collaboration & creativity
a glorious mess
the rise of quincy street
PERENNIAL ON TAP
CHEF RICK LEWIS
Inspired Food Culture | Saint Louis
BONA FIDE SOuThSIDE
feastmagazine.com | SEPTEMBER 2014 | FREE
Inspired Food Culture
Inspired Food Culture | Saint Louis
SEPTEMBER 2014 from the staff
from the PUBLIsher
Straight up Southside.
| 10 |
What’s online this month.
| 12 |
A peek at the September episode.
| 14 |
Our staff and contributors share inspired ideas for tasteful living in St. Louis.
| 20 |
coLUmns one on one
Executive chef Gian Nicola Colucci talks joining the team at Cielo at the four Seasons.
| 22 |
seed to taBLe
farmer Crystal Stevens shares carrot-calendula cake.
| 24 |
Buy it and try it: prickly pears.
| 26 |
Delicate egg yolk ravioli with brown butter sauce is easy and fun to make at home.
| 28 |
Pastry chef Christy Augustin shares how to make fall -perfect caramel apples.
| 30 |
five meat tenderizers are put to the test.
| 32 |
on the sheLf
New and notable in beer, spirits and wine.
| 34 |
Matt Seiter serves up the St. Louis Southside with some fond south city memories.
| 74 |
the Last BIte
Director of sales Kelly Klein savors the beginning of autumn with Merb’s Bionic Apples.
COVER PHOTOGRAPHY Of THE MUD HOUSE’S SLINGER (P. 60) BY Jennifer Silverberg TABLE Of CONTENTS PHOTO Of BLUES CITY DELI MUffULETTA BY Jonathan Gayman
Meat + Carbs 4
magic 66 in a bottle 38
counter culture 50
of rick lewis 60
= SlingerS! Inspired Food Culture
A Brew-on-Premises Operation or (BOP) A place where you can brew your own beer in a retail setting. We provide the recipes, ingredients, equipment and knowledge to make your brewing experience satisfying and rewarding. If this is your first batch or you’re a long time brewer we are sure you will have an amazing ` exBeerience’!
161 Long Road #105 • Chesterfield, MO • 636.536.9455 • www.j2brewing.com
Magazine Volume 5
| Issue 9 | September 2014
EDITORIAL Publisher Catherine Neville, firstname.lastname@example.org Senior Print Editor Liz Miller, email@example.com Senior Digital Editor Kristin Brashares, firstname.lastname@example.org
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Inspired Food Culture
as we peer over the edge of summer into the cool, crisp season to come, cravings turn to comfort foods. Light, bright salads define dining in the heat of August, but now that September is here, heartier fare is taking Caramel apples are a defining flavor of fall, and in this month’s Feast TV episode, center stage. In that spirit, I demo Pint Size Bakery owner Christy Augustin’s version of the classic treat. as we planned this issue, we turned our focus to the culinary culture of the Southside. There, tight-knit neighborhoods have long supported a network of family-owned bars, markets and restaurants serving straightforward fare to generations of hungry neighbors. Sandwich shops and delis in particular abound, and each has its own signature approach and its own fanatically loyal customer base – customers will line up and wait patiently for an Italian salsiccia from Adriana’s, hot salami from Gioia’s or a muffuletta handed over with a smile from Vince Valenza at Blues City Deli. Turn to p. 38 for Thomas Crone’s look at south St. Louis’ counter culture. You can’t explore classic St. Louis food without a nod to the slinger. As Andrew Mark Veety writes in the introduction to our tour of the area’s top takes, the slinger is “a culinary car crash of a dish.” Slingers abound on local menus, and we have a round-up of the city’s best spins on the diner classic beginning on p. 60. At Quincy Street Bistro, chef Rick Lewis is applying his background in fine dining to the bar-and-grill fare at his family’s corner pub. Think smoked hog’s head toasted ravioli and fried bologna sandwiches topped with béarnaise. Rick is taking everyday eats and applying a modern sensibility to each dish, using high-quality ingredients and a meticulous approach. The result is downhome food that is unique and utterly delicious, and writer Brandon Chuang introduces you to Rick on page 50. And what would a Southside issue be without a nod to our bourgeoning craft beer scene? Over at Perennial Artisan Ales, Phil Wymore and Cory King are brewing beers that are pushing expectations and attracting a dedicated following. Phil and Cory create beers without thought to their marketability – they are brewing beers that they love, and the result is a huge success for the three-year-old brand. Turn to p. 66 for Ian Froeb’s profile of the people behind Perennial’s unusual and unusually delicious beers. Until next time,
FeAst eVeNts Clayton Farmers’ Market Now to October, 4:30 to 7:30pm Thursdays; North Central Ave., Downtown Clayton; claytonfarmersmarket.com
The market supports local farmers and spotlights organic and natural foods and unique specialties.
2014 louFest Sat., Sept. 6, and Sun., Sept. 7; Forest Park; loufest.com
This two-day festival features national and local bands, great local eats in the Feast-sponsored Nosh Pit, artisan producers and vendors and a greening effort.
st. louis signature Chefs Auction Thu., Sept. 11, 6 to 9pm; The Ritz-Carlton St. Louis; marchofdimes.com
Sample culinary creations by dozens of St. Louis’ top chefs and raise money for the March of Dimes organization.
st. louis World’s Fare Fri., Sept. 12 to Sun., Sept. 14; Forest Park; stlworldsfare.com
Experience this unique celebration of St. Louis’ past, present and future as the energy of the 1904 World’s Fair is rekindled. Join us for 1904 historic exhibits, live music, local eats and more.
south Grand’s 6th Annual international Dine Around Thu., Sept. 18, 5 to 10pm; southgrand.org/events
Sample the vast array of what South Grand restaurants and bars have to offer. Each ticket book comes with tickets for an appetizer, entrée, dessert, drink and a wild card that can be used for any course other than an entrée.
south Grand’s Fall Festival Sat., Sept. 20, 10am to 10pm; southgrand.org/events
Celebrate what makes South Grand and its surrounding community unique with the South Grand Business District’s first-ever fall festival. The event will feature local artists, musicians, farmers, dancers, home brewers and most of all, great restaurants, services and shops.
schnucks Cooks homemade egg Yolk ravioli Wed., Sept. 24, 6 to 9pm; Schnucks Cooks Cooking School; $40, schnuckscooks.com or 314.909.1704
Join us in the kitchen and learn how to make homemade egg yolk ravioli.
Knife & pork Sat., Sept. 27, 1 to 6pm; Roast & Toast, 6:30 to 8pm; pricing varies, knifeandpork.co
Get unlimited bites of pork from some of Kansas City’s best chefs and visiting butchers from Chicago and St. Louis. Plus, watch the art and craft of whole-hog butchery on two stages.
Catherine Neville firstname.lastname@example.org
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At 1904 Steak House, an appetite for the best is always welcome. Come savor a selection of prime, dry-aged steak and delicious seafood dishes. Proudly featuring our 1904 Signature Dinner 16 oz. bone-in filet, King Crab leg and 1904 house steak sauce. For reservations, call 888.578.7289 or visit rivercity.com.
VISIT OUR SHOWROOM! SESSION BAR & RESTAURANT SUPPLY
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888.578.7289 | rivercity.com ©2014 Pinnacle Entertainment, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Inspired Food Culture
hungry for more? connect with us daily:
PHOTOGRAPHy by Stacy McCann
feastmagazine.com WE HAVE A NEW ADDRESS!
In anticipation of our regional expansion in October, we have switched over our website URL to feastmagazine.com. As we get closer to October,
FAcEbook. Stay up-to-date on the latest
openings, including Mission Taco Joint’s new Soulard location, at facebook.com/feastSTL.
PHOTOGRAPHy by Cat Neville
watch for exciting updates and changes to the site as well.
TWITTER. Follow @feastmag for coverage of
PHOTOGRAPHy by Geoff Cardin
must-attend events, like the Unsung Heroes dinner held at Juniper last month.
PHOTOGRAPHy by Cheryl Waller
PHOTOGRAPHy by Stacy McCann
PInTEREsT. Toast to the start of fall with our cocktail recipe board, The Mix, at pinterest.com/feastmag.
moRE onLInE: Head to feastmagazine.com for a gluten-free version of columnist Crystal Stevens’ Carrot-Calendula
InsTAGRAm. Follow @feastmag for a taste of hot new spots, like The Peacemaker Lobster & Crab Co.
Cake recipe (p. 22), the full story on how columnist Matt Seiter’s youth in St. Louis inspired the St. Louis Southside (p. 34) and web-extra photos from our Where We’re Dining picks, including Ices Plain & Fancy, pictured above (p. 14). GIVEAWAY: This season, the St. Louis Rams games will feature all-new local concessions from Sugarfire Smoke
House, Strange Donuts, Gus’ Pretzels and more. We’re giving away four tickets with four VIP pre-game field passes to the Thu., Oct. 9, home game against the Seattle Seahawks, so you can get in on all the action and the great eats.
Watch our videos.
Gift Cards Available!
Try our 18oz.
enhanced by a delicious Mushroom Burgundy sauce, creamy garlic mashed potatoes and Rose Bud Salad. Conveniently located in Kirkwood Dinner Hours: Tues.-Sun. 5 p.m. 133 West Clinton Place St. Louis, MO 63122 314-965-9005
Creating local Italian Food with help from our Farmers and Friends Since 2007
$30 ~ 4 Course Tasting Menu 7266 Manchester Rd. Maplewood
314-644-1790 Fialafood.com M-Th 5-9pm â€˘ Fri/Sat 5-10pm Inspired Food Culture
watch this month’s episode to:
Look for the Feast TV splat throughout the magazine. It tells you which articles are part of this month’s episode! Segment 1: Get in the kitchen with Quincy Street bistro chef Rick Lewis to see his upscale twist on comfort food come together.
Segment 2: Dig into three styles of slingers at Southwest Diner, Tiffany’s Original Diner and The Mud House.
PHOTOGRAPHy by Jennifer Silverberg
Segment 3: Discover the rich history behind two well-loved south city sandwich shops: LeGrand’s Market & Catering and Gioia’s Deli.
Segment 4: Hear firsthand from Perennial Artisan Ales’ Phil Wymore and Cory King on their artisan approach to craft brewing.
Watch the upcoming September episode on the Nine Network (Channel 9) at 2pm on Sat., Sept. 6, and 1pm on Mon., Sept. 8. Feast TV will also air on the nineCREATE channel periodically throughout the month.
feast tv is brought to you by the generous support of our sponsors: MISSOuRI WINES
WHOLE FOOdS MARkET
In September, reach for a bottle of Stone Hill Winery’s Reserve Traminette. Feast TV producer Cat Neville pairs it with Pint Size bakery & Coffee owner Christy Augustin’s caramel apples.
Get cooking at home! Pick up the ingredients and recipe from Cat’s demo at both St. Louis-area locations of Whole Foods Market.
Roth Living curates innovation and luxury in high-end appliances. Explore Roth’s showroom to experience an appliance’s true performance and create the inspired kitchen of your dreams.
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ucollege.wustl.edu/preview (314) 935-6700 Inspired Food Culture
| Where We’re dining
2256 S. 39th St., Shaw, 314.601.3604 icesplainandfancy.com
At Ices Plain and Fancy in Shaw, you get a scoop of science with your ice cream. The shop’s specialty is liquid nitrogen ice cream, which involves blending an ice cream base with the icy cold chemical in the stainless-steel bowl of an electric stand-mixer, and then heating the outside of the bowl with a blowtorch. Customers can watch the process unfold from behind the glass-lined counter – which, due to the nitrogen, bubbles over with pale smoke – and it only takes a minute or two to prepare each order. Since opening in August, co-owner Max Crask has offered creative seasonal ice cream flavors such as pickled ginger with pink peppercorn and peach chai in addition to classics like chocolate and vanilla (soy-based ice cream is also available). Additionally, Ices serves sorbet in flavors such as watermelon with honey and nectarine, and soft serve, including a flavor made with Sump Coffee. The shop’s newly remodeled exterior and interior are fun, bright and cheerful – just like the treats served behind the counter. – L.M.
ices plain and fancy
| Where We’re drInkIng
stacked burger bar wRiTTen by kyle harsha
Most people don’t immediately think about heading to the Carondelet area of south city to grab a drink, but that’s changed over the past several years, in large part thanks to Perennial Artisan Ales setting up shop in the neighborhood. About a year ago, Stacked Burger Bar opened in the former ivory Coast bistro space, making another welcome addition to the community. At first glance, you know something sets Stacked apart from the other bars in the area, as a huge chalkboard draws you in, advertising monthly burger specials. The space is clean, well lit and comfortable, with a crowd that ranges from hipsters to retirees, and more often than not includes local roller derby players.
We are growing...
Baileys’ is a family of restaurants offering some of the best food, drink, and atmosphere in the city. All of our restaurants are in St. Louis and nearly all of our staff live and work here, furthering our dedication to this great city. We continue to make nearly everything we serve by hand, from scratch, and do everything we can to bring our guests farm-to-table fare in a memorable environment. And just like any family, we are always growing.
The bar at Stacked is the type of place where you can get a shot and a brew, drink in peace and catch part of a game without anyone bothering you; the staff is friendly and helpful without being intrusive. The bottled beer selection consists of the usual A-b-inbev labels, as well as beers from boulevard brewing Co., Rogue Ales and Schlafly beer. The draft list is a little more adventurous and boasts options from Perennial, 2nd Shift brewery, Deschutes brewery and Tallgrass brewing Co. A seasonal cocktail list offers fun options, such as the Southern Ginger (peach vodka, ginger vodka and iced tea) and the Mad Cow (Left Hand brewing Co.’s Milk Stout nitro topped with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream). For those on the other side of Saturday night shenanigans, Stacked serves breakfast on Sunday mornings, complete with a list of refreshing bloody Mary options. Try the Hot Tomata, which mixes vodka, a spicy kick of Zing Zang and Sriracha salt on the rim.
and we want you...
whether you’re a Jack and Coke person or you’re more interested in craft beer, make sure that beverage is used to wash down one of Stacked’s killer burgers and its hand-cut fries. The food is delicious, and the portions ensure that you won’t leave hungry (or, for that matter, thirsty).
Our family of Baileys’ Restaurants is diverse in tastes, style, and personality. Right now, we’re actively seeking kind, passionate, and talented people for all positions. If you are interested in a restaurant job which requires that you care for your city and your coworkers, we would like to meet you.
7637 ivory Ave., Carondelet, 314.544.4900, stackedstl.com
to grow with us.
If you want to work where you are seen as a person of value, growing your talents along with a company that is growing too, please apply today.
Now Hiring 100 kind & talented people this month
Apply online at www.baileysrestaurants.com Or in person at 920 Olive St. 63101
Kyle Harsha is a certified specialist of wine and certified sommelier with over 20 years’ experience in the food and wine industry. He drinks more wine than he probably ought to.
Inspired Food Culture
| where we’re dining
unkle munkey’s coin club Neon lights, the hum of classic 8-bit arcade games, the thwack of Skee-ball and the clang of pinball machines greet customers inside Unkle Munkey’s Coin Club, the newly opened arcade bar in Edwardsville. Opened by the owners of adjacent Wang Gang Asian Eats, with menu consultation from the talented team at nearby Cleveland-Heath, Unkle Munkey’s food and drink menus are just as fun as its games. The kitchen turns out creative plays on typical bar fare such as sandwiches, burgers, pizza and hot dogs prepared with unexpected twists – the There’s a Pig in my Pineapple tops an all-beef hot dog with white cheddar, pineapple, jalapeños and Korean barbecue sauce – as well as loaded baked potatoes such as the ‘90s, which wedges bacon, caramelized onions, red and green bell pepper strips and melty white cheddar inside one substantial spud. Gamers can refuel with food and drink at tables or at the bar, which offers wine, draft and bottled domestic and craft beer and a list of signature cocktails. – L.M.
1027 Century Dr., Edwardsville, 618.692.5152 unklemunkeys.com
Welcoming Visitors for Over 200 Years!
