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Archive for June, 2015

The Scoop: Joanie’s Pizzeria changes hands

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015



{Joanie’s founder Joanie Spurgeon and new owner Jeff Schneider)


After 20 years, Joanie Spurgeon is passing the pizza pan to Jeff Schneider, an employee at the Soulard pizzeria for the last six years. Don’t expect radical changes, though – Schneider aims to freshen up some elements at Joanie’s while keeping true to its original concept.

“We’re looking to add a couple of seasonal salads,” Schneider said. “The menu will stay the same. We’ll just add some items to it. It can be more without affecting the core of Joanie’s.”

Schneider also looks forward to expanding the beer selection. So far, additions include Abita Grapefruit Harvest and 4 Hands Send Help, with some new rye whiskeys on the way.

The food menu will expand to include a pizza of the week, culled from recipes and ideas from the entire kitchen and service staff. Past specialty pizzas have included a double ham, Provel and garlic and the popular Thai pizza featuring chicken, peanut sauce and carrots.

Spurgeon and Schneider made the transition at the end of May, but Spurgeon is sticking around to help mentor Schneider and lend a hand when necessary.

“Jeff is a super guy,” Spurgeon said. “Everybody likes him. He’s a humble soul and never says a bad word about anybody. That’s how I am and that’s how I want Joanie’s to carry on.”

Lukas Wine & Spirits opens doors at new Ellisville location

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015




Lukas Liquor has a new home at 15678 Manchester Road in Ellisville, just half-mile from its old location. In January, Lukas Liquor owner Gary Bilder announced he would relocate his spirits, wine and beer shop from its old address at 15921 Manchester Road. Concurrent with the move, Bilder renamed the store Lukas Wine & Spirits.

“This is a 15-year evolution,” said Bilder. The bright and airy 31,000-square-foot space adds another 7,000 square feet compared to the former location. Although Lukas has not added a substantial number of new products, the shopping experience will be easier, with products easily located on spacious shelves. Those who can’t make up their mind can get quick guidance from a Lukas employee by pressing one of 10 call buttons located throughout the store.





Lukas’ extensive whiskey barrel program – hand-picked barrels bottled exclusively for the store – is a focal point near the front of the shop, while at the back, more than 30 coolers hold chilled beer. Also on the suds side, Lukas now boasts a keg list of 365 different beers and an expanded single bottle selection. All wines, except those from Spain and Italy, are now organized by varietal instead of geographic location.

With education as part of the Lukas mission, the store has added 17 learning centers, posters scattered throughout that provide information regarding the history, production and notable names behind some wines, beers and spirits.




Another highlight is a tasting bar. The eight-seat bar also features a handful of high-top tables and flat-screen TVs. The bar will offer wine by the glass or bottle, four draft beer options and whiskey pours of 35 to 40 rare whiskies. The tasting bar will also be the location for Lukas’ various classes and scheduled tastings.

-photos by Meera Nagarajan



The Scoop: Marc Rollins to take the reins at In Good Company

Monday, June 29th, 2015



{Diablitos Cantina}


As corporate chef Wil Pelly departs for smokier opportunities, Hendricks BBQ executive sous chef Marc Rollins will take over the In Good Company corporate kitchens July 1.

Rollins is a 15-year industry veteran who has manned every station in the kitchen from dishwasher on up, including time as sous chef at Hollywood Casino and Resort. Now he’ll head up the four restaurants with as many concepts under the In Good Company banner: Sanctuaria, Hendricks, Diablitos Cantina and Café Ventana.

“I’ve learned a lot during this last year working with Wil,” Rollins said. “My goal is to keep his concepts running while putting creativity in the people’s hands who are in the kitchens.”

As corporate chef, Rollins said he had to learn the business and communication skills required to oversee four different restaurants, something he looks forward to teaching others. “I’m excited to help people learn, whether from a cooking standpoint or a business standpoint,” he said. “I’m also looking forward to learning from the people under me who can further my knowledge as well.”

