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Archive for July, 2015

Drink This Weekend Edition: Caipirinhas, 2 ways

Friday, July 31st, 2015




I believe no home bar is complete without Brazil’s national spirit, cachaça. Unlike most rums made with molasses, cachaça is made with young sugar cane juice for an earthier, sour funkiness that is unmistakable. These flavors take beautifully to citrus, so it makes sense that Brazil’s national cocktail, the Caipirinha, is a simple mix of sugar and fresh lime. The recipe originates from an old apothecary remedy that called for lime, garlic and honey. Over time, rum was added and the garlic and honey were replaced with sugar to cut the lime’s acidity.

This cocktail is versatile, too. Don’t have limes? Try a cucumber or a more exotic fruit like cherimoya. You don’t even to use cachaça or rum; swap the spirit for vodka and you have a caipiroska. Try these recipes for a traditional Caipirinha and a riff on the classic with refreshing strawberry and cucumber – both perfect for a hot summer weekend.


1 serving

½ cup turbinado sugar
¼ cup water
1 lime, quartered, divided
2 oz. cachaça
1 oz. fresh lime juice

• Combine the sugar and water in a saucepot and heat until sugar is dissolved to make a simple syrup.
• Place 3 lime quarters and ½ ounce simple syrup in a cocktail shaker and muddle. Add cachaça and lime juice, fill with ice and shake a few seconds to combine. Strain into a rocks glass over fresh ice and garnish with muddled fruit and the remaining lime quarter.

Strawberry Cucumber Caipirinha
1 serving

½ cup turbinado sugar
¼ cup water
2 strawberries, stemmed
1 1-inch cucumber slice
1½ oz. cachaça
½ oz. fresh lime juice

• Combine the sugar and water in a saucepot and heat until sugar is dissolved to make a simple syrup.
• Place the strawberries, cucumber and ½ ounce simple syrup in a cocktail shaker and muddle. Add cachaça and lime juice, fill with ice and shake a few seconds to combine. Strain into a rocks glass over fresh ice and garnish with the muddled fruit.

Kyle Harlan is bar manager at Mission Taco Joint and a member of the St. Louis USBG chapter.

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

Friday, July 31st, 2015

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



Are there rules to Twister? because I am pretty sure we weren’t doing it right. ‪#TwistedTwister ‪@TheGinGirl

I need cake. I need a cake bat-signal. Hi, Batman? Bring me cake, pls.

When the whole office wants cookies and ‪@chelsysayshi magically appears with ‪@hotboxcookies seconds later.


People on my Twitter are all “I’m in line for rare beer!” and I’m all “I’m eating an ice cream cone in my car and wish I had tinted windows”





So honored to have the ‪#breadmonk ‪@FrDomGarramone stop by the shop today. Really a great gentleman.

Grilled cheese with pulled pork and Mac ‘n cheese.

If you’re watching the ‪@stlbeerweek Instagram, yes, I’m really doing all of this.


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

The Weekend Project: A Lebanese Feast

Thursday, July 30th, 2015



Since I was a little girl, I’ve spent part of the summer in Chatham, New Jersey. My cousins and I plotted journeys into New York City, escaped to the shore for day or just dangled from the front porch swing of my godparents’ vacation home planning our next adventure.

The Garden State is full of culinary delights: funnel cakes and fresh lemonade from the boardwalk, steamer clams from the fabled Berkeley Fish Market, my Aunt Cathy’s homemade granola or Uncle Ron’s chicken piccata. Upstate New Jersey is also home to the quintessential diner, and three years ago, a classic diner with a Lebanese twist opened in my home away from home: Aida’s Cozy Kitchen.

Owner Aida Hajjar opened just in time to help those without electricity and water after Hurricane Sandy. She has been kissing babies, pouring hot coffee, and baking fresh baklava and fig crescent cookies ever since. Traditional diner fare is served all day, but after 11 a.m., the shotgun-style space shines as a darling Lebanese restaurant.

The menu bursts with flavor, but the best dish by far is a plate of garlic bombs. Imagine a hot, cheesy potato fritter balanced by the bright lemon and garlic, all served on a bed of tangy Lebanese cole slaw. I was so inspired by this delicious appetizer that I adapted the recipe for the home cook and created an entire Lebanese feast to accompany it. Garlic bombs are the perfect starter, but pair them with seared lamb and a side dish and you have a spectacular meal. You could even try this recipe with leftover mashed potatoes and entertain a hungry crowd.




