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Feb 21, 2018
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The List: 20 dishes, drinks, faces and places we love – Part 4

Monday, April 27th, 2015

Each year, the Sauce editors compile an annual tribute to the dishes, drinks, people and places we love in The Lou: The List. Here, Part 4 of our 2015 lineup, featuring an enterprising farmer, a hot mess of a sandwich, an unshareable dessert, the mom and pop behind Sugaree Baking Co., and Monday Funday (yes, really).

What’s on your list? Share with #TheSauceList on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and check out Parts 1 through 3 of The List here.




16. Todd Geisert of Geisert Farms

Farming isn’t what it used to be. Ask Todd Geisert. His family has operated Geisert Farms in Washington for nearly a century, and much more has changed than the farming equipment. Always entrepreneurially minded (he started a metal fabrication business as a high school junior), Geisert diversified the farm’s offerings when he took over in 2008. Today, he boasts an abundant year-round roadside farmstand and creates more than 50 different meat products from potato-bacon sausage to teriyaki snack sticks. Geisert also distributes his pork to dozens of St. Louis restaurants and shops, unites fellow independent farmers across eastern Missouri and still raises hogs according to a deceptively simple philosophy: “The animals can be what they are, out in the fresh air and the sunshine,” Geisert said. “You can tell that they are content by looking at them.”

Here, four ways Geisert is redefining what it means to be a farmer:

A businessman
“Produce is a big part of our business now. The first year I planted 120 tomato plants and I thought that was a lot. … The last couple years, we planted 5,000 tomato plants. Once we build (customers’) trust and give them a good quality product at a reasonable price, it’s a fairly easy sell from there.”

An ambassador
“We’re pretty proud of the town. I’ve done quite a bit of traveling across the United States, and there’s not too many places like Washington, Missouri. The volunteerism is the biggest thing you’ll find in Washington that is unique. … Some people have left town and didn’t realize how good they had it until they came back.”

A family farm advocate
“I feel a responsibility to help people grow and try to keep the family farms to give people an avenue to keep a living. That’s a tough thing to do in our business.”

A softie
“Dealing with the baby pigs is my specialty.”  – C.K.


17. Hot Roast Beef at Eovaldi’s Deli

If a sandwich is just a sandwich, then Eovaldi’s Deli’s Hot Roast Beef must be meat and cake. Delicately sliced top-round beef is piled high on fresh garlic cheese bread and topped with your choice of melted cheese (ours is mozzarella). While savory juices drip with each bite, a side of robust, hot au jus is served for the dip-on-demand types. Still a sandwich skeptic? Start with a 4½-incher, but be warned: By next week, you’ll be on to the 6-inch then the 9, and by the end of the month, no one will be surprised when you quietly graduate to the 12.  – E.M.

18. Monday Funday

The next time you have a case of the Mondays, hit up one of St. Louis’ culinary hotspots that break with tradition and open their doors on Monday. Head to Farmhaus for its Blue Plate Special lunch of crunchy fried chicken, mac-n-cheese, smashed taters, house salad and tea. For dinner, check out Niche’s Monday Supper, where the sous chefs take the reins for a $35 three-course meal of refined comfort fare, or stop by Juniper for its Mondays-only Meat and Three, a Southern tradition served family style. Don’t feel like dressing up? Swing by Pastaria for Meatball Monday, or if even that sounds like too much effort, enjoy dinner in your pajamas after grabbing a Meatball Monday meal to-go from Bolyard’s Meat & Provisions, featuring fresh beef and pork meatballs with Pastaria’s pasta and pomodoro sauce. We’ve never looked forward to Mondays as much as we do now.  – S.P.



18. Pat Rutherford-Pettine and Jim Pettine at Sugaree Baking Co. 

This past St. Patrick’s Day, like they do every St. Patrick’s Day, Pat and Jimmy fired up a grill in front of their Dogtown bakery, Sugaree Baking Co., and sold beer, brats and, in Pat’s words, “Some crappy high-school cafeteria pizza that we buy just for that day. The drunks just love it!”

