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Aug 18, 2017
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Archive for February, 2017

The Scoop: Lake Forest Chocolates storefront to close in March

Monday, February 27th, 2017

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Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate Co. is closing its Lake Forest Chocolates storefront at 7801 Clayton Road in Clayton. Co-owner and second-generation chocolatier Dan Abel, Jr. said the tentative closing date will be Saturday, March 11.

Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate bought the Lake Forest brand in 2009. At that time, production took up approximately 80 percent of the Clayton space, with the retail shop occupying the rest of the space. In 2012, the company moved production of Lake Forest confections to its newer facility on The Hill at 5025 Pattison Ave., and Abel said it has become cost-prohibitive to keep the storefront open.

“We’ve been looking at what to do for a few years, but since then we haven’t found a reason to have that extra space in the back,” Abel said. “It’s been sitting empty for five years, and with the lease coming up, we decided not to renew.”

Lake Forest products will still be available at all current retail locations.

Baked: Thai Red Curry Pizza

Monday, February 27th, 2017

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My husband and I love the red curry pizza at Thai Pizza on The Loop. It’s exactly what it sounds like: Thai curry on pizza crust, held together by lots of cheese. If you think this sounds unappetizing, well, you’re wrong.

I decided to attempt my own version of Thai pizza with a simple homemade red Thai curry spread on a pre-baked pizza crust and smothered with lots of cheddar and mozzarella. The result is an umami-packed pizza with sweet pineapple bites amid the savory red curry.

 

Thai Red Curry Pizza
2 to 4 servings

1 13.5-oz. can coconut milk
3 heaping Tbsp. red curry paste
1 8-oz. package frozen bell peppers or Asian vegetable blend
Handful chopped mushrooms
1 Tbsp. Red Boat fish sauce
1 cup shredded or chopped cooked chicken
Handful chopped cilantro
Handful fresh or frozen pineapple chunks
Handful chopped Thai basil
2-3 cups shredded cheddar and mozzarella blend
2 prebaked 10- to 12-inch pizza crusts
Handful chopped green onions

• Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
• In a large skillet over medium heat, whisk the coconut milk and red curry paste together until combined. Add the vegetables, mushrooms and fish sauce and simmer 10 minutes, until the sauce starts to reduce.
• Stir in the chicken, cilantro, pineapple and basil and simmer another 10 minutes, until the sauce has thickened and is no longer runny. Taste and adjust the flavors.
• Place the pizza crusts on a rimmed baking sheet. Evenly spread the curry atop each crust, then liberally cover each with cheese. Bake 20 minutes, until the cheese is melted and bubbling.
• Garnish with chopped green onions. Let cool slightly before slicing and serving.

 

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Just Five: Simplest Lamb Ragu

Friday, February 24th, 2017

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Winter Sunday morning. Slide feet into slippers. Put on coziest sweatshirt. Pour coffee. Sear lamb. Add sauce. Let simmer. Decide what to drink with dinner later. Serve next to a cozy fire.

 

Simplest Lamb Ragu
4 servings

1 lb. lamb stew meat
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 chopped shallots
1 Tbsp. Italian seasoning
1 24-oz. jar marinara sauce
1 cup water, plus more as needed
½ cup ricotta*

• Season the lamb with salt and pepper. Warm the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat until shimmering
• Add the lamb and sear on all sides, about 5 minutes. Add the shallots and Italian seasoning and stir until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
• Add the marinara sauce and water, cover and simmer on low heat 2 to 3 hours, adding more water if the ragu appears dry.
• Stir in the ricotta right before serving. Serve over cooked polenta, pasta or with rustic bread.

*Ricotta is salty; be judicious when salting the lamb.

Dee Ryan is a longtime contributor to Sauce Magazine and regularly pens Make This.

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DTWE: 6 STL coffee beers to drink this weekend

Friday, February 24th, 2017

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It’s that time of year again: Good Beer Hunting’s annual Uppers & Downers festival, a celebration of all things coffee beers. As I head back to Chicago to partake in this festival of my two favorite things, you should take an adventure down Manchester Avenue from Maplewood to The Mississippi and try the plethora of coffee beers available from some outstanding breweries.

Start your coffee beer exploit at Side Project Brewing. Nestled amongst the cozy walls of barreled funk, you’ll find Cory King and Co.’s newest project, Shared Brewing. Try a pour of Shared Coffee Shop Vibes: a rich, silky Russian Imperial stout that was finished on Colombian coffee beans from local roaster, Sump. It boasts loads of chocolate and coffee notes with a soft, underlying raisin character.

Next, walk east a few blocks to Schlafly Bottleworks for a quick Schlafly Coffee Stout (my favorite seasonal release coming out of St. Louis, but faithful readers knew that already) or the deliciously deceptive Double Bean Blonde Ale. Despite its yellow straw hue, it boasts aromas and flavors reminiscent of chocolate-covered coffee beans.

