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Oct 17, 2017
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Posts Tagged ‘Meera Nagarajan’

DTWE: 6 rosés for a hot September summer weekend

Friday, September 15th, 2017

St. Louis summers never end in September. What better way to combat 90-degree weekends than with a refreshing rosé? Here, six beloved bottles that cash in at $14 or less.

 

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1. Saint-Reine Traditionnelle Dry Rosé
$13. Total Wine, 90 Brentwood Promenade Court, Brentwood, 314.963.3265, totalwine.com

 

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2. Jacques Pelvas Brut Rosé
$11. The Wine and Cheese Place, 9755 Manchester Road, St. Louis, 314962.8150, wineandcheeseplace.com

 

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3. Charles & Charles Rosé
$13. Dierbergs, 1080 Lindemann Road, St. Louis, 314.238.0400, dierbergs.com

 

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4. Scaia Rosato
$12.50. Parker’s Table, 7118 Oakland Ave., Richmond Heights, 314.645.2050, parkerstable.com

 

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5. Gerhard Markowitsch Zweifelt and Blaufrankich blend Rosé
$14. Parker’s Table, 7118 Oakland Ave., Richmond Heights, 314.645.2050, parkerstable.com

 

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6. Alloy Wine Works Everyday Rosé
$8. Lukas Wine and Spirits, 15678 Manchester Road, Ellisville, 636.227.4543, lukas.store

 

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7. Axel des Vignes Bordeaux Rose
$12. Balaban’s, 1772 Clarkson Road, Chesterfield, 636.449.6700, balabanswine.com

Trendwatch: Guide to Drinking 2017 Edition

Friday, September 1st, 2017

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1. Shake It Off
Love ’em or hate ’em, milkshake IPAs made a splash this summer. These creamy, dreamsicle-like IPAs are brewed with fruit and lactose sugars commonly used in milk stouts that gives their signature thick, rich mouth feel. Pennsylvania’s Tired Hands and Sweden’s Omnipollo Brewing kicked off the trend in 2015 with the titular Milkshake IPA (with several variations to follow), and St. Louis brewers are also experimenting with the style. Jeff Hardesty at Narrow Gauge Brewing Co. released To the Yard (Peach), a rich, hazy IPA brewed with lactose sugar and aged on vanilla beans and peaches. Forthcoming Rockwell Beer Co. tried out the technique with a few versions of Meringue, a beer brewed with lactose, lemon and vanilla, including Coconut Meringue, Raspberry Meringue and Orange Meringue. A handful of milkshake IPAs were spotted at 2nd Shift Brewing’s annual Criderfest, including Nashville’s Southern Grist with its Guava Upside Down Cake (a double IPA brewed with guava, vanilla beans and lactose) and Windmill Brewing out of Indiana, which brought its Memes & Dreams, a lactose-fermented IPA with mangoes and vanilla.

2. To-Drink List
The wine list has always had top billing at fine dining eateries, but many area restaurants are giving craft brews a place in the spotlight. Places like Vicia, Olive & Oak and Sardella boast a healthy mix of local, regional and international options. Retreat Gastropub describes its beer list like its wines, categorizing brews with helpful key characteristics. The Libertine pays homage to beer’s heritage with large-format German bottles, and Cleveland-Heath appeases both the workaday drinker and the craft fan with a list including Stag and offerings only available in Illinois like Surly Brewing Co. Some fine dining establishments even partner with local breweries to create custom beers for the restaurant like Side Project Cup of Love previously at Sardella; look for Perennial Ollie Ollie Oxen Free at Olive & Oak, Perennial Brew for the Crew at Farmhaus and Perennial Single Barrel Stout at Juniper.

3. Hot New Pinots
German pinot noir, or Spätburgunder, is all the rage right now. In fact, it can prove difficult to find a bottle despite being the third-largest producer of pinot noir in the world. Why? Let’s just say German pinot noirs of the past didn’t taste good – thin and on the acidic side – because the weather was just not right for this grape. But due to recent rising temperatures and longer, sunnier days (thanks, global warming), the fruit now ripens better, making the resulting wine resemble an expensive Burgundy at an affordable price. Think light-bodied, refined reds with notes of red fruit that are delicate with a very dry, long finish. Find it on the shelf at Parker’s Table (a Koehler-Ruprecht 2013 Spätburgunder for $20), at the Wine Merchant (a 1 liter Heger 2014 Pinot Noir for $20) or order it off the wine list at Eleven Eleven Mississippi or 33 Wine Shop & Bar.

