cauliflower with yellow curry sauce, recipe on p. 41
SAUCE 5 recipes to make any dish better
B U R N I N G
L O V E
F O R VO L C A N I C W I N E P. 24 ST. LOUISâ€™ INDEPENDENT CULINARY AUTHORITY February 2018
R E V I E W
4 NEW PLACES TO
THE MAD CRAB
TRY THIS MONTH
A N D S TAY I N
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FEBRUARY 2018 • VOLUME 18, ISSUE 2 What’s your go-to takeout order?
PUBLISHER ART DIRECTOR MANAGING EDITOR MANAGING EDITOR, DIGITAL STAFF WRITER EDIBLE WEEKEND EDITOR PROOFREADER PRODUCTION DESIGNER CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS
CONTRIBUTING ILLUSTRATOR CONTRIBUTING EDITOR I use Skip the Dishes CONTRIBUTING WRITERS and get vegetarian momo from Everest Cafe. And the miso soup is stupid-good.
ADVERTISING SALES MANAGER ACCOUNT EXECUTIVES EVENTS COORDINATOR LISTINGS EDITOR INTERNS
Right now it’s pho, but every time
Allyson Mace I’m sick all I want Meera Nagarajan is Union Loafers’ chicken and rice Heather Hughes soup. It’s perfectly Catherine Klene simple. Matt Sorrell Catherine Klene Megan Gilmore Michelle Volansky Ashley Gieseking, Izaiah Johnson, David Kovaluk, Greg Rannells, Carmen Troesser, Michelle Volansky Vidhya Nagarajan Katie O’Connor Glenn Bardgett, Katie Herrera, Heather Hughes, Jamie Kilgore, Ted Kilgore, Catherine Klene, Meera Nagarajan, Michael Renner, Dee Ryan, Stacy Schultz, Matt Sorrell, Stephanie Zeilenga Allyson Mace Matt Bartosz, Angie Rosenberg Amy Hyde Amy Hyde Andie Divelbiss, Laura Kern, Claire Ma Kounter Kulture is walking distance from my house. I love their seasonal salad, dumplings and of course, the catfish steamed bun.
To place advertisements in Sauce Magazine contact the advertising department at 314.772.8004 or firstname.lastname@example.org. To carry Sauce Magazine at your store, restaurant, bar or place of business Contact Allyson Mace at 314.772.8004 or email@example.com. All contents of Sauce Magazine are copyright ©2001-2018 by Bent Mind Creative Group, LLC. The Sauce name and logo are both registered to the publisher, Bent Mind Creative Group, LLC. Reproduction or other 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 $2.50 will apply. Sauce Magazine is printed on recycled paper using soy inks.
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 saucemagazine.com. 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.
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contents FEBRUARY 2018
editors' picks 9 E AT THIS Gnocchi at Five Bistro
by catherine klene 10
FIX ATI O N S From a vegan schmear to a summery shrub, here’s what’s at the top of our shopping list right now.
by heather hughes, catherine klene, meera nagarajan and matt sorrell 13
HIT LIST 4 places to try this month
by heather hughes, catherine klene, meera nagarajan and matt sorrell
reviews 17 N E W AN D NOTABLE The Mad Crab
by michael renner 20
LUNCH RUSH J's Pitaria
dine & drink
the angry combo at the mad crab p. 17
23 A SE AT AT THE BAR Four experts tell us what to sip, stir and shake
by glenn bardgett, katie herrera and ted and jamie kilgore 24 ELIXIR Volcanic wines
by heather hughes
Roasted cauliflower with yellow curry. Learn how to make this and other dishes with easy base sauce recipes on p. 36.
TA K EO UT A N D CHILL by stacy schultz
PHOTO BY CARMEN TROESSER
by stephanie zeilenga
last course PHOTO BY IZAIAH JOHNSON
44 STUFF TO DO by matt sorrell 46 WHAT I D O Josh Charles
by catherine klene February 2018
ONE SAUCE, TWO SAUCE, RED SAUCE, GREEN SAUCE by dee ryan
Tune in to 90.7 KWMU when Sauce staff join St. Louis on the Air to discuss the must-try new restaurants on this month’s Hit List. Then check back later in month when Sauce discusses Valentine’s Day tips whether you’re dining out or cooking in. saucemagazine.com I SAUCE MAGAZINE I 7
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e d i t o r s' p i c k s
EAT THIS On a menu that rotates almost daily, the GNOCCHI at FIVE BISTRO appear often – and we’re eternally grateful they do. These delicate nuggets hold within their thin, shell-like exteriors airy potato that’s more fluff than mash. Whether PHOTO BY CARMEN TROESSER
served alongside an entree or snuggled in a rich ragu as the star of the first course, the only downside to these delightful dumplings is we’ll never get enough.
FIVE BISTRO, 5100 DAGGETT AVE., ST. LOUIS 314.773.5553, FIVEBISTRO.COM
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Fixations From a vegan schmear to a summery shrub, here’s what’s at the top of our shopping list right now.
