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jam session

bacon, vegetized · a long shot takes flight near Lamber t · summer’s tastiest tr ysts s t. 2012 lo u is’ i n d e pe n d e nt cu l i n a ry au th o r it y August

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F R EI SAUCE E , A ugus t 2 012 MAGAZINE I1


August 2012

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Allyson Mace Stacy Schultz Meera Nagarajan Ligaya Figueras Julie Cohen Stacy Schultz Kelsi Crow, Robert Severson Emily Lowery Michelle Volansky Stacy Schultz Byron Kerman Jonathan Gayman, Ashley Gieseking, Laura Miller, Greg Rannells, Kristi Schiffman, Carmen Troesser Vidhya Nagarajan Glenn Bardgett, Matt Berkley, Julie Cohen, Ligaya Figueras, Byron Kerman, Cory King, Anne Marie Lodholz, Dan Lodholz, Meera Nagarajan, Michael Renner, Stacy Schultz, Beth Styles Erin Keplinger Sharon Arnot Erin Keplinger Angie Rosenberg Jayson Gifford, Erin Keplinger, Allyson Mace, Angie Rosenberg Jill George Kelsi Crow

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use, in whole or in part, of the contents without permission of the publisher is strictly prohibited. While the information has been compiled carefully to ensure maximum accuracy at the time of publication, it is provided for general guidance only and is subject to change. The publisher cannot guarantee the accuracy of all information or be responsible for omissions or errors. Additional copies may be obtained by providing a request at 314.772.8004 or via mail. Postage fee of $2 will apply. Sauce Magazine is printed on recycled paper using soy inks.

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editorial policies The Sauce Magazine mission is to provide St. Louis-area residents and visitors with unbiased, complete information on the area’s restaurant, bar and entertainment industry. Our editorial content is not influenced by who advertises with Sauce Magazine or Our reviewers are never provided with complimentary food or drinks from the restaurants in exchange for favorable reviews, nor are their identities as reviewers made known during their visits.

August 2012


contents august 2012

9 A La Carte


Reviews 17 new and notable: Norah’s Crafted Food & Spirits Norah’s Renaissance by Michael Renner

21 Dine on a Dime: O’Shay’s Pub Searching For Gold in The Grove by Dan and Anne Marie Lodholz

23 Nightlife: Orbit Pinball Lounge Tilted Toward Success by Matt Berkley

25 Cook’s books: Qui Tran’s Favorites


By Meera Nagarajan

Home cooking 27 What in the world: Aji Amarillo

cover details

by Ligaya Figueras

28 Vegetize it: “Bacon”-Wrapped Figs by Beth Styles


30 One ingredient, 9 ways: Beets Beet the Heat by Ligaya Figueras and Meera Nagarajan

32 The New Classics Eleven Eleven Mississippi’s Grilled Chicken Breast


with White Bean Ragout and Balsamic-StrawberryTarragon Sauce By Meera Nagarajan

Last course 48 Stuff to do this month

35 Jam session By Ligaya Figueras

40 Summer Fling BY Ligaya Figueras

by Byron Kerman

50 Five questions for: Zoë Pidgeon by Byron Kerman

43 Dressed up dogs BY Meera Nagarajan and stacy schultz

jam session: p. 35

Photo by Carmen Troesser bacon, vegetized p. 28 a long shot takes flight near Lambert p. 17 summer’s tastiest trysts p. 40

= recipe on this page

August 2012 I SAUCE MAGAZINE I 5


August 2012

SUCH A PEACH | If you’re anything like us, you wait all year long for the first bite of a big, juicy peach. How do we make the most of peach season? By enjoying these sweet beauties baked into the perfect pie, steeped into a glass of ice-cold tea and poured into a candle that has our homes smelling like an orchard in no time. Check out the Slideshows section of to find these and more of our favorite peach-inspired products. BY THE BOOK | Whether your summer vacation has come and gone or never arrived at all, by now, you’re likely daydreaming of the cool breezes and new flavors of a world far from sweltering St. Louis. Well, we can’t do much about the humidity, but we can jazz up your kitchen table with recipes from far away lands. Turn to page 25 to find out which parts of the world we’ll be hulling recipes from this month. Then, check out By the Book on the Blog section of every Tuesday, as we share these recipes and offer a chance for you to win a copy of the cookbooks to add to your own repertoire. INTERVIEW | With two restaurants and another on the way, Zoë Pidgeon is one busy lady. On page 50, Pidgeon reveals her approach to juggling so many responsibilities (Hint: She’s deep in the trenches.) and reveals details about her soon-toopen Bar Les Frères. Want more from Pidgeon? Head to the Extra Sauce section of to see Byron Kerman’s interview with Pidgeon in its entirety.

Tune in to St. Louis Public Radio 90.7 KWMU’s Cityscape on Friday, August 10 at 11 a.m. and 10 p.m., as chef Josh Galliano joins us to discuss his culinary adventures – from his one-day-only fried chicken pop-up this month to his next steps in the local restaurant scene. August 2012 I SAUCE MAGAZINE I 7


August 2012


It’s like a cannoli and a doughnut made a baby. The ricotta puff at Vitale’s Bakery is so light, it practically evaporates on contact. The billowy exterior, dusted with cinnamon and sugar, pockets a sweet ricotta cheese that gets studded with tender chocolate chips. Ever tasted a cloud? We have.

Photo by greg rannells

Vitale’s Bakery • 2130 Marconi Ave. • St. Louis • 314.664.6665 •

August 2012 I SAUCE MAGAZINE I 9

trendwatch Maybe it’s a matter of convenience. Maybe it’s the proximity to the oven. Or maybe it’s the fresh air. But there’s just something about ordering food from the sidewalk that makes it taste better. It’s a fact several area restaurateurs are banking on these days, as they opt to greet diners with the casual ambiance provided by retractable garagestyle doors. Ever since Todd George opened Epic Pizza & Subs inside an old garage in the heart of Soulard, hungry passersby and rowdy Mardi Gras revelers alike have stopped by the window for one of the pizzeria’s handtossed pies by the slice (a rarity in these parts). Tavolo V’s garage door-style storefront on Delmar Boulevard has made patio seating at Michael Del Pietro’s new Italian restaurant a hot ticket during the warm months. And when The Tavern co-owner Brant Baldanza’s new restaurant, The Shack Pub Grub, opens near SLU this fall, students will be able





o . s

[beer] It’s August. It’s St. Louis. And it’s hot. Enjoy these lighter offerings in an attempt to keep cool.   – Cory King, certified Cicerone and brewer at Perennial Artisan Ales


Ace Perry Cider This Perry looks like Champagne when poured into a glass. It has the aromatics of hard candies and honey with an upfront sweetness that finishes off-dry but leaves enough fruitiness behind to remind you it’s a hard cider.

to take advantage of every nice afternoon away from their books thanks to a newly constructed folding garage door that will open to an 80- to 100-seat patio. Look for Salume Beddu’s Ben Poremba to get in on the design trend as well when his intimate, 20-seat wine bar, Olio, opens later this year.

More Kyoto, Please I first discovered the Kyoto slow-dripper while researching a story on coffee in March of last year. I was captivated by the beautiful structure from Japan that stands as tall as a fourth grader, costs more than my couch and brews coffee through a winding maze of globes and tubes over the course of nearly half a day – I needed to taste the potion this magical apparatus produced. The problem: It wasn’t in St. Louis yet. I mean it was – you could order it from WilliamsSonoma – but no one was using it yet. Sigh. Enter Sump Coffee, the

Charleville Half-Wit Wheat There may be no style of beer that’s better on a hot day than a wheat beer. Brewed with whole oranges and corriander, Charleville’s Half Wit Wheat has a tingly, acidic back with a medium, hazy wheat body and a clean, sparkling finish.

South City coffee bar that has been setting the standard for St. Louis’ bean scene since it brewed its first cup in December 2011. Sump owner Scott Carey bought his first Kyoto before his shop opened. These days he has two, brewing a total of five (and up to seven) liters of cold-brew coffee each day. “[The Kyoto] produces a flavor clarity in the cup,” Carey explained. “It’s oily and somewhat like a bourbon, something aged in a cask.” OK, so maybe one does not make a trend. But hey, when something is this tasty, it’s a big deal when it’s finally available locally. The question now is whether other area coffee shops will jump on board, taking the long route to cold-brewed coffee greatness. Only time will tell. One thing’s for sure, though: When it’s hot enough to fry an egg out there, we’re heading to Sump for a cup of ice-cold Kyoto coffee – and so should you. – Stacy Schultz

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale The original APA, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is an ambercolored, slightly hoppy, wonderfully balanced, refreshing pale ale that’s perfect any time of the year. The fact that it’s now available in cans – well, that just makes it an even better choice for poolside sipping.

August 2012

photo by ashley gieseking

Garage Sale

If we could, we’d pay a daily visit to the fruit cart vendor inside Latin American grocery El Torito for a cóctel de frutas. Since that’s just summer dreamin’, we have to get by with making the Mexican fruit salad at home as often as possible. Luckily, this refreshing snack comes together faster than Speedy Gonzales can say, “¡Ándale, ándale! ¡Arriba, arriba!” Just cut 2 cups of fresh watermelon, mango, pineapple, cantaloupe, cucumber and jicama into chunks and spears. Squeeze the juice of half a lime over the fruit, then season with salt and a generous amount of ancho chile powder. Want the salty street fare look? Put it all in an 8-ounce to-go cup. – Ligaya Figueras

photo by greg rannells

For an extra kick, add a squirt of redhot sriracha. Go beyond the red rooster and pick up a bottle of Sky Valley Sriracha at Whole Foods. Without all the preservatives and additives of other varieties, this bottle by Organicville will be your new pantry staple in no time.

