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Feb 24, 2018
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Archive for April, 2012

Meatless Mondays: Date Night Gone Meatless

Monday, April 30th, 2012

OK, I know this is the Meatless Mondays column and not Cheap Date, but mark your calendars because this meatless matchmaker has your next date night planned. This is cheap date gone vegan, and there’s no better place to enjoy a night out with your significant other (vegetarian or otherwise) than Meskerem Ethiopian on South Grand.

Start by splitting the Vegetarian Combo, as few things up a date’s romance factor like sharing a spread of scrumptious eats. OK, so it might not be the best spot for an awkward first date as you’ll be ditching formal fork-and-knife-courtesies to eat with your hands, but it’s a sure way to test your potential new partner’s ability to share food: a deal-breaker for any relationship worth its salt. For the long-termers, the off-the-beaten-path fare is a great way to break up the same ol’ fork and knife routine.

Now, back to that Vegetarian Combo – made up of seven legume and vegetable concoctions that have all been stewed low and slow to infuse layer after layer of rich flavor. Think of the Tikil Gomen as an Ethiopian version of kimchi: sweet and spicy sautéed cabbage filled with tender chunks of carrots and potatoes, seasoned with garlic, ginger and curry. Then move on to the Folsolia, touting salty string beans that have been sauteed with carrots and onions. The Gomen Wat boasts collard greens steamed with sweet ginger and onions, while Shiro Wat features chickpeas in a chile pepper berberé sauce – an Ethiopian spice blend that’s typically used in soups and stews. The plate also offers split lentils two ways – the Miser Alecha savory, the Miser Wat fiery hot – one sure to appeal to the taste buds on each side of the table. But the real winner here is the Butecha: a creamy chickpea mixture studded with onions and jalapeños whose hint of lemon bespeaks chickpeas’ more common condiment form, hummus. It’s a masterpiece to withhold, each little pile perched atop the injera: a fluffy, flat sourdough pancake that’s thicker than a crepe but thinner than naan. It’s an ideal vehicle for scooping up each distinct flavor from the plate to your mouth.

With so many options on this plate, it’s fun to dig in (Literally!) while mulling over the long work day and playing footsy under the table. The best part: There’s so much food in this combo that no one has to fight over the last bite – a common problem on my date nights.

Just Five: Mexican Street Corn

Monday, April 30th, 2012

When you see what appears to be a hot dog vendor in Mexico, according to chef Jason Tilford of Tortillaria and Milagro Modern Mexican, he’s more likely to be peddling street corn than the bun-wrapped beauties we find at the ball game.

Traditionally made with salty cotija cheese and Mexican crema (similar to creme fraiche), Tilford’s recipe is pantry-friendly, using Queso Fresco and basic mayonnaise (Let’s all take a moment to recall how I feel about only using real mayonnaise in recipes and never, ever settling for Miracle Whip, mkay?). If I had to compare the two, cotija cheese is similar in taste and texture to Parmesan, while Queso Fresco is closer to feta. This corn (served on the cob at Tortillaria and off the cob at Milagro) is salty, rich, sweet and utterly addictive. This recipe implies one ear per serving, but there’s no shame in eating two. Although not necessary, a splash of lime juice adds a lovely acidic note to this truly sensational dish.

Mexican Street Corn
6 Servings
Courtesy of Tortillaria and Milagro Modern Mexican’s Jason Tilford

6 ears corn, husks still on
1 cup mayonnaise
1 tsp. puréed garlic
1/8 tsp. ground chipotle (can substitute chili powder)
6 oz. Queso Fresco, crumbled

• Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
• Place the ears of corn directly on the oven rack for 15 to 20 minutes, turning halfway through cooking time. Alternatively, the corn can be cooked outside on a grill over medium-high heat.
• While the corn is roasting, combine the mayonnaise, garlic and ground chipotle. Set the mixture aside.
• Remove the roasted corn and carefully pull back the husks and remove the silk, leaving the husks intact so that they can be used as “handles.”
• Brush the mayonnaise mixture over the entire ear of corn and roll in the crumbled Queso Fresco. Serve immediately.

Sneak Peek: Pint Size Bakery

Monday, April 30th, 2012

We salivated back in January at the news that pastry chef Christy Augustin would be opening her own shop, Pint Size Bakery. A month later when she announced the address, 3825 Watson Road, you can bet we started casing the place. The wait is over. Doors open tomorrow at 7 a.m., and Augustin gave Sauce a sneak peek at what’s in store for hungry customers. Check out the delicious details on the Sauce Facebook page. Then stop by tomorrow for opening day.

