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Feb 23, 2018
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Three Things We Love

This week, Catherine Klene is obsessed with…

Thursday, January 30th, 2014


{You know what every good game night needs? A brewery. Civil Life Brewing Co., has a way to entertain everyone, from the stack of New Yorker magazines and books to the dartboard and ring tossing games. My friends and I dive straight for the shelf of board games. School your friends in Bananagrams, show off your arcane knowledge of 1980s trivia during Trivial Pursuit, or play the fanciest game of Connect Four you’ve ever seen. Loser buys the next round of Northern English Browns.}




{I fell in love with bourbon this year, and I fell hard. Starting last October, you couldn’t get me to order anything but a Manhattan, Old-Fashioned or Sazerac. But the new year has ushered in a craving for a lighter, clean-tasting spirit that would still hold up in the dead of winter. Enter Thyming Is Everything by Cielo bartender Michael Cook. This sweet pink sipper of raspberry- and thyme-infused vodka, lemon juice and ginger syrup is light and refreshing but still strong enough to suit my happy hour needs.}  




{No trip to visit my family in Traverse City, Mich., is complete without a stop at Cherry Republic. This shop celebrates the state’s signature crop in every way imaginable. Jams, jellies and chocolate-covered cherries are just the tip of the iceberg. It also sells cherry wine, cherry-spiked sausages, cherry coffee and much more. But my favorite is the cherry salsa, which holds the perfect balance of sweet and spicy. I love serving it with corn chips and having people  guess exactly what it is.} 


This week, Michelle Volansky is obsessed with…

Thursday, January 23rd, 2014


{Newberry Furniture is a special addition to the St. Louis craft scene. Its kitchen items and furniture pieces are gorgeous and completely handmade. I whip out my Newberry cheese board for special occasions, and my table immediately becomes Instagram-worthy.}




{While Gamlin Whiskey House seems as though it was made for my bearded, whiskey-loving boyfriend, I think the Gamlin brother’s newest establishment, Taha’a Twisted Tiki, opened just for me! Give me fun, fruity drinks and a kitschy atmosphere, and I’ll hang out all night. My favorite drinks are the Taha’a floats. House-made ice cream and soda in creative, refreshing flavor combinations like mango and hibiscus make me one happy lady.}




{My go-to present is a gift basket from Parker’s Table. When you’re in a hurry, you can pick one of their themed baskets filled with local goodies, or if you have time, take a leisurely walk around the store and pick out everything yourself. The knowledgeable staff always help me make a great custom basket at a reasonable price.}

This week, Meera Nagarajan is obsessed with…

Thursday, January 16th, 2014


{These French toast muffins at Straub’s are buttery, cakey and perfection with a steaming cup of coffee.}




{I recently went on a trip to Los Angeles and the best meal I had was at Son of a Gun. The food is exquisite. It’s simple, unpretentious and everything is beautifully executed. I can’t wait to go back, but until then I’ll just have to make its chicken sandwich at home.}




{I’m a sucker for a bruleed banana. Put that with an ice cream sandwich and forget about it. The banana caramel ice cream sandwich at Cooper’s Hawk is fantastic; vanilla ice cream is sandwiched between two slices of toasted banana bread and topped with caramelized banana slices. It all sits atop a little pool of buttered rum caramel sauce.}

This week, Julie Cohen is obsessed with…

Thursday, January 9th, 2014


{During this week’s snowpocalypse, my husband and I didn’t have a lot to show for ourselves, besides checking “Finish season three of The Wire” and “Drink every bottle of wine in the house” off our list. Around hour 36 of captivity, in an effort to not feel entirely useless, we cracked open David Alan’s new cocktail book Tipsy Texan, my pick for next week’s By the Book. The only recipe I had all the ingredients for was a lime cordial that required limes, sugar, and, of course, vodka or gin to make a gimlet. Normally, I wouldn’t have the patience to peel a dozen limes to make the equivalent of Rose’s Lime Juice, but maybe there’s something to be said for cabin fever (as long as you’re not Jack Torrance). This cordial turned out nuanced, flavorful and all-around awesome.}