Whole Foods, 1601 S. Brentwood Blvd., Brentwood, 314.968.7744 and 1160 Town and Country Crossing Drive, Town and Country, 636.527.1160,

August 2012 I SAUCE MAGAZINE I 11

The stuff we can’t get enough of

Dee Ryan Just Five columnist and contributing writer

Michael Renner New and Notable reviewer

Kellie Hynes Cook Wise columnist and contributing writer

The difference between toast and grilled bread is like the difference between FM and Satellite radio: same concept, but one offers so much more. For me, this has been the summer for thick slices of a good, crusty loaf – lightly oiled, tossed on a hot grill for a minute per side, rubbed with a clove of garlic and then ready for, well, everything: tomatoes and basil, creamy goat cheese, prosciutto and figs, grilled vegetables dressed in vinaigrette, bacon jam, olive tapenade or a simple poached egg. The slightly bitter char from the grill elevates a humble slice into a summer hit.

Hot weather is sangria weather. Adapting Veritas coowner Dave Stitt’s recipe, I’ve made gallons of it all summer: Combine 1 bottle each of merlot and riesling, a shot each of brandy and orange liqueur, sugar to taste, a squeeze of fresh lemon and orange juices, and lots of sliced seasonal fruit. Pour the mixture over lots of ice and top it off with cheap sparkling wine or club soda. When the temperature hits 100, drink and repeat.

illustrations by vidhya nagarajan; photos by laura miller

Julie Cohen contributing editor

This year, I’ve been inundated with weddings, showers and housewarming parties. I like to add a little something personal to my not-so-exciting registry gift, and I’m in love with these fish-shaped wine bottles I found at Urzi’s. For gifting, I fill a bottle with my favorite olive oil and then throw in a combination of herbs, peppercorns, garlic cloves or citrus peel. For a few more bucks, I top it with a steel pourer. Not a fan of fish? The market has plenty of other glass vessel options. $5. Urzi’s Italian Market, 5340 Southwest Ave., St. Louis, 314.645.3914, urzismarket.

Vacations are a blast. Dining out with tired, sunburned kids? Not so much. Pack the cookbook Time for Dinner: Strategies, Inspiration and Recipes for Family Meals Every Night of the Week in your carry-on, and you’ll make simple, tasty meals in a few minutes with a few ingredients. Beach vacation? Try Shrimp with Grits. Camping? Cook Beans & Toast over the fire. In your own kitchen, you’ll appreciate the I Want to Use What I Already Have section, which transforms staples into gourmet meals. $25. Special order at Left Bank Books, 399 N. Euclid Ave., St. Louis and 321 N. 10th St., St. Louis, 314.367.6731,


August 2012

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August 2012

Owner’s day off

Cook’s Tip

ZoË Pidgeon, owner of I Fratellini, Bobo Noodle House and soon-to-open Bar Les Frèresx

Remove the bitterness from a cucumber

With two restaurants and the much-anticipated Bar Les Frères on the way, it might come as a surprise that Zoë Pidgeon still prefers the comfort of her kitchen to her couch. But for Pidgeon, spending time in the kitchen means spending time with her family. “When my children are in town, I want to spend any time I have with them. They always come home starving, and they don’t really know how to cook. It’s nice to be able to impart some things on them.”

You can draw out the bitterness from a cucumber by slicing, salting and draining it, but who has the time? Credit chef Nadeem Siddiqui, resident district manager for Bon Appétit at Wash. U., for introducing us to this quick alternative. Simply cut a small amount off both ends of the cucumber and set them aside. Cut hash marks into the exposed ends of the large piece. Then take one of the small ends and rub it against the exposed end of the large piece. Repeat on the other side. Once those foamy juices surface, wipe them away with a paper towel.

For more from Pidgeon, check out Byron Kerman’s Five Questions interview with her on page 50.


Photo by greg rannells

Glenn Bardgett, Annie Gunn’s wine director and a member of the Missouri Wine and Grape Board, weighs in on which wines to drink this month. Check your favorite wine shop or liquor store for availability.

August 2012

Lucien Albrecht Cremant d’Alsace Rosé Brut, Alsace, France It’s French, but it’s not Champagne. In fact, it’s 100-percent pinot noir grown along the German border in Alsace. Offering exciting flavors and beauty in the glass, this is a pleaser for all your senses – including the great sound of the cork popping. For about $22, it will produce plenty of smiles.

Sokol Blosser Evolution Red, 2nd Edition, Oregon A new addition – or edition – to the Sokol Blosser family is this red blend companion to the estate’s hugely successful Evolution White. Syrah-based with nearly a dozen other varieties, the blend is a secret – but its slightly off-dry style is sure to make new friends for this chillable red. At about $20, the question of which wine to bring to that picnic has been answered.

Los Vascos Sauvignon Blanc 2011, Casablanca, Chile Owned by the famed Rothschild family of Bordeaux, this is a super bright and happy white. It’s deliciously mouthwatering without the “cat pee” character that you might find in some sauvignon blancs from New Zealand. At only $12, it’s perfect for sipping on the deck after work. I SAUCE MAGAZINE I 15


August 2012

reviews In one of chef Chris Stroup’s most successful dishes, five plump diver scallops are paired with rich, creamy grits and a crunchy, salty side of flash-fried spinach.

new and notable: norah’s crafted food & spirits p. 17 dine on a dime: o’shay’s pub p. 21 nightlife: orbit pinball lounge p. 23 cook’s books: qui tran’s favorites p. 25

Norah’s Renaissance by Michael Renner • Photos by Jonathan Gayman


t’s not as if hotels don’t have good restaurants. The Four Seasons has Cielo, The Chase Park Plaza has Eau Bistro and there’s Eclipse at the Moonrise. But these are quality restaurants that just happen to be inside hotels. They’d be destinations outside of any hotel corporate structure. They’re also located in vibrant urban areas where people like to flock: Laclede’s Landing, the Central West End, The Loop. Despite these examples, it’s safe to say that most hotel restaurants are afterthoughts, serving overpriced pedestrian fare to the average traveler. Then there’s Norah’s Crafted Food & Spirits, a good restaurant that will never be a destination for most St. Louis diners because of its location: inside the Renaissance St. Louis Airport Hotel. It’s a fine hotel, recently remodeled and highly regarded. But unless Hustler Hollywood or watching a few F-18s scream in and out of Lambert is on their bucket list, even staycationers will stay away because there’s simply nothing to do nearby.

It’s unfortunate because Norah’s could play in the same sandbox as those other Norah’s Crafted restaurants. The new space blends Food & Spirits, contemporary sleek with rural elements: Renaissance St. sheer drapes; shiny plastic netting place Louis Airport Hotel, mats; shimmery throw pillows; chicly 9801 Natural appointed private dining alcoves met with Bridge Road, natural wood floors; barn lamp sconces; 314.429.1100 replicas of early 20th century swivel stools; and heavy wood, iron and glass sliding doors. Above our table hung a small, twisted aluminum chandelier that looked like a metallic bow. Menus were clasped to unwieldy legal-size brushed aluminum clipboards and the beverage list came in a cumbersome metal binder. Low-vibe electronica music hummed throughout. The place is so organic and rich with texture that you want to touch everything. Executive chef Chris Stroup, a 2010 St. Louis Area Hotel Association “Chef of the Year” winner, has created a menu that changes monthly and is much along the lines of the restaurant’s interior: modern American with a rustic twist. He also named the August 2012 I SAUCE MAGAZINE I 17

review new and notable: norah’s crafted food & spirits

The parsnip purée and apple cider jus nearly drowned the flavor of the perfectly prepared bone-in pork chop, making this a dish for those who prefer quite a bit of sweet with their savory.

only amped up the heat and spice factor. The same confit and sausage showed up again, this time mixed with white beans and local kale as a bed for a thick piece of cod. The fish, sourced from the Georges Bank area off the coast of Massachusetts, was seasoned just with salt and pepper and simply roasted to juicy succulence. Yet too many crunchy, undercooked beans diminished what was an otherwise superb combination. Regarding the spicy heat of the dish, while I found it enjoyable, others may not; it was neither described on the menu nor explained by the server.

restaurant after his infant daughter. And just as he did when he helmed the hotel’s previous restaurant, T-Bone Trattoria, Stroup sources as much local produce and other ingredients as possible. Like the tart of Ozark Forest mushrooms, Heartland Dairy goat cheese and leeks, topped with local arugula. It was dense and rich, the crust buttery but not flaky. The only problem was temperature. Reheating it would destroy the texture. But serving

Where Norah’s Crafted Food & Spirits, Renaissance St. Louis Airport Hotel, 9801 Natural Bridge Road, 314.429.1100

it straight from the refrigerator muted the flavors; room temperature would have brought out the full creamy, earthy potential of this appetizer. “Angry” mussels get their name from the confit of garlic, chile peppers and smoked tomatoes in which the 14 tender mollusks were bathed. Crumbles of fiama sausage, redolent with fennel and spiced with smoked Spanish paprika and black pepper,

Don’t Miss Dishes Diver scallops with pepper bacon, grits and flash-fried spinach; iron skillet-seared Angus strip steak with blue cheese fonduta and duck fat potatoes.


