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Dec 13, 2017
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Intelligent Content For The Food Fascinated
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SERVING SAINT LOUIS SINCE 1999
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Posts Tagged ‘September 2013’

The Month in Review: September 2013

Monday, September 30th, 2013

As we get ready to reveal our latest issue, we take a look back at some of our favorite stories, recipes, dishes and drinks from September.

 

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We showed you how to break out of your wine funk; we tracked down the last untamed spirit; we found a way to put pie on a stick; we made a sandwich worth waiting all year for; Russ & Daughters taught us how to make salmon chowder; we found a hidden gem in South County; we met a man with a quixotic dream; we took the pork out of carbonara and still liked it; pad Thai popcorn and pink peppercorn became all the rage; we met this guy who’s mildly obsessed with beer cans; toasted nut and honey grits were delivered by popular demand; we cured our own lox; we chatted with Anthony Ellerson Jr., and his dog; the Aporkalypse Pretzelwich threatened to end all sandwiches; we found the best places to watch the big game.

 

 

In This Issue: Mezcal – The last untamed spirit

Sunday, September 29th, 2013

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In a time when vodkas and whiskeys are being over-proofed, under-proofed and flavored every which way, a spirit that hasn’t changed for centuries is finally, quietly, entering the consciousness of the American drinker: mezcal.

Mezcal is produced from the agave plant, or maguey as it’s known in Spanish. To make craft mezcal, a mezcalero roasts the piña, or heart, of the agave in a wood-fired pit for days. After the roasted piña is milled with mallets or by horse-powered stone mills, its solids and juices are then fermented in wooden vats with yeast for nearly two weeks before being twice distilled in copper or clay pot stills.

“It’s the last undiscovered spirit,” said Christopher Stevens, regional distribution manager for Craft Distillers, known for its handcrafted liqueurs and spirits, including artisanal mezcals like Alipús, Los Nahuales and Mezcalero. “It’s a misunderstood spirit,” he continued. “People think it’s a poorly made product, bottom shelf. It’s not. It’s made by villages – many which depend on it for economic survival. And it’s been made the same way for centuries. Mezcal came before tequila.”

Click here to read more about this undiscovered spirit, and for where to get the best mezcal cocktails around town, click here.

 

 

In This Issue: Vegetize It – Pasta and a Glass of Pinot

Friday, September 27th, 2013

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Cooking dinner is fun, but you know what’s really fun? Sipping wine while Internet shopping. Or Facebook stalking. Or watching your favorite TV show while the kids clean the house. And yet, even if they ate breakfast and lunch, even if you made them dinner yesterday, right around 6 o’clock, your people are going to take the pinot out of your hand and demand another meal.

Which, I’m 98 percent certain, is why the Italians invented carbonara. Whipping up a batch is faster than picking up takeout, and it uses ingredients you probably have around the house anyway – pasta, eggs, bacon, cheese and pepper. Omit the bacon for a vegetarian version, and you’re looking at a yummy homemade meal in the time it takes to boil the water and cook the pasta.

So how do you omit the bacon when the traditional recipe relies on it? I had no idea. But I ran the question past my friend Lucinda, who is a good cook and never throws a pizza at her family so that she can watch Game of Thrones.

To see what Kellie Hynes and her friend Lucinda cooked up, click here.

-Photo by Carmen Troesser

 

 

In This Issue: Richard Knapp’s Quixotic Dream

Monday, September 23rd, 2013

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On a hot June morning, the summer sky was clear and still. Puffy clouds hung languidly on an azure background, like giant, listless parade balloons. Richard Knapp had left his shiny Mini Cooper in the driveway, favoring his dusty, dinged-up Subaru wagon to pick up his son, Oliver Knapp, and Gerald Crow. The first stop was a residential treatment center where Ollie, as his father calls him, lived. Down the street, Crow waited in his lived-in truck outside St. Francis House, a homeless shelter where he sometimes stayed.

“Hot damn, about time!” Crow exclaimed, as he snapped up from his supine position and bounded out of the truck’s cab. Knapp had enlisted both men to work a patch of land 11 miles southwest of his home in Columbia, Mo. It’s only 5.44 acres, a gentleman’s farm of sorts, except Knapp has big plans for the all-silt Missouri River bottomland.

It was an interesting crew: two men working through their troubled pasts, each on a new path. For Knapp, hiring Ollie and Crow, who some might consider liabilities, merely exemplified his belief in the healing power of “righteous work,” as he called it. “We have to get together to heal the problems,” Knapp said, matter-of-factly. “I am confident in the basic goodness and intelligence of ordinary people.”

