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  SAUCE MAGAZINE
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Jan 17, 2018
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Intelligent Content For The Food Fascinated
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SERVING SAINT LOUIS SINCE 1999
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In This Issue

Ones to Watch 2018: Patrick Seibold and Alec Schingel

Monday, January 1st, 2018

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Sous Chefs, Vicia
Ages: 33
Why Watch Them: The best new restaurant in St. Louis couldn’t run without them.

To be the best, you’ve got to have direction. Aside from growing up in Illinois and working as Vicia sous chefs, that’s perhaps the biggest thing Patrick Seibold and Alec Schingel have in common: a lodestar commitment to improving agriculture through their work with farmers as chefs. It’s why they’re both at Vicia now. “But also,” Schingel added and Seibold would agree, “I don’t like the idea of working at the second-best restaurant in St. Louis. I just don’t. I want to work at the best.”

The two have been chasing better food sourcing through some of the best restaurants in the country for most their careers. Seibold went from Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Bistro straight out of culinary school to Danny Meyer and Michael Anthony’s Gramercy Tavern to Alice Waters’ Chez Panisse. Asked about this laundry list of America’s culinary elite, the clean-cut chef matter-of-factly explained he thought Keller’s focus on technique would be a good introduction to fine dining, he was attracted to Anthony’s vegetable-centric philosophy, and he wanted to experience Chez Panisse’s relationships with farmers. Wouldn’t we all, though?

If it sounds like Seibold had to have plotted that precise course his entire life, that’s probably because he grew up in a restaurant family and always knew he wanted to be a chef. Schingel, equally intentional though perhaps less methodical, got into cooking because he was sick of eating Hot Pockets every day in college. Then he became obsessed.

After a sudden swerve into culinary school, he worked his way up the St. Louis food ladder to sous chef at Gerard Craft’s now-closed Niche. When Schingel later landed a stage position at In de Wulf in Belgium, his experience with farmers and foraging at the remote Michelin-starred restaurant sparked an increased interest in sourcing. That made his next gig at Dan Barber’s Blue Hill at Stone Barns a dream job.

“It was the opportunity to take a graduate school mentality,” Schingel said. “[It was a place to] learn how sourcing products works, how to talk about farming practices and intelligent methods.”

It’s also where he met Vicia chef-owner Michael Gallina, then chef de cuisine at Blue Hill. “Alec is exactly what I’m looking for in someone to work close with – very intelligent, very hard-working, very meticulous,” Gallina said.

To succeed at a high-concept place like Vicia, you need to be what Gallina called an intelligent chef – not a “head-down cook” who just gets the work done, goes home and doesn’t think about it. “This isn’t a 9-to-5 job for Patrick and Alec. They take it home with them. They research. They read books. They’re constantly diving into what’s going to be next, trying to be ahead of the ballgame.”

Schingel is the first person in the kitchen each day; as daytime sous, he runs the lunch service and Vicia’s whole bread program. Seibold helps Gallina run dinner and handles most of the restaurant’s butchery. “He’s taking on a lot of ownership with the nighttime cooks,” Gallina said. “He’s also a very intelligent person. He’s got a lot of incredible ideas.”

Gallina also rhapsodized on both the sous chefs’ teaching abilities. But, most important to Schingel and Seibold, Gallina wants them to take more ownership of the menu and to be more involved in working with producers.

“I definitely couldn’t do it without them,” Gallina said. “This restaurant wouldn’t be half of what it is without the help of those two.”

After navigating a major restaurant opening (both came on months before Vicia’s first service), Schingel and Seibold leave us with only two questions about their next steps: when and where?

Photo by Carmen Troesser

Heather Hughes is managing editor at Sauce Magazine. 

Ones to Watch 2018: Eric Tirone

Monday, January 1st, 2018

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Head Butcher and Sous Chef at Truffles Butchery
Age: 27
Why Watch Him: He was a born butcher.

What do you do if your kid tells you he likes cutting raw meat? Hide the knives? If you’re Eric Tirone’s family, you start buying whole chickens. Tirone’s older brother, Chris Tirone (a member of the Ones to Watch Class of 2011), convinced their parents to let them practice breaking down the animals. “My dad said it was a little creepy hearing a little kid say he liked cutting raw meat,” Eric said. “But it’s all I’ve ever wanted to do.”

