O N E S
W A T C H S L O E IT GOES
R E V I E W P A N G E A
10 NEW PLACES TO TRY TH IS MO NTH
W H E R E C H E F S E AT
LOUISâ€™ INDEPENDENT CULINARY AUTHORITY JanuaryST. 2018
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JANUARY 2018 • VOLUME 18, ISSUE 1 Who makes your favorite crab rangoon?
PUBLISHER ART DIRECTOR MANAGING EDITOR MANAGING EDITOR, DIGITAL STAFF WRITER EDIBLE WEEKEND EDITOR PROOFREADER PRODUCTION DESIGNER CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS
CONTRIBUTING ILLUSTRATOR CONTRIBUTING EDITOR CONTRIBUTING WRITERS
ADVERTISING SALES MANAGER ACCOUNT EXECUTIVES EVENTS COORDINATOR LISTINGS EDITOR Vietnam Style’s “cheese wraps” INTERNS are the only correct answer.
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Allyson Mace Meera Nagarajan I really like Sen Thai’s. Heather Hughes There’s something Catherine Klene herbal inside, and they Matt Sorrell make a sweet and sour with honey. Catherine Klene Megan Gilmore Michelle Volansky Jonathan Gayman, Ashley Gieseking, Izaiah Johnson, David Kovaluk, Caitlin Lally, Greg Rannells, Carmen Troesser, Michelle Volansky Vidhya Nagarajan Katie O’Connor Glenn Bardgett, Andrew Barrett, Katie Herrera, Heather Hughes, Jamie Kilgore, Ted Kilgore, Catherine Klene, Meera Nagarajan, Michael Renner, Kristin Schultz, Stacy Schultz, Matt Sorrell Allyson Mace Matt Bartosz, Angie Rosenberg Amy Hyde At the end of the Amy Hyde day, they all taste Rachel Wilson the same to me.
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St. Louis, MO 63103 January 2018
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contents JANUARY 2018
editors' picks 9 E AT THIS Cheese wraps at Vietnam Style
by matt sorrell 10
CHEFâ€™S TOUR Ashley Rouch
by matt sorrell 12
HIT LIST 10 places to try this month
by heather hughes, catherine klene, meera nagarajan and matt sorrell
reviews 19 NE W AND NOTABLE Pangea
by michael renner
dine & drink 25 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
gnudi at pangea p. 19
26 ELIXIR Sip it sloe
by kristin schultz
by andrew barrett
PHOTO BY IZAIAH JOHNSON
38 STUFF TO DO by matt sorrell 42 WHAT I D O
O N E S TO WATCH Food and drink pros with promise
by heather hughes, catherine klene, michael renner and stacy schultz
COVER DETAILS Ones to Watch 2018 Meet the Sauce Ones to Watch class of 2018 on p. 29. Clockwise from center, Hana Chung, Bryan Russo, Eric Tirone, Evy Swoboda, Alec Schingel and Patrick Seibold PHOTOS BY CARMEN TROESSER
by catherine klene
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e d i t o r s' p i c k s
EAT THIS Crab Rangoon. Crab puffs. Cheese wontons. Call them what you will, these creamy delights are a surefire crowdpleaser. But the version called CHEESE WRAPS served at VIETNAM STYLE, well, theyâ€™re really special. Just one PHOTO BY IZAIAH JOHNSON
bite of these crispy wonton pinwheels bursting with a thick, custardy cream cheese and rich crabmeat filling, set with a delicate quail egg smack in the middle like a tasty jewel, will ruin other variants for you.