Drink This Weekend Edition: Drinks by Duke

Friday, April 27th, 2012

{Camus Sidecar}

In the March issue of Sauce, we gave a nod to Truffles for its extensive bourbon list. Among its nearly two dozen offerings, you’ll find a number of fun reserves like Johnny Drum Private Stock, Pappy Van Winkle 20-year and Elijah Craig 18-year Single Barrel. But it’s not just bourbon behind that well-stocked bar. Truffles also has things covered on the Scotch side: Macallan, Glenlivet and Glenfiddich, ranging from 12 to 25 years, are just a few of the time-tested labels perched behind the bar. Clearly, if you like whiskey, Truffles is a great place to grab a seat. But during a recent visit to the bar, ably tended by Duke Myover since its doors first opened in 1999, I discovered the cocktail capabilities of this Ladue restaurant.

What usually get shaken or stirred at Truffles are classic cocktails: Manhattans, Old-Fashioneds, Sazeracs, Negronis. But Myover keeps a fine stock of bitters, liqueurs and a few other funky ingredients that he uses to tweak these throwback ‘tails. One of his Manhattan variations, for example, gets hit with just enough Fruit Lab Crism Organic Hibiscus Liqueur to smooth out the edges for someone who wants that added splash of sweetness and flavor. Negronis, meanwhile, are Myover’s specialty. His version of the 1-2-3, sweet vermouth-Campari-gin drink gets a dash of Angostura bitters, which he explained “helps it to meld with the gin just like a Manhattan needs bitters to meld with the whiskey.” It was a happy moment when Myover grabbed floral Esprit de June liqueur, made from grape vine flowers, and Camus VS Élégance Cognac off the shelves to prepare a sidecar; his Camus Sidecar (pictured) is ideal for someone who wants a gentle handshake with brandy.

Truffles gets its share of post-golf traffic, and one of the alcoholic refreshments Myover has been pouring for those coming from the course lately is a beer cocktail called a Moontang: an uncomplicated combination of an ounce of Three Olives Rangtang Vodka topped with 12 ounces of light, citrusy Blue Moon Belgian White beer. “It’s incredibly simple, but really delicious and refreshing,” said Myover, who occasionally subs house-made limoncello for the orange- and tangerine-flavored vodka.

Truffles doesn’t have a formal cocktail list, but with someone like Myover behind the bar, it doesn’t need one. Tell him what you like – your favorite spirit or flavor profile or simply your mood – and he’ll fashion a drink tasty enough that you’ll likely stay for a second. And, as a sign of a career bartender (three decades and counting) who has found his calling, Myover will probably remember your order next time you pop in.

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

Friday, April 27th, 2012

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

Lunch of champs – wasabi peas and diet coke. http://instagr.am/p/J0GXgxN2Hf/ 

Just got 3 notifications about a crispy bacon tweet from March

@EvanBenn please don’t let my husband know about the beer fountain @ofallonbrewery. Thaaaanks

Things I’m going to do tomorrow…eat ramen and sashimi.

I’m convinced that breakfast at Cracker Barrel is the best way to start the day. Happy administrative professional day to me!

Followed up with some pork grilled esophagus with @frankmcginty http://lockerz.com/s/204269282 

I love the messages in google that say “become a CHEF in 6 months”…..Good Luck!

Something very calming about sitting in an empty restaurant, hearing only the humming of the coolers.

Too much praline on my bacon. Don’t worry it’s headed to the food processor anyway. *rubs hands menacingly

Belgian Beer reference in tonight’s #CSI always heart warming

Sushi feast followed by old school jams and writing #livingthelife

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

Cheap Date: Love on the Half Shell

Thursday, April 26th, 2012

It’s hard to explain the fascination behind consuming raw oysters. Maybe it’s that juicy, salty-sweet flavor, coupled with a heavy hit of sinus-clearing horseradish. Maybe it’s the massive pitchers of beer that seem to drain themselves while you’re eating. Or, perhaps it’s the oyster-induced surge of dopamine and testosterone flowing through your veins as you pass an afternoon away on a crowded patio.

Yeah, it’s probably the beer. Regardless, for serious seafood fans, raw oysters are a gold standard, and these classic appetizers have kick-started romances for decades. Unless you’re dating a less-than-adventurous type of eater, an icy tray of raw oysters coupled with a smooth lager or a crisp glass of white can be an ideal cheap date.

