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Archive for August, 2010

The Scoop: Jonathan Olson has left Erato as executive chef

Tuesday, August 31st, 2010

083010_jonolsonJonathan Olson has left Erato Wine Bar and Restaurant on Main Street. Olson’s last day as executive chef at the Edwardsville, Ill., restaurant was this past Saturday. According to Olson, the departure stems from a disagreement with management.

Olson, who has lived in Edwardsville for more than a decade and has spent nearly five years in the restaurant business, stated that he does not plan on leaving the St. Louis area. “I’m taking time off. I’m not in a hurry to get a new job,” he said.

In three weeks, Olson will travel to New York City for the StarChef.com International Chefs Congress. He then plans on heading south to Houston, where he can catch up with family and stage at restaurants for a week. “I’ve staged at a couple places there before. Basically, I’m taking the month of September off,” he summed.

Olson assumed the restaurant’s executive chef post in January when chef Kevin Willmann opened his own restaurant, Farmhaus, in St. Louis city. Of his time spent helming Erato’s kitchen, Olson stated, “I just tried to prepare really good food out of that little kitchen.”

Photo by Brian Fagnani

Other coverage of Joanthan Olson

Local mixologist from Franco takes home third at regional bartending competition

Tuesday, August 31st, 2010

083110_guysA Saucy congrats to T.J. Vytlacil (pictured, left) for placing third in the Greater Kansas City Bartending Competition this past weekend. His original drink, Silver and Sand, is a variation of the scotch-based cocktail Blood and Sand. Vytlacil’s recipe calls for 12-year Balvenie infused with lemon and ginger, Cherry Heering liqueur, fresh lemon juice, Lillet Rouge, lemon bitters and egg white.

Vytlacil, who has been tending bar for seven years and currently stirs and shakes at Franco in Soulard, squared off against 11 other contestants, including fellow St. Louisan Chris Muether (pictured, right) of Danno’s American Pub. Also on hand was nationally lauded mixologist Ted Kilgore (also pictured) of Taste by Niche, who served as one of the judges.

This year – the fourth for the competition – was the largest yet. Bartenders from as far away as the East Coast submitted an original recipe for the event and an estimated 500 cocktail lovers packed the Uptown Theatre in Kansas City to watch the finalists in action.

More on our coverage of the Greater Kansas City Bartender Competition

More on our coverage of TJ Vytlacil

Fact or Fiction: All alcohol burns off when cooking

Monday, August 30th, 2010

083010_flambeWelcome to Fact or Fiction, a new online column in which we dive into the truth behind some well-accepted foodie wives’ tales – and reveal whether they’re fact or fiction.

All alcohol burns off when cooking

Fiction: While professionals can’t agree on whether all the alcohol truly burns off when boiling or simmering a sauce, most studies have shown that at least some alcohol remains in food after cooking. Alcohol has a lower boiling point than water, so it’s commonly assumed that the alcohol will begin to evaporate before the water does. This much is true. However, even after boiling or simmering a sauce, some alcohol can still remain – the amount, though, can differ. It all depends on how long you cook it, at what temperature and the concentration of the cooking method.

According to a 2003 study by the USDA, the amount of alcohol remaining in food after it’s cooked can range greatly – from 5 percent to 85 percent. The most affective method of removing alcohol from a sauce, according to the study, is to bake or simmer it for several hours. The least affective? Adding it to a boiling liquid, quickly flambéing it and then removing it from the heat.

Sauce: The Photographs

Friday, August 27th, 2010

082710_champtowerWe loved this cover. Local photographer Brian Fagnani shot this gorgeous photograph at Herbie’s in the Central West End for the November 2009 issue of Sauce. We’d almost call it our favorite, except that it’s too difficult to pick a favorite, thanks to the group of incredibly talented photographers we have working with us here at Sauce. From a lowly fungi to a stunning squash blossom, delicate garlic skins to chocolate that’s smooth as silk, these stunning images truly make our coverage of the local food scene jump off the page.

Tomorrow night, you can peruse 40 of the most mouthwatering of these photos, framed and available for purchase, at the very first Sauce: The Photographs event, held at downtown’s Philip Slein Gallery at 1319 Washington Ave. The show starts at 6 p.m., and no tickets are needed; admission to the event is absolutely free.

Sounds like quite a tasty Saturday night to us. See you tomorrow!

Tweet Beat: This week’s best tweets from STL foodies

Friday, August 27th, 2010

080610_twittericonWelcome to Tweet Beat, a new online column in which we run down the list of our favorite tweets from foodies around the city. Some funny, some strange and a few just delicious, here’s what you missed on Twitter this week:

Are you following us on Twitter? Come on, get Saucy @saucemagazine

While walking the dogs today, I saw an tiny old lady hobbling to mass…while texting.

Pulled my freshly made orange cake out of the oven; dropped it all over the floor. Then called @ferarospizza; they’re closed. #notmynight

It’s amazing outside. The Burundi is flying out the door. Robust yet light… perfect for a morning like this.

Leftover mashed potatoes? Add egg, milk, chives, bacon bits and flour to thicken for excellent potato pancakes. What a way to start the day!

Rooster is playing Depeche Mode. I like this place even more now.

“Baked until golden” loses its appeal when used as cooking instruction for Spam vegetable strudel.