VIETNAM STYLE, 6100 DELMAR BLVD., ST. LOUIS, 314.405.8438, FACEBOOK: VIETNAM STYLE
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clockwise from left: coma coffee roasters, al pastor tacos from taqueria el bronco, tick tock tavern
chef tour ASHLEY ROUCH
Ashley Rouch always knew she’d work in a kitchen. “I was always fascinated with food,” she said. After stints at Baileys’ Chocolate Bar and Pint Sized Bakery, Rouch is transitioning from her job as Reeds American Table’s executive pastry chef to the bread baking team at Union Loafers Café and Bread Bakery this month. Her culinary background means she values fine food and drink, but ultimately, it’s good service that makes Rouch a repeat customer. “I want to be in an environment where I always feel welcome,” she said. – Matt Sorrell Southwest Diner Southwest Diner is a frequent stop for Rouch since it’s on her daily route to Reeds. “You can tell they take individual care with each ingredient.” One dish she can’t pass up is the sopapilla, and she said Southwest’s guacamole is also something special. “It steals the show – it’s the best guacamole
in St. Louis.” 6803 Southwest Ave., St. Louis, 314.260.7244, southwestdinerstl.com Taqueria El Bronco “I’m a big fan of Mexican food; hands down, it’s my favorite,” Rouch said. When she needs a dose of the real deal, she heads to this Cherokee Street staple.
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“They have some of the best authentic tacos in town,” she said. Her favorite? “Al pastor all the way. There’s just something about the pineapple with the savoriness of the pork that’s so comforting.” 2817 Cherokee St., St. Louis, 314.762.0691, taqueriaelbronco.com
Público “On the higher end [of Mexican food], I love Público. Their pork belly taco I could eat every day,” Rouch said. “They don’t get as much press as I feel they should. Their service is always great.” 6679 Delmar Blvd., University City, 314.833.5780, publicostl.com
Coma Coffee Roasters Rouch takes her coffee seriously. “I’m a huge coffee person, and my husband used to be a barista,” Rouch said. Coma Coffee is her go-to to satisfy caffeine needs. “Connor [James], their roaster, is so talented in what he’s doing with their coffee. They supply our coffee at Reeds, so I get to
see them and talk to them all of the time. They’re really doing great things.” 1034 S. Brentwood Blvd., Richmond Heights, 314.250.1042, comacoffee.com Tick Tock Tavern “It’s right by our house, so we can easily walk there,” Rouch said of the south city spot. “I just love the super oldschool vibe. It reminds me of Iowa, where I grew up.” Rouch also likes the fact that Tick Tock is conveniently located next to Steve’s Hot Dogs, in case happy hour turns into dinner. Plus, “Who can argue with a $3 Schlitz?” 3459 Magnolia Ave., St. Louis, Facebook: Tick Tock Tavern
Union Loafers Café and Bread Bakery “I love them for both lunch and pizza,” Rouch said of this Botanical Heights standby. “They’ve January 2018
PHOTOS BY DAVID KOVALUK; ASHLEY ROUCH POTRAIT BY COREY WOODRUFF FOR REEDS AMERICAN TABLE
spoiled me on the pizza front – now it’s hard to go anywhere else.” She’s also a fan of Loafers’ sandwiches and salads. “The amount of care and quality they put into their work is amazing.” 1629 Tower Grove Ave., St. Louis, 314.833.6111, unionloafers.com
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10 new places to try this month
PHOTO BY MICHELLE VOLANSKY
Anyone who still raves about King Louie’s – 10 years after its closing – has probably dined at Louie multiple times by now. But newbies will also make plans for a return visit before their first is even finished. The latest venture from Matt McGuire, former owner of King Louie’s and a Niche Food Group alum, offers a sophisticated but laid-back vibe with low, moody lighting and plenty of Instagram-worthy design elements. (That wallpaper!) McGuire’s love for Italian wine is reflected in the extensive selection of unique offerings meant to pair with the small menu. The kitchen offers a well-chosen list of hearty salads, memorable sides (do not, under any circumstances, miss the cauliflower fritto), wood-fired pizzas, house-made pastas like butternut squash-stuffed agnolotti and satisfying entrees, including a thick-cut, bone-in pork chop with shishito peppers and an herbaceous chermoula sauce. This Louie is a worthy successor to the King; we’ll be back – a lot.
