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Mar 30, 2017
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Posts Tagged ‘Catherine Klene’

First Look: Polite Society in Lafayette Square

Wednesday, March 29th, 2017

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Polite Society quietly opened in the in Lafayette Square at 1923 Park Ave. on March 23. As The Scoop reported in October 2016, co-owners Jonathan Schoen and Brian Schmitz have spent nearly a year renovating the former home of Ricardo’s, which closed in 2015 after 26 years in business.

Schoen and Schmitz met in the late ’90s as servers at Bar Italia. Since then Schoen opened Savor in the Central West End, as well as restaurants at The Cheshire, while Schmitz opened The Grind coffee house and Sol Lounge. When the 3,000-square-foot space on Park Avenue became available, they leapt at the chance to open a restaurant together.

The co-owners collaborated with executive chef Thomas Futrell, most recently of Scape, to create a menu of appetizers, snacks, salads and entrees that can easily accommodate palates and dietary preferences from all-consuming omnivores to gluten-intolerant vegans. Entrees include a duck breast, a mushroom raviolo and a crispy tofu and riced cauliflower stir-fry.

Another Scape alum, Travis Hebrank, helms the beverage program. With a year to experiment, he created an extensive portfolio of syrups, tinctures and infusions that feature in 10 house cocktails. Around 20 wines are available by the glass, and an extensive cellar is available by the bottle. There is also a curated bottled beer selection.

Brunch and lunch plans are the works, but for now, Polite Society is open daily from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m., with dinner service ending at 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 9 p.m. Sunday. Here’s a first look at what to expect at Lafayette Square’s newest eatery:

 

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Photos by Michelle Volansky 

Related Content
The Scoop: Details emerge as Polite Society plans on late 2016 opening

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Guide to Beer 2017: Get festive with STL beer fests

Wednesday, March 1st, 2017

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Grab your calendar, prepare your liver and save the dates – St. Louis is awash in beer festivals this year.

FestivAle
March 4, Delmar Hall, St. Louis, festivalestl.com
More than 30 regional breweries descend on FestivAle from Point Labaddie Brewery to Charleville Brewery. Fill your glass, then grab bites from Wicked Greenz, Bogart’s Smokehouse and more. This event is sold out.

Schlafly Stout and Oyster Festival
March 10 and 11, Schlafly Tap Room, schlafly.com/stoutandoyster
Choose from 15 Schlafly stouts and a selection of small-batch, experimental options, then enter the Shuckerdome and watch pros battle it out, shucking oysters at lightning speed. Free admission.

Ales for Tails Homebrew Festival
March 25, American Czech Educational Center, St. Louis, stlpivo.com
Dozens of homebrewers share their concoctions to benefit local animal nonprofits alongside artisans selling handmade pet toys and cookies. Tickets available online.

Lupulin Carnival
April 1, Midway at Union Station, St. Louis, lupulincarnival.com
4 Hands Brewing brings down the War Hammer, its annual Imperial IPA. Take a turn on the Ferris wheel and super slide, and sip beers from 65 local and national breweries, including heavy-hitters like Toppling Goliath. Tickets available online.

Mile Marker 68.3 Bier Fest
April 29, Missouri Riverfront, Washington, Facebook: Mile Marker 68.3 Bier Fest
Friendship Brewing, Standard Brewing, Trailhead Brewing and more than 20 others come out to support Missouri River Relief. Not a beer fan? Sip samples from distilleries like Pinckney Bend and Wood Hat. Tickets available at John G’s Bierdeck or online.

St. Louis Microfest
May 5 and 6, Forest Park, St. Louis, stlmicrofest.org
This two-day festival has three sessions to sample around 125 international and craft breweries like 4204 Main Street Brewing. Tickets available online.

Indihop
May 20, The Grove and Cherokee Street, indihopstl.com
Shuttle between two of St. Louis’ more eclectic neighborhoods and taste up to 50 local beers at participating shops, bars and breweries. Tickets available online.

Heritage Festival
June 3, Gateway Arch, St. Louis, stlbeer.org
Sample more than 100 brews from members of the St. Louis Brewers Guild and end your evening with fireworks above the Arch. Tickets will be available online.