 

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{ Narwahl’s Crafted Urban Ice drinks } 

 

4. Brain Freeze
Frozen and blended drinks have experienced a resurgence of late, becoming a “thing” again at such highly regarded establishments as Diamond Reef in Brooklyn and Preux & Proper in Los Angeles. St. Louis has been getting in on the frosty action as well. Narwahl’s Crafted Urban Ice in Midtown has a dedicated menu of frozen delights that includes such concoctions as the Watermelon Frosé and the Rhubarb Paloma. The Preston has brought out the blender to create drinks like the absinthe watermelon colada, and Porano has had great success with its über-popular Negroni Slushie.

5. Powder Powered
Instead of using traditional hop pellets, some brewers are sprinkling their beer with a little magic dust. 4 Hands Brewing Co. brewery manager Martin Toft used hop powder – aka cryogenically processed hops – in Loose Particles, a juicy Northeast-style IPA with Simcoe and Mosaic. Toft said he can use significantly less product and get more aroma and flavor from the hops, and he’s already planning to hit more recipes with the powder next year. 2nd Shift Brewing also experimented with Cryo Hops in its Equanot Experimental IPA, a light, clean brew with equanot hops.

6. Can It
Canned wine sales are booming like never before as consumers shrug off the lowbrow stigma of popping a top to quaff their vino. In fact, Nielsen Company reported sales rose 125 percent from summer 2015 to summer 2016. The perks of canned wine are numerous. They’re eminently portable, perfect for the pool or float trips where glass is off-limits. No additional glassware – or a corkscrew – is required, and cans can be easier to recycle than bottles. Plus, more and more high-quality producers are now ensconcing their juice in aluminum, like Alloy Wine Works, which cans several of its wines, including Everyday Rose, (a Sauce office favorite), and Union Wine Co.’s Underwood line, which offers five canned varieties.

 

Catherine Klene, Matt Sorrell and Meera Nagarajan contributed to this article. 

Meals That Changed My Life: Mike Randolph

Saturday, July 1st, 2017

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Chef Mike Randolph has opened a number of restaurants since working at Chicago’s now-shuttered Moto. Starting with The Good Pie in 2008, Randolph went on to open Half & Half, Little Country Gentleman, Medianoche, Randolfi’s and Público. As he gears up to open Half & Half’s second location in Webster Groves this summer, he told us about one meal he ate in 2001 when he was at a professional fork in the road and the late chef Michel Richard changed his life.

 

Citronelle, Washington, D.C. (2001)
“I was finishing school for political science and had just kind of realized I hadn’t done well enough to get the jobs I really wanted. I didn’t want to muddle around at the bottom of the industry, so I started thinking about culinary school. One night [my wife, my parents and I] went to Michel Richard’s Citronelle in D.C. It was in the Ritz-Carlton in Georgetown, and the restaurant had this beautiful glass-front kitchen. It was the first time I had seen four guys plating one plate of food. And I remember thinking, ‘Look how calm everything is.’ The kitchens I had worked in were like a mad rush, and here’s this place and nobody’s breaking a sweat.

“One of the things that really stuck out to me was that there was a sense of humor in the food. They had the toques, the pressed chef jackets, tweezers, all that … but at the same time they didn’t take themselves too seriously. I remember getting a plate that looked like a sunny side up egg with bacon and toast. I think the toast was marzipan, the bacon was something, the egg was set panna cotta for the whites and a mango for the middle. Now, that dish is the Food Network version of molecular gastronomy, like, ‘You can do this at home in six easy steps!’ But in 2001, it was eye-opening. Here you are at this French institution, and you expect this delicate little financier, and then here comes this cafeteria tray. There was the sense that Michel Richard was having fun with you at the end of your meal.

“This was before Moto and Alinea. Throughout the course of the night, I was just totally blown away that food could be something that I never knew about. It was perfectly seasoned small bites of food, tons of textures – that was Michel Richard’s big thing. Every dish had some crunchy element, some kind of creative textural contrast. It was absolutely my first exposure to any of that, and I think that’s what made me so interested in Moto. At this point in my life, [molecular gastronomy] is something I’ve grown out of – now I just want a perfectly cooked piece of meat with one sauce. But I felt like at that time it was cool to research and delve into what food could be – texturally and flavor-wise. I’ve had a lot of pretty transcendent meals, but that stands alone.”