Pat and Jimmy, formally known as Pat Rutherford-Pettine and Jim Pettine, exude a lust for life with a healthy dash of humor that precedes even their formidable skills in the bakery (where, it should go without saying, nothing they make is crappy).

Every day the couple descends from their home above Sugaree to whip up buttery quiches, chocolate croissants, small-batch fig bars, lemon coconut roulade cakes, crisp cookies and pies. Then each Monday they send out an email letting regulars know which pies will be for sale that weekend (the storefront is only open Fridays and Saturdays), so customers can reserve pies in flavors like chocolate cream, peach-blackberry, caramel-apple crumb and dozens more. Even if you’ve never made it to the storefront, chances are you’ve already savored one of Sugaree’s cakes or pies. They often wind up at some of your favorite local restaurants and institutions, including Grapeseed, Quincy Street Bistro, I Fratellini, Kreis’ Steakhouse & Bar, Pho Grand, Tony’s A.M., and the concessions at the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra.

Don’t forget Sugaree’s potpies, sweet brioche and mini cheesecakes – you’ll wind up trying everything once you become a member of Pat and Jimmy’s extended family of customers. If you’re lucky, you might get a sneak preview of forthcoming dessert specials. If you’re even luckier you might hear tales from Pat of her daughter, grandson and the jerk who took her parking space last night.

Plenty of brides-to-be order wedding cakes from Sugaree, too. If you find yourself sharing gossip with Pat while she’s meticulously decorating one of their cakes, then you’re not just a regular, you’re a friend.  – B.K.




20. Pineapple Inside-out Cake in a Cup at The Fountain on Locust

Every time I order my favorite dessert at The Fountain on Locust, someone asks, “Can I have some? You can try mine!” No! I don’t want to try yours, and as for my Pineapple Inside-out Cake in a Cup, I don’t have enough to share. Once I arrange the perfect bite of whipped cream, ice cream and fluffy, house-made spongecake with a dab of the sweet, buttery pineapple sauce from its center, I understand why you’re jealous, but here’s the upside: You can get your own. – M.N.


-Todd Geisert photo by Greg Rannells; sandwich, Sugaree and cake photos by Elizabeth Maxson

The List: 20 dishes, drinks, faces and places we love now – Part 3

Monday, April 20th, 2015

Each year, the Sauce editors compile an annual tribute to the dishes, drinks, people and places we love in The Lou: The List. Here, Part 3 of our 2015 lineup, featuring a host with the most, a beer lover’s paradise, the best cup of grits in town, a booming business district and your entire childhood rolled into ice cream.

What’s on your list? Share with #TheSauceList on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and check out Parts 1 and 2 of The List here.




11. Kimberly Hoskin-Westcott at Cleveland-Heath

Cleveland-Heath doesn’t take reservations, which means the wait for a table could be up to an hour on a busy weekend night. Yet, I don’t mind because I get to chat with Kimberly Hoskin-Westcott, a hostess so vivacious, affable and just gosh-darn nice that I’m almost disappointed at the rare occurrence when Cleveland-Heath doesn’t have a wait.

Watching her at the front of the house – greeting new customers, hugging regulars, admiring a shy child’s toy – it’s easy to assume she’s been doing this all her life, yet Hoskin-Westcott has worked in the restaurant industry for only two years. She attributes her hosting style – part entertainer, part ambassador and part traffic controller – to her 30 years of customer service at a New York communications company and more than 30 years as a professional jazz singer.

Even when a waiting list runs 25 names long, Hoskin-Westcott has an uncanny ability to make each customer feel like her top priority – and as she’ll tell you, they are. She believes the worst thing customers can feel is that the host has forgotten them. “You try to let them know they can trust you: trust you to get them a seat, trust you know their time is valuable,” she said. “I keep an eye on them from when they first come in to when they leave. … I try to make sure that I have a level of integrity and that people say, ‘Yeah, she’s going to help me out.’”  – C.K.




