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Feb 24, 2018
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Archive for April, 2011

Drink This Weekend Edition: Salt’s signature cocktails are a smashing success

Friday, April 29th, 2011

042811_saltdrinkWe’ve always enjoyed drinks created by bartender Matt Obermark, so when we heard he was charged with the bar program at chef-owner Wes Johnson’s newly opened restaurant, Salt, in the Central West End, we were doubly excited. And being the antsy elixir enthusiasts we are, we headed over as soon as Salt had that liquor license in hand to check out Obermark’s lineup.

To align the drink menu with the restaurant’s namesake, Obermark wanted to give a creative sprinkle of sodium to a couple signature cocktails. For the Salt Smash (pictured), that meant capitalizing on the sweet and salty flavors of a house-made salty caramel syrup. This variation of a Whiskey Smash is made by muddling fresh chocolate, mint and Angostura bitters with the syrup, then adding blood orange juice and two ounces of Buffalo Trace bourbon. Obermark deemed this wonderfully drinkable elixir a “gateway cocktail,” noting that even people who don’t think they like bourbon are falling in love with this drink, which has been the top seller at Salt since the cocktail menu debuted two weeks ago.

Ornery Hound, the other salt-themed drink, finds its sodium slant via a salt tincture and a rimming of sel gris. This gin-based drink is highly fruit forward, with ruby red grapefruit juice, honey-happy Yellow Chartreuse, agave nectar and a couple dashes of grapefruit bitters combining for a palate-pleasing patio drink.

Another sipper that gets commendations is a play on a Pisco Sour. The drink, called A (Pisco) Sour, By Any Other Name, requires prepping a few days in advance when Obermark drops lavender essential oils on a carton of eggs. Through this process – called diffusion – the aromatic oils permeate the shell and spread their scent throughout the egg white and even to the yolk. The egg white is then shaken, along with Pisco (a brandy made in Peru), honey syrup and lime juice, then spritzed with Peychaud’s bitters to create a highly floral, frothy drink – and our hands-down fave on the list.

In the coming weeks, look for Obermark to add another handful of culinary-minded cocktails to the current slate of five. When coupled with Obermark’s creativity and ability to create balanced drinks that take into consideration visual appeal, aroma, flavor and mouth feel, we are excited to include Salt as a regular stop on our craft cocktail circuit.

The Scoop: Gourmet hot dogs roll to downtown street corner

Friday, April 29th, 2011

042911_PapaTomsHave you noticed that 17-foot trailer parked downtown at the corner of Tenth and Walnut Streets in front of the Thomas Eagleton Building? It’s Papa Tom’s Gateway Dog House, now in it’s fifth week serving up fast, yet fresh, breakfast and lunch fare to hungry folks – especially those with a hankering for a hot dog.

Gateway Dog House specializes in hot dogs, but they aren’t just any old dogs, explained owner Thomas Broadwell. “We do a gourmet hot dog. We don’t want to be like every other hot dog place in town. We set ourselves apart by doing very fresh [food] and new ideas.” As examples among the 10 specialty dogs, Broadwell cited The Cuban, made with a Bavarian-style frank from local meat and sausage company G&W that’s topped with black beans, chopped onions and tomatoes and a dollop of sour cream; as well as The Fiesta Dog, another of G&W’s dogs, topped with crispy bacon, house-made pico de gallo, guacamole, sour cream and diced jalapeños.

Side dishes show some creativity as well. In lieu of French fries, customers will find California fries seasoned with butter-sautéed garlic, parsley and sea salt. Broadwell, originally from North Carolina, gives a nod to his native state via a creamy Carolina-style coleslaw and a beanless chili. “North Carolina chili doesn’t go for heat for the sake of heat, or very meaty with heavy beef chunks,” explained Broadwell. “It’s a very smooth chili – more of a sauce than a chunky style.”

Gateway Dog House also serves breakfast. The most popular item with the morning crowd has been The Early Bird Dog, a dog topped with scrambled eggs, American cheese and bacon. But for those who want something sweeter in the a.m., we suggest The (hot dog-less) Hound Dog: peanut butter, banana and honey spread on cranberry raisin bread and grilled to golden goodness.

Supporting local vendors is a key element to the Papa Tom’s Gateway Dog House operation. In addition to purchasing hot dogs, brats, chorizo and Cajun sausages from G&W, the company buys Hautly cheese and bread by Fazio’s Bakery and sells Billy Goat chips. “We are a St. Louis company. Everything we do is local,” summed Broadwell.

You can grab breakfast and lunch from the Papa Tom’s Gateway Dog House food trailer Monday through Friday, and on Saturdays when the Cards have a day game at home. The best way to track the down where you can find a dog? Follow Gateway Dog House on Twitter and Facebook.

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

Friday, April 29th, 2011

080610_twittericonAre you following us on Twitter? Come on, get Saucy @saucemagazine

A good week to you all! We’re not open on Mondays, but will happily dispense with life advice, books, movies, music, and wardrobe options.