{I’m totally digging season one of PBS’ “The Mind of a Chef,” currently streaming on Netflix. Produced and narrated by Anthony Bourdain and starring chef David Chang, this season travels the world from Copenhagen to Kansas City, combining history, science and cooking. Not only is this show smart and funny, in the noodle episode, Chang makes cacio e pepe out of instant ramen – that’s just really cool.}




{If you haven’t visited the World Chess Hall of Fame in the Central West End, you might assume its gift shop, Q Boutique, only carries chessboards and chess tchotkes. That’s what I thought until I stepped inside. From handmade jewelry to cute coffee mugs to whiskey stones, this gorgeous little shop has become my favorite spot to find something for just about anyone in my life.}

This week, Ligaya Figueras is obsessed with…

Thursday, January 2nd, 2014


{Few people make me laugh like Stephen Wancha, the gregarious food and beverage director at The Four Seasons St. Louis. His hotel stories have had me doubled over (even when I didn’t have a glass of wine in hand), particularly those of a childhood spent running amok in the resort hotels his dad managed. Clearly, hospitality runs in the family. This is Wancha’s last week in The Lou; he’s leaving town for a Four Seasons gig in Florida. I’ll miss you, Wancha!}




{My husband listens to everything author and blogger Timothy Ferriss, aka 4-Hour Body Guy, says. And Ferriss said yes to the AeroPress, so our bulky espresso machine is collecting dust in the basement while I make coffee in record time and build arm muscle from all that plunging. Hey, Tim! How about a yes to the Hario V60?}




{Live performances at Tavern of Fine Arts are my solution for getting cultured without: dealing with MetroTix; wrestling the guy next to me for armrest rights; sitting perfectly still for two hours; and listening to my stomach growl. At this intimate venue, I can enjoy the performances of singers, pianists, string quartets and even flamenco dancers, while I eat and drink on the comfy sofa in back.}

This week, Meera Nagarajan is obsessed with…

Thursday, December 26th, 2013


 {A good croissant is hard to come by, and the croissants from Comet Coffee are my favorite in St. Louis: flaky, buttery and light. I think they are best enjoyed with a cortado in a corner by myself. Get them at Comet Coffee or Blueprint Coffee.}




{I am completely obsessed with the frozen, plain naan from Trader Joe’s. (I buy seven packs at a time; the fear of running out is that great.) It’s good with Indian food, but usually I toast it up and spread butter on it for breakfast. It has a crisp crust with a chewy center and tastes wonderful.}


{I hate winter so much. It’s miserable! I even bought a HappyLight because when it gets dark at 4 p.m., I need to remember what summer feels like. And when I crave the taste of summer on these dark days, I make a batch of Rich Winter Tomato Sauce. It is basically fool-proof and has the flavor of sweet, sun-ripened tomatoes plucked from a vine.}



This week, Catherine Klene is obsessed with…

Thursday, December 19th, 2013


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{I’m a sucker for nostalgia, and NPR’s Found Recipes segment gets me every time. In November, it was the story of a professional chef who still can’t replicate his 94-year-old grandmother’s sweet potato pie to her satisfaction. In October, a woman shared her story of a half-eaten jar of quince paste that led to a recipe exchange with a Latvian man. In roughly four minutes, I am way too emotionally invested in their lives, refusing to leave the car until I hear how the story ends.} 



{On a recent trip to Chicago, we stopped by one of my favorite places, The Art Institute of Chicago and walked through its current exhibition, “Art and Appetite: American Painting, Culture and Cuisine.” This massive exhibition showcases the evolution of food and drink in American art and explains the cultural and political context behind the pieces. Famous works include Norman Rockwell’s “Freedom from Want,” Edward Hopper’s “Nighthawks,”, one of Andy Warhol’s “Campbell’s Soup Cans” and hundreds more. If you happen to be in Chicago before Jan. 27, it’s well worth the price of museum admission. And if not (or if Santa is reading) there’s a 250-page book about the exhibition that I’ve had my eye on.}