12. Ka-Boomm at Jilly’s Ice Cream Bar

How do you go Ka-Boomm at Jilly’s Ice Cream Bar? Start with a Tahitian vanilla ice cream base, then swirl in decadent brownie chunks made with 58-percent dark Swiss chocolate, Oreos and mini M&M’s for good measure. The name is short for kid-approved, brownie, Oreo, M&M’s, but the young and old dig it equally. “It is so whimsical when you see the tie-dye effect that the M&M’s give it,” said chef Casey Shiller, who created this Jilly’s fan favorite with fellow chef Dana Holland. “It’s kid-approved, but it’s kick-ass, too.” We’ll take a double scoop in a confetti waffle cone, please.  – L.F.


13. Cherokee Street

While Cherokee Street is still known for its antique shops, international farmers market and authentic Mexican fare (for good reason), the South City strip running between Broadway and Gravois is also becoming known for, well, just that. No longer is Cherokee a smattering of restaurants and stores concentrated around a couple city blocks; we have a full business district on our hands. Don’t believe us? Next time you’re attacking the requisite torta at Taqueria El Bronco, afterward, visit one of these eclectic venues, and when you’re done, keep exploring.

1. With just seven seats, cozy is an understatement at Cherokee Street’s newest cafe, The Little Dipper, where soups and sandwiches are the specialty, including its filling vegetarian wheatburger. 2. The Fortune Teller Bar serves up masterful cocktails along with unconventional bites such as the vegetarian chili accompanied with a slice of Black Bear Lickhalter rye bread.

3. Hearty Russian dumplings laced with creme fraiche are one of the culinary highlights at ArtBar, a colorful watering hole that also showcases local art, and hosts comedy open mics, live bands and burlesque bingos. 4. Athlete Eats features scrumptious but sensible entrees for the customer who enjoys dishes like grass-fed, bunless bulgogi burgers along with tailor-made, cold-pressed fruit juices.  – M.B.




14. Craft Beer Cellar

Whether you know a dunkel from a Doppelbock or just light brew from dark, when visiting Craft Beer Cellar, snobbery is one of the few beer descriptors you won’t run across. “We’re not beer snobs, we’re beer geeks,” explained co-owner Ryan Nickelson. “We are excited about what beer is and how it’s made. It’s about sharing good beer with good people.” With the shop’s specialty being mixed six- and 12-packs, if you have trouble choosing between the 600 to 800 local, national and international craft beers available on any given day, allow the highly knowledgeable yet down-to-earth staff to lend its expertise. Come in to chat, indulge in free beer samples at the tasting bar, and when you buy too many bottles to tote, be prepared for the geeks to insist on carrying your purchases to your car – courtesy is their thing, too.  – K.S.




15. Grits at SoHo Restaurant & Lounge 

There’s no better evidence of a Southerner’s DNA than the way she cooks grits. Called polenta by Yanks and Philistines, there are plenty of imitators out there, but few standouts. At The Grove’s SoHo Restaurant & Lounge, the grits fashioned by executive chef Ceaira Jackson are bona fide. Steaming, buttery, cheesy mounds of the stuff make exquisite brunch pairings with the fried catfish, chicken and waffles or even red velvet pancakes. You’ll shout for joy. You’ll gobble them up. You’ll beg for more. SoHo’s contribution to the classic – and deceptively difficult – Southern standard is a display of true grit.  – G.F.


-Kimberly Hoskin-Wescott photo and ice cream photo by Carmen Troesser; beer photo by Jonathan Gayman; grits photo by Elizabeth Maxson

The List: 20 dishes, drinks, places and faces we love now – Part 2

Monday, April 13th, 2015

Each year, the Sauce editors compile an annual tribute to the dishes, drinks, people and places we love in The Lou: The List. Here, Part 2 of our 2015 lineup, featuring four brainy bartenders, restorative elixirs, secret salumi, the best fish tacos in St. Louis and a childhood favorite all grown up.

What’s on your list? Share with #TheSauceList on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and check out Part 1 of The List here.