The Businesses of Historic St. Charles, Missouri Come See What’s Happening This Fall NOW SHOP ONLINE AT WWW.EUROPEANACCENT.NET
For elegant home decor, shop at:
EUROPEAN ACCENT 426 SOUTH MAIN STREET HISTORIC ST CHARLES 636-724-7677 One of the largest Mariana dealers in the midwest
• Specialty Foods •
Soups, Cheesecake and Cheeseball Mixes. Sauces, Mustards, Jams & Jellies, Butters, Dip Mixes, Cocoa Mixes, Coffees, Teas, Spices & Seasonings
• Accessories •
Candles, Trees, Baskets, Ornaments, Spreaders, Seasonal Decorative Accessories, Kitchen Gadgets
April’s On Main
222 N. Main Street • St. Charles, MO 63301 Like Us on April’s On Main-St Charles
636 • 395 • 7605
708 South Main Street
Facebook: Main Street Marketplace in Historic Saint Charles Missouri
On Main Street
Tony’s does catering.
The purchase of any 2 entrees
Please present coupon before ordering. One coupon per party. Not valid on Saturdays & Holidays. Good thru 11/30/14
132 North Main in Historic St. Charles
Taking any size reservations for any size party. Go to www.tonysonmain.com and make your reservations today! Closed on Mondays
Tony’s On Main
Closed on Mondays
• Mystical Incense • Candles & Crystals Metaphysical & Inspirational Books www.theenchantedatticsite.com
FREE Gift with Every Purchase! Join Us on Facebook
The Enchanted Attic
304 S. Main
(636) 949-9502 THE CELTIC IS BACK!
A Brilliant Choice!
Walter's has as an outstanding reputation for high quality jewelry and diamonds, with our knowledgeable staff and our excellent service.
825 S. Main St. Historic St. Charles
• Clan Badges and Tartans • Kilts for purchase or rental We Buy...
Walter's is always buying gold, platinum, silver, estate jewelry, coins, diamonds and Rolex Watches Mon & Fri 9am-7pm • Tues, Wed & Thur 9am-5:30pm • Sat 9am-5pm
Walters Jewelry Inc. • Four Generations Since 1925
230 North Main St., St. Charles, MO OR
Main Street Books
Your St. Charles Independent Bookseller 1st Annual Writer’s Workshop
5 LOCAL AUTHORS SHARE IDEAS ON WRITING PROCESS, IDEAS, RESEARCH, EDITING AND PUBLISHING. Join us for an engaging evening with five local authors who will share their expertise on every part of the writing process- from initial ideas and research to editing and publication.
Participating Authors: Vicki Erwin Jim Erwin Ann Hazelwood Cole Gibsen Rachel Wisdom
Details: Place: Main Street Books Date: September 24th Time: 7:00 pm Cost: $20 at the door RSVP by: September 12th
Space is limited- sign up EARLY!
Visit our website for more information: www.mainstreetbooks.net Contact us: Phone: 636.949.0105 Email: email@example.com 307 S. Main St. :: St. Charles, MO 63301
Mother-In-LawHouse Our O ur Famous F us Desserts D ts are a Perfect ending to our fine Dinners of Beef, Chicken, Fish or Liver and onions.
Fresh, Quality Spices at Prices You'll Love. • Grilling rubs, marinades and spices • Hot sauces and peppers, including Ghost • Local soup, dip mixes & honey
334 South Main, Historic St. Charles
7 Days A Week
TEA AND LUNCH
Enjoy special Fall Treats at Lunch
Bring in this ad for one free soft drink when you order dinner now thru August 1
Diamonds, Watches, Fine Jewelry In House Repair • Custom Designs • Appraisals
Magical Gemstone Jewelry
Collection Point for Mitzi MacDonald’s
CHRISTMAS IN THE KITCHEN
407 S. Main St • St Charles 636.946.2449
• Relax in our Elegant Victorian Dining Room or Patio overlooking the Missouri river in Historic St. Charles, Missouri at 500 S. Main • Dinner Menu Tues-Sat Lunch Menu Mon-Sat Sundays Private Partys 30-80 Guests • Fine Wine selections and Bar
RESERVE SPOTS FOR SPECIAL CELEBRATING!
Come see and view the unusual.
• Create a stuffed animal of your very own in our STUFFIN STATION
• Miniatures for SALE • Many GIFT IDEAS • GIFT CErTIFICATES!
SEE THE MUSEUM! Open Tuesday-Sunday 11-5
329 South Main Street, Historic St. Charles, MO
Inspired Food Culture
craft beer cellar Written by Shannon Cothran
From the unfinished concrete floors and walls spotted with exposed brick to the retro lighting and exposed ductwork, Craft beer Cellar in Clayton gives off a cool, industrial vibe. Upon stepping inside, employees enthusiastically greet customers by saying, “Hey! Have you been here before?” Signs around the store refer to shoppers as “yo,” as in, “that a way, yo!” and “Kegs, yo!” the shop has a youthful, approachable atmosphere, which is exactly what brothers brandon and ryan nickelson were aiming for. “We say we’re not in the retail business, we’re in the hospitality business,” ryan says. “We want to make sure everyone who comes in the door is treated warmly and [is] given a tour of the shop. Some people come in here knowing exactly what they want, but the vast majority don’t know what they want and just need help.” What’s happening at Craft beer Cellar is sort of revolutionary in the St. Louis area: the store only sells craft beer, according to the brewers Association definition, carrying 800 beers from about 200 craft breweries from St. Louis and around the world. Customers can come in and make their own pack of beer, from two-packs up to 12-packs, using anything stocked on store shelves. “We give people the freedom to make a mix out of absolutely anything they want,” ryan says. “they can break any pack; they can open any box and take just one bottle or one can. to me and brandon, that’s a fun way to shop for beer. the ability to try a bunch of things at one time rather than buy a big six-pack of something you might not like is a lot more fun because really, the best way to find that thing you like is to try it. it gives you the freedom to try things you would have overlooked as well.” 8113 Maryland Ave., Clayton, 314.222.2444 craftbeercellar.com/clayton
BreWery BuyS at Craft Beer Cellar |2|
with the bold flavor of Sierra Nevada’s Porter & Spicy Brown Mustard, which is livened up by Sierra nevada brewing Co.’s famous Porter. | 2 | the shop stocks a nice selection of local brewery merchandise, like this stemware from 4 Hands brewing Co., as well as sunglasses, t-shirts, books and more. | 3 | “evil twin brewing’s Ryan and the Beaster Bunny is the best beer in the shop,” ryan says. “but, i could be biased since it’s named ryan,” he laughs. then he stops, looking around at other bottles fondly and reassesses. “in my opinion, it’s one of the top five beers in the shop.”
| 1 | enjoy your next turkey sandwich
There’s always something going on at
“Where the West End was Born” WEEKEND
IndustryMUSIC Night on Monday’s BRUNCH from 9:00 until 1am
Lobster Specials Every Tuesday Oyster Specials on Wednesdays Live Music Thursday & Sunday Nights Live Maine Lobsters Nightly
from 8:00 until 11:00pm
from 8pm - 11pm
from 10:30am - 3pm
Weekend Brunch on Saturday & Sunday from 10:30 until 3:00pm
“Where the West End was Born”
There’s always on at Herbie’s 405 North Euclid Ave something 314.769.9595 going www. HERBIES .com
Delivery, Dine In, Take Out, Catering 3 Locations
Check Out Our New Box Lunch Company @ TheFoodPedaler.com
The New Patio is Now Open at Herbie’s Open 11am- Sold Out
HERBIE’S OFFERS ON & OFF PREMISE CATERING book your event in our wine cellar or at your home or office
9200 Olive Blvd, Olivette, MO
3150 Elm Point Industrial Dr St. Charles, MO
9955 Winghaven Blvd O’Fallon, MO
Make Your Homecoming Reservations Now Join us at Castelli's Restaurant at 255! Famous for our Talk-N-Chic fried chicken. Fall is here, remember we have Carry-out Combo Packs. These are Perfect for Football games. Dine in, carry out, outdoor patio, and gift cards. Open at 11 am Tuesday - Sunday for lunch and dinner. Conveniently located just 20 minutes form St Louis off IL 255 N.
3400 Fosterburg Rd. • Alton, IL • 618.462-4620 • castellis255.com
“A Big Easy Murder”
Interactive Comedy Mystery Dinner Theater It’s Nawlins’! The Big Easy! Bitsy Jones is getting her crew together to plan their float for the Mardi Gras Parade! Carlos Violincello, the well know mobster and concert violinist, is paying for everything. What can go wrong? Plenty! No wonder Bitsy ends up dead! The pirates John Lafeet and his wench, Anne Bonny, try to figure out who did it. Play your part in this interactive comedy murder mystery while enjoying a 4-course meal to DIE for! Make your reservations now; it would be a CRIME to miss out on this much FUN! Call for Reservations 314-533-9830.
Bring in this ad for $10 off per person. Valid through September 2014. Not Valid with groups.
4426 Randall Place • St. Louis • 314.533.9830 • bissellmansion.com Inspired Food Culture
one on one
Gian nicola colucci
ExEcuTivE chEf, ciElo RESTauRanT & BaR WRITTeN BY Valeria Turturro Klamm | PHOTOGRAPHY BY Demond Meek
Many people have asked chef Gian Nicola Colucci why he would leave Venice, Italy for St. Louis. Colucci became executive chef at Cielo Restaurant & Bar at The Four Seasons Hotel in April and says deciding to make the move from the Hotel Danieli in Venice was a matter of timing. “Something inside changed,” he says. “You need a new challenge, to do something different. For me, this is fantastic because I [rejoined] the Four Seasons company. I love this company. And the opportunity to work in the U.S. is a great opportunity for me and also my family.” Born in Turin, Italy, Colucci has previously worked in Naples, Capri and Venice, as well as London, Bangkok and New Delhi. What is your culinary background? My culinary skills are Mediterranean cuisine – I like that the Mediterranean influence between Spain, North Africa, Greece and everything goes through Italy. I can say the Hotel Danieli in Venice changed my life. The general manager trusted me a lot and brought me all over the world – China, Japan, Russia, London and the U.S. I have a lot of international experience but with a great Italian influence. How have those influences impacted the menu at Cielo? People in the Midwest generally prefer meat instead of fish, so I have to play in different ways. Fortunately, I have a lot of background from the north of Italy, so cooking meat for me is not a problem. The Asian influence is really good for spices and different kinds of salads. I don’t like to put a lot of ingredients on the plate. I like to keep the right balance between hot and cold, fat and acid, crunchy and smooth, like music in the mouth. If you feel only one thing, it’s wrong. I like to talk with guests because as a hotel chef, it’s important to figure out what your guests want. What have you enjoyed most about living in St. Louis so far? I like it because it’s a sports city. I never saw a city with three different stadiums. It’s a new opportunity for me to learn something different. They brought me to see a Cardinals game; after four hours I said, “OK, I’m done.” But I liked it. What do you think of the food and drink scene in St. Louis? My team here has a lot of passion and energy. I can say the community of chefs in St. Louis is great. Italian chefs are jealous between each other. Here, I love the community of the chefs because we invite each other; we support each other. We don’t work in terms of, “I’m better than you,” but just what we can do better and improve to make the name of St. Louis known around the U.S. That’s really our focus. I’m really happy because everyone’s told me that in
Cielo Restaurant & Bar 999 N. 2nd St., Downtown St. Louis 314.881.2105 cielostlouis.com
the past five years the city has grown a lot in terms of culinary skills and information. There are really good chefs around.
Visit feastmagazine.com to read the full interview with Gian Nicola Colucci.
Chi Mangia Bene Vive Bene! "To Eat Well is To Live Well" Proudly Serving Authentic Italian Food in a Family Atmosphere. Let Us Cater Your Special Occasion Featuring Daily Lunch & Dinner Specials Now Offering LIGHT menu options for lunch... Chicken Ceasar Wrap, Cajun Chicken Wrap and BLT Wrap. Reservations Recommended, Hours of Operation: Tuesday - Saturday 11am-10pm • Sunday Noon-9pm • Closed Monday
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Inspired Food Culture
seed to table
three-tiered Carrot-Calendula Cake
calendula is one of my favorites in the wonderful world of edible flowers. The flowers make gorgeous decorations to enhance the appearance and flavor of cakes and cupcakes. The petals can also be used to make a stunning jelly, and calendula is a primary component in floral herbal teas. calendula is also highly medicinal and has been used since ancient times to accelerate healing both internally and topically. The plant’s seeds are very distinctive and naturally beautiful; its flowers – perennials native to the Mediterranean climate – can be easily grown in the Midwest throughout late spring, summer and fall, and grow in various shades of orange and yellow. The sweet nuttiness of the calendula flower pairs nicely with farm fresh carrots, especially when crafted into a carrot spice cake. carrots can be planted in the Midwest in early spring for summer harvest, but they can also be grown throughout the summer for early autumn harvest. The carrots that grow on the farms along the Mississippi river and in the river valleys are packed with flavor. There
STOry AnD recIPe by Crystal Stevens PhOTOgrAPhy by Jennifer Silverberg
is something so satisfying about pulling vibrant orange carrots out of the rich soil after sowing seeds, weeding, watering and waiting. For all of these reasons, carrots are my husband’s favorite crop to grow. This decadent spice cake recipe lets carrots share the spotlight with calendula flowers. The dense cake and shredded carrots offer a neutral base to indulge in the singular texture of the calendula flower, which can also be eaten whole. The whiskey-soaked raisins give the cake a punchy finishing touch and play well with the overall richness of this early fall dessert, while the honey-cream cheese-beer frosting adds sweet, sour, spicy and bitter notes all at once. The frosting recipe calls for 4 hands brewing co.’s cast-Iron Oatmeal brown, which is made with chocolate malt and roasted barley. This rich and filling beer has a dark mahogany color and robust notes of dark chocolate and coffee, which means a cup of java pairs extra well with a slice of carrot-calendula cake.
Crystal Stevens is a farmer at La Vista CSA Farm on the bluffs of the Mississippi River in Godfrey, Illinois, where she farms with her husband, Eric. They have two children. Crystal is an advocate of integrating creativity into sustainability through writing, art, photojournalism and seed-to-table cooking. Find more of her work at growingcreatinginspiring.blogspot.com, which she created to launch her forthcoming book, grow create Inspire.
Three-Tiered CarrotCalendula Cake Serves | 16 to 20 |
Three-Tiered CarroT-Calendula Cake
4 1 2½ 3 1 ½ 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 5 1 2 1 2 ¼ 1 1
cups all-purpose flour Tbsp baking soda Tbsp baking powder Tbsp ground cinnamon tsp allspice tsp ground cloves Tbsp ground nutmeg tsp ground ginger tsp salt cup coconut palm sugar cup applesauce cup honey stick softened butter cup softened coconut oil eggs Tbsp apple cider vinegar Tbsp pure vanilla extract cup vanilla almond milk cups shredded carrots cup fresh or dried calendula petals, plus extra for decoration tsp hot pepper flakes cup raisins, soaked in ¼ cup Irish whiskey, ¾ cup milk and 1 Tbsp honey Tbsp Sriracha
honey Cream Cheese-Beer FrosTing
1 ½ 1 ¼
8-oz package softened cream cheese cup honey Tbsp cinnamon cup 4 Hands Brewing Co.’s CastIron Oatmeal Brown
| Preparation – Three-Tiered CarrotCalendula Cake | Preheat oven to 375°F. Lightly grease 3 aluminum cake pans or pie pans, each slightly larger than the other in order to prepare a tiered cake. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the first nine ingredients. In a medium bowl, combine coconut sugar, applesauce, honey, butter and coconut oil using an electric mixer. Add eggs, one at a time, until just combined. In a small bowl, combine vinegar, vanilla extract and almond milk. Add to sugar-egg mixture and stir to combine. Add carrots, calendula petals, raisins with soaking mixture, hot pepper flakes and Sriracha and stir to combine. Fold wet ingredients into dry ingredients. Transfer batter to greased pans and bake in the oven for 30 minutes. Allow to cool.
| Preparation – Honey Cream CheeseBeer Frosting | Place all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until smooth. Once cake has cooled to room temperature, assemble cake tiers with the largest tier on bottom. Stack remaining tiers and ice by pouring frosting in a spiral motion over three tiers. Decorate with calendula petals.
