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Oct 31, 2014
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Intelligent Content For The Food Fascinated
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SERVING SAINT LOUIS SINCE 1999
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Extra Sauce: Companion’s Josh Allen enters bread battle to compete in World Cup of Baking

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014

Every four years, the world goes wild for international competition. Participants train endlessly, all vying for the chance to represent their countries on the grandest of stages. No, we’re not talking about the Olympics or the World Cup. We’re talking about a more delicious and mouthwatering sport: the World Cup of Baking, or the Coupe du Monde de la Boulangerie.

The top three bakers from each country’s team will gather in Paris in March 2016 to be judged on bread, Viennese pastries, a savory sandwich presentation and an artistic piece. But before they go head-to-head in international competition, they have to make their national team. St. Louis’ own Josh Allen, owner of Companion, is one of 15 bakers fighting for a coveted spot tomorrow and Friday, Oct. 23 and 24, at the next round of competition in Providence, Rhode Island. If selected, Allen will be the first St. Louis baker to compete in the World Cup.

Since August, Allen has spent nearly every Friday at the Ladue Companion Cafe from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., elbow-deep in dough, testing new recipes and learning along the way. We popped by one of his final practice sessions to get the inside look at how a baker prepares for the tryout of a lifetime.

Allen is required to present five types of bread: a traditional and decorative baguette, a sourdough-based option, a nutritional loaf, and two freestyle breads of his creation. All five must be completed in eight hours and match precise weight and shape requirements.

 

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Since the judges will taste the bread straight from the oven, Allen has changed his usual methods, which focus on preparing bread consumed 12 hours later. “(I) found that the amount of thyme or rosemary has to be cut way back because it’s so floral initially,” Allen said.

Allen wanted to create breads that stand alone, almost as a meal. Each bite should be a sensory overload, he explained.

 

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The nutritional bread (pictured below), which contains more than 50 percent whole-grain flour, has the comforting aroma of chamomile dust. Mixed throughout the dough are quinoa and wild rice, as well as sweet-tart, crunchy pomegranate seeds.

 

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The classic baguette (below) is Allen’s favorite.

 

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Allen elevated the average sourdough (below) by using semolina flour studded with fennel and sesame seeds and brown butter to gild the lily.

 

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The first freestyle bread (below, left) is an ode to fall: chunks of apple and toasted walnut are folded into a thyme- and apple cider-infused rye dough topped with barley for crunch. He kicks up the heat with his second freestyle bread (below, right): an airy polenta bread with briny green olives, aromatic rosemary, bright orange zest, and a zip of red pepper.

 

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Allen expects to hear the results of this round in two weeks or so. If he succeeds, he will move to the final round of competition in March 2015, when the top three compete again to earn the coveted bread baker slot on the three-person team. “I’m as ready to go as I can be,” Allen said the day before competition. “There’s no telling what will resonate with the judges … I’m very excited about it. It’s been a great experience, but it’s been enough work that you want to do well.”

Spencer Perinkoff blogs at Whiskey and Soba

-story and photos by Spencer Pernikoff

Harvest Festival 2014

Monday, October 20th, 2014

St. Louisans turned out in droves to celebrate Harvest Festival at Laumeier Sculpture Park on Sunday, Oct. 19. Check out all the fun from this gorgeous fall day!

 

 

Raise your voice: Nominations open for James Beard Awards

Friday, October 17th, 2014

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Calling all opinionated St. Louis foodies! The prestigious James Beard Foundation has put out a call to the public, requesting nominations for its annual awards. Here’s your chance to call out your favorite chef and restaurant. Click here to register and nominate. Don’t delay – submit your culinary nods before Dec. 31, 2014.

St. Louis is no stranger to the James Beard Foundation. In fact at this very moment, St. Louis is heating up the kitchens at the James Beard House in New York City. The Libertine executive chef and co-owner Josh Galliano cooks there tonight, Oct. 17. Though you can’t grab a seat at that esteemed table tonight, you can pull up a seat at The Libertine bar starting at 5 p.m. for a special happy hour where guests can watch Galliano in action on a live-stream from the James Beard kitchens.

St. Louis made waves on the JBFA stage earlier this year, too. Kevin Nashan, chef-owner of Sidney Street Cafe and the newly opened Peacemaker Lobster & Crab Co., and Gerard Craft, chef-owner of Niche Food Group (including Niche, Pastaria, Taste and Brasserie) were both finalists in the Best Chef: Midwest category.

 

 

 

5 meals to pack for a perfect picnic

Thursday, September 4th, 2014

Today is a hot one, but guys, have you seen the forecast for this weekend? We plan to spend every minute outside in that gorgeous 75-degree weather – with a picnic of course. Here, we packed up 5 picnic baskets perfect for anyone from vegans to kiddos to that special someone.

