuben, and the hot corned beef sandwich also sets us drooling. A generous in pile of tender, rose-pink meat served on your choice of bread with classic deli condiments will cost you a mere $8.25.

6. If there is such a thing as a classy fish fry, then Holy Trinity’s Serbian Orthodox Church’s fish fry is it. Every Friday through March 25, the church serves up $10 plates of fried catfish, tilapia and shrimp with sides and home-baked desserts for those observing (or not) Lent. Flowers and candles on the table and soft elevator music add to the ambiance.





7. Unlike most coffee varieties which are based on blends of different beans, Sweet Bloom roasters from Denver uses only the single Columbian variety named Pink Bourbon for its San Adolfo coffee. Enjoy a pour-over cup of this singular bean, which has notes of mixed berry, jam and nougat, at Comet Coffee for $4.

8. Italian cheeses are the focus at the free cheese and wine tasting hosted by Whole Foods Town & Country on Tuesday, March 22. From 6 to 7:30 p.m., Whole Food’s cheese expert will sample and discuss lesser known Italian cheeses. A selection of wines will also be available for tasting and pairing with your bites.




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

Thursday, February 25th, 2016

It’s time for Budget Crunch, wherein intrepid reporter Holly Fann offers 10 tips on delicious menu items and sweet deals happening now. Got $10 and some change? Grab a friend and sample, split and stuff yourselves with these steals.




1. Take your lunch cravings to Salume Beddu for The Beast, a beautiful mess of a sandwich featuring house-made fiama salsiccia, peporanata and grain mustard on crusty bread. Savory, rich and loaded with tender sweet peppers, this sammy will only set you back $8.50, leaving you enough cash to add a San Pellegrino to wash it all down.

2. Don’t let U City Grill’s gruff appearance keep you from ordering a primo bowl of bimbimbap. A Korean dish literally meaning “mixed rice,” it is a bowl filed with bulgogi beef, vegetables, hot sauce and topped with a fried egg. For only $6, you’ll get to enjoy some of the tastiest Korean fare in St. Louis.




3. Cleveland-Heath offers its full menu at lunch and dinner, allowing you to order the Okonomiyake or Japanese Pancake whenever your heart desires. The traditional Japanese street food receives a lavish upgrade, topped with wild Gulf shrimp, bacon, cabbage, Kewpie mayo, barbecue sauce and bonito flakes for $9.

4. The gelato pops at the new fast-casual Italian eatery Porano Pasta are not the dull popsicles of your youth. These velvety pops come in flavors like mango, vanilla bean, Askinosie chocolate and salted caramel. At only $3 a pop(!), these fun treats are a steal.




5. Vegetarians can feast on the Mediterranean Grain Salad at Winslow’s Home completely guilt free. The satisfying salad is chock-full of bulghur, farro, cucumber, peppers, olives, capers, feta, parsley, lemon, hummus and topped with a crispy falafel. The half size is generous and runs $7, but you can order an even heartier full order for $10.

6. At Bar Les Freres you can dine on four warm potato blinis dressed with creme fraiche and a handsome portion of caviar, all served on fine bone china for a mere $10. Surrounded by the dim glow of candles, attentive staff and overstuffed settees, you’ll feel like royalty.




7. The first thing you see when you enter Royal Chinese BBQ is the open kitchen window displaying golden, crisp-skinned ducks and hunks of glistening cherry-red pork. Order the Honey Roasted Pork and a cook will go to the window, retrieve the slow-cooked and lacquered pork from the hook and slice up a portion for you. The caramelized, sticky goodness is served with steamed white rice for just $9.50 an order.

8. Sometimes over-the-top flavor and a little indulgence is exactly what you need. Fulfill both with the Pat Say Jack Burger from The Kitchen Sink. Grilled andouille, roasted pork loin, jalapeno bacon, Swiss and pepper jack cheese, fried pickles and fried banana peppers struggle to stay atop the toasty bun. Served with house chips, this mega meal will set you back an even ten spot.




9. Cocktails at Water Street Cafe are intriguing combinations of liquors, spirits, fruits and sometimes, vegetables. The $10 Sweet Pea Cocktail uses green tea-infused vodka, local Lion’s Tooth dandelion liquor, lemon and muddled snap peas and mint for a refreshing, vegetal sipper.