At 17, he was helping his big brother butcher whole lambs and fish at An American Place. “Eric shared the same interests I had: sports, cooking, hunting, fishing,” Chris explained. “When I got into cooking, he enjoyed it as well and continued to mess around in the kitchen. Even at home I wouldn’t let him skate by.”

To understand Eric Tirone, all you have to do is watch him break down a massive hog with the skill of a surgeon and finesse of a ninja. It’s that virtuosity that got him promoted to head butcher at New Orleans’ famous, swine-centric Cochon Restaurant in just one year. There, he was butchering at least four pigs a week. Now, at Truffles Butchery, he butchers about one a week and teaches classes.

Does Eric Tirone want his own place? “Oh my God, absolutely! It’s been my end goal my entire life,” he exclaimed. “I haven’t been doing all this for shits and giggles. I can’t see myself doing anything else!” And when that time comes, after “knocking out a few big-boy things” like his wedding next year, you can bet the Tirone brothers will be back, standing side-by-side in the kitchen.

Photo by Carmen Troesser

Michael Renner is Sauce’s longtime New & Notable critic. 

Chef Tour: Ashley Rouch

Monday, January 1st, 2018

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{ Coma Coffee Roasters }

Ashley Rouch always knew she’d work in a kitchen. “I was always fascinated with food,” she said. After stints at Baileys’ Chocolate Bar and Pint Size Bakery, Rouch is transitioning from her job as Reeds American Table’s executive pastry chef to the bread baking team at Union Loafers Café and Bread Bakery this month. Her culinary background means she values fine food and drink, but ultimately, it’s good service that makes Rouch a repeat customer. “I want to be in an environment where I always feel welcome,” she said.

1. Southwest Diner
Southwest Diner is a frequent stop for Rouch since it’s on her daily route to Reeds. “You can tell they take individual care with each ingredient.” One dish she can’t pass up is the sopapilla, and she said Southwest’s guacamole is also something special. “It steals the show – it’s the best guacamole in St. Louis.”

2. Taqueria El Bronco
“I’m a big fan of Mexican food; hands down, it’s my favorite,” Rouch said. When she needs a dose of the real deal, she heads to this Cherokee Street staple. “They have some of the best authentic tacos in town,” she said. Her favorite? “Al pastor all the way. There’s just something about the pineapple with the savoriness of the pork that’s so comforting.”

3. Público
“On the higher end [of Mexican food], I love Público. Their pork belly taco I could eat every day,” Rouch said. “They don’t get as much press as I feel they should. Their service is always great.”

4. Union Loafers Café and Bread Bakery
“I love them for both lunch and pizza,” Rouch said of this Botanical Heights standby. “They’ve spoiled me on the pizza front – now it’s hard to go anywhere else.” She’s also a fan of Loafers’ sandwiches and salads. “The amount of care and quality they put into their work is amazing.”

5. Coma Coffee Roasters
Rouch takes her coffee seriously. “I’m a huge coffee person, and my husband used to be a barista,” Rouch said. Coma Coffee is her go-to to satisfy caffeine needs. “Connor [James], their roaster, is so talented in what he’s doing with their coffee. They supply our coffee at Reeds, so I get to see them and talk to them all of the time. They’re really doing great things.”

6. Tick Tock Tavern
“It’s right by our house, so we can easily walk there,” Rouch said of the south city spot. “I just love the super old-school vibe. It reminds me of Iowa, where I grew up.” Rouch also likes the fact that Tick Tock is conveniently located next to Steve’s Hot Dogs, in case happy hour turns into dinner. Plus, “Who can argue with a $3 Schlitz?”

Photos by David Kovaluk

Matt Sorrell is staff writer at Sauce Magazine. 

Related Content
• Sauce Magazine: January 2018

• Summer Wright to helm Vicia’s pastry program, Reeds American Table names new pastry chef

• Best New Restaurants 2015: Union Loafers Cafe and Bread Bakery

Ones to Watch 2018: Bryan Russo

Monday, January 1st, 2018

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Chef de Cuisine, Público
Age: 27
Why Watch Him: His hands are in the fire, but his head is in the books.

