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Nov 22, 2014
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SERVING SAINT LOUIS SINCE 1999
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Archive for August, 2011

Zagat rates Pappy’s best “barbecue mecca” in America

Wednesday, August 31st, 2011

083111_pappysWhen Mike Emerson, owner of Pappy’s Smokehouse, learned from his nephew that Zagat had declared his beloved barbecue spot the best in the nation, he was taken totally off guard. “I’m humbled, shocked and surprised all at one time,” he said.

Zagat put Pappy’s at the top of its list of “barbecue havens you must go to before you die,” for The Huffington Post yesterday. Though the restaurant rating agency offered little explanation for the lofty declaration besides those famous dry-rubbed ribs, beef brisket, spicy sausage and pulled pork and chicken, the title is a well-deserved accolade for our city’s culinary scene – and its reigning king of ‘cue.

But don’t expect any hours to change to make room for the additional business this could bring into the Midtown smokehouse. Emerson told us that he likes that his policy to close the restaurant when it sells out of food each day gives his staff a chance to actually see their families. And as for Emerson, well, “I’ve got a big grin and I can’t wipe it off my face right now.” We’re guessing, he’ll have a bit longer lines at lunch tomorrow, too.

— Photo by Greg Rannells

Stocking Up on sweet potatoes

Wednesday, August 31st, 2011

083111_sweetpotatoesA lot of people believe sweet potatoes are nature’s perfect food. Personally, I believe that title belongs to beer, but chacun à son gout, right?

At last week’s Clayton Farmers’ Market, I happened upon some of these vitamin-packed babies – sweet potatoes, not beer; it was too early for the latter, even for me. The sweet potato caught my eye primarily due to its versatility. It seemed to call out, “Anything your regular potato can do, I can do better,” and then some. Sweet potatoes make awesome fries (bake them in the oven if you must) and contribute a pop of color to a roasted vegetable medley. Blanch them for a few minutes, then toss them on a well-oiled grill over medium-high heat for a sweet and smoky combination. Puréed sweet potatoes can also serve as an excellent ravioli filling when combined with a little sage. A brown butter sauce is all you need as an accompaniment.

Now that the weather has passed just south of unbearable, you should be able to turn your oven back on again. Here’s where sweet potatoes really shine. Boiled and mashed sweet potatoes make an awesome pie filing, along with some sugar and butter, of course. Maybe pound cake, tart or flan? Be sure to include a crunchy topping of some sort to cut through that unctuous texture.

So here’s to the sweet potato. Now, where’s my beer?

Although we found sweet potatoes at the Clayton Farmers’ Market last week, due to the seasonal nature of our area markets, supplies may vary from week to week.

The Scoop: Jonathan Olson to bring seasonal slant to menu at Soulard’s Market Grill

Wednesday, August 31st, 2011

062111_olsonChef Jonathan Olson has been hired as the executive chef at Market Grill in Soulard. Olson, who served as exec chef at Erato on Main in Edwardsville, Ill., from January to August of last year, and most recently had a short run helming the kitchen at The Terrace View downtown, assumed the position at Market Grill two weeks ago. He was brought on board to redesign the lunch, dinner and brunch menus at the restaurant, located at 728 Lafayette Ave., across the street from Soulard Farmers’ Market.

Fresh, seasonal fare will be the focus of Market Grill’s re-concepted “modern American” menu, according to Olson. “We’ll use as much local [ingredients] as possible and cook with the seasons,” he said, adding that numerous items will be prepared in-house, including breads (brioche and flatbreads, to begin) and pastas.

To pave the way for these changes, Market Grill will close on Monday, September 5 and reopen on Friday, September 9.

The Scoop: Agostino’s is back with location in Fairview Heights, West County site still in works

Tuesday, August 30th, 2011

083011_agostinosAgostino’s Restaurant and Bar will be opening in Fairview Heights, Ill., by October, as announced on the restaurant’s Facebook page. The Italian restaurant will be located at 130 Ludwig Drive off of Interstate 64 at Route 159. According to the post, the owners are also seeking to add an additional location in West County.

The opening of the Fairview Heights location means the revival of this family-owned Italian restaurant that first opened on The Hill in 1967 and had multiple locations throughout West County over the next few decades, most recently at 280 Long Road in Chesterfield. That location closed in December of last year.

Baked: Plum Kuchen

Monday, August 29th, 2011

082911_bakedI’ve really been enjoying all the fruits of summer. Besides my usual berry staples (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries), I often buy whatever fruits happen to be on sale that week. First it was cherries, then it was golden kiwis and, more recently, plums.