 

Illustration by Vidhya Nagarajan

Editors’ Note: The print issue of this story incorrectly stated that the new Half & Half location would be in Kirkwood. This piece has been updated with the correct location. 

What I Do: Tyler Davis at Element

Monday, May 1st, 2017

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Tyler Davis is a details man. From crafting beautiful desserts as executive pastry chef at Element, to designing unique menus for weekly Purveyor’s Table pop-up dinners at Brennan’s, to single-handedly managing his online dessert business, Alchemy Artisan Bakery, Davis aims his self-proclaimed Type A tendencies at confections as visually stunning as they are delicious. Here, the busy sweet tooth shared about finding his passion and making it happen.

“Mom’s the strongest person I know. I didn’t have a father figure growing up – Mom was my mom and my dad. I fell into cooking because she couldn’t always be around to cook. When I was 9 or 10 I was like, ‘I don’t want to eat ramen noodles.’ I called her up and said, ‘How do you fry chicken?’ She was like, ‘Don’t burn down the house.’ She taught me over the phone and I made it.”

“She never bought us presents, but she would always ask what we wanted for our birthday meal and for me, that is the biggest way to show your love.”

“I went to school for cello. I wanted to be a classical musician. I love music, but when you start looking at grad school, auditions, and then you start to see the ratio of classical musicians that have jobs versus those that don’t have jobs and how difficult it is in that industry, I knew deep down inside I wasn’t passionate enough about that to take it to the next level.”

“My mind is always going. I like to start with an original thing and then mix and match it. We’ll have desserts on the spring menu like a cool version of an ice cream sandwich. It has taro ice cream with a matcha dacquoise and black sesame powder. It’s not your typical ice cream sandwich.”

“I started to cook on the side for a few friends to make a little extra money in college. … During that time, it was all experimentation, so anytime I would cook for my friends I was like, ‘Hey, I just saw this on Food Network – I want to try it.’ It definitely sparked a fire. That was the time when all the really cool shows came out, like ‘Top Chef.’ I had never seen anything like that – if I’m in college, I’m not going to spend $60 to $70 going out to eat, but when you see stuff on ‘Top Chef’ you’re like, ‘What is that! This is amazing.’ I became a sponge. Anything that had to do with cooking, I was about it. I watched ‘Yan Can Cook.’ I watched anything with Julia Child, Jacques Pépin, Anthony Bourdain, ‘Top Chef’ – Bravo! You couldn’t take me away from Bravo.”

“Alinea was overwhelming. All the courses were phenomenal, but the dessert course stood out – it was a chocolate dish. It had chocolate soil, chocolate rocks, chocolate creme brulee that was a liquid before and they poured it in a ring mold, took [it] off and it was already set and I was like, ‘I don’t even know what’s happening right now!’”

“You can’t be afraid to fail, because it’s going to happen. It’s definitely going to happen. One time I tried to bake – oh my God, it was horrible – this really, really cool pie crust. I wanted it to be cookie crust. I don’t know what I was thinking. … I ended up using baking soda instead of baking powder, and it completely went everywhere and flooded out the oven. But you can’t be afraid to try new things.”

 

Photo by Ashley Gieseking

Meera Nagarajan is art director at Sauce Magazine.

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Sauce Magazine: May 2017

What I Do: Patrick Olds of Louie’s Wine Dive

The Scoop: Josh Charles leaves Element, heads to Blood & Sand

 

Eat This: Lobster turnovers at Sidney Street Cafe

Saturday, April 1st, 2017

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The Lobster Turnovers at Sidney Street Cafe are a study in richness. Sweet pieces of lobster are wrapped in flaky filo dough, brushed with clarified butter and baked until golden. If that wasn’t enough, they’re finished with a cream sauce infused with San Marzano tomatoes, brandy, tarragon and a hint of chipotle, Tabasco and cayenne for a subtle kick. Class dismissed.

Photo by Carmen Troesser

Related Content

James Beard Foundation names Kevin Nashan, Kevin Willmann Best Chef: Midwest finalists 

The Scoop: Kevin Nashan to launch new food program at 4 Hands

The Scoop: Sidney Street Cafe pastry chef Robert Zugmaier nominated for The People’s Best New Pastry Chef by Food & Wine

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

Extra Sauce: 4 gifts on Meera’s holiday wish list

Friday, December 9th, 2016

From memorable cookbooks to a ridiculously gorgeous range, here’s what Sauce art director Meera Nagarajan really wants this holiday season.

