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Archive for January, 2016

Extra Sauce: In case you missed it…

Sunday, January 31st, 2016

From chef changes at The Scottish Arms to new eateries in Webster Groves, Midtown and Edwardsville, here’s a rundown of everything that went on last week in the STL food scene, ICYMI.




1. Chef Will Volny now leads the kitchen staff at Bixby’s, the restaurant located on the second floor of the Missouri History Museum operated by Butler’s Pantry.

2. Executive chef Carl Hazel fired his final ticket at The Scottish Arms on Wednesday, Jan. 27. He worked at the Central West End restaurant since 2007, having left in 2012 and returned again in 2013.




3. Webster Groves welcomed its newest restaurant when Olive & Oak fired up the burners Jan. 26 at 102 W. Lockwood Ave.

4. The tide has gone out for good as Coastal Bistro & Bar closed its doors Saturday, Jan. 23 after five years in business.




5. It was out with the arcade and in with asada when Catrinas opened at 1027 Century Drive in Edwardsville.

6. A longtime Maplewood bar and grill is closing to make way for a new gastropub. The Muddled Pig is set to open doors in mid-February in the space currently occupied by The Wood at 2733 Sutton Blvd




7. Pappo’s Pizzeria & Brew Co. opened doors in the former home of Six Row Brewing Co. in Midtown, serving up pizzas and house beer.




By the Book: “Mastering Pasta” by Marc Vetri

Friday, January 29th, 2016



A confession: I have never made pasta. I don’t own the fancy pasta roller attachment for my mixer; I don’t even have the one that attaches to the countertop. So I was in a tad over my head when I picked up Marc Vetri’s manifesto, Mastering Pasta: The Art and Practice of Handmade Pasta, Gnocchi and Risotto for this week’s By the Book. The first two chapters don’t even include recipes, just a meticulous scientific discussion of how complex combining wheat, egg and water really is.

I waded into the pasta-making pool with Pici Aglio E Olio, one of Vetri’s recipes that didn’t require a pasta roller. All I needed was bread flour, water, a touch of oil and elbow grease to churn out long ropes of pici. Though Vetri wanted noodles as long as 6 feet, my lack of counter space and coordination meant I halved the pasta dough and went for 3-foot-long noodles instead. Fresh pasta takes only a few minutes to cook, and my noodles hopped from boiling water into olive oil spiked with garlic and anchovy-based fish sauce in less than five minutes.

The final dish was simple, yet oh-so rich with yard-long toothsome noodles coated in a golden, pungent sauce. Don’t skimp on quality ingredients here; good olive oil and quality fish sauce are the primary flavors, so get what you pay for. Vetri’s recipe is almost overly detailed, but as a pasta novice, I appreciated the attention to technique. Without such specific instructions, I doubt my dish would have been as successful. Maybe it’s time to buy that countertop pasta roller after all.

Skill level: Intermediate to advanced cooks
This book is for: People with an Aziz Ansari-level of love for pasta and are prepared for complex sauce recipes, too.
Other recipes to try: Heirloom tomato and burrata lasagna, potato gnocchi with corn crema and corn salad
The verdict: After much debate, the reigning champ was dethroned. Mastering Pasta takes the crown.




Pici Aglio E Olio
4 servings

1 lb. pici dough (recipe follows)
1 cup plus 1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
Semolina or cornmeal for dusting
10 cloves garlic, cut into matchsticks
1-2 tsp. red pepper flakes
3-4 Tbsp. garum or good-quality Asian fish sauce
1½ Tbsp. chopped mixed herb (parsley, oregano and thyme are nice)

