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Mar 24, 2017
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SERVING SAINT LOUIS SINCE 1999
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Posts Tagged ‘Cleveland-Heath’

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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Ones to Watch 2017: Elijah Barnes of Cleveland-Heath

Sunday, January 1st, 2017

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Title: Bar manager and head bartender, Cleveland-Heath
Age: 29
Why watch him: He created a bar program that keeps pace with one of the area’s best kitchens.

Eight years ago, Elijah Barnes was learning how to mix a Lobsterita. Now he’s in charge of one of the most thoughtful bar programs in the Metro East. Here’s how he got from there to here and a look at where the nomad is headed next.

Red Lobster, Fairview Heights, 2007
“I took an interest in bartending when I was 19 and a server at Red Lobster. As soon as I turned 21, I started training at the bar. Before long, I was tending more than serving, and then I was doing inventory and more of the systems work.”

Cleveland-Heath, Edwardsville, 2011
“Opening the bar at Cleveland-Heath was scary. We had next to no budget to stock the bar, and I had no experience writing a cocktail menu. I experimented at home and read books. We ended up with seven cocktails that all used local soda. Seven soda cocktails. It’s horrifying. … I had a huge hurdle to get the bar program where we wanted it to be.”

Tales of the Cocktail, New Orleans, 2013
“They advertise correctly: the end-all, be-all for bartender education. The first year I booked every single time slot I could. I was in class more than six hours a day. I was there to learn. … When I went this year, I focused on management rather than, ‘Let’s taste a bunch of scotch and yell about it.’”

Buck and Breck, Berlin, Germany, 2016
“I travel for my own personal pleasure and sanity, but always with a focus on what’s happening in bars and the experience in different markets. In Berlin, there are all these over-the-top speakeasies. You go to this unmarked door and knock. Someone slides the window open and sometimes lets you in.”

Cleveland-Heath, Edwardsville, 2017
“We never expected to have a really high-end cocktail bar,” said co-owner Ed Heath. “He came in and took it to another level. He works like me, like a chef – he comes in and has to do his mise en place, his inventory, his ordering. His creativity is through the roof. He is as important as an executive chef.”

Destination Unknown, 2021
“Bartending is a young man’s game, and I’m starting to feel the physical wear and tear. I plan on teaching spirits classes. I’ve also been consulting with a restaurant in Salt Lake City and thought about being a brand ambassador. Those may be directions I’d like to head.”

 

Photo by Carmen Troesser

Trendwatch: What’s trending now in the STL dining scene (Part 2)

Friday, August 5th, 2016

Miss Part 1? Click here to see even more of what’s trending now in STL.

 

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5. Puttin’ on the Spritz
Located at the intersection of low ABV, amaro and great-sounding names is the spritz cocktail. Traditionally made with bitter liqueur, wine and soda, this versatile Italian aperitif is bubbling up everywhere. Olio has seven varieties, a Spritz Hour and the summer motto: “Yes We Spritz.” Vista Ramen also has a whole spritz section on its drink menu. Order a clementine spritz at Eclipse or ask to create your own at Randolfi’s, with one of the largest amari selections in town.

6. ¡Poz-olé!
Traditional pozole has long held a place on weekend special boards at Mexican restaurants like Lily’s, Taqueria El Bronco and Taqueria Durango. Cleveland-Heath has had pozole on its menu for years, and Kitchen Kulture kept us warm this winter with a pozole verde. Chef Chris Bork at Vista Ramen crossed Japanese and Mexican cultures with a pozole-style ramen full of pulled chicken, hominy and springy ramen noodles. Sidney Street Cafe switched the protein, setting octopus confit swimming in a pozole broth with some chile oil. Meanwhile, Juniper chef-owner John Perkins added a taste of the South with his loose interpretation featuring a country ham consommé with charred tomatoes, black radish, zephyr squash and country ham at a recent pop-up at The Bhive in the Central West End.

7. Krispies Treats
Shelve that crisp rice cereal and taste a different take on the childhood classic. Treat House in New York City has put creative spins on the stuff since 2013, and STL is coming around. Chef-owner Kevin Nashan was an early adopter, classing up the snack by incorporating the fat from cooked foie gras and garnishing with slices of the delicacy at Sidney Street Cafe. Shift, Test Kitchen & Takeout offers a rotating selection of nontraditional squares, including flavors like caramel and Sriracha. Newly opened Start Bar ditches crispies altogether, swapping Cheetos for cereal in its treats, and will rotate other versions like Oreo, granola and Cap’n Crunch.