The locally raised pork chop, served with a cider jus, parsnip purée and apple-celery salad, was another example of a wellcomposed dish that didn’t completely come together. Yes, the bone-in chop was thick and juicy, not quite a blushing pink but not overdone, either. Yes, parsnips have a sweet taste, but this purée was more puddinglike and too thickly sweet so as to hide any parsnip flavor. And if there was celery in this salad, I missed it. Other dishes worked flawlessly. Like the diver scallops: five plump, firm bivalves seared and set atop a bowl of creamy

Vibe Think high-tech metallic meets country barn with an electronica chill soundtrack.

rich and dense yellow grits from South Carolina’s Anson Mills. Bits of bacon, thick and peppery from William Brothers Meat Market in Washington, Mo., were scattered about the scallops for the best kind of surf and turf. The mound of flashfried spinach to the side made the dish deliciously indulgent. The menu simply stated “spinach,” but again the description should be more specific. Where some diners may yawn at the thought of mere steamed greens and forgo the dish, most cannot resist the crispy, salty pleasure of flashfried leaves. Meat and potatoes are also on the menu. One offering, the strip steak – seasoned simply with salt and pepper and seared hard in an iron skillet – arrived a juicy medium-rare, as ordered. Underneath, the creamy blue cheese fonduta added a gentle tang. But oh, what potatoes: two halves of a Yukon Gold flattened and seared in duck fat. The little arugula salad on the plate at least provided some color of health. Desserts are hearty, including Mississippi mud pie, cherries jubilee with almond ice cream, Missouri pecan pie, and salted caramel bread pudding. But it’s peach season and a slice of peach pie seemed in order. If you prefer your pie warmed up, ask. It’s a simple pie, just slices of fruit in a crust with a crumb top, a quartered peach wedge supporting the slice. There were other dishes that I wanted to try, like chicken and dumplings made from scratch, but I probably won’t drive to the airport for it. If I just flew in from Cleveland and was hankering for a good meal, however, I’d be set.

Entree Prices $18 to $32

When Everyday: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

August 2012

August 2012 I SAUCE MAGAZINE I 19

August 2012


Searching For Gold in The Grove

dine on a dime: O’Shay’s pub

by Dan and Anne Marie Lodholz | photos by Greg Rannells



O’Shay’s Pub 4353 Manchester Ave., St. Louis, 314.932.5232,



A newbie to The Grove, O’Shay’s Pub marries pub fare with cheap pints in the former home of the popular Newstead Tower Public House. The beautifully updated space is all Irish: dark wood floors, burgundy walls with hand-painted Gaelic designs and old Irish whiskey boxes. From the long-standing bar to the free shuffleboard and foosball tables, it’s not hard to spend an evening here immersed in comforting food and ice-cold brew. August 2012

by smoky bacon and a refreshing side of steamed peas, they made a lovely lunch that day – and leftovers the next.

Skip the soups and salads

Medicine for the Irishman’s disease The Irish Slinger 1 satisfied on a sleepy Sunday morning. A pancake of mashed potatoes gets topped with house-made potato chips that double the dose of taters but add little crunch to the plate. Next comes thinly sliced corned beef that’s been browned until the fat caramelizes and the edges crisp. Two strips of “rashers” (hickory-smoked bacon), sauteed cabbage, horseradish sauce and a fried egg cap things off. The tender cabbage, that creamy yolk and a slathering of piquant horseradish – this dish is clearly designed with the booze-soaked diner in mind. Bangers and Mash 2 were also well worth the adventure. The kitchen gently cooks the brats in a 50-50 blend of Guinness and Smithwick’s and then grills them to order. Served atop garlicky mashed, skin-on red potatoes and finished with Monterey Jack and cheddar, the sausages were moist, with tight skins and a decent chew. Accompanied

The house salad was a sad mix of pale lettuce, unripe tomatoes and pre-made croutons. Clinch’s Cupboard Stew didn’t fair much better. Although the meat studding the stew was tender and rich, the broth – seemingly made from canned beef stock – was too thin to stand up to the peas, carrots and potatoes floating about.

Plate of gold A sampling of half-pound burgers touted a trio of patties, each prepared perfectly to temperature. The Shroomy Shamus capitalized on the classic mushroom and Swiss combo but subbed in Monterey Jack for the stronger Swiss. The Kilkenny was interestingly topped with corned beef, caramelized onions and Swiss, but it was the McManus Brothers Burger 3 that stole the show: A topping of salty onion rings and sharp cheddar were a harmonious contrast to the sweet and somewhat spicy barbecue sauce slathered atop the patty.

The leprechaun moves south of the border Served three to an order, the corned beef

tacos 4 were a quirky little bar app that sparked fond memories of “trailer park sushi” for our family, but may not be for everyone. Slices of tender corned beef, Monterey Jack, smoked horseradish sauce and shredded iceberg lettuce were wrapped in cold, soft, flour tortillas. But it was the crisp, clean flavors of the dill pickle tucked inside the tacos that playfully juxtaposed the sour with the salty.

Wash it down with beer This is an Irish pub; beer rules. Dollar PBRs are among nightly drink specials, but O’Shay’s showcases its own house draft, made by O’Fallon brewery. A lighter ale, this golden brew sparkled with notes of citrus fruit. A slew of suds from O’Fallon and Schlafly are also available on draft, as are Irish beers and a few from our own “local” Belgian brewer.

THE TAKEAWAY: For a bar to go to with friends for games and guzzling, this venue will slate the thirsty Irishman’s desires. And although the food is well prepared with attention to details (ie. poaching the cabbage in a touch of butter, braising the brats in a flavorful blend of Guinness and Smithick’s) if slightly better quality ingredients were used, such as house-made sausages, fresh ground burgers or locally farmed greens, chef-owner Shay Landry’s food would be the main attraction (as opposed to the beer and shuffleboard). I SAUCE MAGAZINE I 21


August 2012

review nightlife: Orbit Pinball Lounge

Tilted Toward Success by Matt berkley • photos by jonathan gayman

backroom, which holds 10 or so weathered pinball machines from the 1990s – The Simpsons, Starship Troopers, Judge Dredd and (my personal favorite) Tales From the Crypt – along with three Skee-Ball lanes, each just 25 cents a game. The Scene: What you’d expect. During the week, a neighborhood crowd shuffles in and grabs a few cocktails and maybe a few games. Hipsters, disillusioned grad students, struggling tattoo artists all vie for a spot at the lounge, while weekends pack in more of the young, Midtown, urban professional crowd and some spillover from nearby bars. Orbit caters mainly to 20- and 30-somethings, both singles and groups of friends. The atmosphere is extreme casual, and dress is denim and T-shirts. No smoking.

ORDER THIS: Orbit Pinball Lounge

Orbit Pinball Lounge 7401 Hazel Ave., Maplewood, 314.769.9954


reinforced with quality booze. After a string of delays over naming disputes and legal/ coding issues, Orbit’s doors have finally burst open. The games have begun.

The History: Still a newbie to the St. Louis social scene, the lounge (which hung up its shingle this May) has yet to be entirely swamped by the crowd of regular neighborhood bar-hoppers. Set away from the nearby Manchester strip, down the more subdued side street of Sutton Boulevard, Orbit has taken the commercial space formerly occupied by several never-donewell coffee shops. The spot was eagerly snatched up by Michael Stivers, a former bartender at Herbie’s in the West End, who wanted to provide Maplewood with an afterhours arcade stocked with vintage toys and

The Décor: Not what you’d expect. People throw that term around a lot, but it’s especially true here. Upon hearing that you’re going to a bar dedicated to pinball and Skee-Ball, it’s hard to block out grungy images of fantastically seedy venues. Orbit couldn’t be more of the opposite. Rather, the space is sharp, minimalist, almost polished. The pressed-tin ceiling and darkwood interior throws off a classic barroom feel. High-end lanterns hanging over the main bar fire streams of light across the space, lighting up in alternating colors and gently flashing as if the entire bar was the inside of a pinball machine itself. The front room is lined with a number of booths with tabletops smartly constructed from old pinball machines. There is ample seating throughout, but the action is in the

here’s a certain kind of twisted satisfaction to be found in the strict entry policy at Orbit Pinball Lounge, the swanky new Maplewood arcade that forbids minors. So, to all those under 21 clamoring for a seat inside, let me be the first to offer a Nelson Muntzesque, “ha, ha!” Maybe we’ll see you at happy hour in a few years, junior.

August 2012

The Booze: Nothing to gripe about but not much to praise, either. The staff mixes strong, classic cocktails from a shelf of nominal favorites. Specialty cocktails were entirely absent on my visits but no doubt on the way. No draft selection yet, either, only bottles: A-B products, Heineken, Stag, PBR, New Belgium’s 1554, O’Fallon’s 5-Day IPA and a number of Schlafly’s. Likewise, there is a short list of wines by the glass starting at $6.50 ($6 during happy hour). As Orbit’s management is apparently keen on offering locally based products, hopefully they will expand the beer menu to include a few more members of our burgeoning craft beer scene (i.e. Civil Life, Cathedral Square, Urban Chestnut). The Verdict: After a few visits, it’s safe to say that this is one playhouse that was worth the wait. With an interior almost too gorgeous for a pinball joint, Orbit seems to be a lounge first and an arcade second. But Stivers is doing well to focus on the basics and set up Skee-Ball leagues to ensure return action as well as continued exposure. Will Orbit stand the test of time? I’d have to say yes. A cold cocktail in hand, a backroom chock-full of toys, a great atmosphere and pockets full of quarters. Game on.

Though the bar didn’t have any signature drinks set in stone (or even chalkboard) yet while I was there, the bartenders at Orbit still knew how to mix a serious cocktail. Try a Rob Roy, the Scottish version of the Manhattan.

Still thirsty? Grab a friend and split a bucket of PBR or Stag for only $10. I SAUCE MAGAZINE I 23


August 2012


Four books for going global in your own kitchen

Cook’s books: Qui Tran’s favorites Bottega: Bold Italian Flavors From the Heart of California’s Wine Country by Michael Chiarello “I’m a big fan of Italian food; I can’t live without pasta. I like [this book] because it’s almost like Vietnamese cooking; it doesn’t have to be precise and it still tastes wonderful.”