You could say Bryan Russo’s career started at Taco Bell. He did, after all, snag a job at the fast-food chain with his bandmates in high school, leading him to ditch music and sign up for culinary school at Le Cordon Bleu.

Or you could say it started with his Italian grandma and her ungodly good biscuits. One bite and he swore off the canned stuff forever, a revelation that took him down the flour-dusted rabbit hole of sourdough trials and fermentation experiments he’s still winding down today.

But no matter where he started, now he’s here: running a James Beard Award-nominated kitchen. “Bryan came on before Público was even built out,” explained Público chef-owner Mike Randolph. “He started as a cook and really quickly worked himself up to a sous chef. When we shook up the kitchen about six months ago, it made so much sense to make Bryan chef de cuisine. He is responsible beyond his years. He’s eager to learn.”

More like hungry for it. Russo doesn’t believe in secrets, and he doesn’t think you should either. He wants to learn any way he can: with his head in a book, from the guy on the line or trolling bread forums in his spare time. “I went into [Público] not knowing a damn thing about Latin food,” Russo said. “It was, hey, I want those burnt tortillas in my mole. I want those ash-roasted carrots in this thing. It was a lot of learning; I couldn’t have done it without the other guys in the kitchen.”

And his education continues. At Público, he’s messing around with cooking bread in the ashes of the wood-burning fire. “Shove it in there, and in a minute or two you have this ugly looking thing,” he explained. “You knock the coal right off, and it’s got this really nice, caramel-y, tasty bread.” Every item on the menu has his fingerprints on it, most the delectable result of collaboration with Randolph – or “Coach,” as Russo calls him. On the side, he’s baking sourdough for Squatter’s Café, where they slather it with fresh ricotta and serve it simply with the season’s brightest bounty.

The only thing Russo knows about his future is that it will involve open fire, something with bread. When you never stop learning, just about anything is possible.

Photo by Carmen Troesser

Stacy Schultz is a longtime contributor to Sauce Magazine. 

Ones to Watch 2018: Hana Chung

Monday, January 1st, 2018

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Line Cook, Vista Ramen
Age: 30
Why Watch Her: She’s cooking circles around all the dudes in town.

If the restaurant inside Hana Chung’s mind was a dinner party, you’d so want that invite. The table would be crowded with everyone from her Korean-born parents to her pizzaolo husband and the buddies she’s met inside the long list of local kitchens on her resume: folks from Byrd & Barrel and Juniper swapping stories with her current Vista Ramen kitchen mates.

The music would be loud and the guests would be louder; wafts from the kitchen would be salty, sweet and acidic. The food: “hardy, home-ish” Korean dishes her mom and grandma used to make her
back home. “Right now, food is kind of weird, almost segregated,” Chung said. “You have your really fancy food that only a small percentage of people in St. Louis can eat. I think there’s a market for good, local food that everyone can afford, and that’s my main goal.”

Despite her high-profile resume, Chung had one request when she began at Vista. “By choice, Hana kind of wanted to get back to just cooking. She’s a line cook here,” said Vista chef-owner Chris Bork. “That’s her position, but she’s a lot more than that. She will cook circles around a lot of the dudes that I’ve known. She’s just hardworking, and you could see instantly – Hana knows how this works.”

In an industry known for tempers that flare higher than kitchen fires, Chung has the rare gift of an easygoing attitude. “She was with us toward the end of Randolfi’s,” said Mike Randolph, chef-owner of the now-closed restaurant. “Those were some pretty hairy times. She kept us sane through really long hours and short staffs those last weeks. She would leave these little notes of encouragement around the stations for the cooks. She was a positive influence at a time when we really needed one.”

So, what’s next for Chung and her Korean street food spot dream? For now, Chung is learning more about her craft and spreading good vibes wherever she goes. “How can you not be happy when you’re in the kitchen dancing to Aretha and making food you like?” she asked. Preach.

Photo by Carmen Troesser

Stacy Schultz is a longtime contributor to Sauce Magazine. 