706 Demun Ave., Clayton, 314.300.8188, louiedemun.com
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The kitchen team from MOTHERSHIP Vista Ramen has started serving up a new menu inside the recently expanded Earthbound Beer, and we love everything about that. The menu offers plenty of smoked meats and tasty sides with that Vista touch. The potato salad is made with Kewpie mayo, the cornbread is served with gochujang honey butter, and the pork plate can be topped with five different house barbecue sauces, including a sweet Korean barbecue and super spicy pomegranate jerk. Try the surprising smoked turkey pita (fall-apart slices of turkey topped with yogurt, house pickles and sumac) with your Liquid Toast (an unexpected wheat beer from Earthboundâ€™s constantly shifting menu).
Earthbound Beer, 2724 Cherokee St., St. Louis, 314.769.9576, mothershipsaintlouis.com
Fans of sister restaurant Olive & Oak have waited impatiently for The Clover and The Bee to open since the concept was announced. Despite the whimsical name inspired by an Emily Dickinson poem, the stunning new Webster Groves breakfast and lunch spot is chic as hell. The small menu changes frequently, but always includes well-executed classics and thoughtful salads, sandwiches and entrees served in a lavish setting of emerald banquettes, gold chairs and an arresting floral mural in the back. Try the super rich chicken hand pie or the tender smoked flank steak, served over a warm potato salad tossed with hints of kale, Asiago and a Caesar dressing that affects you more than you thought a dressing could. A to-go window makes it easy to pick up coffee, grab-and-go snacks (crab dip!) and baked goods.
THE CLOVER AND THE BEE PHOTOS BY MICHELLE VOLANSKY; MOTHERSHIP PHOTOS BY MEERA NAGARAJAN
THE CLOVER AND THE BEE
the clover and the bee pearl sugar bubble waffle at the clover and the bee from left, mothership chef-owner chris bork and chef josh adams asian-inspired barbecue at mothership
100 W. Lockwood Ave., Webster Groves, thecloverandthebee.com
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selections from squatter's café
With poke (the POKE super popular DOKE Hawaiian raw fish dish) making appearances on menus all over town, it was only a matter of time before a dedicated poke-only place opened its doors. Poke Doke applies the build-your-own concept to poke with predictably tasty results. Choose a base of sushi rice, soba noodles, salad or wonton chips, then add your choice of fish, sauce, toppings and “drizzles” for a custom creation. There’s also a selection of bubble milk teas and a la carte items like crab Rangoon, miso soup and pot stickers to round things out. Do your palate a solid and say aloha to Poke Doke.
shake shack owner danny meyer shake shack squatter's café chefowner rob connoley
8 S. Euclid Ave., St. Louis, 314.833.5900 , Facebook: Poke Doke
Farmers’ market fans of Knead bread can now swing by the bakery’s brick-and-mortar in the Lindenwood Park neighborhood for fresh loaves of country bread or brioche. During early visits, snag a sugary morning bun while you wait, or stop by midday for a quick lunch. All sandwiches are served hot or cold with microgreens, tomato, smoked Gouda, herb aioli, whole-grain mustard and house pickles. Opt for half a warm smoked brisket sammie served on buttered, toasted slices of country loaf. Make the other half of your picktwo meal the Kale & Kefir salad, a playful take on a Caesar with lacinato kale, puffed wheatberries, pecans and a tangy kefir-based dressing. Wash it all down with a house botanical soda like the grapefruit and juniper flavor with fresh mint.
James Beardnominated chef Rob Connoley will launch his muchanticipated fine dining restaurant, Bulrush, this year. Until then, diners can get a taste of his creativity at the tiny Squatter’s Café, with a small, oft-changing menu of surprising “hyper-local daytime classics.” Start your morning with a house-made English muffin crowned with a dome of butternut squash hiding a softcooked egg and creamy goat cheese. Or the simply billed Meat & Beans on the lunch menu, Connoley’s version of cassoulet with shredded confit chicken, sausage coins and plump cannolini beans crowned with a delectable pork gyoza. Lighter options include the Veg Marrow, hollowed out roasted carrot halves filled with beet puree served with seed crackers, greens and an English muffin. Save room for dessert; the cinnamonbrown sugar pop tart is better than any prepackaged breakfast pastry you’ll ever try.