Continue down Manchester and into the The Hill neighborhood for a pit stop at 2nd Shift Brewing. This weekend, these cool cats debut Coffee Cat Spit Stout: a chewy oatmeal milk stout with the brightness and sweetness of Blueprint’s Peruvian Cajamarca cold toddy.

Finally, end your coffee beer journey at 4 Hands Brewing Co. with a Bonafide Imperial stout brewed with Edwardsville-based Goshen Bonafide coffee and vanilla beans or a Devil’s Invention, a coffee stout that’s crushable despite the 7.2-percent ABV. Get your buzz on this weekend.

 

Katie Herrera is tasting room manager at The Side Project Cellar and co-founder of Femme Ferment.

 

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Baked: Sriracha Crackers

Thursday, February 23rd, 2017

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Since I usually bake sweet cookies, I wanted to try my hand at savory crackers. The spicy Sriracha kick is nicely balanced with some coarse sugar sprinkled on top. It’s a simple, savory snack that’s great to have around when you’re feeling peckish.

 

Sriracha Crackers
Adapted from a recipe at The Fairy Kitchen
15 to 20 crackers

2 Tbsp. Sriracha
1 Tbsp. dark soy sauce
½ cup cream cheese
1/3 cup room-temperature salted butter
1 1/3 cup flour, plus more if needed
1 egg
1 Tbsp. coarse sugar

• Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
• Make the glaze by whisking together the Sriracha and soy sauce together in a small bowl. Set aside.
• In a large mixing bowl, combine the cream cheese and butter with a wooden spoon. Add the flour and the egg and stir to combine, then mix with your hands and form into a ball, adding more flour if the dough is too sticky.
• Transfer to a lightly floured work surface and flatten into a disc, then roll to ¼-inch thick.
• Use a cookie cutter to cut out desired shapes and place on the baking sheet, leaving about 1 inch between crackers. Bake 10 minutes.
• Brush each cracker with the Sriracha glaze and sprinkle with the sugar.
• Bake another 8 minutes, until the cracker bottoms are brown. Let cool completely on a wire rack to crisp before serving.

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The Scoop: Kevin Nashan to launch new food program at 4 Hands

Tuesday, February 21st, 2017

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{ brisket po’boy at Peacemaker Lobster & Crab Co. }

 

4 Hands Brewing Co. will debut a new food program at the brewery’s tasting room this Friday, Feb. 24, courtesy of chef Kevin Nashan.

The James Beard-nominated chef-owner of Sidney Street Cafe and Peacemaker Lobster & Crab created the menu with Peacemaker chef de cuisine, John Messbarger.

Most recently, Fifth Wheel Catering (owned by Baileys’ Restaurants) ran the 4 Hands food program. As The Scoop reported on Feb. 6, The Fifth Wheel left the brewery on Feb. 5 after five years in operation. Since then, Lemp has arranged a lineup of food trucks parked outside the brewery to feed hungry patrons.

Nashan and Messbarger’s menu features a variety of soups, snacks and sandwiches including beer cheese soup, smoked whitefish dip, a bratwurst braised in 4 Hands beer and a brisket po’boy. Nashan and Messbarger will also handle catering duties for events at 4 Hands.

4 Hands owner Kevin Lemp said he looked forward to teaming up with Nashan again after the two collaborated on a exclusive Peacemaker witbier. “I have such respect for Kevin and his team and everything they do,” Lemp said. “We thought this was a great way to work together again.” He said since Nashan’s Benton Park restaurants are near the brewery, they could be easily be used as commissaries.

Lemp said that Messbarger’s affinity for craft beer was also a plus. “He really understands what foods pair well with beers,” he said.

Nashan said the opportunity to work with Lemp was “a no-brainer.” “It’ll be beer pub food done our way,” he said. “It’ll be a lot of fun.”

Photo courtesy of Peacemaker

Extra Sauce: In case you missed it…

Monday, February 20th, 2017

From big accolades for St. Louis area chefs to new pizza places in Skinker Debaliviere, here’s what went down last week, ICYMI…

 

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1. The James Beard Foundation announced its 2017 restaurant and chef award semifinalists on Feb. 15. St. Louis’ recent run of recognition from the foundation continues, as five St. Louis chefs earned nominations for the esteemed culinary awards.

2. Clayton’s Wicked Greenz will soon open a new location in O’Fallon, Missouri and go mobile. Director of operations Matt Ratz said the company has purchased the former Shell’s Coastal Cuisine truck and will be taking its health-focused eating options on the road this spring.

 

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3. Washington, Missouri favorite The Blue Duck opened doors at its first St. Louis-area location Feb. 14 at 2661 Sutton Ave., in Maplewood.

4. Chefs around the country donated a portion of their revenues to support immigration organizations or closed their eateries entirely in support of A Day Without Immigrants on Feb. 16. Locally, a handful of area restaurants did the same.