The Scoop: Italian carryout spot opening in Dutchtown

Thursday, August 26th, 2010

082610_pizzaJoe DeLurgio, owner of JVincent’s FoodEdge Catering Co. on The Hill, has gone into the restaurant business. His new place, JVincent’s Pronto Pizza and Pasta, is located at 3804 Louisiana Ave., at Chippewa Street in the space formerly occupied by Pitstop Barbecue. The carryout-only eatery will feature grilled Sicilian-style pizza as well as a variety of pastas, salads and subs. Also on the menu are all-American faves like half-pound burgers, quarter-pound hot dogs, fries and mac and cheese that DeLurgio says he hopes will cater to the area’s residents. He’s even got a few entrées on the board, such as grilled pork chops and fillet mignon.

But JVincent’s “will not be a normal dive carryout joint,” DeLurgio said. The waiting area will be filled with abstract art that DeLurgio created. The hobby artist has painted the walls with Italian-themed colors. “It’s wavy like mountains – kind of showing the ups and downs in my life.”

If all goes as planned, DeLurgio will have more ups than downs after he opens the restaurant on Sept. 9. Thru the end of this year, JVincent’s will be open Thursday, Friday and Saturday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Once 2011 rings in, the restaurant will unlock the doors six days a week, stay open until 10 p.m., and – come spring – add outside patio seating.

Extra Sauce: Just pickle it

Wednesday, August 25th, 2010

082510_pickledjarsIn our August sandwich feature, we offered a solution to your sandwich topper blues: pickle it. Pickling infuses a layer of salty and sour goodness to your fresh produce, adding that little extra oomph to any meal – especially sandwiches.

You can pickle all of your farm-fresh veggies, using recipes such as this one for pickled red onions from The Tap Room’s Andy White or this one for pickled white asparagus from Monarch’s Josh Galliano. Once the weather turns a bit cooler, try out this recipe for pickled pink radishes or David Lebovitz’s recipe for pickled carrots, which incorporates fennel seed, garlic and bay leaves. Feeling adventurous? Try this recipe for pickled grapes, which adds red onion, mustard seeds and cinnamon to this sweet fruit.

Let the pickling begin!

The Scoop: Eyeing the new grill on Skinker

Wednesday, August 25th, 2010

082510_ScallopWe were sad to see John’s Town Hall go away, so we can’t imagine how condo dwellers at 665 S. Skinker Blvd., felt to see the downstairs hangout close. But fill the highball, the once vacant space is now occupied by Caitlin’s Green-Eyed Grill.

The bar and grill opened earlier this month, but right now, it’s just the bar serving libations and offering appetizers such as grilled scallops, steak frites, beef Wellington bites, pastry-wrapped chicken poblano, wings and hometown favorite toasted ravioli.

Chef Mark Austerman tells Sauce that Caitlin’s kitchen is slated to open Aug. 31 and will offer both lunch and dinner. The menu is in its final stages of development and is set to include the likes of steaks, burgers and pastas, as well as a selection of sandwiches for the lunch crowd. Once the dust settles with the kitchen hubbub, Caitlin’s will be rolling out Saturday and Sunday brunch as well.

Current hours are Tuesday to Saturday, 4 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. Once the full menu rolls out, though, the restaurant will be open daily 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., except Mondays.

Have scoop on restaurants opening, closing or changing their menu in the St. Louis area? Email us at Scoop@saucemagazine.com.

The Scoop: New restaurant makes trip to Augusta even more pleasant

Tuesday, August 24th, 2010

082410_MtPleasantHey, Missouri wine lovers! Mount Pleasant Winery now offers an option for visitors who want more than just grab-‘n-go fare. Appellation Café, located in the Augusta winery’s remodeled grocery building, features fine cuisine coupled with the estate’s award-winning wines, each of which are now for sale by the glass or bottle.

Sure, you can still opt for gourmet quick-picks from The Express Corner, but now you can also relax in the 30-seat dining area or head to the patio where you can enjoy a Reuben sandwich or their Lewis and Clark burger while sipping a glass of Mount Pleasant’s award-winning Villagio, Vignoles or Norton – all with the scenic Missouri River valley in the backdrop. The atmosphere is casual, just order at the counter and a member of the café’s wait staff will bring the food to your table.

Appellation Café serves lunch daily from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The restaurant is open weekends only December through February.

Eat your way through downtown

Monday, August 23rd, 2010

082010_RestWeekThree courses for $25? Yep, it’s time again for Downtown Restaurant Week. Now in its sixth year, this tasty event draws thousands of diners downtown to check out new eateries and catch up with old favorites. The fun starts today and runs until Sunday, Aug. 29.

This year, 28 restaurants are on the list, with plenty of diversity to choose from. So whether it’s been a while since you last had a leisurely meal at Lucas Park Grille, or you’re just dying to see what the new executive chef at Cielo is up to, it’s a great week to dine out. Each restaurant has a menu specially designed for Restaurant Week, which includes three courses for just $25, plus tip and tax. Add an extra $5 to your check, and it’ll go to Operation Food Search and provide one meal for a hungry family.

Last year, 19,000 hungry St. Louisans made the trip out to Downtown Restaurant Week,  which is why we highly recommend you make your reservations – now.

For more information, a list of restaurants and their menus and to make reservations online, visit www.downtownrestaurantweek.net/.

- Michael Renner

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