Plums are so delicious; I don’t think they get enough credit. Relatives of the peach and nectarine, they’re a lovely shade of purple and juicy and sweet when ripe, although they can be quite tart. When I was a child, I would sprinkle a tiny bit of salt over a freshly cut plum and they were perfection. Upon researching recipes that incorporate plums, I frequently came across a dessert called kuchen, which is simply the German word for “cake,” although a plum kuchen can sometimes mean a tart. The cake version is very similar to a coffee cake with fruit incorporated and is the ultimate breakfast or afternoon snack. Upon deciding to try my first plum kuchen, I didn’t expect to fall in love with such a simple cake. But I did. The recipe produced a very light crumb, moist from the plums and seasoned well with cinnamon and nutmeg. The sprinkling of raw sugar on top provided a nice textural crunch that put it over the edge.

This plum kuchen would taste amazing with some ice cream or whipped cream, but my favorite way of eating it is with freshly sliced plums. I’m still working on getting used to cooked fruit, and although the plums were scrumptious when baked, I loved the addition of fresh ones with each bite. Serve it this way for extra juiciness and flavor.

We ate this every morning for breakfast until it was gone – and savored every bite.

Plum Kuchen
Adapted by Amrita Rawat from a recipe originally published on EpicureanMom.com

Serves 6 to 8

1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
½ cup, plus 3 Tbsp., granulated sugar, divided
1 tsp., plus ½ Tbsp., cinnamon, divided
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
¼ tsp. salt
2 large eggs
2/3 cup milk
3½ Tbsp. butter, melted
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
4 medium slightly firm plums, 2 cut into ½- to ¼-inch rounds (for baking), 2 left whole (served fresh on the side or for baking)

•    Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
•    Combine the first 6 ingredients in a medium bowl; stir until well incorporated
•    In a separate small bowl, stir together the eggs, milk, butter and vanilla.
•    Slowly incorporate the egg mixture with the flour until just mixed.
•    Grease a 9-inch round pan.
•    Spoon the batter into the pan.
•    Scatter the rounds from the 2 plums on top of the batter.
•    Combine the remaining 3 tablespoons of sugar and ½ tablespoon of cinnamon and generously sprinkle the mixture over the top.
•    Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown.
•    Remove from the oven and let cool before serving with fresh plum slices.

— Photo by Amrita Rawat

Meet food funny man Calvin Trillin

Monday, August 29th, 2011

082911_calvinCalvin Trillin, author of several novels and well known writer and columnist for The New Yorker, Time and The Nation (not all at once, of course), is coming home … or at least close to it. Born and raised in Kansas City, Mo., Trillin is perhaps best known for his weekly column, Deadline Poet, where he writes humorous rhymes about U.S. current events. But his wit and wisdom extend beyond playful prose, especially when eating is involved.

Trillin’s time as the American Journal writer for The New Yorker brought him all over the country, which meant eating all kinds of food. This “gastronomic journey” eventually led to three books: American Fried, Third Helpings and Alice, Let’s Eat (all of which were printed into The Tummy Trilogy in 1994).

On September 29, Trillin’s journey takes him back to his roots – and more precisely to the Central West End – to talk about his newest book, Quite Enough of Calvin Trillin: Forty Years of Funny Stuff. Sauce Magazine, Left Bank Books and the St. Louis Public Library are all teaming up to give you a chance to stop by and meet Trillin in person, soak up his insight into decades of comedic culinary consumption and even pick up a signed copy of his latest work.

Whether you’re a longtime fan of his work or you’ve never set your sights on this writer’s sardonic style, it’s sure to be a night of belly laughs that you won’t want to miss!

Can’t wait? Tweet Crazy For Calvin @SauceMagazine and enter to win passes to the private reception with Trillin before the event and a signed copy of his new book.

WHAT: Meet and Greet, Book Signing With Calvin Trillin

WHERE: St. Louis Public Library – Schlafly branch, 225 N. Euclid Ave., St. Louis

WHEN: September 29 – 7 p.m.

For more information, contact Left Bank Books: 314.367.6731, left-bank.com

This is a Sauce sponsored event.

Drink This Weekend Edition: Last call for a summer swing on the porch

Friday, August 26th, 2011

082611_drinkthisThe dog days of summer have ended, and as we prepare to flip the calendar to September, let’s take a moment this weekend to reminisce about the steamy days now behind us (fingers crossed). And how better to bid adieu to August than on the porch swing with a refreshing peachy cocktail in hand? Those of us sans swing can snag a seat at BC’s Kitchen in Lake Saint Louis, where we can drink the white-whiskey-based libation right proper: out of an old-time Mason jar.

