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Jan 23, 2018
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Posts Tagged ‘Eclipse’

Trendwatch: What’s on the plate, in the glass and atop our wish list right now

Thursday, June 1st, 2017

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1. Proof in the Pudding
We’ve come a long way since Snack Packs – like the butterscotch pot de crème at Olive & Oak, a rich caramel pudding capped with salted caramel and whipped cream. At Pint Size Bakery, occasionally available Yum Cups are filled with rotating pudding flavors. But we all know chocolate reigns supreme, like the blend of milk and dark chocolate pudding with a black cocoa brownie, Thai basil ice cream and fresh blackberries currently on the menu at Taste. Retreat Gastropub recently offered an orange- and lemon-scented chocolate pudding served with toasted marshmallows and almond biscotti, while ClevelandHeath serves its version with Chantilly whipped cream and chocolate-dipped puffed rice.

 

2. Activate
Charcoal has made the move from face masks to the table. Gaining popularity as a detox ingredient at California juice shops like Pressed Juicery and Juice Served Here in recent years, activated charcoal has been making an appearance in cocktails like the inky mezcal-based Moonwalk at New York’s Mission Chinese Food. Closer to home, the black-hearted ingredient showed up for brunch in a chocolate-charcoal waffle at Hiro Asian Kitchen. Try a taste of the darkness at Clementine’s Creamery, where the black cherry ice cream is made with activated charcoal.

 

3. Bring in the Funk
Savory caramels are currently lending a sweet, funky accent to all manner of cuisine in St. Louis. The Copper Pig and Juniper have both combined fish sauce and caramel to great effect – the former on chicken wings and the latter on chicken and waffles. At Vista Ramen, crab caramel brings subtle sweetness and an unctuous umami pop to a tender pork rib dish. A little funk works just as well in cocktails, like The Sound of One Hand Clapping recently at Planter’s House, which combined tequila and mezcal with a miso-caramel syrup. On a more vegetal note, a beet caramel adds earthy sweetness to roasted beets, charred carrots and whipped herbed goat cheese at Boundary, while Vicia recently offered hazelnut financiers with an onion caramel sauce.

 

4. Get Crackin’
Pistachios have been lending their mild, nutty flavor to a variety of cocktail menus around town. The Lights Down, Music Up at ClevelandHeath uses Dumante Verdenoce, an Italian pistachio liqueur, to complement apricot and lemon in the rum-based drink. At The Preston, The Lady of Kildare, a unique tiki cocktail with Irish whiskey instead of the usual rum, includes a house-made pistachio syrup that plays well with tropical flavors like coconut and pineapple. And the Garden of Forking Paths at Taste utilizes the nut itself – ground and rimming a Collins glass.

 

5. The Big Cheese
Grilled cheese sandwiches have been subbing in for buns lately. Take The Big Lou special at The Corner Butcher in Fenton, where two of the sandwiches held two patties topped with nacho cheese. The Libertine appended GC to a classic BLT for a brunch special, and the ever-fluctuating menu at Shift: Test Kitchen recently experimented with The Sasquatch, pulled pork and cole slaw between two gooey sammies. Head to Festus for a Fatty Melt at Main & Mill Brewing Co., a classic patty melt with two grilled cheese sandwiches. And of course, Sugarfire Smoke House and Hi-Pointe Drive-In get in on the action with the Sweet Baby Cheesus special.

 

6. The Spice Route
Area bartenders are reaching into the spice cabinet for a taste of India on their cocktail menus. Retreat Gastropub mixes gin with coconut milk, turmeric and ginger in the curry leaf-topped Golden State, and combines rum, mango, vermouth and chai in its Cash Me Outside cocktail. Reeds American Table opts for yellow curry and coriander mixed with coconut milk in the Philosophical Zombie, while Planter’s House recently featured a chai five-spice syrup with bourbon, tequila and amaro in the Exit Stage Left. Polite Society’s arsenal of house-made tinctures and infusions includes a blood orange and cardamom gastrique featured in the Sanguine cocktail, made with vodka and coconut water. Frazer’s makes use of Desipop, a masala-cumin soda, in its rum-based Kama Sutra. Over at Eclipse, they’re shaking cardamom bitters into the Effervescent Love Machine, while just down the street, the team at Randolfi’s also added cardamom bitters to Advice from a Fortune Cookie and curry bitters to A Rule of Plumb.

