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Sep 01, 2014
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Posts Tagged ‘Mission Taco Joint’

Drink This Weekend Edition: The Mission Paloma, featuring Stiegl Radler at Mission Taco Joint

Friday, May 30th, 2014

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The first radler I ever drank was poured into a humongous one-liter glass and passed across the table to me at a biergarten in Bavaria by my late cousin Otto. He spoke sparse English and had cycled some 40 kilometers from Munich to sit with me in his Lycra jersey and graying, mussed-up helmet hair. I mention this last part because “radler” – a half-half mix of beer and German lemonade, not unlike a shandy – actually means “cyclist,” owing doubtlessly to the beer’s aptness as a thirst quencher after long rides. I was there on a get-to-know-the-family visit, exhibiting my clumsy German and trying to keep the conversation fluid. Mostly we just sipped in silence. But weltering there in the August heat, contending with the discomfort of all things lost in translation, there was no better refreshment for us.

Here in St. Louis, Stiegl’s Radler (Goldbrau and grapefruit soda) now has a tap handle at Mission Taco Joint on the Loop, and with a $5 price tag, is an easy way to squelch the impending oppression of summer. You might also try it in the Mission Paloma, one addition to the new summer cocktail menu the bar program is rolling out Tuesday, June 2. (A few change-ups to the food menu are also in store.)

Replacing pure grapefruit soda for sweet, citrus-inflected beer, Mission’s twist on the familiar cocktail is subtle, and a bit revelatory.  The recipe combines two ounces of Sauza Blue Reposado tequila and half-ounce of agave simple syrup over ice in a salt-rimmed pint glass, which is then filled with Stiegl Radler. The result is a pale yellow, frothy libation that begins with a trace of smoke and skims onward to its bright, citrusy denouement – a little like a margarita, only cheerier.

“This was almost a gimme from our distributor (of Stiegl),” said Jimmy Menousek, bar manager at Mission. “We heard ‘grapefruit’ and ‘beer’ and instantly thought, Paloma!

The Mission Paloma is quick to assemble and a worthy antidote to muggy afternoons in June, so don’t be shy about ordering a sneak peek for yourself this weekend, before the official unveiling. We’ve got it on good authority that the bartenders will happily oblige.

“Radler’s taking baby steps here (in St. Louis),” Menousek said. “But I’m confident once people start trying it, it will catch on.” I’ll raise my glass to that, and to Otto, peace be with him.

 

 

Beer Et Al.: 8 more reasons we love beer

Sunday, March 30th, 2014

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Matt Berkley’s Top 5 Cocktails of 2013

Tuesday, December 31st, 2013

Matt Berkley works some odd hours as Sauce’s Nightlife critic. In 2013, he spent many a late night] sipping crafted cocktails around St Louis on a hunt for the very best. Here, Berkley names his top five cocktails of the year: 

 

No. 5: Smoke and Fire from Mission Taco Joint
Hellfire bitters set off hints of peach and serrano syrup in this refreshing, mezcal-laden masterpiece.

 

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No. 4: The Rattlesnake King at The Fortune Teller Bar
Smooth-drinking W.L. Weller Special Reserve 7-year-old bourbon is reinforced with a hit of apple brandy and fresh orange.

No. 3: House Manhattan at Gamlin Whiskey House
Robust oak and sweet vanilla flavors mingle in the Knob Creek Single Barrel whiskey that was handpicked for this standout take on a classic Manhattan.

 

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No. 2: Pimm’s Cup at Bar Les Frères
This easy sipping, warm-weather drink is fashioned with fresh cucumber and sprigs of mint.

 

And my No. 1 cocktail of 2013 is…

 

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Beetnik Margarita at Atomic Cowboy
Fresh beet juice substitutes for lime juice in this potent little drink. My exact words in September: “Though I’m indifferent to beets, beet juice and actual beatniks, I love this drink. It’s a savory-sweet monster of a cocktail with a surprisingly tangy kick and a healthy wallop of tequila.”