In 2011, shortly after cashing in his retirement savings, Knapp bought the land and quickly fashioned it into something of a real farm. He designed and, with the help of friends and family, built a beauty of a barn, complete with a distinctive gambrel roof, a greenhouse and a cold storage room to hold grain. He bought a 1940s Ferguson tractor on Craigslist. He planted vegetables. And on 1 acre, as an experiment, he planted wheat. “I might call it Easy Digging Farm, but I don’t want to give folks the wrong idea,” Knapp said. “It hasn’t been all that easy so far.”

What hasn’t been all that easy is Knapp’s desire to do what is nearly impossible in Missouri: Grow organic hard red winter wheat for bread flour to mill and distribute locally.

For more about one man’s struggle to grow against the grain, click here.

-Photo by Carmen Troesser

 

 

In This Issue: Nightlife – Atomic Cowboy

Thursday, September 19th, 2013
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It’s 9:15 p.m. on a Friday, and Atomic Cowboy’s juicer is on the fritz. It’s busted. Inoperable. Man down.

The bartender shrugs. I sulk.

Under normal circumstances, I could care less about the functionality of a kitchen appliance; however, tonight its out-of-order-ness means that I can’t get one of the bar’s signature beet juice or Beetnik margaritas, which, though it may sound froufrou as all hell, has become a personal obsession.

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. It blissfully blurs all thoughts of spreadsheets and TPS reports. It makes my cheeks red. I want one again. Now, even.

As sad as the juicer fiasco is, I’m not surprised. This is the second time Atomic has deprived me of one of my favorite cocktails on its new drink menu (Last time they were out of beets.). Much like Atomic itself, this reimagined take on a classic is still somewhat under construction.

To read more of what our reviewer thought of this revamped staple in The Grove, click here.
-Photo by Jonathan Gayman

 

 

In This Issue: Lox of Love

Saturday, September 14th, 2013

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In the Jewish religion, holidays mean food – a whole lot of food. Growing up, we’d clamor into the car to drive to Memphis and ring in the Jewish new year with my grandma and grandpa over a spread that lasted three glorious days. (Sure, there were services, but I just remember the sweet, pull-apart challah that we dipped in a golden puddle of honey.) When Passover rolled around each spring, my Baba made a cauldron of soup that was so flawless – light-as-air matzo balls bobbing in a broth that tasted of rich chicken, sweet carrots and fragrant herbs – it actually made me wonder what all the fuss about bread was anyway. And every year when we light the candles for Hanukkah, my mom serves her legendary brisket – a tough cut reared tender thanks to a two-day Jacuzzi in a sticky-sweet tomato sauce. These are my holidays. Everything else is just a reason to come to the table.

As I inch into the finale of my 20s, I’m beginning to wonder how I can make my mark on cultural traditions that have had a decades-long head start. After all, why mess with perfection? (In case you’re wondering, that’s exactly what my mom’s brisket is.) Somewhere in between peeling russets for my Zada’s mashed potatoes and onions, and baking my mom’s citrus-scented blintz casserole, I realized that there was only one way to transition myself from hungry guest to gracious host: lox.

To read more about the traditions behind lox and how to make your own, click here.

-Photo by Greg Rannells

 

 

In This Issue: By Popular Demand – Scape’s Toasted Nut & Honey Grits

Saturday, September 14th, 2013

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Scape stopped serving its delicious honey nut grits a while ago. The taste and texture of the dish was perfect. I would love the recipe! – Jennifer Poindexter
Jennifer asked; Scape answered. Click here for the recipe.
 
Eaten a dish at an area restaurant that you’d do just about anything to make at home? Email us at pr@saucemagazine.com to tell us about it. Then let us do our best to deliver the recipe By Popular Demand.
-Photo by Carmen Troesser

 

 

 

In This Issue: New and Notable – The Libertine

Thursday, September 12th, 2013

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Deadline be damned, I wanted fried chicken. Specifically, I wanted Josh Galliano’s fried chicken: the deep-fried, crunchy, spicy bird that I – and seemingly half of St. Louis – devoured last year at his one-night pop-up event. This was well after Monarch (where most of us first fell under the spell of Galliano’s chicken) had closed, so there was much pent-up demand and curiosity about what he was going to pull out of the skillet this time. Since then, the New Orleans transplant put on another pop-up (gumbo-themed) and designed and executed the meat MX Movies downtown.