Heirloom Bottling Co. Shrubs We love vinegary shrubs, especially those made in St. Louis with just a handful of ingredients. Try the Blackberry Lemon Mint with soda water and remember summer exists. $21. Larder & Cupboard, 7310 Manchester Road, Maplewood, 314.300.8995, larderandcupboard.com
Antonio Mattei Biscotti These almond biscuits and chocolate biscotti bring us back to charming London teatimes. Bonus: They come in elegant bright blue and red tins we love to reuse. $14 to $25. Parker’s Table, 7118 Oakland Ave., Richmond Heights, 314.645.2050, parkerstable.com
Evolúció Blaufränkisch Drop that pinot. This lightbodied, berry-tart Austrian red goes with everything and nothing – and that’s how we’re drinking it. $11. Fields Foods, 1500 Lafayette Ave., St. Louis, 314.241.3276, fieldsfoods.com
Cocktail Kingdom Mixtin This vacuum-insulated, stainlesssteel pitcher ensures consistent temperatures while stirring cocktails. Plus, unlike our old mixing glass, we can’t break it. $50. Intoxicology, 4321 Manchester Ave., St. Louis, 314.858.8664, intoxicologystl.com
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Duralex Picardie tumblers This tempered glassware is heat- and freezer-safe, shatterproof when you’ve had one too many – did we mention it’s great for table wine? – and doesn’t slouch on style, either. It is French, after all. Set of 6: $14 to $32. Sur La Table, 295 Plaza Frontenac, Frontenac, 314.993.0566, surlatable.com
Kite Hill Chive Cream Cheese-Style Spread Rich, tangy and oh-so-smooth, this almond-based vegan spread will woo even the most ardent turophile. $6. Whole Foods, multiple locations, wholefoodsmarket.com
Sea Salt Caramel Collection Prevent abandoned bonbons with bitten corners. These straightforward caramels are what we want when picking through a box. Just get the good stuff. $10. Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate Co., multiple locations, chocolatechocolate.com
“Made in India” by Meera Sodha Meera Sodha balances heady Indian flavors to pinpoint perfection. Try her chile paneer recipe, and you’ll appear to be an expert yourself. $35. Left Bank Books, left-bank.com
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4 new places to try this month
grilled swordfish at billie-jean
PHOTO BY MICHELLE VOLANSKY
Zoe Robinson’s restaurants have long been at the top of every local gourmand’s go-to list, and her latest, Billie-Jean, looks to continue that tradition. Located just down the block from Robinson’s I Fratellini and Bar Les Frères, the exterior of Billie-Jean is a study in elegant understatement. Past the stealthy entrance is a bit of midtown Manhattan in St. Louis. The interior is rife with contrast – black and white, organic and industrial, frenetic and intimate – creating a vibrant, kinetic atmosphere. To complement this ambience, Robinson and her longtime collaborator, executive chef Ny Vongsaly, have put together a tight menu of dishes that deftly combine Asian and European influences, like a dumpling soup rife with tender mushrooms and redolent of lemongrass and lime leaf, a pan full of baked quail eggs and roasted tomatoes still on the vine and a whole roasted snapper topped with an herbal cilantro-lime leaf salsa verde.
7610 Wydown Blvd., Clayton, 314.797.8484, billiejeanstl.com
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billie-jean casa juárez mexican town tacos del norte at casa juárez margarita flights at casa juárez zach fagas checks the smoker at honey pit
HONEY PIT SMOKEHOUSE
Spicy, cheesy, saucy Tex-Mex satisfies all our comfort cravings, and Casa Juárez is no exception. Already a packed restaurant on opening day, diners danced with a mariachi band and people waiting for a table were offered complimentary tequila shots to make the wait time fly by. Don’t let those shots stop you from ordering a margarita flight when you sit down: three margaritas made with different tequilas start things on the right foot. Pair that with chips, salsa and guacamole, and you could stop there. But the menu, like the space, is huge, ranging from fajitas served with super fresh house-made flour tortillas, to crispy-crunchy chimichangas. The enchiladas supremas won us over, mostly because we love a sampler plate and it offered four different enchiladas: chicken and mole, beef with red sauce, bean with cheese dip and a cheese enchilada with salsa verde. Or go for gourmet tacos like the tacos del norte with grilled chicken, chorizo and salsa verde or a classic al pastor. Just be prepared for a wait – and a friendly shot of tequila with your name on it.
Next time you’re craving sweet ItalianAmerican tomato sauce and piles of Provel for lunch, head to Cherokee Street instead of The Hill. Along with mostaccioli in meat sauce, Parm Pasta & Sandwich Co. offers a halfdozen Italian sandwiches to go that will completely ruin your afternoon plans. Mysteriously, there is no chicken Parmesan on the menu, but the eggplant Parmesan will satisfy any craving with loads of sauce, gooey cheese and the rich fried vegetable. The meatball sub was another favorite, with enormous, flavorful spheres of tender ground beef in that classic red sauce. You may not be able to finish a whole sandwich, but you’ll have a grand time trying.
12710 Dorsett Road, Maryland Heights, 314.317.9404, casajuarezstl.com
2619 Cherokee St., St. Louis, 314.833.3034, Facebook: Parm Pasta & Sandwich Co.
CASA JUÁREZ MEXICAN TOWN
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PARM PASTA & SANDWICH CO.
Kirkwood finally has a barbecue restaurant to call its own. Honey Pit Smokehouse features the usual meaty suspects, all with telltale pink rings boasting time in the restaurant’s water smokers. According to owners Zach Fagas and father-and-son team Shane Mihaljevic and Shane Mihaljevic Jr., these devices use steam and smoke to keep meat extra tender. Honey Pit’s best work is found on the ribs that just barely cling to the bone, the turkey that stays moist and smoky long after slicing and the Louisiana hot links with a satisfying snap on the first bite. Whatever you choose, make sure you grab a side of seasoned, battered fries and light, slightly sweet cornbread muffins – both perfect vehicles for sopping up any leftover sauce.