The Game Plan
Day 1: Assemble garlic bombs. Prepare beet salad. Prepare lamb chops.
Day 2: Fry garlic bombs. Make cole slaw. Sear lamb chops.

The Shopping List*
4 medium or 2 large russet potatoes
12 cloves roasted garlic (DIY here)
1 cup ricotta or labneh
1 cup grated Romano
1½ tsp. onion powder
1 egg
2 Tbsp. milk
1 cup breadcrumbs
7 medium beets
2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
4 sprigs thyme
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. finely chopped chives
1 tsp. minced fresh ginger
1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 lemon
8 cups thinly sliced cabbage
1 tsp. red pepper paste
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
2 sprigs fresh oregano
12 bone-in lamb chops

*This list assumes you have kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper, flour, vegetable, olive oil and sugar at hand in your kitchen. If not, you will need to purchase those, too.




Garlic Bombs
Adapted from a recipe by Aida Hajjar of Aida’s Cozy Kitchen
4 to 6 servings

4 medium or 2 large russet potatoes, peeled and diced into 1-inch pieces
12 cloves roasted garlic, puréed (DIY here)
1 cup ricotta or labneh
1 cup grated Romano
1½ tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. kosher salt, plus more to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
½ cup flour
1 egg
2 Tbsp. milk
1 cup breadcrumbs
Vegetable oil or lard, for frying

• Day 1: Place the potatoes in a medium pot. Fill with enough water to cover the potatoes by 1 inch. Partially cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Boil 20 minutes, until fork tender. Drain and place in a large mixing bowl.
• Use a potato masher or pastry cutter to mash the potatoes until smooth. Add the ricotta, Romano, onion powder, salt and pepper and mash until the texture is smooth and even. Taste and adjust seasoning.
• Prepare to dredge by pouring the flour in a shallow dish. In another dish, whisk the egg and milk together to create an egg wash. In a third dish, pour the breadcrumbs.
• Use your hands to form ¼ cup potato mixture into a ball. Gently roll the ball in the flour to lightly coat, then dip it in the egg wash, gently letting the excess drip off. Roll it in the breadcrumbs, shake off any excess, and place on a large plate. Repeat with the remaining potato mixture. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
• Day 2: Fill a deep cast-iron or heavy-bottomed skillet with 2 to 3 inches vegetable oil or lard. Warm over high heat until it reaches 350 degrees, then lower to medium, adjusting as necessary to maintain a consistent temperature. Working in batches of 4, fry the potato balls 1 to 2 minutes, until golden-brown all over and warm throughout. Remove and let drain on a paper towel-lined plate.
• Serve hot over a bed of Lebanese Cole Slaw (recipe follows).




Roasted Beet Salad
4 to 6 servings

7 medium beets, root and stem ends trimmed
5 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
2 tsp. kosher salt, divided
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
4 sprigs thyme
1 clove garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. finely chopped chives
1 tsp. minced fresh ginger
1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar

Day 1: Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Place a 2-foot long sheet of heavy-duty aluminum foil over a baking sheet.
• Place the beets in the center of the foil and evenly coat with 2 tablespoons olive oil, the apple cider vinegar, 1 teaspoon salt and pepper to taste. Scatter the thyme sprigs over the top and fold the foil into a tight packet.
• Roast 45 minutes, until the beets are fork tender. Unwrap and let cool enough to handle.
• Use a clean old dishtowel to rub the skins from the beets. Reserve 1 beet for the Lebanese Cole Slaw (recipe follows).
• Dice the remaining 6 beets into ¼-inch cubes and place in a large mixing bowl. Add the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil, the garlic, chives, ginger, balsamic vinegar, the remaining 1 teaspoon salt and pepper to taste. Toss, refrigerate until ready to serve.