St. Louis Craft Beer Week
July 28 to Aug. 5, St. Louis, stlbeerweek.com
This ninth annual festival spans the city and county with more than 100 events including the Midwest Belgian Beer Fest, tap takeovers, classes and beer dinners. Schedule and tickets will be available online.

Schlafly Hop in the City
Sept. 16, Schlafly Tap Room, St. Louis, schlafly.com/hop
Hop to Schlafly Tap Room to sample nearly all Schlafly’s extensive portfolio, including special-release brews. Tickets will be available online.

Augusta Bottoms Beer Festival
Oct. 7, Augusta, augustabottomsbeerfest.com
It’s a party on the flood plains at Augusta Brewing Co.’s annual festival. Last year’s event included nearly 40 breweries. Tickets available online.

St. Louis Brewers Guild Halloween Party
Oct. 28, Lafayette Park, St. Louis, stlbeer.org
Don your favorite costume and trick or treat with St. Louis brewers. Previous years’ festivities included a costume contest and a Hefe Ride (a hayride with a keg). Tickets will be available online.

The Great St. Louis Czech Beer Festival
Dec. 9, American Czech Educational Center, St. Louis, stlpivo.com
Last year, nearly two dozen breweries offered their iterations of the Czech Pilsner at this celebration of the clean lager style. Tickets will be available online.

 

Editor’s note: At the time of publication, tickets were still available for FestivAle. It has since sold out. The online version of this article has been updated with the most current information. 

Catherine Klene and Brianna Velarde contributed to this article. 

Illustration by Vidhya Nagarajan

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Eat This: Turkey Sandwich at Nathaniel Reid Bakery

Wednesday, March 1st, 2017

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Trust acclaimed pastry chef Nathaniel Reid to elevate the humble turkey sandwich far beyond a workaday lunch. His flaky, buttery croissant is sturdy enough to support slices of smoked turkey breast, a slice or two of havarti and a creamy swath of mayonnaise and mustard. We’ll never brown-bag a sad turkey sammie again.

Nathaniel Reid Bakery, 11243 Manchester Road, Kirkwood, 314.858.1019, nrbakery.com

Photo by Brendan Moloney

Guide to Beer 2017: Whale Hunting

Wednesday, March 1st, 2017

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Beer nerds spend hours at bottle shops and grocery stores searching for new and trendy bottles to add to their collections. But some beers are so special, so elusive, they can make even the most mild-mannered beer enthusiast go Captain Ahab on local aisles. “The more rare or difficult it is to find, that’s what people refer to as a whale,” explained Ryan Nickelson, co-owner of Craft Beer Cellar. While Nickelson’s Clayton shop is stocked with brews from around the world, he sometimes receives just one case of a rare bottle. Here, Nickelson shared four tips for intrepid drinkers hell-bent on finding their own white whales.

1. Join the club. Many bottle shops have membership programs that reward participants with rare beers through raffles, special events and even allocations. Craft Beer Cellar also keeps some rare bottles on a cellar list for on-site consumption, so many can get a taste.

2. Follow the distributors, not just the beer. Distributors like Shelton Brothers will sometimes drop hints of what’s coming to the market. Nickelson also named beer blogs like The Beer Temple and Good Beer Hunting as prime resources.

3. Go to beer releases. Here is where you’ll find local whales highly coveted across the country, like Perennial Barrel-Aged Sump and Side Project Brewing bottles.

 4. Shop frequently. Nickelson said whales are sometimes announced with little fanfare. Successful hunters have sharp eyes.

 

If you stumble across these brews in stores, don’t think – just buy:

4 Hands Madagascar

Goose Island Rare Bourbon County Brand Stout

Cantillion Brewery beers

Firestone Walker Brewing Co. Proprietor’s Vintage Series

Avery Brewing Co. Barrel-Aged Series

Stone Brewing Small Batch Series

Illustration by Vidhya Nagarajan

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Guide to Beer 2017: Fresh to Death

Wednesday, March 1st, 2017

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It happened again. You let that half-empty jug of milk sit past its best-by date. Way past its best-by date. You remove the cap, take a cautious sniff … then retch and promptly chuck the whole thing in the trash.