951 S. Kirkwood Road, Kirkwood, 314.698.2121, honeypitsmokehouse.com
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reviews All Sauce reviews are conducted anonymously.
the angry combo at the mad crab
NE W A ND N OTA B L E
the mad crab BY MICHAEL RENNER | PHOTOS BY IZAIAH JOHNSON
At t h e s h e l l f i s h - i n a- b ag r e s tau r a n t, The Mad Crab, you’ll make the biggest mess eating in public since you were a toddler. The good news is you won’t be alone, because the 5,000-square-foot space has been packed with diverse crowds of equally messy seafood lovers since it opened late last summer. The bad news? With plastic cups and plastic bags laden with pungent
new and notable THE MAD CRAB p. 17 February 2018
lunch rush J'S PITARIA p. 20 saucemagazine.com I SAUCE MAGAZINE I 17
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During the off-season, some seafood is frozen, like the crawfish and crab legs during my visit, but otherwise it’s all fresh – and market price, so your total can climb quickly. There are also combos offering good value. The Mad Combo ($27) comes with a pound of headless shrimp, a pound of crawfish, four pieces of sausage, two cobettes and two potatoes. The best deal is The Angry Combo ($46), which includes all of the above plus a half-pound of snow crab legs and a basket of 10 chicken wings on the side. It’s worthy of sharing.
reviews NEW AND NOTABLE p. 2 of 2
While anticipating my Angry Combo, with The Whole ShaBang sauce (because I couldn’t make up my mind), I had a Styrofoam cup of gumbo, one of the several starters offered (along with oysters, wings and fried calamari). It was all right, not particularity flavorful, but it did contain a few meaty mussels and lots of okra.
crawfish and shrimp at the mad crab
sauces and boiled shellfish you eat with plastic-gloved hands while wearing plastic bibs, it’s also an environmentalist’s nightmare. Mad Crab follows a West Coast trend that large cities like Dallas, Chicago and Toronto have taken to with a vengeance, most with names of agitated crustaceans like Angry Crab, Boiling Crab, Kickin’ Crab, Crazy Crab … You get the idea. The menus of these restaurants are all similar, but they offer nearly endless customizability, and diners everywhere line up to crack shells, suck heads, slurp sauce and otherwise make pigs of themselves.
AT A GLANCE the mad crab
Here’s how it works: Pick your seafood (whole Dungeness, king or snow crab legs, whole lobster or tail, whole or headless shrimp, crawfish, clams, green or black mussels), add some other stuff (corn cobettes, potatoes or sausage), choose a spice level (none to triple-X hot) and pick your sauce (Cajun, lemonpepper, garlic or The Whole Sha-Bang – a mixture of all three). It’s all boiled to order and delivered to the table en plastic, a sealed clear bag that keeps everything steaming hot and the butterrich sauce from congealing. No plates, no utensils save for picks and steel shell crackers, no decorum – just gloves, bibs and lots of napkins.
Where 8080 Olive Blvd., University City, 314.801.8698, Facebook: The Mad Crab STL
Not much later, a server lifted my bag o’ food from a blue, rope-handled plastic bucket and placed it on the table, which was covered with waxed butcher paper. Frankly, it looked as appetizing as a bag of garbage to rummage through. But I strapped on my bib, ready to get primal. Here, I had a decision to make: don the ill-fitting, plastic gloves or dig in barehanded. In the end, it didn’t matter because the comical oversized gloves provided little protection from the pungent, garlic-heavy, buttery sauce, the smell of which permeated everything from hands to hair. (Two days later I was still scrubbing it away and belching up the acrid tang of garlic.) And yet I found myself digging deeper into the bag, clumsily pawing for potatoes and sausages. It was like I
Don’t Miss Dishes Any seafood you like, but combos offer the best selection – Mad Combo ($27) or Angry Combo ($46).
Vibe Spacious with a nautical decor, 10 TVs and an atmosphere of good cheer and serious eating.
was in one of those sensory awareness exercises where you wear gloves to limit fine motor skills. In a rhythm or frenzy, I tore apart crawfish, splitting their tails to squeeze out the meat before sucking the liqueur from their heads. I bit into hunks of sausage, breaking the skin with a crisp snap before quickly biting into a soft-skinned potato so I could get a mouthful of meat, potato and sauce. After cracking crab legs, I used the plastic pick to unzip the sweet, succulent meat from its spiny home. I peeled juicy shrimp easily and quickly, discarding shells on a growing mound of detritus now taking up my table. Sometimes I dipped meat in the sauce pooling in the bottom of the bag; sometimes I avoided it to focus on the delicate snow crab I had spent so much time extracting. You know that feeling after an extravagant meal when you look down in awe at the mess before you and wonder what just happened? Then all you want is for it to go away? Thankfully, there was a hand-washing station outside the bathroom to help rinse away any guilt I may have acquired during my rapacious feast. By the time I returned to the table, all evidence had been folded into the butcher paper – beer bottles and all – and scurried away. The Mad Crab is a fun place to eat with a bunch of friends. Really, who doesn’t like an adventure, especially if it involves getting messy together? I would not, however, suggest it as a first date, unless you’re screening for particular qualities. It’s also a concept that will either disgust or delight, depending on your views of gluttony, plastic waste, seafood sustainability and unadulterated sloppiness. But when you’re elbow-deep in it all, it’s best to just embrace the mess.
Entree Prices Seafood is market priced
When Mon. to Fri. – 3 to 11 p.m.; Sat. – Noon to 11 p.m.; Sun. – Noon to 10 p.m.
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reviews LUNCH RUSH
j’s pitaria BY STEPHANIE ZEILENGA | PHOTOS BY DAVID KOVALUK
J’s Pitaria in the Bevo Mill neighborhood is one of a handful of Bosnian restaurants that emerged on the scene last year. St. Louis is home to a large Bosnian population, and many of us are long overdue on getting hip to the country’s culinary delights, which offer an enticing combination of West and East. J’s is delightfully decorated with a light, bright touch. The food magically balances fast-food speediness (and price!) with fresh, homemade flavor, making it an ideal lunch spot. doner kebab at j's pitaria
with a hint of Boursinlike tang. It sounds heavy or greasy, but is actually rather delicate. The spinach and cheese pita is also noteworthy, like a lighter version of spanakopita, while the beef version is a little more substantial. If you save room for dessert, get the Nutella pita.