Lebanese Cole Slaw
4 to 6 servings

8 cups thinly sliced cabbage
2 tsp. kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
1 tsp. red pepper paste
1 reserved Roasted Beet (recipe above)
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp. sugar
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Day 2: In a large mixing bowl, toss together the cabbage, salt and red pepper paste, then use your hands to massage the cabbage 3 to 5 minutes to soften.
• Crush the beet in your hands, adding the juice to the cabbage. Discard the crushed beet. Add the lemon juice, sugar and pepper and stir. Taste and adjust seasoning. Refrigerate until ready to serve.




Pan-Seared Lamb Chops
6 servings

2 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh oregano
1 tsp. kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
12 bone-in lamb chops
2 to 3 Tbsp. olive oil

Day 1: In a large shallow baking dish, combine the garlic, rosemary, oregano, salt and pepper. Coat the lamb chops in the herb mixture, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight.
Day 2: In a large, heavy-bottomed skillet, warm the olive oil over high heat until it ripples, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the lamb chops and sear 3 to 4 minutes on each side until browned. Flip and sear the other side 2 to 3 minutes. Let rest on a cutting board 5 minutes before servings.




-photos by Michelle Volansky 

Baked: Healthier Chocolate Cookies

Wednesday, July 29th, 2015



These cookies are a bit of a departure from my usual recipes. I don’t cook with artificial sugars or try to replace everything with a healthier alternative at the cost of flavor, so when I set out to make a not-as–bad-for-you cookie, I wanted something that still tasted like dessert.

The result: These cookies taste just as good as their decadent counterparts. Instead of butter or oil, I used cashew butter. The heart-healthy fats and boost in protein means it will fill you up much more than a traditional cookie.

I also replaced granulated white sugar with coconut sugar, which is sourced from coconut blossom trees but tastes nothing like coconut. This type of sugar burns quicker than regular sugar (that means a shorter baking time) and tastes slightly less sweet. And yes, there is a half-cup of chocolate chips in the recipe, but I use dark instead of milk or white chocolate for the added antioxidant benefits.

It’s hard to eat just one, but at least you can devour them with less guilt. Enjoy and happy baking!


Healthier Chocolate Cookies
Adapted from a Chelsea’s Messy Apron recipe
12 to 15 servings

1 cup unsalted cashew butter, room temperature
2/3 cup coconut sugar
1 large egg
4 Tbsp. dark cocoa powder
½ tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. baking soda
Pinch of kosher salt
½ cup dark chocolate chips

Ÿ• Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
• In a large bowl, stir together the cashew butter, coconut sugar and egg until combined. Stir in the cocoa powder, vanilla, baking soda and salt until combined, then add the chocolate chips and stir.
• Form 2 tablespoons dough into a ball and place 1 to 2 inches apart on the cookie sheet. Press the tops of each ball gently to flatten.
• Bake 6 to 8 minutes, then let cool on the cookie sheet. Cookies will become firmer as they cool.


Readers’ Choice 2015: Favorite Frozen Desserts – Ted Drewes

Wednesday, July 29th, 2015

A trip to Ted Drewes is a St. Louis tradition. Your favorite place for frozen desserts has been inverting bright yellow cups filled with thick, rich custard before handing them over to your greedy little fingers for decades. Single-topping concretes – Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, anyone? – are tried-and-true, and when you want to pile on the calories, Ted’s custard crew comes through with specialties like Hawaiian (pineapple, banana, coconut and macadamia nuts) and Cardinal Sin (cherries and hot fudge). With dozens of toppings and add-ons, the mixing and matching possibilities are endless. Here, six of our favorite concrete creations from this town’s beloved custard stand.


Clockwise from top left: Coconut, chocolate chips and almonds – Michelle Volansky, production designer | Oreos and cookie dough – Meera Nagarajan, art director | Hot fudge and raspberries – Rebecca Biundo, intern | Banana, marshmallow and hot fudge – Angie Rosenberg, account executive | Heath Bar, banana and hot fudge – Allyson Mace, publisher | Pretzels and chocolate chips – Catherine Klene, managing editor, digital

-photos by Jonathan Gayman 

The Scoop: St. Louis sommelier Brandon Kerne to depart Bar Italia for Texas

Wednesday, July 29th, 2015



Editor’s note: This post was updated at 5 p.m. July 30 to include comments from Bar Italia co-owner Mengesha Yohannes. 