 

 

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1. Spark some summer lovin’ with this Date Night Basket full of light (and garlic-free) fare. Start with this fresh, summery Shaved Zucchini Salad, then share a few Goat Cheese Balls, dates stuffed with goat cheese and wrapped in prosciutto. Keep your entree simple with local charcuterie, cheeses and good bread, then surprise your date with a bouquet of these adorable Pie Pops.

 

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2. Who says vegans can’t enjoy some traditional American comfort food? Dig into this Vegan-approved Americana Basket starting with an egg salad using tofu and vegan mayonnaise. Get saucy (and spicy) with big bowls of cauliflower poppers and dip, and finish it all off with chocolatey – vegan – brownies.

 

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3. If you’re feeling inspired, impress someone with these Gourmet Picnic dishes that are easier than you think. Start with a decidedly unleafy Bittersweet Chocolate, Pistachio and Fig Salad, then scoop up bowls of chilled Cantaloupe Soup garnished with prosciutto. This homemade Banh Mi project requires advanced prep, but they will blow your friends away. And for the grand finale: a very Berry Frangipane Tart, perfectly portable and delicious.

 

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4. Feeling the heat? This (Almost) No-Cook Basket will come together in no time — no stove required. Serve up a crunchy, flavorful bowl of Daikon, Apple and Edamame Slaw, then assemble Open-faced Tomato Sandwiches onsite (OK, fine, you have to use your toaster before you leave. It’s worth it.) and hunting down a mangosteen turns this Fruit Salad into a gourmet, no-cook treat.

 

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5. Odds are you kid won’t love cantaloupe soup or flip for figs, but this Kid-Friendly Basket is sure to please youngsters –without resorting to PBJs and Goldfish crackers. Let your little ones help stuff these homemade Pizza Rolls with their favorite fillings. You need greens somewhere, so keep it fresh and easy with the Simplest Seasonal Salad Ever (if they turn their noses up at arugula, swap it for good ol’ romaine). Finish the meal with a classic: homemade Chocolate Sandwich Cookies that are so much better than that prepacked childhood standby.

-Cauliflower poppers photo by Carmen Troesser, banh mi photo by Michelle Volansky, tomato sandwich photo by Greg Rannells, pizza rolls photo by Kristi Schiffman

4 ways to show your support for the St. Louis community this weekend

Friday, August 22nd, 2014

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{Hopeful treats to be served at Sweet Art’s Cupcakes and Conversation tonight, Aug. 22}

It’s been a tough few weeks in our city. St. Louis is grappling with some difficult issues right now, and many in the community are wondering how to move forward. Here, four food-focused ways to show your support for the community in these troubled times.
1. HandleBar in The Grove is hosting a food drive now through 3 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 23 to fill the bare shelves at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church food bank. Bring a nonperishable food item, household supplies such as laundry soup, all-purpose cleaner or toilet paper, or a personal hygiene items like toothbrushes, soap or deodorant with you to the bar tonight and receive a little something in return (discounted bills, a free beer and more are on the table). Keep an eye on HandleBar’s Facebook page for updated surprises and raid your pantry to give back.

 

2. Sweet Art‘s Reine Bayoc hosts Cupcakes and Conversation tonight, Aug. 22, from 6 to 8 p.m. to provide a forum for civil, honest discussion about the recent unrest in Ferguson. This is not a “who can pound their chests the hardest” event, Bayoc said, but a chance for the community to gather and share thoughts on how to move forward in a positive way. Join the conversation – or just listen – over free coffee and discounted cupcakes.

3. Put on your work boots and join Gateway Garlic Urban Farm at Urban Farmed Uprising Saturday, Aug. 23, at Terry There Gardens in Ferguson. Beginning at 10 a.m., volunteers will help tidy the urban farm and plant fall crops, as well as work on irrigation systems. Then help load up the trucks at 2 p.m. as Gateway Garlic delivers more than half a ton of fresh produce to Ferguson families in need. Coffee, tea and snacks will be provided, and volunteers are encouraged to bring a dish to share for lunch. Volunteers are asked to RSVP on Facebook if attending.

4. Join together at St. Louis 4 Unity, a rally in Ferguson to bring together citizens, elected leaders, clergy, activists and law enforcement to stand strong in Ferguson. Everyone is invited to the rally Saturday, Aug. 23 from 2 to 4 p.m. at 9131 W. Florissant Ave., and are encouraged to bring handmade signs in support of St. Louis unity, peace and healing. Participants are encouraged to RSVP here to receive further updates.

 

 

5 ice cream sandwiches to cool down summer

Thursday, July 10th, 2014

On a hot summer afternoon, we yearn for the cold comfort of ice cream smashed between two crisp cookies. And while they’ll always be a place in our hearts for the classic vanilla and chocolate wafers, our palates have developed since those lazy summers spent at the local pool. Today, we’re reaching for ice cream sandwich in flavors like ginger, peach, cherry and even banana bread to sate our cravings. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with going old-school, particularly when it’s served from a 1940s ice cream cart.

