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SERVING SAINT LOUIS SINCE 1999
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Archive for December, 2009

Timney exec cheffing at Mangia

Monday, December 28th, 2009

David Timney has joined Mangia Italiano as executive chef. He previously spent 15 years at Café Balaban in the Central West End, where he was also exec chef and a partner. Mangia plans to issue new lunch and dinner menus next month under him. Also next month, Mangia will open a pasta factory – a pasta-making facility coupled with a small retail space – in the former Berlinger Dairy Center at 2023 Cherokee  St.

Meriwether’s will become Bixby’s

Monday, December 21st, 2009

122109_MeriwethersThe best thing about eating at Meriwether’s in the Missouri History Museum – the sweet view of Forest Park from the top-floor café – will stay the same. Soon, though, everything else will change.

After 10 years of using Patty Long Catering at Meriwether’s, the museum will switch to Butler’s Pantry, close its restaurant for a time, and open a remodeled and renamed eatery in March.

“The restaurant will be known as Bixby’s, after philanthropist William Bixby,” explained Richard L. Nix Jr., president of Butler’s Pantry. “In the early 1900s, Bixby helped fund the original Missouri History Museum and served as its president. He collected a lot of valuable artifacts and left them to the museum, too.”

Bixby’s will serve lunch on weekdays and Sunday brunch. “It will be a destination restaurant,” Nix said. “Our chef de cuisine, Todd Lough, who was the executive chef at Busch’s Grove before he came to Butler’s Pantry, will be working seasonally on menu changes and featuring local products, including local food, wine and spirits.”

Besides furnishing a new menu for the main space, Butler’s Pantry will operate a secondary express area with extended hours. Between the Dec. 31 closing of Meriwether’s and the early-spring opening of Bixby’s, a kiosk will provide food service at the museum.

– Byron Kerman

Drink This: Bison grass vodka and apple juice at Sub Zero

Friday, December 18th, 2009

121809_vodkaSub Zero Vodka Bar’s 330-strong selection of vodkas includes nearly a dozen Polish varieties, but the one we’re whistling about right now is Grasovka Bison Grass.

Every bottle comes with a spear of bison grass that hails from clearings in the woods of Białowieża National Park, which straddles the border of northeastern Poland and Belarus, home also to the largest concentration of the endangered European bison, lover of bison grass. The bison grass blade lends this Polish specialty a slightly green hue, a tinge of vanilla fragrance and a lingering organic, herbaceous taste, all of which make it pleasant to sip in its pure form.

At Sub Zero, you can try this 80-proof spirit a couple of other ways, like the Polish well drink, tatanka, a shot of bison grass vodka plus apple juice over ice. We think you’re going to love this traditional marriage as much as we do. If you want slightly sweeter, ask Sub Zero’s bar manager Jake Wiseman to make you his Frisky Bison: vodka, apple juice, simple syrup and a squeeze of lime. Na zdrowie!

– Ligaya Figueras

The Scoop: Kota coming to Grand Center

Friday, December 18th, 2009

121809_tunaTheater-goers and SLU students will have more dining options to choose from next month, when Kota Wood Fire Grill debuts in Grand Center. Currently under construction, the new eatery will occupy the former Reggie’s Backstage space at 522 N. Grand Blvd., according to Chris LaRocca, co-owner of the restaurant-development company Culinary Architects. Cheffing there will be Jason Tilford, who formerly worked with LaRocca at Crazy Fish. Mary Beth Clark, from Triumph Grill, will serve as general manager.

Kota will serve lunch, dinner and late-night fare with what LaRocca called a “south coast slant.” More specifically, he cited “some influences or some flavors that you may find in the southern Florida region on the coast, maybe things you would imagine when you’re in South America. There’ll be just a bit of a Caribbean flair kinda woven through – it’s going to be a lighter style of cooking, a little bit more healthful.” Specific ingredients he mentioned: tuna, habañeros, sweet potato.

Regarding the theater district, LaRocca added, “We’re believers that that area has been undersupported by quality restaurants. … We all think that area is emerging and, with the infusion of some quality, interesting restaurants, could be a wonderful destination area.”

Kitchen K’s closing – and reopening

Friday, December 18th, 2009

121809_kitchenkKitchen K owner Pablo Weiss announced this morning that he will close the downtown restaurant on Jan. 1 and, after an extensive renovation, launch a new restaurant and event space in the same location in early 2010. The lunch-only The Pacific Grille will take up residence in the current K Bar and feature a California-style cuisine under the direction of current Kitchen K executive chef Joshua Norris. Kitchen K’s main dining room will become The California Room, which will hold up to 200 people for private functions.

“We have had a great time, but I feel that the concept has run its course,” Weiss said in a release, “and it’s time for something new and refreshing on Washington Avenue.” Stay tuned for details.