It would be silly to NOT get a chili pie http://instagr.am/p/Di43k/

St. Louis style pizza – merely a vessel for Sriracha.

Tornado warning: “Go to lowest level.” Flash flood warning: “Go to highest level” Me: Fuck it, I’m just going outside.

Husb > daughter “Hey, can u help unload these groceries?”, daughter > husb “Yeah, well, I’m not really wearing pants” SUCH a good excuse!

@localharveststl it’s hot when a chick can make fungus look appetizing.

Today I learned: when you don’t have am umbrella, a crock pot will do.

Amid buckets and towels bc of a leaky ceiling, trying out some @Chef_Keller Ad Hoc recipes. At least we’ll eat well!

@roasterjoe your Burundi is tasting hot this morning on the gb/5 – mint, bourbon, limes #USBC

I got a strawberry and creme scone for breakfast. It was the least I could do. #YesImaDork

Think you should be on this list? Follow us and let us know @saucemagazine

Three Reasons to head to a forest-to-table dinner at Molly’s in Soulard

Thursday, April 28th, 2011

042811_MOREL2Next Wednesday, May 4, the ever-adventurous folks at Molly’s in Soulard are hosting a multi-course dinner featuring foraged mushrooms and wild greens alongside other locally grown eats. Light hors d’oeuvres will be served at 5 p.m., followed by a five-course sit-down dinner. Here’s why we will be attending:

1. We can’t eat enough morels and other seasonal ‘shrooms.
One of the main ingredients used to prepare the dinner will be mushrooms foraged by none other than Missouri’s self-proclaimed Mushroom King, Thomas Weipert. “This guy is shorter and 75 pounds heavier than me, and you can barely keep up with [him],” remarked Molly’s executive chef Bryan Flaxbeard about the master morel hunter whose been prowling for mycelium for nearly 40 years and is the founder of morelhunters.com.

2. The menu will be a surprise.
Because the menu will be created based on what Weipert nabs in the woods – as well as the other wild edibles foraged by Molly’s kitchen crew – the line-up of dishes won’t be determined until a day or so before the event. However, you can be sure that it will be fresh as can be (and that you won’t just graze on greens and fungi, since the remaining ingredients will be sourced from area growers and farmers).

3. The price. Hors d’oeuvres and cocktails, followed by five more courses, all for $45? Sold!

Want to attend this forest-to-table affair? Call 314.241.6200 to make your reservation.

Ferguson restaurants give you a chance to help out with local tornado relief efforts

Thursday, April 28th, 2011

042811_ICALA couple of weeks ago, we gave you three reasons to patronize a trio of local restaurants that are making your night out on the town go to a good cause, (a growing trend we’ve been noticing, for sure). And now, as many St. Louisans clean up after the devastation from the tornadoes that swept across the city last week, another area business is giving you a chance to dine out and give back.

Enjoyalocal.com has teamed up with area Ferguson restaurants to donate a portion of one night’s proceeds to tornado recovery and repair efforts in Ferguson. What’s that mean for you? It means if you dine at so-called “Dine Ferg” restaurants including Ferguson Brewing Co., Marley’s Bar & Grill, Cork Wine Bar, Corner Coffee House and Vincenzo’s on Friday, May 6, 20 percent of your bill will go to the relief efforts. Additional donations will be gladly accepted, of course, and the restaurants will also be hosting a free concert in the plaza across from Ferguson Brewing Co., and Marley’s.

You should be patronizing your local businesses anyway, but just in case you need a little extra push, knowing your money is going to help those just around the corner should be the nudge you need to get off the couch.

The Scoop: Kampai Sushi Bar closed temporarily due to kitchen fire

Thursday, April 28th, 2011

042811_kampaiAn observant reader tipped us off yesterday that Kampai Sushi Bar may be shutting its doors for a while. Now, manager Joy Ba confirmed that the Central West End sushi spot is indeed temporarily closed due to a kitchen fire that occurred this past Monday. “It wasn’t too much damage, but we have to change our floors and ceilings,” said Ba, who added that the fire also caused some water damage. Look for doors to reopen at 4949 West Pine Blvd. in approximately three weeks.

UPDATE: Ba informed The Scoop that the remodel after the fire is now expected to take up to three to five weeks, with hopes to reopen at the end of May.

The Scoop: Nosh closes, Home Wine Kitchen to take the Maplewood space

Thursday, April 28th, 2011

042811_homeAn eagle-eyed reader tipped us off to the fact that Nosh, a small bistro located at 7322 Manchester Road in downtown Maplewood, closed this past weekend. Chef-owner Paula Anderson opened the restaurant in July of last year, fashioning a thoughtful, seasonal menu around locally grown, free-range, grass-fed and organic ingredients. Anderson was unavailable for comment, but according to Rachelle L’Ecuyer, director of community development for the City of Maplewood, the closure at least partially due to family circumstances that made Anderson unable to attend to the daily operations at Nosh.

