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Sep 23, 2017
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Posts Tagged ‘Brasserie’

Trendwatch: 7 trends on the plate, in the glass and atop our wish list now

Friday, January 13th, 2017

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1. Smash and Grab
St. Louisans don’t have to wait until Shake Shack opens later this year to get their griddle burger fix of thin patties smashed on a flattop. Get a taste at Reeds American Table, where two patties are smothered with Swiss cheese and tallow aioli, or head to Olive & Oak in Webster Groves, where the kitchen keeps it classic with American cheese and dill pickles. The smashed Farmhouse Burger has been a fixture at Retreat Gastropub since it opened in October 2015, and The Dam in Tower Grove South does smashed patties – though the burgers are stacked so high with fixins, it’s hard to tell. Find griddled burgers at Brasserie, Local Chef Kitchen and Baileys’ Range, too.

2. Drinking like a Vegan
Aquafaba, aka the cloudy liquid in a can of chickpeas that usually goes down the drain, has seen new life as a vegan egg replacer in baked goods. Now it’s found its way behind the bar and into Pisco Sours at Los Angeles establishments like Birch and Gracias Madre. Small Batch pulled a similar move in its Cicer Sour with aquafaba, smoked almond Pisco and dry curacao. Bengelina Hospitality bar manager Drew Lucido shakes it with Old Tom Gin, Becherovka and lemon juice in The Walden at Olio, while the team across the street at Nixta uses a cream whipper to add a foamy, egg-free head to the No. 3.

3. Kung Pao That
The Chinese staple is popping up outside the takeout box these days at restaurants like Mission Chinese in San Francisco, which has a kung pao pastrami we hope someone in town will replicate. Chefs at Cleveland-Heath were inspired by a celery dish at Mission’s NYC location to create a shaved raw beef and celery kung pao special for St. Louisans to enjoy last summer. The Preston swaps in calamari for a sophisticated take on the dish, and the pop-up and future restaurant Good Fortune is crazy about kung pao. It incorporated the flavors into a bratwurst made for a collaboration with Brasserie, and made a kung pao pizza for an event with Delicious Pizza in Los Angeles.

 

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4. Rise and Shine
The Egg McMuffin will always hold a special greasy place in our hearts, but area restaurants are taking breakfast more seriously these days. Whole concepts, like Egg on Gravois Avenue and Yolklore in Crestwood, are devoted to breakfast beyond the standard flapjacks, eggs and bacon. Quick counter-service options at newly opened eateries like Sardella and The Garden on Grand mean we’re setting our weekday alarms a few minutes earlier. Even pop-up eateries are getting in on the action: Revel Kitchen chef-owner Simon Lusky and chef Adam Altnether recently hosted the breakfast-themed Waffle Nut Pop-up, serving sweet and savory waffle combos and cereal milk coffee beverages.

5. Lightning in a Mug
Loaded with antioxidants, vitamins and a large dose of caffeine, yerba mate is a light, herbaceous tea that’s creeping its way into local spots like SweetArt, where it’s served hot, and Comet Coffee, where it’s found in two forms: as hot tea and as a mocha-nut mate made with toasted mate leaves, chocolate, hazelnut and marigold flowers for a sweet treat. Pick up some of the loose-leaf tea to brew at home from international grocers like Global Foods Market or United Provisions.

6. Meat Lollipops
Some St. Louis chefs are frenching chicken drumettes, trimming classic wings into little meat lollipops. The trend has a confusing extra-work-for-less-meat quality, but we’ve bought jeans with holes in the knees, so we’re not here to judge. Try the lollies at Mona’s, where they’re smoked and served with a creamy giardiniera sauce and salsa verde, or at Copper Pig with a Vietnamese fish sauce caramel or a sweet chile basil sauce. Scapegoat offers a more traditional Buffalo version.