 

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1. Nopi: The Cookbook
On a recent visit to London, I had a beautiful lunch at Yotam Ottolenghi’s Nopi. The highlight of the meal was the pan-fried mackerel served with tamarind sauce and raw coconut salad – which I can now make any time thanks to Ottolenghi’s latest cookbook.
$40. Left Bank Books, left-bank.com

 

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2. Kentuckyaki Sauce
Wandering The Smokehouse Market on the hunt for a clever weeknight dinner idea, butcher Andrew Jennrich suggested this sauce. I soused leftover chicken and broccoli for instant teriyaki magic with a bourbon twist.
$12. The Smokehouse Market, anniegunns.com

 

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3. Plantation Pineapple Rum
Fruity rums are all the rage – and I don’t mean Malibu. I’m talking aged rum infused with ripe fruit. Try sipping this neat or over ice before you attempt a grown piña colada.
$35. Lukas Wine & Spirits, lukasliquorstl.com

 

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4. Grand Palais 180
Remember the ranges inside Gusteau’s kitchen in Pixar’s Ratatouille? I do. The closest thing I’ve found to them in real life is the La Cornue Grand Palais 180 in brilliant black with brushed brass. I would never try to justify buying a $22,800 range, but it is spectacular – and I’m worth it.
Starts at $22,800, lacornue.com

 

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More Holiday Gift Guides
• Holiday Gift Guide: 5 gifts for the person you have to shop for
• Holiday Gift Guide: 5 gifts to stock a starter kitchen
• Holiday Gift Guide: 5 gifts for your boozehound
• Holiday Gift Guide: 5 gifts for the Food Snob

 

Ratatouille image courtesy of Disney 

Best New Restaurants: No. 10 – Melo’s Pizzeria

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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{ dom pizza }

 

Five seats, five menu items and a fire crackling merrily in the oven: This is Melo’s. The small but mighty Italian-American pizza shop is run by the Valenza family – brothers Joey, Johnny and Vinny, and their dad Vince Sr., the owner of Blues City Deli, whom you could call their consigliere.

When Vince finally bought the Blues City building in 2013, it came with a teeny garage, big enough to fit a couple cars, or to give life to Joey’s bread-making hobby turned pizza-making obsession.

Happily, Dad went with the latter, and now we’re obsessed, too. The Dom is our favorite, a simple pizza topped with Grana Padano, sliced garlic, fresh basil, oregano and a glug of extra-virgin olive oil. It’s Neapolitan-style, with a thin, wood-fired crust and a perfectly pure crushed tomato sauce, but has an American twist, mixing fresh mozzarella with drier, shredded mozzarella. This transgression makes for a lower moisture content that keeps the dough from getting too wet.

“It’s more of a familiar flavor for people,” Joey said. “I don’t know if it’s our American taste buds, but we think it tastes better.”

Melo’s formula for an Italian-American pie combines the best of both worlds. We appreciate an edited menu, pared down to the bare, most delicious bones.

 

More about Melo’s Pizzeria

• Hit List: 6 new restaurants you must try this month

• Sneak Peek: Melo’s Pizzeria in Benton Park

The Scoop: Blues City Deli owner to open Melo’s Pizza

Photo by Dave Moore

By the Book: Home by Bryan Voltaggio

Friday, November 11th, 2016

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I am a major Top Chef fan (Season 14 starts Dec. 1!). Season six, which featured brothers Bryan and Michael Voltaggio, was a favorite – so much so that on a my first trip to Baltimore, I took a detour to Frederick, Maryland to eat at Volt, Bryan Voltaggio’s restaurant. It was a wonderful experience. One memorable chicken and beets dish featured local ingredients and several components that came together to make an unforgettable experience.

His cookbook, Home, reminds me of that dish. Many recipes have smaller sub-recipes that are additional components on a plate. I’m currently in a cooking rut, and the thought of making several recipes for one dish was daunting. So I decided to make simple lemon cookies.

There are only two recipes in for this dessert: one for the cookie and one for a glaze. The dough was easy to make, though the dough needed to rest at least four hours (surprise, I didn’t), and they must cool thoroughly so the glaze can harden (yeah, skipped that part, too). Even with my shortcuts, the recipes yielded tiny, slightly doughy treats with a hint of lemon and a sweet glaze that I’ll likely make again.

