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Mar 19, 2018
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Archive for September, 2012

Drink This Weekend Edition: Bartending skill, creativity and efficiency on display at Hendricks BBQ

Friday, September 28th, 2012

Back in June, I wrote about the cocktails Keyan Still had developed for the launch of the downtown Pi. My takeaway was that Still, then a Pi bartender and trainer, had devised a list of well-balanced, creative drinks that showcased local products and house-made mixers. Still has since moved westward to manage the bar at the newly opened Hendricks BBQ at 1200 S. Main St., in St. Charles. What can we expect from him at this new watering hole?

Like its sister restaurants Sanctuaria and Diablitos Cantina, Hendricks is outfitted with tap systems for wine and pre-made cocktails. A quick pour means that you get your cocktail faster, but the drink also better taste good – which is why the Old-Fashioned on tap deserves a mention. Still makes a batch for the keg that will pour 150 cocktails, but he still manages to get the flavor balance just right. “Dilution is the key,” he explained. Since the tap keeps the cocktail consistently chilled at 37 degrees, the drink tastes crisp and refreshing; there’s nothing stale about it.

While the cocktails on tap demonstrate Still’s measuring and mixing skills, the other cocktails at Hendricks illustrate his creative talent. Porch Puppy’s Puddle, featured in a Sauce sneak peek, is a Tom Collins-inspired drink made with cucumber-infused Ransom Old Tom Gin, simple syrup, lemon juice, Creole bitters and a topper of club soda. It’s fun, it’s refreshing and it’s one to order before colder weather sets in for good. Tease and Cut Up (pictured) is probably the most imaginative drink on the list. The combination of ingredients – rum, a terrific house-made peppercorn syrup, red grapefruit juice and Cardamaro (an amaro made from Moscato infused with cardoon and blessed thistle and aged for six months in new oak) – might seem unusual, but it works oh-so well. Redolent with warm spices, this drink simply feels like fall. Coming soon is a change-of-pace sangria made with cold-smoked fresh fruit and a blend of French brandies and juices. The smoked sangria wasn’t available during my visit, but it’s one I’ll try next time.

Cocktails aside, the drink list also includes 10 local beers on tap plus another 15 in cans or bottles; beer and spirits flights; and moonshine and whiskies up the wazoo. Hendricks’ menu encourages the curious to try something new while the average imbiber can get his or her same-old without fear of judgment. Best of all, the efficient bar set-up and Still’s cocktail recipes bespeak a clear understanding that the customer is only willing to wait so long for a drink. A good drink fast? Make that a round.

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

Friday, September 28th, 2012

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

I thought Spicy Thai shrimp and Riesling & Football. She thought Mac n Cheese w/ hot dogs in it and Emmys. I lost.

Of course I find this in my pantry… http://instagr.am/p/QBQQjpL9Bl/ 

Waiting for butter to soften =agony http://instagr.am/p/QCkrqVoddL/ 

My wife’s a bad Jew. Her idea of fasting today was to have a late dinner. #truth

So funny to watch co-eds try Cider for the first time #OMGtimes3 @ItapSoulard

Yay, chicken & dumplings. No sarcasm there. Needless to say, I didn’t get just green beans.

18 month old prosciutto from an acorn fed Cope Grass farm Berkshire. It’s from a 438 lb behemoth! pic.twitter.com/Xe2lAWn7

Drinkin’ some brews, extracting and jarring some honey! It’s Friday night, livin’ the beekeeping dream baby! #beek #artonthebluff

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

The Scoop: Hiro taking Pan-Asian to Washington Avenue

Thursday, September 27th, 2012

Hiro, the Japanese izakaya and sushi restaurant in The Loop, will be closing in mid-November. Owner Bernie Lee opened Hiro in August 2011 at 609 Eastgate Ave., but the building has since been purchased by Washington University and is scheduled to be demolished as part of an $80 million project to build a multi-story complex of apartments and commercial buildings. However, Hiro won’t be gone for long. Lee is taking Hiro downtown to Washington Avenue where it will be called Hiro Pan-Asian Restaurant & Lounge. Lee declined to give the exact address but noted that he had already signed the lease on the space.

The focus at Hiro Pan-Asian, explained Lee, will not be on sushi and izakaya as it currently is in The Loop. Rather, the lunch, dinner and late-night restaurant will serve Asian fusion. Some menu items from the current menu, such as pork buns (pictured), will make the Hiro 2.0 menu, but patrons will also be able to dine on dim sum and select from numerous pan-Asian vegetarian and gluten-free options. Beverages will include both local and global beer selections, wine, cocktails and teas. Lee stated that the restaurant will open sometime this winter, with a pan-Asian Sunday brunch coming in the spring.

