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Aug 23, 2017
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Posts Tagged ‘Blood & Sand’

The Scoop: Chef Josh Charles departs Blood & Sand

Friday, May 12th, 2017

 

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{ Chef Josh Charles } 

 

After three months helming the kitchen, chef Josh Charles has left Blood & Sand. As reported by St. Louis Magazine, Charles decided to redirect his career to focus on his growing family.

Before Blood & Sand, Charles was executive chef at Element. “When I took the job, my wife was pregnant, and we thought ‘We can make this work, it’ll be fine.’ But the second the baby came, we realized it wasn’t going to work. Those first five weeks, I was not there at all because I was at the restaurant.”

In an effort to spend more time at home, Charles has taken a position as a prep cook at Boundary, which he said gives him more normal, daytime hours and a reduced stress level. He said he’d eventually like to get back to his pastry chef roots and delve into making some of the breads and pastries for the restaurant.

Charles said he’s still consulting with Blood & Sand while the search is on for his replacement, and he’ll also continue to create recipes, videos and blog posts for his website. He also plans to do some pop-up events.

“Hopefully now that I have a bit more time I can do a pop-up every other month or so, so I can still work that creative side of me, and work with friends and farmers,” he said.

Matt Sorrell is staff writer at Sauce Magazine. 

Related Content
The Scoop: Josh Charles leaves Element, heads to Blood & Sand

• The Scoop: New owner discusses vision for Blood & Sand

Ones to Watch 2014: Josh Charles

 

The Scoop: Zac Adcox moves from Blood & Sand to Reeds American Table

Thursday, April 13th, 2017

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In just a few months, Zac Adcox has made a name for himself in the St. Louis wine world, helming the wine program as general manager of Blood & Sand. Now, the 22-year-old member of Sauce Ones To Watch class of 2017 is embarking on a new adventure as a sommelier at Reeds American Table.

After staging at Reeds to enhance his knowledge base, Adcox was offered a permanent gig in March. “I just wanted to learn from Andrey (Ivanov) and Alisha (Blackwell), and this situation just kind of organically happened,” he said.

Currently, he works the floor at Reeds on weekends, and during the week, he assists Blood & Sand’s Juliette Dottle as she transitions to her new role as general manager and wine director. Once Dottle sits for her Level 1 certified sommelier exam in early June, Adcox will move to Reed’s full time.

He said he’s excited to be able to focus primarily on the wine side of the business and continue working with the staff there. “Alisha and Andrey have boosted my confidence,” he said. “They’ve empowered me and made me more passionate. I really love working with them.”

Photo by Carmen Troesser

Related Content
Ones to Watch 2017: Zac Adcox

The Scoop: Josh Charles leaves Element, heads to Blood & Sand

The Scoop: New owner discusses vision for Blood & Sand

 

 

The Scoop: Josh Charles leaves Element, heads to Blood & Sand

Monday, February 6th, 2017

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Chef Josh Charles has left his post as executive chef at Element to helm the kitchen at Blood & Sand, as reported by St. Louis Magazine. Charles’ former chef de cuisine Tudor Seserman has stepped up to assume the executive chef role. Charles said the passing of the torch was smooth thanks to their close working relationship.

In his new role, Charles said he’ll work with Blood & Sand’s current chef Chris Krzysik through Valentine’s Day, and then will begin making his mark on the menu.

“The day after, it starts,” he said, adding it should take a month of switching out a couple of dishes at a time before the transition is complete. Charles said diners can expect a bill of fare that reflects his focus on quality ingredients and techniques. While he’ll put his stamp on the food at Blood & Sand, the restaurant’s much-loved tater tots will remain.

“It’s a great platform and a beautiful place,” said Charles. “They’ve always had a reputation for putting out great food and drink. I’m super excited.”

Krzysik said he is currently in talks to take a position at another restaurant, but couldn’t share more information at this time. Element co-owner Carol Hastie did not return requests for comment.

Photo courtesy of Christina Lane 

Related Content
The Scoop: New owner discusses vision for Blood & Sand

• The Scoop: Josh Charles is named executive chef at Element

• Ones to Watch 2014: Josh Charles and John Fauz

 

 

Ones to Watch 2017: Zac Adcox of Blood & Sand

Sunday, January 1st, 2017

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Title: General Manager, Blood & Sand
Age: 22
Why watch him: He’s a barely legal oenophile.

 
How to take over

Be young. Be bored with your scenery. After high school, move from Phoenix to Baltimore to live with your dad and stepmom. At night, sit around the kitchen table drinking wine with them because you have no friends.

Get a busboy job at a French bistro. Try foie gras for the first time paired with a glass of Sauternes. Freak out. Study wine every free moment you have, even though you’re still just a busboy. Get promoted to server and sell more wine than anyone in the restaurant.

