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Nov 28, 2014
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SERVING SAINT LOUIS SINCE 1999
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Archive for April, 2010

Froyo – new location, Lou connection

Friday, April 30th, 2010

043010_froyoHow now, Froyo? The self-serve frozen-yogurt dessert parlor is opening a new location in Creve Coeur (10909 Olive Blvd.) the first week in May, explained regional manager Jason Jan.

A little investigation revealed that this will bring the grand total of Froyo locations in the known universe to four – two in California and two in St. Louis (the other one is in the Loop). Wherefore this curious state of distribution?

The nascent chain is owned by former St. Louisan Kevin Luu, explained Jan. And after Luu brings his extensive array of nonfat yogurt flavors with a gazillion fruit- and candy-topping options to West County, he has plans to expand to Edwardsville, Ill., next.

The Creve Coeur opening will also introduce Froyo’s yogurt-based fruit smoothies to our burg, and it may signal a sort of nutritional sea change as well – the space previously was home to a Ben & Jerry’s.

– Byron Kerman

Thomas Coffee launches antioxidant-rich coffee blend

Friday, April 30th, 2010

043010_thomascoffeeIn an attempt to bring sustainability and health into the java-making process, St. Louis-based Thomas Coffee has launched an antioxidant-enriched coffee blend. The new specialty coffee uses the whole coffee fruit – the bean and the outer casing called the coffee cherry, which is known to be high in antioxidants.

“Rather than discard the coffee cherry as a waste product, we wanted to find a way to be more sustainable by working with it,” stated Bob Betz, president and CEO of Thomas Coffee. Betz explained that the process entails roasting and grinding the beans while separately drying the coffee cherry and grinding that to the same consistency as the beans before mixing the two.

According to Betz, the company’s Premium Blend With Coffeeberry coffee is 20 percent higher in antioxidants than premium blend Thomas Coffee. The packaging reads that a cup of this gourmet coffee “has the antioxidant potential of a half cup of fresh blueberries,” another fruit high in antioxidants, which are thought by some in the medical industry to protect against health issues caused by oxidative damage, including heart disease and certain kinds of cancer.

Betz stated that a beverage prepared with Thomas Coffee’s specialty product does provide an energy boost – though not in the sense of caffeine jitters – as well as a different, yet pleasant taste. “Our No. 1 concern was the taste,” said Betz, noting that it took the company six months to perfect the blend.

Premium Blend With Coffeeberry ground coffee is best used with a drip machine or a French press, although Betz noted that in 2011, the company hopes to offer an antioxidant-enriched whole bean and an espresso blend. Thomas Coffee can be found at most area supermarkets.

– Ligaya Figueras

The Scoop: More details about Monarch’s new menu

Thursday, April 29th, 2010

040710_monarchMonarch Restaurant co-owner Jeff Orbin has provided us with a few more details about the changes to come at the Maplewood restaurant. First, the new southern-inspired menu by chef Josh Galliano will only be offered in what Orbin referred to as the “casual area,” which includes the bar and bistro at the front of the restaurant. The new southern bistro menu is still being developed, but it will include more than 12 “share plates” and snack plates, 12 entrée items, plus salads and soups. However, patrons sitting in the casual area will still be able to order from the other upscale dining menu. Dinner guests in the main dining room will be able to order off the standard dining menu or opt for the tasting menu.

As far as changes to the interior, Orbin stated that the bar will be set up to facilitate live music in a couple of areas and that TVs will be added in the bar to “casual it up.” Orbin and co-owner Aaron Teitelbaum will release further design details in the weeks ahead.


– Ligaya Figueras

The Scoop: Monarch renovation means new menu

Thursday, April 29th, 2010

040710_monarchAaron Teitelbaum and Jeff Orbin, owners of Monarch Restaurant,  have provided further details regarding an upcoming renovation that will require the Maplewood eatery to temporarily close starting June 1.

According to a press release, Monarch is closing not just for “a massive interior renovation” but also to prepare for the launch of an additional dining concept: “The team behind Monarch has decided to offer a southern-inspired menu in a more relaxed and entertaining atmosphere to complement the existing dining room menu,” it states. The main dining room, bar and bistro are all slated to get a face lift, and when Monarch reopens toward the end of July or early August, patrons at the bistro and bar area will find that casual southern menu as well as a live music program.

The new bistro menu allows Monarch’s exec chef Josh Galliano, a NOLA native who has worked in his hometown at the highly acclaimed Restaurant August and the landmark Commander’s Palace, to return to his culinary roots and offer St. Louis a taste of approachable southern faves like crawfish étouffée, shrimp and grits, sweet potato flounder, crispy pork and beans, po’boys, bourbon-pecan pie, beignets, and homemade root beer floats. Most items on the new menu will be priced under $15, with plenty of appetizers and plates for sharing.

