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Oct 21, 2017
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Posts Tagged ‘Kitchen Kulture’

Eat This: The Classic Breakfast Sandwich

Tuesday, August 1st, 2017

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Do not be deceived by the menu of add-ons at Kitchen Kulture’s THE KART stand at the Tower Grove Farmers’ Market. There is only one way to order The Classic Breakfast Sandwich: with everything. Thick, soft slices of sourdough bread are sprinkled with sea salt and topped with sharp cheddar, a fried farm egg, crisp strips of applewood-smoked bacon and a drizzle of local honey. The whole salty-sweet-rich extravagance is drenched in butter and griddled. Ignore the $12 price tag – no basic breakfast would get us up this early on a Saturday morning.

Kitchen Kulture’s The Kart, Tower Grove Farmers’ Market, Tower Grove Park, kounterkulturestl.com

Photo by Carmen Troesser 

Best New Restaurants: No. 4 – Kounter Kulture

Thursday, December 1st, 2016

To be the best, everything matters – atmosphere, service and food. Here, the places that dazzled us from the moment they opened: St. Louis’ 10 Best New Restaurants of 2016.

 

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{ khao soi }

A carryout-only restaurant this high on our list will only surprise those unfamiliar with Kitchen Kulture from co-owners Christine Meyer and chef Michael Miller. The fine dining veterans make the foreign local and the local foreign at their first brick-and-mortar with a tight, rotating menu of Asian-inspired dishes.

“Using ingredients that people are familiar with – sourcing locally – is a great way to introduce people to things,” Miller said. The same goes for familiar dishes, which can help expose diners to new flavors. Take, for example, the shrimp and grits currently on the menu, made with coconut milk grits, lemongrass-marinated shrimp and a peanut-pepper relish. “I get that by nature [shrimp and grits] is not an Asian dish, but it’s one of those things that brings people in on a comfort level,” he said. “It’s a great gateway dish.

“That’s why we play a lot with our amuse-bouche,” he said. “Because it’s something that people might not order, but they’ll try because it’s free. There’s no risk.” Yes, Kounter Kulture offers complimentary, intricately composed bites for those waiting to pick up to-go orders. Not something you’d expect at a counter service spot with zero elbowroom on Watson Road.

“We’re trying to jam two hours worth of service into five or six minutes,” Meyer said. Servers at a sit-down restaurant can see if diners enjoy their meals or not, but the team at Kounter Kulture has to get more creative. “Having that customer contact every day has been fabulous,” she said. “It allows you to build better relationships, and the feedback is so important.”

But let’s be clear: We don’t go to Kounter Kulture for an education. We go for the food. We go for the khao soi. Miller’s version of the northern Thai soup starts with his house-made curry paste, which he cooks in schmaltz and simmers in stock. The bowl full of shredded Buttonwood Farms chicken, Midwest Pasta Co. egg noodles, pickled greens, lime juice, cilantro and burnt chile oil takes more than four hours to make. “It’s worth the time,” Miller said.

Like Kounter Kulture itself, the khao soi fits more in a small package than should be possible. It’s spicy, smooth, sweet, savory, bright, rich and piquant. “Asian food is a balancing act, because there are so many flavor notes,” Miller said. “It’s like a symphony – you can have something that’s really balanced but still has so much going on.” Consider this our standing ovation.

 

More about Kounter Kulture

• The Scoop: Kitchen Kulture to open brick and mortar, Kounter Kulture

• Sneak Peek: Kounter Kulture in Lindenwood Park

• Hit List: 4 restaurants you must try this August

New and Notable: Kounter Kulture

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.

 

 

Hit List: 4 restaurants you must try this August

Monday, August 1st, 2016

House-made pizzas from the kitchen at Start Bar: veggie, with roasted grape tomato, basil and mozzarella (left), and a rotating specialty pizza, shown here with chicken, artichoke, spinach and white sauce.

 

1. Start Bar: 1000 Spruce St., St. Louis, 314.376.4453, startbarstl.com

Reward your inner child with a trip to Start Bar for skee-ball and boozy snow cones. The surprisingly chic video game-themed space offers 19 arcade games with a variety of fighting, shooting, old-school and multiplayer options that will rotate based on popularity. (And yes, they’re getting Killer Queen, that 10-person game with a cult following.) Once you’ve OD’ed on treats like the Bacon Pancake Shake made with bacon-infused bourbon, pancake batter, maple syrup and vanilla ice cream, order a house-made Neopolitan-style pizza. The weekly specialty offering will please even those without an inner child; a recent version featured a house white sauce, roast chicken, artichokes and spinach with mozzarella cheese. There’s also a long canned craft beer list and a full bar for those committed to acting their age, but we’ll see you at the candy counter before we kick ass at Mario Kart in one of the four game lounges upstairs.

 

The cold ramen salad is made with Midwest Pasta Co. alkaline noodles; raw, pickled and fermented seasonal vegetables; marinated Mofu tofu; a slow-cooked egg and a ginger-scallion sauce.
 

