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  SAUCE MAGAZINE
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Sep 18, 2014
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Intelligent Content For The Food Fascinated
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SERVING SAINT LOUIS SINCE 1999
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About town

In This Issue: New and Notable – The Libertine

Thursday, September 12th, 2013

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Deadline be damned, I wanted fried chicken. Specifically, I wanted Josh Galliano’s fried chicken: the deep-fried, crunchy, spicy bird that I – and seemingly half of St. Louis – devoured last year at his one-night pop-up event. This was well after Monarch (where most of us first fell under the spell of Galliano’s chicken) had closed, so there was much pent-up demand and curiosity about what he was going to pull out of the skillet this time. Since then, the New Orleans transplant put on another pop-up (gumbo-themed) and designed and executed the meat MX Movies downtown.

Earlier this year, Nick and Audra Luedde tapped Galliano to head the kitchen at The Libertine, their new restaurant in downtown Clayton; and you thought all that buzz you heard was the cicada invasion. Nick is a practiced mixologist, sommelier and restaurateur, while Audra is a master chef and sommelier. A year ago the husband and wife team moved to St. Louis (Nick’s hometown) from Chicago to open The Libertine.

To read more about our reviewer’s thoughts on The Libertine, click here.

-Photo by Jonathan Gayman

 

 

Two St. Louisans earn ACS Certified Cheese Professional designation

Wednesday, September 11th, 2013

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The American Cheese Society recently welcomed two local cheese professionals to its elite group of ACS Certified Cheese Professionals from the U.S. and Cananda. Vicki Decker Smith of Fox River Dairy and Melanie Coffey of Whole Foods in Town & Country were among the 132 industry professionals to pass this year’s rigourous exam.

The annual exam tests an individual’s knowledge and skills in all aspects of the cheese-making industry. It covers a broad range of cheese-related topics, such as raw ingredients, the cheese-making process, selecting distributors, regulations, sanitation and more. Once a member earns ACS CCP designation, they must actively participate in the cheese industry and earn recertification every three years. Recipients receive an official lapel pin, embroidered patch, certificate and the right to use the title ACS Certified Cheese Professional.

Decker Smith and Coffey are the latest to achieve this title, but they are not the only ones in Missouri. Diane Bruce and Andrew Fair, both of St. Louis, also are ACS CCPs.

 

 

The Scoop: Post-Agrarian, John Perkins to stick to southern food

Tuesday, September 10th, 2013

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If you’re wondering what will become of John Perkins after his latest temporary restaurant, Agrarian ends after dinner service Oct. 5, you’re not alone. The space won’t be the hyper-local concept Perkins described late last year when he outlined his plans for four short-lived restaurant concepts at 360 N. Boyle Ave., in the Central West End, nor a wild game-focused menu.  In fact, the Agrarian is “the last time for the quarterly thing,” he told The Scoop. “I’m not going to do that or a game-themed restaurant.”

Instead, Perkins plans to return to – and hopes to stick with for good – the southern dining concept he explored this spring with pop-up A Good Man is Hard to Find. “I want to explore that a little bit more. It went well in terms of numbers, and it was fun cuisine for us to make,” Perkins said. “The other factor is it’s kind of an unexplored style of cuisine here, I think, at least [being that it’s] southern food that’s not Cajun or Creole. I don’t see a lot of low-country southern, Mississippi Delta southern food.”

Perkins is still deciding what to call the southern-focused restaurant (It won’t be named A Good Man is Hard to Find.), which will debut mid-October. He expects it to be open for dinner Wednesday through Saturday, the same days of operation for his previous concepts. However, he plans to add carryout at lunch featuring fried chicken plus sides.

In the meantime, Perkins hopes for a strong finish for Agrarian in its final four weeks. The menu, which offers many plant- and grain-based dishes, was never exclusively vegetarian. “There’s always been meat on the menu,” he said. “Now we have four meat entrees on the menu – but we can make most dishes vegetarian – so we’re friendly to a vegetarian diet but extremely friendly to carnivores, as well.”

-Photo by Jonathan Gayman

 

 

Cinematographer Graham Meriwether talks ‘American Meat,’ screening Thursday at MoBOT

Tuesday, September 10th, 2013

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“American Meat” is a documentary by Graham Meriwether that looks at contemporary chicken, hog and cattle production in the U.S. The film debuted in 2011 and premiered in St. Louis in October 2012. This Thursday, Sept. 12, Meriwether returns to St. Louis for a screening of the film at Missouri Botanical Garden.

Meriwether was inspired to make the documentary after reading Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma. In particular, he was drawn to Joel Salatin, a pasture-based farmer in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley and a central subject in Pollan’s book. “He was jumping off the page with charisma,” said Meriwether. He initially  planned to focus the film on Salatin’s Polyface Farms. “In the end, we decided to cover the entire industry as a whole.”