While old beer doesn’t produce quite the same visceral reaction, bottling or drink-by dates should be given the same consideration. If you’ve ever ordered a beer you thought you liked and found it unexpectedly flat or nasty, you’re familiar with the concept. Discovering you’re sipping a skunky lager or hop-less IPA is as disheartening to the brewer as it is to the consumer, according to 4 Hands brewery manager Martin Toft.

“After (the drink-by date), the beer isn’t going to be bad for you or unsafe to drink, it’s just not going to be the same beer that we want the consumers to drink,” Toft said.

That IPA you saved for a special occasion? Celebrate soon. In general, hoppy beers like IPAs and American pale ales should be consumed as soon as possible and definitely within two to three months.

“Those really bright, vibrant hop aromas will fall off, and it can start to get cardboard-y, sometimes kind of cheesy is another descriptor for old hops – a lot of really unpleasant flavors and aromas,” Toft said. “All those really pungent, citrusy, fruity, tropical flavors and aromas you find in IPAs, those are the ones that fall off the fastest.”

Less hop-forward styles with lower ABVs like Pilsners and blond ales can hold out a little longer, Toft said, but no more than six months. Sours and robust, high-gravity stouts can cellar quite nicely for years in the right conditions, but be warned – you may lose delicate flavor notes like vanilla and coffee.

“There are a lot of beers that cellar well, which means that they aren’t going to age as rapidly as other styles, but we put that beer in package because we wanted you to drink it right away,” Toft said.

Bottom line: Drink up. “If it’s in that bottle, it’s in there for a reason.”

 

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Guide to Beer 2017: One Glass to Rule Them All

Guide to Beer 2017: Get festive with STL beer fests

The Scoop: Local restaurants participate, support A Day Without Immigrants protest

Thursday, February 16th, 2017

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

 

Across the country today, Feb. 16, people stayed home from work and school or did not shop or eat out in support of A Day Without Immigrants, a protest against current U.S. immigration policy. Participants meant to illustrate the importance of immigrants in American society.

Chefs around the country donated a portion of their revenues to support immigration organizations or closed their eateries entirely, like José Andrés in Washington D.C. and Rick Bayless in Chicago. Locally, a handful of area restaurants did the same.

Chef and restaurateur Ben Poremba decided to close Nixta, his new Mexican eatery, as reported by the Riverfront Times. Poremba said many of his staff had expressed a desire to take the day off to participate.

“I’m not trying to be a pioneer,” he said. “I just respected that some of the guys wanted a day to be heard without worrying about losing their job or having some consequences. I didn’t want to be on the fence.”

Cherokee Station Special Business District liaison Anne McCullough said most of the immigrant-owned businesses on Cherokee closed today. “More than 20 percent of the businesses and properties on Cherokee Street are immigrant-owned,” she said.

 

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{ Local Chef Kitchen chef-owner Rob Uyemura } 

 

Local Chef Kitchen chef-owner Rob Uyemura also shut the doors at his Ballwin Restaurant for the day. “In 25 years in the restaurant business, I’ve worked with a lot of immigrants,” said Uyemura, whose family immigrated to the U.S. “They get labeled as criminals and illegals, and that’s wrong.”

Other restaurants remain open, but are donating a portion of their proceeds to nonprofits. Demun Oyster Bar general manager Tom Halaska said his bar, as well as sister restaurants Sasha’s Wine Bars and Scarlett’s Wine Bar, will donate 50 percent of the day’s proceeds to the International Institute St. Louis.

Halaska said it was important to recognize the many immigrants who participate in the restaurant industry and in society. With immigration policy currently in the national spotlight, he said this was a good opportunity to celebrate immigrants.

“This is a way for us as a restaurant group to show respect and compassion for what’s going on in the country,” Halaska said.

 

Catherine Klene contributed to this report.