PITAS You notice them the moment you step inside. A warm glow emanates from a case of golden-brown pitas, lined up like delicious little soldiers. Made fresh throughout the day, the pitas are made with hand-stretched and rolled phyllo dough. They’re conveniently priced by the pound, so I tried them all. The cheese pita was my favorite – crisp, warm layers of phyllo encased oozing kajmak, a butter-cheese similar to clotted cream
DONER KEBAB Either come hungry or bring a friend, because J’s doner kebab sandwich is massive
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and immensely satisfying. The house-prepared doner is savory and juicy, a nice counterbalance to the sandwich’s crisp lettuce tomato, cucumber, red onion and creamy tzatziki sauce. Bread can make or break a sandwich, and here, it’s ace: Instead of your typical bland, dry pita, J’s uses lightly toasted homemade somun, a Bosnian flatbread. The kebab is also available in salad form, which makes a nice lighter lunch.
CHICKEN PANINI A chicken panini might seem prosaic at a restaurant like J’s, where so much effort has gone into crafting an authentic Bosnian menu. But the addition of kajmak and somun make this sandwich something else altogether. The creamy spread infuses every bite, but isn’t used so lavishly that the panini becomes a mess.
DOWNSIDE Small menus aren’t a bad thing – they signal a focused restaurant dedicated to what they do best. That said, although the two sandwiches can be ordered as a salad, it would be nice to have one or two lighter salads or sides (sans meat or cheese) to choose from.
USTIPCI Offered as a side, this could be your whole meal. Ustipci are essentially Bosnian doughnuts; they come out piping hot, soft and yeasty. Your choice of kajmak or ajvar, a smoky dip made of fire-roasted red peppers and eggplant, accompanies each order. I especially liked the ajvar – its smoky tang cut through the ustipci’s richness. For a sweeter option, you can also get your ustipci with Nutella.
J’s Pitaria 5003 Gravois Ave., St. Louis, 314.339.5319, Facebook: J’s Pitaria
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& drink a to z wineworks bubbles makes the perfect valentine's day sipper
ILLUSTRATIONS BY VIDHYA NAGARAJAN
A SEAT AT THE BAR / Four experts tell us what to sip, stir and shake El Dorado Master Blender’s Special Edition Rum is one of our favorite spirits. The powerhouse limited release is a blend of three rums distilled from vintage stills. Aged 10 years, it jumps out of the glass with caramel, cotton candy, TED AND JAMIE nut, baking spices, brown KILGORE butter, toffee, coffee and light USBG, B.A.R. Ready, BarSmart tobacco. It has a long finish and co-owners/bartenders at Planter’s House of rich butter, light clove, allspice and cinnamon most impressive when served neat. With only 5,000 bottles available worldwide, get it while you can. $72. Intoxicology, 4321 Manchester Ave., St. Louis, 314.858.8664, intoxicologystl.com February 2018
A to Z Wineworks Bubbles comes in a beautiful clear glass bottle with a white painted label and crown cork (classic beer bottle cap). Beyond fun packaging, the rich pink, 90-percent pinot GLENN BARDGETT noir, 10-percent Chardonnay Member of the Missouri Wine Valentine’s Day sipper is and Grape Board and wine delightful – dry with great director at Annie Gunn’s berry aromas, mellow texture and bubbles that jump around in the mouth. I love being surprised by a bottle of wine, and this one slapped me in the taste buds. $15. The Wine Merchant, 7817 Forsyth Blvd., Clayton, 314.863.6282, winemerchantltd.com
February means chocolate, and chocolate means beer. Pair this year’s box with a bottle of Crooked Stave Mama Bear’s Sour Cherry Pie. This barrel-aged dark sour beer offers aromatics of funk, leather, spice and KATIE HERRERA sour fruit that balance Co-founder of Femme harmoniously with tasting Ferment and account manager at Craft Republic notes of wood, earth, roasted grain and vibrant tart cherry. Effervescence and tannins pull the beer together to go perfectly with chocolate. $27. Lukas Liquor Superstore, 15678 Manchester Road, Ellisville, 636.227.4543, lukasliquorstl.com saucemagazine.com I SAUCE MAGAZINE I 23
VOLCANIC WINES mount etna bottles bring the heat BY
The first time I opened a bottle of wine from Mount Etna in Sicily, I smelled smoke. My first strange but enticing sip of volcanic wine – laced with the metallic smolder of a live coal – won me over. Unfortunately, the romance of that meeting was a lie.
it’s made on a volcano. “Volcanic soil is definitely a good thing,” Leherer said. “In general, it provides better quality wines, but it doesn’t necessarily give a distinct flavor profile to those wines.”
“Yeah, that blows off – it just needs to open up,” said The Wine and Cheese Place’s Aaron Zwicker when I told him about my Sicilian encounter.
If the smokiness of your Etna Rosso, the catchall name for Etna reds, doesn’t wear off, it could be because the wine was grown on Europe’s most active volcano – but again, not for flashy reasons. “That’s possibly smoke damage, and not coming from the soil itself,” Leherer said. Leherer and Zwicker managed to convince me that Etna Rosso doesn’t taste like smoke and isn’t so special because
To learn more, check out “Volcanic Wines: Salt, Grit and Power” by John Szabo. $45. Left Bank Books, left-bank.com
Luckily, something better was left when the sparks dissipated. It’s not quite brimstone, but Etna produces a salty, earthy mineral quality – think sipping on a glass of red in one of those pink Himalayan salt rooms. With a smooth iteration of Italian acidity and clear, intense fruit flavor without being sweet, the wines elicit descriptions like “energetic” and “lively.” Leherer attributed Etna Rosso's unique, somewhat savory qualities to its peculiar varietals rather than its particular volcano. Most are made primarily
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with a local grape called nerello mascalese. “It’s like pinot meets grenache – a little of that briary, southern French character but the lightness of pinot,” Zwicker said. “But the lightness doesn’t belie lack of flavor. It’s not big, heavy fruit up front.
It’s about the minerality, length and balance more than the sheer power of the wine.” Volatile marketing hook aside, it’s clear why volcanic wines have become so popular. If you like savory reds, it’s time to jump into Mount Etna.
