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Mar 23, 2017
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Intelligent Content For The Food Fascinated
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SERVING SAINT LOUIS SINCE 1999
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Sneak Peek: Snax Gastrobar in Lindenwood Park

March 9th, 2017

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Robust Wine Bar owners Stanley Browne and Arlene Maminta Browne open their first non-Robust project, Snax Gastrobar, tomorrow, March 10, at 3500 Watson Road. As The Scoop reported in December 2016, the new restaurant is opening in the space that most recently housed J. McArthur’s An American Kitchen.

Executive chef Joseph L. Hemp V, who oversees Robust’s kitchens downtown and in Webster Groves, and sous chef Chris Ladley, late of Quincy Street Bistro, have developed a menu Hemp describes as “global comfort food.” Dishes range from piquant Buffalo Balls (chicken and pork meatballs in a subtle Buffalo sauce), to simple roast chicken seared in cast iron. As one would expect from the folks behind Robust, there’s plenty of wine on hand (including a red and a white wine on tap), as well as cocktails and a wide selection of beers.

The restaurant seats around 65 inside with ample outdoor seating: 40 on the enclosed front patio and 25 on the open back patio. Snax will be open Tuesdsay to Thursday from 4 p.m. to midnight and Friday and Saturday from 4 p.m. to 1 a.m.

 

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Photos by Michelle Volansky

Related Content
The Scoop: Snax Gastrobar to open in former J McArthur’s space

The Scoop: J McArthur’s to close, new concept from Robust owners to open

The Scoop: Ben McArthur leaves J. McArthur’s kitchen, Will Volny steps in

 

Extra Sauce: Casting a line with Friday Night Fish

March 9th, 2017

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I met Stephen Ibendahl in the basement of St. James The Greater Catholic Church in Dogtown. I wasn’t searching for any religious experience, but rather a plate piled high with golden fried fish. And who better to ask than the man behind Friday Night Fish, a website dedicated to that most popular of St. Louis traditions, the Lenten fish fry.

Each year, Christians abstain from meat on Fridays during Lent, a 40-day period of reflection and sacrifice before Easter. During this time, many churches host a Friday fish fry where those observing Lent or those hankering for a piece of battered cod can get their fill.

We staked out our place in line, which coiled around the perimeter of the basement, and as we inched forward, Ibendahl told me how his quest for the best fish fry in St. Louis began.

A decade or so ago, he lived in the Central West End, and his parish at the time, the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis, only hosted one fish fry a year. This forced him to find fries outside the neighborhood. A self-professed “stats geek,” he started keeping track of his favorites for fun, until his wife, Elise Ibendahl, encouraged him to take his hobby online.

Since then, Ibendahl, usually accompanied by his wife, three children and assorted other relatives, has been to more than 60 fish fries, and his website clocks 30,000 to 40,000 views each Lent. For many area aficionados, it’s become the definitive resource for all things fish fry.

“Between the city and the inner-ring suburbs, we’ve probably been to almost all of them,” Ibendahl said. In fact, he’s hit so many that he’s now circling back and revisiting ones he hasn’t been to in years, like St. James, which he reviewed in 2007 and 2013.

Ibendahl’s process is simple, his rules minimal. Fish fries are evaluated on four basic criteria: food, value, atmosphere and way finding/greening (how easy is it to find the dining room and whether recycling efforts are in place), then given a rating of one to four fishes.

Though he has occasionally sampled non-parish fish fries put on by organizations like the Knights of Columbus and the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Ibendahl won’t review restaurants featuring Lenten fish specials – the fries he attends have to be volunteer-run operations. He pointed to St. Pius V Catholic Church on South Grand as a prime example of a fish fry that hits all the marks.

“St. Pius really has all of the elements,” he said. “Great atmosphere, really good food and they use real plates. It’s the quintessential fish fry.”

Ibendahl’s verdict on our St. James’ experience: three out of four fishes – a solid showing. Good fish, decent sides with pasta and desserts as high points, he noted, though signage was definitely lacking. As for me, I was impressed there was a professional card reader available for those without cash.

Ibendahl used to try a new fry every week, but now he’s focused on fish fries closer to home and smaller-scale fries held only once or twice a year. He figures he’s still got at least a few years left on the fish fry circuit. His desired end to this quest: support the local fish fry community … and maybe just a touch of notoriety.

“I’ve always wanted to be in The A-Hed column of The Wall Street Journal,” Ibendahl said. “I always thought it’d be cool to be mentioned on there.”

 

Just Five: Quick Coconut Brownies

March 8th, 2017

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I recently ordered one of everything at my favorite bakery, and yet somehow, the beautiful brownie that I know was on my list did not make it into the bag. Yes, I had cupcakes and caramel cake and biscuits and scones and a cookie (I said one of everything – don’t judge), but since there was no decadent chocolate punch in the face, I did what anyone would do: I made brownies. And for fun-sies, I used coconut oil.