Skill level: Moderate. Recipes are long and detailed, but they sound delicious.
Other recipes to try: Everything mashed potatoes, loaded hash browns
The verdict: Check back next week!

 

Lemon Cookies
Makes about 18 cookies

1½ cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup cornstarch
1/8 tsp. fine sea salt
¾ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Grated zest of 1 lemon

Glaze
3 Tbsp. water
2½ Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
¼ tsp. fine sea salt
2½ cups powdered sugar

Make the cookies
• Sift the flour, cornstarch, and salt together. Cream the butter and sugar in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment on low speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the vanilla and lemon zest and mix until smooth. Stop the mixer and add all of the flour mixture. Mix on low speed until the dough pulls away from the side of the bowl, 2 to 3 minutes. Put the dough in a covered container and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or preferably overnight.
• Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
• Use a ¾-ounce ice cream scoop to portion the dough into balls, and lay them out on the baking sheet, leaving 2 inches of space between each cookie. Bake for 8 minutes, or until the cookies are set and slightly golden brown around the edges. Transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely, about 30 minutes.

Make the glaze
• Put the water, lemon juice, and salt in a medium bowl and whisk until the salt dissolves. Add the powdered sugar and whisk until smooth. Set a wire rack over a baking sheet. Dip the tops of each cookie into the glaze and then set them on the rack. Sprinkle the cookies with freshly grated lemon zest and leave them on the rack until the glaze hardens, about 20 minutes.

Reprinted with permission from Little Brown

Hit List: 3 new restaurants you must try this November

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2016

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1. Egg: 2200 Gravois Ave., St. Louis, 314.202.8224, breakfastcamefirst.com

Egg has expanded from its weekend brunch popup beginnings, taking over Spare No Rib’s original space on Gravois Avenue for good. (Have no fear; Spare No Rib moved to a new home at 3701 S. Jefferson Ave.) Try the cornbread Benedict with a choice of smoked pork belly or spinach and avocado stacked on sweet, crumbly cornbread, topped with two gently poached eggs and a deluge of hollandaise or the generous asada wrap, packed with succulent steak, fries and just the right amount of cheese sauce. The chakchouka, a stewed vegetable dish with baked eggs, is a hearty yet healthy choice, or go south of the border with robust breakfast tacos filled with veggies, carne asada, chorizo or carnitas with house-made salsas. Sip a brunch cocktail like the sweet and floral Sidi Bou Spritz made with hop vodka, jasmine and elderflower liqueurs and fresh orange juice.

 

2. Vietnam Style: 6100 Delmar Blvd., St. Louis, 314.405.8438, Facebook: Vietnam Style

Vietnam Style on the east end of The Loop may confuse at first glance, but you’ll only be disappointed if you intend to shop for clothes. Start with the Vietnamese spring rolls, packed with veggies, rice noodles, pork and shrimp or grilled beef – and don’t be shy with the bright, savory peanut dipping sauce. The Bò Né Original Vietnamese Sizzling Steak is a great introduction to Vietnamese flavors, with a sweet and garlicky seasoning that complements rather than overpowers the filet mignon, along with a sunny side up egg. If you only get one thing, make it a noodle soup – the Pho Filet Mignon Bo Vien features thin, curling slices of tender beef, meatballs and rice noodles in a rich, mile-deep beef broth. The classic pho ga comes with generous amounts of shredded chicken and rice noodles in a lighter-tasting broth good enough to pour into a thermos and drink all day long.

 

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3. Wicked Greenz: 16 N. Central Ave., Clayton, 314.727.2772, wickedgreenz.com

Wicked Greenz is serving up healthy, quick meals for the lunch and dinner crowds in Clayton. The veggie-focused menu offers 13 greens-based dishes that can be served “bowled” as a salad or “rolled” as a wrap. Try the Mexicali, a mix of salad greens, black beans, red onion, corn, cilantro and pico de gallo with charred tomato vinaigrette. The classic Caesar features Asiago cheese, basil and a sharp Parmesan-peppercorn Caesar dressing. But the stars of the menu are the soups: The smoked chicken gumbo is spicy and complex with chunks of chicken, andouille and kielbasa in a dark, rich broth served atop a mound of white rice. Get the garlicky, slightly sweet tomato soup, which is topped with cheese and crunchy croutons reminiscent of a deconstructed grilled cheese.

 

-photos by Michelle Volansky 

 

 

 

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