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May 24, 2015
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Posts Tagged ‘Sanctuaria’

The Scoop: Sanctuaria named among best bourbon bars in the U.S.

Wednesday, August 14th, 2013



Congratulations to Sanctuaria, which was named among the top bourbon bars in the country by The Bourbon Review. The bourbon industry publication released a list of America’s 55 best bourbon bars as part of its fifth anniversary issue, and Sanctuaria was the only bar in St. Louis to make the cut.

According to a press release, criteria to earn a spot on the list included that the bar “showcase bourbon in a very proud manner, by educating their patrons about bourbon and either providing them with a superior selection or a combination of a great selection along with having a reputation for showcasing bourbon in their cocktails.”

In The Bourbon Review article, Sanctuaria is commended for hand-selecting barrels from Kentucky distilleries and for being one of the first in the country to offer cocktails on tap and barrel-aged cocktails. Sanctuaria’s former bar manager Matt Seiter was given a nod for his contribution to the spirits program at the establishment in The Grove.

The only other Missouri bar to receive accolades was J.O.B. Public House in Springfield. The 55 bars on the list were categorized by region, with seven establishments from the Midwest getting a nod. A complete list with information about each bar is available here.

Sanctuaria is one of multiple bars and restaurants owned by Dr. Gurpreet Padda and Ami Grimes. The business partners continue to add concepts to the local dining scene. Padda and Grimes plan to expand into Edwardsville, Ill. with Hendricks Smokehouse, located at 1201 N. Main St., targeted to open in mid-2014, as reported by George Mahe of St. Louis Magazine.



In This Issue: Short List – House Margarita

Saturday, July 20th, 2013


Seeing as the margarita is a cocktail popular enough to boast a personal holiday (Yes, Feb. 22 is National Margarita Day.), we figured it was about time we call out some of our top picks for this classic, warm-weather treat. Our parameters were simple: It had to be a house margarita, and it had to be fresh – no bottled premixes or smoothie-style, frozen, machine-dispensed nonsense. With this drink, balance is key. Mixologists who stray too far from Gary Regan’s formula of 3 parts tequila, 2 parts triple sec and 1 part lime juice flirt with the possibility of a drink that’s overly sweet, mouth puckering-ly sour or simply way too intense. So, who has walked this line well enough to make our list? Check ‘em out here.

-Photo by Carmen Troesser

The Scoop: New coffeehouse to give The Grove a jolt of daytime action

Monday, May 20th, 2013

The Grove is a hopping place in the evening, but with a new coffeehouse set to open this summer, the neighborhood can expect more of a daytime buzz. Rise will makes its home at 4180 Manchester Ave., on the same block as the new nightclub Honey and the restaurant and craft cocktail watering hole Sanctuaria. Rise, a project by owner Jessie Mueller, will focus on serving sustainable sustenance – with fair trade, organic coffee by local roaster Goshen Coffee, and baked goods from Kaylen Wissinger’s recently opened sustainable bakeshop Whisk.

“I was looking to create a daytime place for The Grove,” said Mueller, whose background is in the field of social work, specifically in community building. “To me, coffee is community. That’s what brings people together.”

Rise will be a two-story coffeehouse, including a brew bar and approximately 15 seats on the first floor. The upper level will feature soft seating in a front area; the back area will house a craft table, a chalk wall, toys and other creative play options for children.

Although Mueller does not have a background in the world of coffee, she noted that, in preparation to open a brew bar that uses a variety of new age brewing methods, she has been working closely with Goshen Coffee as well as learning intricacies of the craft from local coffeehouses like Sump and The Mud House. In addition, she traveled to Portland, Ore., to research its coffee scene and receive further hands-on training.

The coffeehouse is expected to open in August, although folks craving a jolt of java (or beer) can stop in on Sat., June 1, when Rise participates in Indie Hop, an annual event that showcases the unique flavors of businesses in The Grove as well as Cherokee Street. When Rise does open, its hours are expected to be 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday. Mueller noted that she would eventually like to expand her hours of operation into the evening. Rise’s website is currently under construction and is scheduled to launch within the next two weeks. In the meantime, you can follow its progress on Facebook.

Serious for Cereal

Wednesday, May 15th, 2013

As a 19-year-old, I can’t help but admit how sleek I feel to finally be an adult with financial responsibilities and no mom-and-dad rules to follow. (I also still get a kick out of calling adults by their first names!) However, some parts of me really don’t change; I’m not ashamed to confess that my food of choice is still cereal.

