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Archive for March, 2016

Sneak Peek: Shift, Test Kitchen & Take Out

Thursday, March 31st, 2016

 

Downtown STL will welcome Shift, Test Kitchen & Take Out when it opens to the public Tuesday, April 5. As The Scoop reported in June 2015, the newest concept in the Bailey’s family of restaurants will offer a rotating menu of carryout meals and sides.

The menu will feature a rotating selection of national and international barbecue selections for the foreseeable future. In addition to offering meals to go, Shift will also serve as a test kitchen for the Bailey family of restaurants, particularly the barbecue concept slated to open in 2017.

The menu will drop and introduce a couple of items per week, due in part to Bailey’s whole animal butchery program and selective, seasonal sourcing, as well as Shift’s experimental nature.

Meals are generally priced less than $10 with side dish options up to $6, and will be available for walk-in diners to start, but keep an eye out for online ordering in the future. Shift is located at 313 N. 11th St. in downtown, adjacent to Rooster and close to Bailey’s other downtown St. Louis establishments.

“I like downtown,” owner Dave Bailey said. “It’s a unique beast and there have been hard times, but lots of people live down here and we have some great regulars. Our restaurants have an accessible price point and we keep things fun and charming and are able to offer different types of food for different people at different times of the day.”

Shift will be open Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m.

-photos by Meera Nagarajan

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The Weekend Project: Creole Cassoulet

Thursday, March 31st, 2016

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The first time we made a cassoulet was for the reception at our twins’ baptism. They were our first children, and our family and godparents came over to celebrate. It was the perfect dish for a cold, wintery weekend, shared among family and celebrated with much wine. That was many years ago, when we were just getting our sea legs in the kitchen.

A dish rich in flavor and history, the cassoulet is a traditional Southern French dish where three separate villages, Castelnaudary, Carcassonne and Toulouse all make unique versions, and each profess to have the one true recipe. Each town argues whether mutton, pork, duck confit or partridge enter into this hearty white bean stew.

 

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A cassoulet always contains at least two different meats, and it slowly turns into a steaming, gelatinous casserole with a savory crust created thanks to the large surface area of the traditional ceramic cooking vessel. It was originally a peasant dish made using whatever meats were around (like sausages, confit duck legs or preserved pork), then adding stock, beans and aromatics. The cook would then tuck the dish on the cooler side of the bread oven and let it slowly simmer away.

For this Creole-inspired version, we opted for black-eyed peas, homemade chicken andouille, pork belly and confit chicken legs, but feel free to substitute any of your favorite meats, sausages, etc. The essence of a true cassoulet is a patient cook who knows how to let the subtle flavors of a well-prepared piece of meat and good stock imbibe the humble bean to create a dish to warm friends and lead to a memorable evening.

 

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The Gameplan
Day 1: Soak the black-eyed peas and season the pork belly.
Day 2: Cook beans and assemble and cook the cassoulet.

The Shopping List*
1 lb. dried black-eyed peas
½ cup paprika
2 Tbsp. garlic powder
2 Tbsp. freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbsp. onion powder
1 Tbsp. dried thyme
1 Tbsp. dried oregano
1 Tbsp. dried basil
2 tsp. cayenne
½ Tbsp. sugar
½ tsp. red pepper flakes
½ lb. pork belly
4 skin-on chicken thighs
1 medium onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
2 whole carrots, peeled
2 whole ribs celery
1 sprig fresh thyme
1 quart chicken or blond stock
½ lb. chicken andouille sausage, chopped into bite-size pieces
1 bunch green onions, trimmed and diced, for garnish

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

 

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Creole Cassoulet
6 to 8 servings

1 lb. dried black-eyed peas
½ cup paprika
6 Tbsp. kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
2 Tbsp. garlic powder
2 Tbsp. freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbsp. onion powder
1 Tbsp. dried thyme
1 Tbsp. dried oregano
1 Tbsp. dried basil
2 tsp. cayenne
½ Tbsp. sugar
½ tsp. red pepper flakes
½ lb. pork belly
4 chicken thighs, skin on
Freshly ground black pepper
1 to 2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
2 whole carrots, peeled
2 whole celery ribs
1 sprig fresh thyme
1 quart chicken or blond stock
½ lb. chicken andouille sausage, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 bunch green onion, trimmed and diced, for garnish

• Day 1: Pour the black-eyed peas into a large pot, fill with water and cover. Let soak 12 hours in the refrigerator or a cool place.
• Make a creole spice mix by combining the paprika, 6 tablespoons salt, garlic powder, pepper, onion powder, thyme, oregano, basil, cayenne, sugar and red pepper flakes together in a non-reactive bowl. Reserve ¼ cup; store the remaining spice mix in an airtight container.
• Cut the pork belly into bite-sized pieces and place a mixing bowl. Cover with ¼ cup creole spice rub and toss to coat. Place the pork belly in a zip-top bag and refrigerate overnight.