7. Taste the Magic
Magic Shell is making appearances outside grandma’s sundae bar these days. We noticed it with caramelized honey and honeycomb candy on soft serve at The Honey Paw in Portland, Maine, and over caramel corn and vanilla malted milk balls at Girl & the Goat in Chicago. But Peacemaker Lobster & Crab Co. has offered the topping on soft serve since it opened in 2014, and our favorite matcha-chocolate cookie gelato pop from Porano this summer was dipped in Magic Shell. Taste’s new brownie dessert with candy cap ice cream and toffee sauce lives in a Magic Shell house, too.

 

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What I Do: Nick Blue of Sardella

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2016

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Gerard Craft’s text message asked for a vegetarian dish, done Niche-style. Unbeknownst to Nick Blue, he was in the preliminary stages of a job interview for executive chef of Sardella, the concept that will replace Niche, Craft’s first restaurant and the one that earned him St. Louis’ first James Beard Foundation Award. Blue certainly has the resume to head up Sardella when it opens later this month. He began working with Craft in 2009, bouncing around between Brasserie, Niche and Taste before working his way up to executive chef of Brasserie. Here, Blue shares what he’s learned so far in the Niche Food Group.
 

First week on 
the job
“I was walking through the (old Niche) dining room carrying two cases of eggs by the handles and … one bottom fell out and the whole case just breaks in the middle of the dining room. … I was like, ‘Oh God, this is my first true professional kitchen.’”

From-scratch kitchen
“(Brasserie) was a well-oiled machine already. … To start over from scratch – it’s been a little nerve-wracking, to say the least. I’ve never done this before. I don’t know what to do every single time, but I try to make that call and ask for forgiveness later.”

Attitude adjustment
“The whole kitchen culture (at Sardella) is changing. … We can go back to having fun and start cooking the food that’s why we started cooking. It’s going to be a little more casual (than Niche).”

Most important meal of the day
“I’m a breakfast fan, but not at breakfast hours. Recently the Sardella kitchen management team has been hooked on Original Pancake House in Ladue. We get the breakfast sandwiches to go. It’s on sourdough with egg, ham and I add American cheese.”

His sweeter half
“When (my wife, Sardella pastry chef Sarah Osborn and I) cook (at home), we both do it. I’ll do something savory, and she’ll do something pastry. … I have a huge sweet tooth. The two things I usually ask for are tres leches cake or a strawberry-rhubarb pie.”

Retirement plans
“My dream retirement job is to have a taco stand on the beach – somewhere in Key West probably. … I came up with that big plan after a few drinks at Big Star (in Chicago). I was eating their fish tacos and I was like, You know what? I’m going to live on a beach one day and retire and make fish tacos. And Sarah wants to do adult popsicles.”

-photo by Ashley Gieseking

Edible Weekend: Jump start the weekend with 4 more events

Wednesday, July 20th, 2016

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There are plenty of ways to fill up this weekend: Beer for breakfast and dinner downtown, to name just two. Can’t wait? Jump start the weekend with four more delicious events now through Friday.

1. Fortune Franks
German brats take an Asian turn as Brasserie and forthcoming Good Fortune join forces for a kung pao brat and fries at the Central West End eatery.
Through July 22 – 5 to 7 p.m., brasseriebyniche.com

2. Happy Hour & Wine Tasting
Unwind with an evening of California wine tasting and barbecue and ballpark-themed appetizers.
July 21 – 6 to 10 p.m., Facebook: Barnett On Washington

3. Sardella Pop-Up at Porano
Get a sneak peek of highly anticipated Sardella at the upcoming restaurant’s third pop-up. Tickets available online.
July 21 – 7 to 9 p.m., brownpapertickets.com; July 22 – 7 to 9 p.m., brownpapertickets.com

4. Bourbon vs. Whiskey
Test your taste buds and learn the difference between bourbon and whiskey at this spirited evening.
July 21 – 7 to 9 p.m., Facebook: Stur Restaurant

Still hungry? Sign up for the Edible Weekend newsletter to get the top four food events of the weekend delivered to your inbox every Wednesday.

