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Feb 24, 2018
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Awesome eats

31 Days of Salad: The Ritz-Carlton’s St. Louis Cobb Salad

Wednesday, January 29th, 2014



The St. Louis Cobb Salad from The Ritz-Carlton St. Louis is massive but delicious because every component is treated with care. The eggs are cooked perfectly, the blue cheese is piquant and the bacon is crunchy. The problem with some salads is that they rarely keep you full. After consuming this one, we challenge you to even fathom hunger for at least several hours.

Hit List: Three new restaurants to try this month

Monday, July 1st, 2013



Hiro Asian Kitchen: 1405 Washington Ave., St. Louis, 314.612.5640, hiroasiankitchen.com

Asian comfort food is the focus at Hiro Asian Kitchen, newly opened on Washington Avenue downtown. Appetizers like lotus-leaf wrapped sticky rice, pork belly-filled steamed buns and edamame seasoned with togarashi are the perfect pair for the restaurant’s quality selection of sake. Among entrees, pick from ramen, fried rice and banh mi offerings or try one of the house specialties, such as Malaysian-style Bak Kut Teh, a steamy bowl of soup studded with meaty pork ribs and served with strips of fried dough for dipping. Whether you’re looking for a casual lunch, an upscale dinner or a late-night bite, Hiro looks to be a serene Asian oasis from the hustle and bustle on Washington Avenue.



Table: 1821 Cherokee Street, St. Louis, 314.449.1888, tablestl.com

From chef Cassy Vires and her husband Josh Renbarger, the team behind Home Wine Kitchen in Maplewood, comes a new restaurant in Benton Park. There isn’t a two-top in sight; instead, long wooden tables bring people together to dine communally on creative, new American cuisine. Try the pork cheek ragu with smoked tomato, fresh ricotta and grilled bread, or the Ozark Forest Mushroom “escargot,” a mushroom paste stuffed into snail shells and given a flourish of flavor with a hit of lemon juice, briny capers, parsley and garlic. With a sundae bar featuring toppings like strawberry-rhubarb purée and cookie crumbles to spoon atop a bowl of house-made ice cream, you bet we’re saving room for dessert.



Tree House: 3177 S. Grand Blvd., St. Louis, 314.696.2100, Facebook: Tree House Vegetarian Restaurant

Vegetarians are giddy for the arrival of Tree House, the newest addition to South Grand. The culinary crew at this restaurant seeks to push the envelope with meatless fare, offering house-made vegetarian charcuterie – terrines, pates, nut cheeses (A vegan sausage is coming soon.) – as well as meat-free takes on typically carnivorous chow like sliders, burgers and Asian bao. Whether in a small plate of fried beets garnished with Japanese spice mixture togarashi and served with a vegan garlic aioli, or in a heftier bite like a bahn mi smeared with house-made mushroom pate, Tree House uses a global pantry to showcase fresh, seasonal produce at its peak. The love for fruit and veggies carries over to the bar, where we’re sipping on the beet-centric cocktail The Roots.

-Photos by Michelle Volansky


Grill-to-Glass Drinking

Friday, June 21st, 2013


Grilling season has arrived. And at Salt – a restaurant where the kitchen crew works hand in hand with the folks behind the bar – that means grilled fare is just as likely to end up in your glass this summer as it is on your plate.

Wanna try this at home? Click here to find out how.

-Photo by Carmen Troesser


That’s the Spirit: Barrels find a life outside the bar

Tuesday, June 18th, 2013


Three years ago, Ted Kilgore let a cocktail age in a whiskey cask and served the city’s first barrel-aged cocktail at Taste six weeks later. Now that barrel-aged cocktails are on menus all over town, the aging craze has migrated out from behind the bar. Folks are dumping everything from maple syrup to milk into the cask and letting wood and time work their magic. The result: The same deep flavors, round notes, heady aroma and stunning color we expect in the glass are landing on our plates. Click here for the full story.

- Photo by Greg Rannells


Awesome Eats: Windowsills Cafe & Marketplace’s Key Lime Pie

Friday, June 7th, 2013


We rarely abandon our dedication to chocolate desserts, but for the Key lime pie at Windowsills Cafe & Marketplace, we make an exception. A graham cracker crust serves as the base for the filling of cold custard spiked with tart Key lime juice and a topping of whipped cream clouds sweetened with a splash of vanilla. The refreshing burst of citrus cuts the indulgently rich custard, making a generous slice a sweet end to any summer meal.