• Day 2: Liberally season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper. Let rest 20 minutes.
• Meanwhile, in a large ovenproof saucepan or enameled cast-iron pot, warm the olive oil over medium heat. Add the pork belly and cook, turning occasionally, until brown on all sides. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
• Raise the heat to high and add the chicken thighs skin-side down. Cook 7 to 8 minutes, until the chicken is browned and the skin is crispy. Flip and brown the other side, 5 to 6 minutes. Remove and set aside.
• Add the onion and 1 tablespoon salt and stir, scraping up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Saute 3 to 5 minutes, then add the garlic and stir 1 minute, until the garlic takes on a pale color.
• Drain the black-eyed peas. Pour them into the pan, stirring to scrape up any remaining brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the bay leaf, carrots, celery and thyme. Add the stock and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low and simmer 40 to 45 minutes, until just tender.
• Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
• Remove the bay leaf, carrots, celery and thyme and discard. Add the pork belly, chicken thighs and andouille to the pan. Bake 1 hour, until a gelatinous brown crust forms on top.
• Garnish with green onion before serving.
-photo by Michelle Volansky

The Scoop: Scarlett’s Wine Bar to open in the Central West End

Wednesday, March 30th, 2016

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Sasha’s Wine Bar and Sasha’s on Shaw are getting a little sister when Scarlett’s Wine Bar opens at 4253 Laclede Ave., later this spring.

“We wanted to play off the Sasha’s name, but we didn’t just want to stamp out a bunch of Sasha’s,” said co-owner Rachel Jones.

Located in the Central West End, the wine bar will also offer cocktails, spirits and beer. Scarlett’s will be open for lunch and dinner service in addition to being a nightlife spot. Wood-fired pizzas will be among the menu as will cheese plates and charcuterie with other items still in development.

The dining room will allow 50 customers to dine and drink under the salvaged tin ceiling, with an additional 20 able to enjoy the front patio and additional seats available on a back patio.

First Look: Weber Grill Restaurant in Brentwood

Wednesday, March 30th, 2016

Weber Grill Restaurant quietly opened this week in a corner of the Saint Louis Galleria in Brentwood. As The Scoop reported in April 2015, this is the fifth location, and the only Weber Grill Restaurant connected to a Weber Grill Academy.

The main dining room seats around 185 with an additional 200 seats outside on the patio and 65 available in the Grill Academy. The Academy can be rented out for private parties and corporate events, but it will also offer public grilling classes beginning in April with themes ranging from Springtime in Paris to Steaks 101. It will also host chef’s tasting dinners and grill master dinners that executive chef Tim Eagan described as pop-ups with unique menus.

The restaurant’s broad menu is united by a focus on fire – everything from steaks and cheeseburgers to salads and pizzas make contact with charcoal grills. Enormous custom-made kettle grills can be seen in the kitchen, half turned toward diners for better visibility. The core menu is consistent with other Weber locations, but it will feature dishes developed by Eagan and the local kitchen for St. Louis customers.

Along with a sizable wine list, the bar offers more than a dozen drafts featuring craft brews from local and national favorites like Urban Chestnut and Bell’s Brewing, as well as an eponymous Weber’s Backyard Brew made for the restaurant by Schlafly.

After a grand opening on April 4, Weber Grill Restaurant will be open Monday to Thursday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Saturday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., with plans to add brunch starting at 10 a.m. on weekends beginning April 17.

Here’s a first look at what to expect when Weber Grill Restaurant fires thing up.

 

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-photos by Meera Nagarajan

 

Just Five: Madras Egg Salad

Wednesday, March 30th, 2016

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It’s that time of year when people divide themselves into two camps: those who are grossed out by a sudden surplus of hard-boiled eggs and those who celebrate it. I myself am a card-carrying member of Camp Celebration. I love hard-boiled eggs sliced up and thrown into salads, eaten for breakfast with a little hot sauce, or made into just about any kind of egg salad. This mustard-free version adds mango chutney and garam masala for a slightly sweet, Indian-inspired take on the classic. I included instructions for the perfect hard-boiled egg in case you didn’t get around to it (or failed miserably on your first try), but for those of you with eggs to burn, it’s as simple as peel, chop and stir. To gild the lily, serve this on thin slices of radish.

 

Madras Egg Salad
4 servings

6 eggs
4 Tbsp. mayonnaise
3 Tbsp. minced green onions
2 Tbsp. mango chutney
1 tsp. garam masala

• Place the eggs in a large pot and cover with 1 inch cold water. Bring to a boil over medium-high, then immediately cover and remove from heat. Let rest 10 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare an ice bath. Plunge eggs into ice water and let rest until cool.
• To easily shell hard-boiled eggs, place 1 egg in a small glass or mug, fill halfway with water, cover with 1 hand and shake vigorously over a sink to crack the shell. Peel the shell away, and repeat with the remaining eggs.
• Roughly chop the eggs, then add them to a large mixing bowl. Add the remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

The Scoop: Seoul Taco to open in Chicago

Tuesday, March 29th, 2016

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Northward expansion continues for Seoul Taco, as owner David Choi announced he’ll open a fourth location of the Korean-Mexican fast casual restaurant at 738 N. Clark St., in Chicago’s trendy, art-centric River North neighborhood.