W INE S TO TRY Valenti Norma Etna Rosso “It has that lightness and intensity to it – a really good food wine.” – Aaron Zwicker $22. The Wine and Cheese Place, 7435 Forsyth Blvd., Clayton, 314.727.8788, wineandcheeseplace.com
Cantine Nicosia “Vulka” Etna Rosso “It’s one of the best values in Etna Rossos that we see. I love the bright, tart cherry flavors.” – Simon Leherer $17. Parker’s Table, 7118 Oakland Ave., Richmond Heights, 314.645.2050, parkerstable.com
ILLUSTRATION BY VIDHYA NAGARAJAN
Parker’s Table’s Simon Leherer agreed. “That spent gunpowder quality is most common in Bordeaux; it’s another flavor component that’s not necessarily because it’s volcanic,” he explained.
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from left, pastaria’s bucatini all’amatriciana and canestri cacio e pepe
PHOTO BY IZAIAH JOHNSON
& CHILL By Stacy Schultz
Photos by Izaiah Johnson and Carmen Troesser
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PHOTO BY CARMEN TROESSER
Steamed buns from
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pillows wrapped around your choice of whatever’s on the menu (usually some sort of smoky meat, crispy fish and a vegetarian option to boot). Every filling is amazing, but don’t be afraid to try the deep-fried tofu – slathered with house-made Kewpie mayo and bulldog sauce, it’s guaranteed to convert even the most carnivorous of haters. While one bun is big enough to be a meal all its own, this is no time to order light. Everything from the ever-changing ramen to bibimbap is an explosion of flavors and textures that tastes just as crazy-good as it looks. Carryout: 3825 Watson Road, St. Louis, 314.781.4344, kounterkulturestl.com Delivery: DoorDash, doordash.com; Postmates, postmates.com What to Watch “Abstract: The Art of Design” Everything at Kounter Kulture is a work of art. Further indulge the left side of your brain by diving deep into this addicting, profile-style Netflix documentary series – think “Chef ’s Table” for the design world. One episode in, and creativity will ooze out of you like the bulldog sauce from that delectable steamed bun.
the migas scramble from taco buddha
Whether it’s date night or refuse-to-put-onpants night, winter evenings permit a little extra laziness. Maybe we should be gallivanting, but sub-freezing temps have us choosing Netflixand-chill over out-on-the-town night after snowcovered night. Ordering in doesn’t have to mean frozen pizza and binge watching “The Office” for the 47th time (not that there’s anything wrong with that). So light a fire and find your remote, because we’re showing you how to eat well – and stream well – all winter long.
PHOTO BY IZAIAH JOHNSON
Nothing warms the belly like a big ol‘ bowl of pasta, and with swimsuit season still months away, this is your time to carb. it. up. With noodles made fresh daily and sauces that could make a Sicilian grandmother weep, you can’t go wrong. Warm your insides with the bucatini all’amatriciana, uber-thick, tubular noodles swimming in a super simple tomato sauce spiked with spicy guanciale and topped with a hefty shower of Grana Padano. Speaking of cheese, tell your hygge partner in crime to get the canestri cacio e pepe, aka the greatest grown-up mac and cheese there ever was, and go splitsies. Ask for curbside pickup and you won’t even have to get out of February 2018
TACO BUDDHA your car. Pretty much everything is transportable from this Clayton eatery, but be warned: The usually too-goodnot-to-order risotto balls don’t travel as well as the pasta, so you may want to opt for a salad instead. Carryout: 7734 Forsyth Blvd., Clayton, 314.862.6603, eatpastaria.com Delivery: DoorDash, doordash.com; Food Pedaler, foodpedaler.com; Postmates, postmates.com What to Watch “Master of None” Season 2 When Dev ditched the Big Apple to learn to make “basta” from someone’s nonna in the Netflix original, he had all of us ordering pasta rollers and dreaming of the Italian hills. Is there any better way to enjoy beauty shots of pasta making in Modena than while twirling your fork around thick, handmade noodles? We think not.
The best takeout leaves you with enough leftovers for extra meals in front of the fire, and the gargantuan portions at Kounter Kulture fit the bill. Carryout is the only option at this tiny Asian fusion spot, so they know a thing or two about packing big, bold flavor in travel-friendly packages. Start with an order of steamed buns: soft, carby
Who said takeout was a dinner-only affair? When there’s snow on the ground and slippers on your feet, nothing – and I mean nothing – should tear you away from that down comforter. Taco Buddha’s Austin, Texas-style breakfast tacos make for the perfect breakfast in bed, wrapped in foil so you won’t spend the rest of your day washing salsa out of your sheets. Plus, with easy online ordering and curbside pickup starting this month, you don’t have to feel too bad for whomever you sucker into taco collection. The chorizo, egg and cheese taco is a mainstay, its rich meat crumbles adding just enough spice to the fluffy eggs and cheese. Whatever you do, just be sure to get the migas scramble: eggs scrambled Tex-Mex-style with tortillas, cheese, pico and chiles. Add whatever is on special at the time – sometimes green chile pork, sometimes beef barbacoa, always good. Speaking of must-haves, don’t forget to ask for one of Buddha’s housemade salsas on the side – a roasted red salsa and a vegan jalapeno cream for a little spice. Lazy doesn’t have to mean bland, y’all. Carryout: 7405 Pershing Ave., University City, 314.502.9951, tacobuddha.com What to Watch “Catastrophe” Breakfast in bed calls for binge watching in your PJs all damn day. And if there’s anyone who can make you feel better about your lazy ways, it’s the halfAmerican, half-Irish duo behind this Amazon original series. Let this hot mess express keep you cracking up through three hilarious seasons of all-too-relatable relationship crises spiked with a plethora of witty banter. You’ll never feel better about your life. saucemagazine.com I SAUCE MAGAZINE I 31
dishes from olympia kebob house and taverna salty feta all laying happily on a bed of seasoned rice. And while we’re allll about the flaming cheese when we’re enjoying a beer on the Olympia patio, the baba ghanoush is a better travel partner for takeout, with pitas arriving in a separate container for full effect. Oh, and you’ll never regret the gyro salad. Ever. Carryout: 1543 McCausland Ave., Richmond Heights, 314.781.1299, olympiakebobandtavern.com What to Watch “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” Pardon the cliche, but can you think of a better way to enjoy epic Greek eats than while watching this Windex-loving, control-seeking, boisterous family drive their daughter crazy? Didn’t think so. Bonus: The occasional “Opa!” is welcomed. You don’t eat no meat? “That’s OK, I make lamb.”