Nixta photo by Carmen Troesser

 

The Scoop: 5 St. Louis chefs earn James Beard Foundation semifinalist honors

Wednesday, February 15th, 2017

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{ Pastaria executive chef Ashley Shelton } 

 

The James Beard Foundation announced its 2017 restaurant and chef award semifinalists today, Feb. 15. St. Louis’s recent run of recognition from the foundation continues, as five St. Louis chefs earned nominations for the esteemed culinary awards.

Pastaria executive chef Ashley Shelton was named a semifinalist for Rising Star Chef of the Year. This award recognizes “a chef age 30 or younger who displays impressive talent and is likely to make a significant impact on the industry in years to come.”

“It’s pretty much every chef’s dream come true to be recognized in that way,” Shelton said.

The JBFA nod is the latest in a growing list of recognition for Shelton. She is a member of the Sauce Ones to Watch Class of 2016, and Eater named her a Young Gun of 2016. Shelton said the honors validate her leadership style in the kitchen. “For me, it keeps pushing me and telling that the path I’m on is the right path,” she said. “We’re trying to do something different in our restaurants – not screaming and yelling.”

Pastaria owner Gerard Craft, who won Best Chef: Midwest in 2015, said Shelton’s culinary future is bright, and not just because she’s a talented cook.

“Being a chef is being a chief. It’s being a leader. It’s one of the hardest parts of the job,” Craft said. “For somebody her age to lead a team the size that she leads and operation the size that she leads, I can’t imagine anybody doing it better. What she’s going to do in the future is sure to be amazing.”

 

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{ from left, Olive & Oak executive chef Jesse Mendica, Perennial Artisan Ales’ Phil Wymore and Olive & Oak owner Mark Hinkle }

 

JBF also named four area chefs as semifinalists in the Best Chef: Midwest region: Olive & Oak executive chef Jesse Mendica, Público chef-owner Mike Randolph, Sidney Street Cafe chef-owner Kevin Nashan and Farmhaus chef-owner Kevin Willmann. This category acknowledges “chefs who have set new or consistent standards of excellence in their respective regions.”

This is the first Beard Foundation honor for Mendica. Neither she nor Olive & Oak owner Mark Hinkle could immediately be reached for comment.

 

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{ Público chef-owner Mike Randolph }

 

This is the second semifinalist nod for Randolph, whose restaurant Público was named a finalist for Best New Restaurant 2016.

“Going into last year I had put so much emphasis on the restaurant getting the Best New nomination because I felt like that was kind of a loftier goal, to be honest,” Randolph said, crediting his team with the restaurant’s success. “But that being said, I look at this list – these are people that I admire and that I respect. Any time you get a chance to see your name thrown in that hat, it’s humbling. It makes me want to work harder – and go in and hug everyone at Público.”

 

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 { Farmhaus chef-owner Kevin Willmann }

Nashan and Willmann are no strangers to this prestigious honor. Willmann earned his first finalist nod last year. “It’s always an honor and always exciting, especially for the crew,” he said. “They go so hard to keep our standards up.”

 

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 { Sidney Street Cafe chef-owner Kevin Nashan }

 

Nashan has twice made it to the finalist round of this category. “It’s awesome and amazing,” he said. “I literally just found out. It’s an honor any time you’re mentioned — it’s just great to be on the bus.”

Finalists will be announced March 15, and the winners will be named May 1 in Chicago. A full list of the winners is available online.

 

Editor’s note: This post was updated Wednesday, Feb. 15 at noon to add comments from Kevin Willmann. 

Heather Hughes, Catherine Klene and Matt Sorrell contributed to this report.

Ashley Shelton and Kevin Willmann photos by Carmen Troesser; Kevin Nashan photo by Greg Rannells; Mike Randolph photo courtesy of Público by Greg Rannells; Jesse Mendica photo courtesy of Olive & Oak Facebook

 

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Sneak Peek: Boardwalk Waffles & Ice Cream in Maplewood

Thursday, February 2nd, 2017

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The scent of fresh-made waffles will soon waft down Manchester Road in Maplewood when Boardwalk Waffles & Ice Cream opens doors this Saturday, Feb. 4. As The Scoop reported in October 2015, owners Eric and Laurie Moore sought to bring a taste of Eric Moore’s childhood summers on the Jersey shore to Maplewood.