 

Ones to Watch 2018: Evy Swoboda

Monday, January 1st, 2018

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Chef de cuisine, Pastaria
Age: 26
Why Watch Her: She’s the next big thing in the Niche Food Group empire.

Fresh-faced, 17-year-old Evy Swoboda arrived at The Lodge of Four Seasons at Lake of the Ozarks to accept a garde manger position on the word of a friend. There was just one problem: The chef had hired her, but human resources hadn’t.

Swoboda was undeterred. Armed with a resume boasting a two-year stint as Subway sandwich artist, she talked her way into the job and a career crash course.

“I didn’t even know how to cut a pineapple,” she said. “I just faked it until I made it, basically. Read a lot, pretended I knew a bit more than I did until I knew what I was doing.”

Confidence, dedication and a whole lot of practice eventually led her to the grill station at 44 Stone Public House in Columbia, Missouri, and then to Pastaria shortly after it opened in 2013. The eager line cook rocketed up the chain of command, landing at chef de cuisine under executive chef Ashley Shelton.

“She can read my mind,” Shelton said. “I can give her a look and she understands, ‘You need me on pizza.’ She understands, ‘That burned.’”

There’s no doubt Swoboda can cook. She creates daily pizza specials and recently took over the entire menu of the popular Clayton restaurant. However, it’s Swoboda’s deft leadership on the line that sets her apart.

“I can be a little more hammer, and she’s a little more honey,” Shelton said. “She has a way with the line cooks that is very friendly. … She can get her point across without having to yell or be stern.”

It’s a quality Niche Food Group owner Gerard Craft has noticed, and the reason he wanted Swoboda to help open Pastaria’s Nashville location. “That’s one thing a lot of people overlook,” Craft said. “They might be really good cooks, but they might be terrible, terrible managers. I think she handles herself really well. She’s really well organized. She’s a really good teacher.”

Swoboda’s rapid ascent at Niche Food Group won’t stop if she has anything to say about it. “I want to continue helping open other Pastarias and hopefully get my own one day,” she said. “I definitely want one of the restaurants.”

Photo by Carmen Troesser

Catherine Klene is managing editor, digital at Sauce Magazine. 

 

What I Do: Heidi Hamamura at Guerrilla Street Food

Monday, January 1st, 2018

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Heidi Hamamura’s culinary education started when she absorbed her father, chef Naomi Hamamura’s, knowledge of sushi, Japanese and French fare in their kitchen after school. Since then, she has made a career out of exploring new cuisines: Italian with Jamey Trochtop at Stellina, Malaysian and Chinese with Bernie Lee at Hiro Asian Kitchen and modernist fine dining with Ben Grupe at Elaia. Now she’s diving into Filipino fare as executive chef of Guerrilla Street Food’s upcoming location on The Loop.

 

“The most I’ve had was five jobs at one time. It was intense, but I kept myself busy. … It’s like if someone likes yoga – loves it. It’s like going to different yoga classes all the time. Me going to different restaurants all the time and working was just fun. It was less like work.”

“My dad always told me you have to enjoy what you’re doing, and if you don’t, then I won’t back you up in life. If you love McDonald’s and you want to work at McDonald’s and you love everything about the company, then I will support you 100 percent. But if you work at McDonald’s and you bitch about life and complain all the time and do nothing about it, I’m not going to help you.”

“[My son] cooks already with my dad, too. … He likes to help cook his meals. He drags a chair over and wants to help hold the pan and sprinkle the salt on. He’s already there. My mom’s like, ‘No, you’re supposed to be a doctor!’”

“Since I didn’t go to culinary school, I promised [Trochtop] I wouldn’t leave if he taught me something new every day – a new word, anything. Even after work, I’d come back for my third shift and help him roll pasta until two in the morning. We’d grab a beer and roll pasta together because I wanted to learn.”

“Ben Grupe was one of the chefs that really inspired me. That’s the kind of cooking that I want to learn, that I love. It might be a small dish, but there is so much flavor in that, and creativity. It’s like art – you don’t want to eat it.”