“The River North neighborhood is a vibrant neighborhood,” Choi said. “People are moving back into that area, and we found a spot that I fell in love with.”

Choi said he hopes to open the 80-seat restaurant at the end of May, and its menu will feature the familiar tacos, bowls, burritos, quesadillas and nachos currently available at the other locations in St. Louis, Columbia, Missouri and Champaign, Illinois.

Choi has no immediate plans to open a fifth location, nor does he rule it out. “Things have been coming in waves,” he said. “If an opportunity comes, I’ll always look into it.”

For the moment, the search for a new location for Seoul Q is on hold, but Choi said he plans to resume the hunt after getting the Chicago location up and running.

Choi is not the only former food truck-only establishment heading north. Guerrilla Street Food is also on the hunt for a brick-and-mortar location in Chicago.

-photo by Michelle Volansky 

 

Meatless Monday: Leeks Vinaigrette

Monday, March 28th, 2016

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Make a dent in that mountain of colorful hard-boiled eggs with Leeks Vinaigrette. Simmer the trimmed leeks in water, then marinate them in a vinaigrette of Dijon mustard, red wine vinegar and fresh tarragon. Before serving, cover in chopped hard-boiled egg for a decadent finish to this simple dish. Click here for the recipe.

 

 

The Scoop: Confluence Kombucha coming to the Grove

Monday, March 28th, 2016

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Fermentation fans and kombucha imbibers will have a new place to get their fix when Confluence Kombucha opens at 4507 Manchester Road in early May. Co-owner William Pauley plans to open brewery, tasting room and cafe serving his kombucha recipes and mostly vegan and raw foods.

“It’s a great spot for a tasting room,” said Pauley. “We’re right next to Urban Chestnut’s Research Brewery and will share a patio.”

Pauley has brewed the fermented tea since 2009 after a bout with ulcers, serving it mainly to family and friends. By 2015, his brews were in some restaurants in town including Lulu’s Local Eatery and PuraVegan. On draft and available for carry out in mason jars or growlers, Pauley will offer flagship flavors like pineapple turmeric, hibiscus with juniper and jasmine, golden beet with chamomile and cherry sarsaparilla.

The tasting room will seat 12 to 15 inside with additional seating on both a front and back patio and will be open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. during the week with extended evening hours on the weekends. Confluence Kombucha will open as a cafe first with kombucha following shortly.

 

-photo courtesy of The Grove STL Facebook page

Extra Sauce: In case you missed it…

Sunday, March 27th, 2016

From neon tiki drinks to new ownership in Maplewood, here’s what went down last week in the St. Louis restaurant scene.

 

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1. Pie Oh My! founder and owner Jane Callahan is passing the rolling pin to employee Melennie Lorence in a sale set to be finalized on March 31.

2. Restaurateur Dave Bailey continues to expand his strip of Locust Street downtown, announcing multiple projects, including another event space, Slate, at 1015 Locust St., this summer.

 

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3. Boozy, juicy and the ultimate exercise in escapism, tiki cocktails are appearing (and staying) on menus across town. Giving winter a defiant one-finger salute, Ben Bauer launched the Tiki Attack menu at The Libertine.

4. You can hit up just about any restaurant in St. Louis and have a beer with your food, but there are certain restaurants that bring craft beer to life. Here are seven places that take pints to the next level.

 

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5. Butter-free, healthy-ish chocolate chip cookies mean we’ll eat twice as many as we should.

 

Drink This Weekend Edition: Tiki time at The Libertine

Friday, March 25th, 2016

Boozy, juicy and the ultimate exercise in escapism, tiki cocktails are appearing (and staying) on menus across town. Giving winter a defiant one-finger salute, Ben Bauer at The Libertine launched the Tiki Attack menu in February.

Rum, mezcal and house-made infusions run through the menu in drinks ranging in flavor from sweet and juicy to dry and heady. With a dozen diverse choices, here are three tropical tipples to get you started.

 

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1. Angostura Phosphate: This slightly fizzy cocktail comes with a side that puts the pine in pineapple. A slice of the tropical fruit compressed with rosemary complements the spicy nose, sweet, juicy and lightly herbaceous drink that ends with a pleasantly dry, tropical finish.

 

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2. A Study of Madness in Blue: For this happy libation, Bauer swaps out gin for rum then adds house made blue curacao and fresh pineapple juice, then floats a dash of merlot on top, resulting in an herbaceous, sweet and tart sip that is pleasantly acidic yet not astringent.

3. Kerouac’s Idea of Moderation: Featuring soursop (a viscous, melon-strawberry flavored fruit juice), this juicy tiki starts with sweetness but finishes clean, with a depth of flavor courtesy of wormwood bitters.

 

 

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