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Apr 25, 2014
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SERVING SAINT LOUIS SINCE 1999
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Archive for February, 2010

Ruth’s Chris brings the sizzle to seafood for the Lenten season

Friday, February 26th, 2010

Ruth's ChrisRuth’s Chris Steak House may have built a reputation for making one heck of a sizzlin’ U.S. Prime corn-fed steak, but that doesn’t mean that RCs in the St. Louis area don’t go in for fish on Fridays. The lineup for the steakhouse’s Friday Fish Feature menu – blue crab cakes, salmon fillets, ahi tuna, barbecued shrimp, live Maine lobster and, of course, a catch of the day – has our mouth watering just as much as it does for a juicy ribeye or porterhouse.

The special fish and seafood menu is offered every Friday through April 2 at both Ruth’s Chris Steak House locations – in Clayton and downtown at the Hyatt Regency. To make reservations, visit ruthschrisstlouis.com.

– Ligaya Figueras

The Ritz’s new menu goes locavore

Friday, February 26th, 2010

Ritz logo

The Ritz-Carlton has always been a superior spot for celeb sightings, but these days our eyes are on the food at the luxe Clayton hotel. Executive chef Michael Mandato and the most recent addition to his team, executive sous chef Jaco Smith, have rolled out a new menu at The Grill that features simple, fresh ingredients yet innovative taste combinations – at lower prices. Entrées like almond-crusted snapper with beet root risotto paired with an unexpected vanilla bean sauce or roast crimson sea bass with lentils and coriander chutney make the new offerings an epicurean’s delight. Don’t overlook pastry chef Simone Faure’s playful desserts, like the decadent three-layer Candy Bar or her Cookies ’n’ Milk that features deep-fried Oreo cookies paired with a mini Kahlua milkshake served in a shot glass.

What’s more, Mandato and his team have signed on with local food ambassador Andy Ayers of Eat Here St. Louis to bring from-the-farm products to the kitchens at The Ritz, which will be featured on a weekly menu. “We’re excited,” said Mandato. “We couldn’t always tap into that.” What foods are on his wish list? Produce, meats, eggs, cheese, butter “and anything else that can be featured locally.” The Grill is open Tuesday through Saturday from 6 to 9 p.m. For reservations, call 314-863-6300.

– Ligaya Figueras

Cheese!

Thursday, February 25th, 2010

Unknown-1Eighty-five pounds. That’s the weight of the 24-month-old wheels of Parmigiano-Reggiano that cheese specialists at area Whole Foods Markets will crack in public demonstrations this Saturday at 2 p.m.

That’s a lot of formaggio. “I’m not in front of one right now,” said Marcia Whelan, marketing team leader with the Town & Country store, “but I’m just gonna guess [a wheel measures] maybe 2 feet wide by at least a foot and a few inches high. It’s heavy.

“In fact, not all of our specialty team members can even do it because it’s so heavy,” she continued. “It’s hard to maneuver it, so there is a very specific technique that they have to do to crack it.”

Afterward, onlookers will have a chance at fresh, free samples. And if they like the samples of the Parm? “We’ll be agreeable to selling it,” Whelan replied with a laugh.

Hoppy daze

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010

UnknownFans of India pale ale should head to the International Tap House next Wednesday, March 3. Starting at 7 p.m. that day, the Chesterfield beer mecca will showcase a whopping 10 single-hopped American IPAs from Danish brewer Mikkeller.

Five 5-ounce draft samples will cost $15, which will include background on each beer, a tasting sheet for notes and an entry form for a shot at prizes. The Mikkeller IPAs will be Amarillo, Cascade, Centennial, Chinook, East Kent Golding, Nelson Sauvin, Nugget, Simcoe, Tomahawk and Warrior. iTAP will also offer the 10 beers by the bottle.

Partly because of a boom in brew pubs, Denmark reportedly has more breweries per capita than anywhere else in Europe. (No mean feat, given the competition.) It also has a number of “gypsy brewers,” traveling brewers who borrow others’ facilities to craft their beers. Mikkeller’s one such – basically, if incredibly, a one-man operation. Nonetheless, since its founding in 2006, Mikkeller has won much acclaim, including being named Danish brewery of the year twice.

Thirsty for more details? Well, you know where to go …

A surfeit of sauces – at Home Depot!

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010

021810_dirtydogsCustomers exiting the Home Depot locations in Sunset Hills, Brentwood and Chesterfield Valley do a double take when they see the Dirty Dogz hot-dog stand condiment table.

That’s because owner Jason Gaines keeps more than 200 condiments for customers to put on the dogs, brats, hot links, Kielbasa, Polish and smoked sausages, and turkey dogs. It’s a positively gluttonous array of around 50 mustards, 12 ketchups, 20 barbecue sauces and 100 hot sauces, plus horseradish sauces, wasabi and mayo. The sight of all the little jars clustered in neat rows is enough to make a foodie want to begin some serious empirical testing to determine the best and the hottest.