{I love the idea of baking Christmas cookies. Cue up a holiday playlist, whip up a cheerful cocktail or two (or three), and let the beating, baking and bedazzling begin. Except after several hours of dotting those stupid reindeer noses with red sprinkles and dumping half a bag of flour on the floor, I’m left with dozens of sugar cookies that I suddenly remember I don’t really like. These Chocolate-Pistachio Sablés came to my rescue this year. The bittersweet chocolate with a hint of sea salt and nutty crunch is divine. I’ve already made another version substituting almonds for the pistachios and adding a heaping handful of chopped fresh cranberries to the dough. Beautiful, festive and no decorating required!}

-cookie photo courtesy of Michael Graydon and Nikole Herriott/Epicurious.com

This week, Julie Cohen is obsessed with…

Thursday, December 12th, 2013



{For every new movie playing at the Moolah Theatre, the cinema’s bar creates a specific drink menu. Right now, in honor of Catching Fire, it’s serving The Katniss, The Mellarky, The Effie (a strawberry margarita, pink in color, of course), District 12 (Absolut Peppar, hot sauce and bloody mary mix), The Abernathy (a pint and a shot – true Haymitch style), The Capitol and Panem Punch (pictured – a mix of light and dark rums and orange, pineapple and cranberry juices). Want to try them all? Go now (along with a DD) because as of midnight tonight, the menu turns over to The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.}


{I pass The Market at The Cheshire every morning I drive from my teaching gig at Wash U. to the Sauce office. And every morning, I have an internal debate as to whether I have time to stop for The Market’s bacon, egg and avocado sandwich and still get to work on time. More often than not, I stop regardless, because this sandwich is just so good. The arugula and Marcoot pepper jack cheese add a touch of a kick, while the swath of lemon aioli makes it truly decadent.}

{If you don’t live in West County or know someone who lives in West County, chances are you might never happen upon this hidden gem. The Wolf Cafe not only has a fantastic local craft beer selection and a strong breakfast, lunch and dinner menu, it holds a Green Dining Alliance certification. Going west never sounded so good.}


This week, Ligaya Figueras is obsessed with…

Thursday, December 5th, 2013



{This summer, a soccer injury sidelined me from the field for five long months. I recently celebrated my return to the beautiful game with a beautiful cocktail at The Restaurant at The Cheshire. Tudor Red Rose holds elegant elderflower liqueur, whose sweetness is balanced by bitter Aperol and tart blood orange juice, then topped with sparkling wine and a touch of rose water. Here’s to personal victories!}


 {A nightclub where you need to know the code – password, clothes, handshake and all. Not interested. A club where a luxury box seat to a live show includes a parking spot, a private entrance, pre-show dining on a grand staircase, a private cocktail lounge, in-seat food and beverage service and a private restroom? Someone please sign me up for the Fox Club at the Fabulous Fox Theatre! Now that I’ve had a taste of gentrified entertainment, I can’t bear to go back to my commoner seats in the upper balcony.}



{I must be on some sort of international drinking trip. Last month, I drank up India; I’ve moved on to Lebanon. At Layla, you can find a trio of wines from the Middle Eastern nation, as well as cocktails by bar manager Nick DiGiovanni that incorporate Lebanese kitchen staples such as sumac, zaatar, ginger, dates and flower waters. Try A Bedwin [sic] in The Grove, which takes the margarita on an excursion to the Middle East.}

This week, Meera Nagarajan is obsessed with…

Thursday, November 28th, 2013



{This recipe for Sweet and Salty Cake and comes from Baked in New York City. I used it recently for a dessert contest, and making the three layers, salted caramel and a chocolate ganache frosting took all day to put together. But it won me a first-place trophy and a whole bucket of personal pride. And winning is everything. (Sorry, kids, it’s true.)}




{These are probably the most sophisticated jello shots ever. Mojito jello complete with rum, lime, mint and sugar sets up inside a hollow lime half. Everyone loves a jello shot, and these are class-plus.}




{These glasses were a gift, and they’re perfect since I am a Walter White supporter through and through. No matter how evil he got, I still rooted for him.}

-Sweet and Salty Cake photo courtesy of marthastewart.com; jello shot photo courtesy of abeautifulmess.com

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