 

Photo by Carmen Troesser

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Guide to Beer 2017: Where Brewers Drink

Wednesday, March 1st, 2017

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Brewers can drink their own beer all day. Here’s where they go when they’re off duty.

With a big group
“We like Basso or Three Kings in The Loop. We live in U. City, so Three Kings is usually where we’ll go with friends.” – Ryan Sherring, Six Mile Bridge brewmaster-co-owner

Neighborhood spot
Frailey’s Southtown Grill in South County. I know the owners – it’s more of a regular’s place. … For what you get, I think it’s the best bang for buck in St. Louis. And everyone who works there is great. It has that family feel to it.” – Brian Ilg, Kirkwood Station Brewing Company brewmaster

“My favorite spot would be Main Street in Edwardsville – there’s a couple good restaurants and bars. A go-to is Recess Brewing down there. It’s nice to have places within walking distance.” – Patrick Thirion, Peel Brewing Co. brewer-co-owner

Something other than beer
“This is probably going to be your weirdest answer, but my place is Pho Grand on South Grand to get their French iced coffee.” – Thirion

“If I want to get a decent whiskey, there’s a couple places I like to go: Montrey’s in Ferguson. It’s a cigar bar. It’s right by the brewhouse, so that one’s easy. And I enjoy Eclipse. You can get a decent drink, and it’s a cool atmosphere. And you can’t go wrong with Shaved Duck, or BBQ Saloon always has a good whiskey selection.” – Taylor Wright, Ferguson Brewing Co. head brewer

Day drinking
“For outside in summer, a great place is 21st Street Brewers Bar. Or Square One – they do a mean grilled cheese.” – Sherring

“Pretty much anywhere that has games – anywhere I can play bubble hockey, shuffleboard or darts. And iTap in Soulard is always a good day drinking spot because it’s not going to be overly busy – you can have good conversations.” – Wright

 

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Trendwatch: Guide to Drinking Edition (Part 1)

Thursday, September 15th, 2016

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{Ben Bauer sips on the She’s Standing Right Behind You cocktail at The Libertine.} 

 

1. Taste of The Alps
Think of this French Alpine liqueur as Green Chartreuse’s little brother. With more floral notes, a lower ABV and a lower price tag, St. Louis bartenders are falling in love with Génépy. Drink it on its own as an aperitif or look for cocktails where it plays well with others: Try it paired with the gin-like Bols Genever, Yellow Chartreuse and lime in the Vivre Sa Vie from Olio’s summer menu, or sip an intense lineup of hibiscus, pomegranate and baking spices in the Heatsource cocktail at Retreat Gastropub. The bar at Público lends a Latin vibe with mezcal and lime, along with Licor 43 and Averna in Wee Willy’s Whiskers. Or visit The Whiskey Ring when winter hits for its take on a hot toddy: The Green Lantern made with Génépy, Green Chartreuse and lemon simple syrup.

2. Lager Love
Once the watery antithesis of the craft beer movement, a new wave of crisp, full-flavored lagers are making a comeback. Brewers are turning to the old-school Eastern European Czech Pilsner to create these low-ABV brews with a characteristic Saaz hop. Look for 2nd Shift’s Technical Ecstasy, Stubborn German Brewing Co.’s recently added Hip Czech Pilsner and seasonally available versions from Square One, Schlafly and The Civil Life.