Whether you know it or not, this is actually a great time to be a raw oyster fan. St. Louis is flush with raw bars and seasoned shuckers who ship live oysters in daily from both coasts, offering fresh treats on the half shell all year long. This means the summer season as well. (The old wives tale about oysters only being safe to eat during months with an ‘r’ in them has been effectively debunked by modern refrigeration and harvesting technologies.) Think of oysters as an affair reserved for the 1 percent? Think again. Any oyster bar worth its salt has weekday specials. Here, a sampling of the best year-round raw deals in town:

{DeMun Oyster Bar}

Since opening in late 2010 on the sleepy strip of restaurants, wine bars and workweek hideaways, DeMun Oyster Bar has consistently shelled out an impressively eclectic variety of fresh undersea creatures for a multiplying fan base [http://www.saucemagazine.com/a/1477]. Usually cracked open and served for $2 to $4 a pop, every weeknight from 4 to 6 p.m. and Monday through Thursday from 9 p.m. to close, chef’s choice oysters are available for half off. Booze is marked down appropriately: $5 house wines, $6 select specialty cocktails and $2 Schlafly products (May I suggest the summer lager?).

740 DeMun Ave., Clayton, 314.725.0322, demunoysterbar.com


Sqwire’s might not offer the largest oysters in town (honestly a little small for my taste), but they sure do have ‘em in bulk. And the chic, power player atmosphere is fun in itself. Friday night happy hour at this Lafayette Square institution sees the main bar teeming with thirsty young professionals on retreat from a long week downtown who order up tray after tray of oysters for $1 per. Drinks are also discounted Tuesday through Friday from 4 to 7 p.m.: $3 drafts, $2 domestic bottles, $4 house wines and $3 well cocktails. Monday through Thursday, happy hour offers oysters for $2.

1415 S. 18th St., St. Louis, 314.865.3522, sqwires.com 

{Coastal Bistro & Bar}

Picking up in the central Clayton location where Mosaic Bistro took a nose dive, Coastal’s raw bar offers the well dressed, see-and-be-seen crowd slimy little aphrodisiacs for just $1 every weeknight from 4 to 7 p.m. For a dollar more, patrons can opt for oyster shooters – swimming in their choice of pepper vodka or tequila and spicy tomato. Drink specials aren’t shabby either: house wines for $4, well cocktails for $3 and domestic beers for $2.50.

14 N. Central Ave., Clayton, 314.932.7377, coastalbistro.com 

{Bristol Seafood Grill}

To put it lightly, this Creve Coeur seafood powerhouse is not usually known for its bargain basement prices. But Sunday through Friday from 4 to 7 p.m., Bristol’s opens its doors and lowers everything on its raw bar for the huddled masses. Fresh oysters are served up for $1 apiece alongside $5 house wines, $5.95 martinis and handcrafted cocktails, and $1 off all beers and well cocktails.

11801 Olive Blvd., Creve Coeur, 314.567.0272, bristolseafoodgrill.com




The Scoop: One truck hits the streets, another finds a permanent home

Thursday, April 26th, 2012

The Sweet Divine truck rolled onto the streets of St. Louis a little more than a year ago, serving cupcakes, muffins, cake pops, whoopee pies and more to sweet-toothed St. Louisans. Now, owner Jenna Siebert has found a permanent truck stop for her mobile sweets biz and will be opening a brick-and-mortar shop within a matter of weeks.

The Sweet Divine will make its stationery home at 4521 S. Kingshighway Blvd., at the corner of Devonshire Avenue. The space will serve as the commissary kitchen for the food truck operation, but there will also be a bakery case in front to serve walk-in patrons looking to nibble on a pastry or cake by the slice or even grab a whole cake to go. Though there won’t be sit-down dining space, Siebert will offer breakfast sandwiches and croissants for the morning crowd, plus coffee to wash it all down.

Siebert is hoping to unlock doors by May 15. “We have the potential to open up very quickly because everything was already set up,” she noted, explaining that the space was previously occupied by a bakery business. “We just have to dress up the front of the store.”

In related truckie news, The Summer Truck will soon be joining the area’s ever-growing fleet of mobile eateries. Co-owner Kenda Morado told The Scoop that The Summer Truck will feature prepared dishes made with fresh, locally raised produce and meats and that the truck will only operate during warm-weather months. Morado and her business partners, Cha Cha Chow food truck operators Candice Davis and Linda Jones, are working with a farm in Moscow Mills, Mo., to grow produce specifically for the truck.

The menu will tout salads and sandwiches that change with the growing season. “When tomatoes come in, we’ll have BLTs, bread salad, that kind of thing,” noted Morado. The Summer Truck expects to hit the streets in May. To track the status of the truck, visit its Facebook page or follow it on Twitter @SummerTruck.

