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Feb 24, 2018
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Archive for May, 2010

The Scoop: Bobby Wasabi heads to Steven Becker Fine Dining

Friday, May 28th, 2010

52510_sbfdJosh Norris, former executive chef at the now-defunct Kitchen K, is now wearing chef whites with Steven Becker Fine Dining. As executive sous chef for the catering company, Norris, known professionally as Bobby Wasabi, will manage recipe development and menu design for catering, banquets at the Coronado Ballroom and both Nadoz Euro Bakery and Cafe locations.

Previous to his stint at Kitchen K, Norris was an executive chef at Charlie Gitto’s on The Hill. He has worked for Wolfgang Puck in California and at Puck’s Spago, located at the Four Seasons Resort Maui. Norris has also served as a private chef for entertainers Steely Dan, LL Cool J and Willie Nelson, and recently wrapped up a week-long stage at The French Laundry, Thomas Keller’s famed Napa Valley restaurant.

– Ligaya Figueras

Get it while you can

Thursday, May 27th, 2010

052410_monarchListen up Monarch fans: After Saturday night’s service, you’ll be without your Monarch fix for six weeks, so anyone wanting a taste of Josh Galliano’s fare to tide them over till the renovation’s done should be sure to stop in the Maplewood restaurant this weekend. An added bonus: Galliano will feature five of the dishes from the new menu, which will also include the likes of the andouille-and-pulled pork poor boy we sampled at the Taste of Maplewood last weekend. Don’t forget to snap a few “before” pics to compare with the made-over space when it debuts mid-summer.

The Scoop: Sarah’s Café and Bakery Relocates

Thursday, May 27th, 2010

52610_sarahsSarah’s Café and Bakery has moved from Wildwood to Chesterfield. The relocation is just one aspect of reorganization efforts by owner Jill Umbarger – the company has also changed names to Sarah’s Cake Shop and Catering Co. and has done away with the café business that it operated for six years from its location at the corner of Clayton and Strecker. “Catering is our big business and the bakery end of it was second,” explained Umbarger.

Customers who visit the new digs at 10 Clarkson Wilson Center won’t be able to sit down and linger over a cup of java, but the new Sarah’s does have a cake shop at the front of the store. Offerings include a daily cupcake menu, petite desserts and cake slices as well as custom cakes and wedding cakes.

– Ligaya Figueras

National urban farming organization breaks ground in STL

Wednesday, May 26th, 2010

52610_gardenNational home farming nonprofit Urban Farming has broken ground on a new project in St. Louis. Two weeks ago, Urban Farming founder and executive director Taja Seville, representatives from Mayor Slay’s office and corporate sponsor Triscuit were on hand to begin transforming a 20-foot-by-20-foot space at The Computer Training Village in north St. Louis into a community farm. The food raised at the farm at 1451 Mullanphy St. will support community volunteers and a local church food pantry.

The project is a joint collaboration between Urban Farming and Kraft Foods’ Triscuit brand. St. Louis is one of 50 cities that Urban Farming has slated for building community-based home farms in 2010. Triscuit is also encouraging people to grow their own food by including basil and dill herb seeds in 4 million packages of Triscuit crackers.

– Ligaya Figueras

Kakao brings brittle bliss

Tuesday, May 25th, 2010

052510_kakaoBecause few joys in life can match that of well-made brittle, fans of that confection should squeal with delight at a new offering from Kakao Chocolate, aptly called The Big Squeal.

Brian Pelletier, Kakao’s owner and chief chocolatier, gave us the lowdown on the seductively buttery bacon-pecan brittle. “We just started making it last week,” he said. “It’s just a super combination of sweet and savory and salty. It was inspired by something similar that we had at Niche – and we thought, this really has a lot of potential, is something that we could really do a lot with.”

The South City chocolatier fashions The Big Squeal with Missouri pecans and bacon from Hinkebein Hills Farm in Cape Girardeau, Mo. “Everyone that’s tried it has loved it,” Pelletier noted. “We can’t make enough of it.”

The Big Squeal costs $5 per 2-ounce package. “We’re selling it at the store,” said Pelletier, “and then we’re selling it at the farmers’ markets that we’re at – we’re at Maplewood on Wednesday, and we’re at Tower Grove and Clayton on Saturday mornings. And then starting on June 3, we’ll be at the downtown St. Louis one by the Old Post Office on most afternoons.”