{From left, Katie Herrera, Shae Smith, Chris Hoertel and Karen King}



6. Women Behind Bars at The Side Project Cellar

To those not fluent in craft beer-speak, decoding the global beer list at The Side Project Cellar is a bit like reading a foreign language textbook. Enter Side Project Cellar’s bartenders, four women who will not only guide you to your future favorite beer, but also they won’t make you feel like an idiot when you butcher the pronunciation of Brettanomyces (hey, you tried). Here, co-owner Karen King explains why the people she hired make Side Project Cellar one of the best places in town to grab a pint of craft beer.

Karen King: The Side Project Cellar co-owner | Years in beer: 5
The boss: “I didn’t intend to hire an all-women team, but that is who were the most talented and passionate. … I can teach someone how to bartend, but you can’t teach passion.”

Katie Herrera: Tasting room manager | Years in beer: 10
Second in command: “Besides the fact that she has an awesome personality … and she’s great behind a bar, she has experience changing kegs and deciding, ‘Oh, this keg blew and this would be a great choice to replace it.’ She’s a great person to leave in charge.”

Chris Hoertel: Bartender | Years in beer: 6
Translator: “She came from Home Wine Kitchen. We have a lot of international beer and crazy beer on draft, and she’s used to explaining really cool food ideas to people, so that’s a nice transition. People might ask ‘What’s an Oud Bruin?’ just like they might ask, ‘What’s a lardon?’”  – C.K.

Shae Smith: Bartender | Years in beer: 4
Self-starter: “Shae is super tech savvy. We use Square, and she’s teaching me how to do it. … I’ll put a new beer on draft, and I’ll look over and Shae is already looking it up on RateBeer and teaching about it.”   – C.K.





7. 4 Hands Chocolate Milk Stout Float at Ices Plain & Fancy 

All the childhood root beer floats and chocolate milk sucked up and swirled around your eyes through those crazy straw glasses have prepared you for Ices Plain & Fancy’s 4 Hands Chocolate Milk Stout Float. The vanilla ice cream base is whipped with shaved chocolate and frozen in a cloud of liquid nitrogen. Two scoops get drenched with half a pint of 4 Hands’ chocolate milk stout and the remaining beer is served on the side. Now to find those crazy straw glasses …   – C.K.


8. In-house Salumi at Salume Beddu

While Salume Beddu’s excellent Calabrese salami, soppressa da Veneto and finocchiona salami are found at most local groceries, only at its brick-and-mortar shop can you find the rarer cured meats. Experimental salami made for Salume Beddu’s quarterly Cure Club package, including an earthy hazelnut, a woodsy porcini and a take-no-prisoners ghost pepper, are available in limited batches for the public, while Beddu’s highly sought-after primal cures can be found year-round. The shop’s crown jewel is its culatello, a whole-muscle cure created from the heart of a prosciutto. Another scarce standout is the Spanish-style coppa rossa, made with smoked paprika, coriander and Chimayo chile.  – S.P.





9. Fried Baja Fish Tacos at Mission Taco

The cooks at Mission Taco Joint are Fried Baja Fish Taco specialists. Seriously. They manage to make tilapia taste as fancy as toro. First, the fish is coated in a batter made with 2nd Shift’s Sub-Mission IPA and fried to a flawless crisp, then the usual suspects of pico de gallo, green cabbage and queso fresco are piled on. It’s finished with the crème de la crème: the creamy, smoky and bright chipotle baja sauce so perfect it makes all other tacos seem tragic without it. At $3 a pop, these tacos are a steal, so buy three or four or 10 (like me).  – M.N.



10. Bone Broths at Bolyard’s Meat & Provisions

As any fantasy geek worth her salt knows, an elixir is a magical liquid that can cure illness or extend life. We feel much the same about Bolyard’s Meat & Provisions’ savory bone broths. Even though research shows that protein and collagen released from bone marrow can boost one’s immune system, the good people at Bolyard’s aren’t making any such promises about their broths. However, we must note that owner Chris Bolyard drinks a cup every day, and we think he’s in fine form (and our receipt for the broth does read “remedy” … ).

