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Jan 23, 2018
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Posts Tagged ‘Balkan Treat Box’

Best New Restaurants: No. 4 – Balkan Treat Box

Friday, December 1st, 2017

To be the best, everything matters – atmosphere, service and food. Here are St. Louis’ 12 best new restaurants of 2017.

 

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Food trucks are restaurants. But there’s no sleek space, no cutting-edge decor – the food is the only attraction to draw diners in. Since Balkan Treat Box hit the road late last year, owners Loryn Feliciano-Nalic and her husband, Edo Nalic, have cultivated a dedicated following. The truck focuses on the cuisine of the Balkan States, and fans flock for a taste.

Feliciano-Nalic, who has an extensive background in pastry, explored the food of the Balkans while visiting her in-laws in Bosnia.

“I realized there was a lot of pastry in that food in general, even on the savory side, so it kind of spoke to me,” she said.

Many of the truck’s rotating offerings are built on a base of somun, a Balkan bread similar to a pita, and pide, a Turkish flatbread. Feliciano-Nalic makes her bread fresh daily in a wood-fired oven at the back of the truck. It’s the attention to detail that elevates Balkan Treat Box well above the norm. No thaw-and-go bread here.

The condiments offered are subtle, meant to compliment but not overwhelm, like ajvar, a roasted red pepper spread; kajmak, a tangy cream cheese; and shredded purple cabbage for textural contrast.

While the names of the dishes might seem foreign to some, the flavors and ingredients are ultimately familiar and comforting – peppery house-made sausage, chicken, onion, cheese and those fragrant, fresh breads. It’s just like being in Grandma’s kitchen, if Granny drove a truck.

Photo by Spencer Pernikoff, courtesy of Loryn Feliciano-Nalic

Matt Sorrell is staff writer at Sauce Magazine. 

Related Content
Balkan Treat Box food truck to offer a taste of Eastern Europe

• Sauce Magazine: Best New Restaurants 2017

Hit List: 4 places you must try this March

Wednesday, March 1st, 2017

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1. Boardwalk Waffles & Ice Cream: 7326B Manchester Road, Maplewood, 314.449.1209, boardwalkwaffles.com

A hug can turn your day around, especially when it’s a Belgian waffle wrapping itself around Serendipity ice cream. Head to Boardwalk Waffles & Ice Cream in Maplewood for the embrace you need. The sweet waffles are made to order, and their crisp edges and fluffy interior pair perfectly with classic Salty Caramel Swirl. Go big with a full order (two whole waffles sandwiching four scoops) and share the love. Naked waffles and solo scoops are also available for those with waffle-ice cream relationship issues.

2. Balkan Treat Box: balkantreatbox.comTwitter: @BalkanTreatBox

It’s worth the effort to find Balkan Treat Box as it slowly rolls into the St. Louis food scene. A wood-fired oven roars inside the bright red and aqua truck, which turns out classic dishes from the Balkan Peninsula. Try the rich, chargrilled beef sausage cevapi served in a fluffy pita pocket-like somun with kaymak (a rich dairy condiment similar to labneh) and ajvar (a slightly spicy roasted red pepper-eggplant sauce). And order more pide than you think you need. The Turkish wood-fired flatbreads are addictive, topped with thick, bubbly layer of cheese and optional sliced smoked beef sausage.

 

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3. The Blue Duck: 2661 Sutton Blvd., Maplewood, 314.769.9940, blueduckstl.com

After making a splash in Washington, The Blue Duck has added a second location in Maplewood. The menu ranges from soups, salads and hearty sandwiches like the DLT, made with smoked duck instead of the usual bacon on house-made sourdough bread, to classic supper plates like mac and cheese swimming with cheddar-fontina sauce livened up by a swirl of braised short rib marmalade and a crunchy herbed bread crumb topping. Order the savory seared scallops, which come doused in bloody mary sauce with braised bacon over a creamy celery root puree.

4. STL French Quarter: stlfrenchquarter.com, Twitter: @STLGumboGuy

STL French Quarter food truck has hit the road just in time for Mardi Gras, offering a rotation of Cajun and Creole classics and New Orleans-inspired dishes. Start with a bowl of dark gumbo thick with shredded pork and chicken. Or try the lighter, tomato-based jambalaya studded with red beans and andouille. Whichever you choose, you’ll need a wedge of a savory jalapeno-cheddar cornbread waffle for dipping. And save room for The French Quarter Po’Boy. Thin slices of tender roast pork and salty Tasso ham are smothered in rich Cajun gravy accented with piquant Creole mustard aioli, held in a split hoagie to sop up the juices.

Photos by Michelle Volansky

The Scoop: Balkan Treat Box food truck to offer a taste of Eastern Europe

Friday, April 24th, 2015

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Just when you thought that every cuisine imaginable was already available from St. Louis’ mobile eateries, Balkan Treat Box rolls onto the scene. A taste of Eastern Europe can be yours in a matter of weeks, since Balkan Treat Box is slated to hit the streets as early as May 17.

“We are going to be doing the best of best Balkan street food,” said owner Loryn Feliciano-Nalic. The truck will offer Eastern European street fare such as burek (savory pies), doner kebabs with various sauces and vegetable toppings, and cevapi (minced, grilled meat often served on flatbread). The latter will be plated with kajmak (a dairy-based condiment that Feliciano-Nalic described as a cross between cream cheese, feta, butter and sour cream) and ajvar (a red pepper relish). Watch also for freshly baked Bosnian flatbread known as somun, as well as a rotation of desserts like baklava and tulumbe, an Eastern European dessert similar to churros. Since many of these dishes are customarily cooked over fire, the truck will be outfitted with a wood-burning oven. “Bosnia, Croatia, Albania, Turkey, Serbia … all these countries that make up the Balkans have their own versions of dishes, yet they’re all traditionally cooked over fire,” she said.

Beverage options from will include mineral waters, juices, yogurt drinks and small bottles of soda, mimicking what Feliciano-Nalic referred to as, “quick, easy, little, dainty drinks you’d get from an Eastern European cafe.”

Though not from the Balkans herself, Feliciano-Nalic has been influenced by Eastern European culture for years (Her childhood best friend from is Croatian and her husband, Edo Nalic, is Bosnian.), which led to her interest in the cuisine and a two-month food research trip to the Balkans in 2013. Helping Feliciano-Nalic with the new venture will be her husband and her brother-in-law Emir Nalic, who moved to St. Louis from Bosnia 18 months ago.

Feliciano-Nalic said she hopes that Balkan Treat Box helps to raise awareness of what Eastern European cuisine has to offer. “We have a huge Bosnian community here, but not enough awareness of their culture,” she said. “I’m super excited to show people a fun representation of this beautiful culture that is enriching St. Louis.”

 

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