3. Red Wine Float Trip
Bartenders are layering on the flavor with red wine floats atop new cocktails. Try it at The Libertine, where a mineral red tops a mixture of rye, lemon juice and lemon verbena-sweet tea in She’s Standing Right Behind You. Order the Full Sneak at The Fortune Teller Bar and watch as ruby port is floated over a blend of whiskey, ginger liqueur, lemon and ginger ale. Red also wine crowns The Juice at Scapegoat Tavern & Courtyard, which shakes up Orangecello (a house-made lemoncello that swaps the citrus), pomegranate vodka, muddled oranges and ginger beer.

4. As American as Applejack
Look for this potent fruit-based hooch cropping up by the bushel-full. Eclipse combines applejack with tequila, gin, rum and Benedictine in the 3 Mile Long Island, while The Royale keeps it simple in its Apple Buck, a mix of applejack, lemon juice and ginger beer. Scapegoat Tavern & Courtyard puts a twist on the whiskey sour, adding applejack to brandy and sour mix in The Monica.

 

Still thirsty? Click here for more of what’s trending in the STL beverage scene. 

-photo by David Kovaluk

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.

 

 

Readers’ Choice 2016: Favorite Bartender – Tim Wiggins

Friday, July 1st, 2016

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{From left, Tim Wiggins, Ben Bauer, Seth Wahlman and Ted Kilgore at Retreat Gastropub}

Your favorite bartenders of 2016 tell us: What’s the worst confession they’ve heard while tending bar?

Winner: Tim Wiggins, Retreat Gastropub
“I was talking to a boss of a company at the bar. I’m trying to remember the exact quote. It was basically, ‘I’m excited for our new hires because I’ve already slept with everyone in the office.’”

2nd: Ted Kilgore, Planter’s House
“All of the worst things people have confessed are unfit for print. I have worked at mostly classy places and have served Nebraska farmers, exotic dancers and movie stars. The one connection is people sometimes get really weird after a few drinks. … It’s like improv sometimes.”

3rd: Ben Bauer, The Libertine
“It’s mainly the things you see more than confessions. Most recently I had a couple sitting at the bar, and they seemed really happy when they came, but at some point during the meal they got super quiet. Then she just left, and he started slamming cocktails and talking to everyone about how she had just broken up with him.”

Honorable Mention: Seth Wahlman, Eclipse
“A robotics engineer once told me he felt bad about wiping out factory jobs and that his wife was a replacement for his first love. Other than that it’s mostly affairs.”

 

-photo by Jonathan Gayman

Drink This Weekend Edition: Dr. No at Eclipse

Thursday, December 24th, 2015

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Forget Expecto patronum. Harry Potter should have learned about oleo saccharum at Hogwarts. Translated from Latin, it means “sugared oil.” The process is simple: Put some orange and lemon peels in a nonreactive bowl, stir in a fair amount of sugar (1 cup per batch at Eclipse), wait a few hours and enjoy the oils of your labors. The sugar draws out the citrus oil from the peels, and, when added to a cocktail, functions both as a sweetener, flavor agent and thickener.

Eclipse’s Dr. No features this syrupy flavor bomb. A take on a West Indies punch, the crew at Eclipse gives Dewars Scotch a fat wash with coconut oil, then shakes it up with Jamaican rum, green tea, passion fruit preserves, lime juice, the oleo saccharum and Pierre Ferrand Pineau Des Charentes (a sweet, French aperitif wine). Double strained over an extra-large ice cube, this winter tiki starts with a citrus and banana hit, and ends with a creamy, coconut notes and a hint of funk from the rum. The fresh grated cinnamon gives it a lightly spiced nose, and the oleo saccharum gives the drink flavor, sweetness and pleasantly thick body throughout.