The narrow space briefly housed a second location of I Scream Cakes, but doors closed just a few months after that establishment opened. Since it was already designed to function as a scoop shop, the Moores made mostly cosmetic changes to the shop, including a fresh coat of paint and resurfaced floors.

Boardwalk’s menu features scoops of Serendipity ice cream sandwiched between fluffy made-to-order Belgian waffles. Customers can choose from a full order – two waffles and four scoops – or a modest single-scoop pressed between a waffle half. They can also forgo the waffle all together and simply enjoy a scoop or two in a cup, or indulge in breakfast for dessert with a plain waffle drizzled with syrup and butter.

Boardwalk Waffles & Ice Cream will be open Monday to Thursday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to midnight and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Here’s a sneak peek at what to expect when the waffle irons heat up on Saturday:

 

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Photos by Michelle Volansky

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The Scoop: Boardwalk Waffles & Ice Cream headed to Maplewood

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What I Do: Meredith and Rick Schaper of Dogtown Pizza

Wednesday, February 1st, 2017

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Rick and Meredith Schaper had big plans in 2006: open a pizzeria serving St. Louis-style pies. But when the economy started to decline, the Schapers had to try another strategy. Today, more than 300 retailers carry frozen Dogtown Pizza, each handmade and flash-frozen at their warehouse in North City. Here, the Schapers tell how their business thrived in a tanking economy – and why they’ll never move to West County.

The Early Years
“The only pizza I had until I was 14 was Imo’s. My first sleepover, we had Domino’s with pepperoni, and I didn’t know what either one of them was. For us, [pizza] was a special occasion. We went and sat at Imo’s – we didn’t even get carryout.” – M.S.

“The real core of me is Farotto’s Pizza in Rock Hill. I started there when I was 11 and worked there until I was 21, so I had 10 years in a pizzeria. Literally, you’re at the most influential stage of your life from 11 to 21. That was my life. I didn’t think I’d do anything but work at that place. I was already the kid that hung out with my mom in the kitchen. [There are] stories of me on a stool, licking the strings off the roast beef.” – R.S. 

A Rough Start
“We invited some investors and tried to throw a party to raise money for a restaurant, and we got zero dollars. … It was right when [the economy] was crumbling. In our first year being in the frozen business, restaurants closed left and right. … The good fluke was people stopped going out to eat and grocery shopped more, and that’s where we were – in the grocery stores.” – R.S.

“Talk about trial and error. The first batch of labels weren’t coded so that the ink wouldn’t run in the freezer. We didn’t know to tell [the printer] that. When we said we were putting it on a pizza, we thought they knew!” – M.S.

Dogtown or Die
“Everybody asks, ‘When are you moving out to Chesterfield?’ Never – I’m staying in my nice cozy brick home in Dogtown. … My parents met and dated in Dogtown. My mom grew up and went to grade school at St. James the Greater and got married at St. James the Greater in the ’50s, and our first house is on the same street as my parents’ first house. … It’s still in the city, it’s close to everything, and the community and people are just tight-knit.” – R.S.

Long Live Pepperoni
“I hate plain cheese pizza. I hate my own cheese pizza. It just feels like it’s unfinished. It makes no sense to me.” – R.S.

“It’s like ordering a Jack and Coke and getting a glass of ice.” – M.S.

Dogtown Pizzeria?
“There’s a really strong fire inside me that still wants [to open a restaurant] because I enjoyed it, but then I go back to the risk of restaurants, the hours, the toll on your body and I say no way. … I’m not saying I couldn’t make it work – of course, in my mind I know I could – but there’s still a risk.”– R.S.

Photo by Kat Niehaus

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• Sauce Magazine: February 2017

The Scoop: Dogtown Pizza to move operations to support “serious growth”

 

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.

 

Related Content
Sauce Magazine: January 2017

Trendwatch: Guide to Drinking 2016

Sauce Magazine’s Best New Restaurants of 2016

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