Dottie’s earns green certification

Friday, December 18th, 2009

121709_dottiesGreen ice cream’s come a long way from a half-gallon of cheap pistachio bought at the corner store. More specifically, Dottie’s Ice Cream was just named as a Certified Green Restaurant by the nonprofit Green Restaurant Association, which fosters environmental sustainability among eateries. Understandable – Dottie’s owner, Elaine Hauck, has adopted as her motto “Saving the Planet One Scoop at a Time” and does everything from welcoming schoolchildren on green field trips to using energy-efficient appliances to having her staff wear eco-friendly uniforms. The Des Peres parlor, located at 11656 Manchester Road, joins the Missouri Botanical Garden as only the second establishment in the state to earn the GRA certification.

Pi’s Double Delight

Thursday, December 17th, 2009

121709_matsquaredWhat do you get when you combine the talents of a pastry pro named Mathew and a practiced potions maker named Matt? The Mathew2, a rotating cocktail-dessert pairing on the menu at the newly opened Pi in the CWE.

Created by pasty chef Mathew Rice and bar manager Matt Obermark, the current Mathew2 explores the festive color and citrus tang of blood oranges. On the plated side, Rice prepares a shortbread tart filled with silky goat cheese that’s sweetened with a touch of sugar and vanilla and drizzled with a wintry compote of Bosc pear cooked in a house-made blood orange syrup. Meanwhile, Obermark shakes up what he’s dubbed the Scarlet Number, a mix of the blood orange syrup, Tanqueray London Dry, Aperol and Yellow Chartreuse that’s served up with an orange peel. The result: a one-two post-pie punch that will make dessert sophisticates swoon.

Rice stated that next up are a fig-bourbon pairing and a chocolate-vanilla solids-spirits complement. Whatever combo the duo concocts, we know it’s gonna be a celebratory sight on the dish and in the glass.

– Ligaya Figueras

The Scoop: Edwardsville’s creative pizzeria

Thursday, December 17th, 2009

121709_peelTurns out Pi’s new CWE location, which opened its doors at 400 N. Euclid Ave. on Tuesday, isn’t the only pizzeria to debut this week. Owners Brandon Case and Patrick Thirion bowed their Peel Wood-Fired Pizza in Edwardsville on the same day. The 80-seat Peel (originally dubbed 800º) uses its wood-burning oven to turn out pizzas both traditional (four-cheese, sausage, Margherita) and creative (the Hot Brown, with smoked turkey, prosciutto, broccoli and Parmesan cream; the Thai Red Curry, with chicken, red curry, cucumber and roasted peanuts; and the Prosciutto, with prosciutto, fingerling potatoes and roasted garlic). Other menu items get the wood-fired treatment too, including starters like wings and a goat-cheese dip, lasagnas, sandwiches, even the marshmallows on the Nutella S’mores Dessert Pizza. A dozen craft beers on tap round out the menu’s creative offerings. Stop in at 921 S. Arbor Vitae for a taste.

Tapping into some beer knowledge

Thursday, December 17th, 2009

121709_bleedingdeaconWe’ve all attended parties that involved tapping a keg: Screw in the tap, press down the handle, pump and pour. Simple, right? Well, at 6 o’clock tonight at The Bleeding Deacon, that simplicity will be challenged when Schlafly’s deliciously strong Winter ESB literally gets hammered … out of its cask, that is. The container in question is a bulbous metal thing incorporating only a manual valve and a small hole for a spigot. Tapping this sucker’s no easy cask, er, task.

Needed to do the deed: A nice, large, wooden mallet. A spigot (the tap). Plenty of rags, just in case. A bit of muscle, a load of confidence and a lot of determination.

Step 1: Make sure the valve is closed, lest you spew beer on the ceiling, the floor, bystanders and yourself.

Step 2: Align the spigot over the seal – then swing the mallet hard, fast and level.

Step 3: Without hesitation, repeat until the tap is sealed.

One caution: Don’t hit your hand. That would complicate holding a mug and enjoying the fruits of your labors.

Also, despite his team’s tapping skill, Schlafly cask guru Kent Householder noted there’s always a chance of a slight mist of ale. “The excitement generated by a good spray is not necessarily a bad thing,” he assured us. “It’s all a part of the fun of serving beer the old-fashioned way.”

– S.C. Truckey

Lola coming to the Loft District

Wednesday, December 16th, 2009

121609_lolaStill mourning the closing of Crepes in the City? Lola hopes to comfort you soon. Early next month, the restaurant/hot spot plans to open in Crepes’ former site downtown at 
500 N. 14th St. Owner-managers Chris Hansen and Cijo Matthews have hired Angela Komis as chef, and Matt McMullin will run the new establishment. A press release from Lola promises French-inspired cuisine as well as “handcrafted cocktails made with the same attention to detail as the food they’re served with.” In addition to lunch, dinner and weekend brunch, Lola will feature late-night live funk, soul, jazz and blues. Its Web site is scheduled to launch later this month; in the meantime, stay abreast of details via Lola’s Facebook page.

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