2. Kounter Kulture: 3825 Watson Road, St. Louis, 314.781.4344, Facebook: Kounter Kulture

After popping up at Tower Grove Farmers Market, Local Harvest Cafe, Sump Coffee and others, Kitchen Kulture co-owners Christine Meyer and chef Mike Miller finally put down roots at Kounter Kulture. They revamped the former home of Pint Size Bakery, creating a primarily carryout spot with a small, frequently rotating roster of Asian-inspired dishes. Start with a large house-made steamed bun stuffed with breaded pork loin or crisp Mofu tofu. Grab larger entrees like the tender smoked trout on a bed of al dente wax beans; the cold ramen bowl packed with pickled veggies, tender marinated tofu and a perfectly soft-cooked egg; or spicy-savory khao soi with rich red curry, Buttonwood Farms chicken, egg noodles and pickled greens. Sharing with a friend? Load a pizza-sized okonomiyaki (an eggy Japanese pancake) with shrimp, bacon and kimchi.

3. Louie’s Wine Dive: 16 S. Bemiston Ave., Clayton, 314.875.9373, louieswinedive.com

Louie’s Wine Dive & Clayton Kitchen has won over Claytonites with its quirky decor, indulgent small plates and lively atmosphere. Start with the cheese curds: bits of breaded, fried cheese equally at home in the accompanying serrano dill aioli and classic marinara. Or go bigger with the bluefin-crab poutine, a pile of crab, mushrooms, cheese curds and seafood broth over a bed of crispy shoestring fries. The pork gnocchi is light and fluffy with chunks of tender braised pork swimming in a velvety red wine cream sauce. The wine list is expansive with interesting, unusual options available by the glass, but cocktail fans won’t be disappointed either. Try the refreshing Grandma’s Garden, where cucumber, mint and lime are muddled and mixed with gin and sauvignon blanc for a sweet summer sipper.

 

A variety of kababs are offered in different styles and proteins. Shown here: chicken.
 

4. Absolute BBQ Indian Wish Grill: 17409 Chesterfield Airport Road, Suite C, Chesterfield, 314.200.1111, abarbq.com

The name may confound, but those curious enough to stop at Absolute BBQ Indian Wish Grill in Chesterfield won’t be disappointed. Start with an order of plump vegetarian samosas or the bite-sized pieces of spicy ABQ chicken. Lamb, chicken, seafood and vegetable kebabs are offered with five different spice preparations. We fell hard for the succulent chicken kebab with hariyali tangdi, a blend of Indian spices including red chile and masala, served with a fiery mint dipping sauce. For less heat, opt for the goat haleem, a thick stew heady with savory and baking spices. Shredded goat meat and lentils are cooked down to a paste-like texture, perfect for scooping up with a side of naan.

 

-photos by Michelle Volansky

Sneak Peek: Kounter Kulture in Lindenwood Park

Thursday, June 30th, 2016

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Pop-up eatery Kitchen Kulture has put down roots under the name Kounter Kulture. As The Scoop reported in March, co-owners Christine Meyer and chef Michael Miller are opening up shop on Tuesday, July 5 in the former Pint Size Bakery location at 3825 Watson Road. They will post up at their regular spots at the Tower Grover Farmers Market, but they’re relieved to have a permanent location. “We’ve been mobile for so long,” Meyer said. “After a certain point you just want a home.”

The petite redesigned restaurant offers a full view of the open kitchen behind the walk-up service counter. “We treated this place like a submarine,” Meyer said. “Everything had to have a place and a purpose or it didn’t make it in.” Even the counter is on wheels and can separate into mobile prep stations when the restaurant isn’t open.

While business will be primarily carryout, Kounter Kulture offers around 20 seats outside at cafe tables. The menu features  a tight, rotating roster Asian-inspired dishes like spring rolls, okonomiyaki (Japanese pancakes), steamed buns and noodle bowls like a cold ramen salad and a khao soi made with Midwest Pasta Co. noodles.

Open from 4:30 to 9:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, here’s a sneak peek of Kounter Kulture’s open kitchen.

 

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-photos by Michelle Volansky

Extra Sauce: In case you missed it…

Sunday, March 6th, 2016

Our new issue hit stands this week, and we’ve got the hottest news and trends in our annual Sauce Guide to Beer. And from popups putting down roots to juicy new shops in Edwardsville, here’s what went down in the STL food scene this week, in case you missed it…

 

 

1. Our new issue featuring our annual Guide to Beer hit stands this week. Don’t miss a word. Click above to read it online now!

2.. Combining Asian culinary roots with love of the established Mexican food scene on Cherokee Street, Sue Wong-Shackelford and husband Mark Shackelford plan to open Kalbi Taco Shack in late spring or early summer at 2301 Cherokee St.

 

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3.. Everyone is movin’ on up on Watson Road. Kitchen Kulture’s Michael Miller and Christine Meyer announced March 3 that they will open Kounter Kulture in the space currently occupied by Pint Size Bakery.