Penne Ala Salute 1 28 oz. can peeled Italian style pear tomatoes 3 cloves garlic 1 teaspoon salt ½ teaspoon black pepper
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil ¼ cup grated Asiago cheese or Romano cheese ¼ cup fresh basil 4 cups cooked penne pasta cooked 2 cups broccoli florets al dente (1/2 lb. uncooked pasta) ½ cup sliced sun-dried tomatoes 1 cup sliced mushrooms
In a food processor, mince garlic, olive oil and salt & pepper together for one minute. Cut Italian style tomatoes into small pieces (about 1" cubes), reserve some liquid. In a bowl combine garlic & olive oil mixture with cut tomatoes, add chopped fresh basil. Set aside. Place pasta, broccoli, mushrooms and sun dried tomatoes in a one-gallon pot of rapidly boiling salt water. When water boils again, drain. Toss pasta together with sauce mixture in a large bowl. Serve immediately. Sprinkle pasta with grated Asiago cheese, fresh basil and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. Makes 4 servings.
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Fun Food, Happy People, Great Drinks! FEAST FAVE Pork Porterhouse. Rensing’s Porterhouse pork chop, cheddar jalapeno bread pudding, green beans, sunny side up egg
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Inspired Food Culture
story and recipe by Shannon Weber photography by Jennifer Silverberg
good things are sometimes found in unlikely places; such is the case of the prickly pear. born from the most hostile of plants, the succulent fruit is worth the struggle you’ll endure to get to it.
higher, rendering it out of reach. another key survival tactic is its two spines: long, easily seen ones and virtually invisible, hair-like glochids, which lodge easily (and painfully) into skin if not carefully removed.
What is it?
What Do i Do With it?
prickly pears begin life as small, spiny flowers of the opuntia cactus plant, growing heavy and bulbous as they mature. the plants thrive domestically in both expected places (the southwest) and unexpected places (northern illinois, anyone?), and in arid climates throughout the world. brightly hued in a rainbow of colors ranging from orange to deep indigo, the cardona is the most commonly available variety in the Midwest, in both grocery stores and international markets. not to be outdone by the hearty fruit it supports, the plant can adapt physical characteristics region-to-region to protect its merchandise: For example, in areas where prey is low to the ground, fruit and plants grow
prickly pears are as sweet on the inside as they are treacherous on the outside, the very definition of “handle with care.” heavy gloves are essential when peeling prickly pears. pro tip: hold the pears over a fire with tongs to torch any remaining glochids before use. once inside, the cartoonishly magenta fruit can be used for jams, syrups, candy, beverages (alcoholic and otherwise) or as a sweet, tropical glaze for meat, with a flavor reminiscent of watermelon, bubble gum and kiwi fruit. add sugar, and the flavor becomes progressively more strawberry-like; squeeze in some citrus to give a tart edge to the pear’s intense sweetness.
Shannon Weber is a writer, graphic designer and stay-at-home mom who writes the award-winning blog aperiodictableblog.com.
Prickly Pear Margarita Cookies Once filled, these cookies are at their best when eaten the same day. To prepare ahead of time, simply make both the jam and the cookies and store in airtight containers (jam in the refrigerator, cookies at room temperature) for up to two days. yields | 36 cookies | Prickly Pear Margarita JaM
5 to 6 2/3 1 1 1
ripe prickly pears cup granulated sugar juiced orange juiced lime Tbsp tequila, plus 2 tsp
liMe thuMbPrint cookies
2 ¾ 1 2 3 2¼ ¼
sticks unsalted butter, room temperature cup granulated sugar egg yolk tsp lime zest Tbsp lime juice cups all-purpose flour tsp kosher salt
| Preparation – Prickly Pear Margarita Jam | Using heavy gloves, peel skin from prickly pears. place pulp in food processor and pulse until liquefied. push gently through fine-mesh strainer to remove seeds. discard solids. in a medium saucepan, add sugar to prickly pear mixture; stir to combine. add orange juice, lime juice and all the tequila, and thicken over medium-high heat until reduced to ¾ cup. remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature.
| Preparation – Lime Thumbprint Cookies | preheat oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. add butter and sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer; beat on high for 5 to 6 minutes until light and fluffy. add egg yolk, lime zest and lime juice and beat on medium until incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. add flour and salt in 2 parts, mixing on low speed for 20 seconds after each addition, until dough forms and no dry patches remain. roll dough into 1-inch balls and place 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheet. Using a moistened thumb or spoon, push firmly into the center of each ball to form deep indentations. bake for 10 to 12 minutes until golden on the bottom. remove from oven, using a spoon to deepen any indentations that have puffed up during baking. cool for 15 to 20 minutes on the pan.
| To Serve | transfer cookies to wire rack, fill with prickly pear margarita jam and allow to cool to room temperature. serve.
Our Coffee House & Cafe Serving The Finest Gourmet Coffee Homemade • Quiche • Soups • Chicken Salad • Pies & Desserts • Variety of Hot Panini Sandwiches
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Songs 4 Soldiers Movie at Metter - The Shaggy Dog Mutt & Me 5K Christian Music Festival FestiFall & The Well Hungarians
Hours: Mon, Tues, Thurs, Fri 6am-4pm Wed 6am-8pm • Sat 7am-4pm • Sun 8am-2pm
125 Rapp Street Columbia, IL 62236 ourcoffeehousecafe.com 618-281-4554
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Look for the “Turquoise Door” at 212 W. Locust St.
314-574-1378 www.tooblueboutique.com Hours: Mon. Closed Tues. 10-3 Wed. 4-8 Thurs. Closed Fri. 10-6 Sat. 10-3 Sun. Closed
(Lunch & Dinner) Tues. - “Senior Day”: Buy 1 Meal Get 1 Meal 50% OFF w/ purchase of a drink Wed. - Chick Chicken & Dumplings Fri. - Fish Sat. (pm) - Prime Rib Sun. - All Da Day Buffet
Lunch & Dinner Menu
• Broasted Fried Chicken • German & Hungarian Cuisine • American Dishes • Wine & Beer (on Thursdays and 3rd Sundays)
Purchase of $35 or More Offer expires 9/30/14
Mondays: Closed • Tues - Thurs: 11am - 8pm Fri & Sat: 7am - 9pm • Sunday: 7am - 7pm Full Lunch & Dinner Menu Now Available!!
230 N. Main Columbia, IL
t E IN EN EN os 's W RD OPc mSat i A G W us i & O M Fr Ne , v s Li ur Th
117 S. Main St., Columbia, IL 62236
Antiques, Books, Collectibles & Home Decor
JUST ARRIVED!!! September
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- Roseberry Farms special handcrafted scented soaps & bakery mixes - Unique fall themed home decor & gift items - Special "rare" book section including books over 200 yrs. old
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119 South Main Street, Columbia, IL 618.281.8117
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618-281-2020 608 North Main St. Columbia, IL 62236 www.grillandgrape.com Daily lunch and dinner specials
700 North State St. Freeburg, IL 62243
Merz On Main (Formerly Gruchala’s)
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Check out our New Fall Items! Fashion Attic
128 S. Main St., Columbia, IL 62236
• Daily Specials ! • Meats Smoked In-House • Large Outdoor Patio • 11 Flat Screen TVs • 12 Beers on Tap, Imported and Specialty Micro Brews • Extensive Wine List • Kitchen Open Late
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*Aunt Maggie© s Family Restaurant 230 N. Main St. • 618-281-7894 *Chateau La Vin 119 S. Main St. • 618-281-8117 Fashion Attic 4 Kids Consignment Shop 103 West Gundlach St. • 618-281-7466 Fabulous Finds 315 N. Main St. • 618-281-1954 *Imo’s Pizza 1450 Evergreen • 618-281-5552 *Joe Boccardi© s Ristorante 117 S. Main St.• 618-281-6700 Magnolia 208 N. Main St. • 618-281-8083 Memory Lane Gifts & Floral 515-B N. Main St. • 618-281-4538 *Merz On Main 210 S. Main St. • 618-281-9901 Ole Tin Roof 207 N. Main St. Suite 110 • 618-719-2017 *Our Coffee House Café 125 N. Rapp St. • 618-281-4554 *Reifschneider’s Grill & Grape 608 N. Main St. • 618-281-2020 *Roseberry Farms Antiques, Books & Collectibles 603 N. Main St. • 618-520-0850 Tiny’s Pub & Grill 602 N. Main St. • 618-281-9977 *Too Blue Boutique 212 W. Locust St. • 314-574-1378 *Who Dat© s Southern Food 602 N. Main St. • 618-281-2229 *See ad for more information
(618) 281-9901 210 S. Main St. Columbia, IL 62236
New Orleans Boy Meets Local Girl Sept 13 - Shrimp
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Southern Cuisine and Best Gooey Butter Cake in St. Louis! Hours: Tuesday - Saturday 11-9pm
123 South Main St • Columbia, IL 62236 Phone: 618-281-2229 Email:firstname.lastname@example.org • www.whodatsrestaurant.com
Inspired Food Culture
HomEmadE Egg Yolk Ravioli
preparing fresh pasta dough tends to intimidate home cooks, when in fact it is very easy and requires few ingredients. Ravioli al uovo, in its basic form, is a single egg yolk encased by two layers of tender pasta. adding guanciale-laced ricotta to the filling and nutty brown butter sauce adds rich flavor without overshadowing the fresh egg yolks.
Story and recipe by Tory Bahn photography by Jennifer Silverberg
once you've assembled your ravioli discs, bring a large pot of salted water over high heat to a boil. gently add ravioli to boiling water and cook for about 3 minutes, then drain ravioli into a colander. to serve, divide ravioli between 8 plates. drizzle brown butter sauce over ravioli and serve with a sprinkling of parmigiano-reggiano cheese.
chEf’S TipS siMPle substitutions. homemade pasta doesn’t require expensive machinery. a stand mixer with attachments or a simple hand-crank pasta roller are just as good. if you don’t have a pasta roller a good rolling pin, even a wine bottle will work – you’ll just need a little extra elbow grease.
sPeeDY sauce. this dish pairs well with brown butter sauce, which is
easy and quick to prepare at home. Melt eight pats of unsalted butter in a skillet over medium-low heat. Slightly turn up heat and, stirring often, let milk solids brown. the butter will look like sand on the bottom of the pan. When solids are golden brown, remove the pan from heat.
PoRk shoP. the cured jowl or cheek meat of a pig, guanciale can
be found at specialty markets, local salumeria Salume beddu or at Schnucks stores. although guanciale has a unique and exceptionally delicious, savory flavor, pancetta or bacon are fine substitutes.
FaRM FResh. Since egg yolk is the focus of the ravioli, the highest
quality and freshest product is ideal. the fewer miles it travels, the more likely it is to be fresh and the better it will taste.
MakE ThE MEal
Egg Yolk Ravioli Serves | 8 | Pasta Dough
3½ 4 2 1 ½
cups all-purpose flour eggs Tbsp water Tbsp extra virgin olive oil tsp kosher salt
¼ 1 ½ ½
pound guanciale, minced pound whole milk ricotta cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cup Pecorino Romano kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper eggs, yolks separated
• homemade egg Yolk Ravioli • Caprese Salad with Basil Oil and Balsamic Reduction • Fresh Late-Summer Vegetables with Bagna Càuda • Duo of Mocha and Summer Berry Sorbets
in this month’s class, you’ll learn how to make pasta dough and shape it into ravioli. also, learn how to make flavored oil using herbs and how to make bagna càuda, a rich dipping sauce made with anchovy, garlic and oil.
get hands-on: Join Feast and schnucks Cooks Cooking school on Wed., sept. 24, at 6pm to make the dishes in this month’s menu. tickets are just $40 for a night of cooking, dining and wine. RsVP at schnuckscooks.com or call 314.909.1704.
Tbsp water egg
| Preparation – Pasta Dough | Mound flour on a clean countertop. Make a well in the center of flour and add eggs, water, oil and salt. Using a fork, beat eggs together and then begin to incorporate flour slowly, starting with the inner wall of the well. as you expand the well, push flour up to retain the well shape. When half of flour is incorporated, dough will begin to come together. Knead dough until it becomes one cohesive ball. Scrape and remove any dried bits of dough and lightly re-flour surface. Knead again for 10 more minutes, dusting with more flour as needed until dough becomes elastic and barely sticky. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and let rest for 30 minutes at room temperature. remove pasta from plastic and cut in half. cover half of dough with plastic wrap and set aside. roll out remaining dough using a pasta rolling machine, starting with the largest setting. pass through each setting, from thickest to thinnest, twice until you reach approximately 1/16-inch thickness. brush pasta lightly with flour between rolls. When you have a long, thin strip of dough, cut in half crosswise, place 2 pieces on a lightly floured tray and cover with plastic wrap while you repeat the process with reserved dough.
| Preparation – Filling | in a small skillet over medium-low heat, cook guanciale until slightly crisped. remove using a slotted spoon and place in a medium bowl. add cheeses, and salt and pepper to taste. Mix to combine and transfer to a piping bag cut with a 1–inch opening. Separate yolks from whites and place each yolk in a ramekin. Set aside.
| Preparation – Egg Wash |in a small bowl, whisk water and egg together. Set aside. | Assembly | cut pasta sheets into 16 4-inch discs. Lay out 8 discs on a lightly floured surface and pipe small mounds of filling into the center of discs. gently pat mounds and create a subtle dip in fillings for egg yolks. place one egg yolk on top of filling on each disc, taking care not to break yolk. Lightly brush exposed pasta with egg wash. cover filled discs with reserved 8 discs and gently push out any air before sealing edges. press tines of a fork along edges of discs to seal.
TV Watch the upcoming September episode on the Nine Network (Channel 9) at 2pm on Sat., Sept. 6, and 1pm on Mon., Sept. 8. Feast TV will also air on the nineCREATE channel periodically throughout the month.
In September, we celebrate the culinary culture of St. Louis’ Southside. Get in the kitchen with Quincy Street Bistro chef Rick Lewis to see his upscale twist on comfort food come together. Dig into three styles of slingers. Discover the rich history behind two well-loved south city sandwich shops. And, hear firsthand from Perennial Artisan Ales’ Phil Wymore and Cory King on their artisan approach to craft brewing.
Your dinner dilemma is over – our whole roasted chicken is a family favorite! It’s bursting with big flavor inside and out. We custom marinate the chicken, then hand rub seasonings. No MSG! Enjoy it as a delicious, easy entrée in a variety of flavors. Or, use it as a main ingredient in salads, soups, casseroles and more!
Feast TV is presented by Missouri Wines with additional support from Whole Foods Market and Roth Living.
For busy weeknights, pulled rotisserie chicken breast* is even easier! It is fully cooked and hand pulled with no preservatives or MSG. It’s ready to use in your favorite dishes like enchiladas, pastas or on pizza!
schnucks.com *Available at select locations
Inspired Food Culture
apple Cider Caramel apples
i love the fall so much that we begin planning our cool-weather treats at the bakery in July. i am always checking the eckert’s crop Update in september to catch the first Jonathan apples of the year, and i can’t wait to meet my family in the fields at eckert’s, picking and eating our way up and down the rows of apple trees. their freshly pressed cider is delicious and refreshing, and i was determined to find a great use for it in the kitchen. traditionally, caramel apples are dipped in chopped, toasted nuts or chocolate chips, but i have found that crushed
story and recipe by Christy Augustin photography by Cheryl Waller
gingersnaps are an amazing alternative for those with a nut allergy – or just someone with a cookie addiction, like me. this caramel also makes a wonderful candy on its own. prepare the below recipe, but cook it a bit further to the firm-ball stage (246ºF), pour it into a lightly oiled 9-by-9-inch square dish and let set overnight. Unmold caramel onto a cutting board and portion into squares using a sharp knife. Wrap candies individually; they will last for weeks at room temperature.
Christy Augustin has had a lifelong love affair with all things sweet. After working as a pastry chef in New Orleans and St. Louis, she opened Pint Size Bakery & Coffee in Lindenwood Park in 2012. She calls herself the baker of all things good and evil. Learn more at pintsizebakery.com.