And an honorable mention goes to moonshine cocktails from Hendricks BBQ. Subtle and smooth at first, these white whiskeys cocktails serve delightful a knockout punch of rich flavor.

-Bar Les Frères and Atomic Cowboy photos by Jonathan Gayman

 

 

Drink This Weekend Edition: Mission Taco Joint’s cocktail overhaul

Friday, November 22nd, 2013

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{Pisco Burro – Mission’s take on a Moscow Mule}

Mission Taco Joint released its new winter cocktail menu a few weeks ago, so once we sent our December issue to the printer, we headed over to celebrate –er, check it out … for work. While there is still a margarita on the menu (although the recipe has been tweaked), the rest of the menu, featuring 12 cocktails in total, is completely new. In regards to the changes, bar manager Jimmy Menousek said, “The entire bar staff helped with this.”

“We wanted every person on staff to have their own thing on the menu,” added Kyle Harlan, assistant bar manager.

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From tequila to mezcal to gin to bourbon, there’s a little of everything on the new menu, and it’s not limited to Mexican-style cocktails. For fans of bloody mary’s, try a michelada (pictured above), a beer cocktail that features bartender Jorge Vazquez Jr.’s michelada mix. The chipotle paste in the mix adds a deep spice that hits you in the back of the throat, and the use of Negro Modelo adds more depth than a lager, typically used in this type of drink.

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Winter in Brazil (pictured above, left) contains cachaça, house-made serrano syrup, lime juice and cilantro. Although I love cilantro, the non-cilantro eaters at the table were still pleased with the taste. If you think you have that cilantro-hating gene, try this; it might be your gateway drink. On the sweeter side, there’s La Flor de Borracha (pictured above, right), which features London Dry gin, hibiscus agua fresca, lemon juice and The Big O ginger liquor.

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For a show, order the Red Square, Mission’s twist on the Manhattan. Angostura bitters are sprayed and then flamed in the glass, which makes the bitters taste a bit sweeter. Barrel-aged Samogon (a Russian grappa) is added to the glass (post-flame) with a bit of sweet vermouth. The cocktail is stirred, and then served in a coupe glass.

As for the other seven drinks on the menu? This weekend, you’ll just have to go and try them yourself.

– photo by Michelle Volansky

The Scoop: Mission Taco Joint to expand in The Loop and Soulard

Friday, November 22nd, 2013

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While Adam and Jason Tilford are currently in San Francisco gathering inspiration for their newest restaurant venture, this afternoon they took a moment to catch up with The Scoop.

The brothers announced that this coming January, the space next to Mission Taco Joint will open as an overflow bar, designed for people who are waiting for a table or waiting to pick up food.

Why more space?

When Mission first opened less than a year ago, the brothers weren’t quite expecting the level of success the restaurant has been experiencing. “We didn’t think we would have much use for this little space,” Adam said. “Our plan was to have a little bodega, a Mexican market with milk, tortillas and staples, but two things changed that.” He explained that with the new Washington University housing development going up across the street from Mission and a giant Global Foods going under it, there really wasn’t a need for the bodega concept.

So they came up with a better idea. “We go on a wait every night, but there’s nowhere to wait, so we had the idea to change the bodega to a waiting bar,” Adam said. At the waiting bar, there will be 10 to 12 beers available by the can and bottle and a handful of cocktails. The bar, with the look of a beach taco stand with its corrugated tin roof, will also be a drink lab, of sorts – a place for the bartenders to experiment with new ideas. “Jimmy and Kyle [Mission’s bar manager and assistant bar manager] are really excited about it,” Adam said.

In addition to expanding next door, Mission Taco will also be expanding across town with another location at 908 Lafayette Ave., in Soulard.

As first reported by Ian Froeb of the Post-Dispatch, Adam signed the lease for the new space on Monday.

The Tilfords told The Scoop that the concept will pretty much be the same as the existing Mission. There will not be a take-out window though, and no patio seating. “It will have about 120 or 130 seats inside,” Adam said. “It also has a big garage door – a faux four seasons patio, and the door can go up.”

Along with the space and the location, the Tilfords are excited to be so close to iTap, where patrons will be able to order and carry-in Mission food. “We are right around the corner. Our back doors meet,” Jason said.