Usually I use coconut oil when making popcorn. It doesn’t impart a taste but rather an aroma of coconut, and I find it somehow tastes cleaner than vegetable oil. You can definitely taste the coconut in these brownies, though –imagine a Mounds truffle. Break the Just Five rules and gild the lily by adding vanilla extract or chopped almonds to the batter or topping with toasted coconut flakes or sea salt after baking.

 

Quick Coconut Brownies
1 8-by-8-inch pan

¾ cup solid coconut oil
½ cup (4 oz.) semisweet chocolate chips
¾ cup packed light brown sugar
3 room-temperature eggs
¾ cup flour
1 tsp. kosher salt

• Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
• In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, melt the coconut oil and chocolate chips, stirring gently, until the chocolate is completely melted.
• In a large mixing bowl, whisk the melted chocolate mix and the brown sugar until combined. Whisk in the eggs 1 at a time, then stir in the flour and salt until just combined.
• Pour the batter into an 8-by-8-inch glass dish and bake 25 minutes. Some oil will rise to the top of the brownies while baking, but it will absorb as they rest.
• Let rest at least 1 hour before cutting.

 

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

 

 

Photo by Michelle Volansky

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• Just Five: Lamb Ragu

• Just Five: Chocolate Tofu Pudding

Make This: Spicy Shrimp Cocktail

Edible Weekend: 2 more ways to devour the weekend

March 8th, 2017

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Whether you love biscuits, fish fries or oysters, there are plenty of ways to fill up this weekend. Here are two more events for those who’re still peckish:

 

 1. An Evening of Sampling
Get to know the people behind the products at An Evening of Sampling at Farm to You Market. More than 20 vendors from Komblu Kombucha to VB Chocolates offer free samples and items for purchase.

Thu., March 9 – 4 to 7 p.m., Farm To You Market, 5025 Old Highway 100, Washington, 844.682.2266, farmtoyoumarket.com

2. Lionstone Brewing Beer School
Class is session at the Lionstone Brewing Beer School this Friday at Randall’s Wine & Spirits in Fairview Heights. Learn beer basics and sample from this northwest Illinois brewery.

Free. Fri., Mar.10 – 7 p.m., Randall’s Wine & Spirits, 10800 Lincoln Trail, Fairview Heights, 618.394.9800, randalls.com 

 

Don’t miss out. Sign up for the Edible Weekend newsletter to get the best food events of the weekend delivered to your inbox every Wednesday. 

 

First Look: The Dark Room at Grandel Square 

March 6th, 2017

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The Dark Room Wine Bar & Photo Gallery has reopened in its new location at 3610 Grandel Square in the Grand Center Arts District. As The Scoop reported in November, the bar is now housed in the Grandel Theatre building. The bar is now designated as a nonprofit under the umbrella of the Kranzberg Arts Foundation, with about 40 cents from each dollar going to support local arts.

The space, menu, hours and stage have all expanded with the new location. The Dark Room now seats more than 70 with better acoustics for live music, ample standing room and increased gallery space, so patrons can enjoy rotating photography exhibits without standing over seated diners.

“Most brands don’t get this kind of opportunity to evolve and get a second start,” said director of hospitality Denise Mueller. She hopes the bar will become a neighborhood staple and nightlife destination with its new lunch and brunch menus and late-night happy hour deals. The bar also plans to open an extensive patio with an outdoor bar this May.

The Dark Room is now open Wednesday to Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Happy hour deals from 3 to 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. to 1 a.m., and Sunday brunch is from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Get a First Look at The Dark Room’s new home:

 

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Editor’s note: This post was updated at 4:50 p.m. to adjust hours of operation.  

Photos by Michelle Volansky

Related Content
The Scoop: The Dark Room to move to Grandel Theater 

The Scoop: Chef Samantha Pretto joins The Dark Room

Review: The Dark Room

 

First Look: Mac’s Local Eats in Dogtown

March 6th, 2017

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Last year, a broken sewage line during Game 7 of the World Series shuttered Tamm Avenue Grill for several months, during which the Dogtown bar and restaurant underwent a total renovation. During the hiatus, co-owner Bob Brazell (who also co-owns Byrd & Barrel and upcoming Good Fortune) said he and his partners decided to up the bar’s food game.

They approached Chris “Mac” McKenzie of local food distributor Mac’s Local Buys to start a new concept that would a step or two above the usual bar food. McKenzie partnered with Completely Sauced owner Bob Komanetsky to operate an independent kitchen inside Tamm Avenue Grill. And so Mac’s Local Eats was born on Thursday, Feb. 2.

Mac’s menu features items made with premium ingredients like dry-aged beef for the smashed burgers (which come in single, double, triple and quadruple patty versions), sausage links and boudin balls. Most everything at Mac’s is made in-house, and since Mac’s buys whole animals, the menu frequently changes.