Apple Cider Caramel Apples Yields | 12 | 12 12 1 to 2 1 1 1½ 2 1 ½ ¼ ¼
lollipop sticks local apples, (ripe but firm) washed, dried and destemmed cups crunchy bits (toasted nuts, chocolate chips or cookie crumbs) quart local apple cider stick unsalted butter, cubed cups heavy cream cups granulated sugar 14-oz can sweetened condensed milk tsp kosher salt tsp ground cardamom tsp ground ginger freshly ground black pepper
| Preparation | insert lollipop sticks into top of apples. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper and place crunchy bits of your choice on one sheet. (note that the size of your apples will affect your yield.) in a saucepan over high heat, boil cider until reduced to about ½ cup of syrup, approximately 1 hour. off the heat, add butter and mix until well-combined. in another heavy-bottomed saucepan, whisk cream, sugar and condensed milk until well-combined. cook on low just until the sugar is dissolved, then add cider mixture. continue to boil on medium-high heat, using a candy thermometer and stirring frequently until the softball stage is reached (242ºF) and the caramel is a deep golden brown, about 30 minutes. off the heat, add salt and spices. caramel can be made to this stage and re-warmed later to dip apples in, if time is an issue. While caramel is still hot (or after rewarming), dip each apple in caramel to coat, then allow excess to drip off before dipping the bottoms into crunchy bits. Move finished apples to the other sheet tray and leave at room temperature to cool. dipped apples can be kept at room temperature for 4 to 5 days if bagged or wrapped in cellophane.
Tenderloin Tuesdays Any steak from our menu with a salad and a side Only $20 (no coupon required) Every Tuesday! Dine-in only. Not to be combined with any other offers.
114 W. Mill St. • Waterloo, IL • 618.939.9933 • gallagherswaterloo.com
Come tryout our new signature cocktail! Tuesday – Thursday 1/2 price Signature Cocktails All Day Tuesday – Saturday 1/2 price Appetizers 4:00pm – 6:00pm Call for Reservations Hours: Tuesday – Thursday 4:00pm – 10:00pm Friday – Saturday 4:00pm – 10:30pm
4 Club Centre Ct. Suite A • Edwardsville • 618-307-9613 Inspired Food Culture
Amco Houseworks 4-in-1 Tenderizer PROS
This fast, efficient and versatile meat pounder with its pyramid shape rendered meats and poultry tender in no time. Four different surfaces on the head provide options: Spikes open up the meat for marinades; the flat side works great on chicken, and the fine and rough sides pound meat with ease. CONS
A caution: The smaller size of the head brings fingers wrapped around the handle close to the counter with each hit. This may be a problem for folks with large hands. $10.95; Kitchen Conservatory, 8021 Clayton Road, Clayton, kitchenconservatory.com
Jaccard Meat Tenderizer with 48 Stainless-Steel Knives PROS
This wicked sharp tool deploys 48 retractable knives through meats and poultry with an easy push. The cuts self-seal on the way out so there’s no loss of meat juices. The channels allow marinades to penetrate into the meat, too. It tenderizes beautifully, even on delicate chicken, and is dishwasher safe, as well. CONS
No cons, but a caution: Keep this very sharp tool in its sheath when not in use. $39; Bertarelli Cutlery, 1927 Marconi Ave., The Hill, bertarellicutlery.com
written by Pat Eby Photography by Jonathan Gayman
Chefmate Meat Pounder PROS
Value-priced and straightforward, this meat hammer delivered tenderized meats and poultry without much fuss. The fat, soft handle absorbs some of the shock to hands. The flat side allows a nice push-and-shove motion by using the edge to flatten chicken breasts without tearing them. CONS
No gripes about this inexpensive, effective tool. $3.99; Target, multiple locations, target.com
Microplane Easy Prep Meat Tenderizer
OXO SoftWorks Meat Tenderizer PROS
No pounding with this sharp-toothed tool. The innovative circular design rolls over meats and poultry with ease. The wide, sure-grip handle and gentle motion make it the easiest of the bunch to use. This tool tenderizes most meats extremely well. Microplane includes a grin-guard to cover the tenderizer’s sharp teeth.
The odd Darth Vader helmet-shaped head on this pounder works great to flatten and tenderize most meats quickly. The angle seemed awkward, but like most OXO tools, the engineering shines, and the tool hits the meat easily, if not squarely. A well-constructed tool, simple to use and effective. CONS
Nothing to grouse about here.
Don’t use with chicken breasts; it annihilates them. Handle with extreme care. Razor-like spikes cut quick and deep into skin, too. Bits of meat and fat tend to stick to the cutters and edges on both sides of the blades for an extremely difficult cleanup.
$11.99; Kmart, multiple locations, kmart.com
$19.99; Bed, Bath & Beyond, multiple locations, bedbathandbeyond.com
What to look for : Blades or Brawn. Quite simply, meat tenderizers break down tough meat
Simple or Complex. Tenderizers can be single-action, like the knife
or poultry fibers and connective tissue. Tools fall into three categories: pound, flatten or pierce. Often, a mallet or hammer will include a flat side and a nubbed side to pound and flatten. Piercing tools pierce with blades and are generally single-function. Pounding and flattening takes a toll on hands, arms and ears. Kitchen counters can take a hit, too, even when using cutting boards. Tools that pierce work quietly and don’t require a lot of effort.
tenderizers and flat-disc pounders, or a single tool can combine two or more heads for versatility. Choose by what types of meats and preparations you plan to use.
Heft and Handles. If you choose a pounder or a hammer-like tool,
check its weight and heft to make sure it works for you. Also check the handle for comfort and grip.
SE PTE MBER 2014
Consider Cleaning. Every tool tested required thorough cleaning
immediately after use. Raw meat and poultry juices aside, scraping dried meat and poultry bits out of the crevices isn’t fun. A note: Rinse tools with cold water right after use. Hot water can “cook” meat bits into crevices. Consider buying a dedicated cleaning toothbrush when you pick up nubbed pounders.
ck o ut pag e
Use a tenderizer to 28! crush nuts, chocolate chips and cookies to coat apple cider caramel apples in this month’s Sweet Ideas.
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on the shelf
ToP SEPTEMBER PICKS
WRITTEN BY Michael Sweeney
When he’s not writing, Matt Sorrell can be found slinging drinks at Planter’s House in Lafayette Square or bartending at events around town with his wife Beth for their company, Cocktails Are Go.
o’FAllon BreWery’s PumPkin Beer
PrichArD’s tennessee Whiskey
Style: Pumpkin Ale (5.6% abv)
ProvenAnce: Tennessee (40% abv)
schnucks.com; $7.99 (six-pack, 12-oz bottles) PAiringS: Cheesecake• Smoked turkey sandwich Amber in color and brimming with fall baking spices, O’Fallon’s Pumpkin Beer is the original St. Louis pumpkin ale and remains one of the most popular among beer enthusiasts around town. O’Fallon adds more than a hundred pounds of real pumpkin directly into the mash and then finishes the beer off with cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. My favorite part about this pumpkin beer: It’s session-like at just 5.6 percent.
civil liFe BreWing co.’s #cArlBock Style: Maibock/Helles Bock (6.2% abv) AvAilAble At: Civil Life Brewing Co., 3714 Holt Ave., Tower Grove South, thecivillife.com; $5 (imperial pint) PAiringS: Grilled pork chops• Asiago
Named after a friend of Civil Life Brewing Co., Carl Niermann, this helles bock is a paler bock beer than you may be used to seeing, but it’s pleasantly malty with a slight toffee note and a satiny mouthfeel. There are rumors that #CarlBock can put hair on your chest and allow you to jump tall buildings. I don’t know if this is true, but I do know it’s a damn fine beer.
AvAilAble At: Randall’s Wines and Spirits, multiple locations, shoprandalls.com; $39.99 try it: Neat
The Prichard family has a history of distilling that goes back some five generations. While well-known for its rum, the company also makes some fine whiskeys. The Tennessee Whiskey is made from white corn in a pot still, which gives it a bit of unexpected sweetness. The resulting spirit is then aged in 15-gallon charred white-oak barrels, and unlike a couple of other Tennessee whiskeys we’re more familiar with, this spirit doesn’t go through the famed Lincoln County Process of charcoal filtering. Smooth, sweet and bold about says it all.
Anchor Distilling co.’s genevieve gin ProvenAnce: California (49% abv) AvAilAble At: The Wine & Cheese Place, multiple locations, wineandcheeseplace.com; $35.99 try it: This heavy, classic style of gin works great in a Martinez
This spirit is in the genever style, one of the earliest types of gin. The base is a mash of wheat, barley and rye, all distilled in a copper pot still along with the same botanicals the company uses in its “modern distilled dry gin,” Junipero Gin. The result is miles away from the crisp London dry style most drinkers associate with gin. Instead, this spirit is malty, semi-sweet and floral and sips easily on its own or works well in cocktails – especially those that traditionally call for dark spirits.
Ale Asylum’s BeDlAm!
DiPlomAtico Añejo rum
Style: Belgian IPA (7.5% abv)
ProvenAnce: Venezuela (40% abv)
AvAilAble At: Corral Liquors, 965 E. Edwardsville Road,
Wood River, Illinois, corral-liquors.com; $9.99 (six-pack, 12-oz bottles) PAiringS: Kale salad with pears• Gorgonzola I’m not known for liking either Citra hops or Belgian IPAs, but sometimes my taste buds can be proven wrong. Ale Asylum’s Bedlam! expertly blends the lemony hop aroma of Citra hops with spicy Belgian yeast to produce a harmony of flavors. You still get some of the sharp bitterness of the hops, but it’s carefully softened by the malt.
WRITTEN BY Matt Sorrell
The creator of stlhops.com and founder of St. Louis Craft Beer Week, Michael Sweeney is also the craft beer manager at Lohr Distributing.
AvAilAble At: Schnucks Markets, multiple locations,
AvAilAble At: The Wine & Cheese Place, multiple locations, wineandcheeseplace.com; $15.99. try it: Mix this spirit with high-quality cola and lime for a proper Cuba Libre
This South American rum is a blend of primarily columndistilled spirit with a bit of pot-still distillate added to the mix, then aged for four years. On the nose this spirit is redolent of brown sugar, dark fruits and oak. On the tongue it’s surprisingly light, with notes of raisin, coffee and chocolate shining through. This rum has won a slew of awards, including Double Gold at the 2011 San Francisco World Spirits Competition.
WRiTTEn By Kyle Harsha
Kyle Harsha is a certified specialist of wine and certified sommelier with over 20 years’ experience in the food and wine industry. He drinks more wine than he probably ought to.
BodegaS aVanthIa godello, 2012 Provenance: Valdeorras, Spain available at: 33 Wine Shop and Tasting Bar, 1913 Park Ave., Lafayette Square, 33wine.com; $31 Pairings: Cantaloupe• Trout almondine • Petit gres Champenoise
if you’re a fan of white wines that have a touch more weight to them such as Chardonnay and French Chenin Blanc, then you might consider trying the Godello. Frankly, this is the best version of the wine that i’ve ever tasted. The grapes are handharvested from two separate mountain vineyards, and then not only barrel-fermented, but also barrel-aged in oak for seven months. The result is a juicy, delicious, full-bodied treat with expressive notes of violet, ripe pear and pineapple that will bring you to back for a second (or third) glass.
Stolpman VIneyardS “la CuadrIlla,” 2012 Provenance: Santa Barbara, California available at: St. Louis Wine Market, 164 Chesterfield Commons East, Chesterfield, stlwinemarket.com; $20 Pairings: Roasted pork shoulder• Peking duck• Cassoulet
The coolest thing about this blend of Syrah, Sangiovese, Grenache and Petite Sirah is its story. Each year, as a training and engagement exercise, the vineyard manager gives the vineyard crew a cuadra, or block, of vines to take care of without instruction. The grapes that are produced from the blocks are folded into this blend, giving the crew an immense sense of pride and purpose. The wine itself is big, bold and expressive with raspberry, blackberry and vanilla flavors.
domaIne de FondreChe CuVee Fayard, 2011 Provenance: Ventoux, France available at: Starrs, 1135 S. Big Bend Blvd., Richmond Heights, starrs1.com; $14.99 Pairings: Grilled tuna steak• French onion soup• Roasted root vegetables
This wine is what happens when extraordinary French wine producer André Brunel takes a protégé and lets him run wild in the winery. young Sébastian Vincenti has been allowed that privilege using Brunel’s connections in the Rhone, and the result is a bottle of exquisite provenance that is also a killer value. This blend of 50 percent Grenache, 30 percent Syrah, Carignan and Mourvedre exhibits the silky mouthfeel, earthy and black fruit notes and expressive tannins that have recently drawn people to wines from this area. Inspired Food Culture
St. LouiS SouthSide
the St. Louis Southside cocktail encompasses a bit of my past; i am a Southsider born and bred, and this drink is a creation of my very own. in some ways, the story behind this cocktail is my story captured in a glass. in January 2009, i moved back to St. Louis from chicago and started looking for work as a bartender – but not just any bartender. When i was living up north, i ran a bar called in Fine Spirits, a neighborhood cocktail bar i helped open. We focused on classic cocktails and utilized spirits that were lesser known. My work as a cocktail bartender began there, and i wanted to continue doing that style of bartending in some fashion in my hometown. after a few interviews around St. Louis, i realized this might be harder than i had imagined. i was told things like, “that type of bartending won’t work in this town,” and “it’s just booze; why make it so complicated?” then i landed an interview with trattoria Marcella, an italian restaurant in south city that, coincidentally, is located six blocks from where i grew up and catty-corner to the preschool i attended in the early 1980s. as i was interviewing with one of the owners, Jamie Komorek, his eyes lit up. he was excited about what i had done in chicago and what i wanted to do in St. Louis. We talked about some of my ideas and how they would
Story and recipe by Matt Seiter photography by Jonathan Gayman
work in his establishment. he laid out some stipulations, i agreed to them, and i was hired. For me, it was a nostalgic moment; i was working at a location i had lived near and passed by countless times on my red and black huffy bike en route to ted drewes as a young boy. My grandparents lived one block away on oleatha avenue. i was home. as i got into the rhythm at trattoria, Jamie, the bar manager and i chatted about new products to bring into the bar to play with. i had asked about domaine de canton ginger liqueur, but it wasn’t in the market just yet. i had a bottle from my time in chicago and brought it in to try a few recipes. then a light went on. Why not make our own ginger liqueur? they already made limoncello in house, so why not? Steve Komorek, the chef and other owner, brought in some ginger, and i made a batch of housemade ginger liqueur. Summer was approaching, and i wanted to have a cool, refreshing drink to put on the menu. i took the classic Southside cocktail (gin, lemon juice, sugar and mint), modified it a bit with ginger liqueur and absinthe, and voilà, the St. Louis Southside was born. it has been on trattoria Marcella’s cocktail menu ever since, and i added it to the Sanctuaria cocktail club menu as well.
St. Louis Southside This drink is a ginger gin Mojito with a hint of black licorice and tonic in lieu of club soda – or it’s a Southside with ginger, absinthe and tonic – however you want to look at it. The black licorice recalls my boyhood visits to a corner candy shop at Cherokee Street and Minnesota Avenue. Serves | 1 | ¾ ¼ 6 to 10 1 ¾ 1½
oz fresh lemon juice oz simple syrup mint leaves dash absinthe oz The Big O Ginger Liqueur oz gin ice tonic water mint sprig (for garnish)
| Preparation | combine juice, syrup and Matt Seiter is a co-founder of the United States Bartenders’ Guild’s St. Louis chapter, a member of the national board for the USBG’s MA program and a continuing educator for all desiring knowledge of the craft of mixology. He is a member of Drink Lab and a consultant at Sanctuaria.
mint in a mixing tin. Lightly muddle mint, and then add all remaining ingredients except tonic water. add ice and shake mixing tin. Using a fine-mesh strainer, strain mixture into a collins glass filled with ice. top off with tonic water and garnish with a mint sprig.
Pick Your Poison Gin. a lighter gin works best in this drink; i recommend north Shore no. 6, plymouth or bombay Sapphire. if you use a gin that is too heavy on the juniper (such as broker’s, tanqueray or north Shore no. 11), you’ll overpower the subtlety of the ginger, mint and absinthe. GinGer Liqueur. domaine de canton ginger
liqueur works well in this drink, but i prefer the bolder, spicier flavors of St. Louis’ own the big o ginger Liqueur. Absinthe. My go-to absinthe is north
Shore Sirène. however, if you don’t have that on hand or can’t find it in stores, absinthes by pernod, Kübler, Mata hari or St. george are all viable options. tonic WAter. i have an affinity for
Fentimans tonic water; it’s a drier style that's a bit more herbal than most tonic waters on the market.