3467 Hampton Ave., St. Louis, 314.376.4361, kneadbakehouse.com
3524 Washington Ave., St. Louis, 314.925.7556, squatterscafe.com
ICYMI, a little burger-andshake joint opened in the Central West End last month. Yes, famed restaurateur Danny Meyer has finally brought his internationally popular Shake Shack to his hometown, and lines of St. Louisans have snaked around the building since its debut. When you finally get to the counter, a classic ShackBurger is a must; the buttery toasted bun stands up to a seasoned, crisp-edged smash patty, gooey American cheese and house mayo-based sauce. Crunchy crinkle-cut cheese fries are also required eating for first-timers. Once you’ve checked those off your list, expand your horizons with an ultracrispy Chick’n Shack sandwich or an indulgent Mound City Double – two smashed patties glued together with Provel cheese and topped with local Niman Ranch bacon.
60 N. Euclid Ave., St. Louis, 314.627.5518, shakeshack.com
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KNEAD BAKEHOUSE & PROVISIONS
SHAKE SHACK PHOTOS BY CAITLIN LALLY; SQUATTER'S CAFÉ PHOTOS BY MICHELLE VOLANSKY
Frankly Sausages food truck fans already know: This place has the best fries. The fact that these brined, double-fried, exquisitely crisp and tender fries are now available all the time in a brick-and-mortar – and on the barhopping mecca Cherokee Street, no less – might be a problem for us. The whole menu is worth the trip with house-made sausages from a classic hot dog and brat to a rich, savory wild boar sausage topped with bright pickled red onion and mildly sweet roasted apple. With the four walls (one of which boasts a huge black-and-white pig painting), tables and chairs, comes a sweet, honeytopped butternut squash salad, balsamic onions-studded chicken liver crostini and the promise of more shareable plates to come.
Fiddlehead Fern Cafe is where we’ll be posting up for our next coffee meeting or long writing day. The cool, spare space, with concrete floors, bleached wood tables and stark white walls hung with floral art photography, is warmed by bulb light fixtures, bud vases on every table and super-friendly service that’s already attracting Shaw neighborhood regulars. A solid coffee program featuring Georgia-based PERC beans is supplemented by a short menu focused on loaded toasts to calm your caffeine buzz. We like the smashed chickpea toast, topped with radishes and balsamic vinegar – or go for a housemade cranberry-rosemary scone if you just need a bite to go with your cortado. Wine and local Heirloom Bottling Co. shrub cocktails are also available, if that’s how your meeting’s going.
2744 Cherokee St., St. Louis, 314.449.1178, franklysausages.com
4066 Russell Blvd., St. Louis, 314.972.2637, Facebook: Fiddlehead Fern Cafe
FIDDLEHEAD FERN CAFE PHOTO BY CAITLIN LALLY; FRANKLY ON CHEROKEE PHOTO BY MICHELLE VOLANSKY
FRANKLY ON CHEROKEE
FIDDLEHEAD FERN CAFE
Tune in to St. Louis on the Air Jan. 4 when editors Catherine Klene, Heather Hughes and Meera Nagarajan discuss the Sauce Hit List, then check back later in the month when we sit down with members of this year’s Ones to Watch class on 90.7 FM KWMU.
Relive your ’90s mall arcade dreams at Parlor, The Grove’s newest spot for booze, skeeball and throwback console games. George Clinton-esque funk trumpets your arrival when you step inside and puts you in the mood to game all night. Start at the bar and order a sweet and fruity Parlor’s Cup, a mix of St. George gin, Pimm’s, lime, passion fruit and Pineapple Vess tempered with cucumber and herbal Chartreuse. Purists should opt for a simple daiquiri with Plantation Three Star, sugar and lime. Cans reign at Parlor; a beer list name drops favorites like 2nd Shift Brewing Co. and Evil Twin, while canned wines include rosés, reds and whites. Drink in hand, hit the dining room and line up for skee-ball, unleash your inner pinball wizard at one of four machines or go for the kill in “Mortal Kombat II.” Forget parking meters or laundromats; your quarters have a new purpose.