“If we could find someone to open a [Japanese street food bar] in St. Louis, it would make so much money. … If the right investor comes or if I win the lottery, that would be really fun to do.”

“Making sushi is by far the most fun for me. … It’s the interaction and the different kinds of ways you can create and make sushi and display it. It’s like an art form. There are so many different ways you can beef up sushi or display an array of sashimi with different vegetables that go with certain fish or different spices. … I can eat sushi every day for breakfast, lunch and dinner.”

“I remember the first time my dad took me out [to the lake]. … We were sitting on the boat drinking beers, and I had my fishing pole in the water and the sunset is going down and I said, ‘Whoever the hell created fishing is a genius. This is the best feeling ever.’”

Photo by Ashley Gieseking

Catherine Klene is managing editor, digital at Sauce Magazine. 

Related Content
• Guerrilla Street Food will open a location in The Delmar Loop

• The Story of Hama

• Sauce Magazine: January 2018

Eat This: Cheese Wraps at Vietnam Style

Monday, January 1st, 2018

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Crab Rangoon. Crab puffs. Cheese wontons. Call them what you will, these creamy delights are a surefire crowd-pleaser. But the version called Cheese Wraps served at Vietnam Style, well, they’re really special. Just one bite of these crispy wonton pinwheels bursting with a thick, custardy cream cheese and rich crabmeat filling, set with a delicate quail egg smack in the middle like a tasty jewel, will ruin other variants for you.

Photo by Izaiah Johnson 

Matt Sorrell is staff writer at Sauce Magazine. 

Related Content
• Sauce Magazine: January 2018

Eat This: Tianjin-Style Bing at Bing Bing

• Review: Vietnam Style

Hit List: 10 new places to try in January

Monday, January 1st, 2018

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1. Louie
706 Demun Ave., Clayton, 314.300.8188, louiedemun.com

Anyone who still raves about King Louie’s – 10 years after its closing – has probably dined at Louie multiple times by now. But newbies will also make plans for a return visit before their first is even finished. The latest venture from Matt McGuire, former owner of King Louie’s and a Niche Food Group alum, offers a sophisticated but laid-back vibe with low, moody lighting and plenty of Instagram-worthy design elements. (That wallpaper!) McGuire’s love for Italian wine is reflected in the extensive selection of unique offerings meant to pair with the small menu. The kitchen offers a well-chosen list of hearty salads, memorable sides (do not, under any circumstances, miss the cauliflower fritto), wood-fired pizzas, house-made pastas like butternut squash-stuffed agnolotti and satisfying entrees, including a thick-cut, bone-in pork chop with shishito peppers and an herbaceous chermoula sauce. This Louie is a worthy successor to the King; we’ll be back – a lot.

 

2. Poke Doke
8 S. Euclid Ave., St. Louis, 314.833.5900, Facebook: Poke Doke

With poke (the super popular Hawaiian raw fish dish) making appearances on menus all over town, it was only a matter of time before a dedicated poke-only place opened its doors. Poke Doke applies the build-your-own concept to poke with predictably tasty results. Choose a base of sushi rice, soba noodles, salad or wonton chips, then add your choice of fish, sauce, toppings and “drizzles” for a custom creation. There’s also a selection of bubble milk teas and a la carte items like crab Rangoon, miso soup and pot stickers to round things out. Do your palate a solid and say aloha to Poke Doke.

 

This Thanksgiving-inspired dish features a turkey sausage topped with roasted Granny Smith apples and cranberry mostarda.

 

3. Frankly on Cherokee
2744 Cherokee St., St. Louis, 314.449.1178, franklysausages.com

Frankly Sausages food truck fans already know: This place has the best fries. The fact that these brined, double-fried, exquisitely crisp and tender fries are now available all the time in a brick-and-mortar – and on the bar-hopping mecca Cherokee Street, no less – might be a problem for us. The whole menu is worth the trip with house-made sausages from a classic hot dog and brat to a rich, savory wild boar sausage topped with bright pickled red onion and mildly sweet roasted apple. With the four walls (one of which boasts a huge black-and-white pig painting), tables and chairs, comes a sweet, honey-topped butternut squash salad, balsamic onions-studded chicken liver crostini and the promise of more shareable plates to come.