When Brandon Kerne first took a job as a server after a brief stint at Monsanto, he was young and a little rudderless. Now, the industry greenhorn who blossomed into one of the most recognizable sommeliers in St. Louis is taking his talents to Houston’s Pappas Bros. Steakhouse.

Kerne announced Monday, July 27, that he is leaving his post as beverage director at Bar Italia for his new position as a sommelier on Sept. 1. “I have had the opportunity to work with some of the deepest, most exciting lists in town, and I have worked side by side with the best of the best in this city. I am very grateful,” he said via email.

Kerne began talks with Pappas Bros. Steakhouse in May, and the pieces soon fell into place. “Everything just made sense,” he said. “I am really pumped about tackling a 200-page wine list and returning to a list that covers the entirety of the wine world.”

Kerne, who has also worked with the wine programs at Olio, Elaia and 33 Wine Bar, developed an unorthodox system for Bar Italia’s wines that prioritized tasting notes and characteristics over the name and vintage of the wine itself. He is also among the handful of St. Louis sommeliers studying for the notoriously punishing master sommelier exam. Kerne said Pappas Bros. has graduated several master sommeliers, and he said the move to Houston was partly to continue preparation for the exam.

“I am actually moving directly into an apartment with two other advanced sommeliers (the certification tier immediately below master) in Houston,” he said.

Kerne acknowledged that leaving St. Louis behind will be bittersweet. “The Yohannes brothers are some of the most interesting, charismatic people I have worked for,” he said. “I’m still incredibly enthused about what we are accomplishing with my team at Bar Italia, and I look forward to watching them continue their growth from afar.”

Bar Italia co-owner Mengesha Yohannes said he was proud of his beverage director. “It’s not a loss, it’s a progression,” he said. “What (Brandon) does and what his cohorts do … is remarkably intense and dedicated. They are all ferocious. As soon as he got his advanced sommelier pin, it was clear this young man was headed places.”

Yohannes said he has a few replacements for Kerne in mind, but declined to name any specifically. For the moment, he’s hoping to continue Bar Italia’s run as a nucleus for top wine talent in St. Louis, even considering collaborative direction for the restaurant’s wine program.

-photo by Ashley Gieseking

The Scoop: Mission Taco Joint adds a food truck to its ranks

Wednesday, July 29th, 2015


Adam Tilford knows how to take a hint. Enough people asked the co-owner of Mission Taco Joint how to rent the restaurant’s food truck – and were surprised when he told them there wasn’t one – that he figured it was time to hit the road. The new Mission Taco Joint food truck debuted yesterday, July 28, at the restaurant’s Soulard location.

The Tilford Restaurant Group opened Cater Al Fresco commissary kitchen last summer, and the availability of the new food-preparation space also prompted the food truck’s launch. Tilford said he anticipates that much of the truck’s business will come from complementing the company’s catering services at events, while street vending will be secondary.

There’s no set menu, Tilford said, but expect to see favorites from Mission Taco Joint, including three or four tacos, plus possibly a torta or burrito option and carne asada fries.

The truck may also serve as a test kitchen. “Jason and the team can try out new tacos and ideas,” Tilford said, referring to his brother and co-owner, Jason Tilford. “You’ll see some surprises we might run in a month (in the restaurant).”

Follow the truck’s whereabouts on Twitter at @mtj_mobile and on Facebook.

Happy Hour Like a Boss – Part 4

Tuesday, July 28th, 2015

When the whistle blows at 5 p.m., there’s nothing like a strong drink to wash away the pains of the workday. You can find happy hours at any neighborhood bar and at watering holes near office buildings and factories. All of them will settle your fix for a cheap drink just fine, but a few get high marks – whether for the top-shelf drink selection, awesome food options or the duration of the deal. Our July issue features 22 places to unwind after work, whatever your reason for grabbing a seat at the bar.



{ Mango }

For an international happy hour: Mango Peruvian Cuisine
Happy hour: Mo. to Fri. – 3 to 6 p.m. and 9 to 11 p.m.