The Scoop: Nate Hereford to exit Niche, Brasserie’s Nick Blue to take the helm

Tuesday, April 19th, 2016

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{The Niche Food Group Team. Chef Nate Hereford is front row, second from left; chef-owner Gerard Craft is front row, far right.}

 

Niche executive chef Nate Hereford will hang up his apron at the Clayton institution at the end of May. Hereford said he has accepted a position at Hampton Creek as a research, design and development chef in San Francisco.

Niche Food Group chef-owner Gerard Craft said Brasserie executive chef Nick Blue has been tapped to take the top toque at Niche, and Brian Moxey has been named executive chef at Brasserie.

“We’re excited as a company for (Hereford) to take on the big picture stuff,” Craft said. “It’s what we drive for in this company, (but) in a bigger way. It’s so awesome that great leaders are taking this on.”

Hampton Creek is a food production company that focuses on making sustainable products that are good for the consumer and the wider food system. It is the company behind Just Mayo and Just Cookie Dough.

“I’m really excited to be involved with big picture food sustainability issues,” said Hereford. “These issues are near and dear to my heart. This is an opportunity to make a difference in the food system, (in) our kids’ future.”

Hereford has been at Niche for six-and-a-half years, working his way from cook to sous chef to executive chef of the nationally acclaimed restaurant. Craft said he appreciated Hereford’s leadership on the line and within the company.

“Nate’s a lot more (of) even-keeled person than me,” Craft said. “That’s helped him get through a lot of struggles in the process of developing a new cuisine. I’ve learned a ton from that. Not everything’s the end of the world. His even-keeled attitude has allowed him to take the team through a lot of failure. That’s been huge. I’ll definitely miss that.”

 

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{Chef Nick Blue}

Craft pulled Hereford’s replacement from within the Niche Food Group team, tapping Brasserie’s executive chef to take the top spot at Niche. Craft said Blue was the first person he thought of to take the role, citing his experience in both the tradition and history of food and his forward-thinking creativity.

“You have to have both,” said Craft. “He is his own person and also has a playful side that will be fun to see develop. He has huge, huge shoes to fill, and he knows that.”

Blue said he was excited to take on the job. “What Nate’s done has been amazing,” Blue said. “I’m looking forward to keeping the ball rolling and using local Missouri ingredients.”

While Blue has worked in the Niche kitchen intermittently over the years, he and Hereford will spend the next month working together. Blue will also keep one foot at Brasserie to train its new executive chef. Moxey has spent the last two years as head chef at Perennial Artisan Ales, but he previously worked within Niche Food Group at Pastaria. “I have a respect for classic French food,” Moxey said. “I look forward to working with a great group of people.”

Perennial co-owner Emily Wymore said control of the south city brewery’s kitchen will stay in house. Chef Kaleigh Brundick, who has worked with Moxey in Perennial’s kitchens and has three-and-a-half years at Perennial, will step up to head chef.

“We were lucky to have (Moxey),” Wymore said. “He’s an extremely talented chef. We’re excited to see what (Brundick) brings. She has a great palate and is passionate about local, seasonal, ingredient-focused food.”

 

-Niche Food Group photo by Jonathan Gayman; Nick Blue photo courtesy of Niche Food Group

Baked: Eggs en Cocotte

Wednesday, January 13th, 2016

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I first tried eggs in cocotte during brunch at Brasserie. A piping hot cast-iron skilled arrived at my table filled with bacon and creamy spinach topped with fresh eggs and served with crisp smashed potatoes. (Want to try your hand at Brasserie’s version? Click here for the recipe.)

Versatility is eggs en cocotte’s greatest strength. For my home version, I added smoked salmon, broccolini and creme fraiche – all because they were at hand in my refrigerator. For perfect baked eggs, pull the dish from the oven just before the whites are set. They will continue cooking a few minutes after removing from the oven. This dish makes a wonderful brunch addition or a decadent weekday breakfast all for yourself. Enjoy and happy baking!