10. For a great happy hour snack for two, try the Imam Baylidi at Olio. A Middle Eastern dish of charred eggplant, yogurt and pomegranate molasses, the creamy dip is served with slices of crusty bread. At $10, its bright, vibrant flavor will satiate and satisfy early evening munchies.


-photos by Holly Fann 


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

Monday, December 7th, 2015

It’s time for Budget Crunch, wherein intrepid reporter Holly Fann offers 10 tips on delicious menu items and sweet deals happening now. Got $10 and some change? Grab a friend and sample, split and stuff yourselves with these steals.




1. It may be getting cold outside but boozy ice cream martinis are especially called for around the holidays. The Fountain on Locust offers decadent treats like the Grand Chocolate Martini, which includes Godiva Chocolate liqueur and house-made Zanzibar chocolate ice cream for $10 or the Pomegranate Punch featuring house-made lemon and orange sherbets, pomegranate liqueur and vodka for $8.50.

2. Amighetti’s special sandwich has been the house favorite since 1979. Fresh house Italian bread is stacked high with three deli meats, cheese, a salad of fresh and pickled veggies and special house dressing. Nosh on one of the tastiest hoagies in St. Louis on The Hill or in Rock Hill with a $9 whole sandwich or a $5 half sandwich. (Just remember to remove the pepperoncini stems before devouring…)


3. It’s not a taco – it’s a puffer. Chewy, crispy, spicy and quite addictive, the these deep-fried golden shells at Fort Taco are filled with your choice of chicken or beef, lettuce, tomato and chile verde or chipotle sauce. Grab a pair of puffers and a drink at the drive-thru-only operation in Brentwood or its food court location in Chesterfield Mall for $9.

4. The Gramophone in The Grove serves up a bevy of creative, tasty sammies in half or whole orders. Dig into The Frenchy, a chicken sandwich with bacon, mushroom, onion and melty Swiss cheese topped with red wine aioli and served on French bread, naturally. A half of this hearty sandwich is $5, and a full is $10.


5. Ramen is sprouting up all over St. Louis, the latest offering being Robata in Maplewood. With all the ramen bowls priced starting at $9. While ramen can often be an omnivores-only menu item, Robata offers its vegetarian Yashi ramen, a bowl of umami-packed vegetable broth loaded with vibrant steamed vegetables, pickled ginger and wood ear mushrooms.

6. The $5 cha gio, or crispy egg rolls, at Mai Lee are one of those dishes you crave at all hours of the day. Served with assorted greens including green leaf lettuce, cucumber and cilantro, the two-person appetizer is fun to eat. Wrap bites of the egg roll in the lettuce, garnish with the greens and dip in the piquant fish sauce.




7. With dozens of options well below the $10 mark, The Vine on South Grand could very well be a Budget Crunch regular. This month, we’re opting for the falafel wrap sandwich and a side of savory seasoned fries for a mere $7.

8. Half & Half in Clayton serves up the most important meal of the day in the form of decadent brioche French toast. Buttery, downy slices of brioche are golden brown and sprinkled with powdered sugar. Drizzle with real maple syrup and satisfy any morning sweet tooth for $9.50.




9. SLU dance professor Alex Ocasio teaches Latin dancing 101 for free at Mi Caribe Tuesdays from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. After working up an appetite, feast on the $10 Cubano filled with pork, ham, pickles, Swiss cheese, mustard and mayo on crunchy pressed bread.

10. Combining exceptional cold press coffee and locally brewed root beer, the Bitt’s & Fitz served at Living Room in Maplewood is a curiously refreshing tonic of Bitt’s cold press coffee, Fitz’s root beer and milk. Creamy, fizzy and not too sweet, this delightful mid-day pick-me-up runs $5.

Holly Fann is a longtime food writer who currently blogs at GastrononicSTL.

-photos by Holly Fann

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

Thursday, October 29th, 2015

It’s time for Budget Crunch, wherein intrepid reporter Holly Fann offers 10 tips on delicious menu items and sweet deals happening now. Got $10 and some change? Grab a friend and sample, split and stuff yourselves with these steals.