• Roll out the dough on a lightly floured work surface about 1/8-inch thick and about 18 inches square. Rub the surface of the dough with about 1 tablespoon of the oil, coating it evenly. The oil enriches the dough and keeps it from drying out as you work.
• Pour a pile of semolina or cornmeal near the corner of the work surface. Cut the dough square into strips ¾-to 1-inch wide. Starting at one end of a strip, use the heel of your palm to roll the strip gently back and forth on the work surface, stretching it lengthwise until forms a rope about ¼ inch in diameter. If necessary, rub a little water on the work surface to help the rope stick and roll more easily. As you roll, set the shaped portion of the rope into the semolina or cornmeal pile to prevent it from sticking to itself. You should end up with a rope 5 to 6 feet long in the pile of semolina or cornmeal. Pick up one end of the rope, drape it around a finger, and then continue to drape the entire rope around your fingers. Place the rope in parallel lines on a rimmed baking sheet dusted with semolina or cornmeal. Repeat with the remaining dough. Use the pici immediately or cover them and let them stand at room temperature for up to 2 hours. You can also freeze them in a single layer, transfer them to a zipper-lock bag, and freeze them for up to 1 month. Take the pasta straight from the freezer to the boiling pasta water.
• Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Drop in the pici and cover the pot to quickly return the water to a boil. Cook the pasta until it is tender but still a little chewy when bitten, 2 to 3 minutes.
• Meanwhile, heat the remaining 1 cup oil in a large, deep saute pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook it, stirring occasionally, until aromatic but not brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in 1 teaspoon of the pepper flakes and 3 tablespoons of the garum.
• Using tongs, drain the pasta by transferring it to the pan of sauce. Reserve the pasta water. Add 1¾ cups of the pasta water to the pan and stir vigorously over medium-high heat until the sauce reduces slightly, gets creamy, and coats the pasta, 2 to 3 minutes. Keep the pasta moving until the pasta and sauce become one thing in the pan. Taste it, adding more pepper flakes and garum until it tastes good to you. Stir in the herbs.
• Dish out the pasta onto warmed plates.

Pici Dough
1 pound

2¼ cups bread flour (11.5 percent protein), plus more for dusting
1 Tbsp. olive oil
¼ cup water, or more if needed

• Sift flour into a bowl. Mix in the oil and water with a fork or spoon until the dough comes together. It will look raggy at first; continue adding water by the tablespoon until the dough can be gathered into a ball. You may need to add up to 5 tablespoons more water, depending on the humidity in the room.
• Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead it until it feels soft and smooth, about 3 minutes. Cover the dough and let it rest so it can relax, at least 5 minutes or up to 1 hour. Or wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate it for up to 3 days.

Reprinted with permission from 10 Speed Press


The Scoop: Chef Carl Hazel leaves The Scottish Arms

Friday, January 29th, 2016




Executive chef Carl Hazel fired his final ticket at The Scottish Arms on Wednesday, Jan. 27. He worked at the Central West End restaurant since 2007, having left in 2012 and returned again in 2013. Hazel said he was grateful for his years at the Scottish pub, but it was time for a change. “It was time for me to explore something different,” he said. “This past year, we have had significant growth and had things dialed in. It’s time for me to find something else to put my effort into.”

Hazel said he appreciated the opportunity to be creative in the kitchen. “I was fortunate to have some of the best eaters in the city,” he said. “They were adventurous and willing to try anything I was willing to prepare for them. It allowed me to grow as a chef. I am grateful to (owner) Ally (Nisbet) and the guests.”

Hazel is still working on his future plans and is considering a return to a consulting work, which he had previously done with restaurants outside of St. Louis, including a bed and breakfast in the Farmington area.

In Hazel’s absence, Nisbet said the team at The Scottish Arms is strong and will step up and work together until Hazel’s replacement is named. “(Carl and I) have been together a long time,” Nisbet said. “I have nothing but respect for him. He’s incredible, and I know Carl will go on to do great things.”





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

Friday, January 29th, 2016

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First Look: Pappo’s Pizzeria & Brew Co. in Midtown

Friday, January 29th, 2016



Beer is fermenting again at the former Six Row Brewing Co., space in Midtown – and it’s served with fresh pizzas. As The Scoop reported in August 2015, Pappo’s Pizzeria announced the opening of its third Missouri location at 3690 Forest Park Ave., and doors open today, Jan. 29.