SEPTEMBER 13—21, 2014
The week long events kick off with the 3rd Annual Classic Cocktail Party, on 9/13 from 6-9pm at the Lafayette Square Concert in the Park with Funky Butt Brass Band, celebrating 12 area distilleries and the craft of the cocktail. Throughout the week, there will be tastings, spirited dinners and cocktail specials at St. Louis area bars & restaurants. The St. Louis Chapter of the Bartenders Guild is hosting the Punch in the Park picnic on Sunday, the 21st. It will feature punch made from the participating distilleries by mixologists from Planter's House, Mission Taco, Absolutely Goosed, The Crack Fox, BC's Kitchen, Juniper & The Libertine. The food will be provided by BBQ ASAP. For more information on all the events going on, please visit the St. Louis Classic Cocktail Party page at www.facebook.com/StLouisCraftSpiritsCocktailWeek From new spirit releases and cocktail menu takeovers the distilleries and the Bartenders Guild want you to celebrate the craft of the cocktail. Look for specials on our products at Randall’s, The Wine and Cheese Place and Lukas Liquor. Check in with these fine establishments to see what they have going on!
Mission Taco Sub Zero Vodka Bar Gamlin Whiskey House Taha’s Twisted Tiki Gran Cru Cigars Natasha’s Gin Room Square One Brewery & Distillery The Fountain on Locust
Juniper The Crack Fox The Whiskey Ring Planter’s House Prasino’s BC’s Kitchen The Shaved Duck Layla Silver Ballroom Inspired Food Culture
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Inspired Food Culture
photography by Jonathan Gayman
Our survey includes some of the best of the bunch, touching on five of the mosttalked about, long-standing favorites around South City. Almost every shop is built
Itâ€™s possible that not every neighborhood in South St. Louis has its own great sandwich shop. But it sure seems as if the cityâ€™s south side comes with an extra dollop or two of topflight options.
Written by Thomas Crone
on a foundation of patrons who live within walking distance – or are just a short drive away – from their locations. But owners and managers of each will tell you that they’ve got fans from all over the region, from Ballwin to Bethalto. Some claim success thanks to a signature sandwich, their choices of breads or simply their staying power. With menus both expansive and slim, there’s one common thread between them: popularity. These five single-standing locations are muchloved. We’ve recently visited each to find out why.
AdriAnA’s on the hill
PICTURED BOTTOM LEFT: Adriana Fazio, owner of Adriana’s on the Hill, takes orders and chats with customers while the kitchen prepares Fazio’s traditional Italian recipes for eager customers.
When Gioia’s takes a day off, the first call is over to Adriana’s. The same formula works in reverse, as each sandwich shop sees a boom in business when the other is closed. That kind of family-like communication, the owners of Adriana’s say, is what makes their corner of South City special. Adriana’s is also special because of the restaurant’s namesake, Adriana Fazio. On most days, she’s the person taking your order and tendering your cash, conversing with regulars and snapping off directions to her crew, many of whom are relatives.
“Absolutely, our customers have an educated palate,” says the affable Fazio. “When we first opened, we almost had to tell them what to order. We emphasize our [Sicilian] heritage, so there are no cream sauces. It’s true to southern Italian cooking: Tomatoes, garlic and basil rule. We can’t get away from that. In the past 15 years, we’ve seen our customers become savvy; they know their cheeses, little things like that. And they know what kind of quality they’re going to get. While there’s nothing Italian about roast beef, we know how to put a little twist on our sandwiches.”
Even a sandwich as ordinary as tuna fish becomes a study in added vegetables and spices. It pops. Three of Fazio’s daughters mark time at Adriana’s, including Dianna Guimbarda, Tia Zanti and Suzanne Miramonti. Guimbarda says that it’s her mom’s traditional recipes – and plays on items like the tuna sandwich – that make the place stand out. “When we make our food, you know you’re eating something homemade,” Guimbarda says. “There’s nothing commercial in any way. It’s old
Sicilian rustic home cooking. Nothing fancy, but fantastic. Sicily’s a poor country; lots of people took over Sicily, many times. They’ve made the best of the land. We never serve cream sauces, only using olive oil. Our pastas and salads are only topped [with] olive oil, black pepper, salt and garlic. Everything’s balanced.” She continues, “People know that, and they buy into it. I know it has to do with my mom’s personality. There’s genuine care taken here. We teach our staff to be extremely cordial. We’ve been very blessed. When people come in, bring their children in, it’s because they know what goes into the food. And don’t let the line scare you. The food is worth waiting for, and you can actually make your lunch hour.” During a good lunch rush, the efficient, cozy kitchen at Adriana’s turns out a couple hundred sandwiches, served up to folks from down the block as well as those who’ve been bussed in from conventions and conferences. And when Fazio herself needs a break from Adriana’s, she heads across the neighborhood to Gioia’s Deli for a sandwich. “Nobody,” she says, “can beat their salam de testa.” 5101 Shaw Ave., The Hill, 314.773.3833 adrianasonthehill.com
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PICTURED TOP CENTER: Cathy Donley poses with her three sons (from left to right) Joseph, Brad and Alex Donley, who have been making hot salami together since Alex was 10 years old. The family bought Gioia’s in 1980.
Founded by the namesake Gioia family, The Hill’s Gioia’s Deli has been owned by the Donley clan since 1980. Owner Alex Donley oversees operations these days, having, “grown up in the business.” His main role, he feels, is keeping things simple and true to the original. “This place is much bigger than me, than my family,” Donley says. “It’s not accidental that the business has been around for so long. I honor it and get out [of] the way. We don’t change
anything. It doesn’t need change. Once, I changed the cheese brand, but only because I’d ordered it wrong. I had 15 people come up and yell at me about it. I have the best quality control in the city.” While Gioia’s has been located at Macklind and Daggett since 1918, an expansion could eventually come, whether that second location winds up in West County or Downtown. Those locations, Donley says, are where the deli’s hot salami food truck has made real inroads. Initially, he figured
the truck, which is run by his wife, Amanda, would be a loss leader, but a good way to introduce new customers to the traditional sandwiches the deli serves up at its home base; but to the family’s surprise and delight, the truck’s been routinely selling out. “Our whole goal with the truck was that it was a small investment, and we wanted to see if we could duplicate the deli,” he says, surveying his small storefront. “It’s hard to duplicate this, the
tradition of the room, the wooden floors. But it’s a way to introduce us to new markets. The food speaks for itself. It’s ultimately all about the hot salami, which is reassuring.” On The Hill, a long line regularly forms outside of Gioia’s, and it’s not uncommon to serve 500 sandwiches a day. “We can do [500 sandwiches] in four hours and not break a sweat,” Donley says. There is a time of year, though, when business dips. And that’s directly due to its location on The Hill, one that ordinarily provides Gioia’s with its biggest base of regulars. “We’re never actually slow,” Donley says. “But we are at our slowest during Lent. This is a pretty Catholic neighborhood.” Gioia’s linchpin offering is the hot salami, though the more recent Porknado (yes, named after the recent cult film Sharknado) has actually been the one sandwich to actually outpace the deli’s longtime best seller. He says that a sandwich may crack the regular menu from the weekly special list every few years, but the large, wall-sized menu above the deli’s sandwich counter is pretty much etched in stone. The Porknado, Donley says, almost conspiratorially, “might make the menu; it’s sold that well.” 1934 Macklind Ave., The Hill, 314.776.9410, gioiasdeli.com
Inspired Food Culture
PICTURED TOP RIGHT: Denise Vago
grew up working in the family business, Mom’s Deli. The popular sandwich shop was opened by her grandparents, Charles and Dolores Vago, in 1977. Denise now handles management duties at Mom’s.
Denise Vago says, with an evident hint of pride, that, “it’s great to work around your family on a daily basis.” The name of the operation Vago runs, Mom’s Deli, would suggest a family-friendly vibe, and that’s exactly what’s offered at this Lindenwood Park landmark, which was first opened by her grandparents in 1977. The founders, Charles and Dolores Vago, were succeeded by their son, also named Charles, his wife, Carol, and his brother Ron. Denise, who grew up in the
business, now handles the management duties, working from roughly 8am every morning until mid-afternoon, the Deli’s rare slow hours. The essentials of the business have changed very little over the years, with the sandwich counter the clear centerpiece. Like some of its contemporaries, Mom’s has consolidated the grocery arm of the business. Now, the shop sells mostly chips and sodas, though a variety of simple staples and Italian
favorites are sold inside the shop, which is located in a converted home on Jamieson Avenue.
and Dad’s Special (ham and beef); each comes stacked high with meats, cheeses and condiments.
The bulk of the deli’s robust sales come from the sandwich menu, headlined by the best seller, Mom’s Special. Featuring ham, turkey and beef, Mom’s Special paces sales most days, though the menu’s got plenty of favorites, including several named after Vago’s family members and partners: Charlie’s Special (turkey), Ron’s Special (salami)
The fare at Mom’s isn’t exactly health food, but if you suggest that to Vago, she’ll give you a good-natured reply. She understands the immediate connotation, but notes that the freshness of all the ingredients and the long-lasting fandom of her regulars, many of whom date back decades, have all thrived despite what seems like a half-pound of cheese generously offered on each sandwich (especially on the actual cheese sandwich, a veritable block of deliciousness). While most patrons order the meals in a straightforward to-go fashion, a few opt for the square picnic tables situated on the storefront’s compact patio. There, you can watch the traffic pass on bustling Jamieson, though a good number of those cars stop off for a sandwich at what’s long been a neighborhood destination. Three-and-a-half decades into its single-location existence, Mom’s is still winning awards, something that has never become boring to Vago or her family. She says, with a laugh, “We’re proud as heck to put those winning stickers on the front window. We love getting awards and good feedback. And when we don’t, we work right away to make things better.” 4412 Jamieson Ave., Lindenwood Park 314.644.1198, momsdeli.com
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LeGrand’s Market & CaterinG
PICTURED CENTER RIGHT: LeGrand’s co-owner Joe LeGrand weighs and cuts
meat for a customer from behind the shop’s deli case. PICTURED BOTTOM CENTER: The hardworking crew churn out sandwiches during the lunch rush.
LeGrand’s Market & Catering is tucked away in a section of St. Louis Hills that’s loaded with old-school St. Louis favorites including Ted Drewes and Donut Drive-In. LeGrand’s also skews classic all the way, with a full-service grocery store coupled with a long, bustling deli counter, which buzzes during its lunch and dinner hours. This is a family-owned-and-operated spot, with
multiple members of the LeGrand family taking part in operations. Bought in 1987 by brothers Jim and Joe LeGrand – then only 23 and 22 years old – the market hasn’t changed much over the years. The grocery arm of the business has decreased a bit, but the shop’s catering and deli businesses have grown exponentially since the ‘80s, with hundreds of sandwiches served during a cranked-up lunch rush.
An enthusiastic sort, Joe LeGrand says that, “the meat business is still wonderful. We sell lots of steaks and bratwurst. Our idea for the deli came when the other groceries starting selling less. We developed sports-themed sandwiches 20 years ago, adding tables and chairs in here.” That seating area, he says, now services the folks ordering, “about 600 sandwiches in one
Saturday lunch shift. It’s really wonderful. We’ll go through eight pans of ground beef, 40 steaks. Our bratwurst sales are 400 pounds a week, which is huge for a meat market our size.” Meats are obviously at the heart of LeGrand’s business, with on-staff butchers featured behind a long, handsome display case. But with changing tastes, the occasional vegetarian or seafood offering sneaks onto the menu. LeGrand says his family stays attuned to trends; for example, they’ve invested heavily in craft beer in recent years and have seen a profitable return. But that doesn’t mean that the classic vibe of the space is going anywhere. For example, LeGrand’s signage: Though no longer associated with the Tom Boy chain, the market’s still decorated with lots of old signage and references. That sense of history, of permanence, resonates with the spot’s hyper-local patrons. “We know ‘em by name,” LeGrand says with conviction. “When they hit the door, we’re making their sandwich. I have customers who come in and we change the radio station. I’ll put on some Dean Martin. We know these customers that well.” 4414 Donovan Ave., St. Louis Hills, 314.353.6128 legrandsmarket-catering.com
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Blues City Deli
PICTURED TOP RIGHT: Blues City Deli owner Vince Valenza surveys the action
from behind the counter at his popular sandwich shop. PICTURED BOTTOM RIGHT: The shop regularly serves lines that wrap around the building.
Vince “Vinnie” Valenza knows well the cycles of his cozy Benton Park restaurant, Blues City Deli. The 10-year-old sandwich mecca has long been a destination for people across the metro area, and they tend to arrive in predictable ways. It’s the locals – especially those who travel five or 10 minutes – who smartly arrive in the minutes just prior to the deli’s 11am opening. At that exact moment, the music is turned on, the door is unlocked and the line outside, usually a couple dozens deep, finally begins to move.
Of course, blues is the music you hear at Valenza’s spot. It’s on the PA most of the time, and only turned off when it’s played live inside the shop on Thursday nights and Saturday afternoons. Both gigs are elbowto-elbow situations, and if you’re shy about sharing a table, these are not the times to drop in. “It’s part of our theme,” the amiable Valenza says of the blues. “We’re the only blues deli on the planet, from what I hear. The blues family is a family in itself; it’s not just local; it goes across the country. There’s
a lot of networking going on and there are great touring bands that play here. Two hours of dirty blues music and roots music. People really respond to it.”
and quantity go hand in hand. Sometimes people try to cut corners. Here, we try not to do that. We offer a good product for a decent price.”
They also respond to the shop’s sandwiches, which are served almost to the tune of 600 a day, though it’s not unheard of to make 700 or even 800 on a really good day. “Consistency,” says Valenza, is the common theme of his fare. “We try to choose top-quality ingredients for each product line so that we can also offer the best price. Quality
Sandwiches are the rock of the Blues City Deli menu, but Chicago-style hot dogs and salads are also offered, and also sell well. Despite the volume produced, Blues City Deli’s kitchen is relatively small. Back there, no music ever plays so that the line cooks aren’t distracted by the series of intricate steps required to execute each order. “The team back here is good,” Valenza says, surveying the action. “It’s not an easy task, making this many sandwiches, of so many varieties. It’s intense. There’s not a lot of time for chit-chat. We value them. They’re just as much of an ingredient as anything.” Occasionally, a special cracks the permanent menu at Blues City, but that’s a rarity. Instead of churningand-burning the menu, it’s a lasting list centered on sandwiches made with turkey, tuna, pork and beef. “When you win an award, as we’ve been fortunate enough to have happen, it feels good,” Valenza says. “But when someone walks up and tells you they’ve enjoyed themselves, that tells you that you’re doing something right.” 2438 McNair Ave., Benton Park, 314.773.8225 bluescitydeli.com
of rick lewis
Written by Brandon Chuang
PhotograPhy by Jennifer Silverberg
OPPOSITE PAGE: Chef Rick Lewis casts a line for catfish. THIS PAGE: Lewis’ catch of the day
is transformed into blackened catfish with summer vegetable succotash and herb and butter sauce. See recipe on p. 59.
Rick Lewis wants to have a sLeepoveR. This is adorable if you’re, say, a 12-year-old kid. But Lewis is no 12-year-old kid. Rick Lewis is a 31-year-old adult man. To be fair, Lewis is an adorable 31-year-old man: big and cuddly, with a cherubic face swathed in a bushy red-and-brown-flecked beard. It sort of makes him look like a friendly raccoon character that would be drawn up in a Disney movie. You know, the kind that wins accolades for being the best chef in St. Louis and garners nominations from the James Beard Foundation. And regardless of what you think about the fictitious animated character comparison, one thing’s for certain: Lewis’ invitation for a sleepover is 100 percent genuine.
“You want to get to know who I am?” he asks. “This is how you get to know who I am.”
“I enjoyed the Idea of workIng for my famIly and myself.”
