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Nov 18, 2017
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Posts Tagged ‘Jonathan Gayman’

5 bottles of budget booze to buy now

Friday, September 8th, 2017

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Looking for quality spirits at swill prices? From third party-manufactured house brands to underpriced hidden gems, here are some first-rate options that won’t break the bank.

1. Great King Street Glasgow Blend
Scotch is expensive. This smoky, peaty, blended bottle from Compass Box is a tasty and economical intro to the heavier flavors of Islay.
$35. Lukas Wine & Spirits, 15678 Manchester Road, Ellisville, 636.227.4543, lukasliquorstl.com

2. El Dorado 5-Year Rum
Made in wood stills in Guyana, this rum is way cheaper than it should be. Five years in used bourbon barrels produces a panoply of flavor notes from dried fruit to caramel.
$20. Randall’s Wine & Spirits, various locations, shoprandalls.com

3. Trader Joe’s The Art of The Still Organic Gin
Not as juniper-forward as a London dry, TJ’s martini-worthy New Western-style gin is clean, crisp and citrusy.
$14. Trader Joe’s, various locations, traderjoes.com

4. Trader Joe’s Single Malt Irish Whiskey
Sweet and floral with just a touch of smoke and leather, this whiskey is aged in oak for eight years.
$25. Trader Joe’s, various locations, traderjoes.com

5. Schnucks Private Stock Bourbon
A 100-proof high-rye bourbon sourced from a well-regarded distillery on Kentucky’s Bourbon Trail, this house brand unicorn strikes a delicious balance between boozy, spicy and smooth.
$13. Schnucks, various locations, schnucks.com

 Photo by Jonathan Gayman

Matt Sorrell is staff writer at Sauce Magazine.

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Best New Restaurants: No. 5 – Reeds American Table

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2015

Opening a restaurant isn’t easy. Each year, hundreds give it a shot – and not everyone succeeds. Some, however, aren’t just surviving; they’re killing it. In the last year, we ate our way through newly opened restaurants from Alton to Ballwin, compiling a list of places that serve the food and drinks we can’t get out of our heads. They bring something different and exciting to the scene – and they do it damn well. While technical excellence was a must, the service and ambiance also had to win us over. Office debates nearly came to fisticuffs, but at last we agreed on St. Louis’ 11 best new restaurants of 2015. Clear your schedule and book your reservations; you’ve got a lot of eating to do.

 

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Unfold the menu at Reeds American Table, and you see names before you see dishes. These are the people chef-owner Matthew Daughaday wants you to know before digging in – the ones who braise that succulent beef cheek, concoct house tinctures and know exactly how long the kitchen worked to perfect the lamb sugo.

Traditional restaurants operate under a relatively strict hierarchy: An executive chef directs a staff that operates in descending order from sous chef on down to line cook and dishwasher. The bar may have some interaction with the kitchen, but not much. Servers live at the front of the house, balancing trays and scribbling orders. It’s a time-honored method that’s produced top-notch results – but Daughaday is doing things a bit differently.

The former executive chef of Taste announced he was leaving the swanky CWE cocktail bar last December. Public anticipation built over the following months as Daughaday assembled a crack team to aid his first solo enterprise: sommelier Andrey Ivanov as beverage director, Summer Wright as executive pastry chef, Nicki Ball as general manager and Andrew Moore as office manager.

“We all try to be people who are very open about the learning process,” Daughaday said. “(We’re) creating a mentoring environment where you’re teaching people things and pushing them to be better, but not in an overbearing, demanding (manner).” The result is a delightfully collaborative and approachable menu, resulting in dishes like the decadent chicken potpie and silky panna cotta. Pastry chefs craft syrups and tonics for the bar team. Extensive beer and wine lists include charts, maps and graphs; the house coffee program details brewing methods.

Most important, Daughday said, is that everyone from the executive sous chef to the busser to the bartender feels a sense of ownership. “I always use the analogy of a baseball team,” he said. “Everybody has their positions and the expectation is that you play your position, but we all know that it supports the greater goal.”

-photo by Jonathan Gayman

Best New Restaurants: No. 7 – Living Room

Wednesday, December 16th, 2015

Opening a restaurant isn’t easy. Each year, hundreds give it a shot – and not everyone succeeds. Some, however, aren’t just surviving; they’re killing it. In the last year, we ate our way through newly opened restaurants from Alton to Ballwin, compiling a list of places that serve the food and drinks we can’t get out of our heads. They bring something different and exciting to the scene – and they do it damn well. While technical excellence was a must, the service and ambiance also had to win us over. Office debates nearly came to fisticuffs, but at last we agreed on St. Louis’ 11 best new restaurants of 2015. Clear your schedule and book your reservations; you’ve got a lot of eating to do.