1. The first Bionic Apples of the season have been dipped, rolled and wrapped up at the three Merb’s Candies locations. Merb’s has made its Bionic apples the same way since the early 1970s using tart Granny Smith apples dipped by hand in Merb’s caramel and then rolled in pecans. Pick up one for $6 at any Merb’s locations and select grocery stores.

2. Yes, you can dine on a dime at one of the most anticipated restaurants that opened this year. A number of wines by the glass, beer, cocktails at Reeds American Table in Maplewood are available for less than $10, but don’t overlook the small plates, either. My pick: the $5 crisp shoestring french fries served with intensely flavorful aioli.





3. Grab a fast, satisfying lunch bite at Edibles & Essentials, where chef-owner Matt Borchardt offers $10 Vietnamese-inspired bahn mi tacos. Corn tortillas are generously filled with spice-cured pork belly slow-cooked in its own fat. Hoisin mayo gilds the lily and pickled slaw adds brightness and balance.

4. Marcoot Jersey Creamery takes a year to develop its Cave-Aged Heritage cheese, a complex fruity sharp flavor similar to Gruyere. Ideal for cool-weather comfort food favorites like grilled cheese, fondue and French onion soup, this wonderfully gooey cheese is available at farmers markets and local grocery stores where a 4-ounce chunk goes for $5.




5. The California Do-Nut Co.’s Felinna Love has big plans to open a brick-and-mortar doughnut shop on South Jefferson Avenue, but until then, snag one of her apple cider-glazed donuts or vanilla-glazed for a $1 each or $12 for a dozen at the St. Louis Swap Meet this Sunday, Nov. 1.

6. Milque Toast Bar knows no bonfire is complete without rich, decadent grown-up s’mores. Get the good stuff when you grab one of the bitty shop’s s’more kits, featuring rorating flavors from Kakao like Mexican chocolate, dark chocolate-coffee or white chocolate-coffee. Each take-home kit costs $6 and makes two generous s’mores.




7. Pumpkin lovers go a little crazy at Pint Size Bakery when the Drunken Punkin Cupcakes hit the bakery case. Fresh baked pumpkin cupcakes are covered in a velvety buttercream frosting flavored with RumChata. The combination of tender, fragrant cake and subtly-sweet cinnamon liqueur sells for $3 each, an affordable fix for any pumpkin enthusiast. Look for them through the end of the year.

8. When the highly-anticipated Ikea opened to much fanfare last month, die-hard devotees discovered there was no need to step foot outside this utopia of Swedish design for sustenance. With $10, you can fuel yourself with three complete meals starting with a breakfast of eggs, turkey sausage and potatoes ($1) and organic penne with red sauce for lunch ($2). With leftover $7, splurge on the most expensive menu item, a white tablecloth-worthy dinner of wild-caught hot smoked salmon served on a bed of red beans, haricot verts and yellow beets served with a dill cream sauce.




9. Watching The Libertine’s beverage director and mad scientist Ben Bauer playfully create a cocktail is nothing short of entertainment. To prepare the Robin’s Nest Reverie offered on the “imagined” portion of the cocktail menu, Bauer cooks fresh pineapple in duck fat, then releases its juice into cachaça. Mixed with Big O ginger liqueur and lime juice, this silky-smooth combination blends citrusy, spicy and savory flavors in one duck fat-washed glass for $10.

10. Grab a sweater a cozy up outside 4 Hands Brewing for free movies Monday nights through November starting at 7 p.m. Grab a pint (around $5 each) inside or snag one from its outdoor container bar, then pop open a lawn chair and catch a screening under the stars. This Monday, Nov. 2 start with Fight Club, and other films include The Sand Lot (Nov. 9), National Lampoon’s Vacation (Nov. 16) and The Big Lebowski (Nov. 23).


Holly Fann is a longtime food writer who currently blogs at GastrononicSTL.

-photos by Holly Fann  

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

Friday, September 18th, 2015

It’s time for Budget Crunch, wherein intrepid reporter Holly Fann offers 10 tips on delicious menu items and sweet deals happening now. Got $10 and some change? Grab a friend and sample, split and stuff yourselves with these steals.




