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Oct 21, 2017
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SERVING SAINT LOUIS SINCE 1999
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Posts Tagged ‘Bon Appétit’

Nixta earns spot on Bon Appétit’s top 10 new restaurants list

Tuesday, August 15th, 2017

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

The hits just keep on coming for the St. Louis restaurant scene.

As The Scoop reported earlier this month, Nixta and Vicia earned slots on Bon Appétit’s Top 50 Best New Restaurants in America list. Today, Bon Appétit announced  Nixta had earned the No. 9 spot on its coveted Top 10 Best New Restaurants in America list.

“I’m shocked,” said Nixta owner Ben Poremba. “I did not see that one coming. In my mind I knew we were top 10 quality, I won’t deny that. I knew we were doing something unique and special.”

Poremba, who also owns Elaia, Olio and Parigi, said Nixta executive chef Tello Carreón was also excited about the accolade, but typically humble in his response.

“I called him, and in typical Tello fashion, he was excited, but he was grocery shopping, and said ‘I have a 100 people to feed tonight, so…’”

Carreón could not immediately be reached for comment.

Bon Appétit senior editor Julia Kramer lauded Nixta’s popular octopus dish, the space’s fun vibe and heralded Carreón’s knack for creative flavor combinations in his Mexican fare. “They could easily have used this fun, colorful space as home to a crowd-pleasing, money-printing taco bar,” Kramer wrote. “Instead, Carreón turns out an ambitious menu that doesn’t limit itself to any particular region of Mexico.”

Poremba said his team will put together some sort of celebratory event to commemorate the honor in the near future.

It’s the latest in a slew of national honors for St. Louis restaurants and chefs. In May, Sidney Street Cafe chef-owner Kevin Nashan brought home a James Beard Foundation award for Best Chef: Midwest, and in July, Eater listed Vicia among its top 12 best new restaurants in St. Louis.

Photo by Carmen Troesser

Matt Sorrell is staff writer at Sauce Magazine.

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Nixta, Vicia make Bon Appetit’s top 50 new restaurants list

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Review: Nixta 

By the Book: “Bon Appétit’s The Grilling Book” edited by Adam Rapoport

Saturday, April 9th, 2016

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I don’t usually grill. The whole to-do about cleaning the grill, setting up and lighting the charcoal, waiting for it to get to temperature … It’s not exactly my favorite. However, if a friend is willing to do all of that for me, I’m down for the cooking part.

I chose to cook out of Bon Appétit’s The Grilling Book with its clean design and delicious-looking pictures. I made skirt steak with chimichurri sauce, both of which were new to me. The simple recipes are exactly the kind I enjoy when I’m entertaining: quick dishes with bright flavor.

The chimichurri sauce is acidic and herbaceous with savory, pungent raw garlic. Treat it like a condiment that brightens up anything grilled. The recipe makes enough for leftovers, and it will go well on a number of things: seared fish, grilled lamb and roasted vegetables. As for the meat, it doesn’t get much easier than flank steak. Pat the meat dry, season with salt and pepper, cook four minutes a side and enjoy medium-rare.

Skill level: Easy. There’s a ton of recipes, so there’s something for everyone. The recipes seem easy to follow and uncomplicated. Some are time-consuming (ribs take several hours) but not difficult.
This book is for: People who want creative grilling recipes and people who like to entertain.
Other recipes to try: Cantaloupe-basil agua fresca  and Chinese-style lobster with ginger, garlic and soy sauce
The verdict: Check back next week when the first challenger takes on The Grilling Book.

 

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Skirt Steak with Chimichurri Sauce
4 servings

1 1½-lb. skirt steak, cut in half crosswise
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Vegetable oil, for brushing
½ cup chimichurri sauce

• Season skirt steak lightly with salt and let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. Pat dry with paper towels and season again with salt and pepper.
• Build a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill, or heat a gas grill to high. Brush grill grate with oil. Cook until meat is nicely charred and medium-rare, 3 to 4 minutes per side.
• Transfer steak to a work surface; let rest for 5 to 10 minutes. Slice thinly against the grain and serve with chimichurri sauce.

Chimichurri

1/3 cup red wine vinegar
2 tsp. kosher salt, more as needed
3 or 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced or minced.
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 Fresno chile or red jalapeno, finely chopped
2 cups minced, fresh cilantro
1 cup minced flat-leaf parsley
1/3 cup finely chopped fresh oregano
¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil

• Combine vinegar, 1 teaspoon salt, garlic, shallot and chile in a medium bowl and let stand for 10 minutes. Stir in cilantro, parsley and oregano. Using a fork, whisk in oil.
• Transfer ½ cup chimichurri to a small bowl, season with salt to taste, and reserve as sauce.
• To use as a marinade with beef or lamb: Put beef or lamb in a glass, stainless steel or ceramic dish. Toss with remaining chimichurri. Cover and chill for at least 3 hours or overnight.
• Remove meat from marinade, pat dry and grill. Serve with reserved sauce.

Reprinted with permission from Andrews McNeel Publishing

 

The Scoop: SLU School of Law restaurant The Docket opens downtown

Wednesday, August 28th, 2013

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Saint Louis University School of Law’s new restaurant The Docket is now open for service. The restaurant is located on the ground floor of the law school’s new downtown location at 100 N. Tucker Blvd. Open to the public, The Docket features a grab-and-go counter for breakfast and lunch, a buffet and an a la carte menu for lunch, and regular dinner service.

Chef Treff Baker is helming the kitchen, and as with other Bon Appétit-managed venues (Washington University’s dining services and Saint Louis Art Museum’s restaurant Panorama), he and his team are using locally sourced, seasonal ingredients and scratch-made sauces, dressings and dough. On the beverage side, the bar features wine, craft beer, handcrafted cocktails and house-made sodas.