Simply Ming: Easy Techniques for EastMeets-West Meals by Ming Tsai and Arthur Boehm “If you’re of Asian descent, as a kid, you’re not familiar with French-style cooking. [Tsai] blends the two. It’s a great introduction to learn different things and to learn how to blend Asian spices.”

At Mai Lee, chef-owner Qui Tran specializes in making Vietnamese fare, a cuisine he learned from his mom. But that doesn’t stop him from finding inspiration from France, Italy, even China. Here, four cookbooks he recommended to help non-classically trained cooks go global. — Meera Nagarajan

The Way To Cook By Julia Child “It’s great for someone like me who didn’t have classical training and learned to cook by watching [my] mom. It teaches you to get precise and explains why you use certain techniques. It can teach anyone how to cook.”

Molto Italiano: 327 Simple Italian Recipes to Cook at Home by Mario Batali “If you ever watch Mario Batali cook, that’s the way I cook! The average person can’t cook out of the Bouchon cookbook but this book, anyone could. It’s peasant food, it’s family style; that’s what I grew up eating.”

photo by carmen troesser

Dreaming up your getaway from the St. Louis heat? Play it cool with cuisines from around the world in the comfort of your own kitchen with books that help you create five-star international meals. Every Tuesday on the blog at, check out By the Book where we cook and share recipes from these books. Then, enter to win a copy to add to your collection. — Kelsi Crow

The Tuscan Sun Cookbook: Recipes From Our Italian Kitchen by Frances Mayes and Edward Mayes Pour a glass of red as you cozy up to family recipes from the woman who penned the quaint film of nearly the same name. Before you know it, you’ll be improv cooking with a Tuscan countryside state of mind. August 2012

My Vietnam: Stories and Recipes by Luke Nguyen Chef Nguyen takes us on a regional tour from North to South Vietnam in his travelogue-style cookbook. Nyugen’s narrative is laced with local family recipes that illuminate the cultural traditions of Vietnamese cooking.

Seasonal Spanish Food by José Pizarro International restaurateur and chef José Pizarro proves fresh, seasonal ingredients give vibrant life to Spanish cooking through his easy-to-love, easy-to-execute recipes.

Cooking Without Borders by Anita Lo and Charlotte Druckman The title says it all – this is all-inclusive fusion cooking. Chef Lo gives American cooking stereotypes a makeover with recipes that seamlessly infuse international ingredients into weeknight dishes. I SAUCE MAGAZINE I 25


August 2012

what in the world: aji amarillo p. 27 vegetize it: “bacon”-wrapped figs p. 28 one ingredient, 9 ways: beets p. 30 the new classics: grilled chicken breast. p. 32

what in the world is

aji amarillo? Aji amarillo is a long,

thin chile pepper cultivated in the Americas. Popular in Peruvian cuisine, it boasts hotter-than-jalapeño heat, fruity flavor and a yellow-toorange hue. Use it: Chop whole peppers and add them to peach, mango or tomato salsa. Use the paste as part of a citrusy marinade for ceviche. Aji amarillo shines bright in sauces, like that accompanying cheese- and guava-stuffed empanadas at Sanctuaria. Or keep it simple and just make Peruvian-style cheese fries. Find it: Global Foods Market, 421 N. Kirkwood Road, Kirkwood, 314.835.1112, Sold whole frozen, whole jarred or as a paste. – Ligaya Figueras

Yuca Frita with Huancaina Sauce

photo by greg rannells

Courtesy of Mango Peruvian Cuisine’s Jorge Calvo 8 Servings 8 fresh yuca, peeled 1 cup queso fresco 2 whole aji amarillo peppers, seeds and veins removed August 2012

1 cup evaporated milk 1 cup plus 1 Tbsp. olive oil, divided 3 cloves garlic Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste ½ tsp. turmeric Canola oil for frying • Cut each yuca into 8 equal spears. • Fill a large pot with enough water to cover the yuca spears. Bring to a boil. Add all of the yuca and cook for 30 minutes, or until the yuca reaches the consistency of a dense potato. Drain. • Transfer the spears to a sheet pan and refrigerate until cooled. • Meanwhile, prepare the huancaina sauce: Using a blender or food processor, blend together the queso fresco, aji amarillo, evaporated milk, 1 cup of olive oil, garlic, and salt and pepper to taste. • Warm the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a small bowl in the microwave. Add the turmeric and stir to dissolve. • Add the turmeric oil to the huancaina sauce. Stir and set aside. • Heat the canola oil in a deep-fryer (or heat 4 to 5 inches of oil in a Dutch oven or large pot). • Working in batches, fry the yuca until crispy. Drain. • Sprinkle with salt. Serve with huancaina sauce. I SAUCE MAGAZINE I 27

home cooking Vegetize it: “Bacon”-Wrapped Figs

“Bacon”-Wrapped Figs BY Beth Styles • Photo by Kristi Schiffman

As much as I’d love to take the credit for transforming this tropical fruit into something so savory, I have to acknowledge chef Jesse Kimball of the Memphis Tap Room in Philadelphia, whose appearance on Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives opened my eyes to just how fruitful coconut could be. Kimball’s method involves peeling the coconut into strips, letting them sit in a bowl with brown sugar (thus drawing out the moisture), then smoking the strips for a good long while. Peeler? Check. Brown sugar? No problem. Smoker? Not so much. So I decided to put together a marinade that would include liquid smoke, a glorious substitute for those of us wanting that outdoor taste while cooking in the comfort of air conditioning. The first time I popped open a bottle, it was like a campfire came roaring into the kitchen. Once all was said and done, it really helped the coconut achieve that smoky flavor so prominent in real bacon. But what’s bacon without something to wrap itself around? We are, after all, in prime fig season. And with a dollop of goat cheese, some time in the broiler and a drizzle of agave nectar right before serving, it’s like that great white whale swam right into the harpoon.


e all knew we’d be here someday. Like Fred and Ginger in a 1930s film, we’ve danced around it, bringing you vegetarian versions of crab cakes, biscuits and gravy, even beef stew. But now it’s time to shine the spotlight on what could be our culture’s favorite cut. It’s found its way into everything from blue-plate specials to finedining desserts. It’s the salty to our sweet, the topper for your Whopper, a fried


egg’s best friend. That’s right, folks: This month, we’re bringing home the bacon. Now, I’m not so naive to think that something like this can be replicated; it’s the great white whale of meat. With its perfectly marbled combination of protein and fat and the ability to be soft and crispy at the same time, well, it’s almost mystical. So what could possibly pass as a suitable substitute? Why coconut, of course.

Coconut “Bacon”Wrapped Figs 12 servings 1 fresh coconut ¹∕³ cup brown sugar Salt to taste 4 Tbsp. maple syrup 3 Tbsp. sesame oil 3 Tbsp. soy sauce

1 Tbsp. liquid smoke* 2 tsp. paprika Freshly ground black pepper to taste 2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar 1 Tbsp. vegetarian Worcestershire Dash garlic powder Dash cinnamon 6 fresh figs 4 oz. goat cheese Agave nectar 1 DAY AHEAD • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. • Extract the coconut water: Find the circular indents on the end of the coconut and, using a hammer and an instrument to pierce, such as a screwdriver, tap 2 to 3 holes into the coconut and drain the water into a liquid measuring cup. Refrigerate the coconut water for later use. • Halve the coconut: Place the coconut on a cutting board and wrap a towel around the base to keep it in place. With a cleaver or large chef’s knife, strike quick and hard across the center crosswise. If you hit the “sweet spot,” the coconut should easily fall in half. • Place each of the coconut halves facedown on a baking sheet, and place in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the coconut begins to pull away from the shell. • Once the coconut has cooled slightly, run a knife between the meat and the shell to extract the coconut meat. If a thin layer of shell is still attached, remove with a vegetable peeler. • Holding the extracted coconut meat face up in your hand lengthwise, peel long strips with a vegetable peeler, starting along the rim. • Place the strips in a large bowl. Add the brown sugar and a couple pinches of salt to the bowl. Refrigerate for 24 hours. DAY OF • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. August 2012

• To make the marinade: Combine ½ cup of the extracted coconut water with the maple syrup in a small saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil, reduce heat slightly, and cook until the mixture thickens slightly, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat. • Pour the syrup into a medium-sized mixing bowl and add the sesame oil, soy sauce, liquid smoke, paprika, 2 dashes of salt, 2 dashes of freshly ground black pepper, apple cider vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, a dash of garlic powder and a dash of cinnamon. • Remove the coconut strips from the refrigerator and blot with paper towels. Add them to the marinade. Let marinate for 30 minutes, uncovered, mixing halfway through. • Place the marinated strips on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 10 to 15 minutes, basting and flipping halfway through. • While the strips bake, prepare the figs by cutting off their stems and slicing them in half. Place the figs on a baking sheet and put 1 teaspoon of goat cheese on each fig half. • Remove the coconut bacon from the oven and let cool. • Set the oven to high broil. • Once the coconut bacon has cooled slightly, wrap 2 to 3 strips (depending on length) around each fig. Secure with a toothpick. Sprinkle with salt and place under the broiler for 30 seconds, being careful not to let the bacon burn. • Place on a serving platter and drizzle with the agave nectar. Serve immediately. * Available at all Straub’s locations,