McKenzie said sometime before May, he’ll open Mac’s Local Market in the same building, where he’ll offer fresh cuts of meats and other local products. The market will also serve as Mac’s Local Buys HQ for CSA and meat share pickups.

 

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Photos by Michelle Volansky

Related Content
The Scoop: The Corner Cup coffee shop opens in Dogtown

The Scoop: Chef Bob Brazell launches catering business, revamps The Corner Cup menu

Extra Sauce: In case you missed it…

March 5th, 2017

From our new issue to a new arcade bar coming to the CWE, here’s what went down last week in the St. Louis restaurant scene, ICYMI…

 

 
1. Our March issue featuring our annual Guide to Beer hit stands this week; don’t wait! Click above to read online now!

2. 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.

 

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3. Arcade bar Up-Down has signed a lease on the space at 405 N. Euclid Ave., in the Central West End. Up-Down will open in the former home of Herbie’s, which moved to 8100 Maryland Ave., in Clayton late last year.

4. Tazé Mediterranean Street Food is taking its fast-casual concept to the Central West End. Co-owners Casey and Justin Roth will open a second location at 8½ S. Euclid Ave., in the space formerly occupied by Tortillaria Mexican Kitchen.

 

The Scoop: Tazé to open second location in the CWE

March 3rd, 2017

 

Tazé Mediterranean Street Food is taking its fast-casual concept to the Central West End. As reported by St. Louis Magazine, co-owners Casey and Justin Roth will open a second location at 8½ S. Euclid Ave., in the space formerly occupied by Tortillaria Mexican Kitchen. Casey Roth said the restaurant should open in early summer.

The space will seat 35 to 45 seats inside with another 40 seats outside. The new Tazé will feature the same menu as the downtown flagship location at 626 Washington Ave., but it will also have what Roth described as “robust happy hour specials,” a tapas menu and entree specials. Roth said there will also cocktail offerings, beer and wine, to appeal to the Central West End clientele.

The Roths opened their first Tazé in June 2015. The restaurant specializes in build-your-own meals with Middle Eastern and Mediterranean influences.

Photo by Michelle Volansky

Related Content
• The Scoop: Mission Taco Joint to open at the Streets of St. Charles, Tortillaria to close in CWE

• Sneak Peek: Tazé Mediterranean Street Food

• The Scoop: Tazé Mediterranean Street Food to open downtown

Grilled: Cilantro-Lime Swordfish Skewers

March 2nd, 2017

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Thick, meaty swordfish steaks are ideal for grilling year-round. While more delicate fish needs to be coddled and carefully cooked in special grill pans, a rough and ready piece of swordfish can be tossed directly on a red-hot grill with no fear of flaking or falling through the grate. Fresh swordfish cuts are the key to these skewers, which feature bold sturdy fish marinated in a zesty, island-inspired cilantro-lime mix. Thread hunks of fish onto skewers with fresh veggies, and then quickly sear over a roaring hot grill. Consume an umbrella drink while grilling for proper effect.

 

Cilantro-Lime Swordfish Skewers
4 to 6 servings

4 Tbsp. olive oil
4 cloves fresh garlic chopped
Juice of 1 lime
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
½ tsp. kosher salt
½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
4 ½-pound swordfish steaks, cut into large pieces
1 bell pepper, cut into large pieces
1 large zucchini, cut into large pieces
½ large red onion, cut into large pieces
12 cherry tomatoes
2 Tbsp. chopped cilantro

• In a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil, garlic, lime juice, soy sauce, salt and pepper. Add the swordfish pieces, stir to coat and refrigerate 30 minutes.
• Prepare a charcoal or gas grill for high, direct heat.
• Thread skewers with the fish, bell peppers, zucchini, red onion and tomatoes, alternating between the fish and vegetables as desired. There should be 4 pieces of fish per skewer.
• Lightly oil the grill surface. Place 4 skewers over direct heat and sear 6 minutes. Flip, then grill another 6 minutes, until the fish is firm. Repeat with the remaining skewers. Garnish with the cilantro and serve.

 

Related Content
Grilled: Smoked Whisky Wings

• Just Five: Tortilla-Crusted Fish Nuggets

• Just Five: Fish en Papillote

 

Summer/Fall Internship Opportunity: Editorial Interns

March 1st, 2017

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Attention journalism, communications and English students: Sauce Magazine is seeking Editorial Interns for summer and fall 2017. 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, writing articles for The Scoop, fact checking, assisting with research for upcoming articles, interview transcription, 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 with the goal of producing published clips for use in future portfolios
-Assist Sauce Events Coordinator and Sauce editorial team at all Food Truck Friday events. Assist in preparation and execution of the annual Saucy Soiree on June 4 (summer interns only).
-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, Snapchat, 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; a summer intern begins in mid- to late-May, and a fall intern begins in mid- to late-August. Scheduling is flexible, but the intern must be available 10 to 12 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 April 1. No calls, please.

Photo by Michelle Volansky

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