-photo by Ashley Gieseking

The Scoop: Chef Wil Pelly to helm Sugarfire downtown location

Monday, June 29th, 2015




Chef Wil Pelly is leaving his post as In Good Company’s corporate executive chef to join Sugarfire Smoke House. Pelly will helm culinary operations at the barbecue joint’s new location downtown at 605 Washington Ave., when it opens in September. His last day with In Good Company (which owns Sanctuaria, Hendricks BBQ, Diablitos Cantina and Café Ventana) is tomorrow, June 30. Pelly will start his training at Sugarfire’s St. Charles location.

Although he will learn the Sugarfire ways of barbecue, Pelly is no stranger to the smoker. In addition to his ’cue duties at Hendricks, he has participated in competitive barbecue contests, including the World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest at Memphis four years in a row. He also worked barbecue when he worked at Jake’s Steak on Laclede’s Landing.

Pelly will also flex his barbecue muscles at upcoming events. In August, he’ll represent St. Louis at the LuvLuv Festival in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, an annual barbecue fete organized by former Overlook Farms exec chef Tim Grandinetti. In November, he’ll participate in the World Food Championships in Kissimmee, Florida.

The opportunity arose last month when Sugarfire co-owner Dave Molina, Pelly’s close friend, approached him. Pelly has spent the last five years with In Good Company, starting as a prep cook at Sanctuaria and eventually overseeing culinary operations for all four eateries after chef Chris Lee departed in late 2012. “It’s time to move on and learn something new,” Pelly said.

-photo by Jonathan Gayman 

The Scoop: Two restaurants see changes on The Loop

Monday, June 29th, 2015



{Shrimp and grits at Cabana on the Loop}


Less than a year after opening, Cabana on the Loop is leaving its current home for a new, off-The-Loop location. Cabana will reopen July 15 at 8502 Olive St., in University City. Co-owner Wendell Bryant said the location was a better financial decision for their business. “I got a better deal on the lease, so we can be there for a longer time,” he said.

Cabana, which opened doors at 6100 Delmar Blvd., in October 2014, will feature the same Southern fare at breakfast, lunch and dinner.






As one restaurant leaves The Loop, another opens its doors. Gyro Grill officially opened June 10 at 6227 Delmar Blvd., which formerly housed Chubbies. The restaurant was originally located at 3801 Kingshighway Blvd. Owner Morad Jabar said he originally considered opening a second location but ultimately decided to relocate instead.

“(We) wanted to get the people who are looking for local names and businesses, not just franchises,” Jabar said. “We have people who have kept up with us through Facebook and followed us here from South City.”

Jabar opened Gyro Grill on Kingshighway five years ago, but closed its doors at the end of April to prepare for the new 1,000-square-foot location on The Loop. The menu features Jabar’s classic gyros and salads from the previous location, plus some new additions.

“The gyro itself is pretty much my swinging pendulum. I can go with a Middle Eastern or European gyro or make something more traditionally American,” Jabar said.



No-Sweat Summer: Corn on the Cone

Saturday, June 27th, 2015



It’s not a cookout without a big bite of buttery corn on the cob. Clementine’s Creamery captures that experience in its Summer Sweet Corn ice cream. Fresh corn is stripped from the cob, cooked and creamed using organic dairy, then blended into Clementine’s vanilla ice cream base. The high butterfat content and milky sweet corn create a luxurious treat that turns a classic grilling side dish into the dessert of summer.


-photo by Greg Ranells

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

Friday, June 26th, 2015

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





Kind of fitting that we just changed the cellar lights. ‪#LoveWins

Just ate at ‪@STLSouthern and it was so damn good! Nap time?




My Auburn Rams guys and my favorite restaurant guy! ‪@GRegRobinson79 ‪@TreMason ‪@PhoKingQui ‪#WarEagle

I am about to invent the triple old-fashioned. Because Molina.

FYI the Belgian Beauty ice cream ‪@ClementinesSTL, featuring ‪@PerennialBeer, is fantastic. I may have to purchase that in bulk.




Somebody told my dog he’d get a hot dog if he wore this. My other dog was thirsty. ‪#hotdogsnbeer

If I’m meeting ppl at dinner I like to arrive a solid 30 before them so I can have 4 drinks before they come and then say it’s my first


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


The Weekend Project: Tamales

Friday, June 26th, 2015




Tamales aren’t just a weekend project. They’re also an excellent party project. The best tamales I’ve had were when someone’s family prepared dozens to serve at weddings, baptisms and baby showers. You don’t need a special occasion to make a mountain of tamales, though. They refrigerate or freeze beautifully and can be popped into the steamer for a fast lunch or snack.