 

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Tucked away on Sutton Boulevard next to Bolyard’s Meat & Provisions sits Living Room, a neighborhood gem serving up simple, impeccable breakfast and lunch since December 2014. Living Room grew from Art House Coffees, a wholesale roaster started by Barry Larson more than five years ago. His son, Nate Larson, now heads the kitchen at Living Room. Here, three reasons why this little daytime cafe is worth your attention:

THE COFFEE
The hand-brewed espresso drinks, pour-overs and cold-brew offerings are good, but you won’t find Living Room’s seasonal, flavored coffee drinks anywhere else. House-made syrups offer a hint of sweetness and rich flavors that complement Art House espresso. Try the Smooth Criminal, a fragrant, lightly sweet cortado flavored with lavender, vanilla and expressed orange peel.

THE BAKERY
Larson is a self-taught baker – and he’s a complete natural. We’re talking more than cookies, too (though it’s worth getting the shortbread). Living Room tackles buttery croissants, scones worthy of England, old-fashioned flaky biscuits and a rotating lineup of cakes. Larson even bakes his own bread for sandwiches. And speaking of those sandwiches …

THE FOOD
Despite the bakery and many house-made items like yogurt, aioli, pickles and jams, Larson insisted he isn’t trying to complicate things. “There’s nothing conceptual about the menu,” said Larson. “I want to prepare the best version of what I can make, simple and generous.” That means great sandwiches, breakfast plates and specialty items like savory bread pudding. The Hot Shroom sandwich entices with melty Gruyere, white mushrooms and caramelized onions. A surprise favorite was the biscuit breakfast, featuring a perfect soft-boiled egg draped in melted white cheddar over a wingspan of Boylard’s bacon, served with a rich, cheesy biscuit. Living Room also offers rotating bento boxes for the occasional snack attack. Munch on an assortment including Bolyard’s signature andouille, white cheddar, grapes, house-made candied almonds and a shortbread cookie.

Is Living Room your favorite new restaurant of 2015? Click here to vote for this Maplewood coffee house in the People’s Choice Facebook contest! 

-photo by Jonathan Gayman

Best New Restaurants: No. 6 – J. McArthur’s An American Kitchen

Monday, December 14th, 2015

Opening a restaurant isn’t easy. Each year, hundreds give it a shot – and not everyone succeeds. Some, however, aren’t just surviving; they’re killing it. In the last year, we ate our way through newly opened restaurants from Alton to Ballwin, compiling a list of places that serve the food and drinks we can’t get out of our heads. They bring something different and exciting to the scene – and they do it damn well. While technical excellence was a must, the service and ambiance also had to win us over. Office debates nearly came to fisticuffs, but at last we agreed on St. Louis’ 11 best new restaurants of 2015. Clear your schedule and book your reservations; you’ve got a lot of eating to do.

 

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Removed from the glittery lights of the Central West End and Clayton, friendly J. McArthur’s An American Kitchen is a neighborhood restaurant emphasizing local, seasonal ingredients. The warm, comfortable interior will make you feel like a regular on the first visit, and once patio weather returns, you may never leave.

Chef-owner Ben McArthur’s menu reads like a geography textbook of local farms: pork from Geisert Farms, potatoes from Harvey Yoder Family Farm, pea shoots from Claverach Farm and locally foraged greens from Double Star Farms. But McArthur isn’t just hopping on a trend or trying a gimmick. Chef can cook.

The seared diver scallops are consistently cooked to tender, buttery perfection. These sea jewels sit in a dreamy smoked bisque that rotates with the seasons. This summer it was corn, but now the dish is served with smoked butternut squash bisque, Brussels sprouts, tender pieces of confit butternut squash, Geisert Farms bacon and a sage-butternut squash seed pesto. Even the street tacos are no slackers, featuring rich, braised pork belly, Double Star cabbage slaw, crumbly cotija cheese and guacamole. This summer’s accompanying chimichurri was recently replaced by a smoked chile and sorghum barbecue sauce.

Dishes turn over or change due to availability of seasonal ingredients – a sign of true farm-to-table commitment. If you see a ravioli special, snap it up because McArthur knows his way around house-made pasta. And snap fast, as menu items can vary week-to-week, not just season-to-season. “We pretty much get our produce lists Monday and Tuesday,” McArthur said. “And that’s how we know what we’re going to do for the rest of the week.”

Why mess with all our favorite dishes chasing local farm produce? “It’s better food; it tastes better,” McArthur said. It could be as simple as that, but for the proud owner of a family restaurant, it’s also about relationships. “The relationships we’re going to make (at local farms) will last a lot longer than with commercial suppliers,” he said. As patrons, we look forward to a long-lasting relationship with McArthur’s, too.

Is J. McArthur’s An American Kitchen your favorite new restaurant of 2015? Click here to vote for this farm-to-table restaurant in the People’s Choice Facebook contest!

-photo by Jonathan Gayman

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