“Sometimes people don’t even really want the hot dogs – they just want the condiments,” admitted Gaines.

The accommodating snackmeister (who, incidentally, races hot-air balloons when he’s not dropping dogs in buns) said that he started his stands about five years ago with a selection of only about five mustards at each location. “Customers kept recommending different mustards and sauces to me, and I bought them, and it just kept growing,” he explained.

Now, in addition to being able to top your dog with the usual relish, kraut, sport peppers, onions, etc., you can try such exotic condiments as Silver Spring Peppadew Mustard, Blair’s Wasabi Green Tea Hot Sauce, Melinda’s Habanero Ketchup, Marie Sharp’s Grapefruit Pulp Habanero Hot Sauce and even a thick, tasty honey-based barbecue sauce concocted by a St. Charles farmer.

The condiment combinations are pretty much endless – unless you happen to disagree with Gaines’ sports allegiances, that is. A sign at each Dirty Dogz stand reads “Prices double for Chicago Cubs fans.”

– Byron Kerman

Photo by Byron Kerman

Fatted Calf reopens

Monday, February 22nd, 2010

p022210_fattedcalfQuick! Name the St. Louis restaurant where the cheese is put on your burger with an ice-cream scoop?

That would be the Fatted Calf, a Clayton institution since 1966. The home of charbroiled cheeseburgers adorned with scoops of “soft cheddar” broke a few hearts about four months ago when it closed due to a grease fire.

Management seized the opportunity to update the 44-year-old kitchen, and the spot reopened for lunch and dinner today.

The Keepers of the Calf Burger have made it known that the restaurant’s neo-Tudor interior design, as well as its menu, remains the same.

– Byron Kerman

Flippin’ for flapjacks

Monday, February 22nd, 2010

022210_ihopHello, pancake. I know – it’s been a while. Did you miss me? Can we be friends again, maybe? Is there some way I can make it up to you?

Maybe I can bite holes in you for my eyes, nose and mouth to make the famous “pancake face.” That’s always fun. Or I could slather you in whipped cream and chocolate chips, like a lover. Too icky?

Oh, wait, I know! I could cover you in butter and syrup and chase you down with milk. Yes, you’re used to that. It’s the standard procedure, fer sure.

But it’s what we’ve always done. It’s not wrong, is it, to want you that way? Come here. Closer. That’s right. Closer.

Hello. Mmmmm. Ahhhhhh.

Tomorrow, Feb. 23, is National Pancake Day 2010. Maybe you want to whip up a stack for yourself and your loved ones. You can also consider heading to your neighborhood IHOP, where a stampede of customers will converge for free short stacks of buttermilk pancakes from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. (Donations to the Children’s Miracle Network are encouraged.)

Our love is golden-brown.

– Byron Kerman

Crickets and mealworms, yum!

Friday, February 19th, 2010

021810_butterflyhouseIs the idea of eating a fried cricket really so odd? I mean, have you looked at a boiled crawfish before it gets chopped up into an étouffée?

The line between what’s acceptable to eat and what’s not can be pretty fuzzy. The adventurers at Chesterfield’s Butterfly House are poking their antennae just over the line with this weekend’s free Buzz: Cook Up a Cricket event (Sunday, Feb. 21, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.).

The bug-lovers at the beloved insectarium will discuss how people all over the world eat insects, and then cook up crickets and mealworms for sampling. You can also check out some popular insect-based foods from abroad and play related games.

Maybe they’ll have that live-worm dish that the Klingons eat on Star Trek, too …

– Byron Kerman

Two local chefs make Beard Awards semifinals

Thursday, February 18th, 2010

021810_jamesbeardA Saucy congrats to Gerard Craft of Niche, Taste by Niche and Brasserie by Niche and Josh Galliano of Monarch Restaurant, who have been named as semifinalists for the 2010 James Beard Awards in the Best Chef Midwest category. Semifinalists were selected from a thousands of online entries; final nominees will be announced on March 22.

Sweetie Pie’s to renovate abandoned building

Thursday, February 18th, 2010

021810_sweetiepiesThanks to $425,227 in Brownfield Redevelopment Incentives, soul-food restaurateur Robbie Montgomery, of Sweetie Pie’s fame, will clean up an abandoned building at 3643 Delmar Blvd. and open Sweetie Pie’s Upper Crust, her third establishment. The building, currently contaminated with asbestos and lead paint, will be renovated to house a restaurant, bakery, and meeting and banquet space. Gov. Jay Nixon made the announcement yesterday with Montgomery at the Sweetie Pie’s on Manchester Ave. in The Grove. The governor’s press release stated: “Economic incentives like the Brownfield program are essential to spurring growth and allowing Sweetie Pie’s and other businesses to hire hard-working Missourians. These resources will turn an abandoned building into a new restaurant for a unique St. Louis business which has developed a large, loyal and diverse customer base, while creating jobs and boosting our economy.” The release estimated the project will create 59 jobs.

– Michael Renner

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