 

Eggs en Cocotte
6 servings

1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 bunch broccolini, woody ends removed
½ cup chopped mixed mushrooms
12 oz. smoked salmon
6 Tbsp. creme fraiche, divided
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
12 eggs
Handful chopped green onions

• Coat 6 ramekins with nonstick spray and place in a large deep baking dish. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
• In a saucepan, warm the olive oil over medium heat and saute the broccolini and mushrooms about 5 minutes, until softened and fragrant. Set aside.
• Evenly divide the smoked salmon and place the slices in the bottom of the ramekins, then top each with ½ tablespoon creme fraiche. Season with salt and pepper.
• Evenly divide the broccolini and mushroom mixture among the ramekins, then top each with 2 eggs and ½ tablespoon creme fraiche.
• Fill the baking dish with hot water until it reaches halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Carefully slide the baking dish into the oven and bake 15 to 20 minutes, until the egg whites are almost cooked through.
• Garnish with chopped green onions and let cool slightly before serving.

 

Readers’ Choice 2015: Chef of the Year – Gerard Craft

Tuesday, July 7th, 2015

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You know a meal is special when you can recall it in vivid detail years, even decades, later. Epicures have traveled from far and near to visit Gerard Craft’s flagship restaurant, Niche, and have departed with memories of exquisitely plated, creative dishes. Craft’s own dining experiences likewise have left an indelible mark on his culinary mind. Here, this year’s Readers’ Choice Chef of the Year – and winner of the 2015 James Beard Foundation award for Best Chef: Midwest – shares the top meals of his life.  

1. The French Laundry, Yountville, California, 2002
“That meal was mind-blowing on every level, especially because I had experienced a lot at that point but nothing unique. I’d been sleeping with The French Laundry Cookbook pretty much at that point. It was a big deal to see it all. The wine service was Bobby Stuckey (now co-owner of Frasca Food and Wine in Boulder, Colorado) as a youngster. My dad still talks about the wine service to this day and how amazingly inspired it was. (We started) with five different soups, each one the essence of whatever that ingredient was. (I had) dishes that are now iconic, like the salmon cornet – the ice cream cone, the oysters and pearls … just mind-blowing and fun. Grant Achatz was a sous chef. It was kind of like a dream team in that restaurant.”

2. Le Bamboche, Paris, France, 2000
“It was during the mad cow crisis. Lots of vegetables because nobody was cooking meat at that point. La Bamboche was a tiny little spot, maybe 20 seats. The chef was Claude Colliot. It was him in the kitchen with one other guy and his wife ran the front of the house. It was the first time I saw traditional rules broken. There was a dish of glazed Loire Valley vegetables with fromage blanc ice cream, a savory ice cream. I was blown away. Now, everyone sees ice cream on dishes. Back then, no one had ice cream on dishes. On the dessert side, he had a Napoleon with pastry cream on one layer, a kind of candied confit tomato on another layer and then basil simple syrup. Again, this notion of the rules had been broken: savory food being used in dessert. That meal alone shaped my career and the way I would look at food from then on.”

3. L’Arpège, Paris, France, 2000
“This place was – and still is – a three-star Michelin restaurant. My parents took me there and said, ‘Pay attention. This is your Harvard education.’ It was a spectacular meal, tons of vegetables. I don’t know if I was necessarily blown out of the water. It was just vegetables and light flavors and very good. What I did notice later on as I was cooking was: This green bean is not cooked right; this turnip’s texture could be much better. Every vegetable in that place was so perfectly cooked. When it comes to vegetables, that completely changed my life. I am so picky with our cooks about how they cook vegetables. That stems from this restaurant.”

4. Trattoria del Conte, Orvieto, Italy, 2006
“Our very good friends, Margaret and Carlo Pfeiffer, took me to this place. It was their favorite local restaurant to eat dinner. It’s pretty much a father and his daughters who run this place. They make really casual pastas, all fresh, hand-made. One of my favorite dishes that I still love to make is a ricotta tortelloni with artichokes, lemon and olive oil – an incredibly simple dish, but perfect. The whole thing, the ragus they do, everything made me fall in love with Italian food. That wasn’t my first trip to Italy, but it was a transformative trip for me.”