A traditional, portable Mexican meal, tamales consist of a meat or vegetable filling coated in masa de maiz, or ground corn dough. They are then wrapped in cornhusks, tied and steamed, cooking the dough and warming the filling inside. Forming the tamales can take a bit of practice, but after a few tries, you’ll have a system down in no time.




A quick note on masa: International and Mexican groceries have multiple types available. The coarse-ground varieties are designed for tamales, while the finer grinds are used to make tortillas. Be on the lookout for instant masa for tamales (sometimes called tamal flour), and if you decide to use regular masa instead, follow the package instructions.

We created two fillings for this project: pulled pork and black-eyed peas. Try them both or create your own with leftovers. Tamales are a great way to use up remnants from last night’s roast chicken, the odd vegetable or two in the crisper, or a lonely can of beans. Mix any prepared filling with a salsa to provide acid and salt and brighten up the mild, warm masa.

Gather a small group of those friends you’ve desperately needed to catch up with, soak a few cornhusks and start folding. After an hour or so of productive effort and some good gossip, fetch a few cold beverages and settle down to dinner.
The Shopping List*

1 lb. dried black-eyed peas
2 to 3 carrots
2 to 3 celery ribs
2 medium onions
13 cloves garlic
2 bay leaves
½ cup plus 2 Tbsp. chipotle pepper paste
1 banana pepper
2 to 3 limes
10 dried guajillo chiles
9 cloves roasted garlic (DIY here http://www.saucemagazine.com/blog/?p=33425 )
¼ tsp. ground cumin
½ tsp. dried oregano
2 lb. boneless pork shoulder
1/3 cup coarsely chopped cilantro
3 cups instant masa
1 cup bacon fat or lard
30 cornhusks
Queso fresco
Hot sauce

*This list assumes you have olive oil, baking powder, salt and pepper at hand in your kitchen. If not, you will need to purchase those items, too.

The Gameplan

Day 1Prepare masa. Soak black-eyed peas. Marinade pork butt.

Day 2: Make black-eyed pea filling. Roast pork shoulder. Fill and steam tamales.




Pulled Pork Filling
Makes 2 pounds

½ cup chipotle pepper paste
10 cloves garlic
½ cup olive oil
1/3 cup water
Juice of 1 lime
1 tsp. kosher salt
½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
2 lb. boneless pork shoulder
1/3 cup coarsely chopped cilantro

Day 1: In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the pepper paste and garlic until chopped. With the machine running, stream in the olive oil. Add the water, lime juice, salt and pepper and purée until it is smooth. Set aside.
• Use a sharp knife or meat tenderizer and pierce the pork shoulder all over. Place it inside a large zip-top bag and pour the marinade over the meat. Seal and turn the bag to completely coat the pork. Refrigerate several hours or overnight.
Day 2: Preheat the oven to 275 degrees. Place the pork sandwich in a large roasting pan and pour the marinade over it. Let rest 30 minutes at room temperature.
• Cover the meat with foil and roast 4 hours, until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the pork reaches 185 to 195 degrees and the meat pulls apart with a fork.
• Let rest until cool enough to handle. Use two forks to shred the meat and place in a large mixing bowl. Pour any remaining pan juices over the shredded meat. Add the cilantro, stir, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Leftover pulled pork will keep, refrigerated, up to 1 week.


Black-Eyed Pea Filling
Makes 3 cups

1 lb. dried black-eyed peas
1 cup roughly chopped carrots
2 to 3 celery ribs, cut into 3-inch pieces
1 medium onion, roughly chopped
3 cloves garlic
2 bay leaves
2 Tbsp. chipotle pepper paste or tomato paste
½ cup finely chopped banana pepper
1 cup Guajillo Sauce (recipe follows)
Zest of 1 lime
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Day 1: In a large stockpot, cover the black-eyed peas with 6 inches of water and soak overnight in the refrigerator.
Day 2: Drain and rinse the beans. Return them to the stockpot and cover with 2 to 3 inches of water. Add the carrots, celery, onion, garlic, bay leaves and chipotle pepper paste and stir gently. Bring the beans to boil over high heat, them reduce to medium and gently simmer 1 to 2 hours, until the beans are tender and have a creamy consistency. Skim off any foam using a slotted spoon.
• Drain the beans; remove and discard the vegetables and bay leaves. Let cool.
• In a large mixing bowl, stir together 3 cups black-eyed peas, the banana pepper, Guajillo Sauce and lime zest. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
• Any leftover beans can be stored, refrigerated, in their cooking liquid up to 1 week.