 

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5. The new fast casual restaurant ‘Zza Pizza & Salad from the folks behind Pi Pizzeria is scheduled to open later this month at 282 N. Skinker Blvd., in the Skinker Debaliviere neighborhood.

 

 

 

 

Sneak Peek: ‘Zza Pizza & Salad in Skinker Debaliviere

Friday, February 17th, 2017

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The new fast casual restaurant ‘Zza Pizza & Salad from the folks behind Pi Pizzeria is scheduled to open later this month at 282 N. Skinker Blvd., in the Skinker Debaliviere neighborhood.

As The Scoop reported in November 2016, ‘Zza will focus exclusively on pizzas and salads, with an emphasis on quick service and quality ingredients. The single-serve, oblong pizzas are designed so each slice is an edge piece. The crust is a combination of pizza styles with the chew of Neapolitan and the structure of New York style.

Two beers will rotate on tap (Schlafly Kölsch and 4 Hands Incarnation IPA to start), wine and sodas from Blue Sky, and canned and bottled wine and beer will be offered. Approximately 45 seats will be available for guests who opt to eat in and enjoy the 1,600-square-foot space decorated with hand-painted art by the local artist Phil Jarvis.

There will be plenty of ways to order ahead of time, including ‘Zza’s website, Facebook page and a smartphone app, as well as via Yelp and Google. Washington University students can also use Bear Bucks to pay for their pizza. ‘Zza will be open daily from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Here’s a sneak peek of what’s in store at ‘Zza:

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

Photos by Meera Nagarajan

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The Scoop: Local restaurants participate, support A Day Without Immigrants protest

Thursday, February 16th, 2017

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{ from left, Nixta executive chef Tello Carreón and owner Ben Poremba } 

 

Across the country today, Feb. 16, people stayed home from work and school or did not shop or eat out in support of A Day Without Immigrants, a protest against current U.S. immigration policy. Participants meant to illustrate the importance of immigrants in American society.

Chefs around the country donated a portion of their revenues to support immigration organizations or closed their eateries entirely, like José Andrés in Washington D.C. and Rick Bayless in Chicago. Locally, a handful of area restaurants did the same.

Chef and restaurateur Ben Poremba decided to close Nixta, his new Mexican eatery, as reported by the Riverfront Times. Poremba said many of his staff had expressed a desire to take the day off to participate.

“I’m not trying to be a pioneer,” he said. “I just respected that some of the guys wanted a day to be heard without worrying about losing their job or having some consequences. I didn’t want to be on the fence.”

Cherokee Station Special Business District liaison Anne McCullough said most of the immigrant-owned businesses on Cherokee closed today. “More than 20 percent of the businesses and properties on Cherokee Street are immigrant-owned,” she said.

 

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{ Local Chef Kitchen chef-owner Rob Uyemura } 

 

Local Chef Kitchen chef-owner Rob Uyemura also shut the doors at his Ballwin Restaurant for the day. “In 25 years in the restaurant business, I’ve worked with a lot of immigrants,” said Uyemura, whose family immigrated to the U.S. “They get labeled as criminals and illegals, and that’s wrong.”

Other restaurants remain open, but are donating a portion of their proceeds to nonprofits. Demun Oyster Bar general manager Tom Halaska said his bar, as well as sister restaurants Sasha’s Wine Bars and Scarlett’s Wine Bar, will donate 50 percent of the day’s proceeds to the International Institute St. Louis.

Halaska said it was important to recognize the many immigrants who participate in the restaurant industry and in society. With immigration policy currently in the national spotlight, he said this was a good opportunity to celebrate immigrants.

“This is a way for us as a restaurant group to show respect and compassion for what’s going on in the country,” Halaska said.

 

Catherine Klene contributed to this report.

Nixta photo by Carmen Troesser

 

The Scoop: Wicked Greenz to launch food truck, open O’Fallon location this spring

Thursday, February 16th, 2017

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Clayton’s Wicked Greenz will soon open a new location in O’Fallon, Missouri and go mobile. Director of operations Matt Ratz said the company has purchased the former Shell’s Coastal Cuisine truck and will be taking its health-focused eating options on the road this spring. Ratz said the plan is to debut the truck at the Forever Vintage Market event at Taubman Prestige Outlets on Friday, April 21.

“We think we can provide something different than the normal food truck does,” said Ratz.

Wicked Greenz opened its fast-casual concept last October at 16 N. Central Ave., in Clayton, offering customizable salads and wraps. Ratz said the food truck’s abbreviated menu would likely include four or five salads and a couple of soups, as well as pitas and hummus and possibly some one-off specials. “We’ll really be able to put things out quickly,” he said.

Ratz said the company decided to launch a food truck to increase brand awareness. He said the truck may be parked at the upcoming Wicked Greenz location at 4015 Highway K in O’Fallon, which is expected to open in June, before the restaurant opens to give diners a sneak peek.

Photo  by Michelle Volansky

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