Windowsills Cafe & Marketplace, 1326 Clarkson/Clayton Center, Ellisville, 636.527.6400 

- Photo by Carmen Troesser 


Farmhaus to go whole hog on collaboration dinner with Chicago rising chef Nate Sears

Thursday, June 6th, 2013


Nothing gets wasted at Farmhaus. The culinary brigade at the farm-to-table restaurant in Lindenwood Park has been breaking down whole animals and using all possible parts in every possible manner since doors opened in 2010. Last August, chef-owner Kevin Willmann, chef de cuisine Andrew Jennrich and the rest of the cooking crew demonstrated their talent with nose-to-tail fare at a she-bang, multi-course dinner. Now, the Farmhaus hands have announced that they are readying for a second nose-to-tail extravaganza, this time, in collaboration with one of Chicago’s rising chefs, Nate Sears.

Sears has worked with some of Chicago’s top chefs during his culinary career, including 8 years at Paul Virant’s acclaimed restaurant Vie and at Andrew Zimmerman’s now defunct Mod. This fall, Sears will be opening a restaurant called The Radler with business partner and friend Adam Herbert, focusing on modern German cuisine.

On Tuesday, June 18, Sears will be in the kitchen at 3257 Ivanhoe Ave., to help prepare a 7-course nose-to-table dinner that will feature menu items like crispy blood cake, pig head runza, grilled Thuringer sausage and vanilla-scened creme de lardo.

Got a hankerin’ for whole hog eatin’? Tickets are $65, plus $35 for alcohol pairings. Seating is limited to 40. Grab a reservation by calling 314.647.3800.

 – Photo by Carmen Troesser


John Perkins’ The Agrarian to pop up in the Central West End next week

Tuesday, June 4th, 2013


Entre chef-owner John Perkins is preparing to launch his latest pop-up restaurant. The Agrarian, which debuts Tues., June 11 at 360 N. Boyle Ave., in the Central West End, will showcase the unsung heroes of the Midwest: summer vegetables.

The primarily vegetarian menu is categorized by crop, with headings such as “root,” “leafy,” “field” and “fruit.” “I want to let the vegetables speak for themselves, with intensity or subtlety, if that be the case,” said Perkins, whose previous pop-up concepts, A Good Man is Hard to Find and Le Coq, paid homage to southern food and chicken, respectively. “Whenever I design a dish, I am always trying to balance everything, different components of taste and texture. With this menu, I am going to design smaller plates to share that may simply express one element, completely rich with no acid or completely tart. The dishes should be able to play off each other.”

Perkins cited dishes like whey-poached asparagus, beet-infused tofu and poutine with smoked shitake velouté and blue cheese and examples of the fare that diners would encounter at The Agrarian. “I want to channel the ripe flavors of fresh herbs and spices, in lieu of meat or animal fats to season the dishes,” he explained. For carnivores looking for a bit more meat on the plate, there will be a few meat and seafood side dishes, such as steamed halibut wrapped in ramps as well as goat belly.

Mixologist and bartender Michelle Bildner designed a summertime cocktail list that features lighter spirits such as gin, rum and tequila, and that balances the alcohol with stone fruit juices and herb infusions. The wine list features food-friendly wines from around the world with enough complexity and spice to hold up to bold dishes.

The Agrarian will be open for dinner Wednesday through Saturday from June 11 through July 27. Go here to make a reservation.



Hit List: Two new restaurants to try this month

Monday, June 3rd, 2013


THE LIBERTINE: 7927 Forsyth Blvd., Clayton, 314.862.2999, libertinestl.com

Check your preconceptions at the door of The Libertine, the long-awaited new restaurant from Nick and Audra Luedde and local super-star chef Josh Galliano. Here, “buffalo style” crispy pig tails (pictured below) stand in for chicken wings and are far more addictive than their poultry counterparts. The house burger gets topped with house-made cheese “whiz” and served on a bacon-studded challah bun, while Three Little Birds arrive as one: hen, quail and chicken all pressed together for a brick of poultry that’s crisp, tender and perfectly cooked. Finish things off with The Libertine Candy Bar, a highbrow convergence of flavors likened to an Almond Joy and those ice cream-laden Snickers bars you pulled from the freezer at 7-Eleven as a kid. But first, head to the bar to fill your glass with small-batch liquors, local craft brews or a glass of bio-dynamic wine.


{The Libertine’s “buffalo style” crispy pig tails}


{Vietnamese coffee}

MI LINH: 9737 Manchester Road, Rock Hill, 314.918.8868, milinh.net

It’s pho and more at this new Vietnamese restaurant in Rock Hill. Mi Linh offers oodles of options among noodle soups and bowls, including the house specialty, mi, a delicate soup of egg noodles in a rich pork broth, made hearty with meat or seafood and enlivened by bean sprouts, celery leaf, chives and lime. From starters like spring rolls down to the do chua (pickled veggies) that accompany rice plates, Mi Linh pays homage to the fresh flavors that characterize this section of the globe. A taste of Vietnam continues with beverages, whether you’re thirsty for Saigon or Tiger beer, Vietnamese coffee, a guanabana smoothie or a glass of refreshing house-made green tea lemonade.