August 2012 I SAUCE MAGAZINE I 29

home cooking one ingredient, 9 ways: beets

Beet the Heat BY Ligaya figueras and Meera Nagarajan Photo by Greg Rannells


ou’ve roasted them, pickled them, even blended them down to slurp spoonfuls of borscht. This year, slice your beet bounty for sandwich filler, purée it for baking and shred it for hash browns. 1. Panini Generously spread chevre on 2 country bread slices. Slice half a raw, peeled beet thinly. Slice half a peeled Granny Smith apple thinly. Top 1 bread slice with beet and apple slices, a handful of arugula and 1 slice hickory-smoked ham. Top with bread slice. Cook 6 minutes in panini maker. (Stove top: Place sandwich in oiled skillet, weigh down with smaller skillet, weighted with heavy can. Flip after 3 minutes and cook 3 minutes longer.) 2. Gazpacho Boil 3 large golden beets until tender. Peel. In a food processor, purée beets and transfer to large bowl. To food processor, add: 2½ pounds yellow tomatoes, 1 yellow bell pepper, half a Vidalia onion, half a peeled and seeded cucumber, and 2 garlic cloves. Process to desired consistency. Add to beet purée. Stir in 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar and 1 teaspoon salt. Chill. To serve, set up a gazpacho bar with chopped tomato, beets, cucumber, onion, fresh mint and feta. 3. Wilted Greens Halve 1 red onion and slice thin. Add onion to large saucepan over medium heat with 1 tablespoon oil. When onion begins to soften, add ½ pound beet greens (stems removed) and cook until wilted. Add 1 cup cooked garbanzos and ¼ cup raisins (that have soaked 10 minutes in boiling water, then drained). Gently stir in 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar. Remove from heat. Stir in ¼ cup toasted walnuts or pine nuts. Season with salt and pepper. 4. Cake Boil 2 large beets until tender. Peel, purée and set aside. Cream 1 stick butter with 1 cup packed brown sugar. Add puréed beets, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and 2 beaten eggs. Mix well. In a separate bowl, sift together 1½ cups flour, ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1 teaspoon baking powder and ¼ teaspoon salt. Fold flour mixture into wet


mixture. Stir in ½ cup chocolate chips. Pour into prepared 9-by-9-inch baking pan. Bake for 30 minutes in 350-degree oven. 5. Rice Boil 2 medium-sized red beets until tender. Peel and finely dice. In large bowl, combine 2 cups cooked white rice, diced beets, 2 finely sliced green onions, 1 minced garlic clove, 1 teaspoon chile oil and juice of 1 lime. Stir well so beets stain the rice red. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with 2 tablespoons crumbled feta. 6. Hash browns Peel 1 pound raw red beets and 1 pound potatoes. Grate. Combine in large bowl. Stir in 1 teaspoon salt. Transfer to large colander and let set for 30 minutes. Squeeze out excess moisture. Transfer to large bowl. Add 2 beaten eggs, 2 minced garlic cloves, ¾ cup flour and ½ teaspoon salt. Stir well. Over medium heat, coat skillet with oil. Drop golfball sized clumps of beet-potato mixture into skillet. Flatten to form a pancake. Cook 3 to 4 minutes, or until underside is browned. Flip and cook 3 to 4 more minutes. Serve with garlic mayonnaise or yogurt-dill sauce. 7. Glaze Juice 2 large raw beets to get about ¾ cup beet juice. In small bowl, combine beet juice, ¼ cup red wine vinegar, ¼ cup dry red wine, 1 crushed garlic clove, 1 teaspoon sugar and pinch salt. Transfer to small saucepan and simmer for 30 minutes, or until reduced to thick syrup. Serve over grilled salmon and wilted beet greens (see No. 3). 8. Slaw Peel and shred 5 raw chiogga or rainbow beets, 1 Granny Smith apple and 1 carrot. Combine with 4 chopped green onions. Make dressing: Blend ¹∕³ cup apple cider vinegar, 3 tablespoons olive oil, 2 tablespoons dijon mustard, 2 tablespoons sugar, 2 garlic cloves and salt to taste in a food processor and blend until smooth. Add pinch cayenne pepper. Dress slaw as desired. Toss and serve. 9. Curry Peel and chop 4 red beets. Heat a pan to medium heat and add 2 tablespoons oil. Add 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds, 4 curry leaves, ½ teaspoon cumin seeds, ½ teaspoon coriander seeds and 1 dried red chile. Toast seeds and chile in oil about 2 minutes, or until fragrant. Add beets and cook about 5 minutes, or until tender. Garnish with shredded coconut and chopped cilantro. August 2012

August 2012 I SAUCE MAGAZINE I 31

home cooking the new classics: Grilled chicken breast Figuring out ways to make grilled chicken new, fresh and flavorful never gets old. By topping bone-in breasts with a ruby-colored sauce that’s sweet and deep with an acidic kick, chef Carl Hazel of Eleven Eleven Mississippi has done just that. But it’s the chunky ragout that had us jonesing for the recipe. It’s packed with comforting flavors from sweet shallots to fresh rosemary … and it’s even better the next day. – Meera Nagarajan

Grilled Chicken Breast with White Bean Ragout and Balsamic-StrawberryTarragon Sauce Courtesy of Eleven Eleven Mississippi’s Carl Hazel 4 Servings

• First, make the sauce: Coat a large saute pan with 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of minced shallots and saute until soft. Add the strawberries, ½ cup of white wine, vinegar and honey. Bring the mixture to a simmer and let simmer for 5 to 10 minutes, or until the strawberries are tender enough to purée. Remove from heat. • Pour the sauce into a blender and purée. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve. • Transfer the sauce to a bowl. Whisk in 2 tablespoons of butter and the tarragon. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Keep warm. • Next, make the chicken: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Season the chicken breasts with sea salt and pepper. In an oven-safe skillet, heat 4 tablespoons of olive oil over high heat. Place the chicken breasts skin-side-up in the skillet. Pan-sear for 2 to 3 minutes. Flip the chicken and place it in the oven for 6 to 10 minutes, or until it’s cooked through and the skin is crisp. • Meanwhile, make the ragout: Coat a large saute pan with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil over high heat. Add the remaining minced shallot and saute until soft. Add the beans, tomatoes, ½ cup of white wine and rosemary. Bring the mixture to a simmer and let simmer for 10 minutes. • Add the remaining ½ cup of cubed butter and season to taste with salt and pepper. • Serve immediately with the chicken breast and sauce.


August 2012

Photo by jonathan gayman

6 Tbsp. olive oil, divided 1 Tbsp. minced shallots plus 1 minced shallot, divided 1 cup strawberries, cleaned and sliced 1 cup white wine, divided ½ cup white balsamic vinegar 1 Tbsp. honey 2 Tbsp. butter plus ½ cup cubed butter (at room temperature), divided 1 Tbsp. fresh tarragon Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste 4 6-oz. chicken breasts (bone-in, skin on) Sea salt to taste 1 cup cooked white beans ½ cup diced tomatoes 1 Tbsp. fresh rosemary, chopped

August 2012 I SAUCE MAGAZINE I 33


August 2012

jam session by ligaya figueras | photos by carmen troesser

When the mother lode of sweet peaches and finger-staining berries arrives, you either move it or lose it. Making fruit preserves – jams, jellies, conserves, marmalades and the like – has long been one of the easiest ways to enjoy summer’s bounty long after the harvest has ended. But rather than turning to sugar and citrus, funk up that fruit with some indie sweeteners and acids, get inspired by the unique flavor of wild flowers, or jump into the mosh pit using the kernels of stone fruit. Throw on the apron, dust off the Mason jars and turn up the stereo – it’s time to jam.

BlueberryLavender Jam recipe on p. 39

August 2012 I SAUCE MAGAZINE I 35

Blackberry-Red Wine Preserves recipe on p. 37

Apricot Conserves recipe on p. 39

Gingered Rhubarb Jam recipe on p. 37

Fig Jam recipe on p. 37


August 2012

Fig Jam Back when Home Wine Kitchen chefowner Cassy Vires was helming the stove at Ernesto’s Wine Bar and napping pork tenderloin with a savory sauce of dried figs and balsamic vinegar, her sous chef suggested sweetening the concoction with wine. “That’s a great idea!” Vires recounted saying. Fast forward a few years, and that great idea has become a fig jam that’s one of the few staples at Vires’ ever-changing Maplewood restaurant – set upon a cheese board, dotting a dessert plate or sold in homey canning jars. The three-ingredient jam is wonderfully simple. Vires relies on balsamic vinegar for the acid since “the liquid not only cooks into the fruit, it also cooks down.” She grabs a 12-year-aged balsamic, but “the more awesome (read: higher quality) the balsamic, the more savory” the jam will be. Dry red wine also gets the nod for sweetening the pot as it reduces. Vires opts for pinot noir because it’s light, fruity and laden with sugar. Use It: Spread it on toast or shortbread, couple it with goat cheese, or sub it for honey in your favorite vinaigrette.

Courtesy of Home Wine Kitchen’s Cassy Vires 3 cups 4 cups dried figs, whole 2 cups pinot noir or other light red wine 2 cups balsamic vinegar Water, as needed • Combine the figs, wine and balsamic vinegar in a medium-sized pot and place over medium-low heat. • Bring to a simmer and let simmer until most of the liquid has cooked into the figs, approximately 20 minutes. Remove from heat. • When cool enough to handle, purée the mixture in a blender or food processor, adding water as needed to loosen it, until the mixture is the consistency of a smooth, thick paste. • Transfer to sterilized jars, cap and let cool. Store in the refrigerator for 1 month. Alternatively, water-process the jars, then store in a cool, dry place for up to 6 months. August 2012

Gingered Rhubarb Jam

Blackberry-Red Wine Preserves

“You have to use a lot of sweetener with rhubarb, particularly with a jam,” advised Bryan Carr, chef-owner of Pomme Café and Wine Bar and Atlas Restaurant. But rather than pour in the granulated sugar when making this rhubarb jam, Carr opts for brown sugar and local Stinger’s honey – the latter of which lends complex flavor to the fruit spread. “Honey is twice as sweet as sugar,” cautioned Carr, “so you have to adjust accordingly.”