1. The wood-fired oven at Red Guitar Bread is now used for more than just Alex Carlson’s artisanal breads. On Friday and Saturday from 8 p.m. to midnight, you can order a 10-inch wood-fired pizza like the Rosa, topped with red onion, Gruyere, rosemary and pistachio, most for $10 each. Walk into the bakery at 3215 Cherokee St., and watch your pizza bake or head next door to the San Loo Bar and have a beer. Carlson will deliver your pizza when it’s ready.

2. On Saturday, Sept. 19, Pastaria pastry chef Anne Croy will whip up batches of her famous geloni, a gelato-filled cannoli shell dipped in Askinosie chocolate. This weekend, enjoy roasted banana gelato dipped in dark chocolate, raspberry gelato dipped in white chocolate with Japanese matcha or avocado-lychee gelato dipped in a milk chocolate. You get all three for $9, so save room for dessert. Need extra incentive? A portion of proceeds from the geloni sales benefit the Usher Syndrome Coalition, which raises awareness of retinitis pigmentosa, a hearing loss and eye disorder.




3. You can count the number of local bakeries that offer canelé on half of one hand. For a sublime example of what a canelé can be, make the drive out to 4 Seasons Bakery in St. Charles or pick up a dozen Wednesday afternoons at the Schlafly Farmers Market, where 4 Seasons sets up shop from 4 to 7 p.m. At around $2 apiece, you will want to indulge in more than one.

4. Let a glass of wine bring out your inner artist at Lucky’s Market in on Sept. 23 when you join the free Painting and Wine with Pinot’s Palette event from 6 to 8 p.m. Paints and paper, as well as a selection of wines, chocolates and cheeses. Space is limited, so email brookeb@luckysmarket.com for reservations. Can’t make it next week? Keep an eye out for the October class.




5. Next time you pop in to Bolyard’s Meat & Provisions for a pasture-raised pork chop, grab lunch, too, when you snag the latest weekly sandwich. Previous iterations include the Pork ’N Rye – ham, porchetta di testa, bread-and-butter pickles, cheddar and beer mustard on thick slices of rye bread, are all made in house. The sandwich changes weekly, so online for updates. Add a bottled soda of your choice to your sammy for an even $10.

6. A nod towards the flavors of cooler weather, Planter’s House bartender Kate Kinsey created the off-menu All About Eve cocktail, a balanced drink Kinsey described as Old-Fashioned-esque with strong apple brandy notes. Walnut liquor, honey and orgeat keep the brandy company. For $10, you’ll sip one coupe of glorious liquid autumn.




7. Don’t miss a sip of the weekly Blueprint roast available at The Mudhouse, which offers the local roaster’s ever-evolving blends on its pour-over menu or for sale by the pound. Sip a 12-ounce V60 pour over for around $3.50 or go fully caffeinated with the 24-ounce Chemex for around $7.

8. Eating ice cream and sniffing butts is what it’s all about at Puppy Yappy Hour Friday, Sept. 25 from 5 to 7 p.m. at I Scream Cakes on Cherokee Street. Owner Kerry Soraci opens up the connecting outdoor space attached to her shop so puppies and their people can enjoy social time while lapping up 50-cent ice cream specials for pups and $1 to $8 specials for humans. Sniffs are free.




9. A craving for great bagels and lox can come out of nowhere at any time. Good thing Kingside Diner in the Central West End serves a generous portion: close to 6 ounces of house-made lox, served with the traditional red onion, capers, chives, cream cheese and a toasty bagel. The $10 platter is a deal for those who love tasty cured salmon at any time of day.

10. Douglas Marshall is the self-proclaimed Tamale Man, offering up handmade pork, chicken and veggie tamales  hot and ready at his stand at area farmers markets. Nine bucks will buy you four large tamales, enough to share with a friend. If you’re not hungry now, you can purchase Marshall’s tamales frozen and indulge at home. You’ll find Tamale Man at the Schlafly Farmers Market on Wednesdays, the Webster Groves Farmers Market on Thursdays and at both the Midtown and Kirkwood farmers markets on Saturday.


Holly Fann is a longtime food writer who currently blogs at GastrononicSTL.

-photos by Holly Fann 


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