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Dec 13, 2017
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Archive for August, 2017

Recipe: Eggplant and Tomato Bruschetta

Thursday, August 31st, 2017

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What else is there to say about a late-summer tomato? There is nothing that can touch its flavor, and there is little reason to do more than throw slices on bread with salt and pepper and inhale them.

Ah, bread. My other love. Specifically, Mr. Meowski’s sourdough bread. My daughters refer to Mr. Meowski as “mom’s boyfriend,” and I don’t correct them. This bread has limited availability, but you can be darn sure I know how to find it: most days at Larder & Cupboard, Roger’s Produce, Local Harvest Grocery, City Greens Market, Freddie’s Market and Saturdays at Tower Grove Farmers’ Market.

Eggplant hasn’t ever done much for me, but I’ve started to experiment with different varieties. I’m a fan of the long, skinny Asian eggplants, as opposed to the stout globe ones found in most groceries. I find Japanese and Chinese eggplants to be less bitter with a more enjoyable texture, and roasting them brings out an almost floral quality.

If one were to gild the lily on this perfect late-summer dish, it would be with a few splashes of balsamic or red wine vinegar.

Eggplant and Tomato Bruschetta
8 servings

2 Japanese or Chinese eggplants, peeled and sliced ¼-inch thick
1 to 2 Tbsp. olive oil
8 ¾-inch slices sourdough or pain de beaucaire, toasted
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
8 oz. goat cheese crumbles or feta cheese
3 to 4 medium ripe tomatoes, cut into ½-inch slices
4 Tbsp. chopped fresh marjoram

• Preheat the broiler.
• In a mixing bowl, toss the eggplant with the olive oil and place in an even layer on a foil lined-baking sheet. Broil 5 minutes, until the eggplant starts to brown.
• Evenly divide the roasted eggplant atop the toast. Season with salt and pepper, then sprinkle each slice with 1 ounce cheese. Broil 2 to 3 minutes.
• Place the tomato atop the toast, then garnish with the marjoram. Serve immediately.

Dee Ryan is a longtime contributor to Sauce Magazine who also pens Make This

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Chef Carl Hazel takes over Gamlin Whiskey House kitchen

Thursday, August 31st, 2017

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Carl Hazel has quietly taken the reigns as executive chef of Gamlin Whiskey House. Most recently, he had been executive chef at West End Pub and Grill.

Hazel assumed the role in July, and since then, he has worked with Gamlin Restaurant Group’s corporate chef Ryan Cooper to get a feel for the kitchen and the organization.

Hazel said Gamlin Whiskey House’s focus meshes up well with his background, especially his lengthy tenure as executive chef at The Scottish Arms.

“Gamlin Whiskey House being big on meat and whiskey is right up my alley,” Hazel said. “And after talking with some industry friends that have worked for (owners) Derek and Lucas (Gamlin) in the past, I couldn’t find anyone who said anything negative about them at all.”

Hazel said he doesn’t foresee any big menu changes at Gamlin Whiskey House until after the company’s latest project, 1764 Public House, opens later this year at 39 N. Euclid Ave.

“We’ll do some tweaking when (1764 Public House) opens because a couple of the items here will probably fit the menu and environment down there,” he said. “We’ll be looking at more of a broad menu change in late fall or early winter.”

Hazel said he welcomes the challenges of working in a bigger, high-volume kitchen.

“The numbers we put up are astounding,” he said. “It’s quite an undertaking to keep up with everything and everyone, but I’m really enjoying it.”

Photo courtesy of Gamlin Whiskey House

Matt Sorrell is staff writer at Sauce Magazine. 

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New owner discusses the future of Cleveland-Heath

Wednesday, August 30th, 2017

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 { pulled pork sandwich at Cleveland-Heath } 

Keith and Kari McGinness don’t plan to mess with success at Cleveland-Heath.

As The Scoop reported earlier today, the McGinnesses bought the popular Edwardsville restaurant from owners Jenny Cleveland and chef Ed Heath. The founders plan to return to Heath’s hometown of Salt Lake City. The sale is final Sept. 1.

Both McGinnesses grew up in the St. Louis area and come from restaurant backgrounds. Most recently, Keith McGinness was a director of operations for Applebee’s, overseeing 25 restaurants in the mid-south region, while Kari McGinness ran an Italian restaurant in Cape Girardeau.