As much as I enjoy chomping through bowls of sugary cereal in the privacy of my own home, as of late (in my new adult life), I have found myself wishing there were restaurants that incorporated my favorite crunchy carb.

Enter my Sauce internship.

After doing some research on the celebrity chef, Richard Blais, I stumbled upon what might be the greatest homage to the blessed boxed breakfast. At Blais’ restaurant Flip Burger Boutique, he serves Captain Crunch milkshakes crafted with liquid nitrogen. Captain Crunch and milkshakes? Two foods that I ravenously binge on when I need to raise my serotonin levels – placed in harmony? Perfection.

Unfortunately, this drink can only be found hundreds of miles away in Atlanta. So I set out to find a suitable substitute.

After scouring menus, I discovered that Sanctuaria recently featured chocolate chip cookies with a Cinnamon Toast Crunch ganache, but it was only on the menu as a temporary dessert. I also found that Strange Donuts is planning on featuring a Captain Crunch doughnut, but alas, this Maplewood doughnut shop hasn’t yet opened. I was going to have to get creative.

Eventually, I found a worthy treat at Fitz’s in The Loop: the S’mores float.

Although the S’mores float is a play on the backyard bonfire treat, it reminds me of one of my favorite cereals, Kellogg’s Smorz; therefore, I am counting it. Whether you’re a fan of the traditional dessert or Smorz cereal, this float is a must-try in every regard.

The S’mores float successfully spreads the joy out across a freezing cold mug, beginning with cream soda and building upwards to chocolate ice cream, marshmallow fluff, whipped cream, Hershey’s chocolate sauce and an artfully placed graham cracker on top. The best part, though, is the fluff. This sticky paste was so good that I timed how I ate all the other ingredients to make sure that it was in every bite. As much as I would love to see 100 more floats that incorporate my favorite cereals, for now, this one does the trick.

Have you found any dishes or desserts at local restaurants that incorporate cereal? If you have, let us know where! 

Drink This Weekend Edition: More than mint juleps in store at Hendricks BBQ’s Derby Day celebration

Friday, May 3rd, 2013

When the Kentucky Derby takes place tomorrow, we’ll watch with rapt attention as a bunch of four-legged steeds hoof it around a racetrack for two minutes. Those may be the greatest two minutes in horse sports, but they are, after all, only two minutes. You and a few Derby Day drinkers could turn the afternoon into a mint julep marathon, but the people at Hendricks BBQ have organized a party that involves much more than just sipping out of silver-plated julep cups.

Tomorrow, May 4, from 12:30 to 5:30 p.m., the restaurant located at 1200 S. Main St., in historic St. Charles, is hosting its first annual Derby Day Celebration. The five-hour fete will include a handful of contests. Of course there will be the obligatory derby hat and derby suit competitions, but you can also head to four different mint julep stations manned by bartenders from around town. Taste each cocktail, and then cast your vote for your favorite. Thirsty for more competition? Step outside to watch Run for the Rosé, a foot race among employees from restaurants on Main Street who’ll be jogging with a wine-filled glass in hand.

The alcohol of the day, however, will be bourbon. The spirit of Kentucky will be poured in whiskey tastings; its storied past recounted in whiskey classes. Bourbon will also find its way into the all-you-can-eat passed appetizers and buffet items on a menu prepared by Hendricks BBQ’s exec chef Wil Pelly.

With all the fun, you’ll wonder where the day went when it’s finally time to grab a seat and watch the equine action live on a big screen.

All-inclusive tickets for the celebration are sold at Hendricks BBQ and its sister restaurants Sanctuaria, Café Ventana and Diablitos Cantina. There are no online ticket sales. More information about the event is available here. Get your ticket today and it’ll cost you $85. Get it tomorrow at the door for $90.

OR get two tickets for free by winning Sauce’s giveaway today! Entries start now and last until 3 p.m., then we’ll email the winner and announce he and she on our blog and our Facebook page. Enter to win by clicking here.

***Jessica Aubuchon, you are our winner! Watch for an email from the Sauce crew. Everyone else, thanks for playing! Tickets are still available (for purchase) for this Derby Day celebration!***

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!***

By the Book: Matt Seiter’s Blue Steel

Tuesday, February 5th, 2013

Call me a cheater, but this week, I didn’t prepare recipes for By the Book in a home kitchen. I did them on location at Sanctuaria; its cocktail program is the subject of its bar manager Matt Seiter’s new cocktail book Sanctuaria: The Dive Bar of Cocktail BarsI chose to prepare Blue Steel, a gin-based cocktail brightened with two flavors of citrus juice, scented with cinnamon syrup and a garnish of flaming Green Chartreuse.