 

4. Parlor
4170 Manchester Ave., St. Louis, 314.833.4999, parlorstl.com

Relive your ’90s mall arcade dreams at Parlor, The Grove’s newest spot for booze, skee-ball and throwback console games. George Clinton-esque funk trumpets your arrival when you step inside and puts you in the mood to game all night. Start at the bar and order a sweet and fruity Parlor’s Cup, a mix of St. George gin, Pimm’s, lime, passion fruit and Pineapple Vess tempered with cucumber and herbal Chartreuse. Purists should opt for a simple daiquiri with Plantation Three Star, sugar and lime. Cans reign at Parlor; a beer list name drops favorites like 2nd Shift Brewing Co. and Evil Twin, while canned wines include rosés, reds and whites. Drink in hand, hit the dining room and line up for skee-ball, unleash your inner pinball wizard at one of four machines or go for the kill in “Mortal Kombat II.” Forget parking meters or laundromats; your quarters have a new purpose.

 

Local artist Marissa Todd painted The Clover and the Bee’s signature floral mural.

 

5. The Clover & The Bee
100 W. Lockwood Ave., Webster Groves, thecloverandthebee.com

Fans of sister restaurant Olive & Oak have waited impatiently for The Clover and The Bee to open since the concept was announced. Despite the whimsical name inspired by an Emily Dickinson poem, the stunning new Webster Groves breakfast and lunch spot is chic as hell. The small menu changes frequently, but always includes well-executed classics and thoughtful salads, sandwiches and entrees served in a lavish setting of emerald banquettes, gold chairs and an arresting floral mural in the back. Try the super rich chicken hand pie or the tender smoked flank steak, served over a warm potato salad tossed with hints of kale, Asiago and a Caesar dressing that affects you more than you thought a dressing could. A to-go window makes it easy to pick up coffee, grab-and-go snacks (crab dip!) and baked goods.

 

6. Knead Bakehouse & Provisions
3467 Hampton Ave., St. Louis, 314.376.4361, kneadbakehouse.com

Farmers market fans of Knead bread can now swing by the bakery’s brick-and-mortar in the Lindenwood Park neighborhood for fresh loaves of country bread or brioche. During early visits, snag a sugary morning bun while you wait, or stop by midday for a quick lunch. All sandwiches are served hot or cold with microgreens, tomato, smoked Gouda, herb aioli, whole-grain mustard and house pickles. Opt for half a warm smoked brisket sammie served on buttered, toasted slices of country loaf. Make the other half of your pick-two meal the Kale & Kefir salad, a playful take on a Caesar with lacinato kale, puffed wheatberries, pecans and a tangy kefir-based dressing. Wash it all down with a house botanical soda like the grapefruit and juniper flavor with fresh mint.

 

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7. Mothership
Earthbound Beer, 2724 Cherokee St., St. Louis, 314.769.9576, mothershipsaintlouis.com

The kitchen team from Vista Ramen has started serving up a new menu inside the recently expanded Earthbound Beer, and we love everything about that. The menu offers plenty of smoked meats and tasty sides with that Vista touch. The potato salad is made with Kewpie mayo, the cornbread is served with gochujang honey butter, and the pork plate can be topped with five different house barbecue sauces, including a sweet Korean barbecue and super spicy pomegranate jerk. Try the surprising smoked turkey pita (fall-apart slices of turkey topped with yogurt, house pickles and sumac) with your Liquid Toast (an unexpected wheat beer from Earthbound’s constantly shifting menu).

 

8. Fiddlehead Fern Cafe
4066 Russell Blvd., St. Louis, 314.972.2637, Facebook: Fiddlehead Fern Cafe

Fiddlehead Fern Cafe is where we’ll be posting up for our next coffee meeting or long writing day. The cool, spare space, with concrete floors, bleached wood tables and stark white walls hung with floral art photography, is warmed by bulb light fixtures, bud vases on every table and super-friendly service that’s already attracting Shaw neighborhood regulars. A solid coffee program featuring Georgia-based PERC beans is supplemented by a short menu focused on loaded toasts to calm your caffeine buzz. We like the smashed chickpea toast, topped with radishes and balsamic vinegar – or go for a house-made cranberry-rosemary scone if you just need a bite to go with your cortado. Wine and local Heirloom Bottling Co. shrub cocktails are also available, if that’s how your meeting’s going.