Crispy plantain chips and vibrant salsa verde land quickly on the table for a crunchy, satisfying start to this South American happy hour downtown. A generous glass of fruity and not-too-sweet sangria ($5) could tide you over, unless you opt for the equally economical pitcher ($15). Select local craft beers are available on draft ($3). Mango’s food menu offers seven small plates ($5 each). Among them, try the meaty Anticuchos Trio, three packed skewers of your choice of chicken, beef or tender, rich beef heart. Carb up with Bolas de Yuca, four deep-fried mashed yucca balls reminiscent of a hush puppy served with creamy, subtly spicy Huancaina dipping sauce. Better yet, make it a fiesta and order one of everything. – K.S.

For the late-night drinker: Sasha’s on Shaw
Happy hour: Sun. – 9 p.m. to midnight, Mon. to Sat. – 9 p.m. to 1 a.m.

Sasha’s inviting garden is full of people chatting away in the cool late-night air after a hard day’s work. Pita pizzas ($6), delicious and intense in their flavors, include toppings ranging from asparagus to olives. Every open bottle of wine is available by the glass, with pours discounted by 50 percent. With all these options at your disposal, try a few new wines with a friend. The crisp and balanced Vincent Mothe Chablis is especially enjoyable. Beer deals include discounts on cans of 4 Hands ($2.50). Inside, the great vibe continues with comfy couches, a bar, lovely tables, and a welcoming staff to make you feel at home. – B.W.



{ Soy-braised pork cheeks at Mike Shannon’s Steaks and Seafood }

For classy lushes: Mike Shannon’s Steaks and Seafood
Happy hour: Mon. to Fri. – 3 to 6 p.m., except during St. Louis Cardinals home games

Take a seat at the swanky bar or one of the nearby high-top tables, and prepare to eat like a king. All wines by the glass are half off ($3 to $10.50); sip on the 2013 Seaglass Sauvignon Blanc ($4), an easy-drinking dry white with notes of cantaloupe. As for the food, think elevated dishes on a discount; most appetizers are half price. Try the Cajun shrimp ($8), five plump seared shrimp swimming in a spicy caper cream sauce – ask for bread so you won’t waste that sauce. The crème de la crème are the soy-braised pork cheeks ($5), insanely tender meat served atop a silky celery root purée and garnished with a crunchy, sweet and spicy salad of green apple and jalapenos. When the bill comes, refrain from doing a happy dance. Stay classy, St. Louis. – M.N.

-Mango photo by Michelle Volansky, Mike Shannon’s photo by Carmen Trosser

Fall Internship Opportunity: Sauce Editorial Intern

Tuesday, July 28th, 2015



Attention journalism, communications and English students: Sauce Magazine is seeking Editorial Interns for Fall 2015. We need students with a passion for the St. Louis food scene who want to translate that love to print and online media.

As a Sauce editorial intern, you will:

-Assist Sauce editorial team with the production of the monthly print publication and daily online products. Duties include, but are not limited to, reporting, conducting interviews, fact checking, assisting with research for upcoming articles, etc.
-Attend occasional events and tastings with the Sauce editorial team, gaining real-world experience as a food journalist.
-Hone your reporting, writing and editing skills, hopefully resulting in published clips for use in future portfolios
-Perform other duties as assigned

The Sauce Editorial Intern must have:

-A passion for the St. Louis food scene and the written word
-A working knowledge of AP Style, grammar rules, Microsoft Office and Mac computer systems
-A working knowledge of various social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Storify, etc.)
-Experience conducting phone interviews and writing news articles for print/online publication
-A personable and professional attitude in online, phone and written communication
-The ability to manage his or her time efficiently; should be a self-starter.
-A reliable mode of transportation

This internship is unpaid and begins in mid-August. Scheduling is flexible, but the intern must be available at least eight to 10 hours a week. Interested applicants may submit a cover letter, resume and three to five writing clips to Catherine Klene, Managing Editor, Digital, at cklene@saucemagazine.com. All resumes must be submitted no later than Aug. 7. No calls, please.

-photo by Carmen Troesser

Meatless Monday: Mozzarella, Tomato and Farro Salad

Monday, July 27th, 2015



Who says quinoa should get all the attention? Farro is increasingly popular ancient grain that’s nutty, chewy and wonderfully versatile. Pair it with peak summer tomatoes,fresh basil, creamy mozzarella and briny Kalamata olives for This Mozzarella, Tomato and Farro Salad. It’s like taking a quick trip to Italy – and all you have to do is boil water. Get the recipe here.



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