“Our film has a journalistic nature in the way we portray all the different types of meat production in America,” he said. “We don’t vilify or make one as evil and one as good.” He added that moviegoers “really appreciate how balanced the film is.” And while “American Meat” attempts to give an even-handed look at animal husbandry as it moves from feedlot and confinement systems to pasture-based farming models, Meriwether accedes that “we certainly are advocating local, grass-fed meat production.”

Although Meriwether feels the average American “doesn’t have much of an idea where their [sic] meat is coming from,” he is optimistic that awareness levels are changing. “People are becoming more and more curious about production models. I think we will see a huge increase about food transparency and where food comes from in the coming years.

Meriwether’s next project, a documentary titled “Farmers of America,” should continue to shed light on food production. Still in the preproduction stage and with an anticipated release for fall 2015, “Farmers of America” will focus on beginning and young farmers around the country.

MoBOT, in partnership with Chipotle, is presenting a screening of “American Meat” Sept. 12 as part of its Savor Your Summer film series. The screening will take place at 7 p.m. at the Shoenberg Theater, with a reception beforehand outside the theater at 6:30 p.m. Following the film, there will be a question-and-answer session with Meriwether. The event is free and open to the public. For more information, go here.

 

 

In This Issue: A chat with Anthony Ellerson Jr.

Tuesday, September 10th, 2013

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After a year in business, The Kitchen Sink’s Anthony Ellerson Jr. feels more like a mayor than a cook. Now he’s running for a second term as he prepares to relocate his tiny diner adjacent to the Forest Park MetroLink station to a 150-seat space at 255 Union Blvd., in the Central West End. Here, he discusses his career, his campaign staff and the struggles of keeping his constituents happy.

Why’d you decide to open a restaurant?
I was running a kitchen, but I lost my desire to work there. I sat at home, and I told my mom I wasn’t going to work for anybody else. We put our money together and started The Kitchen Sink.

Does she work at the restaurant?
She likes to come in and sit down and order food.

Does your dad help?
He does my bookkeeping. It’s mom and pop all the way.

What have you learned during your first year of owning a restaurant?
I was not prepared for the spotlight. I enjoy talking to my customers, but I feel like a politician because everybody shakes your hand. I’m just cooking food. I didn’t do anything special.

You started as a busser at Rigazzi’s. What’d you learn there?
Work ethic. At the old Rigazzi’s, you had to bust your butt. It was one of the busiest restaurants I worked at besides Blueberry Hill.

What’s your favorite dish there?
I like the nachos. The cheese sauce they make is pretty good.

It’s an Italian place.
Yeah, they make good cheese sauce. I’m a simple guy. My favorite places to eat are Steak ‘n Shake, Chris’ Pancake, Blues City Deli and Olympia. When I go to those places, I get the same thing every time.

What’s in your fridge?
There’s nothing in there that’s good. It’s filled with sodas or milk. My dog eats good. He’s lovin’ the restaurant.

What’s the most popular dish on Kitchen Sink’s menu?
Crab Cake Benie, The Kitchen Sink – a very different spin on shrimp and grits – the burgers, the wings … pretty much everything.

Pretty much everything is less than $10.
I have two items over $10. I’m not in it to be a millionaire.

How would you define the menu?
St. Louis-style Creole. None of us is from New Orleans. I went to New Orleans and stayed at my friend’s. I didn’t eat the food ‘cuz we spent all the money drinkin’. I don’t know what Cajun food in New Orleans tastes like.

Would you call The Kitchen Sink a diner?
We’re a five-star diner without the five-star ambiance.

Will that change when you move?
We won’t have canned sodas, and we’ll have alcohol. One of the problems I have with moving to another place: I want to change my menu, but there’s not one thing I can take off without pissing somebody off.

Why are you going into a bigger space?
I think we do a good job now, but I’d like to see what we can do when we’re on equal ground as other restaurants. On my arm, I have the seven deadly sins tattooed. I commit a lot of these [sins] thinking about other places. I’m envious of other restaurants all the time.

Why do you think you’ll succeed?
I have a good team of people around me. Murph [Patrick Norton], who’s moving to the front of the house to be my GM, grew up in the restaurant business. Aurthur [Brooks], the kitchen manager, has a newborn baby. Everybody has their reason, what they’re busting their ass for.

What sets your restaurant apart?
Customer service. We have to go the extra mile to make people want to come back. People always ask me, “Are you the owner?” I tell them the honest truth: “No, I’m the manager. You’re the owner. Because if you don’t come back, I don’t have a business.”

The Kitchen Sink, 280 DeBaliviere Ave., St. Louis, 314.261.4455, letseat.at/thekitchensink

-Photo by Ashley Gieseking

 

 

 

 

The Crossing asks diners to Instagram for charity

Monday, September 9th, 2013

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The Crossing is encouraging diners to whip out their smartphones and snap away now through October. The restaurant, located at 7823 Forsyth Blvd., in Clayton, is participating in the James Beard Foundation’s Taste America Local Dish Challenge, which highlights local producers and promotes culinary education.