 

 

Trendwatch: What’s trending now in the STL dining scene (Part 1)

Friday, August 5th, 2016

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1. A Better Swiss Cheese
You may not recognize the name, but you’ve probably seen raclette (a funky, nutty Swiss-French cow’s milk cheese that melts like a dream) on a BuzzFeed list or foodie Instagram account. You don’t have to go to Raclette NYC (Yes, a whole restaurant is named for the cheese.) to get it. Urban Chestnut Brewing Co. has topped winter veggies with the stuff on seasonal menus since it opened in The Grove. Larder & Cupboard has held fondue and raclette classes, and chef-owner Jim Fiala currently melts this gooey goodness over beef tenderloin at The Crossing. Chef-owner Bill Cawthon purchases whole wheels of the stuff and broils until molten, then scrapes it to order over a basket of fries at Frankly Sausages food truck.

2. Fit to Be Fried
It’s never too early for Chinese food – or completely bastardized, completely delicious American-Asian fusion. Places like The Rice House start mornings off with breakfast fried rice (fried rice with the addition of eggs and a breakfast meat). Half & Half offers a spicy version with scrambled eggs, sausage, jalapeno and grilled onion, while Cleveland-Heath goes with green onion, bacon, peas and sesame seeds topped with eggs any style.

 

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3. Get Lit
Neon isn’t just for dive bars anymore. The beer sign classic has a fancy new job as a fun design element lighting up a number of restaurants around town. It’s the red pulsing heart behind the bar at Olive & Oak. See neon inside Friendship Brewing Co. telling guests where to eat with bright pink letters. Vista Ramen took its name from the massive vintage sign that now glows green in its small Cherokee space.

4. Spotlight on Sambal
First there was Sriracha, then pungent gochujang. Now sambal is heating up plates around town. Planter’s House uses the spicy Southeast Asian chile paste to add heat to pickled eggs, as well as the cornbread crumbs scattered atop its summer salad. Seafood got sauced with the condiment at Hiro Asian Kitchen, where it graced the grilled whole squid, and at Guerrilla Street Food, where it livened up a recent pan-roasted salmon special. The Crossing drops the temp a few degrees, mixing sambal into a cooling aioli for its Maryland blue crabcake sandwich, and a house-made version snuck in with strawberries atop ricotta and fresh snap peas at a recent Sardella pop-up.

 

Ready for more? Click here for Part 2 of Trendwatch.  

Trendwatch: What’s on our plate, in our glasses and at the top of our wish lists now (Part 1)

Wednesday, April 6th, 2016

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1. Sweet Heat: Golden honey infused with chile peppers makes for a fiery topping around town. Hot spiced honey is drizzled over a mountain of rich butternut squash on toast at Cleveland-Heath, while the crew at Pastaria adds the spicy nectar to balance its ’nduja pie. Likewise, chef Cary McDowell was spotted drizzling this sticky treat atop Pi’s Burning Man pizza. Top your DIY creation with Mike’s Hot Honey at Porano Pasta or pick up a bottle at Larder & Cupboard in Maplewood.

 

2. Carbonara Change Up: Chefs are putting their stamps on this classic Roman dish. Carbonara traveled south of the Mason-Dixon line at Juniper, where country ham stepped in for bacon. Farmhaus has gilded the creamy lily with lobster and a butter-poached farm egg, while Eleven Eleven Mississippi opts for roasted red pepper fettuccine and grilled chicken. The Libertine combines two Italian favorites (cacio e pepe and carbonara) and adds crispy pork belly; Small Batch goes the vegetarian route with bacon-esque smoked mushrooms, roasted cauliflower and snap peas; and Element chef Josh Charles breaks the carbonara mold completely with celery root-black pepper tortellini, sous vide egg yolk and pancetta.

 

3. Hooked on Whole Fish: Forget fillets; St. Louis is looking whole fish square in the eye. Público and Olive & Oak encourage sharing with a rotating whole fish special. Boundary offers whole fried snapper with Vietnamese salad, or you can fuse those Vietnamese flavors with Peruvian notes at Copper Pig when you order the fried red snapper with sofrito rice, maduros and a chile-tamarind sauce. Dig into herb-stuffed and grilled pompano at Lona’s Lil Eats, then dive in at Chaparritos with Mexican mojarra, whole fried tilapia served with rice, beans and tomatoes.