Keith McGinness said everything about Cleveland-Heath attracted the couple. “My wife and I had been looking for a number of years, and seriously looking the last couple of years, for a restaurant. It was a dream of ours for a long time,” he said. “When we found Cleveland-Heath, we found what we were looking for, which was a place with a really strong tie to the community, upscale food and service but with a totally casual feel about it.”

McGinness understands why Cleveland-Heath fans might be concerned about the change, but he said they have no plans to mess with a winning formula.

“Our goal is, it’s going to stay Cleveland-Heath. Our plan is to run it as it is,” he said. “I’ve said this to a couple of guests and even the staff members, but in six months, if it feels different to the guests, I’m doing something wrong.”

As Cleveland confirmed earlier today, current chef de cuisine Rick Kazmer will step into the executive chef position, and Elijah Barnes (Ones to Watch class of 2017) will continue his role as general manager.

McGinness said Cleveland and Heath will continue to have a presence at their namesake restaurant.

“Jenny and Ed have been great to work in terms of the transition, but we don’t have a drop-dead date as to when they exit,” McGinness said. “Jenny’s from this area, and they’re always going to have ties here. We have several events booked out over the next 12 months, and they’re going to come back and help us work some of those events. This isn’t the end of Jenny and Ed in this restaurant.”

Photo by Jonathan Gayman

Matt Sorrell is staff writer at Sauce Magazine. 

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Solera wine bar will open next month in Alton

Wednesday, August 30th, 2017

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Illinois oenophiles will soon have another spot to enjoy their vino. Solera, a new wine bar, will open soon at 212 W. Third St., in Alton. Co-owner Chris Aldridge said he plans to open Solera by mid-September.

“We were in Mendoza, (Argentina) doing a wine tour, and they did such a nice job of educating us on winemaking and the different grapes and the history,” Aldridge said. “It was just inspirational, and I wanted to bring that back to Alton.”

While he wants to create a fun place to hang out, Aldridge said he also wants to help educate patrons on what they’re drinking, and bring in some bottles that are less commonly seen in the area.

Aldridge said the bar will feature wines by the glass and also a retail component. There will be 150 to 175 labels available to drink on site or take home. By-the-glass offerings will include four dry reds, four dry whites, four to six local wines from Illinois and Missouri, and a selection of sherries and ports. In addition to wine, Solera will also have a limited food menu.

“We’re going to try and focus on stuff that’s a little more local and a little less commonly found, at least on the Illinois side,” Aldridge said, including chocolate from Kakao Chocolate and charcuterie from Salume Beddu.

Solera will have approximately 38 seats inside with a few more outside and plans to be open Tuesday through Sunday.

Matt Sorrell is staff writer at Sauce Magazine. 

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Cleveland-Heath owners sell restaurant, will relocate to Utah

Wednesday, August 30th, 2017

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Big changes are afoot at Cleveland-Heath. Owners Jenny Cleveland and chef Ed Heath have sold the restaurant to Keith and Kari McGinness, restaurant industry veterans who have roots in the area, as reported by St. Louis Magazine. The sale takes effect Friday, Sept. 1.

Cleveland said she and Heath will relocate to Salt Lake City, where Heath is from.

“We’ve been here for seven years with my family, so it’s time to go out there and do the same for him,” said Cleveland.

Cleveland said she and Heath will work with The Pub Corp., where they both have history – the two actually met while working at one of the company’s restaurants.

“They’ve got four restaurants in the Salt Lake area,” she said. “We’ve been consulting with them for some time; Ed spent quite a bit of time out there last year. Early on, we’re just going to be getting to know the restaurants and working on some new projects eventually.”

Read More: New owner discusses future of Cleveland-Heath

While the transition will be bittersweet, Cleveland said she and Heath would remain connected to the area; she still has family and property in the Metroeast.

“The last thing we want is for people to think we’re just leaving,” she said. “I don’t want to say goodbye. This is our baby, and it’s grown into something that we could never have imagined.”

Heath will remain for the next month or so helping with the kitchen, and Cleveland will make frequent trips back to help with the transition. “If they call me in January and say they need help with something, I’ll be there,” she said.

The Edwardsville eatery has received much acclaim since opening in November 2011. Heath earned national nods as James Beard Foundation semifinalist for Best Chef: Great Lakes in 2015 and 2016, and Sauce readers have frequently voted Cleveland-Heath among their favorite restaurants in the Readers’ Choice poll.

Cleveland said the intent is to keep up those high standards and make the transition as seamless as possible.