While other kids your age are begging older siblings to buy them cases of Natural Light, loiter in liquor stores until employees notice you taking photos of wine labels. Approach friends, strangers – whoever will listen – with the picture of the next vintage and varietal you need to try and say, “Please buy this for me.” Do this for a year.

Consider it a big life event when a liquor store salesman lets you buy something without showing ID. Buy a bottle of Châteauneuf-du-Pape.

Take your girl to New York City for a fancy dinner. Realize no one is going to sell you wine, then bury your face in the wine book for a half-hour until a sommelier finally approaches the table.

Travel to St. Louis for the first time to take your certified sommelier exam. Celebrate your passing with dinner at Blood & Sand. Love the restaurant so much that you ask owner TJ Vytlacil if you can work there. Find out he just sold the place. Be persistent.

A few weeks later, move to St. Louis to work at Blood & Sand even though you’ve only been there once in your life. In three weeks, sell more bottles of wine than Vytlacil sold in the previous six months. Take over the front of house; run the wine program; be unstoppable.

Turn 22.

Photo by Carmen Troesser

The Scoop: Death in the Afternoon closes

Wednesday, November 30th, 2016

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Citygarden is minus a lunch spot (at least for now) as Death in the Afternoon served its last bowl of ramen on Wednesday, Nov. 23. As reported by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, owners TJ Vytlacil and Adam Frager decided not to renew Death in the Afternoon’s lease in order to continue to grow their point of sale software company, Brigade Society, which publicly launched last year.

“We’re choosing to put all our energy into Brigade Society, and we’re doing well,” said Frager. “Knowing we’ll be traveling a lot in the immediate future, it would have been unfair to the staff, guests and Citygarden if we weren’t here to support the restaurant. We never wanted to be absentee owners.”

Unlike Blood & Sand, which Vytlacil and Frager sold earlier this fall, Death in the Afternoon’s building was leased, and the timeline was shorter. It took nearly nine months to close the sale of Blood & Sand.

“Selling a restaurant is a time-consuming process,” said Frager. “Citygarden has been fantastic and a pleasure to work with. When we started there was some skepticism about the location, but that’s never been an issue. We’ve always been profitable, so I hope we’ve proved that the location is not a hindrance but a benefit. We just didn’t have the luxury of time to put it up for sale.”

The restaurant had been open just more than two-and-a-half years, and Frager said will miss the diners and relationships.

“That was the hardest part of the decision,” he said. “Knowing how many friends have supported us in this. But it is out of respect for them that we closed. If there isn’t a strong leadership or ownership presence, then it’s hard to maintain the experience people had come to enjoy.”

 

Related Content
• The Scoop: New owner discusses vision for Blood & Sand

• The Scoop: Blood & Sand owners put downtown bar up for sale

The Scoop: Nick Martinkovic parts ways with Death in the Afternoon, Blood & Sand

The Scoop: Death in the Afternoon to extend hours for evening service

• Power Lunch: Death in the Afternoon

 

Photo by Jonathan Gayman

Holiday Gift Guide: 5 gifts for your boozehound

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2016

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These can’t-miss presents will wow even the most cosmopolitan drinker. From classes that inform and entertain to home bar must-haves sure to impress, here are gifts for the boozehounds on your list.

1. Skull Barspoon
More than just a pretty face, this tiki-inspired stainless spoon is well-balanced in the hand and comfortable to work with – making it one of Público bar manager Nick Digiovanni’s favorite tools. The conversation starter is also available in gold and copper-plated finishes. $25. cocktailkingdom.com

2. Bitterman’s Field Guide to Bitters & Amari
Bitter is in. Along with instructions for DIY bitters and cocktail recipes, these pages are packed with tasting notes and essential information to make the most of ubiquitous and obscure bitter bottles. $25. Left Bank Books, 399 N. Euclid Ave., St. Louis, 314.367.6731, left-bank.com

3. Cocktails Are Go! Class
Check a dozen or so off your list with a group gift. Matt and Beth Sorrell teach classes with themes like Cocktails 101, Pre-Prohibition or Farm to Table. You buy the booze, and the Sorrells bring the glassware, mixers and know-how to up your friends’ bartending game. $25 per person. 314.406.2777, cocktails-are-go.com

4. Blood & Sand Membership
No secret handshake required, just a monthly membership fee to give the wine, beer and cocktail quaffer access to one of the best bars in town. With its extensive and carefully curated wine list and cocktails ranging from whimsical to brooding, there is no shortage of ways to unwind. $15 per month. Blood & Sand, 1500 St. Charles St., St. Louis, 314.241.7263, bloodandsandstl.com

 5. World of Wine Gift Basket
Take your favorite wine snob around the world in six bottles. Specialists hand-pick a motley crew of red and white wines from near and far. Order this no-brainer basket online or at any location, then have it delivered locally for a festive holiday surprise. $100. The Wine & Cheese Place, all locations, wineandcheeseplace.com 