Guajillo pepper sauce
Makes 1 cup

10 dried guajillo chiles
9 cloves roasted garlic (DIY here)
½ cup roughly chopped onion
Juice of ½ lime
1 tsp. kosher salt
½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
¼ tsp. ground cumin
½ tsp. dried Mexican oregano

Day 2: Bring 1 to 2 quarts of water to a boil over high heat. Place the dried chiles in a medium metal or glass mixing bowl, then cover with the boiling water, weighing the chiles down with a plate. Let the chiles rehydrate about 20 minutes, until softened and cool enough to handle.
• Remove the chiles and discard the water. Stem and seed the peppers and place them in the bowl of a food processor. Add the remaining ingredients and purée until smooth.
• Use a fine-mesh sieve to strain the sauce into a bowl. Discard any solids.




Makes about 3 cups

3 cups instant masa
1½ to 2 tsp. kosher salt
1½ tsp. baking powder
1 cup bacon fat or lard at room temperature
2 cups plus 2 to 3 Tbsp. water

Day 1: In a mixing bowl, stir together the masa, salt and baking powder. Add the bacon fat and mix until thoroughly combined. Drizzle the water in a little at a time until the dough is light and fluffy but holds its shape when pressed together like damp sand. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
Day 2: Fluff the dough a fork and add more water 1 tablespoon at a time until the dough holds its shape again.




20 to 24 tamales

30 cornhusks
3 to 4 cups Masa (recipe above)
Black-Eyed Pea Filling (recipe above)
Pulled Pork Filling (recipe above)
Queso fresco
Hot sauce and lime juice for serving

Day 2: In a large stockpot, bring 6 to 8 quarts of water to a boil.
• In a large mixing bowl, separate the cornhusks from each other. Pour the boiling water over the husks to cover, weighing them down with a plate. Rehydrate at least 1 hour.
• Remove several narrow husks and tear them into ¼-inch wide strips. Place them back in the water to keep them supple while wrapping the tamales.
• Remove 1 husk from the water and flatten it lengthwise on a clean work surface. Spread 2 to 3 tablespoons masa on the top half of the husk in a ¼-inch layer, leaving ¼ inch of space at the top and 1 inch on either side.
• Place 1 tablespoon Black-eyed Pea Filling or Pulled Pork Filling in a line down the center of the dough. Add a pinch of queso fresco.
• To wrap, use the left side of the cornhusk to roll the masa dough over on itself and seal the filling inside the dough. Do not roll the husk up inside the masa. Roll the right side of the cornhusk over the left and wrap tightly to create a tube. With the seam facing up, fold the bottom third of the cornhusk up over the filling. Secure the tamale with a double-knotted cornhusk tie or string.
• Repeat with the remaining cornhusks.
• Place a steamer basket in a large stockpot filled with 1 to 2 inches of hot water. Line the tamales open-side up in the steamer basket. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to low and steam 20 to 25 minutes, until the masa starts to pull away from the sides of the wrap.
• Serve the tamales with hot sauce and a squeeze of lime juice. Tamales will keep refrigerated up to 1 week.




-photos by Michelle Volansky 


The Scoop: Dave Bailey to open weekday lunch spot Shift, Test Kitchen & Take Out

Wednesday, June 24th, 2015




Restaurateur Dave Bailey is opening another eatery. Shift, Test Kitchen & Takeout will be a counter-service, carryout only spot at 311 N. 11th St., located next door to Bailey’s downtown brunch place, Rooster. Shift, slated to open in September, will offer lunch from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on weekdays.