Sneak Peek: Circle 7 Ranch

Wednesday, September 26th, 2012

Circle 7 Ranch is the latest project by Pete Ferretti and Buddy Coy, known for such downtown venues as Lumen, Mandarin and The Pepper Lounge. Their new taphouse and grill is located at 14412 Clayton Road in Ballwin (in the complex that also houses newly opened Marcella’s Mia Sorella). What can you expect at Circle 7 Ranch when doors open on Monday, Oct. 1? Check out Sauce’s Facebook page for a preview of the food, the digs and Missouri’s only Personal Table Tap beer dispensing system.

The Scoop: Sugarfire Smokehouse now open

Wednesday, September 26th, 2012

Sugarfire Smokehouse, a project by restaurateurs Mike Johnson and Carolyn Downs, opened yesterday. Sugarfire is located at 9200 Olive Blvd., just east of I-170 in Olivette.

Daily offerings at this cafeteria-style barbecue joint include grass-fed beef, pulled pork, smoked turkey, and burgers made from meat ground in-house. Pork and beans, slaw and hand-cut fries are some of the sides, and specials include local pork belly, chicken pot pies and brisket from Rain Crow Ranch. Downs, who has long garnered praise for the desserts at Cyrano’s, her other restaurant, makes Sugarfire’s sweet endings. She will offer six pies daily, available by the slice or whole. Sugarfire is open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

By the Book: Melissa d’Arabian’s Kielbasa and Black-Eyed Peas

Tuesday, September 25th, 2012

In her debut cookbook, Ten Dollar Dinners, Melissa d’Arabian claims to have created 140 nutritious recipes that cost only $10 to make, taste delicious and feed a family of four. I was intrigued by (and a bit skeptical of) her assertions, and her recipe for a dolled up version of franks and beans sounded cute (and the weather finally cooled off), so I figured now was the time to investigate what sounded too good to be true.

My grocery store was out of kielbasa. Without it, my ingredient list still ran a bit over $10, but I also had to buy a full bottle of vinegar, which wouldn’t usually be the case. After hitting up The Farmers’ Larder for kielbasa at the Tower Grove Farmers Market, my ingredient list was complete. My total bill (minus extra costs for the vinegar) for the meal was about $20 (killer kielbasa included). Not bad, but not $10.

As far as time, I made the mistake of buying dried black-eyed peas instead of canned or frozen, as d’Arabian recommended. So for me, the 15 minutes of prep time along with the 25 minutes of cooking time didn’t quite happen. I do prefer using dried beans, though, so if that’s your case, just build in some time (like an episode of 30 Rock) and then start the rest of the meal. 

The dish turned out delicious, and the promise to feed four was actually true. So often it seems that recipes that claim to make “four servings” are counting on at least two of the people to be children who push their dollops of food around their plates. But this time, my husband and I were able to gorge ourselves and still have enough leftovers to serve another two adults (if we wanted to share).

Kielbasa and Black-Eyed Peas
Make approximately 4 servings

1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
½ lb. kielbasa, cut into ¼-inch thick pieces
1 onion, finely chopped
½ tsp. kosher salt
¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
½ tsp. dried thyme plus a squeeze of lemon juice
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp. (packed) light brown sugar
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 dried bay leaf
2 cups cooked black-eyed peas (about 1½ 15.5-ounce cans)
1½ cups fresh or frozen chopped spinach (optional)
Corn bread or steamed white rice, for serving
Hot sauce, for serving (optional)*

• Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the kielbasa and brown on both sides, about 6 minutes total. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and set aside.
• Add the onion, salt and pepper to the skillet and cook, stirring often, until the onion is soft and starting to brown, about 4 minutes. Stir in the garlic and thyme and cook until the garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute. Mix in the tomato paste, cooking until it starts browning on the bottom of the pot, about 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
• Pour in 1 cup of water and the vinegar, stirring them into the onion, then add the sugar, mustard, bay leaf and black-eyed peas. Return the kielbasa to the pan, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and cook until the sauce is rich-colored and slightly thick, about 10 minutes.
• Stir in the spinach (if using), until wilted. Remove and discard the bay leaf. Serve in big bowls with corn bread or over rice, with hot sauce on the side (if using).

* I used Sriracha.

Reprinted from Ten Dollars Dinner by Melissa d’Arabian. Copyright (c) 2012. Photos copyright. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, a division of Random House, Inc.