More Holiday Gift Guides
• Holiday Gift Guide: 5 gifts for your food snob
• Holiday Gift Guide: 5 gifts for the person you have to shop for
• Holiday Gift Guide: 5 gifts to stock a starter kitchen
• Holiday Gifts 2015: Gifts for the Boozehound

The Scoop: New owner discusses vision for Blood & Sand

Friday, October 21st, 2016

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In December 2015, Blood & Sand co-owners TJ Vytlacil and Adam Frager announced they were putting the downtown restaurant up for sale in order to focus their attention on their software company, Brigade Society. On Thursday, Oct. 20, the duo announced that Tim Murphy, an early member, had purchased the business.

“Tim was the best fit and the best person,” said Frager. “We probably could have closed sooner and for more money if we wanted to just cash out, but we were willing to put our eggs in his basket because of the strength of Tim as a buyer and for his character. We’re excited to be able to leave it in such great hands.”

Murphy, who has a business background and managed restaurants in the 1990s, became a member at Blood & Sand only months after it opened in September 2011. While he first joined for the drink and cocktail program, he soon became enamored with its food menu, service and ambience as well.

“It’s one of St. Louis’ great jewels,” said Murphy. “I remember it went up for sale on Dec. 26, and that’s the day I started wanting to buy it. I thought, ‘It’s the only restaurant I’d consider buying. I have to make a run at this.’”

Enthusiastic and committed to Blood & Sand’s staff and concept, Murphy intends to keep the ethos of the fine-dining eatery, as well as its staff. Executive chef Chris Krzysik will helm the kitchen, where he has worked for last four years. Sean Coltrain will head the beverage program, and certified sommelier (and one of the youngest in the country at a mere 21) Zac Adcox will run front of house.

“The staff is amazingly good,” said Murphy. “It’s one of the best we’ve ever had. It’s a great place to come in and celebrate. Or if you come in to process having a bad day, the staff is kind enough to understand and let you do that as well.”

In addition to the atmosphere and people, Murphy intends to keep membership prices and volume consistent. “I want to be as full as we can be and still put out exceptional food and drinks,” he said. “I don’t need to be 100-percent packed. I’m not Applebee’s and don’t want to be.”

Members and guests can expect to see the same menu items with the addition of more adventurous dishes, potentially including wild game entrees and a pawpaw cheesecake. Diners can also expect to see a bit more playfulness and tweaks in plating.

For their part, the former owners report success in their restaurant point-of-sale business, and while they are sad to not be at Blood & Sand on a daily basis, they are pleased with the establishment’s direction.

“Our dream was the person who took over would build on the success and serve the community we created,” said Frager. “Tim’s going to be able to build upon that legacy. It’s exciting. He’s been with us from the beginning, and this couldn’t have worked out better.”

Trendwatch: Guide to Drinking Edition (Part 2)

Thursday, September 15th, 2016

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{Vista Ramen’s Matcha Gonna Do For Me? cocktail} 

1. Go Green
Teatime and happy hour combine in green tea cocktails. Matcha is found in Retreat Gastropub’s Brainfreeze Culprit, which combines the vibrant green tea powder with rum, sherry, pineapple juice, cacao and coconut. We also spied it at Hiro Asian Kitchen, in a matcha mint julep. Green tea-infused vodka gets fresh at Rooster with apple, lime, pineapple and cucumber in the Green With Envy, while Water Street uses it in its Sweet Pea along with snap peas, dandelion liqueur, mint and lemon. Meanwhile, the drink team at Vista Ramen doubles down, using matcha and cold-brewed green tea stems in the gin-based Matcha Gonna Do For Me?

2. East-Coast Vibes
If intensely hopped IPAs blow your palate, head east. The East Coast IPA is a gentler, juicier IPA best identified by its murky, unfiltered appearance. Eastern breweries like Alchemist, Trillium and Tree House are known for these less bitter, slightly resinous beers, and up-and-coming hometown brewers are taking notice. Narrow Gauge Brewing, which recently opened inside Cugino’s in Florissant, is making waves with its cloudy, dry-hopped IPAs like Fallen Flag, and forthcoming Rockwell Beer Co. shared a taste of what’s to come at Heritage Festival with Major Key, an 8.5-percent East Coast-West Coast hybrid double IPA.

3. Concept Menus
Themed drink menus may seem like a marketing gimmick, but one sip of these exclusive cocktails will sell you. Pouring Ribbons in New York has been traveling with a themed menu series, hitting Route 66 and the Silk Road. Closer to home, Olive & Oak’s Gilligan’s Island-themed menu is a boozy voyage that includes a Three-Hour Tour, while sophisticated takes on college drinks were the star on Planter’s House’s spring break menu earlier this year. Recent menus at Blood & Sand have been based off everything from ninth-century Viking trade routes to popular music, and dedicated tiki menus have been found on bar menus from The Libertine to Taste to Retreat Gastropub.