4170 Manchester Ave., St. Louis, 314.833.4999, parlorstl.com
fiddlehead fern cafe classic bratwurst and fries at frankly on cherokee
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reviews All Sauce reviews are conducted anonymously.
potatocrusted flounder at pangea
NE W A ND N OTA B L E
pangea BY MICHAEL RENNER | PHOTOS BY IZAIAH JOHNSON
I remember Jessie Gilroy as the badass in Cucina Pazzo’s open kitchen – slinging pans over plumes of fire, barking commands to line cooks and jumping in to help. That was back when I reviewed the place in 2014. The then-28-year-old Gilroy was chef de cuisine when she made Sauce’s 2015 Ones to Watch list. Now, she’s taking over the world at Pangea – her own restaurant named for the ancient landmass that split into our seven continents 200 million years ago.
n e w January 2018
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little cheese dumplings, perfectly fried and gilded in brown butter with petite diced roasted squash and leeks accented by aromatic fresh herbs, all of which came from a local farm.
reviews NEW AND NOTABLE p. 2 of 2
Bone marrow tart, which sounds like something served to English kings alongside stag’s tongue and partridge pie, proved just as rich. Cream, eggs, marrow, rosemary and preserved lemon were baked in a pastry shell to a delectable texture so uniform it was difficult to discern where the pastry ended and filling began.
Before being offered a space in “downtown” New Town at St. Charles, Gilroy was sous chef at Sidney Street Cafe – a nice gig for the kid who preferred studying food in Hawaii rather than finishing college there, attended Le Cordon Bleu in Miami and worked her tail off at Charlie Gitto’s on The Hill before impressing herself upon the group behind The Tavern and Cucina Pazzo. Pangea debuted in September, tucked away in the corner of a square anchored by a sand volleyball court amongst the stage set-feeling New Town’s many artificial canals and lakes. The space conveys a casual, if mishmashed, approachability. Sage green walls adorned with contemporary artwork and light oak
AT A GLANCE pangea
tables set with striped bistro napkins hang on a spare, semi-open design (sealed cement floor, high ceiling, exposed ductwork) that looks more urban loft than exurban tract house. Large windows mimic the four-pane farmhouse style, which seems incongruent with the rest of the design. It may feel like a suburban bistro, but with Gilroy in charge, Pangea has the kitchen of a sophisticated white-tablecloth restaurant – a refreshing alternative to New Town’s burger-and-pizza eateries. As the name implies, Gilroy’s approach is decidedly eclectic, incorporating different flavors and techniques. To wit, her ricotta gnudi appetizer brought together the earthy richness of
Where 3245 Rue Royale, St. Charles, 636.757.3579, pangeaworld fusion.com
Don’t Miss Dishes Ricotta gnudi, flounder
It’s a rare thing to say as a restaurant reviewer, but everything I ate at Pangea was interesting – even the house salad. The greens were fresh and lush, topped with crunchy sunflower seeds, chewy and sweet dried cherries and an aromatic roasted garlic vinaigrette, applied lightly. But the mexican subtle texture and taste chocolate budino of paper-thin sliced at pangea carrots, zucchini and squash made this salad easily the best I’ve had in months. Unfortunately, on a subsequent visit, the greens were watery, faded and drenched with dressing. A small, but surprising, flub excused by several superb entrees – like the beef cheeks. Meaty chunks were braised until fall-apart tender, sunk into a soft bed of creamy polenta and topped with braised greens drizzled with mustard cream sauce for a comforting cold-weather meal. The coffee-crusted local pork best represented Gilroy’s eclectic approach. Gilroy gets her pork from a local farmer and breaks down whole hogs before turning them into this and other menu items. Dry rubbing meat with ground coffee and other spices is a common technique for adding depth of flavor that oddly doesn’t taste like coffee. If saucing the pork with red Thai curry seemed risky, its spicy-sweet
Vibe New Town may look like “The Truman Show,” but Pangea’s staff exude a genuine warmness of spirit.