Deep and dark are the resounding themes for Carr’s blackberry-red wine preserves. To cook down the blackberries, Carr uncorks a fruity, aromatic red wine such as a Beaujolais or Grenache, which gives the preserves a slight tannin edge. If the birds ate all your blackberries this season, plums, cherries or any other dark fruit can bathe in the wine as well. As for the bay leaf and fresh thyme, don’t leave those out: They’re there for aroma more than flavor.

Use It: Smear this nicely spiced jam in the a.m. atop toast or muffins. For dessert, it’s a lovely addition to pound cake. To add it to your next cheese plate, Carr suggested choosing a cheese with a strong, tangy edge to counter the sweetness, such as a quality aged cheddar or sharp goat variety.

Courtesy of Atlas Restaurant and Pomme Café and Wine Bar’s Bryan Carr 5 to 6 cups 2 lbs. fresh rhubarb, trimmed, leaves discarded and cut into short lengths 10 oz. brown sugar 6 oz. local honey such as Stinger’s* 3 Tbsp. ground ginger 1 tsp. ground allspice 1 tsp. ground nutmeg 2 bay leaves ½ cup water Zest and juice of 1 lime • Combine all of the ingredients in a heavy-bottomed pot with high sides. • Begin to cook over low heat, stirring frequently. As the fruit and sugar cook, the amount of liquid will increase and you will be able to turn up the heat to a simmer. • Cook until the mixture is thick. (The high sugar content and the need to cook the mix until very thick can make it easy to scorch. Watch the pot carefully, stirring frequently.) Remove the bay leaves from the jam. • Transfer to sterilized jars, cap and let cool. Store in the refrigerator for 1 month. Alternatively, water-process the jars, then store in a cool, dry place for up to 6 months. * Available at all Straub’s locations, Local Harvest Grocery, Starr’s and Parker’s Table

Use It: Devour this berry-luscious pantry perk on toasted grain bread.

Courtesy of Atlas Restaurant and Pomme Café and Wine Bar’s Bryan Carr 6 to 7 cups 8 sprigs fresh thyme 2 bay leaves 48 oz. blackberries 30 oz. sugar 1½ cups red wine (such as Beaujolais or Grenache) 1 packet Sure-Jel or other pectin* • (Tie the thyme sprigs in a bundle with string.) Combine all of the ingredients, including the herb bundle, in a heavy-bottomed pot with high sides. • Begin to cook over low heat, stirring frequently. As the fruit and sugar cook, the amount of liquid will increase and you will be able to turn up the heat to a simmer. • Cook until the mixture is thick. (The high sugar content and the need to cook the mix until very thick can make it easy to scorch. Watch the pot carefully, stirring frequently.) Remove the herb bundle and bay leaves from the preserves. • Transfer to sterilized jars, cap and let cool. Store in the refrigerator for 1 month. Alternatively, water-process the jars, then store in a cool, dry place for up to 6 months.

Prepare, Prepare, Prepare Making preserves is as much about the jars you use as it is the tasty little treats you pour into them. Here, a few rules of thumb for keeping that farm-fresh flavor in – and the bacteria out. Jars Examine last year’s jars for cracks, uneven rims or other defects. Deem any that aren’t in mint condition your table’s new vases. Whether old faithfuls or brand spanking new, wash all jars. Don’t have a dishwasher? Good ol’ hot, soapy water will do. Submerge jars in a large pot or water canner in water until they’re covered. Bring water to a simmer (180 degrees), and let the jars bathe in the simmering water for 10 minutes. Bands Last year’s lids have seen their heyday. Only use the newbies. Wash them in hot, soapy water and then rinse in hot water. A clean band means a happy jam. Place bands in a saucepan and submerge them in enough water to cover. Bring water to a simmer (180 degrees), and let the lids simmer away until they’re ready to be used.

* Available at most grocers in the aisle near the Jell-O I SAUCE MAGAZINE I 37

ground cherryelderflower jam Ground cherries, sometimes sold as husk cherries thanks to their papery outer husk, are quite tart. To counteract that sharpness, Sauce photographer Greg Rannells worked in the floral notes and orange essence of elderflower cordial. In this most uncommon jam, dried elderflower blossoms yield soft, fragrant, botanical goodness; orange peel provides aroma and bitterness; while juice-heavy, pulp-light Valencia orange juice offers even more fruit flavor. Coupled with lemon juice, it also provides enough acid for the jam to set. Use it: This golden fruit-flower spread shines as a breakfast jam best enjoyed slathered with butter on hot, crusty bread or, to get persnickety, on crumpets.

Courtesy of Greg Rannells 2 cups 1 cup water 3 Tbsp. dried elderflower blossoms* 2 lbs. ground cherries (husk cherries)**, outer husk removed 2 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice Juice of 1 Valencia orange 2 cups sugar 1½ tsp. dried orange peel*** • Boil 1 cup of water and pour over the elderflowers. Let steep for 15 minutes, then strain. Reserve the liquid and discard the flowers. • Place the ground cherries in a deep saucepan. Add the steeped elderflower liquid, lemon juice, orange juice, sugar and dried orange peel. • Bring to a boil. Cook for 5 minutes on high heat, stirring constantly to ensure it doesn’t boil over. • Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for about 1 hour, or until the mixture reaches a jam-like consistency. • Transfer to sterilized jars, cap and let cool. Store in the refrigerator for 1 month. Alternatively, water-process the jars, then store in a cool, dry place for up to 6 months. * Available at St. Louis Beer and Winemaking ** Available at the EarthDance Farms booth at Schlafly Farmers Market and Ferguson Farmers Market in September, and at Jay International Food Co. in late August Available at Penzeys Spices 38*** I SAUCE MAGAZINE I

August 2012

Apricot Conserves Chef Josh Galliano has bested little old ladies at state fairs with his masterly jams, jellies and conserves (That last one is actually a jam made of fruit stewed in sugar.). When it comes to apricot conserves, Galliano’s secret is to use the kernel from the pit of the fruit to impart an almond flavor. “It’s in the background,” he explained. “You don’t sense it right off the bat.” Like most conserve recipes, Galliano’s doesn’t call for pectin. One ingredient it does prescribe: apple juice, which lends a different sort of sweetness and keeps the harsh lemon juice in check. Butter also makes the cut. “If [the preserve is] chunkier and you’re hoping not to skim off parts of chunky goodness, that’s when you use [butter] – not for jelly because that would cloud it.” Looking to make a conserve with something other than apricots? Galliano recommended using any fruit that can withstand long cooking times. Use It: Galliano recently served apricot conserves with bread and Green Dirt Farms’ aged, washed rind Bossa sheep’s cheese, available at Local Harvest Grocery and Whole Foods. Other ripe ideas: Pair it with pork or use it as a filling for pastries.

Courtesy of Josh Galliano 8 cups 3 lbs. apricots, cut in half, pits reserved 2 lbs. sugar 2 cups apple juice Juice of 1 lemon 2 Tbsp. butter

• Place all of the apricot pits on a wooden cutting board. Cover them with a towel and crack them open with a mallet. Carefully extract the kernel from inside the pit, making sure not to get any of the pit. • Add the apricots and kernels to a large pot. Place over medium-low heat, and bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Simmer for 10 minutes. • Add the sugar, apple juice and lemon juice. Continue to simmer for another 30 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to August 2012

remove any scum that rises to the surface. • Add the butter, and simmer for 5 minutes longer. • Transfer to sterilized jars, cap and let cool. Store in the refrigerator for 1 month. Alternatively, water-process the jars, then store in a cool, dry place for up to 6 months.

BlueberryLavender Jam Blueberries may be the focus of this fruit concoction by Harvest chef-owner Nick Miller, but it’s the supporting cast of white balsamic vinegar, fresh flowers and herbs that elevate it to blue-ribbon territory. Miller uses white balsamic because it’s slightly sweeter than balsamic and adds “just enough acid to round out the jam, giving it a nice, clean finish.” It also lets the color of the blueberries shine through. Fresh lavender and rosemary lend a savory component while enhancing the bouquet, but if you can’t get your hands on fresh-from-the-soil flowers, Miller recommends finding floral notes in other places. Dry hibiscus flowers, when subjected to cooking, reconstitute and add flavor and fragrance to a fruit preserve. Flower waters can also do the trick. “I’ll use rose water or orange blossom water at the very end [of cooking], which perfumes whatever you’re putting it into but doesn’t overpower it.” To try this method, stir in a miniscule amount of flower water (about half of a teaspoon per 3-pint batch of jam) after removing the jam from heat. Use it: Let this thick jam stand in for the sauce over duck or a grilled leg of lamb.

Courtesy of Harvest’s Nick Miller Approximately 6 cups 2 qts. fresh blueberries 1 Tbsp. fruit pectin* ½ cup sugar Pinch kosher salt ¾ cup white balsamic vinegar 1 2-inch sprig fresh rosemary 5 freshly picked lavender flowers

• Wash the blueberries in cold water, discarding any that are smashed or bruised. Allow to dry in the refrigerator. • Once the berries are dry, toss them with the pectin, sugar and salt. Place the mixture in a heavy-bottomed (preferably stainless steel) pot over medium heat. • Add the white balsamic and bring to a simmer. • Once the blueberries begin to simmer, add the rosemary and lavender. • Increase the heat slightly, stirring constantly, and boil for 1 minute. • Remove the rosemary sprig. • Transfer to sterilized jars, cap and let cool. Store in the refrigerator for 1 month. Alternatively, water-process the jars, then store in a cool, dry place for up to 6 months. Note: This jam will take 24 hours to set. * Available at most grocers in the aisle near the Jell-O

Fill ’Er Up It may sound like the easiest part of the process, but pouring your precious preserves into those tiny little jars can send even the calmest cook into a downright temper tantrum. Follow these steps for keeping your cool in the kitchen. Once the jam is ready, ladle it into jars, leaving ¼-inch headspace. Remove air bubbles by placing a nonmetallic spatula inside the jar between the jam and the side of the jar. Press the spatula back against the jam to release any trapped air. Repeat several times. Wipe the rim of the jar with a clean, damp cloth. Place the lid on the jar rim, centering it atop the glass. Place a band over the lid and screw it onto the jar. The band should be firm and snug but not overly tight.