There are a number of reasons why I decided to shake things up behind Sanctuaria’s bar instead of at home. And these same reasons are likely to crop up for the reader with an average-stocked bar who wants to read Seiter’s book for the drink recipes (rather than just for the witty backstories about recipe development). First, if you want to make Blue Steel, you’ve got to have all the ingredients on hand. I lacked not just particular brands of spirits but even some house-made syrups. (You can substitute spirits labels, but Seiter prescribes particular brands, and I wanted to follow that course.) Second, you need an understanding of how to prepare the drink. I wanted a seasoned bartender on-hand to correct missteps. Sanctuaria assistant bar manager Tim Rabior agreeably came to my aid.

The recipes in this book are divided into three main sections: Libations of our Creation (original recipes); Old Timers (classics); and Home Cooking (syrups, infused spirits and tinctures that are used as ingredients in some of the cocktails).

Before making Blue Steel, I did a bartending warm-up by preparing a simple, four-ingredient drink served up (in a cocktail glass) called the 501. I then prepared a rum-based long drink (in a Collins glass) called .38 Special. The practice rounds taught me a number of things, including: For shaken drinks, fill the shaker all the way to the top with ice until you can’t fit in any more cubes. As for how hard to shake: Don’t be gentle; you want to wake things up. How long? Rabior mentioned two signs to watch for: Condensation should form on the outside of the metal tin, and the tin should get cold enough to chill your hand. Lastly, for drinks served up, it’s preferable to double strain (use the Hawthorn strainer that fits snug atop the Boston shaker and, in your other hand, hold a tea strainer – a small, fine-mesh strainer – above the serving glass) so that unsightly ice crystals don’t float in the drink.

Mixing a Blue Steel meant playing with fire. Rabior demonstrated how to make a flaming ribbon of Green Chartreuse, the garnish of this cocktail: Fill a brandy glass with an ounce or so of Green Chartreuse. Tilt the glass toward the flame to ignite the liqueur, then roll the glass, still tilted, around gently so that the liquid heats up but the flame doesn’t extinguish.

Finally, gently but decidedly, pour the flaming liquid from a height of about eight inches (more if you dare) into the cocktail glass using an up-down motion of the hand. It took me twice to get it right.

Without Rabior’s guidance, I wonder whether I could have made the drinks – Blue Steel in particular – properly. That’s because the procedure for every recipe is written almost in shorthand with just three steps outlined: method, glass and garnish.

How can the average reader get his or her drink to look and taste like a cocktail prepared by Seiter and his bartending crew? First, read through the initial pages of the book to get a grasp of the general bartending methodology at Sanctuaria. Second, put a sticky note on pages 29 and 30 where key terms like “shake,”  “stir” or “rock” are defined, as well as a brief explanation on garnishing. Finally, get ready to spend some cash when you stock up on quality spirits, and while you’re at it, load up on fresh citrus and put aside a few minutes to make syrups. These drinks require all of that, but they are worth it.

Blue Steel
Serves 1

1.5 oz. Hayman’s Old Tom Gin
.75 oz. lemon juice
.75 oz. pineapple juice
.25 oz. cinnamon syrup (recipe follows)
.25 oz. Green Chartreuse

Method: Mix all of the ingredients over ice except the Chartreuse and shake.
Glass: cocktail
Garnish: flaming ribbon of Green Chartreuse

Cinnamon syrup
Makes about 5½ cups

Half a vanilla bean
Half the seeds from a vanilla bean
4 cups sugar
1 Tbsp. dried orange peel
10 large cinnamon sticks
5 cups water
4 oz. Calvados*

*The original cinnamon syrup recipe calls for 2 ounces of Pommeau and 2 ounces of brandy or cognac. Due to the current scarcity of Pommeau, Seiter stated that Calvados can be substituted for the Pommeau and brandy.)

• Split a vanilla bean in half lengthwise. Scrape out the seeds. Reserve half the bean and half the seeds.
• In a medium-sized pot, bring the sugar, orange peel, cinnamon, water, vanilla bean and vanilla bean seeds to a boil, and then lower the heat down to a simmer.
• Simmer for 30 minutes, then remove the mixture from the heat. Let steep for another 20 minutes. Add the Calvados (or Pommeau and brandy or cognac), and let sit another 10 minutes.
• Strain the mixture through chinois, then dampened cheesecloth.