 

 

Trendwatch: What’s on our plates and in our glasses right now – Part 2

Thursday, December 3rd, 2015

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{South Side Poutine at Byrd & Barrel}

4. Don’t Call Them Cheese Fries When Americans slather french fries in cheese, meat and gravy, it’s called drunk food. When Canadians do it, it’s called poutine, which has taken St. Louis by storm. Byrd & Barrel covers house-made tater tots in smoked chicken, cheese curds and either smoked mushroom or fried chicken gravy in the South Side Poutine. Winslow’s Home likewise uses tots in its poutine with oxtail gravy. Retreat Gastropub keeps it veg-friendly with mushroom gravy and fried fingerling potatoes, while Small Batch swaps cheese curds for gooey fontina on its house-cut fries. The Libertine ups the ante with sweet peas and foie gras gravy, and the newly opened Copper Pig offers three versions: traditional with beef gravy, a duck confit or a saag paneer option. Urban Chestnut in The Grove has a poutine of the moment that previously featured white gravy with chicken and bacon. Or cash it all in for the foie gras poutine at Sidney Street Cafe featuring a crispy potato cake, french fry-encrusted foie and pickled apples.

5. The Spirit of Norway There are only two things to do during a long Norwegian winter – drink and, well, you can figure it out. Aquavit, a neutral distilled spirit flavored with herbs and botanicals, is the Norwegian sauce of choice. Lucky for us, the clear, full-bodied liquor isn’t just for Scandinavians. Chat up Matt Osmoe at Blood & Sand and sample the flavor variations ranging from dill to caraway to anise. Have it mixed by Randolfi’s Jeffrey Moll in the lemonade-like Madam I’m Adam. Emphasizing Aquavit’s food-friendly qualities, Planter’s House can whip up a bloody mary-esque Bloody Well Right.

6. Grape Crush Chefs around the country are taking grapes to the next level with vinegar, smoke, dehydration and high heat. New York’s Blue Hill restaurant pairs smoked grapes with Brussels sprouts and uses dehydrated grapes in a chicken dish. Blackbird in Chicago pairs pickled grapes with scallops. Get in on the trend closer to home with the newly opened Standard Brewing’s Coraline salad, where sweet-sour pickled grapes are tossed with radishes, goat cheese and spinach. Sound weird? Give them a try at Bridge Tap House and Wine Bar in a starter, or see how they do when roasted with mushrooms in both the seared scallops and the strip steak at Eclipse. At Randolfi’s, try the lamb hearts and sausage starter with roasted grapes.

Check out Part 1 of Trendwatch here

 

-photo 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

What I Do: Jacqui Segura

Thursday, June 19th, 2014

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No cocktail connoisseur is more dedicated to promoting the culture of the artisan beverage than Jacqui Segura, aka The Cocktail Ambassador. She took a breather from her frenzied schedule – holding down a day job in e-commerce and raising four kids – to talk about her favorite cocktail, hosting events for imbibers and what she misses seeing behind the bar.

When did you become The Cocktail Ambassador?
September 2012. About two years earlier, I’d met (bartender) Matt Seiter. The only thing I drank at that time was Ketel One and tonic. (I) jumped whole hog into this cocktail list he had. They used to joke that I was their ambassador because I would go around to the tables at Sanctuaria and try to understand why every person there was not trying to finish this list and drink these amazing cocktails.

What’s your favorite cocktail?
Negroni. I love the simplicity and its tolerance for mistakes.

What’s the stupidest cocktail you’ve ever had?
We went to New Orleans. I had a hurricane. I remember getting headaches. It was so syrupy and sugary and powdery and red.

What are your favorite haunts in St. Louis for a cocktail?
It’s so hard for me to separate bartenders from the haunts. I’ll follow Ted (Kilgore) anywhere. Kyle (Mathis) has done an outstanding job keeping the bar program at Taste going. I like Tony (Saputo) and Seth (Wahlmann) at Eclipse a lot. I think they’re always doing creative things.

Are you going for the bartenders or the cocktails?
I go for the cocktails, but I’ve had enough cocktails that I know who I can rely on to provide consistency. There has to be (enough) trust with the bartender that I can say, “I’d like to do a cognac drink tonight.” And that they know me well enough to help me push forward in a new area.