“I want people to understand, the faces here are still the same,” she said. “Rick (Kazmer), our chef de cuisine, is getting bumped to executive chef. He’s been in the kitchen with Ed for years. And Eli (Barnes) will still be general manager.”

Photo by Jonathan Gayman 

Matt Sorrell is staff writer at Sauce Magazine. 

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Vista Ramen will helm kitchen at new Earthbound location

Tuesday, August 29th, 2017

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{ Vista Ramen chef-owner Chris Bork (center) } 

Earthbound Beer will partner with fellow Cherokee Street denizen Vista Ramen to run the kitchen for its new tasting room at 2724 Cherokee St. Instead of Vista’s namesake noodles, Vista Ramen chef-owner Chris Bork said bill of fare will feature smoked meats, sausages and sandwiches.

As The Scoop reported in September 2015, the folks at Earthbound Beer have slowly but surely been working to get their new location up and running. After several delays, Earthbound co-owner Stuart Keating said things look good for a September opening.

Now that the end is in sight, Keating and his partners’ thoughts turned toward food service for the new place. Rather than helm the kitchen themselves, they followed in the footsteps of other area tasting rooms like 4 Hands Brewing Co. and 2nd Shift Brewing, which have enlisted local favorites Peacemaker Lobster & Crab Co. and Guerrilla Street Food, respectively, to handle their food programs.

 

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{ the interior of the new Earthbound Beer location in May 2016 } 

 

“We obviously can’t do our food down there,” Bork said. “It’s too close — it’s less than a city block away. But the opportunity to work on a new project, and the opportunity to work with Earthbound, was attractive. Earthbound is a brewery that’s really trying to do some different things, which I definitely appreciate. And that’s what we’ll be trying to do with the food.”

Bork said Vista would serve as a commissary of sorts for the project initially, though some items will be prepared at Earthbound.

“I’m not trying to get into the barbecue business, but we will have a smoker (at Earthbound) and a lot of the food will see time in the smoker or be based out of it,” Bork said. He plans on doing a rotating selection of smoked meats, along with sausages and a selection of sandwiches.

“We’re thinking of trying out a mostly beef kielbasa and probably a straightforward bratwurst,” Bork said. “Also probably one rotating barbecue plate, depending on what’s available, a couple of small plates, one of which might be a smoked fish dip.”

Orders will be placed at the bar, and patrons will be given a buzzer that will notify them when the order is ready. To avoid confusion, Bork said the Earthbound project may get a new name to differentiate it from Vista Ramen. He said food service would start sometime after the brewery’s grand opening.

Bork photo by Carmen Troesser; Earthbound photo by Catherine Klene

Matt Sorrell is staff writer at Sauce Magazine.

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Randolfi’s will close in The Loop Sept. 9

Monday, August 28th, 2017

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Randolfi’s, at 6665 Delmar Blvd. in The Loop, has announced it will be shutting its doors. The last day of service will be Saturday, Sept. 9.

“We’ve thrown everything that we have into this restaurant. There have been a lot of tears, but it’s time to close the chapter. We are so proud of what we’ve accomplished at Randolfi’s,” said chef and co-owner Mike Randolph in a press release.

Randolfi’s opened in 2015, replacing Randolph’s Neapolitan pizzeria The Good Pie in the same space. It was one of Sauce’s Best New Restaurants 2015.

A number of local chefs who previously worked at Randolfi’s and The Good Pie will be returning for the final night of service on September 9, including Ted Wilson of Union Loafers, Taylor Hamilton of Melo’s Pizzeria and Russ Bodner of Taste.

“Over nine years, we’ve had the pleasure of working with so many amazing people. It’s been the highlight of my career,” Randolph said in the press release. “I look forward to bringing back those alumni for one final service.”

More information on the future of the restaurant will be released at a later date.

Photo by Greg Rannells

Matt Sorrell is staff writer at Sauce Magazine.

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Russell’s owner to open Lola Jean in former Grapeseed space

Thursday, August 24th, 2017

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{ the interior of the former Grapeseed space, which will be Lola Jean } 

 

The former home of Grapeseed at 5400 Nottingham Ave., will have a new tenant next year. As reported by St. Louis Magazine, Russell Ping, owner of Russell’s on Macklind and Russell’s Café & Bakery in Fenton, will open a pizza restaurant there named after his daughter, Lola Jean.

“I’ve kind of had this concept in the works for a long time. The Southampton neighborhood has been so good to us that when the building became available, we had to jump on it,” Ping said. The restaurant will primarily serve 12-to-14-inch pizzas.