A wee preview of changes at Monarch

Tuesday, May 25th, 2010

052410_monarchAttendees at Taste of Maplewood this past Saturday had a chance to savor a dish debuting at Monarch Restaurant & Wine Bar a little later this year. At the festival, executive chef Josh Galliano was serving a poor-boy made with house-smoked andouille and pulled pork, topped with the obligatory coleslaw and nestled in a splendidly chewy bun. Co-owner Aaron Teitelbaum assured us the sandwich will number among items being added to Monarch’s bill of fare after its upcoming renovation. Any innovations from Galliano should automatically interest area foodies, of course, but based on that poor-boy, which packed a lovely bit of heat from the sausage, this midsummer menu change should really fire folks up.

Nature reserve offers class on wildflowers

Friday, May 21st, 2010

051810_shawIf our May feature on culinary uses of flowers piqued your interest in that subject, the Missouri Botanical Garden’s Shaw Nature Reserve is offering a class just for you during the next few months: Wildflower ID and Ecology.

Designed for beginners and more experienced amateur naturalists alike, the class “will focus on identification, relationships and habitats of wildflowers of the season,” in wooded, prairie and wetland areas. Its first session runs from 5 to 7:30 p.m. tomorrow, with subsequent sessions scheduled for June 19, July 24 and Aug. 21. The class costs $18 for MoBot members and $21 for nonmembers and also requires advance registration. And who knows? Perhaps participants will spot some of the wild edibles showcased in our April cover story.

The Shaw Nature Reserve lies roughly an hour’s drive southwest of St. Louis in Gray Summit, Mo. For more information on the reserve and this class, visit its Web site or phone 636.451.3512.

IceKitchen hosts first-year bash tonight

Friday, May 21st, 2010

052110_icekitchenA Saucy congrats to IceKitchen Continental Fusion Restaurant & Lounge, which is celebrating its one-year anniversary today with a birthday bash that will run from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. at the West Port Plaza establishment. Among other attractions, it will feature food and vodka samples, specials, attendance prizes, live music and, later in the evening, Country Grammar producer DJ Jay E. The cost? Zilch – there’s no cover charge or ticket required. That said, IceKitchen does strongly recommend reservations. So why not hit Maryland Heights to enjoy some of the eclectic restaurant’s small plates paired with a Martini or two – and to help IceKitchen start its second year in style?

The Scoop: Mike Nicoletti Adds No. 2

Thursday, May 20th, 2010

052010_pastaMike Nicoletti, owner of Nicoletti’s Steak and Pasta in Ballwin, will be opening a second restaurant in a matter of weeks. Located at 2951 Dougherty Ferry Road near Big Bend Boulevard, Café Nicoletti will be a full-service restaurant offering pastas, hot and cold sandwiches, pizza, salads and subs. On the beverage side, specialty coffee drinks as well as beer and wine are likely.

Nicoletti described his new place as “casual-quaint.” Candlelit tables might entice some to linger in the 75-seat joint, but those in a rush won’t even have to open the car door, since Café Nicoletti will have a drive-up window for carry-out orders. And if you’re looking for a place to chill outdoors, consider pulling up a chair on the restaurant’s patio, which has ample seating for 50.

Café Nicoletti will be open daily from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. The target opening date is June 3.

– Ligaya Figueras

Ciao, Porky!

Wednesday, May 19th, 2010

051910_tasteKiss the pig goodbye.

Yesterday evening, as we were … um … doing research at Taste by Niche, chef and owner Gerard Craft entered clutching a foot-long bronze T in one hand and a matching A in the other. Those letters and the accompanying STE, he announced, signaled the end for the Benton Park restaurant’s porcine ensign – the diagram of a primal-cut hog that’s graced Taste’s black east wall since it opened last year. The new sign will replace the diagram directly, Craft said.

In another sign of change, if not change of sign, Taste has added swank chrome-plated outdoor seating for perhaps a dozen extra patrons. That addition almost doubles its capacity, of course – and should make it easier to find a chair for those wishing to drink a farewell toast to Porky.

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