As its name implies, the menu at Shift will change. “The idea is to use it as an incubator for the restaurants we’re going to be opening going forward,” Bailey said. The 650-square-foot space previously housed baking operations for his restaurants. That bakery has since relocated to the second Rooster location on South Grand Boulevard.

First up: barbecue, serving as a test run for the barbecue concept Bailey announced in April 2014. The still-unnamed 200-seat restaurant was slated to open in January at 1011 Olive St., that opening has been moved to spring 2016.

“We’re not going to focus on one regional style – Memphis or St. Louis, for example. We’ll be doing a worldwide representation of barbecue styles and hope for feedback so we can hone in on really good dishes to use at the barbecue restaurant,” he said.

Bailey said Shift will follow a credo of whole-animal cooking, butchering animals in-house. Look for a tight menu of five main dishes with one vegetarian option. Traditional barbecue sides, salads and pies will also be available.

Also still on the docket is the 45-seat rooftop bar Bailey announced with the barbecue restaurant, though no date is set for that opening.

Shift joins the family of Bailey’s restaurants, which include Baileys’ Range, Bridge Tap House & Wine Bar, Baileys’ Chocolate Bar, Small Batch, both locations of Rooster and The Fifth Wheel, a catering arm that also provides food service at 4 Hands Brewing Co.

Get an early taste of Shift when they smoke up some ’cue on Aug. 2 at the Schurcipefones Festival, which closes out St. Louis Craft Beer Week.


-photo by Jonathan Pollack 

The Scoop: Caravelli signs on at Butchery, Andrew takes over as head butcher, McDonald departs for Byrd & Barrel

Wednesday, June 24th, 2015



{Steven Caravelli}


Do the Truffles shuffle! A considerable role shift is underway at Truffles Butchery. The Ladue restaurant and meat market recently announced Steven Caravelli has assumed the executive chef-ship of Butchery in cooperation with Brandon Benack, executive chef of Truffles. Caravelli, who started at Butchery June 16, is most recently an alum of Cucina Pazzo; he also has helmed Tavern Kitchen, Pi, Gringo, Araka and Sleek.

“It’s kind of a new aspect right now. I’ve been calling myself a shopkeep,” Caravelli said. “I’ve got to know about wine, about all these prepared items we have in the case. I have to know about all the mustard and barbecue sauces we have. It’s almost like a grocery store. For me, it’s a very exciting … opportunity to learn.”

Caravelli said he hopes to expand Butchery’s catering and prepared foods program, particularly boxed lunches that will include house-prepared roast beef, ham and other deli meats. “I want to maintain the consistency and quality of the place,” he said. “We pride ourselves on catering to the neighborhood. We’re trying to figure out what the neighborhood wants and what the neighborhood eats and make more of that.”




{Tommy Andrew}


While Caravelli will oversee much of the management duties both in the kitchen and in Butchery’s retail section, butcher Tommy Andrew – a member of this year’s Sauce’s Ones to Watch class – will fill the sous chef and head butcher positions. Caravelli and Andrew previously worked together at Gringo. “(Tommy’s) great at breaking down whole animals,” Caravelli said. “We work well together.”

While staying mostly mum on the details of his new role, Andrew said he is “definitely going to be stepping up a bit.” His promotion comes soon after the departure of Ryan McDonald, who left several weeks ago to be a chef at upcoming fried chicken eatery Byrd & Barrel, slated to open in July.




{Ryan McDonald} 


“To be honest, I missed cooking,” McDonald explained. “Butchering was awesome, running the shop was a lot of fun … but my love is in cooking. Me and Bob (Brazell, co-owner of Byrd & Barrel) have been good friends for years and years now, so it seemed like the right move.”

He also mentioned McDonald’s expertise with charcuterie, which he hopes to add to the Byrd & Barrel menu. “Ryan and I have been really close friends since Monarch,” Brazell said. “I want someone that I trust and is going to care about it as much as I do. Ryan’s one of the most talented chefs I’ve worked with. … (He’s) definitely going to be having a lot of influence.”

“Getting back, having fun, cooking really good food and keeping high expectations,” McDonald said. “That’s our main goal: to cook good food for good people.”


-Caravelli and Andrew photos by Carmen Troesser; McDonald photo by Greg Rannells

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