 

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Saucy Soirée 2014: The tweets, posts and Instagrams from the #STL foodie event of the year

Tuesday, July 1st, 2014

Sauce’s annual Saucy Soirée went down Sunday, June 29, and can we just say: St. Louis, you sure know how to party. More than 1,000 of you turned out to the newly renovated Union Station to taste who you voted your favorites in our annual Readers’ Choice poll (on stands now). Here’s what went down:

 

Sauce contributor Stacy Schultz wins prestigious M.F.K. Fisher Award for culinary writing

Monday, June 23rd, 2014

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Congratulations are in order for Sauce writer Stacy Schultz, who recently received an award from Les Dames d’Escoffier, an international society of women leaders in the culinary field. Schultz won the M.F.K. Fisher Award for excellence and creativity in culinary writing for her story “Lox of Love,” published in the September 2013 issue of Sauce.

The awards, named for celebrated food writer Mary Frances Kennedy Fisher, seek to support and highlight women culinary writers. A panel of 12 judges including prominent culinary newspaper editors, magazine editors and book publishers selected the winners based on writing style, expertise in the subject matter, originality, strength of voice, and relevance to the reader. Schultz’s piece chronicled her quest to make a mark on her family’s culinary traditions.

Nina Mukerjee Furstenau, an agricultural journalism instructor at University of Missouri, also received the grand prize for an excerpt from her book, Biting Through the Skin: An Indian Kitchen in America’s Heartland. A feature story by Furstenau will appear in an upcoming issue of Sauce. Both writers received cash prizes and trips to the LDEI awards ceremony in Boston.

-photo by Greg Rannells

 

9 Foodie Gifts for Father’s Day

Thursday, June 12th, 2014

Celebrate the foodie fathers in your life with these unique gifts sure to make him feel like the next Iron Chef, Grill King or Master Bartender – whatever his persuasion. Don’t forget that his special day is this Sunday, June 15, so read on, and don’t forget that Father’s Day card!

 

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-Mwanzi photo by Carmen Troesser

10 Places to Watch the World Cup

Wednesday, June 11th, 2014

The Gateway City’s first love may be baseball, but we have a serious passion for soccer, too. No matter where you are tomorrow in St. Louis, there’s a place for you to settle in with some tasty brews, get rowdy with fellow soccer fans, and cheer on your favorite team. The World Cup kicks off tomorrow at 3 p.m., and we’ve got 13 spots for you to get your game on.

 

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1. Amsterdam Tavern: There’s a reason this Tower Grove staple made our list of Best Places to Watch the Big Game. Amsterdam Tavern isn’t your run-of-the-mill sports bar; in fact, it’s dedicated to soccer. Sure to be packed, patrons here know their way around the game. Get your fix inside at its new beer garden, and don’t forget to grab some grub at The Dam, located next door.

2. The Moolah: No ticket needed for this special screening at The Moolah. Select games will be shown on the big screen; all matches are shown in Mini Moolah lounge – and it’s all free. Grab a beer and claim your couch in the name of your team.

3. Meshuggah Café: The upstairs loft of this unassuming, bookish joint makes way for screenings of World Cup matches. Food and drink specials are available, and while coffee may be its forte, don’t forget the selection of brews, too.

 

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4. Barrister’s: This Clayton spot has long been a haunt for soccer fans. The game starts at 3 p.m. and Barrister’s happy hour starts at 4 p.m. – perfect timing to start preemptively celebrating or mourning.

5. International Tap House: Everyone wins when new beer is on tap. All four iTap locations are celebrating the World Cup in style with two new brews to mark the occasion: 2nd Shift Brewing’s iBallz, a bi-selected IPA, and 4 Hands Brewing’s WC ’14 Ale, an APA whose recipe was created by iTap’s homebrew winner Patrick Strohmayer.

 

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6. The Biergarten at Anheuser Busch: Even the big boys are feeling World Cup fever. AB hosts a viewing party at its Biergarden to celebration the opening match between Croatia and Brazil Thursday from 2 to 7 p.m., featuring a 16-foot screen and Brazilian cultural performances.

7. Llywelyn’s Pub: Host your own match party at any of Llywelyn’s six locations, or just take advantage of the match-themed drink specials. Select brews from the countries playing that that match are $2 off. Talk about fan rewards.

 

 

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8. The Scottish Arms: This rustic pub should be your choice if you want to enjoy some bloody good Scottish eats while watching the games. A lovely outdoor seating area is the perfect place for an evening viewing party with good scotch and barbecue specials.

9. Tigín Irish Pub: In a gambling mood? Play the $1 million bracket challenge and see if you can predict the outcome of all matches for cash prizes downtown at Tigín, an officially designated U.S. Soccer Bar.

10. The Dubliner: What better place to watch Europe’s favorite sport (and the rest of the world’s for that matter) than a proper European gastropub? It’s even running a fantasy football (and by that we mean soccer) league as the Cup plays on. That’s dedication.

 

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