Owner Chris “Pappo” Galloway recruited former Six Row brewmaster Evan Hiatt to return to the kettle, creating Pappo’s house beers for the St. Louis location that will also be distributed to the Springfield and Osage Beach locations. Eight house brews are currently on tap; look for approachable, low-ABV options like the 4.7 percent Fun in the Sun witbier or the robust, cinnamon-inflected Phat Ash Stout poured on draft or nitro. Another 10 taps are available for national craft beers.

The St. Louis location features the same menu as Pappo’s other two eateries, including appetizers that take advantage of the restaurant’s ripping hot stone pizza oven like oven baked wings and house-made breadsticks. Twenty-four specialty pizzas range from German-inspired sausage and sauerkraut to a pie topped with house-made apple bourbon pulled pork. Customers can also customize their pizzas with dozens of cheeses, meats, veggies and sauces tossed atop a house-made, hand-tossed crust. Sandwiches, salads and calzones round out the menu.

In addition to dine-in service at the 70-seat eatery, Pappo’s will also offer carryout and currently delivers in a 1- to 2-mile radius. Pappo’s is open Monday to Friday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Here’s a first look at what’s inside Midtown’s newest restaurant and brewery:


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-photos by Meera Nagarajan


First Look: Catrinas in Edwardsville

Thursday, January 28th, 2016



It was out with the arcade and in with asada when Catrinas opened on Thursday, Jan. 21 at 1027 Century Drive in Edwardsville. As The Scoop reported Monday, Jan. 26, Catrinas moved into the space formerly occupied by Unkle Munkey’s Coin Club after it closed doors in November 2015.

Co-owners Megan and Ana Becerril serve up Mexican-inspired fare that aims to go beyond the Tex-Mex chimichanga. Eight starters range from octopus salad with avocado toast to taquitos to corn and bean salsa and chips. The taco selection eschews ground beef or shredded chicken with offerings like a chicharrón and a pulled pork version with habanero onion slaw. Hungrier diners can choose from nearly a dozen platters featuring chicken, pork, beef and fish, as well as a vegetarian option.

Margaritas made with house-squeezed juice feature Tres Agaves tequila with additional flavors like strawberry-habanero available on Margarita Mondays. Catrinas is open Monday, Wednesday and Thursday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Tuesday, Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Here’s what to expect when you step inside Edwardsville’s newest eatery:


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-photos by Michelle Volansky 



The Scoop: Bixby’s brings on new chef, Will Volny

Wednesday, January 27th, 2016



Spring promises a fresh start and fresh ingredients, especially for chef Will Volny. Volny now leads the kitchen staff at Bixby’s, the restaurant located on the second floor of the Missouri History Museum operated by Butler’s Pantry.

Butler’s Pantry president Richard Nix Jr. said Volny came on board in mid-January after chef Corey Ellsworth left to spend more time with his family. After impressing Butler’s Pantry chef Chuck Friedhoff with his tweaks to the winter menu, Volny has started putting together the menu for spring — light fare that fits the Bixby’s brunch and lunch service.

“Will is going to be a great fit for our kitchen with his experience and love of locally sourced food,” Nix said.

Nix said Bixby’s is known for locally sourcing its produce, and Volny will seek out local cheeses and meats, as well. As a former sous chef at The Libertine and an apprentice at Truffles‘ Butchery, Nix said Volny is a seasoned butcher with a love for charcuterie. The spring menu will reflect that interest with a Bixby’s BLT featuring house-smoked bacon. Bixby’s Vegetable Tart will also be making a comeback with seasonal flavors, as well as a salad featuring local produce from Such & Such Farms. Look for the new menu items to debut around April.