-photo by Greg Rannells

 

The Scoop: Source Juicery opens doors in downtown Edwardsville

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2016

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Fresh juice and good vibes were flowing on Tuesday, March 1 at Source Juicery in downtown Edwardsville as owners Michelle Motley, Lisa Hudson and Chrissy Stevens, formerly of the Cleveland-Heath kitchen, opened the doors of their healthy food-to-go concept at 220 N. Main St.

“We wanted to fill a gap for healthy food for healthy people on the go,” said Motley. “You get busy and find yourself turning to unhealthy choices because it’s convenient.”

Source Juicery offers cold-pressed juices made by grinding the whole fruit and pressing the resulting pulp in a hydraulic press. Motley said this exposes the juice to less oxygen, resulting in options like a Carrot Cake made with carrot and apple juices spiked with cinnamon. Smoothies are also available like the Purple Power loaded with blueberries, banana, almond butter, nut milk, vanilla Greek yogurt and vanilla whey protein.

Source Juicery also offers prepared healthy breakfasts and lunches using locally sourced ingredients from Sun Farms, Joe’s Market Basket and others. Dishes featured on the menu include a quinoa bowl with roasted veggies and Cleveland-Heath’s kale salad, which the neighboring restaurant prepares for Source Juicery. For a filling snack or breakfast, overnight oats are made using certified gluten-free oats, chia, blueberries, pecans, maple syrup, vanilla and almond milk.

Diners can carry out their packaged food home or to enjoy their meal in the 20-seat shop. Source Juice’s hours for pick-up and dining are Tuesday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and Saturday from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m.

 

 

 

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

Thursday, February 25th, 2016

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

 

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1. Take your lunch cravings to Salume Beddu for The Beast, a beautiful mess of a sandwich featuring house-made fiama salsiccia, peporanata and grain mustard on crusty bread. Savory, rich and loaded with tender sweet peppers, this sammy will only set you back $8.50, leaving you enough cash to add a San Pellegrino to wash it all down.

2. Don’t let U City Grill’s gruff appearance keep you from ordering a primo bowl of bimbimbap. A Korean dish literally meaning “mixed rice,” it is a bowl filed with bulgogi beef, vegetables, hot sauce and topped with a fried egg. For only $6, you’ll get to enjoy some of the tastiest Korean fare in St. Louis.

 

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3. Cleveland-Heath offers its full menu at lunch and dinner, allowing you to order the Okonomiyake or Japanese Pancake whenever your heart desires. The traditional Japanese street food receives a lavish upgrade, topped with wild Gulf shrimp, bacon, cabbage, Kewpie mayo, barbecue sauce and bonito flakes for $9.

4. The gelato pops at the new fast-casual Italian eatery Porano Pasta are not the dull popsicles of your youth. These velvety pops come in flavors like mango, vanilla bean, Askinosie chocolate and salted caramel. At only $3 a pop(!), these fun treats are a steal.

 

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5. Vegetarians can feast on the Mediterranean Grain Salad at Winslow’s Home completely guilt free. The satisfying salad is chock-full of bulghur, farro, cucumber, peppers, olives, capers, feta, parsley, lemon, hummus and topped with a crispy falafel. The half size is generous and runs $7, but you can order an even heartier full order for $10.

6. At Bar Les Freres you can dine on four warm potato blinis dressed with creme fraiche and a handsome portion of caviar, all served on fine bone china for a mere $10. Surrounded by the dim glow of candles, attentive staff and overstuffed settees, you’ll feel like royalty.

 

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7. The first thing you see when you enter Royal Chinese BBQ is the open kitchen window displaying golden, crisp-skinned ducks and hunks of glistening cherry-red pork. Order the Honey Roasted Pork and a cook will go to the window, retrieve the slow-cooked and lacquered pork from the hook and slice up a portion for you. The caramelized, sticky goodness is served with steamed white rice for just $9.50 an order.

8. Sometimes over-the-top flavor and a little indulgence is exactly what you need. Fulfill both with the Pat Say Jack Burger from The Kitchen Sink. Grilled andouille, roasted pork loin, jalapeno bacon, Swiss and pepper jack cheese, fried pickles and fried banana peppers struggle to stay atop the toasty bun. Served with house chips, this mega meal will set you back an even ten spot.

 

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9. Cocktails at Water Street Cafe are intriguing combinations of liquors, spirits, fruits and sometimes, vegetables. The $10 Sweet Pea Cocktail uses green tea-infused vodka, local Lion’s Tooth dandelion liquor, lemon and muddled snap peas and mint for a refreshing, vegetal sipper.