Cook Wise: Homemade challah

Wednesday, April 25th, 2012

Mmm, homemade bread! Does anything beat it? We didn’t think so. Click here to learn how to make challah, an easy, egg-y, slightly sweet bread that makes any sandwich – especially French toast – extra special.

By the Book: Ted Allen’s Vanilla Ice Cream with Honey

Wednesday, April 25th, 2012

Ted Allen’s new book, In My Kitchen: 100 Recipes and Discoveries for Passionate Cooks, is for cooks “who love to cook.” From crusty baguettes and duck-fat potatoes to homemade pasta and vanilla ice cream, Allen hasn’t given us Rachel Ray-type recipes that have us in and out of the kitchen in a hop, skip and a jump. These recipes are for people who like to hang out in the kitchen.

Luckily, I fall into that latter camp. I love to cook. I am also a newly wed and have a plethora of new gadgets I want to experiment with, including an ice cream maker. I also happen to have a ton of local honey because it was my wedding favor, and now, let’s just say that I have more than I know what to do with. Putting it in some ice cream seemed like a good use – and it was.

This recipe was easy and straight-forward, an ideal way to spend a few hours in the kitchen. (Nothing’s worse than slaving over the stove just to be disappointed by your results.) The only thing missing from the instructions was the time it would take to thicken the custard until it reaches the desired consistency. For me, that was about 7 to 8 minutes.

The final product didn’t scream with honey flavor but rather tasted like a highly floral scoop of vanilla. But on a warm spring day, that was just fine with me.

Vanilla Ice Cream with Honey
Makes 1 generous quart

Of all the ways to flavor frozen cream, there is nothing more elegant or more versatile than vanilla. For a subtle but noticeable twist, Barry sweetens our batches with the light, floral, slightly minty honey from his beehive on our roof in Brooklyn. This recipe can serve as a base for many variations – two of our favorites follow. Or you can try in-season fruits or even subtle spice combinations.

3 cups heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
½ cup honey
2 vanilla beans, split lengthwise and scraped
4 large egg yolks
1 Tbsp. pure vanilla extract

1. Heat the cream, milk, honey and vanilla beans and seeds in a heavy saucepan over medium heat until hot, being careful not to let the mixture boil and curdle.

2. Lightly whisk the egg yolks in a medium heatproof bowl, then slowly drizzle 1 cup of the hot cream mixture into the yolks while whisking. Pour the yolk mixutre into the saucepan of cream; heat, stirring constantly, until the custard thickens slightly and coats the back of a wooden spoon, again being careful not to let it boil and curdle. (Note: Thickening took about 7 to 8 minutes.)

3. Pour through a fine-mesh strainer to remove the vanilla beans and any bits of cooked egg yolk. Stir in the vanilla extract. Cover the custard with plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold, about 6 hours. You can speed this process dramatically by partially submerging the bowl of custard in a larger bowl of ice water to form an ice bath and stirring the custard occasionally until cold. The colder the custard is, the faster the machine will be able to freeze it for ice cream.

4. Follow the directions on your ice cream maker to freeze. Once the mixture is frozen, put it into the containers and allow it to “ripen” for at least 2 hours in the freezer.

Reprinted from In My Kitchen by Ted Allen with Barry Rice. Copyright (c) 2012. Photos copyright (c) 2012 by Ben Fink. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, a division of Random House, Inc.

Tell us about your favorite ice cream to make at home in the comments section below for a chance to win a copy of In My Kitchen.

And now, we’d like to congratulate Marina, whose comments on last week’s By the Book has won her a copy of Weeknights with Giada. Marina, keep an eye out for an email from the Sauce crew! 

The Scoop: Soon to vroom: Food trucks’ “hippy little sister” The ReTrailer

Wednesday, April 25th, 2012

Mobile spice and tea store The ReTrailer will soon be hitting the streets. The ReTrailer isn’t exactly a food truck, rather, a food-related operation. Or, as owner Lisa Govro termed it, “the food trucks’ hippy little sister.” In addition to house-made tea and spice blends, she will also be selling home goods made from recycled or up-cycled materials such as lanterns created from old light fixtures. In keeping with the hippy vibe, Govro will operate out of a restored 1969 Wigwam camper trailer.

When The ReTrailer vrooms onto area streets in June, Govro hopes to make appearances at farmers markets and food truck events and even be invited to park near health and wellness businesses like yoga centers. A website, tulsilove.com, is under construction. A Facebook page is coming soon.


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