-illustrations by Vidhya Nagarajan

The Scoop: Adam Altnether parts ways with Niche Food Group

Tuesday, March 31st, 2015

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{Adam Altnether}

 

Adam Altnether has left the Niche family of restaurants. According to majority owner chef Gerard Craft, Altnether is no longer a shareholder in the restaurant group, which includes Niche, Taste, Brasserie, Pastaria and soon-to-open Porano. He sold his minority shares in the restaurants back to Craft at the end of March, positing Craft as the majority owner of the company.

“Adam has been a part of the team for over seven years, and we are proud of the work that we were able to accomplish together within that time,” Craft said. “We’re excited to see what’s next for him.”

Altnether’s departure brings to an end nearly decade-long tenure with Craft. Altnether began working at Niche in 2007. This member of the Sauce Ones to Watch class of 2009 quickly rose through the ranks at Niche and became Craft’s business partner in late 2010.

Altnether said after nearly eight years working with Craft, the two saw the elements of the restaurant group going in different directions. “I’m super lucky to have done what I did with Gerard, and I’m very grateful for everything we were able to accomplish … but sometimes it’s time to break out and start something new,” he said.

Though he’s not yet certain what that something is, Altnether said he plans to stay active in the St. Louis food scene and that his time in Craft’s kitchens and as his business partner has prepared him for almost anything. “We’ve almost seen it all,” he said. “You get to see a lot of interesting things, and it makes a lot of fun and unforgettable memories.”

Craft said Pastaria executive chef Michael Petres will take on the role of corporate executive chef, focusing on kitchen operations at Pastaria and Porano, his fast-casual pasta concept slated to open downtown this summer. Pastaria chef de cuisine Ashley Shelton will transition into the exec chef role at that restaurant.

 

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{Gerard Craft}

The top toques at Craft’s other restaurants remain the same: Nate Hereford helming Niche, Nick Blue heading the brigade at Brasserie and Heather Stone commanding at Taste. Stone assumed that position in January upon the departure of Matt Daughaday, whose first venture into chef-ownership will begin in a matter of months when his Reeds American Kitchen opens.

The news of Altnether’s leaving comes with the announcement that Niche is seeing changes at the front of the house. Christopher Kelling was hired as general manager. Kelling, former GM at Niche, will begin walking the floor at the Clayton fine dining restaurant, while current GM Matt McGuire has been named director of service for Niche Food Group. Kelling left Niche for his most recent position as dining room manager at The Restaurant at Meadowood in Napa Valley, California.

 

Editor’s note: This post was updated March 31 at 11:30 a.m. to include comments from Adam Altnether. Also, the original post stated that Gerard Craft is the sole owner of Niche Food Group.

Catherine Klene contributed to this report.

The Scoop: 5 St. Louis-area chefs, Annie Gunn’s wine program named 2015 JBFA semifinalists

Wednesday, February 18th, 2015

 

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{Clockwise from top left, James Beard Foundation Awards 2015 semifinalists chefs Gerard Craft, Kevin Nashan, Annie Gunn’s wine director Glenn Bardgett, chefs Ben Poremba, Ed Heath and Kevin Willmann}

 

The James Beard Foundation has announced its 2015 restaurant and chef award semifinalists. St. Louis is again represented among this year’s nominees for the organization’s annual esteemed culinary awards.

In a national category, Anne Gunn’s Smokehouse was nominated for Outstanding Wine Program. “It’s just an honor that someone’s recognizing us on a national level,” said Glenn Bardgett, Annie Gunn’s wine director. “We’re not a flyover city anymore. What an honor. The first time this happened for me in 2011. It was the only time in Missouri that anybody was nominated for wine. Lightning struck twice.” Bardgett, who is also a Sauce wine columnist, was a semifinalist in the Outstanding Wine Service category in 2011.

In the category of Best Chef: Midwest, four area chefs made the list: Gerard Craft, chef-owner of the Niche family of restaurants; Kevin Nashan, chef-owner of Sidney Street Cafe and Peacemaker Lobster & Crab Co.; Kevin Willmann, chef-owner of Farmhaus; and Ben Poremba, chef-owner of Elaia, Olio and Old Standard Fried Chicken. “I’m so grateful to be on the bus,” Nashan said. “It’s so cool. Yeah for The Lou!”