What is your favorite, inexpensive cold weather stew to make? Tell us in the comments section below for a chance to win a copy of Ten Dollar Dinners by Melissa d’Arabian. We’ll announce the winner in next week’s By the Book column.

And now, we’d like to congratulate Falishia, whose comment on last week’s By the Book has won her a copy of Martha’s American Food. Falishia, keep an eye out for an email from the Sauce crew.

Meatless Mondays: Family dinner just got delectable

Monday, September 24th, 2012

The old Italian restaurant saying “When you’re here, you’re family,” completely rings true at Onesto Pizza and Trattoria(And no, I am NOT comparing the restaurant’s food to the Olive Garden!) With dimly lit lights, a pressed tin ceiling and large windows revealing a neighborhood filled with 1920s bungalows, at 5401 Finkman St., it was easy to feel like I was at my mom’s house, only with better cooking (Sorry, Mom).

After sampling the bite-sized pieces of pillowy bread tasting of butter, garlic and Parmesan that the waiter brought by the table, I knew that whatever I was going to order for my Meatless Monday meal would need a high concentration of the same dough. My choice ended up being easy: the giant, deliciously doughy Spinach Calzone.

This calzone was so warm and soft that it reminded me of a feathery down comforter that engulfed the main ingredients, which in my case were sauteed spinach and a trio of cheeses. The Parmesan gave the calzone its salty bite; the smooth ricotta made the filling creamy; and the mozzarella was responsible for leaving that long, satisfying sticky string of cheese when I pulled a piece of calzone away from my plate.

Dive fork-first into the rich, house-made marinara sauce, which is served on the side. Don’t be shy to ask for more sauce, so you can double-dip your way through that calzone. Manners won’t allow you to double-dip? Don’t worry; you certainly won’t be sharing, so it’s completely acceptable, even though you aren’t actually dining at home.

Baked: Peanut Butter, Nutella and Banana Tart

Monday, September 24th, 2012

One of my favorite snacks is a slice of toast with peanut butter and Nutella. I like to smear the peanut butter on one side of the bread and Nutella on the other, and sometimes I add a few slices of banana.

It’s simple. It’s delicious.

As I was contemplating how universally popular this combination is, I wondered how these flavors might taste if they were elevated to an elegant dessert. This tart turned out to be one of the best desserts I’ve made in quite a while. I shared it with friends, and it was gobbled up immediately. Since I’ve often found Nutella to be rather rich and a bit too sweet, I lightened it up for the filling by making it fluffier. The peanut butter cookie crust is perfectly buttery and so easy to put together, while the bananas on top are just enough to not overpower the other flavors.

I already can’t wait to make this tart again. Next time, for a fancier presentation, I might brulee the banana slices 10 minutes before serving the tart; however, this dessert, as it stands, is still elegant and delicious.

Peanut Butter, Nutella and Banana Tart
Makes 1 9-inch tart
Courtesy of Amrita Rawat

Crust (recipe follows)
8 oz. Nutella
1 Tbsp. butter, room temperature
¾ cup heavy cream
3 oz. cream cheese plus additional as desired
1 banana, sliced into rounds
Pinch sea salt

• First, make the crust (recipe follows).
• While the crust is cooling, beat the Nutella, butter, heavy cream and cream cheese together until smooth. You may add more cream according to taste.
• Spread the filling into the cooled crust.
• Sprinkle sea salt over the top of the tart.
• Decorate with freshly sliced bananas just before serving.
• Serve chilled and store in the fridge for up to 3 days (if it manages to last that long!).

Peanut Butter, Nutella and Banana Tart Crust
Makes one 9-inch crust
Adapted by Amrita Rawat from a recipe originally published in The Pie and Pastry Bible

¼ cup brown sugar
2 Tbsp. powdered sugar
4 Tbsp. butter, room temperature
½ cup smooth peanut butter
½ large egg (beaten lightly, weighing 25 grams or 0.8 ounces)*
½ cup all-purpose flour
½ tsp. baking soda
Pinch salt
½ tsp. vanilla

• Spray a 9-inch tart pan with non-stick spray and set aside.
• In a clean bowl, beat the sugars with the butter. Then add the peanut butter and the egg and beat well.
• Stir in the rest of the ingredients and combine until smooth. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
• Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
• Press the dough into the tart pan.
• Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until golden brown.
• Use the bottom of a glass to press the dough down if it puffs up.
• Let cool completely.