 

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9. Shake Shack
60 N. Euclid Ave., St. Louis, 314.627.5518, shakeshack.com

ICYMI, a little burger-and-shake joint opened in the Central West End last month. Yes, famed restaurateur Danny Meyer has finally brought his internationally popular Shake Shack to his hometown, and lines of St. Louisans have snaked around the building since its debut. When you finally get to the counter, a classic ShackBurger is a must; the buttery toasted bun stands up to a seasoned, crisp-edged smash patty, gooey American cheese and house mayo-based sauce. Crunchy crinkle-cut cheese fries are also required eating for first-timers. Once you’ve checked those off your list, expand your horizons with an ultra-crispy Chick’n Shack sandwich or an indulgent Mound City Double – two smashed patties glued together with Provel cheese and topped with local Niman Ranch bacon.

 

10. Squatter’s Café
3524 Washington Ave., St. Louis, 314.925.7556, squatterscafe.com

James Beard-nominated chef Rob Connoley will launch his much-anticipated fine dining restaurant, Bulrush, this year. Until then, diners can get a taste of his creativity at the tiny Squatter’s Café, with a small, oft-changing menu of surprising “hyper-local daytime classics.” Start your morning with a house-made English muffin crowned with a dome of butternut squash hiding a soft-cooked egg and creamy goat cheese. Or the simply billed Meat & Beans on the lunch menu, Connoley’s version of cassoulet with shredded confit chicken, sausage coins and plump cannellini beans crowned with a delectable pork gyoza. Lighter options include the Veg Marrow, hollowed out roasted carrot halves filled with beet puree served with seed crackers, greens and an English muffin. Save room for dessert; the cinnamon-brown sugar pop tart is better than any prepackaged breakfast pastry you’ll ever try.

Louie, Frankly on Cherokee and The Clover and The Bee photos by Michelle Volansky; Mothership photo by Meera Nagarajan; Shake Shack photo by Caitlin Lally

Related Content
• Sauce Magazine: January 2018

• Best New Restaurant of 2017: Vicia

• Hit List: 4 new places to try this November

11 reasons to go to Westport Social right now

Tuesday, December 19th, 2017

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Westport Social is a versatile bar. You want to drink craft cocktails? No problem. How about getting crazy competitive while playing bocce ball? Sure thing. Even if you just want to sit in the corner with a glass of wine and a healthy-ish salad, you can do that, too. If you’re not convinced, here are 11 more reasons to go.

1. Pingpong tables + a killer beer list = grown-up beer pong, basically.

2. Funnel cake fries, please.

3. We’re into these nachos for more than the cheese sauce. They’re made with crisp wonton skins riddled with air pockets, burnt ends from heaven and the occasional vinegar blast of pickled banana pepper.

4. Big, comfy leather couches and other modern touches add sophistication to the warehouse-sized space.

5. The punch, made with Old Tom gin, Crown Royal, Giffard pamplemousse, lemon and yerba mate, is fresh and goes down super easy.

6. A solid wine list proves this isn’t just a bro bar – furmint, anyone?

7. Pop-a-Shot-style basketball hoops in the back are regulation-size. (Watch for a rogue elbow – competition gets stiff.)

8. With crowd noise and larger than life-sized players (one of the many TVs is 9-by-15 feet), it’s like you’re at the game – only better.

9. Karaoke in private rooms means you can make a fool of yourself to a select audience of your choosing.

10. When the energy gets too crazy inside, there are fire pits to cozy up next to on the patio.

11. Shuffleboard two ways: tabletop or on sprawling cruise ship-style floor courts. Those cues are fun even if you don’t know what you’re doing.

Photo by David Kovaluk

Meera Nagarajan is art director at Sauce Magazine. 

Related Content
• Sauce Magazine: December 2017

• First Look: Westport Social in Maryland Heights

 

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