4. Taste the Rainbow
Brewers are getting experimental, fermenting some of their classic base beers with fresh fruit. Side Project Brewing Co. has released raspberry, peach, blueberry and, most recently, apricot versions of its flagship Saison du Fermier. Over at Perennial Artisan Ales, Funky Wit has seen raspberry-rhubarb, raspberry, apricot and melon varieties, while fans of 2nd Shift Brewing’s Katy can try a veritable fruit salad of blackberry, peach, cherry and raspberry varieties. Looking for an insider taste? Rumor has it that 4 Hands Brewing Co. has quietly released infrequently available strawberry- and blueberry-inflected kegs of City Wide at its tasting room.

5. Basque Wine
Txakoli, a super dry, acidic white from Spain’s Basque region, has popped up on menus and in shops all summer. Union Loafers Café and Bread Bakery offered the crisp 2014 Xarmant Txakolina with barely-there bubbles on its summer wine list, while Reeds American Table still has two Txakolis to try. 33 Wine Bar has three of these Basque beauties on its September wine list, including Gorrondona Txakolina.

Miss Part 1? Click here to find out what else in trending in the STL beverage scene. 

-photo by Jonathan Gayman

Ones to Watch 2016: Matt Osmoe

Monday, January 18th, 2016

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Title: Bar manager, Blood & Sand
Age: 33
Why Watch Him: This jack-of-all-trades has become the master of one.

Less than two years ago, Matt Osmoe was working an information technology job, the discipline in which he earned a college degree. Now he heads one of the top-tier bar programs in the city, has won the acclaim of his peers in the U.S. Bartender’s Guild and has earned the right to compete in Bombay Sapphire’s World’s Most Imaginative Bartender contest.

Curious, undaunted by the prospect of failure and a technical perfectionist, Osmoe crafts cocktails via vivid imagination and honed technique.

“I create a scene in my mind. I’m at a place on the coast of Northern Italy. I’ve been out on a sailboat all day, and now I’m at this little cafe by the sea. The staff is starting to light the candles. There’s amazing seafood simply prepared, and they hand me a drink and it’s the most perfect drink for that situation, right at that moment. Think about the smells in the air, what the dish tastes like, what it’s going to do to your palate, where you’re at. What are the local spirits? What are the local drinking traditions?

“Slowly piece that together, one by one, until you get a drink, then balance it out to make it really pleasant for people who aren’t in your little fiction and you end up with something really great, usually.”

The resulting cocktail from that Mediterranean dreamscape combined TRU organic gin, La Quintinye vermouth royale (a dry vermouth with a delicate wormwood finish), lemon, simple syrup, wormwood bitters, grapefruit bitters, a touch of sage, a little bit of bay leaf and a cap of bubbly. “It would have gone well with my imaginary fish. It was tasty.”

Even imaginary pairings must be properly prepared. Osmoe keeps rigorous technical standards for measurement, temperature and rate of dissolution. His quest for precision led him to add a pyrometer, the device usually used to measure the temperature of racecar tires, to his bar’s equipment list. Too hot, and a drink tastes too boozy. Too cold and the flavors become muted.

Want in on this creative, technical golden mean? Sidle up to the bar with an open mind and be precise about what you like. Then sit back, because Matt Osmoe is one to watch.

– photo by Carmen Troesser

Extra Sauce: In case you missed it…

Sunday, January 3rd, 2016

From our new issue to new ramen shops, here’s everything that went down in the St. Louis food scene last week, in case you missed it…

 

1. We rang in the new year with our January issue featuring our annual Ones to Watch, six food and drink pros with promise.

2. South American food truck Que Sazon has a new team of chefs behind the window. Aaron Gray and Deana Saunders purchased the business from Fabian and Julie Ocampo Dec. 22.

 

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3. After their much heralded relocation to St. Louis, Michael and Tara Gallina have announced a series of pop-up dinners in January and February 2016.

4. Blood & Sand co-owners TJ Vytlacil and Adam Frager are putting their members-only bar on the market.

 

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5. Clayton, get ready to slurp. Nami Ramen will open doors Wednesday, Jan. 6 at 46 N. Central Ave., in the former home of House of Wong.

6. Resolved to drink better, cheaper or less in 2016? We’ve got you covered.

 

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7. Sauce restaurant critic Michael Renner has tasted his fair share of St. Louis cuisine. All year, he shared his thoughts on New and Notable restaurants, and last week, he shared his top five dishes of 2015.

8. Likewise, Matt Berkley works some odd hours as Sauce’s Nightlife critic, spending many a late night sipping craft cocktails around St. Louis on a hunt for the very best. Here, his top five cocktails of 2015.

 

 

 

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