FORK & STIX
When going outside requires rubber boots and puffy coats, an order of piping-hot Thai food will make you happier than a tween on a snow day. Let your date slurp down their noodle dish of choice – perhaps the subtly spicy pad kee mao – while you go bold and order the khao soi. This northern Thai soup boasts a broth that tastes like it was brewed by magic unicorns straight outta Chiang Mai: spicy and sour with the deep, warming, complex flavors of Thai curry. A flavorpacked combo of crisp red onion, sour pickled mustard greens and cilantro bob around in this soul-warming soup, topped with a tangle of crispy egg noodles that elevate things to legendary status. Arriving on the side: a lime wedge for your squeezing pleasure.
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OLYMPIA KEBOB HOUSE AND TAVERNA
Healthy. Fast. Ridiculously good. Order Olympia takeout once, and you’ll have ’em on speed dial all winter long. You can’t go wrong with the deluxe gyro, which holds up surprisingly well in transport, but don’t overlook the shish kebab deluxe platter. Tender pieces of impeccably seasoned grilled chicken, pork or lamb come surrounded by enough goodies for a snack halfway through the movie: a spattering of sauteed peppers, onions and zucchini; fluffy white pita triangles; fresh tomato slices; and a big brick of
What to Watch “Veep” There’s only one woman whose biting tongue and quick wit can match the sour, spicy flavors of that khao soi, and Selina Meyer is up for the gig. Let TV’s most irreverent president, played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus, leave you laughing till soup comes flying out your nose. Hey, at least she’s only fictional, right?
PHOTO BY CARMEN TROESSER
GET IT DELIVERED // With more than 10 food delivery apps now serving the St. Louis area (check out the full list on our website), it’s easier than ever to get a hot meal without having to swap your slippers for shoes. While laziness is the name of the game here, delivery fees aren’t cheap. If you don’t feel like coughing up the extra cash, many spots also have seamless online ordering on their sites that make it easy to grab-and-go while minimizing human interaction (We know how you feel about that.). Our advice: Invite a friend to come binge with you and pick up the eats on their way. Just be sure to have a glass of something strong waiting when they arrive with the good stuff.
Carryout: 549 Rosedale Ave., St. Louis, 314.863.5572, forknstix.com Delivery: Postmates, postmates.com
pad kee mao and khao soi from
PHOTO BY IZAIAH JOHNSON
fork & stix
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ONE SAUCE, TWO SAUCE, RED SAUCE, GREEN SAUCE One thing that separates a good cook from a great cook is the ability to make a decent sauce. While starting from scratch may seem a bit daunting, we pinkie swear it isnâ€™t. These highly adaptable base sauces will elevate the most simple meal with minimal fear and trembling. B Y D E E R YA N // P H O T O S B Y C A R M E N T R O E S S E R
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ROASTED BRANZINO WITH GREEN SAUCE recipe on p. 39
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R I G ATO N I WITH RED SAUCE recipe on p. 39
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R E D
½ cup diced pancetta or salt pork 1 Tbsp. olive oil ¹∕³ cup diced carrot ¹∕³ cup diced celery ¹∕³ cup diced onion 1 clove garlic, minced 1 Tbsp. Italian seasoning 1 28-oz. can crushed tomatoes 1 cup chicken stock Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 1½-inch thick strip steaks Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste 2 Tbsp. butter, divided 1 Tbsp. minced shallot 2 Tbsp. minced rosemary or thyme 1 cup chicken or beef broth, dry red wine or a combination 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
This classic is great as a pizza sauce, on pasta or with breadsticks. Similar to a tomate mother sauce, the recipe invites you to build on flavors. Add slices of Italian sausage or mushrooms with the pancetta; add a teaspoon of fennel seed with the Italian seasoning, or try a teaspoon of orange zest (trust me). You can never go wrong with a glug of wine or vodka – just remove the skillet from heat after sauteing the celery, onion and garlic, carefully pour in the alcohol and let it cook down a few minutes before adding the tomatoes and stock. Introduce some fresh herbs as a finish – or dashes of sugar, balsamic vinegar, crushed red pepper or Parmesan cheese.
• In a large skillet over medium heat, saute the pancetta in the olive oil 5 minutes. • Add the carrot, celery, onion, garlic and Italian seasoning, and stir until fragrant, about 2 minutes. • Add the tomatoes and chicken stock, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer at least 15 minutes. Simmering will continue to develop flavors, but don’t cook longer than 2 hours. • Using an immersion blender, puree to desired texture. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
I don’t want to be a bully, but if you’re not making a pan sauce each and every time you cook meat, you are wasting flavor opportunities that can never be reclaimed! And you are personally hurting my feelings. The following recipe is for steak. When cooking chicken, follow the same steps, but add a teaspoon of lemon zest with the herbs you choose, and go for a dry white wine instead of red when deglazing the pan. Gorgeous pork chops on the menu? Try substituting tarragon or marjoram for the herbs, choose a slightly sweeter white wine to deglaze and whisk in honey mustard. No matter the meat, for the love of all things good and right, be sure there are mashed potatoes on a plate with this sauce.