10. For a great happy hour snack for two, try the Imam Baylidi at Olio. A Middle Eastern dish of charred eggplant, yogurt and pomegranate molasses, the creamy dip is served with slices of crusty bread. At $10, its bright, vibrant flavor will satiate and satisfy early evening munchies.

 

-photos by Holly Fann 

 

The Scoop: 5 STL-area chefs, The Side Project Cellar, Stone Soup Cottage all earn JBFA nods

Wednesday, February 17th, 2016

 

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{Mike Randolph}

 

The James Beard Foundation announced its 2016 restaurant and chef award semifinalists today, Feb. 17. Once again, St. Louis is well represented among this year’s picks for the esteemed culinary awards.

Among the national categories, chef-owner Mike Randolph’s Público was named a semifinalist for Best New Restaurant. This category recognizes a restaurant that “already displays excellence in food, beverage, and service, and that is likely to make a significant impact in years to come.”

“It means the world,” Randolph said. “I’ve had the concept in my head for years. From the day we opened we knew exactly what we were and haven’t deviated from it. Our vision has been well received and people are excited about it. To be judged by people you really care about is pretty cool.”

Along with three other St. Louis-area chefs, Randolph was also named a semifinalist in the Best Chef: Midwest category. This is the first time Randolph was recognized by the James Beard Foundation.

“It’s humbling for sure, but I’m on the shoulders of the people I’ve had a chance to work with,” Randolph said. “It’s a testament to the crew.”

Sidney Street Cafe and Peacemaker Lobster & Crab Co. chef-owner Kevin Nashan, Farmhaus chef-owner Kevin Willmann, and Elaia and Olio chef-owner Ben Poremba were also named semifinalists for Best Chef: Midwest. All three have previously made this prestigious shortlist.

Nashan said he feels honored that he and his team have been acknowledged once again. “I’m always grateful to be on the bus. We work hard. Not necessarily for this, but it feels great and it’s great for the team and great for this town. Hooray for St. Louis.”

“It’s a very big honor,” Poremba said. “It’s reaffirmation that my team and I are doing something right and on the right path.”

Poremba went on to comment on other area nominees. “It’s nice to see new inclusions to the list. There are people who are a big force in this town and contribute a lot to the scene, new semi-finalists and veterans. I’m stoked for Stone Soup Cottage and for Público. (Best New Restaurant) is a hard one to get.”

Willmann likewise said the JBFA nod was an honor and validation for his Farmhaus team.  “It’s always special to have our little mom-and pop restaurant recognized,” Willmann said. “We talk about being perfect and even though we can’t be perfect, we don’t take anything for granted. If something’s not right, we don’t sell it. It’s about doing our best every day.”

Across the river, chef and co-owner Ed Heath was named a semifinalist for Best Chef: Great Lakes for the second time in two years. “It’s super unreal,” he said. “I was 100-percent certain that it wasn’t gonna happen again. This morning, I didn’t even look.”

 

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{The Side Project Cellar team. From left, Katie Herrera, Shae Smith, Chris Hoertel and co-owner Karen King}

 

Also in the national categories, The Side Project Cellar in Maplewood was named a semifinalist in the Outstanding Bar Program category, which honors restaurants or bars that demonstrate excellence in cocktail, spirits and/or beer service. Side Project co-owner Karen King learned of the nomination when Sauce called for comment.

“Every year those come out and it’s always the best chefs in the freaking in world,” King said. “So we’re excited, I know that!”

Co-owner Cory King said he was thrilled to hear that Karen King’s hard work at The Cellar has been recognized. “It’s really mostly her,” he said. “She’s the one who operates this thing day-to-day.”

 

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{Carl and Nancy McConnell}

 

St. Louis-area service was also recognized at Cottleville’s Stone Soup Cottage, named a semifinalist for Outstanding Service as a restaurant open “five or more years that demonstrates high standards of hospitality and service.”

Co-owner Nancy McConnell said she and co-owner and chef Carl McConnell were shocked at the news. “We are on Cloud 9,” she said, stressing the importance of having their entire team recognized for their service efforts. “We are so humbled and just numb.”

This is the first James Beard Foundation Award nods for The Side Project Cellar and Stone Soup Cottage.

Finalists will be announced March 15; the James Beard Foundation Awards take place May 2 in Chicago.  A full list of semifinalists is available here.

Catherine Klene and Kristin Schultz contributed to this report. 