Look for the new Mission location to open in late spring.

— photo by Michelle Volansky

In This Issue: Trendwatch – A look at what’s on the plate, in the glass and atop our wish list right now

Wednesday, July 17th, 2013

{The High Rise at Mike Shannon’s Steaks and Seafood and Mike Shannon’s Grill}

 

Thank You for Smoking: Barbecue spots may be spreading like wildfire around these parts, but it’s the smoke in our glasses that really has us talking. After a cold-smoke infusion of the bartenders’ wood chips of choice, the liquor becomes a sort of paintbrush, casting its smoky stroke on everything it touches. Dive right in with the smoked-vermouth-laden High on the Hog at Hendricks BBQ or the cold-smoked aperol at Cielo. For a milder entry to this smoker-to-sipper trend, try the High Rise at Mike Shannon’s Steaks and Seafood and Mike Shannon’s Grill, where a flicker of smoke deepens as the cold-smoked ice melts.

Less Is More: When Niche opened the doors to its new Clayton home with a tasting menu-only format, the shift was met with both excitement and frustration. But the renowned fine-dining restaurant isn’t the only one testing the local waters with limited options. Diners at nearby Little Country Gentleman must opt for either the 3-course menu or the grand tasting menu (The latter, numbering around 16 courses, has dropped in price to $78 a head.), while Anthony Devoti is offering a 5-course taster at Five Bistro on The Hill. Will we see more fine-dining spots move in this direction? Considering the creative license such a pared-down approach lends the chef, we sure hope so.

Head, Shoulders, Ears and Toes: You’ve had pig’s face and feet, butt and belly. The latest body part to benefit from the nose-to-tail trend: pig’s ears. We had ‘em deep-fried as a rich counter to hearty kale in a sprightly salad this spring at pop-up restaurant A Good Man Is Hard to Find, and we’ve sliced into the naturally chewy meat rendered silken in a terrine at Farmhaus.

Ingredient Alert: Umami in a Bottle: Considering folks are aging just about everything these days and the fact that so many chefs covet fish sauce as their secret weapon, we should’ve seen this one coming. Sneak into the kitchens everywhere from Blood and Sand to the here-now-gone A Good Man is Hard to Find to newly opened The Libertine, and you’ll find a bottle of BLiS Barrel-Aged Fish Sauce. For this wax-sealed condiment, Red Boat Fish Sauce gets aged for seven months in bourbon barrels that have already worked their magic on BLiS maple syrup. The result: a rich sauce with slight sweetness and subtle smokiness that lets chefs infuse umami into just about anything.

White Out: When YellowTree Farm’s Justin Leszcz grows it, the chefs will come. The latest crop making its way onto menus? Japanese white sweet potatoes. Find them stuffed – along with house-made chorizo – into a taco at Mission Taco Joint or head to Mission’s sister restaurant Milagro Modern Mexican where chorizo and sweet potato are the filling for empanadas or turned into a tasty hash. At Farmhaus, the veggie is cozying up to house-smoked ham and scallops at Farmhaus, and embracing its Asian roots with curried rice at The Agrarian.

Riding the Third Wave: When Scott Carey first opened the doors to his third-wave coffee bar Sump Coffee, he wasn’t sure anyone would be willing to wait for his hand-brewed methods and precisely pulled espresso shots. Two years later, the South City spot is the watering hole of choice for the city’s coffee-loving cognoscenti. And with local coffee chain Kaldi’s launching a renewed focus on hand-brew techniques at all of its cafes, it’s easier than ever to get a taste of coffee’s third wave no matter where you live. Stop by Picasso’s Coffee House in St. Charles, Comet Coffee in Dogtown, VB Chocolate Bar in Cottleville and soon-to-open Rise Coffee House in The Grove for a hand-brewed cup.