-photo courtesy of Missouri History Museum 

Baked: Fudgy Banana Muffins

Wednesday, January 27th, 2016



When you have ripe bananas, you can toss them in your next smoothie, or you can make a sweet dessert. Baked goods made with bananas are a great compromise. The fruit’s moisture means you don’t need oil or butter, and its natural sweetness means you can reduce the sugar. The double-dose of cocoa powder and chocolate chips creates a fudgy texture with a strong banana flavor. It’s a great way to use up ripe fruit and indulge in a dessert that won’t break a healthy diet. Enjoy and happy baking!

Fudgy Banana Muffins
Adapted from a recipe at Our Best Bites
1 dozen

3 large, extra-ripe bananas
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup Greek yogurt
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1/3 cup mini chocolate chips, plus more for sprinkling
½ tsp. kosher salt
¼ cup chopped pecans or other nuts

• Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with cupcake liners.
• In a large mixing bowl, smash the bananas. Stir in the sugar, yogurt, egg and vanilla extract until combined.
• Sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt into the wet ingredients. Use a rubber spatula to gently fold in the dry ingredients until combined, then add the chocolate chips and pecans.
• Fill the cupcake liners evenly with the batter. Sprinkle the tops with the remaining chocolate chips and bake 15 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out with a few moist crumbs attached.
• Let cool a few minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.


Amrita Song is the owner and baker at Mila Sweets and blogs at Chai & Dumplings


Sneak Peek: Olive & Oak in Webster Groves

Tuesday, January 26th, 2016



Webster Groves welcomes its newest restaurant when Olive & Oak fires up the burners tonight, Jan. 26, at 102 W. Lockwood Ave. Having spent the past six months preparing, co-owners Mark Hinkle and Greg Ortyl, along with executive chef Jesse Mendica, are eager to share their food with the community at a grand opening this weekend.

As The Scoop reported in May 2015, Hinkle formerly worked in front-of-house management at Annie Gunn’s in Chesterfield. Inspired by that experience, the Olive & Oak wine list boasts more than 120 bottles with 20 available by the glass, while bar manager Chelsea Little’s cocktail menu offers light and bubbly options, as well as boozy libations and eight rotating local beer taps.

Executive chef Jesse Mendica also hails from Annie Gunn’s, where she served as executive sous chef for eight years. Her menu offerings include oysters and other pre-dinner seafood options, five appetizers and half a dozen soup and salad options. The entrees are almost evenly split between surf and turf dishes, including chicken options and two sharable dishes – a salt-roasted red snapper and a rib-eye. Meat-free options appear as entrees like a potpie filled with local mushrooms and cauliflower and a grilled pear and cheese sandwiches featuring Tulip Tree Trillium.

Here’s what to expect when you step inside Webster Groves’ newest eatery:


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-photos by Michelle Volansky 

The Scoop: Catrinas opens in Edwardsville

Tuesday, January 26th, 2016



Uncle Munkey’s Coin Club is out, and Catrinas is in at 1027 Century Drive in Edwardsville. Co-owners Megan and Ana Becerril both worked at Uncle Munkey’s owner Ryan O’Day other restaurant, Wang Gang, and decided to open their own place when Uncle Munkey’s shuttered in early November after a sale of the bar and arcade fell through. Wang Gang expanded into Unkle Munkey’s dining area, adding more seating, and Catrinas opened in the remaining space Thursday, Jan. 21.

“My husband’s side of the family is from Mexico,” Megan Becerril said. “We want to serve the food you’d find if you walked into a kitchen in rural Mexico.”

To that end, do not expect to see chimichangas, refried beans or seasoned ground beef on the menu. Catrinas offers a variety of tacos like carne asada and al pastor cooked to order on house-made tortillas. Also on the menu is a Bistecitos Criollos – a thick cut, 8-ounce steak topped with bell pepper sauce, tomatoes and a sunny side-up egg served with either mashed potatoes or Mexican rice.

The drink menu will feature beer, wine and margaritas made with Tres Agaves tequila and fresh juice, which diners can enjoy in the 70-seat dining room or in the 30-seat bar area. Plans are in the works for a patio as well. Catrinas is open for lunch and dinner service.


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