One of the biggest changes to the space will be the addition of a wood-fired pizza oven, which Ping said he’s in the process of picking out. A key element of the new interior is the removal of a wall between the dining room and kitchen to open the space up and put the focus on the oven.

Grapeseed had approximately 60 seats inside, and Ping said he expects to have about that number as well, plus another 40 seats or so on the rear patio. He said he’s shooting for an opening in late spring 2018.

Before Lola Jean’s debut, Ping has another project to oversee. As The Scoop reported in April, Ping is in the process of opening another Russell’s Café & Bakery at 14888 Clayton Road in Chesterfield, which he expects to happen in early October.

“We’re about 90 percent staffed out there, and the staff is starting to train at our other locations,” Ping said.

Photo by Jonathan Gayman 

Matt Sorrell is staff writer at Sauce Magazine. 

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Old North Provisions owner discusses plans for future grocery, restaurant

Thursday, August 24th, 2017

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Old North Provisions owner James Forbes (pictured) won the opportunity of a lifetime on Saturday, Aug. 19, and he’s ready to put his plans into action to be open by July 2018, with soft opening events in the fall.

As The Scoop reported last week, Forbes won the Fantasy Food Fare Competition, a citywide competition for two-years rent free at a commercial kitchen space at 2720 N. 14th St. in Old North, among other prizes like mentorship a catering contract.

Forbes, who also co-owners urban farm Good Life Growing, said his future grocery and restaurant aims to bring healthy, affordable food options to the area. Forbes said a friend shared the Facebook link to the contest.

“We figured no harm, no foul. We probably won’t get anywhere with this, so if we send in this one-page application, the worst that could happen is we don’t make it, and the best case scenario is, we win,” Forbes said.

 

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{ the future home of Old North Provisions } 

 

Forbes said Old North Provisions’ primary purpose is to be a grocery store focusing on local products (sourced within a 500-mile radius), and hyper-local products (within 100 miles). Forbes hopes to encourage and incentivize people to embark on small-scale urban gardening – and possibly even produce a surplus that Old North could put on its shelves. Forbes said he hopes the store will offer affordable cookware and utensils.

“The vision is to first and foremost introduce a healthy food option for folks who live in and around the Old North community, and accessible to a lot of people in the North City corridor,” Forbes said. “A lot of the larger grocery stores have left over the course of the years, and all that’s left now are convenience markets that may have a small produce section. More often than not, the residents have to go without the healthy food options.”

Old North Provisions will also have a Missouri comfort food buffet and host pop-ups featuring local chefs. Forbes hopes the pop-ups will attract neighbors to the space and draw more people to North City. He wants the space to serve as a community gathering space with old-school arcade games like skee-ball and “Pac-Man.”

Forbes said the next step is to distribute information about the project to the community and get neighborhood feedback on what items and amenities residents would like to have in the store.

Matt Sorrell is staff writer at Sauce Magazine. 

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Recipe: Roast Carrots with Whipped Yogurt

Monday, August 21st, 2017

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I love roasting vegetables, but I’ve never been a fan of carrots. I think this was due partly to my dear mom forcing me to eat her rubbery carrot rounds with mustard seeds. To this day, I’m still not a fan of carrots sliced in rounds.

But when I saw a gorgeous bundle of multicolored carrots at the store, I decided to give them another shot. These turned out so much tastier than I expected. The carrot’s natural sweetness really shines here, and the nice light addition of herbs is a nice complement. This is a perfect side dish, and tastes like classic comfort food. Enjoy and happy baking!

 

Roasted Carrots
Adapted from a New York Times recipe 
3 to 4 servings

1 lb. carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
1-2 Tbsp. avocado oil
1 tsp. fresh thyme
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 Tbsp. chopped parsley
¾ cup plain Greek yogurt, plus more as needed
¼ cup heavy cream

• Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil wiped with oil.
• In a mixing bowl, toss the carrots with the oil and thyme. Spread the carrots onto the baking sheet in an even layer and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover with foil and bake 20 minutes.
• Reduce the heat to 375 degrees and bake another 10 to 15 minutes until the carrots are tender.
• In a small bowl, use an electric mixer to whip the yogurt and cream on medium-high speed until thick and stiff.
• Transfer the carrots to a serving bowl and gently toss with parsley. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with the whipped yogurt.

Amrita Song is a longtime Sauce contributor who owns Mila Sweets. 

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