Meals on Wheels: Why go to dinner at one restaurant when you can eat an appetizer at one, enjoy an entree at another, nibble dessert at the one next door and have a night cap just down the street? That’s the idea behind STL Culinary Tours, Dishcrawl and Savor Saint Louis, three new businesses offering food tours of our city’s most food-filled streets and neighborhoods, complete with behind-the-scenes tables, chats with the chef and strolls from one hot spot to the next.

–Photo by Jonathan Gayman

Drink This Weekend Edition: Classic Couples Cocktail Competition should be a ginger good time

Friday, April 12th, 2013



The Big O ginger liqueur has found a happy home on bar shelves in St. Louis and around the country since hitting the marketplace less than two years ago. This weekend, The Big O will be poured big time as bartenders battle it out with Boston shakers at the Classic Couples Cocktail Competition.

St. Louisans Bill Foster and Kathy Kuper, makers of the ginger liqueur and sponsors of the competition, have challenged bartenders to create a drink worthy of becoming a signature cocktail for their sweet-yet-sprightly, rhizome-laden liqueur. To add playfulness to what is shaping up as an entertaining afternoon, the drink must be named after a classic couple, real or fictional.

The event takes place at Salt, located at 4356 Lindell Blvd., on Sunday at 3 p.m., and will showcase the talents of 10 finalists who hail not only from St. Louis, but also Kansas City, Mo., Chicago, and Grand Rapids, Mich. Local names (and their affiliations) include: Nicholas Crow (Mission Taco Joint and Milagro Modern Mexican), Nathan Doyle (Hendricks BBQ), Joe Duepner (Sanctuaria), Mandi Kowalski (Sanctuaria) Todd Levy (Demun Oyster Bar), Hilary Lewis (member, USBG-St. Louis chapter) and Layla Linehan (Brasserie). Driving the distance to compete are: Kenny Cohrs (Cafe Trio, Kansas City, Mo.), Carol Donovan (The Hearty Boys New Old Bar, Chicago) and Torrence O’Haire (SpeakEZ Lounge and The Starving Artist, Grand Rapids, Mich.). A panel of judges will determine the winning cocktail based on creativity, ability to replicate, drinkability, sustainability and marketability.

What’s in it for you? Besides a front-row seat at the shake and stir show, you get to sample all 10 of the ginger-centric cocktails and cast a vote for the people’s choice winner. You’re going to get hungry, and Salt’s exec chef (and member of the Sauce Ones to Watch class of 2013) Bradley Hoffmann has you covered with hors d’oeuvres, which are included in the ticket price. And then there’s the do-gooder element: A portion of the proceeds will benefit local food bank Operation Food Search. Bring along a canned food item and you’ll not only give OFS a boost, but your name will be entered into a raffle for prizes that will get any boozehound excited. (How about a bottle of The Big O and a 1-liter cask to age it in?) More information is available on The Big O’s website.

Tickets can be purchased in advance for $15, here. Tickets will also be sold at the door for $20. Or even better, enter to win two tickets, here. Our ticket giveaway will end at 3:30 p.m., and then this afternoon, we will email you to let you know that your name has been put on the events guest list.

***This giveaway has ended. Allie Ammons, you are our winner! Thanks for playing! Look for an email from the Sauce crew!***

Hit List: Two new restaurants to try this month

Wednesday, April 3rd, 2013



{John Perkins}

A Good Man is Hard to Find: 360 N. Boyle Ave., St. Louis, 314.632.6754, entrestl.com/presents

If you’ve ever had John Perkins’ food, you know that it is as creative as the ways he delivers it – from his Entre Underground dinners to his first chicken-themed pop-up, Le Coq, this past winter. So hurry up and snag a seat at his newest pop-up, a southern-comfort concept named after the classic Flannery O’Connor short story. Start with a basket of house-baked bread, then bask in the supporting characters – from the pickled beet terrine with goat cheese and blood orange to the jarred sides of house-brined pickles, spiced nuts, sunchoke relish and chow-chow (a low-country mustard-based staple). When you finish off your entree with a blueberry buckle, order it topped with a scoop of buttermilk ice cream, a slightly sour foil to the sweet, juicy berries. This short story ends on Derby Day, so better crack it open soon.