How does Boozy Book Club work?
I choose a book that’s cocktail- or spirits-related. I recommend people read it ahead of time – that’s just a recommendation, not a requirement. I find a bar to host us. The book club meetings are all about “tasting” the book. I don’t want them to know that they’re actually learning something. I don’t want to make it a lecture.

Why did you organize the Drink Like a Lady event series in March?
This craft cocktail community is heavily male-dominated. I wanted to involve the women bartenders in St. Louis. And then I extended it even further: Can I challenge these women bartenders to use women-produced spirits in the cocktails they’re creating? That was the extent of the instructions that I gave bartenders. From there, they could do anything they wanted.

Would you call the event a success?
My expectation going into that was I was going to give out 30 passports. To hear that Mandi (Kowalski at Planter’s House) sold over 300 of her Fujiyama Mama (cocktail) – I’m like, “Wow!” Next year, there’s no reason to limit it to St. Louis. I’m going to do a passport for Kansas City, Chicago and St. Louis.

What cocktail trends excite you?
A return to simple, core ingredients – three to four (of them). You really have to think about the quality of the ingredients. There’s one (trend) that’s gone away and I’m like, “Come back!” – the theater of preparing a cocktail. I love that. Part of my concern with places going to bottled cocktails and cocktails on tap and quick-dispensing things is that you lose the theater. I’m paying anywhere from $10 to $15 for a cocktail. I want a floor show with it.

What do your kids say about your hobby?
I had to fight less with them and more my image of what parents did. The idea of taking one evening a week and saying, “At 8 o’clock on Wednesdays, I am going to be someplace doing what I want to do” was a big step for (my husband and me). We were like, “Now, if you say you want to go to the gym and do yoga, that’s OK. Going to the bar to drink, that’s not OK.” I worried about that for about two weeks, then I was so over it.

-photo by Jonathan Gayman

The Scoop: Square One brewmaster hopes to open Shaw Garden Brewery

Thursday, January 3rd, 2013

Dr. John Witte, brewmaster at Square One Brewery and Distillery, is hoping to open a brewery of his own next year. If all goes according to plan, Shaw Garden Brewery will open doors in spring 2014 at 4066 Russell Blvd., in the Shaw neighborhood, as first reported by Evan Benn of the Post-Dispatch.

But, as Witte noted in a conversation with The Scoop today, many factors have to fall in place before Shaw Garden Brewery becomes a reality. Witte is currently working on arranging financing to purchase the property, which is owned by the city of St. Louis. “I haven’t submitted the request for proposal because I am still working on the financing,” he said. “Once the proposal goes in, I go before the Shaw neighborhood. I’ve opened a lot of breweries, but I’ve never had to do this end of it,” explained Witte, who was the first brewmaster for Trailhead Brewing Co., when it opened in St. Charles in the mid-1990s. He has also consulted for breweries.

A post yesterday on the brewery’s Facebook page reiterated that Witte’s project was still in its infancy: “As of today we have the support of many of the people we’ll need to make this happen. We do not yet have the full proposal submitted, or approved. We have equipment estimates and a pretty good idea of rehab costs. All the financing is not complete and we must have that to complete the proposal for the city to be able to approve the project.”

Witte’s concept for Shaw Garden Brewery is a brewpub similar to his current place of employment. “We want to be for Shaw what Square One continues to be for Lafayette Square,” he explained. The 3,000-square-foot space would offer dining and bar seating for about 70 and “a really nice beer garden outside,” he added. Like brewing operations at Square One, Shaw Garden’s beers would be available only on tap, on-premise. John Stuhlman, former executive chef at Eclipse who has since spent a short stint in the kitchen at Sauce on the Side, is currently developing the “upscale pub food” menu and the kitchen layout, said Witte. “If there’s an opportunity for John to be part of that and the running of the operation, I would love that but I’d defer it to John. It would be his decision.”

Witte expects financing to take approximately six months, followed by another eight months for a build-out before Shaw Garden Brewery could open. “We’re talking March at the earliest,” he said.

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