Ed Heath of Cleveland-Heath was nominated for Best Chef: Great Lakes. This is Heath’s first time on the semifinalist list. He found out about his nomination when The Scoop called for comment: “Holy shit!” he said. “(Co-owner Jenny Cleveland) and I were certain we’d close in six months after we opened. Everything has been an awesome surprise … Everyone that has (worked here) has helped shape it.”

Nashan, Craft, Willmann and Poremba have all previously garnered James Beard Foundation award nominations. Last year, St. Louis saw five chefs (Gerard Craft, Josh Galliano, Kevin Nashan, Ben Poremba and Kevin Willmann) on the semifinalist list, with Craft and Nashan moving on as finalists. “I’m super humbled to be on a pretty amazing list,” Craft said. “(It’s) an honor to be included with all those guys … St. Louis’ dining scene, especially in the past few years, is amazingly strong. I’m excited to be a part of it.”

Willmann said the list reflected St. Louis’ diverse dining scene. “It’s definitely exciting,” he said. “There’s so many new and talented people in this town.”

Poremba also found out about his nomination from The Scoop. “You’ve got to be kidding me,” Poremba said. “That’s just awesome!”

Finalists for the 2015 awards will be announced March 24, with the winners announced at a gala ceremony in Chicago May 4.

See a full list of restaurant and chef semifinalists here.

Ligaya Figueras, Catherine Klene, Garrett Faulkner and Meera Nagarajan contributed to this report.

Budget Crunch: 10 delicious dishes and sweet deals to try now

Tuesday, January 13th, 2015

 

It’s time for Budget Crunch, wherein intrepid reporter Byron Kerman offers 10 tips on delicious menu items and sweet deals happening now. Got $10? Grab a friend and sample, split and stuff yourselves with these steals.

 

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1. Someone at Brasserie really likes bratwurst. That would be executive chef Nick Blue, who has inaugurated Brasserie Brats. Every Tuesday through March, the CWE restaurant opens for lunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and offers house-made sausages in intriguing sandwiches. The changing selection includes three original creations each week. Today’s offerings include the Avec Brat, a chorizo brat with tomato sauce, date puree and bacon; Brat in a Blanket, a cheddar beer brat wrapped in a croissant and served with Bolyard’s Meat & Provisions beer mustard; and the Lao Brat, which is topped with green papaya slaw and peanuts. All brats are served with a side of fries for $7.

2. Give winter a kick in the nards with the Bottomless Soup Bowl ($6) at Corvid’s Cafe. The from-scratch soup du jour may include tomato basil bisque, white bean-chicken chili, lentil mushroom, corn chowder, vegetarian chili, chunky peasant-style borscht or other hot concoctions. Soups are often served with crunchy Companion breadsticks. How many bowls can one diner with a bottomless stomach slurp down? “The most I’ve seen one person eat in one day was six bowls, but he did sit here for a long time,” said Corvid chef-owner Cindy Panian.

 

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3. The holidays haven’t ended at Jilly’s Ice Cream Bar. The flavors-of-the-month include December holdovers like a RumChata Eggnog Creme Brulee ice cream with plenty of nog. Ginger-Doodle is loaded with chunks of gingerbread-snickerdoodle cake in molasses-gingerbread ice cream with a ribbon of cinnamon-caramel. Scoop up your favorite for $3 to $6. Next door at Jilly’s Cupcake Bar and Cafe, the resolution busting continues with monthly cupcake offerings like Double Chocolate Chip with a dense gooey butter cake for $6, or for 50 cents more, try flavors like Butterscotch, German chocolate, Cookies ‘n Mousse crowned with an Oreo hand-dipped in chocolate and a Fireball whiskey cupcake topped with dramatic Fireball frosting flames.