The Crossing will donate $1 from each Rain Crow Ranch Berkshire Bone-In Pork Chop (pictured) sold to the JBF Taste America Drive. And diners who post a picture of their chop to Instagram with the hashtags #Clayton and #JBFTasteAmerica could help a local nonprofit win big bucks, too. JBF will donate $10,000 to the city with the most tagged uploads; The Crossing selected Operation Food Search’s Nutrition and Culinary Education Program as its designated charity.

“This is a great opportunity for us to call attention to all of our local food providers and to make more people aware of the James Beard Foundation,” said chef-owner Jim Fiala in a press release.

 

 

In This Issue: Eat This

Sunday, September 8th, 2013

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If a pig and a zombie had a baby, swaddled in bacon and laid in a warm pretzel bun, you would have the Aporkalypse Pretzelwich. This juicy, garlic-y peppered pork roast, bacon and gooey provolone sandwich, topped with pickles and spicy boom-boom sauce, is only served on Wednesdays at Blues City Deli. From the massive muffuletta to the Benton Park po’ boy, all of Vince Valenza’s sandwiches are served up spectacularly, but if the world ended tomorrow, the Aporkalypse would survive; it would be rewriting the history books.

Blues City Deli, 2438 McNair Ave., St. Louis, 314.773.8225, bluescitydeli.com

-Photo by Carmen Troesser

Meatless Monday: Ranoush’s Meza

Monday, September 2nd, 2013

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It’s not often vegetarians and meat-lovers can dine in harmony at one restaurant; someone always gets the dinky section of the menu. But at Ranoush, traditional Syrian meatless dishes get as much love as kababs and grilled meats. Entrees are available, but diners can easily make a meal by sharing three of the dozen or so hot and cold meza.

These small plates, available at the Kirkwood and U. City locations, can easily sate a hungry appetite. Crisp, golf-ball sized falafel yields to a verdant, moist center of spiced ground chickpeas. Cheese fatayer – Halloumi cheese wrapped in pastry and fried – oozes when you first slice into this little pie. And use fresh pita to scoop up refreshing, cool baba ghanoush to cut through some of the heavy fried goodness. Oh, and be sure to ask for a side of Ranoush’s garlic mayonnaise to dip, well, everything. No sacrifices here.

 

 

In This Issue: Taco Takeover

Thursday, August 29th, 2013

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Formerly a take-it-or-leave-it option for platos especiales and pick-three platters, nowadays, tacos are not just experiencing a boom, but a renaissance. By elevating the plebian staple, returning it to its street-vendor roots and reimaging it with exciting new twists, chefs across the country have re-energized the Mexican food scene with their singular focus on tacos.

Their tacos bear little resemblance to the hamburger-filled, deep-fried tortilla shells that were a fixture at every Chi-Chi’s and Casa Gallardo during the heyday of Americanized, fast-casual Mexican-food chains. It’s safe to say that Chevys will never feature grasshopper tacos, a staple on the menu at Gringo in the Central West End. The taquería, which opened this spring, imports grasshoppers by the kilo from Mexico, where they are munched like beer nuts in cantinas. “I’ve probably sold tens of thousands of these bugs,” said Steven Caravelli, corporate chef of Gringo and Pi Pizzeria. “It’s a strange business I’m in right now.”

On an average day, Gringo’s kitchen goes through roughly 900 to 1,000 freshly made tortillas. Some fillings are familiar – chicken, shredded pork, even ground beef – and some – octopus, red snapper and, of course, grasshopper – are less so.

Click here to read more about how tacos both traditional and off-the-wall have taken over St. Louis.

- Photo by Carmen Troesser

 

The Scoop: SLU School of Law restaurant The Docket opens downtown

Wednesday, August 28th, 2013

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Saint Louis University School of Law’s new restaurant The Docket is now open for service. The restaurant is located on the ground floor of the law school’s new downtown location at 100 N. Tucker Blvd. Open to the public, The Docket features a grab-and-go counter for breakfast and lunch, a buffet and an a la carte menu for lunch, and regular dinner service.

Chef Treff Baker is helming the kitchen, and as with other Bon Appétit-managed venues (Washington University’s dining services and Saint Louis Art Museum’s restaurant Panorama), he and his team are using locally sourced, seasonal ingredients and scratch-made sauces, dressings and dough. On the beverage side, the bar features wine, craft beer, handcrafted cocktails and house-made sodas.

 

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General manager Jorge Rama described The Docket’s concept as one focused on family-style plates and foods that promote conversation, such as the pizzas served with scissors (pictured). True to its name, in just its first week open, Rama said The Docket has seen judges, lawyers, jurors and law students all frequenting the new space.

 

 

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