• Season the steaks with salt and pepper. • In a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat, melt 1 tablespoon butter. Add the steaks and let cook undisturbed 3 minutes. Flip the steaks and cook another 3 minutes for medium-rare, or to desired doneness. Transfer the steaks to a plate and cover loosely with foil. • Pour off the fat from the pan, but do not wipe it clean. Return the pan to the stovetop and reduce the heat to medium. Add the shallots and herbs and saute 1 minute. To deglaze, add the broth, reduce the heat to low and use a wooden spoon to scrape the fond off the bottom of the skillet. Let the sauce reduce 2 to 3 minutes. • Pour any juices that have collected on the steak plate back into the skillet, and whisk in the mustard. Remove the skillet from heat and whisk in the remaining 1 tablespoon butter. Spoon over the steaks and serve.
G REE N
A green sauce livens up any dish – be it Italian pesto, Argentinian chimichurri, Moroccan chermoula or Spanish salsa verde. Herbaceous green sauces are traditionally uncooked with a nice acidity that compliments any protein, but they are just as easily served as a snack with pita chips or a sauce for roasted potatoes. This version is based on a salsa verde, but dips a toe into the Mediterranean with the addition of tahini. Feeling frisky? Minced jalapeno or serrano add nice heat, or take it in a totally different direction with a tablespoon of currants. Try adding toasted walnuts or substituting lemon juice or sherry vinegar for red wine vinegar. Not a fan of parsley? Try other greens like watercress, arugula, fresh oregano, thyme or cilantro.
1 cup fresh parsley ¹∕³ cup olive oil 3 Tbsp. capers 2 Tbsp. chopped shallot 1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar 1 Tbsp. tahini Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste • Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until well incorporated.
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ROASTED CAULIFLOWER WITH YELLOW CURRY SAUCE
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Curry-based sauces are built layer upon layer – spicy, creamy, a little sweet, a touch of salt. Pour this one over rice and chicken, tofu or anything fried. You can take the base in so many directions: use lime zest instead of lemon, or stir in a teaspoon of tahini for a nuttier flavor. Red or green curry paste can be sauteed in place of turmeric and curry powder. Leave out the lemon and use one teaspoon pungent minced lemongrass instead. Add a teaspoon of minced ginger or shallot with the garlic, or if you like it super spicy, try minced jalapeno, serrano or Thai chile instead of red pepper flakes.
1 13.5-oz. can full-fat coconut milk 2 Tbsp. coconut or vegetable oil 1 Tbsp. curry powder 1 Tbsp. lemon zest 1 clove garlic, minced 1 tsp. turmeric 1 ∕8 tsp. red pepper flakes 2 Tbsp. soy sauce 1 Tbsp. brown sugar • Scoop the thick cream at the top of the can of coconut milk into a small bowl and set aside. Save the liquid coconut milk for another use. • In a medium skillet over medium heat, add the oil, curry powder, lemon zest, garlic, turmeric and red pepper flakes, and saute until fragrant, about 15 seconds. • Whisk in the soy sauce, brown sugar and reserved coconut cream and continue whisking until the sauce thickens, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat.
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ROASTED P OTATO E S WITH WHITE SAUCE
W H IT E
Bechamel is the classic white sauce every cook should know how to make. Creamy, silky, rich and perfect, it is the sacred ground upon which all beautiful cheese sauces are built. But a basic bechamel is nothing more than flour gravy, which is hard to get especially excited about. So let’s play. You can add two chopped anchovy fillets in oil to the butter and cook until they dissolve before adding the flour. Infuse the milk with nutmeg, cloves, citrus peel or maybe fresh basil, oregano, tarragon, chives or rosemary. Add lemon zest and grated Parmesan cheese; minced garlic or shallot. Experiment with different cheeses; add pureed, sauteed onions, a teaspoon of Worcestershire, or prepared mustard to the sauce. In any form, this white sauce wants to be on pasta or a baked potato – oh yes, it does.
2½ cups whole milk 4 Tbsp. butter 4 Tbsp. flour • In a small sauce pan over medium-low heat, warm the milk, being careful not to scald it. • Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter then stir in the flour. Cook, stirring constantly, until it becomes a paste but does not brown, about 2 minutes. Slowly pour in the warmed milk and continue to stir until the sauce thickens, about 3 minutes.
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stuff to do:
FEBRUARY BY MAT T SORRELL
Dierberg Wine Dinner
Science On Tap
Feb. 8 – 6:30 p.m., Annie Gunn’s, 16806 Chesterfield Airport Road, Chesterfield, 636.532.7684, smokehousemarket.com Celebrate the more than 40-year winemaking career of Jim and Mary Dierberg at this fivecourse paired dinner created by executive chef Lou Rook III and wine director Glenn Bardgett. Enjoy dishes like apricotglazed, confit heritage baby back ribs with a toasted almond-herb salad paired with Vineyard 2014 Estate Grown Chardonnay. Reservations available by phone.
Feb. 10 – 7 to 10 p.m., Saint Louis Science Center, 5050 Oakland Ave., St. Louis, 314.289.4424, slsc.org/ science-on-tap Beer nerds, head to the Science Center to check out beer-centric scientific demos and activities, then taste brews from more than 80 breweries, like Schlafly, O’Fallon Brewery, Six Mile Bridge Beer and Cathedral Square Brewery. Between sips, nosh on small plates from Nothing Bundt Cakes, Clementine’s Creamery and Missouri Beef and Missouri Pork, and enjoy live music. Tickets available online and at the Science Center.
Growing New Vegetable Varieties Feb. 8 – 2 to 3 p.m., Meramec Valley Branch Library, 625 New Smizer Mill Road, Fenton, 314.588.9600, gatewaygreening.org It might not feel like it, but spring is just around the corner. Get a jump on the gardening game with the folks from Gateway Greening and learn how to make your garden the jewel of the neighborhood. This free demonstration class covers basic gardening skills, from zone planting to choosing new veggies.