Safe and snug Can’t wait to spread that jam on your morning toast tomorrow? After filling and capping the jar, let the jam cool and move it to the fridge, where it will keep for 1 month. Hoping to save a jar for a rainy day? To safely store jams unrefrigerated for up to 6 months, follow this basic method for water-processing. Fill a boiling-water canner half full with water and bring to a simmer (180 degrees). Position a canner rack over the simmering water. Place the filled jars on the canner rack and carefully lower the rack into the simmering water. Make sure the water covers the jars and caps by 1 to 2 inches, adding boiling water as necessary. Put the canner lid in place. Adjust heat to medium-high and bring to a rolling boil. Maintain a rolling boil for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and remove the canner lid. Let the canner cool for 5 minutes before removing the jars. Remove the jars from the canner and place them upright on a dry towel to cool, leaving a few inches of space between them. Don’t tighten the bands if they loosened during processing. Let the jars cool naturally for 12 to 24 hours. Once the jars are cool, check for a vacuum seal: Press the center of the lid. It should be concave and not flex up and down. Next, remove the band and gently try to lift the lid off with your fingertips. The lid shouldn’t lift off. Screw the band back on and store in a cool, dry, dark place. I SAUCE MAGAZINE I 39

summer fling by ligaya figueras

Normal humans have love affairs with real people. We fall head over heels for passion-worthy plates and drop-dead gorgeous drinks. Alas, the dalliance comes to an end all too quickly – menus change, fresh produce goes out of season and the tryst we had with that perfect tipple seems like a distant memory. Since we’re not too prudish to kiss and tell, we’re sharing the tasty bites and divine sips that swept us off our feet this summer. The good news? With a few weeks of summer left, there’s still time to carry on a delicious romance of your own.

We totally support kiddie biz ventures. But until those quarter-hungry youngsters begin to wash their hands, get their mise en place together, make lemonade from real lemons and serve it ice cold, we’re buying this summertime streetcorner staple at Sub Zero Vodka Bar. The adults-only Euclid Lemonade, one of 12 made-to-order patio pitchers served at the restaurant’s new producehappy Market Bar, features a cool combination of Pearl Plum Vodka and housemade lemonade, along with handfuls of fresh cucumber, plum and lemon slices. Clean, refreshing and nothing like Country Time. Sub Zero Vodka Bar, 308 N. Euclid Ave., St. Louis, 314.367.1200,


Sunsets on the Roof Mojo Tapas If you’re looking for the next hot date spot – one that isn’t crawling with sexting college students or cheesy-titled martinis – then grab your better half and head to Mojo Tapas. We should say head up, actually – seven stories up, to be exact – where the South Grand restaurant features Sunsets on the Roof during the summer months. Sure, you should order a few shared plates and cool down with a glass of wine or a pitcher of Mojo’s outstanding sangria,

but the real pull here is the ambiance. Don’t be surprised if you end the alfresco evening staring all lovey-dovey at each other as the sun sets upon the city. Hey, a little romance never hurt anybody, right? Especially when there’s booze involved. Reservations are required, and there’s a $5 cover fee. Dates remaining are August 3, 17 and 31. Mojo Tapas, 3117 S. Grand Blvd., St. Louis, 314.865.0500,

August 2012

pitcher photo by greg rannells; rooftop Photo by CARMEN TROESSER

Euclid Lemonade Sub Zero Vodka Bar

Pork Belly Cleveland-Heath We’ve known from the getgo that the pork belly at Cleveland-Heath was worth driving for. But have you tasted the restaurant’s summertime version of this appetizer, which pairs this most unctuous part of the pig with juicy watermelon cubes and pickled jalapeño rings, all swimming in a puddle of spicy Thai watermelon vinaigrette? It’s one of the tastiest ways with watermelon we’ve encountered this summer. And with those uniform slivers of fatty belly stacked neatly atop precisely sized squares of melon, it’s almost as lovely to behold as it is to eat.

Cleveland-Heath, 106 N. Main St., Edwardsville, Ill., 618.307.4830,

cocktail photos by greg rannells; pork belly photo by carmen troesser; hot dog and medianoche photos by jonathan gayman

Go Ahead Have Another 360 For the last few months, the crew at 360 has been infusing fruity jam into spirits. In the spring, strawberry-rhubarb jam took it easy in tequila before starring in a cocktail that exec chef Rex Hale dubbed a “strawberry-rhubarb margarita meets Mojito.” For the summer version, Go Ahead Have Another, vodka was infused with fresh pineapple, dried coconut, The Big O ginger liqueur and a mango jam spiced with ginger, cardamom and cinnamon. To prepare the cocktail, five ounces of the vodka infusion and a dollop of that mango spice jam are shaken and strained into a rocks glass filled with ice. Can you taste all those layers of tropical fruit flavor? Oh, wait, you sipped – er, gulped – too quickly? That’s OK; go ahead, have another. 360, Hilton at the Ballpark, One S. Broadway, St. Louis, 314.241.8439,

August 2012

Scotch in Savannah Eclipse What do you get when you combine salty-nosed Tobermory single-malt Scotch with fruity watermelon juice, a salty honey syrup, tart lemon juice and fresh basil, all over crushed ice? “A slow Southern afternoon,” said Eclipse bar manager Seth Wahlman, who created this salty-sweet, julep-esque drink with fellow bartender Tony Saputo. Get this thirst-quencher before the menu switches on the autumnal equinox, which falls this year on September 22. Eclipse, 6177 Delmar Blvd., The Loop, 314.726.2222,

Sweet potato pancake dog GCS Ballpark

MEDIAnoche If you haven’t had a chance to try Half & Half’s other half, Mexican-by-night restaurant MEDIAnoche, it’s about time you do, since the evening concept is set to disappear this month. You can’t go wrong with a molcajete of buttery, fresh guac or an order of three über tender beef cheek tacos. But why not take a step out of the chips-and-salsa box? If you’re lucky, the Puerco con Panza – a maravilloso plate of cold-smoked tenderloin, crispy pork belly, a sweet roasted banana and tangy pickled radish that delighted

us in July – will still be on the menu. Better yet: Put your meal in the capable hands of chef-owner Mike Randolph and opt for the three-course prix fixe (and a stellar cocktail by barman T.S. Ferguson). Just hurry; when the clock strikes midnight on August 18, the votive candles will be blown out for good to make room for the space’s soon-to-launch new evening concept: Little Country Gentleman.

MEDIAnoche, 8135 Maryland Ave., Clayton, 314.725.0719,

The Gateway Grizzlies baseball team plays in the indie Frontier League, but the home team is in a league of its own with the sweet potato pancake dog. Rolled inside a sweet-potato pancake fresh off the griddle is a juicy, all-beef jumbo hot dog, a couple tendrils of salty bacon, and a generous smear of spicy-sweet jalapeño jelly. So you needed an excuse to go to the East Side? Yeah, you’re welcome. But at least stay for a few innings, would ya?

GCS Ballpark, 2301 Grizzlie Bear Blvd., Sauget, Ill., 618.337.3000, I SAUCE MAGAZINE I 41


August 2012

dogs dressed up

You’ve boiled ‘em, broiled ‘em and barbecued ‘em till their skin is charred and crackled. But have you ever had a hot dog with ghost peppers? How about pickled carrots? Forget measly ol’ mustard; hot dogs have taken a turn for the better as local chefs tuck just about anything you can think of inside that bun. Ignore everything you thought you knew about everyone’s favorite mystery meat. Then, go and try these five stellar versions. We double-dog dare you.

by meera nagarajan and stacy schultz photos by carmen troesser

Banh Mi Dog at Half & Half p. 44 August 2012 I SAUCE MAGAZINE I 43

The Hot Aztec Dog is hot fire. A bacon-wrapped dog gets swaddled in hot az sauce (It’s spiked with ghost peppers … yeah, it’s spicy.), dressed up with grilled onions and Chihuahua cheese, and crowned with a generous handful of shredded pork. With layers of heat, textures and flavors, this dog packs a one-two punch that’s south-of-the-border hot. Hot Aztec food truck,, Twitter: @HotAztec

Hot Aztec Dog


We’ve had a chili-cheese dog before, but a chili-macand-cheese dog? This was a first. For The Triple Dog Dare You, smoky, spicy chili is the base for a massive quarter-pound dog. Seasoned cheesy macaroni provides heart-stopping guilty pleasure, while dots of pickled jalapeños add a zing of heat. Crisped, crumbled bacon sprinkled on top makes this chili cheese dog one for the books – and the scales. BBQ ASAP, 15581 Manchester Road, Ballwin, 636.256.1908,

Triple Dog Dare You

The Banh Mi Dog tucks the fresh flavors of this classic Vietnamese street food inside a hot-dog bun for a flurry of tastes and textures. The frank, with its casing browned, sits nestled inside a poppy-seed bun. That bun’s been buttered, toasted and slathered with garlic aioli, by the way. (Nice touch.) But it’s the pickled carrots and jalapeños, wedges of fresh cucumber and piquant cilantro that steal the show, adding a refreshing burst of tang to this typically salty dog. Half & Half, 8135 Maryland Ave., Clayton, 314.725.0719,

Banh Mi Dog

August 2012




Iron Barley, 5510 Virginia Ave., St. Louis, 314.351.4500,

Only one hot dog (that we’ve had at least) tucks all our barbecuing memories into a bun for a meal so nostalgic, it practically has us asking Dad if he’ll grill us up seconds. For the Backyard BBQ Dog, one of Nathan’s Famous gets smoked and then doused with tangy baked beans and sticky-sweet barbecue sauce. Chewy, fatty bits of bacon make everything better. But no barbecue is complete without potato salad. The taters get chopped, tossed with mayo, seasoned just right and then folded right into the bun. One bite and you’ll hear Mom screaming, “No running by the pool!”