– Ligaya Figueras

The Scoop: Milagro Modern Mexican offers upscale taste of Mexico

Wednesday, April 28th, 2010

042810_milagroMilagro Modern Mexican opens today. There’s a lot to like about this upscale eatery in Webster Groves, the sister restaurant to owner and chef Adam Tilford’s Tortillaria in the Central West End. While the latter is a place you might scarf south-of-the-border street food, Milagro is one of the few places in town that offers authentic Mexican food in an upscale atmosphere.

Here are five reasons why you’ll want to check out Milagro:

1. An ¡olé!-deserving mole poblano. A sublime red sauce made from dried chiles, peanuts, almonds, raisins, Mexican chocolate and spices – this is one of the best moles we’ve tasted. Find it on the duck (yes, duck) enchiladas and in the roasted chicken that comes with a cilantro-rice pilaf and calabacitas.

2. Mexican truffles are tasty. Huitlacoche, otherwise known as a “Mexican truffle,” is a fungus that grows on corn. Corn smut is a common quesadilla filling, and you’ll love the meaty texture and earthy flavor it gives to Milagro’s quesadillas tradicionales made of corn masa. Plus, with morels in short supply this season, we need some interesting subs.

3. Tostaditas bundled in a banana leaf. Order the ceviche – Milagro’s is made with mahi mahi – and you’ll get a tidy little side of tostaditas wrapped in a thin banana leaf ribbon. We loved refined touches like these.

4. The ensalada Milagro. The house salad is made of mixed greens, diced tomato, grated Panela cheese and toasted pepitas tossed in a refreshing cilantro-lime vinaigrette that has just a touch of sweetness. Yeah, we can make a diet of this.

5. No red chile pepper light strands or Corona beer banners. Not inside. Not even on the patio. In readying the space in The Shoppes at Old Webster that was previously occupied by Natural Fact Foods, Tilford opted for a sophisticated décor – a soft Southwest color palette; tranquil, unobtrusive metal artwork; and simple stonework at the full bar – that invites you to stay awhile.

Milagro Modern Mexican is open daily from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. It’s located at 20 Allen Ave. at the rear of the building.

- Ligaya Figueras

Cake couture is in vogue at The Ritz

Wednesday, April 28th, 2010

042710_shoesIf Mom is a foodie – or a fashionista – then you gotta make The Ritz-Carlton part of your Mother’s Day plans. Executive pastry chef Simone Faure’s Edible Fashions Collection, purse- and pump-shaped cakes that look so real it’s hard to believe they are meant to be eaten instead of toted around town, will be on display in the lobby of the Clayton hotel through Mother’s Day. Faure’s collection includes Gucci and Chanel look-alikes, zebra and snakeskin purses, and truffle-filled chocolate open-toed pumps.

Faure explained that inspiration struck while she vacationed in Paris two years ago. “I saw this purse but couldn’t afford it. So I decided to make it instead.” At the time, Faure worked at The Ritz-Carlton in New Orleans. Her line of cake couture came to include shoes, handbags, hats and even necklaces, and became popular for Mother’s Day, Kentucky Derby festivities, sweet 16 parties and bridal showers. “People are really whimsical in New Orleans,” commented Faure.

On average, it takes Faure five hours to make her glitzy cake purses, which can range in size from a small clutch to as large as a duffel bag and come in flavors like strawberry shortcake, tiramisu, hazelnut crunch and the best-selling red velvet. Pumps, explained Faure, are “a bit harder to do because I’m dealing with 100 percent chocolate, and that’s not always as easy to manipulate as when working with fondant.” But if Mom’s got a favorite shoe, Faure says to just bring her a picture and she’ll literally whip it up.

If you’re thinking about ordering one of these edible luxuries for Mom, Faure needs just two days’ notice. Cakes average $100 and serve 20 people. For more information, call 314.863.6300.

– Ligaya Figueras

Mobile restaurant trucks it around town

Wednesday, April 28th, 2010

042810_truckThe Dairy Queen Blizzardmobile left town yesterday, but we’ve got an update on a food truck that won’t be hitting the highway. Last year, catering company Famous Gourmet Meals on Wheels launched a mobile restaurant and it’s back again this year with more homemade cuisine, including a full lineup of chicken, beef, turkey, pork, fish and vegetarian dishes.

“All our food is homemade. There’s nothing frozen, and it’s prepared on the spot,” said owner Connie Sayrie, adding that the company buys its fresh ingredients on a daily basis. “We’re trying to introduce people to what they are doing in places like New York and D.C., but our concept is to offer inside dining-type fare.”