New Town Mardi Gras Crawfish Boil Feb. 11 – 3 to 7 p.m., New Town Event Tent, 3544 Galt House Drive, St. Charles, 636.552.9212, ntga.net Taste a bit of NOLA in St. Charles at this annual old-school boil. Dig into crawfish, potatoes, corn, meat pies and samples of crawfish chowder, and wash it all down with sweet tea and lemonade. Enjoy live music by Southside Creole Playboys and face painting. Tickets available at Marsala’s Market in New Town or at the door.
Wine & Beer Tasting
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Feb. 9 – 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., Sally S. Levy Opera Center, 210 Hazel Ave., Webster Groves, 314.963.4223, opera-stl.org Enjoy an evening of fine music, sips and eats at this Opera Theatre of St. Louis benefit. Restaurants and bottle shops like Parker’s Table, Robust Wine Bar and Sardella supply the wine, Grey Eagle Distributors brings the beer and
Hermann Chocolate Wine Trail Feb. 17 – 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Feb. 18 – 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Hermann, 800.932.8687, hermannwinetrail.com Take a romantic tour of the Hermann Wine Trail with your significant other and indulge in wine and chocolate pairings at trail wineries like Adam Puchta Winery, Bias Winery, Dierberg Winery’s Star Lane Tasting Room, Hermannhof Winery, OakGlenn Winery, Röbller Vineyard and Stone Hill Winery. Tickets available online or by phone.
Seed Sprout Spoon Winter Dinner Feb. 23 – 6 p.m. and 8 p.m., Seed Sprout Spoon, 3137 Morgan Ford Road, St. Louis, 314.606.0165, seedsproutspoon.com Enjoy a four-course dinner featuring proteins from Three Spring Farms, a sustainable ranch raising beef, chicken and pork in Perryville. Each dish chef Brendan Kirby prepares is paired with a beer from Civil Life Brewery. Tickets available online.
restaurants like Baileys’ Chocolate Bar and LoRusso’s Cucina offer small bites. Tickets available online.
Spirited Sessions: Fat Tuesday Feb. 13 – 7 to 10 p.m., The BHive at Brennan’s, 4661 Maryland Ave., St. Louis, Facebook: STL Barkeep Grab your Mardi Gras beads and let
the good times roll at the next Spirited Sessions. STL Barkeep Matt Longueville and Sauce Magazine’s Matt Sorrell show attendees how to make four classic New Orleans cocktails like Hurricanes and Sazeracs – then the class enjoys the boozy results. Admission includes drinks, gumbo and other Mardi Gras treats. Tickets available online.
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son can be there doing stuff, and no one is going to bat an eye because, ‘Oh, that’s his son, Aiden, and he’s just back there playing with dough because he’s 2 years old.’”
WHAT I DO
“I went through a funk like three months in: ‘ W h at a m I d o i n g? ’ I realized it’s because 10 years being in this culture, of being around people where you can be yourself … but it’s also serious, there’s results, objectives. There’s that push to service, there’s adrenaline. All that stuff went away, so I had to really find myself again.” “I just put out a thing o n s o c i a l m e d i a , on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn saying, ‘Hey, I’m available for freelance positions: food photography, recipe development, R&D, cooking classes, private dinners – whatever you want.’ And Jason, the owner [of Metabolic Meals], reached out to me through LinkedIn … It’s right up my alley. I get to make recipes. I get to develop. I get to cook, and I don’t have to do all
chefjoshcharles.com, Facebook: Chef Josh Charles, Instagram: @chefjoshcharles
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the management stuff. I don’t have to check the clipboard and make sure people are showing up on time.” “ I h av e n o m a r k e t i n g b ac kg r o u n d . I have no idea what I’m doing – I have no idea. Not only is social media branding, but every engagement you do is branding. So it starts with yourself and face-to-face interactions, but then social media amplifies that. In this day and age, it’s crazy how far my message can travel. … Ten years ago, I could have done the exact same thing I’m doing now, and no one would know my name.”
“ I t ’ s l i t e r a l ly i n g r a i n e d i n to m y D N A , that rush of service, getting it over with and then getting a round of drinks for the crew. … I do miss it, but the second I start to miss it, I just look at my life and what I’m doing, and this is still cool and still fun.”
“ I c a n e at s i l ly a m o u n t s o f f o o d . I went to L.A. to visit my uncle recently and he’s in perfect shape year-round. He watched me eat six meals a day. … I have two lunches, two dinners, a late-night dessert, and I just try to experience as much as possible in the few short hours I’m in a city.” “ I d o C r o s s F i t p r i m a r i ly b e c au s e to m e , i t ’ s j u s t l i k e P E f o r a d u lt s . I don’t have to think about it. … Ultimately, I’m actually pretty lazy. Whenever I’m left to my own devices working out, I’m like, ‘Oh, I could lift this, or I could just go home. I think I’ll go home.’” “ I wa s i n m a r c h i n g b a n d i n h i g h s c h o o l . … Drumline culture is very similar to kitchen culture. There’s no filter in drumline, essentially. You’re the noisy obnoxious kids in the back. Those kids go cook in a kitchen.” “ I h av e m a n y av e n u e s f o r w h at I wa n t to d o, and one of them is open a pizza and pasta restaurant in Collinsville. That’s where I live, and the overall thing is I want to create a community. I want a family restaurant where my
PHOTO BY ASHLEY GIESEKING
Four years ago, then-23-yearold Josh Charles was a Sauce One to Watch at Elaia and Olio. He went on to prove his mettle as executive chef at Element, then Blood & Sand. But when his son, Aiden, was born, Charles suddenly found his restaurant career at odds with family life – so he quit. Today, Charles works as a private chef, consults for restaurants like Das Bevo, does research and development at Metabolic Meals and markets his own brand online with eyes on a national TV show. Here, the gigeconomy chef explains what he’s up to. – Catherine Klene
“ T h e s e f r ag m e n t s o f f i n e d i n i n g, t h e y d o n ’ t d i s a p p e a r . I’ll be in the shower and think, ‘Huh, I wonder… I know exactly how that would taste.’”
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