4. Fresh juice and good vibes were flowing on Tuesday 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.

 

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5. A carryout taco joint and a recording studio walk into a bar … Rather, they share a space with one at 4916 Shaw Blvd., on The Hill, where patrons can now experience all three in one night at Cha Cha on Shaw, The Gaslight and Gaslight Studio.

 

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6. After 14 years at Schlafly, Troika Brodsky became a one-man PR machine for the Guild’s 40-plus area breweries. Find out his thoughts on the power of St. Louis beer.

 

 

Trendwatch: What’s on our plate and in our glass right now – Part 1

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2015

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{Steak tartare at Randolfi’s}

 

1. Put An Egg On It: The Sequel Whites may be the healthy darling of the egg, but yolks are packed with flavor and are perfect for curing with salt and a bit of sugar. Catch them runny on top of steak tartare at Randolfi’s and Truffles, or dried and shaved over a plate of pasta carbonara at Wild Flower. Veritas Gateway to Food and Wine features them frequently on dishes like its avocado gazpacho with crispy pork jowl.

2. Slick Trick Bartenders around town are dropping and shaking oils into cocktails for huge flavor, body and intensity. At Central Table, the What is That, Velvet? daiquiri is shaken with extra-virgin olive oil for a soft, consistent texture. Terry Oliver amps up the orange flavor in Frazer’s Julius Benedict with orange culinary oil, and The Libertine’s Ben Bauer infused olive oil with coriander for his Good Like Goldblum.

3. Baller The great meatball debate rages on: What blend of beef, pork or lamb truly makes the best meatball? We say, throw ’em all out and expand your repertoire. Chef Rob Beasley at Chaumette Winery and Vineyard did just that, adding elk meatballs to his fall menu, served atop romesco sauce with polenta cakes and greens. The kitchen crew at Retreat Gastropub crowns a nest of spaghetti squash with turkey meatballs and yellow tomato jam. In September, Kitchen Kulture’s Michael Miller rolled up a chicken-fennel version along with a veg-friendly chickpea-pimento option at his Thursday Sump lunch. And this summer, Death in the Afternoon dedicated an entire dinner menu to meatballs, serving up three options: traditional spicy pork, a ground turkey and vegan version using quinoa.

-photo by Greg Rannells

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: Michael Miller of Kitchen Kulture

Tuesday, May 12th, 2015

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Last year, 34-year-old Michael Miller left his post as executive chef at Dressel’s Public House to give full-time attention to Kitchen Kulture, the budding mobile food business he co-founded with Christine Meyer. Prepping food all week to sell on Thursdays for pop-up lunches at Sump Coffee and on Saturdays at the Tower Grove Farmers Market is different from working the line at a restaurant, but as Miller explained, orchestrating a moveable feast is never boring.

What inspired your culinary career?
I visited San Francisco. It blew my head off. I was exposed to so many flavors I hadn’t seen before. I ate a lot. Two weeks later, I sold all my possessions, quit my job and moved there. I knew that if this was something I was going to take seriously, this was a great place to cut my teeth.

Kitchen Kulture gained popularity as a pop-up restaurant and prepared foods business, but that’s not how it began.
It started as a T-shirt concept. Being a cook (at Monarch) having a busy night and getting through it, we’d go out and have beers afterward. A lot of my co-workers would wear their chef coats as a way to show individuality or a symbol of pride. I was like, “I think there’s a better way to say ‘I’m in the industry’ without having to wear a smelly coat.” Wouldn’t it be cool if it was quality T-shirts that spoke to food and cooks? We approached Patrick Horine (co-founder of the Tower Grove Farmers Market). He was like, “You have to have a little more to get in the farmers market.” He pitched us (the idea of) prepared foods. I was like, “Sure, let’s do that.” My main goal was to get the shirts out. People really took to the food – not so much the shirts, but the food.

Why does your concept resonate with diners?
There’s an allure to the collaborations we do, especially the Thursday lunches at Sump, because they’re two quality products that aren’t normally together. People would normally spend their entire lunch break to get an exceptional cup of coffee. Now, they get two quality, artisanal products.

How would you classify Kitchen Kulture cuisine?
We don’t have one style in particular. I like the flexibility of being able to have the food ingredient-driven and seasonally driven. It’s exciting to do Mexican street fare, then do a more refined French dish, then something Southern.

Your menus change weekly. Is that a challenge?
It depends what time of year it is. We try to source from farmers, so in winter it can be a challenge. We have a lot of things we come back to, though, like steamed buns. You can put whatever you like in the middle.

What are you preparing this spring?
We do a lot of kimchi; one of the most popular is our nettle and garlic mustard mix. And we’ll make a nice ragout with morels when we get those.

What is the most important skill you’ve learned?
Being able to manage money. That’s not the exciting answer, but it’s very important to be conscious of where your money is going and when it’s coming back in.

What satisfaction does Kitchen Kulture give that you couldn’t get working at a restaurant?
It’s never going to be boring. You’re forced to think on the fly, to problem-solve. I’m looking at the weather for Thursday, and it’s going to rain. We’re going to have to figure out how we’re doing lunch in the rain.

-photo by Ashley Gieseking 

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