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Feb 21, 2018
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Short List

Short List: St. Louis’ top 3 house pretzels

Friday, September 8th, 2017

Is there anything better equipped to satiate hunger and simultaneously increase thirst than the pub pretzel? I haven’t found it. A bready, delicious heft of hot, salty carbs served with mustard and cheese for slathering, washed down with a cold pint, it’s the perfect feast. While the pretzel is decidedly German, it has taken on a life of its own in St. Louis. Here are three of the best house-made pretzels this side of the Rhine. 




1. Charleville Brewing Co. & Tavern 2101 Chouteau Ave., St. Louis, 314.241.4677, charlevillebeer.com

The pretzel at Charleville is made with spent grain – that’s the grain left over from the beer-brewing process – and comes out with a glowing, blond hue. The top is salted and slathered in butter, which pools at the bottom of the plate and soaks the base of the crust that’s dredged in leftover grain. The dough is heady with a hint of nuttiness in the aftertaste, and when you pull it apart, it doesn’t tear – it shreds. The rosemary whole-grain mustard offers an initial hint of sweetness, but it is spicy enough to singe your nose hair. Order with a pint of house Half Wit Wheat for the perfect pairing.




2. Das Bevo 4749 Gravois Ave, St. Louis, 314.396.6900, dasbevo.com

Recently opened in Bevo Mill, Das Bevo is already making headway with its pretzel game, relying on the skills of Anne Cronin (the pretzel maker who also sells her goods at the Arnold Farmers Market). These beauties come German-style, two by two, with a hot, crunchy crust that bounces back if you give it a pinch. The extra heap of salt on top means you’ll need nothing less than a pitcher of Griesedieck to accompany them. Enjoy with both house-made grain mustard and beer pub cheese sauce on the side.




3. Union Loafers Café & Bread Bakery 1629 Tower Grove Ave., St. Louis, 314.833.6111, unionloafers.com

The pretzels at this first-rate bakery have a rustic personality. They are handmade daily in the classic knot shape (with a gentle twist at the top) and finished with a lovely scatter of big, square Maldon salt flakes. Less buttery than some, these Bavarian-style beauties take a generous lye bath for a dark color and a thick, chewy crust. The house-made grain mustard served with it is exceptional, but unnecessary since the flavor of the dough unravels in your mouth as soon as you take a bite.

Photos by Izaiah Johnson

Kevin Korinek is a freelance writer and photographer with a passion for making homemade pie.

Short List: Thai Green Curry

Sunday, March 24th, 2013

With the laundry list of ingredients and imprecise quantities that go into green curry, it’s easy to see how Thai cooking is often considered art, not science. But while curry might be a forgiving recipe, consider me the princess and the pea. To distill curries’ true virtues, I kept two controls for my venture: a medium heat level and shrimp as my star. Yet not even these constants were free from criticism, with cocktail-sized crustaceans and pathetically weak or ulcer-inducing heat landing otherwise suitable suitors firmly on the “no” list. A faultless curry, not so thin as broth but not so creamy as buttermilk, must master the delicate balance of savory and sweet. There should also be an abundance and variety of good vegetables, but not too many – this isn’t a stir-fry – and not too few – a fork should still be required. And the color? Lima bean green. Here now, the swans.

— photo by Carmen Troesser

Short List: Hot Chocolate

Thursday, December 27th, 2012

Since it seems that winter has decidedly arrived, all we want to do now is curl up with a blanket and sip some hot chocolate. But where can we find the best? Sauce’s archives is a great place to start. This short list originally appeared in 2011. If you have any new suggestions, feel free to add them to the comments section!

{Kakao’s Hot Chocolcate}

Since bitter temps demand that hot chocolate be consumed in vast quantities, those of us cuckoo for cocoa couldn’t be happier this time of year. Our top three cups will all satiate your inner child’s sweet needs as well as your adult craving for strong, complex flavors. High-quality chocolate is front and center, so these are worth leaving home for, no matter how low the mercury dips. Keep in mind that while we stuck with dark chocolate varieties, each location offers a range of flavors.

Kakao2301 S. Jefferson Ave., St. Louis, 314.771.2310 and 7272 Manchester Road, Maplewood, 314.645.4446

Kakao employs its own mix of cocoa powder, dark chocolate and sugar to treat customers. A small amount of hot milk is poured over two to three spoonfuls of the blend to properly melt the ground chocolate. Then the concoction is stirred into a paste and, after a minute or so, the rest of the milk is added. Light foam tops things off nicely, and it’s served in a to-go cup for easy on-the-run consumption. For those with a DIY inclination, take home a bag of the mix to make whenever the fancy strikes.

Café Cioccolato816 Olive St., St. Louis, 314.345.1200

At this downtown chocolate, wine and art lounge, definitely request one of the house-made marshmallows (oh, how we adore those crispy-on-the-outside, wonderfully gooey-on-the-inside delights), which are sprinkled with cocoa powder and delivered on the bottom of a becoming mug. The hot chocolate is then poured on top, resulting in liquid decadence. It all starts with disks of pure Swiss chocolate, which are melted down and mixed with whole milk to create a sinfully dense drink that’ll keep you coming back for more all winter long.

Baileys’ Chocolate Bar1915 Park Ave., St. Louis, 314.241.8100

The Chocolate Bar’s inclusion on this list may be expected, but it’s also ridiculously well-deserved. The Dark and Rich version served up at Lafayette Square’s sweetest eatery scores as a hearty winter pick-me-up that’s so thick, it could easily be mistaken for a meal. Chocolate disks from Swiss chocolatier Felchin are fused with half-and-half, skim milk, cocoa and sugar – the result coating your mouth with molten joy. A delicate chocolate swizzle stick is served alongside, so give it a quick swirl in the steamy liquid, then savor the melt-in-your-mouth effect.

— photo by Ashley Gieseking

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