 

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General manager Jorge Rama described The Docket’s concept as one focused on family-style plates and foods that promote conversation, such as the pizzas served with scissors (pictured). True to its name, in just its first week open, Rama said The Docket has seen judges, lawyers, jurors and law students all frequenting the new space.

 

 

Wash U. ranks No. 1 among colleges in nation for food options

Monday, April 23rd, 2012

It’s that time of year again when high school seniors have to make the big decision of where they will spend the next four years. For some, class size holds a great deal of importance. For others, it’s sports. And for some, it’s the quality of grub they’ll be chowing down on during their collegiate experience. If you or your youngin’s fall into that last category, then you’ll want to take a second look at St. Louis’ very own Washington University.

The school’s dining services were ranked first among colleges around the country by online food website The Daily Meal. Results were based on a re-ranking of U.S. News & World Report’s 2012 list of the top 20 colleges and universities, but this time, based solely on the academic institutions’ food options. Judging criteria included: variety of cuisine; presence of chefs on staff; sustainability efforts; availability of nutrition facts and ingredients information; options for those requiring kosher, halal, gluten-free and vegan meals; food-related events; and the ability to order food online. Among the top five schools, Massachusetts Institute of Technology came in second, followed by Northwestern University, Cornell University and the University of Pennsylvania.

Wash U. and its food management services company, Bon Appétit, were lauded for going “the extra mile to provide students with the best of the best” in cooking classes, culinary demonstrations and other events held in an open kitchen called Studio 40. Other dining features mentioned in the report included the school’s sustainability measures, its attention to student feedback and the newly opened Bear’s Den, complete with tandoori ovens that are manned by trained chefs from Pakistan and India.

Click here to read the entire article and to view a slideshow of America’s Top Universities for Food Lovers.

— Image courtesy of The Daily Meal

The Scoop: Fitz’s founder quietly returning a Delmar original to its roots

Tuesday, March 15th, 2011

031511_FitzA fresh coat of paint to the dining area. An outdoor lighted sign that needed to be fixed. A kitchen that needed a chef. A menu that yearned for house-made ingredients. If you’ve frequented Fitz’s over the past few months, maybe you’ve noticed some of the changes that Michael Alter has been quietly making to the Delmar anchor since he repurchased the business this past fall.

Alter founded Fitz’s in 1993 with partners Alan Richman and Tom Cohen. While Cohen left the business early on, Alter and Richman (the latter owns Sasha’s Wine Bar, Sasha’s on Shaw and Demun Oyster Bar) worked throughout the 1990s to develop Fitz’s as an anchor in The Loop. The entrepreneurs sold the St. Louis root beer-maker and restaurant to equity firm The Westgate Group in late 1999. In 2003, Fitz’s was sold to another local investment firm, Clayton Capital Partners.

In an exclusive interview with the Scoop, Alter explained that he repurchased the restaurant and soda microbrewery because he felt that Fitz’s had lost some of it’s connectedness to The Loop, having gone in what he called “too corporate of a direction” and having veered away from the diner-esque, indie elements that characterized Fitz’s when it opened. He cited, for example, a logo stamped with the print “American Grill and Bottling Works,” and an uninspired menu cover page that looked like it could be that of Steak ‘n Shake. While branding might have bothered him, he was also disheartened that the art-deco building that he worked hard to restore was looking a bit neglected – thus the paint job and sign repair.

Alter couldn’t complain about numbers – business was, and remains, bustling at Fitz’s. But could a restaurant serve great food without a real chef? For Alter, the answer was a resounding “no.” Thus, he has been working with culinary professionals and is currently in the search process to hire an executive chef. The new menu, which debuted last week, is a bit smaller than it was during the years in which Westgate Group and Clayton Capital Partners owned the restaurant, but back are the little touches that make for truly tasty fare – namely, the return of house-made ingredients.

A smoker now sits outside the restaurant so that the apple-wood smoked beef brisket and the pulled pork sandwich can be given the attention they deserve. A simple side like baked beans uses the same earthy root beer baked beans recipe – sans the bacon – that was reprinted in Bon Appétit last July. (Alter’s wife is a vegetarian, so he’s keenly aware of the need for fresh, veg-happy fare.) One section of the menu that has increased in size are the famous floats, with additions like the Loop Da Loop (root beer topped with coffee ice cream and Hershey’s chocolate sauce), Purple Splash (grape soda plus vanilla ice cream) and others made with a variety of Fitz’s hand-batched draft sodas.

On the adult beverages side, Alter’s first move was to re-install all the beer taps at the first floor bar that had been removed. All 10 taps now carry a selection of Missouri (and mainly St. Louis-produced) craft beers. Alter’s next move is to give the upstairs bar a face-lift so that the space, where two decades ago college kids hung out in the evenings over a beer and a game of pool, will have the same, easygoing feel of a Delmar bar.

What’s not going to change? The soda microbrewing operation in the restaurant. That, said Alter, was genius from the start. He smiled as he talked about the kids who stand mesmerized at the window watching workers on the bottling line. “I remind the staff that when they are in there, they are ‘on,’” he noted.

Alter is “on” too, and he’s not likely to turn to the “off” switch any time soon.

Stay cool, St. Louis

Monday, August 10th, 2009

St. Louis is all over the September issue of Bon Appétit magazine. The Loop’s own Fitz’s Root Beer makes a short list of root beers to try. (“Old-fashioned root beer is the newest restaurant drink trend,” the article says. See this story in the current issue of Sauce to make your own.) Also, the talents of Niche pastry chef Mathew Rice are part of a gorgeous feature on desserts á la mode. Click here for a slideshow that includes his Buttermilk Cake and Greek Yogurt Ice Cream.

Photo by Greg Rannells

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