brightness only complemented the rub’s earthy tone and didn’t compete with the bed of roasted potatoes and topping of sauteed Asian greens. While the mushroom risotto was a standout – a bowl of perfectly creamy arborio rice chock-full of thick, meaty oyster and shiitake mushrooms – the potato-crusted flounder was the star. First, the mild fish was supremely fresh, pan-fried golden and flaky without losing its potato jacket in the process. Second, where any number of sides would have worked, pairing the fish with roasted beets on little pillows of pea-and-herb puree played just right. An orange vinaigrette finish served as an exclamation point. Desserts included a couple fun options served in little canning jars. Mexican chocolate budino – rich, creamy and custardy – got a gentle heat from the addition of ancho chile. Chocolate crumbs brought back memories of the little clumps of Nesquik floating in hot chocolate. The only thing to say about the apple pie in a jar is you can’t go wrong with a snickerdoodle crust and Chantilly cream. Prefer dessert on a plate? Though a bit drier than expected, a slice of the lightly sweet almond macaroon cake satisfied on one of my visits, especially on a bed of buttercream, topped with macerated strawberries and laced with a citrus gel. Pangea does a chef ’s choice No Menu Monday consisting of three courses; brunch was recently added, as well. I hope New Towners take advantage, because people were not exactly clamoring for one of the 74 seats during my weekend visits. If so, they’ll find big flavors in their own backyard. For those who don’t live near St. Charles, getting to Pangea may feel like traveling to the end of the continent. Once there, though, you’ll find an approachable restaurant that’s serious about what it serves.
Entree Prices $17 to $25
When Mon., Wed. and Thu. – 5 to 9 p.m., Fri. and Sat. – 5 to 10 p.m. Sun. brunch – 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
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there will sometimes be East Coast and bigger, meatier Gulf oysters, all sold at market price.
extra brut BY ANDREW BARRETT | PHOTOS BY DAVID KOVALUK
ushing through Extra Brut’s heavy wood door, marked simply with an EB, reveals an unexpected, dimly lit corridor beside the bright windows of sister restaurant Louie’s Wine Dive. At the end of the speakeasy-style entrance lined with empty wine racks is a well-dressed host welcoming you and the rest of the Real Housewives through a door marked “private.”
O R D E R T H I S January 2018
This is a weekends-only sparkling wine and oyster bar, which sets a certain Champagne-wishes, caviardreams price point. But despite the esoteric menu, the staff at Extra Brut is unpretentious, attentive and kind. My server was happy to explain all about what I ate and drank without making me feel like a plebian. Extra Brut’s sparkling wine list is as diverse as your portfolio,
with more than 50 carefully chosen bottles from around the world. After getting over the $20 sticker shock, I was able to try a few by-the-glass options, and I have to tell you they were as complex and delicious as their difficult-topronounce names. Glasses offered rotate weekly. On my visits I was able to try a $11 glass of Bouvet, a fruity and mild sparkling rosé; a clean, dry sparkling from
Extra Brut’s menu offers sparkling bottles originating everywhere from Champagne to Slovenia.