“I was addicted to those portabella wraps,” lamented L’Ecuyer, who added that Cassandra Vires, the former executive chef at Ernesto’s Wine Bar in Benton Park and a 2011 nominee for a James Beard Foundation Journalism Award, will be taking over the space along with her husband Joshua Renbarger; a press release sent late yesterday confirmed the news. The restaurant, Home Wine Kitchen, will serve “elevated comfort food.” Renbarger, who currently works with wine importer and wholesaler Ionia Atlantic, will serve as GM for Home Wine Kitchen.

Renbarger told The Scoop that he and Vires had been working on the concept for Home Wine Kitchen since moving to St. Louis in May of 2006. The couple had been looking for another space in Maplewood when the Nosh space suddenly became available. “It was time. Cassy’s goal has always been to open a restaurant by the time she’s 30.” Home Wine Kitchen will offer lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch. Look for a June opening.

Five Bistro’s burger receives national praise

Wednesday, April 27th, 2011

062610_thumbsCheers to chef-owner Anthony Devoti and the talented crew over at Five Bistro, whose burger made the Eater Heat Map: the website’s list of 15 of the country’s hottest burgers. Another cheers to Riverfront Times‘ dining critic Ian Froeb, quoted in the Eater piece for describing Devoti’s burger as “cleaner, lighter, with a definite mineral edge.” As you may remember, this is Eater’s second mention of our fair city recently. Just last week, the website released another of its ritual Heat Maps, this time to 14 of what it called “newish locales that have been garnering serious buzz.”

Stocking Up: Local farm shoots for spring

Wednesday, April 27th, 2011

042611_sproutsKansas may be known as the Sunflower State, but some farmers in Missouri could make a case for us, too – especially the good folks at Claverach Farm, who stock their booth at the Maplewood Farmers’ Market with sunflower shoots.

These tiny sprouts are nothing more than little baby sunflowers, although they look more like plain bean sprouts than the bright yellow flowers which dot farm fields across the Midwest. They can be eaten whole, either raw or cooked. Providing more crunch than flavor, these tiny guys make the perfect garnish for an early spring salad, especially one with fuller flavored greens like arugula. Try folding them into an omelet with a little Gruyère or fontina cheese or layering them inside your ham and cheese sandwich for a crunchy, hearty lunch. Store them in your crisper drawer along with a damp paper towel.

Claverach, an organic farm in Eureka, also periodically offers radish and pea shoots. The radish shoots have a bit more of a spicy kick and are delicious with bibb or butter lettuce. The pea shoots, however, benefit from cooking, though be sure to add them in right at the end to allow them to retain as much of their flavor as possible. Stir them into a heady carbonara right before serving or scatter them across some braised chicken thighs for an extra shot of flavor. Just a handful and your guests will know they’re not in Kansas anymore.

The Scoop: Taste Wood Fired Fare first of many restaurant concepts for Friedrichs family

Wednesday, April 27th, 2011

042711_tasteSt. Louis Magazine’s George Mahe first announced the coming of Taste Wood Fired Fare, which will be located at 1201 Strassner Drive in Brentwood, back in March. The Scoop recently spoke to Casey Friedrichs about his plans to open Taste with his twin brother, Curt Friedrichs, and his father, Bill Friedrichs, as well as the trio’s plans to open more restaurants around town.

Taste will offer apps such as baby-back ribs, chicken wings and shrimp; salads; entrées including steaks and seafood; and, of course, pizza. All of the dishes will be turned out using a custom-built, wood-burning oven. But don’t think of Taste as simply an Italian eatery. “It is a very Americanized version of wood-fired cooking,” explained Casey. “Our dough and approach to pizza will be Italian, but a lot of the recipes we are hand-tailoring toward American cuisine.” That means nearly a dozen specialty pizzas will be on the menu including classic Italian versions and those with more Americanized flavor combinations. And what about Provel? While Casey will be leaving our hometown cheese off of his pizza pies, he noted that he may pay homage to the STL in the naming of menu items.

The Friedrichs hope to open the restaurant, which will seat 100 inside and another 30 on a covered outdoor patio, on June 1. Taste Wood Fired Fare will operate seven days a week, serving lunch and dinner.

Look for the Friedrichs to stay in the local restaurant scene for some time. Casey explained that Taste is the first of 10 concepts that he, his brother and his father conceived as part of their consulting business, Twin Site Solutions. “We offer developers solutions to vacant property,” explained Casey. “The concepts are geared around restaurants and food, some around recreation.” Casey expects to start on the next project within six months to a year if all goes well with Taste. The next site will be located in Kirkwood.

Casey and Curt both graduated with degrees in hospitality from Florida State University and worked for the last six years with Hillstone Restaurant Group, which operates dining establishments around the country. Their father, Bill, was formerly a partner at PJ’s Tavern in Kirkwood.

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