To create these broths, bones are roasted, simmered for hours and finished with a little salt and aromatics. The results are rich, clear brews, just a bit thick from the marrow released from the bones. Bolyard’s chicken broth is infused with thyme, sage, bay leaf and turmeric and smells like a cup of Thanksgiving. Kaffir lime, lemon grass and ginger are added to the beef broth, evoking the flavors of pho. The pork broth is simmered with local Arkansas Black apples from Vesterbrook Farm, as well as some Chinese five-spice, which delightfully turns the idea of mulled cider on its head.

Even though we can’t scientifically prove that the broths at Bolyard’s are granting us longer lives, with liquids this tasty, our lives are certainly enhanced.  – D.R.


-The Side Project Cellar and Mission Taco photos by Carmen Troesser; Bolyard’s photo by Greg Rannells

The List: 20 dishes, drinks, faces and places we love now – Part 1

Monday, April 6th, 2015

Each year, the Sauce editors compile an annual tribute to the dishes, drinks, people and places we love in The Lou: The List. Here, Part 1 of our 2015 lineup, featuring a badass kitchen crew, a farmers market fairy godmother, the best smartphone app ever, a smoky glass of comfort and the magical alchemy that is khao soi.

What’s on your list? Share with #TheSauceList on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.



{From left, Sam Gregg, Rick Lewis, Grant Twidwell, Kevin Ruck, Nick Vandas, Ari Ellis, Chris Ladley and Chris Tirone}


1. The Kitchen Crew at Quincy Street Bistro

On any given night, the music playing in the back of the house at Quincy Street Bistro ranges from “heavy metal and punk rock to Katy Perry and friggin’ classical music,” said Rick Lewis, Quincy Street’s executive chef and front man whose lineup of rock-star cooks nails every performance.

In Quincy Street’s kitchen, Nick Vandas and Paul Heinz handle the first set, with Vandas on morning prep and Heinz tackling lunch service. In the evening, you’ll find Chris Tirone expediting while Chris Ladley and Grant Twidwell tag-team on grill and saute and Dakota Kalb entertains entremets. Kevin Ruck keeps the oven and sandwiches under submission as Sam Gregg bangs out fries, and Ari Ellis plates like a drummer keeping the beat. Meanwhile, Lewis is ever moving – either on the pass or on the floor talking to QSB’s adoring fans.

Why would a bunch of folks with serious culinary cred – former exec chefs and sous from fine-dining restaurants – swap white cloths for the casual comfort of a South City bar and grill?

“Cooking is meant to be fun,” Lewis said. “The majority of these people probably got into this business because they enjoyed cooking and the camaraderie of the kitchen. We try to keep that as much as we can and play nice.”

It’s a lively kitchen playing a very nice rhythm, but a restaurant that’s churning out some of the very best food in town can’t always be just fun and games. The dinner rush brings a different tune. “We like to keep it pretty laid back until things are really popping. That’s when it gets down to business,” Lewis said. “We turn the music off.”

But now that Lewis is leaving QSB this month to team up with Mike Emerson of Pappy’s Smokehouse and open chicken spot Southern, the band will have to keep its beat without him. “They are all very accomplished, seasoned cooks and chefs. That transition there is going to be super easy,” Lewis said. “They’re just going to keep rocking and rolling.”   – L.F.




2. Smoking Mary at The Scottish Arms

When I find myself in times of trouble, Smoking Mary comes to me, speaking words of wisdom, sip at me. No joke: This devilishly good batch o’ bloody at The Scottish Arms is concocted with a house-made mix of peat smoked tomato and celery and Benromach Peat Smoke Speyside single malt Scotch whisky. Sip slowly and take note of the spicy, smoky notes at play in this remarkably complex cocktail – before and after your hour of darkness goes away. – G.F.