If we’re being completely honest, no one cared who Rick Lewis was 12 months ago. Having formerly cooked under acclaimed chef Josh Galliano at Monarch restaurant in Maplewood, the young cook was always hidden behind the celebrity shadow of his boss. So when the beloved restaurant shuttered for good in 2012, the only person whose next step was on diners’ minds was Galliano. “After Monarch closed, I received a variety of offers,” explains Lewis about life A.G. (After Galliano). “Each of them was very flattering and tempting in its own way, but I wasn’t interested in working for someone else.” So what Lewis did was go to work at Quincy Street Bistro, taking on the role of executive chef at the South City pub-and-grub owned by his then fiancée’s parents, Mike and Sue Enright. “I enjoyed the idea of working for my family and myself,” Lewis explains. “Seeing [my wife] Elisa more and spending time working with her; I was glad to have the opportunity.” To say that Quincy Street Bistro in the fall of 2012, when Lewis took over the kitchen, is different from Quincy Street Bistro today is… accurate. Back then, the establishment had comfortably nestled itself into its identity within the neighborhood. To its fans, Quincy Street was a friendly blue-collar eatery, churning out wings, burgers and various other breaded and fried accoutrements to the inexpensive domestic beer that was being slung behind the bar. Upon his arrival, Lewis immediately set out to change all that. And as his tenure at the restaurant grew longer, so did his prep list for the kitchen. “When I first came here, my goal was to make sure we were doing everything fresh; no cans,” remembers Lewis. “Those first few months, we had quite a few people complain. They said the green beans weren’t cooked enough.” Slowly overcoming the growing pains of his first and only executive chef position, Lewis began transforming the Quincy Street menu into one that reflected his style of cooking: fresh ingredients; everything made from scratch; just honest, comfortable food. Industry professionals quickly took notice, gobbling up valuable bar space on their days off to nosh on Lewis’ food. The rest of St. Louis lagged a bit behind. Then 2014 happened.
PICTURED ABOVE: Local vegetable salad made with shaved garden vegetables, herbs and black pepper and feta dressing. PICTURED RIGHT: Chef Rick Lewis begins plating the salad with the black pepper and feta dressing.
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Inspired Food Culture
In January of this year, Ian Froeb, the restaurant critic for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, crowned the newspaper’s very first “Chef of the Year.” The choice would seemingly be a no-brainer. For years, if you asked anyone in the restaurant profession who the best chefs were in the city of St. Louis, you’d get a quick, practically automated response: “Gerard (Craft), Josh (Galliano) and the Kevins (Nashan and Willmann, respectively).” Certainly, most assumed, especially for the very first year, it would be someone from this list. It wasn’t. “Lewis didn’t try to make Quincy Street Bistro anything more than a neighborhood joint serving hearty comfort food,” Froeb wrote in the paper’s announcement. “What he did do – and why we’re naming him our inaugural chef of the year – is try to make Quincy Street Bistro the very best neighborhood joint serving hearty comfort food that it could be.” As if that weren’t enough, literally a month later, from a dais in Orlando, the James Beard Foundation announced that Lewis was a semifinalist for Rising Star Chef of the Year. Simply put, one of the most venerated committees of food judges on the planet felt that Rick Lewis was one of the 25 best young chefs in the country. And just like that, you needed a reservation to get into Quincy Street. On a Thursday. With all these accolades coming in, you’d presume Lewis to have an impressive culinary pedigree – kind of like how U.S. presidents have a predisposition for attending Ivy League schools. It’s expected. But Lewis didn’t hone his craft in fancy schools; he never stepped foot into the kitchen classrooms of Hyde Park. He simply stepped foot into kitchens. “I don’t think you can learn to have drive and determination, a willingness to get your ass kicked every night, in a classroom,” explains Lewis about his culinary training. “I wouldn’t say that my path is the right one, but you have to figure out what will work for you.” Rick Lewis’ culinary path began at the feet of his mother. As a 5-year-old growing up in Sunset Hills, Lewis would insist that Sharon Lewis pull up a stepstool for her son and teach him how to cook. After high school, he got his first restaurant job at Dulany’s, a local bar and grill up the street from where he lived. (“I told the owner, Ron, I didn’t know how to cook in a restaurant, but I enjoyed cooking and was a hard worker,” Lewis says.) Following Dulany’s, Lewis moved on to the Italian eatery LoRusso’s Cucina, making his way in as a prep cook and beginning his true education into what it takes to be a chef.
fresh ingredients; everything made from scratch; just honest, comfortable food.
PICTURED ABOVE: Mussels with hot links steamed in local beer and served with grilled toast. PICTURED RIGHT: Chef Rick Lewis prepares the mussels and links in the kitchen at Quincy Street Bistro.
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“The first time I met Rich LoRusso, I said, ‘What’s up man, I’m Rick.’ Rich responded, ‘Man? My own son doesn’t call me man.’ From there on out, I only replied ‘yes sir’ or ‘yes chef.’” As his knowledge and experience became more complete, Lewis sought more; more styles of cooking, more techniques and preparations. Hearing that food demi-god Larry Forgione was opening a restaurant in St. Louis and that Josh Galliano would be steering the ship, Lewis made his move. “Josh gave me the opportunity to stage at An American Place, and I was determined to get a position under him. The professionalism of [the restaurant] intimidated me. I felt that in order to get a job there, I would have to cook faster and better than the guy next to me.” Lewis eventually earned a spot working for Galliano, who exposed the still-green chef to new levels of culinary expertise. “When Josh lent me Michel Bras’ Essential Cuisine was when I knew I wanted to cook for a living,” Lewis says. “I was inspired by the uniqueness and creativity in the pictures. Even though I didn’t have the skills yet, Essential Cuisine showed me the possibilities that cooking offered.” Continuing to work under Galliano – first at An American Place, then at Monarch – Lewis made sure to continue his training. Think of it as a perverse, down-and-dirty version of culinary home schooling, where he read, watched and devoured information with gluttonous velocity. “I’m always wanting to learn more,” explains Lewis about his approach to food. “I want to know how to do stuff just to do stuff. For example, I don’t really do spherification, but I wanted to make sure I knew how. If I don’t get it right the first time, I’ll keep at it until I do.” GONE FISHIN’ WITH RICK LEWIS If you’ve never gone camping with Rick Lewis, you may want to try it. I say this to you in the same vein that I tell people to visit the Arch when in St. Louis or the Empire State Building in New York – everyone should do it once. Lewis’ plan for a sleepover has evolved into a full-on camping expedition, chock-full of setting up tents, working for our food and purposefully sleeping outdoors, on the ground, in 100-degree heat. The goal for this trip: catch catfish, eat catfish. Having a trained chef on the trip is apparent right off the bat, as Lewis unpacks a 12-inch high-carbon steel chef’s knife alongside the food supplies he’s brought with him. Pickles (“They just taste good with catfish”), Crystal’s Hot Sauce (“duh”), jalapeños, onion, corn and tomatoes to create a rustic maque choux for the side (“It’s going to be delicious”) and cans of Busch beer. (“Whiskey is too dangerous in this heat, right? Dammit, I should’ve brought whiskey too.”) Once camp is set up, Lewis and I head out on the river to catch catfish. The outdoor-loving chef has brought with him a trotline, which is basically a long line with hooks every three or so feet apart. Our objective, Lewis tells me, is to paddle out to the middle of the river and anchor PICTURED ABOVE: Buttonwood Farms chicken straight from the fryer. PICTURED RIGHT: The Pastrami Gone-A-Rye sandwich with pastrami, bread-and-butter pickled cabbage, Thousand Island dressing and Gruyère on toasted rye.
As his knowledge And experience becAme more complete, lewis sought more; more styles of cooking, more techniques And prepArAtions.
Inspired Food Culture
“I want to elevate the food even more over tIme, but stIll keep our neIghborhood In mInd.”
one end of the trotline – in our case, to a felled tree that’s jutting halfway out of the water. We make our way to the tree, and Lewis ties off the trotline as I steady our canoe by holding on to the trunk. The current is strong. Turning back, I see Lewis – shirtless and grinning – as he carefully baits each hook with a small fish. As he finishes each one, he gently places it into the water. “The current should take the line,” he explains. After 40 or so minutes, Lewis finishes by tying a weight to the end of the trotline. More than 100 feet of baited line has been let out the starboard side of the boat, and the plan now is to drift downstream with the current. Once we’ve reached the end of the line, the weight will tip over the side of the canoe, anchoring both ends and creating an impenetrable buffet line of bait. Voilà, catfish for days. I release the trunk and we begin floating downstream. Ten feet later, the weight spills over the side. “Goddammit.” It seems the plan didn’t go as planned. Instead of the current leading the trotline downstream in a proud beam of possibilities, it tangled it up into a giant ball of bait. We’ve been on the river, exposed to the heat and humidity of the Missouri summer, for nearly two hours. “Screw it,” Lewis says, “there’s still bait on it, right? Let’s see if it works.” We return to camp. Starving, we set out for something to eat at one of Lewis’ favorite places in the area, an old-school burger and ice cream parlor unfortunately named Dar-E-Kreme. “These are the best burgers ever,” explains Lewis as we order Double Jumbos. I notice there’s no such thing on the menu. As we sit and eat, he analyzes our earlier adventure. It’s at this time that he tells me he’s never set a trotline before. “Wait, never?” “Never,” he admits. “I’ve seen it done. I’ve helped people do it, but I’ve never set one myself.” This seems like the kind of thing one would be prepared for, maybe practice, before bringing a journalist on such a trip. “I figured we’d give it a try and see what happens.” Apparently trotlines are simply nature’s version of spherification for Lewis. Returning to camp, we grab some Busch cans and set out to uncover the spoils of our efforts. The result: one angry turtle. Lewis declares the plan a failure and proceeds to bring the trotline in. Back at the site, we drink beers as Lewis tells me of his childhood. He tells me how he grew up loving the outdoors, running around hunting, fishing and
generally running amok in the nature conservatory that acted as his backyard. He tells me how he loved growing small gardens with his family, a precursor to the gigantic one he keeps on the two acres that are his front yard – its sole purpose to fuel the beast that is the Quincy Street kitchen. “You have to grow at that scale if you want to be a viable source for a restaurant,” he explains. More stories. More Busch. As the night grows darker, I notice that Lewis has been inadvertently tasking us with cleaning the trotline from earlier. He’s resetting the line. He’s going back out there. “I want to do it again,” he admits. “I want to catch some fish.” I, on the other hand, want to sit here, in this comfortable chair, underneath this comfortable canopy. Unlike Lewis, I am no outdoorsman. But Lewis is undeterred, setting off into the quiet, lantern and trotline in tow, this time without me. An hour later, he returns. “I think we did it this time.” Even more stories. Even more Busch. As we drink, Lewis shares his goals with me. He wants to continue building on Quincy Street Bistro’s success at delivering honest, approachable food. He wants to continue building on his own personal successes as a chef. In other words, Lewis is having an awesome time, and he simply wants it all to continue.
An inTROducTiOn TO Quincy STReeT biSTRO
InSTrucTor: rIck LewIS Based on the year Rick Lewis is having, pretty much everyone has been in to eat at Quincy Street Bistro. For you few remaining holdouts, here are the top-five signature items on the menu as reported by the brain behind them. The souThsideR: “it’s a fried bologna sammich, which i feel is the epitome of Southside childhood lunches. i thought if we could make a badass one, then it would be felt and remembered by people who grew up eating them.” The hog BuRgeR: “it’s a blend of beef, pork and house-cured bacon, which is then seasoned with creole spices and topped with pimento cheese and caramelized onions. basically, i wanted to end the debate about who has the best burger in town.” smoked hog head RavioLi: “i wanted to take something that’s very much St. Louis (i.e. toasted ravioli) and make it different and fantastic with a kind of Argentinian barbecue thing going on (i.e. chimichurri and shaved fennel salad).” gLazed meaTLoaf: “i ate a lot of meatloaf as a kid, and as it happened, Quincy Street bistro had it on the original menu. As i started to streamline the menu, i thought it fit in perfectly with the comfort food theme i was going for. So i made it the way i like it, with lots of seasoning, smoked pork and love.” BLackened caTfish: “people in our neighborhood love catfish, and i grew up eating and fishing for it. To me, it just made sense to serve at the restaurant.”
“In a year, we’ve taken a struggling restaurant to a place where people are excited to come eat,” Lewis notes. “Our regulars are trying new things, and our staff is learning more. I want to elevate the food even more over time, but still keep our neighborhood in mind. I want to make simple, fun food that reflects my personality and what’s in season.” It is now nearly 3am. The Busch has taken its toll. Lewis, ever the gracious host, has made up our tent. Peeking in, I see one giant blanketed bed with two pillows and a throw. Apparently, tonight the role of Lewis’ wife will be played by me. Lewis prepares himself for a good night’s sleep, washing up and entering the tent first. Finishing my own nightly rituals, I step into the tent and over Lewis. Lying down, I turn to face the man that everyone in St. Louis is so amped about right now. I figure I can get in a few more questions; maybe some bedside confessional about what it’s like dealing with all this unforeseen buzz, or how he stays competitive with his colleagues who have far more technical schooling than he ever will. But alas, my questions are answered with light snoring. Ricky Raccoon is fast asleep, visions of catfish dancing in his head.
meet chef Rick Lewis and the team at Quincy street Bistro and watch Lewis demo dishes and share his creative process in the september episode of Feast TV. picTuRed LeFT: Chef Rick Lewis carries meat from the Quincy Street Bistro kitchen to the
restaurant’s outdoor cooler. picTuRed RiGhT: Lewis enjoys going on hunting and fishing trips. Here, he casts a line in the hopes of catching some Missouri catfish.
ALL cATFiSh, nO KiTchen
Sometimes, especially if you’re Rick Lewis, a kitchen isn’t always handy. So in a Feast first, here’s the James beard Foundation’s semifinalist’s recipe for cooking catfish when your prep situation is more cookout than cooktop. Lewis recommends serving this campfire-perfect dish with summer vegetable succotash, bread-and-butter pickles and hot sauce. See photo on p. 51. Recipe by Rick Lewis
Serves | “Depends on the size of the
catfish you just caught.” |
1 1 1 ½ ½ ½ 2
freshly caught flathead catfish can Busch beer Tbsp granulated garlic Tbsp freshly ground black pepper tsp kosher salt cup cornmeal cup corn starch cups masa flour vegetable oil
| Preparation | First, go catch yourself some nice flathead catfish. Then, while it’s still alive, cut off the tail and let the catfish bleed out for 30 minutes. Once done, fillet and cut the fish into ½-inch
chunks. place catfish chunks into a Ziploc bag and pour beer over it. Add granulated garlic, black pepper and salt. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until you’re ready to cook. in a Ziploc bag, combine cornmeal, corn starch and masa flour to form a breading mixture. Set aside. in a dutch oven over a campfire, heat vegetable oil to 375°F. Remove catfish from marinade and place fish inside the Ziploc bag filled with breading mixture. Shake until evenly coated. Fry in a pan over medium heat until golden brown. Serve with summer vegetable succotash, bread-and-butter pickles and hot sauce.