What’s the most difficult cocktail you have ever (successfully) made? Tell us about it in the comments section below for a chance to win a copy of Sanctuaria: The Dive Bar of Cocktail Bars. We’ll announce the winner in next week’s By the Book column.

And now, we’d like to congratulate Charlotte whose comment on last week’s By the Book has won her a copy of The Complete Guide to Vegan Food Substitutions. Charlotte, keep an eye out for an email from the Sauce crew.

— photos by Michelle Volansky

Drink This Weekend Edition: Finding calm at Sanctuaria before the big show

Friday, February 1st, 2013

In our February issue, we offer a foursome of hot drinks to warm your insides against the cold of winter. This weekend, we suggest one more heated elixir – not just because it’s tasty and original but because the bartending performance is a darned good show – perfect on a weekend when social plans are made around the big show known as the Super Bowl.

Some viewers actually get excited for the football, others could care less about the game and only make mad dashes for the living room to pass judgment on multi-million dollar car, insurance or beer commercials. Others just want to see if Beyoncé will live up to the halftime hype. Since game day will be crazy, find a bit of calm beforehand with a wholly different sort of show at Sanctuaria.

The prescription: Sit at the bar and order Calmer Than You Are. The drink is a toddy – a rum toddy as opposed to the more typical whiskey or brandy-based hot toddy. It is essential that you be perched bar-side because this one is “a big production,” in the words of Sanctuaria assistant bar manager Tim Rabior. Prep for this complicated drink takes about five minutes, complete with entertaining flair.

Watch closely. Your bartender will grab a glass mug, fill it with hot water and set it aside to warm. Next, he’ll combine rum, hot water, cinnamon syrup, apple juice and lime juice in a Boston shaker. Out comes the torch and fire encircles the metal tin. Now observe as the fluid is poured into a small teapot where it stays piping hot. The hot water that was in the now-heated mug gets dumped and in goes enough Green Chartreuse to coat the glass. Prepare for a second fire show: A sprig of fresh rosemary is ignited in the liquor.

And now the toddy concoction enters, poured from an elevated height into the mug. Ooh! Sip. Now relax; the Super Bowl isn’t until Sunday.

— photos by Michelle Volanksky

The Scoop: It’s nearly mission accomplished for Mission Taco

Tuesday, January 29th, 2013

Last summer, restaurateurs Adam and Jason Tilford announced their plans to open Mission Taco Joint. Renovations are moving along inside the former home of Delmar Lounge at 6235 Delmar Blvd., and the Tilford brothers are aiming to unlock doors during the last week of February.

With opening day just weeks away, Jason gave The Scoop a peek at a draft version of the food menu he developed. The tightly focused menu begins with a handful of shared appetizers. Highlights include crab taquitos as well as roasted mushrooms with huitlachoche, goat cheese and arugula presented in a fried corn masa base called a huarache. A la carte tacos include popular choices such as baja fish and carne asada, but Mission gets creative with quite a few others, such as the chile-roasted duck with crisp pork belly and avocado serrano sauce. The menu also beckons for vegetarians with options like a roasted cactus taco or one featuring the local product Mofu tofu. The restaurant will feature giant Mission-style burritos wrapped in house-made tortillas, plus tortas served on telera rolls from Diana’s Bakery. Diners looking for a square meal can round things out with side dishes like fire-grilled vegetable quinoa and chayote calabacitas.

Joel Clark, who recently departed from Sanctuaria, will be helming the beverage program. Clark stated that the bar at Mission Taco Joint will be “a very culinary bar,” explaining that “as many fresh ingredients the kitchen is going to get, I’m going to get the same.” The focus on fresh will be seen in the likes of numerous flavors of agua fresca and horchata, available in virgin form or as alcoholic beverages. In addition, he plans on aligning beverages – not just cocktails, but also beer and wine – with the food. “I’m going to work really closely with the kitchen,” he commented. Clark, who’s been part of a local movement in progressive bartending, plans to continue in that direction, preparing house-made ingredients like syrups and shrubs (No flavored vodkas, sorry.) and noted that the Mission bartending crew will be quite capable of crafting classic cocktails. “I want [the bar] to be an extension of [the kitchen] as well as a bar on its own,” Clark said.

The Scoop: Chris Lee announces his next move

Monday, January 28th, 2013

Chris Lee has taken the position as catering and banquet chef at River City Casino, located in South County.

As reported by The Scoop, this past December Lee put in his resignation as executive chef for the hospitality group In Good Company. The group’s restaurants include Café VentanaSanctuariaDiablitos Cantina and Hendricks BBQ.

— photo by Jonathan S. Pollack

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