Editor’s note: This post was updated at 12:15 p.m. Feb. 17 to include comment from Kevin Willmann. 

-Mike Randolph photo by Greg Rannells, all other photos by Carmen Troesser

 

Trendwatch: A look at what’s on our plate, in the glass and atop our wish list right now (Part 2)

Thursday, August 6th, 2015

Don’t miss Part 1 of Trendwatch here.

 

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4. Filipino food at the forefront: The flavors of the Phillippines are gaining traction across the country with big-name chefs like Leah Cohen of Pig & Khao in NYC, Christina Quackenbush of NOLA’s Milkfish and Paul Qui at Qui in Austin, Texas. It’s also finding footing in this town at places like Mandarin House in University City, where Sunday brunch turns into a Filipino fete. Its Kamayan buffet includes dozens of classic dishes with everything from tocino (Filipino-style sweet breakfast bacon) to lechon (roast suckling pig). Settle dinner pangs at Hiro Asian Kitchen Tuesdays and Wednesdays when chef Malou Perez-Nievera (know for her Filipino food blog Skip to Malou) prepares a menu of modern Filipino specials. And if you haven’t gotten on the bandwagon for Filipino fusion by mobile eatery Guerrilla Street Food, tuck in at its new brick-and-mortar restaurant near the corner of Arsenal Street and Grand Boulevard.

 

5. Dressed in meat: It’s no secret that bacon fat gives unctuous oomph to salad dressings, but chefs are picking other proteins to beef up their vinaigrettes. Missed the scallops swimming in chorizo dressing at Cleveland-Heath or the chicken fat vin on the salad lyonnaise at Old Standard? Experience an alt-meat salad dressing with Sidney Street Cafe’s bone marrow vin on its smoked brisket dish, or order the beet salad dressed in a fiery-hot Italian ’nduja vinaigrette at Reeds American Table in Maplewood when it opens later this month.

 

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6. Jewish deli dance: Quit kvetching about a lack of Jewish flavors in St. Louis; there are signs that Jewish noshes are seeing some chef love. Now, you can find house-made pastrami at places like Dalie’s Smokehouse, Bogart’s and Death in the Afternoon (whose exec chef David Rosenfeld also digs into his Jewish roots for inspiration on multiple dishes at sister restaurant Blood & Sand). Then there’s restaurateur Ben Poremba (Elaia, Olio, Old Standard Fried Chicken): The news about his upcoming Jewish deli in Clayton has us salivating for lox and bagels, chopped liver sandwiches, knishes and matzo ball soup. While we’re waiting, if someone would make avant garde Jewish-inflected fare like the octopus “pastrami” at Bâtard in NYC, we’d dance the hora.

 

-photos by Michelle Volansky

Trendwatch: A look at what’s on the plate, in the glass and atop our wish list (Part 1)

Tuesday, August 4th, 2015

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1. The Wonder Years: Children of the ’70s can’t complain: Their parents let them run amuck outside, eat cheese from a spray can and buy candy cigarettes at the corner drugstore. Relive those glory days at Sidney Street Cafe, where house-made Wonder Bread is turned into panna cotta on a deconstructed tuna fish sandwich, or head to The Libertine for the aged white cheddar “Cheez Whiz” atop the burger. Finally, go to Social Gastropub in Edwardsville and get the lobster and shrimp pie topped with smashed Ritz crackers and reminisce about all the crushed crackers (or corn flakes) your mom sprinkled over every genius casserole.

2. Move over, Sriracha: Harissa, a red-hot North African condiment, has immigrated to the Midwest. Find the garlicky chile pepper paste accenting carrots at Basso, veggies and rice at Eclipse and the tomato salad at Cleveland-Heath. Harissa meted meatier fare at Element, where chicken wings were dunked in harissa hot sauce, and it added oomph to roasted cauliflower at Taste, too. It even served as inspiration for a dry-spice blend dusting the farro salad at Juniper.

 

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3. Steamed buns head West: Everyone is putting a spin on Asia’s answer to the burger lately. East meets West in Peacemaker’s steamed bun roll stuffed with lobster and sour cabbage and in Kitchen Kulture’s everything-bagel steamed bun filled with house-made pastrami. In September, Blood & Sand will begin stuffing its house-made everything-bagel steamed bun with chopped chicken liver, but in the meantime its Peking bun holds Maryland-style crab cake.

 Click here to see Part 2 of Trendwatch. 

-Photo by Carmen Troesser

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