Inspired Food culture
meat + carbs
The Mud houSe
= Slinger SlingerS SlingerS! S Written by Bethany Christo, Shannon Cothran, Liz Miller and Andrew Mark Veety
photography by Jennifer Silverberg
the slinger is the stuff of
gooD timeS and baD DeciSionS ionS; a culinary car crash of a dish that is best when staggering sideways between gratuitous nightcap and required hangover remedy. although the slinger occupies prime real estate on breakfast menus across St. Louis, its creation story is largely lost to our collective history. instead, the slinger – at its core an amalgamation of potato, chili, egg, cheese and protein – is something that just is; a beloved local monument and testament to what can literally be slung together on a plate and served unto the masses. While the slinger as we know it today is undeniably a St. Louis original, its provenance can be traced back to the same gene pool that gave western new york the garbage plate, gave heaping mounds of Five-way Cincinnati Chili to the buckeye State, gave spicy chilaquiles topped with cheese and shredded meat to Mexico, and to Canada, a mass of gravy-soaked potatoes and cheese curds affectionately known as poutine. each is a member of the same family tree, and each highlights the inherent genius of a simple concept; namely, that the development of delicious delivery systems for copious quantities of filling carbohydrates is a most excellent thing. With an appreciative nod to its pedigree, we also note with pride that the slinger is inextricably linked to the gateway City. Much like St. Louis’ relationship with provel – the cheese that tops our namesake style of pizza
– the slinger requires an immersion in our fair city to truly and honestly “get it.” For some, acceptance takes the larger part of a lifetime; for others, it is seemingly instantaneous. For anyone who has called St. Louis home, the slinger is a rite of passage, a badge of honor customized a hundred different ways, each version as soul-satisfyingly tasty as the next. to pay tribute to the slinger is to pay homage to one another: blissfully winding down a Friday night, laughing as friends barely hold onto worn diner counters, sunglassed and sipping on strong coffee the morning after, returning to St. Louis after time away, or as a last meal before passing the arch and moving on to other places. the slinger is the humble, everyday story of us, adorned with an unapologetic smattering of yellow mustard and extra jalapeños, if you please. hungry for more? grab a fork and join us as we dig into five of our favorite classic slingers as well as five modern takes of this St. Louis treasure. – Andrew Mark Veety eat-rite Diner the powers family, owners of eat-rite diner near busch Stadium, claim slingers began in their diners. they’re just not exactly sure when. “We started serving slingers around 1985,” tina powers says. “Customers started ordering it – ‘hey, put a scoop of chili on that.’” “it was at the Fenton store in the ‘70s,” counters her brother, david powers. “a truck driver from texas came in and ordered chili on his eggs, and it evolved from there. two waitresses started saying ‘sling
it’ to the cooks instead of explaining that the whole order included chili, cheese and onions. Slingers started at eat-rite. o.t. hodges tried to copy it, but they were second to eat-rite.” eat-rite is a fiercely loved family business: tina and david work at their father’s diner. Lewis powers opened his first restaurant in St. Louis in 1957 on Manchester road called rock hill diner. there were once several eat-rite diners across the city and county. now, the single downtown location is the only sit-down restaurant open 24/7 in the neighborhood. the diner serves the same slinger recipe it always has. “it’s a breakfast,” says patriarch Lewis powers. “it’s meat, eggs and potatoes covered with chili, american cheese and raw yellow onions. you can have hamburger, bacon, sausage or ham, but 99 percent are made with sausage. Most of the waitresses don’t even ask customers what meat. they just ask ‘em how they want their eggs. “it’s two patties of whole-hog sausage that we use. Most of the time, people order over-easy eggs. the potatoes are hash browns – we make our own. We boil potatoes, peel ‘em, cool ‘em off and then grate ‘em. We do all that by hand.” Inspired Food Culture
the slinger: a Culinary Car “Old school,” Tina adds. “A lady was asking me that yesterday. She said, ‘I thought you got that out of a bag.’ I said, ‘No, this is the real thing.’” The slinger “is our best seller,” Lewis says, “especially at night. That’s about the only breakfast we serve at night.” David adds, “Them slingers almost got a cult following. It’s a tradition, a rite of passage. Every college kid has to come in and have a slinger the first time they go drinking.” – Shannon Cothran 622 Chouteau Ave., LaSalle Park, 314.621.9621
with playful mid-century boomerangs. Each weekend, from the early morning until midday, guests of the Tower Grove and Grand Center locations can be found hovering over plates of pancakes, spectacular corned beef hash and the diner’s own take on the slinger. The dish starts with City Diner’s hash browns: a bed of grated potatoes that have been caramelized on a flattop griddle. The result is a hash brown with fluffy insides that stands in stark contrast to a delicious exterior that stays crisp from the first bite to the last – it is no small feat for the onslaught that resides above it. A potent combination of savory sausage patties and sunnyside-up eggs come next, sandwiched between
City Diner In a town full of beloved greasy spoons and breakfast spots, there is really only one City Diner. The original location on South Grand is well-worn, yet somehow becomes cozier with each passing year and hits all the right notes that you’d expect from a classic American diner; kitsch and vintage Americana cover the walls and sleek Formica tabletops are adorned
potatoes and a generous ladleful of meat-andbean chili that is more sweet than spicy, with a thin tomato sauce that oozes into each and every nook and cranny it can find as it settles over this mass of food. Copious amounts of sharp yellow Cheddar cheese top the dish, providing a formidable platform for layering on toppings – a healthy slug of hot sauce, a fist-full of raw white onion, slices of jalapeño peppers and the kicker: a meandering trail of yellow mustard over the whole package. Judge if you must, but when we are digging into a slinger, pretty much anything and everything goes. Trust us: It’s just that good. – A.M.V. Multiple locations, citydinerstl.com
Courtesy Diner Larry Rugg, owner of Courtesy Diner with three locations across the city and county, hasn’t had a slinger in about six months. It’s not that he doesn’t enjoy slingers – they’re delicious, he says – it’s just that Rugg’s stomach has gotten older since he bought Courtesy Diner in 1998. “The college kids burn stuff off so quickly that the bulk of a slinger doesn’t bother them a bit,” he says. “We get a lot of people in their 30s or 40s who order ‘em too, but I’d say half of ‘em go out to college kids. “The Hampton location is right between Washington University and Saint Louis University, and we just sell a ton of ‘em at night on third shift. Especially when the bars close, we get inundated. That usually starts around 2:30am and goes to about 4:30am, where they just come out of the woodwork.” Courtesy’s slinger, Rugg explains, “is basically two eggs however you want ‘em cooked, hash browns, hamburger
crash Of a Dish patties and chili served with toast. They put it out served on a platter, so they put a bed of hash browns down, and the hamburger on top of that, and the two eggs on top of that, and then it’s all covered with chili. And then most people get shredded cheese and onion on top.” Adventurous eaters can go one step further and try Courtesy’s Super Slinger, the diner’s slinger made with either a soft tamale or fried burrito under the chili. “Not too many people do that because the slinger itself is pretty filling, so you’d have to have a big appetite,” Rugg says. If even the regular slinger sounds like a bit too much, Courtesy offers the Devil’s Delight, which is a slinger without the hamburger patties. “We sell quite a few of those, too, but the slinger outsells the Devil’s Delight 5-to-1,” Rugg says. – S.C. Multiple locations, courtesydiner.com Tiffany’s Original Diner Twenty years ago, Greg Winchell took over ownership and operations of Morgan’s, a small greasy spoon on Manchester Avenue in Maplewood. The diner was named after the former owner’s daughter, and after a few years, Winchell decided to rename it after his own daughter, Tiffany. A lot has changed at the diner in the past two decades – new menu items have been added, renovations have updated the 635-square-foot interior and, most recently, Winchell began serving beer, cocktails and boozy coffee drinks. On weekends, one or two musicians perform in the diner’s small front window. But at least one thing has remained the same at Tiffany’s: the St. Louis slinger. “People come from other cities – even other countries – and stop at Tiffany’s,” says the diner’s manager Dan Crowley. “It’s bizarre, but it’s cool. If they’re coming through town, it’s not surprising for someone to stop and order a slinger.” Sitting at one of the diner’s 18 counter stools, guests have a front-row view of the open grill, where Crowley and crew methodically prepare its roster of breakfast and lunch items, though none is more popular – especially with late-night customers – than the slinger. At Tiffany’s, they begin with hash browns (“They always take the longest to cook on the grill,” Crowley says) followed by meat – your choice of bacon, sausage, hamburger or ham – then eggs, all covered in the diner’s housemade chili, made fresh every day with beef, beans and chili sauce with toast on the side. “It’s all timing, especially when you’ve got a full house,” Crowley says. “If they want to add onions or American cheese or heated Cheddar, we do that. We make it to order the way they like it.” Although the St. Louis slinger is the most popular, Tiffany’s has served two other variations of the slinger for the past 10 years: the Toby, which replaces chili with housemade white sausage gravy – the dish is named for a regular who requested the option – and the Yin-Yang, which plates the slinger with both gravy and chili, and was created by another Tiffany’s manager,
Tom Grey. “Gravy and chili, the light and the dark – it’s not too philosophically deep, but that’s why he named it Yin-Yang,” Crowley says. “I would say the Yin-Yang would be the favorite of the inhouse people because it’s a little of both.” - Liz Miller 7402 Manchester Road, Maplewood 314.644.0929, tiffanysdiner.com WhiTe KnighT Diner For more than 60 years, the small, castle-shaped White Knight Diner at the corner of Olive and North 18th streets has been serving Downtown St. Louis breakfast and lunch. Inside, the familyowned diner spans only a sparse 600 square feet, with six counter stools, a few diminutive booths and tables and chairs. But from the outside, the diner is hard to miss, not only because of its vaguely Medieval architecture, but also because of the large American flags (one painted on, the other hanging in) its windows. Around the side of the building, near its small parking lot, a painted sign promises, “One Taste and You’re Hooked.” The White Knight keeps tidy hours – it’s open Monday through Friday from 6am to 6pm and on Saturdays from 7am to 1:30pm – and only serves breakfast until 10:30am on weekdays (breakfast is served “all day” on Saturdays). Sectioned off on its breakfast menu, under the header “Customer Creations,” is where you’ll find the Super Slinger.
An evening to benefit babies and families.
September 11 at the Ritz-Carlton 6 p.m. Contact Stacy Abeles: 314-513-9955 marchofdimes.org/missouri Enticing culinary creations from St. Louis’ top chefs along with distinctive, one-of-a-kind auction items!
Catherine Neville Emcee
Annie Gunn’s, Boone Valley Golf Club, Café Napoli, Chaumette Vineyards & Winery, Gamlin Whiskey House, Gregory’s Creative Cuisine, Herbie’s Vintage ` 72, Home Wine Kitchen, Il Bel Lago, J. Buck’s Restaurant, Juniper, LoRusso’s Cucina, Oceano Bistro, Old Warson Country Club, Prasino, Scape, Sub Zero Vodka Bar, The Racquet Club Ladue, The Ritz-Carlton, Truffles
All of the signature slinger components are in play – a bed of shredded hash browns topped with a hamburger patty, two eggs cooked to order and two slices of American cheese all doused in chili and served with toast – but White Knight spices up its Super Slinger with the addition of button mushrooms, strips of red and green bell peppers and onion. “The slinger appeals to two crowds: work-hard or play-hard,” says Lee Hinds, business manager of White Knight. “The play-hards are our late-night crowd. The work-hards are our breakfast crowd, who don’t usually get to take off for lunch. This is a mountain of a plate though, so it lasts them until dinner.” - Bethany Christo and L.M. 1801 Olive St., Downtown St. Louis 314.621.5949, facebook.com/ whiteknightdiner rOOsTer If one were to search the topography of slinger culture in St. Louis for an outlier, it would have to be the example served by David Bailey’s hip breakfast restaurant, Rooster, with locations Downtown and slated to open this month on South Grand. Bailey’s take on the St. Louis
Inspired Food Culture
The slinGer PAYs hoMAGe To sTl classic lurks (or bides its time, perhaps?) among a menu of savory crêpes and egg dishes, waiting to unleash a payload of hearty slices of toasted bread, crisp breakfast potatoes, spicy Andouille sausage, eggs and sausage gravy upon willing diners. If the take on a beloved standard sounds a bit fancier than normal, that’s because it is, unabashedly so, even. However, the key to the slinger at Rooster isn’t so much in the perceived airs it puts on, as it is the attention that Bailey has paid to the details. Instead of flattening out and running for the edges of the plate like most slingers, this one stands proud, each element stacked atop the next, giving eaters an appreciative peek at what resides underneath each layer of this glorious mess. Potatoes are sliced into substantial chunks and sport a crust that is golden brown and delicious. Slices of Andouille stand in for the more traditional hamburger patty and add a hit of garlic and smoke to the dish. (The addition is tasty, but one would be tempted to ponder for a moment what kind of voodoo would transpire if Bailey imported a few of his top-shelf patties from nearby burger joint Baileys’ Range for this already hefty breakfast.) Finally, expertly fried eggs come standard, complete with bright yellow yolks that casually mingle and mix with the slingers’ coating of creamy sausage gravy with each swipe of your fork, though that should be required of any St. Louis slinger – nay, breakfast. – A.M.V.
gold potatoes that are roasted with fresh thyme,” Lansangan begins, stopping to accentuate the words “roasted” and “thyme” like a sensual food commercial voice-over. “Next, we put our vegetarian black bean chili on top. Then, white Cheddar, thinly sliced red onions, two sunny-side-up eggs and toast [on] the side. We sell so many, and when I actually sit down to eat one, I’m like, ‘Wow, this is really good!’ “It’s a good combination of flavors because you’ve got the crispy, herby, roasty potatoes. It’s a medium chili with some good spice to it – cumin, red pepper – and then the white Cheddar gives it a tang. I really like the raw onions. They’re a counterpart to the chili, a little bit of crunch. Then when you cut open the eggs, it makes a nice sauce. If you want to get fancy, I like to put a little bit of our Truffle Dip on the side.”
“The bottom layer is Yukon
2101 Cherokee St., Cherokee Business District, 314.776.6599 themudhousestl.com dressel’s Public house Yes, Derek Roe, executive chef of Dressel’s Public House in the Central West End, uses Yukon Gold potatoes for the fried potatoes in his slinger. Yes, he tops each one with hand-formed sausage patties made with pork from picturesque Reckamp Farm in Wright City, Missouri.
And, of course, the slinger is topped with local, farm-fresh eggs and sour cream. It’s even covered with a custom threecheese blend of Swiss, Provel and aged white Cheddar and finished with pickled peppers from Such and Such Farm in Desoto. But Roe’s slingers are special because of one not-so-secret weapon: his chili. “As per the usual with the slinger, we’re gonna drench that in chili,” Roe says. But not just any chili – homemade chili from scratch that changes depending on Roe’s mood. “We use Ridgley [Farms] beef in our chili. Our cows are lean so the meat has a steak-y flavor. I usually do more than one bean in it; right now it’s a black bean and kidney bean chili. I like the texture of more than one bean. It’s spiced with cumin; I throw some coriander in there. We’ll use fresh poblanos and a purée I make out of dried anchos for that chocolaty flavor. I like to use as many as I can without making it godawful hot. I like the range of heats and how they attack your tongue. I cook it all day long. I think that’s really important to get a deep flavor. We’ll cook it probably eight hours.” Roe attempts to present as many different flavor profiles as he can in each dish he serves, “without it being over the top or muddled or confusing.” With the slinger, he’s been able to reach this goal. “In this dish,” he says, “you have the fried potatoes that are the foil, the foundation, earthy. The sausage is slightly sweet from local sorghum. The chili gives you a zip from the heat. The farm egg is gonna crack open and give you a sauce. And the pickled peppers punch through to give you some relief from all that, and then the cooling effect of the sour cream – there’s a lot going on.” – S.C.
Multiple locations roosterstl.com The Mud house (see photo on p. 60) When the Mud House’s chef Tara Lansangan starts talking about her menu, you can’t help but get as excited as she is. The Mud House’s slinger has been on its menu for about two years and is one of the café’s top three sellers for a reason: Though this vegetarian version of the classic St. Louis slinger is rich and hearty as-is, customers can also order it with pork.
And don’t worry, meat eaters: You can get bacon or ham on it, too. “We have Geisert Farms pork. Our bacon is Wenneman’s; it’s thick-cut; it’s really good,” she continues. Everything served at The Mud House is made from scratch using quality ingredients that are locally sourced whenever possible. “I think it’s the kind of slinger that you could start your day with instead of ending the day after drinking,” Lansangan says. ”It’s not a greasy slinger; it’s a good, hearty breakfast.” – S.C.
419 N. Euclid Ave., Central West End, 314.361.1060 dresselspublichouse.com souThwesT diner There is only one place in St. Louis where you can order a slinger “Christmas style,” and that is at Southwest Diner in Maplewood. “That’s a northern New Mexico term,” says co-owner Jonathan Jones. “There,
everybody knows what you’re talking about. It’s very hyper-regional.” Jones and co-owner Anna Sidel melded that hyper-regional Southwestern cuisine with a St. Louis tradition when they concocted their slinger before opening the diner in 2012. “We start with our home fries, which are red potatoes that we boil, chop and deep fry,” Jones says. “Those are topped with shredded Longhorn cheese, a colby cheese. That’s melted in a cheese melter. We take two quarter-pound burgers, which we do diner-style – we smash them on the flattop. On top of the burgers, we go with our chile sauce, which is a New Mexican chile pepper sauce. After the sauces, we add two eggs cooked any style.” Diners can choose from the red or green sauces; the red is made with sun-dried chile pods, and the green is made with the same chiles, but fresh ones. “They’re not allowed to over-ripen,” Jones explains. “At our establishment, the red is spicier because that’s what we can get in St. Louis. In New Mexico, the green is usually spicier, but they’re both pretty spicy.” Diners can also order Christmas, which plates both red and green sauces. In place of the sauces, Southwest offers its slingers with housemade sausage gravy. “It’s really rich and delicious with lots of fresh herbs and spices,” Jones says.