Earlier this year, Nick and Audra Luedde tapped Galliano to head the kitchen at The Libertine, their new restaurant in downtown Clayton; and you thought all that buzz you heard was the cicada invasion. Nick is a practiced mixologist, sommelier and restaurateur, while Audra is a master chef and sommelier. A year ago the husband and wife team moved to St. Louis (Nick’s hometown) from Chicago to open The Libertine.

To read more about our reviewer’s thoughts on The Libertine, click here.

-Photo by Jonathan Gayman

 

 

In This Issue: A chat with Anthony Ellerson Jr.

Tuesday, September 10th, 2013

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After a year in business, The Kitchen Sink’s Anthony Ellerson Jr. feels more like a mayor than a cook. Now he’s running for a second term as he prepares to relocate his tiny diner adjacent to the Forest Park MetroLink station to a 150-seat space at 255 Union Blvd., in the Central West End. Here, he discusses his career, his campaign staff and the struggles of keeping his constituents happy.

Why’d you decide to open a restaurant?
I was running a kitchen, but I lost my desire to work there. I sat at home, and I told my mom I wasn’t going to work for anybody else. We put our money together and started The Kitchen Sink.

Does she work at the restaurant?
She likes to come in and sit down and order food.

Does your dad help?
He does my bookkeeping. It’s mom and pop all the way.

What have you learned during your first year of owning a restaurant?
I was not prepared for the spotlight. I enjoy talking to my customers, but I feel like a politician because everybody shakes your hand. I’m just cooking food. I didn’t do anything special.

You started as a busser at Rigazzi’s. What’d you learn there?
Work ethic. At the old Rigazzi’s, you had to bust your butt. It was one of the busiest restaurants I worked at besides Blueberry Hill.

What’s your favorite dish there?
I like the nachos. The cheese sauce they make is pretty good.

It’s an Italian place.
Yeah, they make good cheese sauce. I’m a simple guy. My favorite places to eat are Steak ‘n Shake, Chris’ Pancake, Blues City Deli and Olympia. When I go to those places, I get the same thing every time.

What’s in your fridge?
There’s nothing in there that’s good. It’s filled with sodas or milk. My dog eats good. He’s lovin’ the restaurant.

What’s the most popular dish on Kitchen Sink’s menu?
Crab Cake Benie, The Kitchen Sink – a very different spin on shrimp and grits – the burgers, the wings … pretty much everything.

Pretty much everything is less than $10.
I have two items over $10. I’m not in it to be a millionaire.

How would you define the menu?
St. Louis-style Creole. None of us is from New Orleans. I went to New Orleans and stayed at my friend’s. I didn’t eat the food ‘cuz we spent all the money drinkin’. I don’t know what Cajun food in New Orleans tastes like.

Would you call The Kitchen Sink a diner?
We’re a five-star diner without the five-star ambiance.

Will that change when you move?
We won’t have canned sodas, and we’ll have alcohol. One of the problems I have with moving to another place: I want to change my menu, but there’s not one thing I can take off without pissing somebody off.

Why are you going into a bigger space?
I think we do a good job now, but I’d like to see what we can do when we’re on equal ground as other restaurants. On my arm, I have the seven deadly sins tattooed. I commit a lot of these [sins] thinking about other places. I’m envious of other restaurants all the time.

Why do you think you’ll succeed?
I have a good team of people around me. Murph [Patrick Norton], who’s moving to the front of the house to be my GM, grew up in the restaurant business. Aurthur [Brooks], the kitchen manager, has a newborn baby. Everybody has their reason, what they’re busting their ass for.

What sets your restaurant apart?
Customer service. We have to go the extra mile to make people want to come back. People always ask me, “Are you the owner?” I tell them the honest truth: “No, I’m the manager. You’re the owner. Because if you don’t come back, I don’t have a business.”

The Kitchen Sink, 280 DeBaliviere Ave., St. Louis, 314.261.4455, letseat.at/thekitchensink

-Photo by Ashley Gieseking

 

 

 

 

In This Issue: Eat This

Sunday, September 8th, 2013

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If a pig and a zombie had a baby, swaddled in bacon and laid in a warm pretzel bun, you would have the Aporkalypse Pretzelwich. This juicy, garlic-y peppered pork roast, bacon and gooey provolone sandwich, topped with pickles and spicy boom-boom sauce, is only served on Wednesdays at Blues City Deli. From the massive muffuletta to the Benton Park po’ boy, all of Vince Valenza’s sandwiches are served up spectacularly, but if the world ended tomorrow, the Aporkalypse would survive; it would be rewriting the history books.

Blues City Deli, 2438 McNair Ave., St. Louis, 314.773.8225, bluescitydeli.com

-Photo by Carmen Troesser

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