If you’re more steak-andpotatoes than sardinesstraight-from-the-can, there are a few fish-free snacks (goat cheese crostini, fruit and charcuterie), or you can get your oysters doctored up. The classic Extra Brut Bienville goes the full 16 S. Bemiston Ave., nine yards, baked Clayton, 314.669.9170, with shrimp, bacon, extrabrutstl.com crimini mushrooms, garlic, thyme and green onion. The super rich, savory oysters tasted more like an appetizer from The Cheesecake Factory than anything from the ocean. Charbroiled is the simplest of the brine-slaughtering preparations, topped with Piedmont that had just a cheese and a creamy Creole hint of sweetness; and that bordelaise sauce, lending extra $20 Roederer Estates, a bold, texture and spice. satisfying brut. Each is also available by the bottle, if your The ambiance is low-key and party is so privileged. cozy – candle-lit with singersongwriter-type live music Oysters are flown in fresh and a big TV playing classic from the coasts each weekend. movies (“How The Grinch I enjoy even the fishiest of fish Stole Christmas,” when I was (I’ll order mackerel over tuna there around the holidays). at a sushi bar), so raw are But with the short, snacky always my preference. They’re menu and high prices, it’s served by the dozen or half a place best for starting or with a lemon wedge, house ending your night, rather cocktail sauce, horseradish than spending the whole and Champagne mignonette. evening. That is, unless it’s The menu is seasonal, so time to impress the investors there are mostly West Coast – then pile into the Bentley varieties like Kumamoto and and tell the driver, “Straight Kusshi at the moment, but to Extra Brut!”
The decadent Oysters Bienville are baked with shrimp, bacon and crimini mushrooms.
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& drink stouts are the best beers for cold-weather sipping, especially when they're spiked with coffee.
ILLUSTRATIONS BY VIDHYA NAGARAJAN
A SEAT AT THE BAR / Four experts tell us what to sip, stir and shake Simplicity is the key to a cocktail that stands the test of time. Like The Arnaud – created by Booth’s Gin for French starlet Yvonne Arnaud (1890-1958). It blends equal parts gin, cassis and dry vermouth to create a TED AND JAMIE tantalizing palate of tart, KILGORE floral and botanical notes. In USBG, B.A.R. Ready, BarSmart an ice-filled shaker, combine and co-owners/bartenders at Planter’s House 1 ounce each Citadelle Gin, Dolin Dry Vermouth and Mathilde Cassis. Shake vigorously, strain into a chilled cocktail glass, garnish with a lemon twist and savor the simplicity.
Long before red blends became the favorite of wine-loving millennials, Marietta Cellars started making its iconic Old Vine Red in 1982. A mix of zinfandel, syrah, petite GLENN BARDGETT syrah and carignane from Member of the Missouri Wine Sonoma and Mendocina and Grape Board and wine county field blends, the director at Annie Gunn’s Marietta Old Vine Red Lot Number 66 is a fantastic all-purpose, crowdpleasing red. This substantial sipper tastes more expensive than it is. $15. Straub’s, various locations, straubs.com
This year, I am resolving to drink more coffee. Fortunately, it’s a wonderful adjunct for wintery Imperial stouts. Shared Coffee Shop Vibes is how I’m starting 2018. There will be two variants, one made with KATIE HERRERA Mexican beans and one Co-founder of Femme with Colombian, both from Ferment and account manager at Craft Republic local roaster Sump Coffee. The beers are pure velvet – decadent with a delicate complexity and silky texture, and availability is limited. On draft at The Side Project Cellar, 7373 Marietta Ave., Maplewood, 314.224.5211, thesideprojectcellar.com saucemagazine.com I SAUCE MAGAZINE I 25
SIP IT SLOE KRISTIN
Sometimes two wrongs make a right – at least in the case of sloe gin. The rubyhued cousin of your classic martini-maker is a 17th-century result of inedible sloes (a berry that grows on blackthorn hedgerows all over the U.K.) being steeped in undrinkable homemade gin with some sugar thrown in. Early versions surely got the job (of getting you drunk) done, but probably left something to be desired in the flavor department. Modern pours are a highly potable, complex and versatile addition to any sophisticated bar. “It tastes like a deep, dark fruit maceration,” said The Gin Room owner Natasha Bahrami. “A good sloe gin should have a medium body, [be] fruity yet crisp, citrusy with light peppery notes.” Technically a liqueur, sloe gin is a bit of a shape-shifting spirit.