3. Deborah Henderson at Midtown Farmers Market 

It’s a sunny Saturday morning in The Loop. Throngs of people stroll amiably, music drifts through the air, toddlers eat fruit popsicles in their strollers, and a farmer offers you a just-picked strawberry to sample. This sweet moment is brought to you by Deborah Henderson, the fairy godmother of farmers markets. “I get such satisfaction from the generations I interact with at the market,” she said, “from bringing in high school students as interns, to the 90-year-old patron that comes every week, to the new mother that didn’t miss her Saturday morning at the market, just days after giving birth.”

Beyond her unpaid, full-time job as manager of the Midtown Farmers Market and interacting with customers, Henderson wants to make these open-air markets successful for vendors and farmers. In 2012, she wrote and passed through legislation known as the Farmers Market Ordinance, which provides fair permitting fees and standardized food safety and sanitation codes for St. Louis County farmers markets. Then, Henderson created the Midwest Association of Farmers Markets, a nonprofit that promotes the local food movement through farmers markets and community programs. “We set a precedent in the state – so it can be a model for others if needed,” Henderson said.  – D.R.




4. Khao Soi at Fork & Stix

What is this sorcery in which otherwise unremarkable ingredients – egg noodles, cilantro, lime, yellow coconut curry, pickled mustard greens, red and green onions and your choice of protein – alchemize into perhaps the finest Thai dish in St. Louis? With khao soi’s harmonious ratio of cream, crunch, chew, sweet and savory, Fork & Stix’s northern Thai specialty demands to be ordered and reordered. Eat it with the accompanying soup spoon or slurp directly from the bowl. Table manners are no object at paranormal times like these.  – G.F.




5. The Drizly App

Never run out of alcohol at a dinner party again with the Drizly smartphone app, which is basically Amazon for booze. (We’ll pause now to let that marvelous-ness sink in.) You can order beer, wine and liquor and have it delivered to your door in less than an hour. Type in your address and this user-friendly app will pull the thousands of libations – organized categorically and alphabetically – available in your delivery area. Place your order and voilà, your party is revived without you so much as teetering from your hostess throne. Available for iPhone and Android. – J.C.

-Quincy Street photo by Ashley Gieseking, bloody mary photo by Sherrie Castellano, khao soi photo by Greg Rannells

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.



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

The List: Layla Linehan at Brasserie

Tuesday, April 29th, 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.



The Negroni is Layla Linehan’s favorite cocktail. So we’ll lift one in her honor as we ponder just how much one bartender can accomplish in a year. With more than seven years of bartending experience, this alum of Pi, Monarch and Demun Oyster Bar has shaken things up at Brasserie since coming aboard as its bar manager in 2013. Her philosophy about Brasserie’s cocktail menu: Keep things approachable; after all, cocktail bar Taste is right next door.

Linehan was a rocks star on the 2013 cocktail competition circuit, winning the Big O competition, placing third in the Midwest finals of the Four Roses bourbon competition and taking first in the local round of the Campari competition, which earned her a spot at the finals in Portland, Ore. Informally a brand ambassador for locally made The Big O, Linehan is poised to make a national splash now that she’s been named brand ambassador for Phenix Brands. She’ll split her time working the wood at Brasserie and raising a glass to Samogon, Shpilka vodka and other spirits in Phenix’s growing portfolio. “I’m always trying to better myself,” Linehan said. “I want to keep learning, or I feel stagnant.”

4580 Laclede Ave., St. Louis, 314.454.0600, brasseriebyniche.com

-photo by Elizabeth Jochum

The List: Shrimp and Grits at The Kitchen Sink

Monday, April 28th, 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.


The Kitchen Sink’s shrimp and grits (eponymously named The Kitchen Sink) is simply lick-your-plate good. In this classic dish – with several big twists – cheesy grits that strike the perfect balance between runny and thick are topped with sauteed shrimp, andouille sausage, bell peppers and mushrooms and then bathed in a rich, slightly spicy crabmeat-and-Tasso ham gravy. If the dish needed anything else (It doesn’t.), the scratch-made, deep-fried corn fritters bobbing along its perimeter are like icing on the cake.