Monte Christo Double Dog

Steve’s Hot Dogs on The Hill, 2131 Marconi Ave., St. Louis, 314.762.9899,

What makes the Monte Christo Double Dog isn’t the two half-pound hot dogs that get split down the middle and then griddled to charred, buttery perfection; it’s the sweet strawberry jam slathered on the toasted bun underneath them. Fruity and sticky, salty and smoky, a spectrum of flavors gets rounded out by a blanket of molten Swiss. Our advice? Chow down with a fork and knife.

Backyard BBQ Dog

August 2012 I SAUCE MAGAZINE I 45


August 2012

August 2012 I SAUCE MAGAZINE I 47

stuff to do:

this month by Byron Kerman

Tomato Fest

No Shirt No Shoes Old School Beer Dinner

Aug. 12 – 2 to 7 p.m., Iron Barley · 314.351.4500

Aug. 19 – 6 p.m., The Beerhouse, River City Casino 314.388.7655 ·

When Iron Barley’s Tom Coghill throws a party, weird things happen. His annual Tomato Fest means tomato beer, tomato pizzas made in the restaurant’s smoker and the “unusually-shaped tomato contest.” Don’t forget the bloody mary and tomato dish contests, live auction, drink specials, tomato-themed craft sale, live music and a tomato-centric menu featuring BLTs, vegetarian lasagna, and those glorious pizzas. The rubicund fun benefits Lift for Life Gym.

Grow Your Own Garlic Event Aug. 18 – 7 p.m., Crown Room, Schlafly Bottleworks 314.241.2337 · Jack Petrovic’s motto is “the more garlic you grow, the more friends you’ll have.” The Schlafly gardener is referring to the many garlic growers who share and trade amongst their burgeoning, hardy crops. The herb is planted in the fall and harvested come spring, so it’s the perfect time to join the garlic gardening circle. Petrovic and fellow Schlafly gardener Nolan Kowalski will host their fourth annual Grow Your Own Garlic event at Schlafly Bottleworks this month, featuring a fun tutorial on garlic varietals; how to grow, harvest, cure and store “the stinking rose.” The free event also features samples of several types of garlic, so bring gum and mints if you like!


You’re familiar with wine and beer dinners, and maybe you’ve even been to a few with oddball themes. But this just might take the cake. Chef John Johnson’s August No Shirt No Shoes Old School Beer Dinner at River City Casino’s The Beerhouse restaurant is a seriously unpretentious affair that pays tribute to the canned beer of our youth. The menu is a hoot: gravy-braised deepfried ribs and macaroni croquettes with Schlitz beer; ambrosia and lime Jell-O salad with caramelized Spam and Genny Light beer; “grilled bologna, American cheese and mayonnaise,” crispy corn dog with yellow-pepper ketchup, corn on the cob, and Busch beer; a “TV dinner” of Salisbury steak au champignon, whipped roastedgarlic mashed potatoes, and tarragon peas with Stag beer; and a dessert of banana MoonPie, Brown Mule push up, and coconut snoball with Hamm’s beer. How will chef Johnson “gourmet up” these menu items? You’ll have to make reservations to find out.

Downtown Restaurant Week Aug. 20 to 26 – Now in its eighth year, Downtown Restaurant Week is a full seven days during which diners enjoy the serious bargain of three-course dinners priced at $25. This year’s lineup will feature 20 restaurants including Cielo, Mike Shannon’s Steaks & Seafood, Copia Restaurant & Wine Garden, Mango Peruvian Grille, Lola, and Blondie’s Coffee

and Wine Bar, among others. And after your satisfying repast, consider making an “Extra Helping” donation to Operation Food Search. A $5 donation provides a meal for a hungry family.

Luv-Luv Farm Festival at Overlook Farm Aug. 10 to 12 – call for times, Overlook Farm, Clarksville, Mo. · 573.242.3838 Chefs and those who love them go weak in the knees for Overlook Farm. That’s because the restored compound, in addition to boasting an inn, great walking trails and private event spaces, features a crazy-good restaurant and frequent foodie events that are well worth the trip. This month offers one of the biggies: the Luv-Luv Farm Festival. Come for six-course farm-to-table (which, in this case, is a real short journey) meals on Friday and Saturday night, with Saturday’s dinner benefiting Chefs4Students, a national scholarship fund for culinary students. Saturday’s barbecue contest draws out some of the area’s best cooking-competition teams, and the guests reap the benefits. The mellow weekend also offers wine and beer tastes, cooking demos, live music, a silent auction and a gorgeously rustic backdrop.

Midwest WingFest Aug. 31 and Sept. 1 – various times, Dillard’s (east parking lot), St. Clair Square Mall, Fairview Heights, Ill. · 314.252.8942 · Ba-kawww! The third annual Midwest WingFest to benefit disabled veterans has been expanded to two days of peppery,

vinegary, Buffalo-ey fun. Twenty vendors including 17th Street Bar and Grill, Big Mamma’s BBQ, The Office Bar and Grill, Hick’s BBQ, Dandy Inn Irish Pub, and plenty of local churches and catering companies scratch it out in hot wing and gourmet categories. Look for wing-eating contests, festival foods, a talent show, live music and a 5K run (before eating wings, we hope). Are you a ranch-dressing or a blue-cheese kind of person? Both are welcome.

sponsored events Food Truck Friday

Aug. 10 – 5 to 8 p.m., Tower Grove Park 314.772.8004 · All food-truck faithfuls and newbies are welcome to join us for everything from tacos to bagel sandwiches to sushi at this massive picnic in Tower Grove Park.

Luv-Luv Farm Festival at Overlook Farm Aug. 10 to 12 – call for times, Overlook Farm, Clarksville, Mo. · 573.242.3838 · See details at left.

Downtown Restaurant Week

Aug. 20 to 26 – See details at left.

Torchlight 5k After-Party

Aug. 31 – Registration: 5:30 p.m.; Run: 7 p.m.; Party: 7:15 to 10 p.m., Soldier’s Memorial · show/503126-st-louis Racers are led to a family-friendly finish line celebration filled with food, drinks and music. Each entry receives a T-shirt; access to food, drink and the beer tent; and discounts at Sauce Magazine’s Food Truck Fleet. August 2012

August 2012 I SAUCE MAGAZINE I 49

5 Questions for Already the owner of Bobo Noodle House and I Fratellini, Zoë Pidgeon is opening a third restaurant. Bar Les Frères, set to open in September, will be a cozy restaurant/bar just across the street from I Fratellini. So, will this be the French sibling to Clayton’s best kept Italian secret? We set off to find out. 1. What’s with the name, Bar Les Frères? It means “the brothers” in French. I Fratellini means “the little brothers” in Italian, which refers to my sons, but they’re not little anymore. My sons are not interested in the business, though. They call the food industry “the last resort.” Bobo Noodle House I Fratellini saucemagazine. com/ifratellini/ Bar Les Frères – COMING SOON 7637 Wydown Blvd., Clayton

2. So what’s the plan for Bar Les Frères? I’ve been telling people the menu has a French accent, but it’s still evolving. Thus far, we’ve planned to have four to six entrees, a couple salads, and six to seven apps. I am going to do a full French wine list. My executive chef is originally from Laos, and he has a bit of a French cooking background. I Fratellini is tiny, and this is going to make it look roomy. It will have 24 to 28 seats [and] another 24 on a patio. The reason I’m calling it “Bar” is for people stopping by before or after dinner for a drink, or for a little dessert. It won’t be a serious restaurant with reservations; it will be a come-as-you-are kind of place. 3. I Fratellini is some people’s favorite restaurant, but it’s sort of a well kept secret, hm? Some people love it, but they won’t tell anybody about it. It’s so small that people want to keep it their secret.

For the rest of this interview, visit the Extra Sauce section of


5. How would you describe your management style? I work Monday-to-Friday lunch at I Fratellini, and I’m part of the team. I help take orders, serve and bus the tables. I’m not one of those people who wants to hang back at the bar and direct people. It makes it really fun, and it gives the customers a really good experience. It’s a buzz to work at a restaurant. You get a kick. I used to say on Saturday nights that I’m not going to be happy unless I’m on the verge of tears by 9 o’clock. I like the pressure. — Byron Kerman August 2012

Photo by greg rannells

4. You’ve never run three restaurants simultaneously before – how will you handle it? I have a really amazing staff, and a lot of us have been together for 20 years or more. We’re a tightly knit group, and I trust everyone so much. It doesn’t all go perfectly, but it wouldn’t even if I could somehow be at all three places at the same time, anyway. That unpredictability is what’s fun about our business. I was 23 when I opened my first restaurant. It’s all I’ve ever known. I love it. I probably wouldn’t trade my job for anything – except a whole lot of money (laughs).

August 2012 I SAUCE MAGAZINE I 51


August 2012

Profile for Sauce Magazine

August 2012  

August 2012 main issue

August 2012  

August 2012 main issue

Profile for saucemag