The Porch Swing
Courtesy of BC’s Kitchen’s Justin Cardwell

Serves 1

5 mint leaves, plus extra for garnish, divided
2 oz. Koval Organic Raksi Millet White Whiskey
1 oz. John D. Taylor’s Velvet Falernum Liqueur
6 dashes Fees Bros. Peach Bitters
½ oz. lemon juice
Ice, crushed
1 slice, fresh peach

• Bruise 4 mint leaves in a Mason jar.
• Add whiskey, Velvet Falernum, peach bitters and lemon juice.
• Top with crushed ice and stir to combine.
• Garnish with a peach slice and a mint leaf.

Tweet Beat: Our favorite tweets from STL foodies

Friday, August 26th, 2011

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

ADAM___J
Yeah I’ll take an order of nachos. “You want chips on the side?” uh…..what?

KBestOliver
6th grade wisdom: me “Why do you like to stand up and eat breakfast?” Kid: “Because I’m a Capricorn.”

WanderlustPizza
@herbstk: Just had my first @WanderlustPizza. It was delicious!!” Another virgin lovingly deflowered.

brrgrr
Good food and service with a sm… well, the food is good. (@ U City Grill) 4sq.com/p83OOA

chzmongerswife
Counted 20 turkeys in the far east pasture. They are alot bigger in person. Especially when animated…and not frozen in the grocery store.

amveats
Two showers later, I still smell of smoked bird.

mcharcuterie
It’s 7 am and all I can think about is getting home to make some truffled Mac and Cheese.

JJonesing
Craving met: grilled cheese with pickles and Arby’s french fries. #MidwestDelight

teah_vino_lover
Started the day with homemade waffles with peanut butter made by Mr. Hopper. Now I am ready for a nap.

ErinEph
Which smell foretells a stroke? Pencil shavings? Burning hair? Cool Ranch Doritos (please god don’t let it be Cool Ranch Doritos)?

publiceyestl
Describing White Castle as an “eatery” is … polite. #newssummary

cookingkid
Still a noma cookbook at borders in fairview heights. Just saying.

daniellesmyname
Bacon wrapped hot dog <3 #cardssmn ow.ly/i/ghIS

chrissyglo
In 2 days, I single-handedly managed to put down a package of cookies & 5 hot dogs. Not sure if I feel accomplished or disgusting.

jamingray
Why does a Chinese military officer make such good chicken?

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

The Scoop: Five Bistro to focus on tasting and late-night menus

Friday, August 26th, 2011

082611_fiveAfter the evening service this Saturday, the crew at Five Bistro will be taking a two-week break before reopening on September 13 with more tasting options and a special late-night menu.

For some time now, chef-owner Anthony Devoti has offered 3-course tasting menus for $25 on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays (Check out a sample menu here.). Soon, this increasingly taste-centric eatery will include the addition of a 5-course prix fixe for $55 on Fridays and Saturdays as well. Devoti hopes this “unbelievable deal” – both for the price as well as the product (90 percent of which is locally sourced) – will be well received and that it will pave the way for two distinct 5-course tasting menus at the restaurant in the future. For the moment, an à la carte menu will still be available at the restaurant, located at 5100 Daggett Ave., on The Hill, when it reopens next month.

Also in September, Devoti will launch a late-night menu at Five, which will be available Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 10 p.m. until midnight. Moonlight revelers can rest assured that the restaurant’s famed Five Burger will be available, along with other pub-grub-with-a twist items like fried deviled eggs and poutine, a Quebec specialty consisting of French fries and cheese curds topped with gravy. “We want to give people more late-night options,” Devoti explained.

Stocking Up on Tropea onions

Wednesday, August 24th, 2011

082311_onionsWhen I stopped at the Claverach Farm booth at last week’s Maplewood Farmers’ Market, I saw what I believed to be overgrown shallots, which I love; they add just enough of a garlicky taste to recipes without overpowering them. But these shallots were huge – as big around as my fist – and elongated. My mind raced to think of all the ways I could prepare them: roasted whole with a little olive oil and sea salt, then tossed with pasta; lightly sautéed on a wilted salad; even pickled.

Imagine my surprise when I learned that my overgrown shallots were actually an heirloom variety of onion known as Tropea. Originally from Italy, these mild sweet red onions are also known as torpedo onions or simply sweet red Italians. Red onions are generally served raw and, typically, I don’t like them. Their taste is too sharp for me unless they’re cooked. Tropeas, however, are perfect: nicely mild and sweet, but not too sweet. I could easily imagine them folded into a grain salad mixed with a little feta cheese and other heirloom vegetables. They’d be great in black bean salsa, too, since their sweet taste wouldn’t compete with the spiciness of the peppers.

I bought a whole basket of Tropeas, which I now know as the onion in shallot clothing.

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