4. One of the best deals in town on draft craft beers isn’t at a bar – it’s at a supermarket. Buy a $2 pint at Lucky’s Market in Ellisville and enjoy it in the store’s adjacent cafe or attach a cupholder to your cart and sip while you shop. The half-dozen daily draft choices have recently included brews like Deschutes Chain Breaker White IPA, Kona Longboard Lager, Urban Chestnut Schnickelfritz and O’Fallon King Louie Toffee Stout.

 

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5. How hard is it to part with two bucks? Unless you’re some sort of deranged paperboy, it’s nothing. Maybe that’s why $2 Tuesdays has been a success for Mad Tomato. From 5 to 10 p.m. every Tuesday, all charcuterie, cheese and conserves in the joint are $2. Choose from goodies like prosciutto, sopressata, marinated olives, white bean hummus, sausage-stuffed fried olives, soft Morbier cheese and creamy dolce gorgonzola.

6. Felix’s Pizza Pub recently moved just across the street from their old Dogtown home. The much-expanded space features a generous happy hour deal from 4 to 6 p.m. Tuesday to Friday stars its criminally underrated New York-style pizza. The Pint and a Slice includes a pint of a Schlafly beer and a one-topping slice for $6. The Sweet Deal is a slice, a garden salad and a soda for $9.50. Finally, the Buddy System includes two slices, an appetizer and two sodas for $15.

 

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7. What do you do when you hear the word of the day? You hop over to Southwest Diner and collect your reward. Dedicated followers of the New Mexico-style diner’s Facebook page already know that the word of the day can score you goodies like free coffee, a dollar off cherry pancakes (an off-menu special), or a free side of guacamole, amongst other recent freebies. To the vigilant go the spoils.

8. The drink that’s flying from the bar at The Scottish Arms these days is hot wassail ($5). They make it by boiling local apple cider, Strongbow English cider, orange brandy liqueur, nutmeg, cinnamon, honey and citrus fruits into a warm, fortifying winter cocktail. The alcohol boils out, so most patrons choose to add a shot of Kraken spiced rum, a bourbon or rye for another $2 to $3.

 

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9. If you like it sweet, consider the chocolaty warm happiness of the Cinnamon Toast Cocoa Cocktail ($7.50) at Big Chief Roadhouse in Wildwood. The drink is made quite simply from RumChata, Captain Morgan spiced rum and hot chocolate. It’s boozy, hot and puts a big ol’ child’s grin on your adult face.

10. The Charlie Gitto’s locations in Chesterfield and inside Hollywood Casino have introduced a new Happy Hour Menu. For $4, you can choose from meatballs in pomodoro sauce, arancini or toasted ravioli and sauce. For $6, choose from fried calamari and peppers (served with a citrus mayo dipping sauce), chicken speidini lollipops or tortellini alla panna. For $8, choose from mussels in a lobster-tomato broth, a sausage-pepperoni Sicilian flatbread or a vegetarian flatbread. Happy hour is every day from 3 to 6 p.m. in the bar area; keep an eye out for similarly priced drink selections soon.

 

 

Raise your voice: Nominations open for James Beard Awards

Friday, October 17th, 2014

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Calling all opinionated St. Louis foodies! The prestigious James Beard Foundation has put out a call to the public, requesting nominations for its annual awards. Here’s your chance to call out your favorite chef and restaurant. Click here to register and nominate. Don’t delay – submit your culinary nods before Dec. 31, 2014.

St. Louis is no stranger to the James Beard Foundation. In fact at this very moment, St. Louis is heating up the kitchens at the James Beard House in New York City. The Libertine executive chef and co-owner Josh Galliano cooks there tonight, Oct. 17. Though you can’t grab a seat at that esteemed table tonight, you can pull up a seat at The Libertine bar starting at 5 p.m. for a special happy hour where guests can watch Galliano in action on a live-stream from the James Beard kitchens.

St. Louis made waves on the JBFA stage earlier this year, too. Kevin Nashan, chef-owner of Sidney Street Cafe and the newly opened Peacemaker Lobster & Crab Co., and Gerard Craft, chef-owner of Niche Food Group (including Niche, Pastaria, Taste and Brasserie) were both finalists in the Best Chef: Midwest category.

 

 

 

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