Mission Taco Joint: 
6235 Delmar Blvd., The Loop, 314.932.5430, missiontacostl.com

From Adam and Jason Tilford, the busy brothers behind Milagro Modern Mexican, Barrister’s and Tortillaria Mexican Kitchen, comes this über casual ode to the taquerias dotting San Francisco’s Mission district. Seat yourself, then go with the a la carte tacos, wrapped in house-made tortillas and served with a bowl of onions, cilantro and hunks of lime for the squeezing. Brave souls should try the extra-fiery Nopales Taco (That’s Spanish for cactus.), while carnivores who can’t pass on pork belly will enjoy the crispy bits crumbled atop the tender Roasted Duck Tacos. The bar is in the creative and capable hands of Sanctuaria alum Joel Clark, who opted against an obvious tequila-heavy theme (There’s just one, solid margarita.) in favor of unique bottles like Blackwell Jamaican rum and Del Maguey Single Village mezcals. Sip apricot-heavy The Chaplinesque or place a pint glass under one of the 10 local taps.

– photos by Jonathan Gayman and Carmen Troesser

This week, Ligaya Figueras is obsessed with …

Thursday, March 21st, 2013

{In The Dinner by Herman Koch, two brothers and their wives dine at a fancy, overpriced Dutch restaurant. But the plot is hardly that simple because things aren’t as they appear. This snarky comedy turns disturbing as what lies under the table is slowly served up, beginning with the aperitif of the house and finishing with a melting dame blanche. And please do share in the comments section about how you’d handle Tonio, the maître d’, and his meddling pinky finger.}

{Five of the six side dishes at Mission Taco Joint are vegetarian, but they’re so packed with flavor that you’ll never miss the meat. Need a hefty veggie medley? Go for chayote calabacitas. Brainy-grain power? Get the grilled vegetable quinoa. For Mission at its core, it’s gotta be the fire-roasted, off-the-cob street corn. — photo by Michelle Volansky} 

{Sometimes you can’t – or really, really shouldn’t – finish that bomber of witbier. Use this Hermetus bottle opener and sealer, and you’ll keep your wits about you. Your beer won’t go flat, and it won’t spill out when you lay the bottle on its side. Order it here.}

 

Keeping Up With Jason Tilford

Wednesday, March 6th, 2013



Part of Jason Tilford’s job is bouncing between the four restaurants he co-owns with his brother, Adam – Barrister’s, Tortillaria Mexican Kitchen, Milagro Modern Mexican and the newly opened Mission Taco Joint – and the nine others he consults on with buddy Chris LaRocca. With temptations of onion rings, burritos and margaritas galore, he’d have to be battery-operated not to get real fat, real fast. Yet he’s one of the slimmest chefs in the business. Sure, he has guilty pleasures – Barrister’s wings and Milagro’s chicken enchiladas to name a few – but Tilford has found a way to keep the extra pounds at bay, even while working the line. We begged him for his tricks for staying balanced in the most gluttonous profession around. He was happy to oblige.

Eat well, but eat often.
I hardly ever sit down with a plate of food. I eat a lot, but mainly small meals, all day. I try not to eat late at night. I try to skip the sweets and fried food. It’s funny; when you get into a routine, you crave eating healthy, almost. You get so used to it that eventually that Alfredo cream sauce doesn’t even look good.

Mix it up.
I play soccer, but it’s tailed down a lot since I turned 40. I also do some weight training and flexibility stuff. I’m trying to get into yoga, but it might be too boring for me. And I coach my son’s soccer team.

Hit the gym early.
I have to get my kids to school by 7:30 a.m., and the restaurant stuff doesn’t really wake up until 9. If I don’t go in the morning, usually, it’s not going to happen.

If work starts calling?
[Laughs] I can answer the first couple texts and emails of the day on the treadmill.

If you miss the morning window?
I go to Club Fitness and there’s one near my house, one between Milagro and Barrister’s, one near my sons’ school. They’re all in my rat race. There’s even one near Restaurant Depot [a purchasing center for restaurants].

 — photo by Ashley Gieseking, shot on location at Sweat.

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