Benton Park Café When Jessica Lenzen was a kid, her father would bake homemade biscuits using a simple and standard biscuit recipe, save one ingredient: Instead of milk, Lenzen’s father poured Budweiser beer into the batter. Six years ago, when Lenzen opened Benton Park Café, she made sure her father’s beer biscuits were prominently featured in several breakfast dishes, including the BP Slinger. The kitchen bakes its beer biscuits fresh every day, which serve as the foundation for Benton Park’s slinger, according to the café’s general manager Nicole Costello. “We break one biscuit in half on the plate, add two pieces of American cheese, two over-easy eggs, sausage gravy and top it off with a couple of slices of bacon,” Costello says. “We make the gravy a little spicier; it’s a traditional white gravy base, and we add spices to give it a little kick.” The restaurant offers turkey bacon as an option to substitute for pork, though Costello is quick to note that it’s not intended as a healthier option when ordered with the slinger. “It a good option if you want to mix and match flavors,” she says. “But no matter what you do, that slinger is not going to be healthy. If you’re coming in to eat healthy, you’re probably not going to go for the slinger.” When the BP slinger arrives at your table, it’s plated sort of like eggs Benedict – sturdy biscuits rest on bottom, with cheese, eggs and bacon stacked in a neat tower that’s drenched in gravy – but tastes like something closer to biscuits and gravy. “If you want the comfort of biscuits and gravy but still want the runny eggs on Saturday or Sunday morning, it’s a good option,” Costello says.
“St. Louis diners are expected to do a slinger,” he continues. “It’s one of those quirky sorts of St. Louis things, so we knew we had to do one. Most slingers would have Texas chili or chili with beans. We took that idea and use our chile sauces so it’s a New Mexican twist on it. It tastes like if you took a spicy burger-andfries plate and deconstructed it and put it on a platter. It all ties together.” – S.C.
Despite the restaurant’s lengthy and diverse breakfast and lunch options, Costello singles out the slinger as one of the café’s long-standing best-selling items, especially on Fridays and Saturdays, when the restaurant is open 24 hours. “We have regulars that come in for the slinger all the time,” Costello says. “It’s definitely one of our most popular items. The slinger is so heavy and the beer biscuits are so dense, and you kind of get a little bit of everything.” – L.M.
6803 Southwest Ave., Maplewood, 314.260.7244 southwestdinerstl.com
1900 Arsenal St., Benton Park, 314.771.7200 bentonparkcafe.com
Grab slingers at Tiffany’s Original Diner, The Mud House and Southwest Diner in the September episode of Feast TV. Inspired Food Culture
Written by Ian Froeb
Photography by Cheryl Waller
the evolution of st. louis’ perennial artisan ales Beer geeks crowd the tasting room at Perennial Artisan Ales, those who’ve already been served slowly making way for those still waiting. They sniff the contents of their glasses, swirl and sniff again and, eventually, sip.
As if a black Berliner weisse weren’t strange enough, Wymore and Jarnit-Bjergo have also made the truly odd addition of loomi, or black lime, a spice traditionally made from limes that have been boiled and then allowed to dry out in the sun.
It’s Thursday, 6pm, Perennial’s weekly tapping of a new, experimental and, usually, limited beer. The release on this July evening has generated more buzz than usual: Loomi Weisse, Perennial’s collaboration with Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergso, the mad Danish genius behind Evil Twin Brewing.
The glass that Wymore poured me directly from its stainless-steel fermentation tank didn’t taste anything like a Berliner weisse or a darkroasted beer or a beer spiked with lime.
That Perennial, just now celebrating its third anniversary, could attract someone like JarnitBjergso – who has risen to such prominence that he and his brother, fellow brewer and rival Mikkel Borg Bjergso of Mikkeller, were the subjects of a lengthy profile this March in The New York Times Magazine – is impressive.
It’s this excitement for the unknown that has drawn some 50 aficionados to the tasting room to be the first to try Loomi Weisse. I’d say this is a quintessential Perennial moment, but Wymore’s wife, Emily, who co-founded the brewery and runs its sales and marketing, already shared a “can-you-top-this?” moment that will prove impossible to beat.
Yet as impressive, if not more so, is that this tasting-room throng is clamoring for a beer that even Perennial co-founder and brewmaster Phil Wymore struggled to describe when he and I talked earlier that day. Jarnit-Bjergo, Wymore explained, wanted to brew a black Berliner weisse. Now, a Berliner weisse is, by definition, the opposite of a dark beer. Its color is straw or a pale gold, its flavor delivers hints of citrus, and it’s so tart that it often comes with a shot of fruit syrup to balance out the pucker.
It didn’t taste like any beer I’d drunk before, period.
A few weeks earlier, Perennial held a lottery to determine who could purchase the few available bottles of its most acclaimed and sought-after beer, Barrel-Aged Abraxas. The winners (fewer than 10 percent of those who’d entered) picked up the bottles from the brewery on an appointed day. “There was a guy standing outside,” Emily Wymore told me, her voice still incredulous, “paying $100 a bottle for people [as they were] walking out the door with their bottles.”
Inspired Food Culture
magic in the making Looking back, 2011 now stands as a milestone for craft beer in St. Louis. The year saw four breweries open: Perennial, Urban Chestnut Brewing Co., the Civil Life Brewing Co. and 4 Hands Brewing Co. These weren’t St. Louis’ first craft breweries, of course, but together they represented a significant shift – an evolution, if you like. None followed the classic brewpub model, offering yet another take on the standard array of pale ale and pilsner, India pale ale and stout. “If you say I’m going to brew a pale ale, an IPA and a wheat ale, and you stick with those styles, you’ve pretty much committed yourself to a model where you need to stay local as much as you can till you can grow out of that,” Phil Wymore says. “You have to saturate the market where you’re at because there are so many other people producing these beers everywhere else, it’s hard to be an out-of-market guy and bring a pale ale there. That time has come and gone.” So, for example, at Urban Chestnut, Florian Kuplent studied the intersection of American craft beer with the brewing tradition of his native Germany. At Civil Life, Jake Hafner and Dylan Mosley delivered classic continental styles with an emphasis on session (i.e., lower alcohol by volume) beers. At Perennial, Wymore took, if not the most challenging approach, then certainly the least obviously crowd-pleasing one. He found inspiration not in the palate-bruising hop bitterness trendy among many American brewers, but in the sour flavors and wild yeasts of Belgium. He wanted his beers to spend time in oak barrels. He’d sell the beers at retail in 750-milliliter bottles – not the sort of thing you pop open after a long day at work. Wymore – who fell into brewing “by accident” while a student at the University of Missouri, when a chef he knew drafted him to work in the kitchen of a new (and short-lived) Columbia brewpub – traces his passion for these styles to his time at Goose Island Beer Co. in Chicago. As cellar manager there, he and his team of brewers oversaw the development of such well-received Belgian-inspired beers as Matilda, Sofie and Madame Rose. He also witnessed firsthand the burgeoning popularity of Goose Island’s now nearly impossible-to-find barrel-aged Bourbon County Stout. “That’s the stuff we were always geeked out about and interested in,” Wymore says. Wymore left Goose Island to become the head brewer at Half Acre Beer Co. in Chicago. Then he and Emily decided to return to their native Missouri to be closer to family and open Perennial. Their plans attracted one very significant fan even before the brewery opened. Cory King, an avid homebrewer and the craft-beer representative for Lohr Distributing, read a magazine article about the Wymores’ imminent arrival in St. Louis. “So I stalked him online,” King says, “and [told him] ‘I want to do that.’ I think his only interview question was ‘Why haven’t you applied for any of the other breweries locally?’”
TOP LEFT: Co-founder Emily Wymore serves guests in the tasting room. TOP RIGHT: Head brewer Cory King at work in the
brewery. CENTER LEFT: Perennial’s French-oak foeders. CENTER RIGHT: Co-founder and brewmaster Phil Wymore.
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King told him, “I don’t want to do that. I want to do what you’re doing.” “The market’s there,” Wymore says of Perennial’s approach. “That’s obviously what people get crazy about, and that’s what we get crazy about in terms of wanting to brew and wanting to drink. Cory and I… We drink a lot of barrel-aged beer, and we want to make a lot of barrel-aged beer.”
a singular approach Ask the Wymores and King when they realized Perennial wouldn’t be just another craft brewery, and their answers are unanimous. On a bitterly cold Thursday in January 2013, beer geeks started lining up outside at 6am for the 4pm release of the first edition of Barrel-Aged Abraxas. “We had no idea,” Emily Wymore says. King remembers a question posted on local craft-beer website STL Hops the day before the release: “‘Is there going to be a bottle limit?’ Why would there be a bottle limit?” “It was going to be a case!” Emily says. “Up until the day before, it was going to be a case!” “Then we dropped it to six [bottles],” King says. “It was still way too much.” For the 2014 release, the limit was two bottles. The germ of Abraxas was an online contest on Perennial’s now-defunct blog to determine a style for a new beer. The winning entry was a Mexicanchocolate stout. King used his homebrewing recipe for an imperial stout as the beer’s base. From there, he says: “We started looking up Mexican chocolate. We went by Kakao and picked up nibs. We tried their Mexican chocolate. They use cayenne in it. I don’t like that cayenne flavor, so we started looking at ancho chiles. It’s pretty low on the [heat], it’s more smoke. I don’t like spicy.” After testing out several variations, the team settled on a combination of vanilla beans and cinnamon sticks as well as ancho chiles and cocoa nibs. Yet a list of ingredients can’t capture the Abraxas magic. “Let’s say we put the same amount of cinnamon and ancho chile and cocoa nibs and vanilla beans into five different batches,” Wymore says. “We end up with varying levels. This one’s really chocolaty; this one’s a cinnamon bomb. There’s always some variation, which I think is kind of charming.” For Barrel-Aged Abraxas, they use Rittenhouse Rye whiskey barrels. This choice didn’t result from trial and error. It wasn’t even a choice, really. “We love rye whiskey,” King says. When Wymore called up their broker to purchase barrels, he exclaimed to King, “Cory, they got rye barrels.” “Rye barrels it is!” King replied. “We’re doing rye barrels.”
CENTER: Barrels branded with Cory King’s Side Project
Brewing logo. LEFT AND ABOVE: Loomi Weisse, Perennial’s collaboration with Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergso of Evil Twin Brewing.
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Inspired Food Culture
focused on the future As Wymore and I stand by a row of fermentation tanks, discussing Loomi Weisse and other upcoming summer releases – the return of Woodside, a tripel brewed with local honey, and The Last Word, a new collaboration with the acclaimed Chicago cocktail lounge the Aviary – King walks up to us and, without a word of explanation, gives each of us a glass of beer to try. Wymore laughs. “That’s Cory,” he says. “He’s a breeze that comes in and places a glass in your hand.” As it happens, this beer, called Blueberry Flanders, is only three weeks into its barrel-aging process. When it’s ready, it will be released under King’s Side Project Brewing label. Side Project is the other half of Perennial’s remarkable story, the brewery-within-abrewery that allows King to experiment with barrel-aging and blending. His very, very limited releases sell out immediately, receive rave reviews and command a steep value on the online beer-trading market. King himself appeared on
Tap into Perennial’s artisan approach in the September episode of Feast TV.
the cover of Beer Advocate magazine. In fact, it was Wymore’s idea for King to run his own label out of Perennial. “He knows all the angles,” Wymore says of King. “Guy’s got an MBA; he’s got a chemistry degree; he’s a great brewer; he knows the sales side. All roads lead to this guy starting a successful brewery someday. So how can we continue to work together?” “[Phil and Emily] can see where I don’t do the factory-style brewing very well,” King says, “and even though [Perennial is] definitely the furthest from that of any brewery, I brew things on a whim, a complete and total whim, when it comes to Side Project. I will order malt on a Monday and by Wednesday, I want to change it to be a different beer. That’s how it works for me.” Side Project’s success has led to questions about King’s future at Perennial – spurred on, no doubt, by his plan to open a Side Project
tasting room in Maplewood. King’s reply? A single barked “Ha!” There is a practical advantage to being in the same building. Perennial and Side Project can grow their barrel-age programs together by sharing their three new 60-barrel-capacity French-oak foeders. They can source ingredients together, saving money. “It’s easier to have all that under [one] roof,” King says. “It’s all one focus, and we have good palates and good brewers all working together.” That commitment is strong enough that the Wymores and King have begun to look together for a new, larger home for Perennial and Side Project. Beyond that significant step, Emily Wymore says she wants a greater emphasis on pairing Perennial beer with food, both at restaurants that serve Perennial and at the brewery’s own tasting room. To that end, Perennial has brought on Brian Moxey as chef. Moxey, besides being
the brother of Perennial brewer Jonathan Moxey, was the sous chef at the acclaimed New York City restaurant Hearth before returning to his native St. Louis to work at Gerard Craft’s Pastaria. And, yes, there will be beer, old favorites and new experiments, rare bottles and draft-only releases. “We were at a crossroads maybe a year ago, six months ago,” Emily Wymore says. “We were considering buying a canning line and we even put it out there we were going to start canning. “[But] once you start canning and start pushing your flagships, it takes away – when you have limited capacity, which we do – your ability to fill barrels and to make seasonals. That’s what people want from us. That’s what people expect from us.” Perennial nixed the canning line. “I’m really glad that we’re not headed in that direction,” she says. “It’s a whole different game we don’t want to play.”
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The team at Perennial are constantly tapping new and limited release beers. We asked co-founder and head brewmaster Phil Wymore what’s new on draft this month, as well as his thoughts on three of the brewery’s original flagship beers.
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Our September monthly beer release is a collaboration with Solemn Oath Brewery in Naperville, Illinois called Stefon. It is a 7 percent ABV rye saison conditioned with brettanomyces, a wild Belgian yeast strain. Stefon will be available in bottles and draft in all markets where we distribute. Our barrel-aged release in September will be a fruited variation of Funky Wit, which is a 4.5 percent ABV, wild-fermented Belgian Wit beer. We have both melon and rhubarb versions of the beer, which will be Perennial tasting room-only releases. As always, we will have one of our original flagships on tap, Saison de Lis, which is a 5 percent ABV Belgian saison steeped on chamomile flowers. Saison de Lis is our most versatile, food-friendly beer. It is a thirst quenching complement to a wide range of foods including seafood, salads dressed with vinaigrette and spicy dishes, such as Thai or Mexican cuisine. Also, be sure to look for Aria, which is another one of our flagship beers. Aria is a 7 percent ABV Belgian ale that is conditioned with brettanomyces, making it one of the only wild beers currently produced year-round in St. Louis.
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Inspired Food Culture
the last bite
Contributor: Kelly Klein, Director of Sales I always look forward to fall. The leaves change to bright oranges and reds, the hot weather comes to an end and I get to partake in my favorite annual tradition of taking my nephews apple picking. Every year when we come home from apple picking, we try to create our own sweet treats with the crisp treasures we collected. No matter how hard we try, we have never quite mastered making caramel apples like the ones at Merb’s – probably because the historic St. Louis candy shop has been perfecting its Bionic Apples since the 1970s.
Bionic Apples were the brainchild of Robert Wright – the father of the shop’s current owner, Teri Bearden – and actually began as caramel-covered pears. The pears proved too perishable, and thus the Bionic Apple was born. The first apples Wright used were Jonathan apples, but as it became more difficult to find large Jonathan apples from year to year, the shop switched to Granny Smith. “The tartness of the Granny Smith apple complemented our homemade caramel sauce so well that we’ve been using them ever
since,” Bearden says. When asked if any special ingredients go into the Bionic Apples, Bearden replied enthusiastically, “Bionic Apples are made with lots of love and whipping cream.” Merb’s typically begins stocking Bionic Apples at all three of its locations immediately following Labor Day and offers them through
the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. The shop’s Bionic Apples can also be found at select grocery stores across the St. Louis area. For me and my family, nothing signals the shift in seasons from summer to fall like biting into these crunchy, sticky-sweet treats. Merb’s, multiple locations, merbscandies.com
Director of sales Kelly Klein isn’t the only Feast team member looking forward to caramel apple season – turn to p. 28 for pastry chef Christy Augustin’s recipe for apple cider caramel apples.
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FEAST Magazine delves into St. Louis' culinary scene for inspired ideas in cooking, the latest on restaurants, great gadgets, kitchen design...
Published on Aug 28, 2014
FEAST Magazine delves into St. Louis' culinary scene for inspired ideas in cooking, the latest on restaurants, great gadgets, kitchen design...