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STLTODAY.COM/FOOD • WEDNESDAY • 05.22.2019 • L

Enjoy foul mudammas, a popular Middle Eastern street food, at breakfast or anytime

A DELICIOUS

OBSESSION BY DANIEL NEMAN | St. Louis Post-Dispatch

In Cairo, breakfast is likely to be a plate of beans mixed with a wonderful array of spices and flavors, and eaten with a piece of pita. • The dish is called foul mudammas, and it is something of a national obsession. Vendors have been selling it on the streets of Egypt for hundreds of years, maybe thousands. • It is so popular that, even though it is universally considered a breakfast item, it is eaten all day long. Just about every country in the northern Africa and the Middle East has its own way of serving foul mudammas (in Syria, for instance, it is topped with Aleppo peppers). But it was in Egypt that the dish was probably invented, and Egypt is where it remains most popular. Please see MUDAMMAS, Page L5

HILLARY LEVIN, POST-DISPATCH

How awful — I had to judge a cocktail contest Bourbon Battle Semifinals, sponsored by Lux Row DistillSt. Louis ers. Ten local bartenders went Post-Dispatch head-to-head in a contest to create a bourbon-based cocktail worthy of representing St. Louis in the national finals in I felt like Brer Rabbit begging, September. Six cities will be represented “Please don’t throw me into the at that final contest. The grand bourbon patch.” prize winner will receive 60 I was asked to be a judge at a contest among bartenders try- custom-labeled bottles from a barrel of his own choosing, ing to make the best bourbon cocktail. I thought about it for a which is a big deal to people in full nanosecond before agreeing the bourbon business. Because the stakes were high, to participate. the pressure placed on the four The contest was held last judges was intense. week at Brennan’s, in the Fortunately, one of my favorCentral West End. I have been ite ways to deal with pressure is pondering the experience ever with bourbon. So that worked since, and after Aristotelian levels of thought I have come to out well. Even so, I had an additional the inescapable conclusion that source of stress coming from I ought to be invited to judge my immediate left. The judge cocktail contests more often. seated next to me was Ted Last week’s event was the United States Bartenders’ Guild Kilgore, the beverage director DANIEL NEMAN

and proprietor of Planter’s House and inarguably the most accomplished mixologist in town. His cocktail recipes have appeared basically everywhere, and he is the only Beverage Alcohol Resource certification holder in the area. I don’t even know what that means, but I’m impressed. Sitting next to Kilgore at a cocktail competition is like a pony sharing a stall with Secretariat. It’s like a Little League player facing Nolan Ryan. It’s like playing one-on-one with Michael Jordan. And yes, I know all of my references are at least 30 years old, but Kilgore’s knowledge of cocktails is so intimidating that it made me feel like a boy drinking next to a man. (I’m just going to go with the idea that I was a boy 30 years ago. Don’t do the math.) Our two fellow judges were

no slouches, either. Mark Soifer is the St. Louis chapter leader of the United States Bartenders’ Guild, and Allyson Mace is cofounder and publisher of Sauce Magazine. On the other hand, I was introduced as not only being the food writer for the PostDispatch but also a “bourbon enthusiast.” I like that. I think I want it on my tombstone. With so much on the line, we judges took our jobs seriously. Each cocktail was given a score based on its appearance, its aroma, its creativity and its taste. We only had a few sips from each drink, which was kind of a waste, but you can see the logic behind it. The base spirit for each cocktail was Rebel Yell Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, which is made by the sponsor, Please see NEMAN, Page L5

DOS REYES SHARES ITS RECIPE FOR GUACAMOLE. PAGE L3 GET YOUR GRILL READY FOR SUMMER WITH OUR TIPS. PAGE L4 LET’S EAT

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