On Thursdays and Fridays, you can find the food truck parked in front of Union Station at the corner of 18th and Chestnut Streets during lunch hours. “You can imagine how much business we are doing there,” said Sayrie. We don’t doubt it, especially considering you can whip out a credit card to pay for that turkey burger and garden salad.

Famous Gourmet Meals on Wheels also offers fixin’s to those tromping around the east Loop. Just walk one block east of the Delmar Metrolink station, and you’ll find the white food mobile in the parking lot of Able Hardware at 5959 Delmar Blvd. The truck feeds lunch to The Loop crowd on Tuesdays and Wednesdays and dinner Tuesdays through Saturdays. What’s more, Sayrie’s gotten the OK to set up chairs and tables on the lot so you you can dine al fresco instead of in your Ford.

Is Meals on Wheels a deal on wheels? You bet. Items average around $5 to $6, with the most expensive selection being a grilled steak combo dinner for $9.50 that comes with two sides. The full menu is available online at famousgourmetmealscatering.com.

– Ligaya Figueras

Iced-coffee cube fun at Foundation Grounds

Wednesday, April 28th, 2010

042810_foundationYour eyes are not fooling you – the cubes in your iced coffee at Maplewood’s green café, Foundation Grounds Coffee House, are brown.

That’s because – drumroll, please – they’re made of coffee. That’s so when the cubes melt, they don’t turn to water and dilute your drink.

This simply marvelous idea came from Foundation Grounds co-owner Laura Macaluso, who, giving credit where it’s due, said she borrowed it from a café called Java Junction in Madrid, N.M.

“I was thinking about living there [in the city], and I had coffee in the café every day for a week,” she noted. “I forgot all about it, but much later, when it was time to open Foundation Grounds, I remembered the coffee ice cubes and called the owner. She said it was OK for me to steal her idea.”

Freezing coffee to make the perfect cool-down for your iced coffee is, by far, not the only thoughtful thing on the menu at the corner café. FG is serious about a commitment to the planet, and pretty much everything on the premises is green, reused, biodegradable, recycled, cruelty-free, sustainable, local or some combination of the above. In fact, they’ve banished high-fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated oils and artificial colors from the menu, explained the other co-owner, Pedro Abbate. Dig the café’s vegan and vegetarian options (the vegan pumpkin muffin is a slam-dunk), locally roasted free-trade coffee, locally sourced hormone- and cage-free ham for sandwiches, and even biodegradable, corn-based to-go cups.

– Byron Kerman

Iron Chef Cat Cora to appear here

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

042710_catcoraWith her ever-expanding multimedia career, restaurant ventures, philanthropic work and four young sons, trailblazing chef Cat Cora ranks as one busy lady – but not too busy to visit St. Louis in little more than a month, and we’re thrilled to offer you a chance to meet the busy chef.

Sauce Magazine and Left Bank Books will host a ticketed demo, tasting and book signing with Cora on June 7 from 12:30 to 3 p.m. at Moulin in the Lafayette Square neighborhood.

In the demo, Cora – to date, the only female Iron Chef on the Food Network’s Iron Chef America – will prepare and serve two dishes from her latest cookbook, Cat Cora’s Classics With a Twist: Grilled Chile-Lime Flank Steak Soft Tacos and Grapefruit and Cherry Ambrosia With Honey Cream.

Tickets for the event are for sale here till June 5. They cost $65 apiece and include food, wine and beer, and a copy of Cat Cora’s Classics With a Twist, a 240-page book (Cora’s third, a $30 value) coming from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt late this spring.

Cora specializes in Greek and Southern fusion cuisine. A Jackson, Miss., native now living in Santa Barbara, Calif., she also emphasizes a “go-with-what-you’ve-got” philosophy. Educated at the Culinary Institute of America, Cora serves as executive chef for Bon Appétit magazine and heads barbecue eatery CCQ (Cat Cora’s ’Que) in California and Mediterranean restaurant Kouzzina in Florida. She also founded the nonprofit philanthropic organization Chefs for Humanity, on whose behalf she toured earthquake-ravaged Haiti earlier this month.

Doors for the visit with Cora open at 12:15 p.m.

The Scoop: Artisan Caffé to close this week

Monday, April 26th, 2010

041610_ArtisanThough chef Steven Baumgartner of Artisan Caffé filled us in on his plans for a new menu just 10 days ago, it looks like it’s not to be; the Maplewood café will close this week. The Post’s Evan Benn, who broke the news this morning, has the scoop here.

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