* If you don’t have a scale or want to measure out half of an egg, double the recipe and make 2 tarts or make cookies with the rest of the dough. I promise, you won’t regret it.

Come see Amrita in all her baking glory every Saturday at the Tower Grove Farmers Market, from 8 a.m. to noon, where she sells her famous macarons as well as macaron ice cream sandwiches with homemade ice cream, mini cakes and other sweet treats. 

The Scoop: Now open and coming soon

Monday, September 24th, 2012

Back in January, Jamie and Steve Komorek announced that they would be opening a sister restaurant in West County to their Trattoria Marcella in Lindenwood Park at 3600 Watson Road. The wait is over; Marcella’s Mia Sorella is now up and running, as reported by the Riverfront Times. The new restaurant in Ballwin, located at 14426 Clayton Road, is currently only serving dinner, but lunch service is coming soon.

Korean barbecue will soon be available in The Loop. This past Saturday Seoul Taco announced via a tweet that there will a soft opening at its new brick-and-mortar location at 571 Melville Ave., next Saturday, Sept. 29. The opening will be for lunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Capitalist Pig, a new barbecue restaurant that The Scoop reported about in late June, is slated to open on Wednesday, Oct. 10. The eatery, located at Mad Art Gallery at 1201 Lynch St., in Soulard, is a project by Ron Buechele, who also owns the gallery. Capitalist Pig calls itself a “sustainable barbecue restaurant,” focusing on supporting local farmers; procuring humanely raised, hormone-free pork, beef and chicken; recycling; and composting.

Drink This Weekend Edition: Savoring the spirit of Oaxaca

Friday, September 21st, 2012

It was a happy moment when Chris Stevens of Craft Distillers sent word that Alipús mezcal was headed to St. Louis. Craft Distillers represents brands like Germain Robin, Maison Surrenne and Los Nahuales whose spirits are made through time-honored, hand-crafted, small-batch distillation methods. So I was anxious to try the newest import.

The trio of Alipús mezcals – San Andres, San Baltazar and San Juan del Rio – hail from the Mexican state of Oaxaca, which is the heart of mezcal country. Production is similar for all three mezcals: Agave is wood-roasted in palenques; juice is extracted via stone-milling; and fermentation occurs with native yeasts in open wooden vats. In addition, all three Alipús spirits are double-distilled in wood-fired, copper pot stills. But each mezcal shows marks of distinction, too, from the villages where the distillers work to the types of vats they use and the terroir of their agave.

San Andres (pink label), my favorite of the three, is fermented in cypress vats. It has an appealing floral aroma and fruity flavor that, to my palate, tones down the mezcal’s smoky character. San Juan del Rio (black label), fermented in oak, is the smokiest of the bunch. Those who enjoy peaty, smoky scotch may find the San Juan del Rio to be a kindred spirit. The pine-fermented San Baltazar (purple label) offers a round mouth feel with notes of sugar cane, smoke and an earthy spice. All three mezcals are sold at The Wine & Cheese Place (Clayton and Ballwin locations) and Parker’s Table for $39 a bottle.

An excellent mezcal can be savored on its own, but if you’re of the mindset to mix with it, try making an Oaxacan drink called Donají. The cocktail is simply a shaken combination of mezcal, citrus juices and agave nectar served over ice in a salt-rimmed glass, but the drink can get funky with rimmings (salt mixed with crushed, dried grasshopper) and garnishes (fresh pomegranate seeds, lime wheels and lemon leaf). Here, we created a minimalist recipe for the basic bar, without losing the sweet and tangy citrus notes and the funk of smoky mezcal. If pomegranates were in season, we’d toss in a few seeds, but we won’t leave out the fiery chile-salt rim regardless of the time of year. (Tequila drinkers will notice that the Donají Pronto calls for the same trio of liquids as a Tequila Sunrise. The difference: This version calls for mezcal, it isn’t built in the glass and it has a salt rim.)

Donají Pronto
1 Serving

Chile powder, for rimming
Coarse salt, for rimming
2 orange slices
1½ oz. Alipús San Andres mezcal
1½ oz. fresh orange juice
¼ oz. grenadine

• Combine a few pinches of chile powder and coarse salt in a shallow bowl.
• Wipe the rim of an Old-Fashioned glass with one of the orange slices, then dip the glass in the bowl to rim it with the chile powder-salt mixture.
• Combine the mezcal, orange juice and grenadine in a shaker filled with ice. Shake and transfer to the glass.
• Garnish with an orange slice.

— Cocktail made by Eclipse’s Seth Wahlman

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