– The Libertine photos by Michelle Volansky


Serious for Cereal

Wednesday, May 15th, 2013

As a 19-year-old, I can’t help but admit how sleek I feel to finally be an adult with financial responsibilities and no mom-and-dad rules to follow. (I also still get a kick out of calling adults by their first names!) However, some parts of me really don’t change; I’m not ashamed to confess that my food of choice is still cereal.

As much as I enjoy chomping through bowls of sugary cereal in the privacy of my own home, as of late (in my new adult life), I have found myself wishing there were restaurants that incorporated my favorite crunchy carb.

Enter my Sauce internship.

After doing some research on the celebrity chef, Richard Blais, I stumbled upon what might be the greatest homage to the blessed boxed breakfast. At Blais’ restaurant Flip Burger Boutique, he serves Captain Crunch milkshakes crafted with liquid nitrogen. Captain Crunch and milkshakes? Two foods that I ravenously binge on when I need to raise my serotonin levels – placed in harmony? Perfection.

Unfortunately, this drink can only be found hundreds of miles away in Atlanta. So I set out to find a suitable substitute.

After scouring menus, I discovered that Sanctuaria recently featured chocolate chip cookies with a Cinnamon Toast Crunch ganache, but it was only on the menu as a temporary dessert. I also found that Strange Donuts is planning on featuring a Captain Crunch doughnut, but alas, this Maplewood doughnut shop hasn’t yet opened. I was going to have to get creative.

Eventually, I found a worthy treat at Fitz’s in The Loop: the S’mores float.

Although the S’mores float is a play on the backyard bonfire treat, it reminds me of one of my favorite cereals, Kellogg’s Smorz; therefore, I am counting it. Whether you’re a fan of the traditional dessert or Smorz cereal, this float is a must-try in every regard.

The S’mores float successfully spreads the joy out across a freezing cold mug, beginning with cream soda and building upwards to chocolate ice cream, marshmallow fluff, whipped cream, Hershey’s chocolate sauce and an artfully placed graham cracker on top. The best part, though, is the fluff. This sticky paste was so good that I timed how I ate all the other ingredients to make sure that it was in every bite. As much as I would love to see 100 more floats that incorporate my favorite cereals, for now, this one does the trick.

Have you found any dishes or desserts at local restaurants that incorporate cereal? If you have, let us know where! 

One Helluva Challah

Friday, May 10th, 2013

The sudden closing of the venerable Pratzel’s Bakery last fall left many St. Louisans in disbelief. No more chocolate-covered upside-down cupcakes (aka “UFOs”), no more tzitzel rye bread and no more challah.

That last one is a real point of tsuris (pain) for area Jews, many of whom customarily slice into the braided loaves on Friday nights to welcome the Sabbath.

So we’re here to let you in on a little secret. We’ve found one of the best (non-kosher) challahs in town. And – surprise! – it’s at a bakery you’ve never heard of.

Every week, congregants of Central Reform Congregation reap the benefits of what appears to be a simple weekly challah sale in the synagogue’s front office. While it’s not out of the norm for a synagogue to bake its own challah, it is unusual for their ovens to turn out a loaf with such out-of-this-world flavor. The challah’s toasty brown, egg-brushed exterior yields to a yellow center that is simultaneously soft, dense, sweet and chewy. Each week, the four-dozen or so challahs get shaped into beautiful braided forms and either left plain or showered with poppy or sesame seeds.

These exemplary loaves are baked by a crew of volunteers that includes Michael DiPlacido, an amateur baker who really kicks it up a notch for holidays and special events. Want your challah in the shape of a dreidel for Hanukkah? No problem. Care to have a challah that looks like a honey pot filled with apples to toast to a “sweet new year” this Rosh Hashanah? Go for it. DiPlacido will even adorn your loaf with the Hebrew name of the young lads crossing over into adulthood (aka Bar/Bat Mitzvahs) that week. These are seriously elaborate works of art that would be the envy of any boutique bakery.

The great news is that you don’t have to be a member of CRC to taste this challah perfection; anyone can pick up the braided loaves. But because the volunteers’ baking schedule is erratic – they bake on Tuesdays, Thursdays and sometimes Sundays – it’s best to call ahead to make sure the challahs are available.

Central Reform Congregation, 5020 Waterman Blvd., St. Louis, 314.361.3919, centralreform.org

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