255 Union Blvd., St. Louis, 314.454.1551, letseat.at/thekitchensink

-photo by Jonathan Gayman



The List: A Staff of Superstars at Planter’s House

Sunday, April 27th, 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.



Yes, the cocktails are top-tier. Yes, the food is great. Yes, the décor makes you feel like a million bucks. But the real reason we love to take a seat at the hottest bar in town is the staff: a lineup of seasoned professionals who always keep their cool. From left to right: Kate Kinsey, Matt Sorrell, Ted Charak, Mandi Kowalski, Jamie Kilgore, Ted Kilgore, Leslie Gillette, Bradley Hoffmann, Matt Obermark and Travis Garner.

1000 Mississippi Ave., St. Louis, 314.696.2603, plantershousestl.com

-photo by Carmen Troesser

The List: 12 Fantastic Details at Sugarfire Smoke House

Friday, April 25th, 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.



Sure, the barbecue at Sugarfire is pretty awesome, but it’s only one of the reasons we can’t stay away. Here, 12 ways to hook a foodie.

1. There are smoked sea salt-chocolate chip cookies.

2. From beer to ice cream to meat to sodas, everything is sourced locally whenever possible.

3. The chicken wings: smoky, delicious and not always available (which makes us crave them even more).

4. The chocolate-peanut butter-bourbon shake is our idealized childhood and adulthood blended into a glass.

5. The always-changing sides are both mouthwatering and surprising, like the vegan barley salad with candied mango, orange peel, fennel fronds, pepitas and a lemon-orange vinaigrette. Who does that at a barbecue joint?

6. The walls are decked in pork-worshipping artwork.

7. The food trays look like cookie sheets.

8. When we talked to Clint Whittemore, he said, “I’m one of the chefs … maybe a sous? I don’t know.”

9. Pork belly hush puppies with neon green jalapeño jelly exist here.

10. At any given time, there are at least eight house-made condiments on rotation, including Twerk sauce.

11. A la mode becomes so cliché when a piece of pie blended into a milkshake is an option.

12. The chefs’ bios on Sugarfire’s website are really, really funny.

And a bonus No. 13: In case you missed it, Sugarfire’s new location in St. Charles opens today at 3150 Elm Point Industrial Dr., just in time for the restaurant’s TV debut tomorrow, April 26 at 8 p.m. on “BBQ Pitmasters,” a competitive barbecue program on Destination America.

9200 Olive Blvd., Olivette, 314.997.2301, sugarfiresmokehouse.com

-photo by Jonathan Gayman

The List: March of the Merrymaker in Ste. Genevieve

Thursday, April 24th, 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.




Secluded and serene, the tree-lined hiking trail between Chaumette Vineyards & Winery and Charleville Vineyard Winery & Microbrewery in Ste. Genevieve is the perfect activity for those who love the outdoors but prefer to save their energy for wine and beer rather than endure sweat and tears. Start at Chaumette’s Tasting Room and order six wine samples for $5, including its must-try unoaked chardonel. Lounge on the outdoor terrace as you gaze over rolling hills and 32 acres of grapevines. When you’re ready to move on, ask your bartender to point you to the trailhead. Enjoy your brief woodland escape as you hear the crunch of leaves under your feet and breathe in the crisp, piney air because in less than a half-hour, your ramble on this former logging trail will be rewarded with more wine and craft beer. After sampling a flight of Charleville’s bold and inventive craft beers like its Hoptimistic IPA and Tornado Alley amber ale, trek back to Chaumette’s Grapevine Grill for dinner. You earned it, sort of.

Chaumette Vineyards & Winery, 24345 State Route WW, Ste. Genevieve, 573.747.1000, chaumette.com; Charleville Vineyard Winery & Microbrewery, 16937 Boyd Road, Ste. Genevieve, 573.756.4537, charlevillevineyard.com

-photo courtesy of Chaumette Vineyards & Winery

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