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Nov 19, 2017
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Posts Tagged ‘Taste Bar’

Drink This Weekend Edition: Gertrude Pine at Taste

Friday, April 22nd, 2016

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With spring cocktail menus popping up like the weeds in my garden, there’s plenty of incentive to put on your good shoes and get out there. Although Taste’s spring menu will be fully unveiled in the coming weeks, stop in this weekend for a sneak peek and order the Gertrude Pine. This shaken concoction features a base of Wild Turkey 101 and Camus VS Cognac, but this is no winter holdover. The addition of velvet falernum and Don’s Mix (simple syrup infused with grapefruit juice and cinnamon) sweeten the pot just right, while lime juice gives balance.

The depth of flavor in this spring sipper comes from the Alps. Zirbenz pine liqueur has a deceivingly nondescript nose, but packs a piney punch by itself. In the capable hands of the crew at Taste, the pine liqueur gives a subtle botanical depth that rounds out the cocktail. With a light, citrusy nose, the Gertrude Pine starts a touch tart but finishes pleasantly – but not overly – sweet and spicy.

 

 

Readers’ Choice 2015: Chef of the Year – Gerard Craft

Tuesday, July 7th, 2015

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You know a meal is special when you can recall it in vivid detail years, even decades, later. Epicures have traveled from far and near to visit Gerard Craft’s flagship restaurant, Niche, and have departed with memories of exquisitely plated, creative dishes. Craft’s own dining experiences likewise have left an indelible mark on his culinary mind. Here, this year’s Readers’ Choice Chef of the Year – and winner of the 2015 James Beard Foundation award for Best Chef: Midwest – shares the top meals of his life.  

1. The French Laundry, Yountville, California, 2002
“That meal was mind-blowing on every level, especially because I had experienced a lot at that point but nothing unique. I’d been sleeping with The French Laundry Cookbook pretty much at that point. It was a big deal to see it all. The wine service was Bobby Stuckey (now co-owner of Frasca Food and Wine in Boulder, Colorado) as a youngster. My dad still talks about the wine service to this day and how amazingly inspired it was. (We started) with five different soups, each one the essence of whatever that ingredient was. (I had) dishes that are now iconic, like the salmon cornet – the ice cream cone, the oysters and pearls … just mind-blowing and fun. Grant Achatz was a sous chef. It was kind of like a dream team in that restaurant.”

2. Le Bamboche, Paris, France, 2000
“It was during the mad cow crisis. Lots of vegetables because nobody was cooking meat at that point. La Bamboche was a tiny little spot, maybe 20 seats. The chef was Claude Colliot. It was him in the kitchen with one other guy and his wife ran the front of the house. It was the first time I saw traditional rules broken. There was a dish of glazed Loire Valley vegetables with fromage blanc ice cream, a savory ice cream. I was blown away. Now, everyone sees ice cream on dishes. Back then, no one had ice cream on dishes. On the dessert side, he had a Napoleon with pastry cream on one layer, a kind of candied confit tomato on another layer and then basil simple syrup. Again, this notion of the rules had been broken: savory food being used in dessert. That meal alone shaped my career and the way I would look at food from then on.”

3. L’Arpège, Paris, France, 2000
“This place was – and still is – a three-star Michelin restaurant. My parents took me there and said, ‘Pay attention. This is your Harvard education.’ It was a spectacular meal, tons of vegetables. I don’t know if I was necessarily blown out of the water. It was just vegetables and light flavors and very good. What I did notice later on as I was cooking was: This green bean is not cooked right; this turnip’s texture could be much better. Every vegetable in that place was so perfectly cooked. When it comes to vegetables, that completely changed my life. I am so picky with our cooks about how they cook vegetables. That stems from this restaurant.”

4. Trattoria del Conte, Orvieto, Italy, 2006
“Our very good friends, Margaret and Carlo Pfeiffer, took me to this place. It was their favorite local restaurant to eat dinner. It’s pretty much a father and his daughters who run this place. They make really casual pastas, all fresh, hand-made. One of my favorite dishes that I still love to make is a ricotta tortelloni with artichokes, lemon and olive oil – an incredibly simple dish, but perfect. The whole thing, the ragus they do, everything made me fall in love with Italian food. That wasn’t my first trip to Italy, but it was a transformative trip for me.”

-illustrations by Vidhya Nagarajan

The Scoop: St. Louis is well-represented among 2014 James Beard Foundation Awards semifinalists

Wednesday, February 19th, 2014

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The James Beard Foundation has announced this year’s restaurant and chef award semifinalists, and St. Louis is well-represented in among 2014 nominees.

Rick Lewis of Quincy Street Bistro was announced as a semifinalist in the Rising Star category, which recognizes chefs 30 years old or younger who “display an impressive talent and who is likely to make a significant impact on the industry in years to come.”

In another national category, Taste was nominated for Outstanding Bar Program.

In the category of Best Chef: Midwest five area chefs made the list: Gerard Craft, chef-owner of the Niche family of restaurants; Nashan, chef-owner of Sidney Street Cafe; Kevin Willmann, chef-owner of Farmhaus; Josh Galliano, executive chef at The Libertine; and Ben Poremba, chef-owner of Elaia and Olio.

While Nashan, Craft, Willmann and Galliano have all garnered James Beard Foundation award nominations before, this is Poremba’s first. We had the honor of sharing the good news with Ben Poremba (and possibly waking him up). “Dang!,” he said. “I’m very excited. It’s a big deal for me. What else do you say about something like that? I’m very honored.”

Finalists for the 2014 awards will be announced March 18; winners will be announced at a gala ceremony in New York on May 5.  See a full list of restaurant and chef semifinalists here.

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