On the one hand, it is a snuggly sip of warm spice, cherry and plum that can be enjoyed neat in front of a roaring fire. On the other hand, it plays well with citrus and club soda in its biggest claim to fame: the classic sloe gin fizz. Show off your boozesavvy nature and pick up a bottle of Sipsmith, which actually lists the vintage because the sloe harvest, like wine grapes, varies year to year, affecting the flavor. Bahrami also suggested category staple Hayman’s, which is affordable and mixable. Bahrami subs sloe gin in a Pimm’s Cup for a lighter, brighter take. She also floats a small pour on top of regular gin cocktails because the spirits get along so well they actually enjoyed spending the holidays together. In the winter, she said to play up the spirit’s spice notes by making a crock of this hot, mulled sloe gin cocktail.
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available at the wine and cheese place, wineandcheeseplace.com
MULLED SLOE GIN C O C K TA I L Courtesy of The Gin Room’s Natasha Bahrami 8 SERVINGS 16 oz. apple juice 8 oz. sweet vermouth (preferably Dolin Rouge Vermouth) 5 cardamom pods 8 oz. sloe gin 4 oz. brandy 3 to 5 oz. honey (to taste)
Orange peels and juniper berries, for garnish • Combine the apple juice, sweet vermouth and cardamom pods in a saucepan over mediumhigh heat. Simmer 10 to 30 minutes. Add the sloe gin and brandy. Allow the mixture to come back to a simmer, then stir in the honey to taste. Remove from heat. • Serve immediately or transfer to a slow cooker on low. Garnish with the orange peel and juniper berries.
PHOTOS BY JONATHAN GAYMAN
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ONES TO WATCH food and drink pros with promise
BY C AR MEN TR
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Hana Chung LINE COOK, VISTA RAMEN, AGE: 30 WHY WATCH HER: SHE’S COOKING CIRCLES AROUND ALL THE DUDES IN TOWN.
IF THE RESTAURANT inside Hana Chung’s mind was a dinner party, you’d so want that invite. The table would be crowded with everyone from her Korean-born parents to her pizzaolo husband and the buddies she’s met inside the long list of local kitchens on her resume: folks from Byrd & Barrel and Juniper swapping stories with her current Vista Ramen kitchen mates.
Vista Ramen, 2609 Cherokee St., St. Louis, 314.797.8250, vistaramen.com
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The music would be loud and the guests would be louder; wafts from the kitchen would be salty, sweet and acidic. The food: “hardy, home-ish” Korean dishes her mom and grandma used to make her back home. “Right now, food is kind of weird, almost segregated,” Chung said. “You have your really
fancy food that only a small percentage of people in St. Louis can eat. I think there’s a market for good, local food that everyone can afford, and that’s my main goal.” Despite her high-profile resume, Chung had one request when she began at Vista. “By choice, Hana kind of wanted to get back to just cooking. She’s a line cook here,” said Vista chef-owner Chris Bork. “That’s her position, but she’s a lot more than that. She will cook circles around a lot of the dudes that I’ve known. She’s just hardworking, and you could see instantly – Hana knows how this works.” In an industry known for tempers that flare higher than kitchen fires, Chung has the rare gift of an easygoing attitude. “She
was with us toward the end of Randolfi’s,” said Mike Randolph, chef-owner of the now-closed restaurant. “Those were some pretty hairy times. She kept us sane through really long hours and short staffs those last weeks. She would leave these little notes of encouragement around the stations for the cooks. She was a positive influence at a time when we really needed one.” So, what’s next for Chung and her Korean street food spot dream? For now, Chung is learning more about her craft and spreading good vibes wherever she goes. “How can you not be happy when you’re in the kitchen dancing to Aretha and making food you like?” she asked. Preach. – Stacy Schultz
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Eric Tirone HEAD BUTCHER AND SOUS CHEF, TRUFFLES BUTCHERY, AGE: 27 WHY WATCH HIM: HE WAS A BORN BUTCHER.
WHAT DO YOU DO if your kid tells you he likes cutting raw meat? Hide the knives? If you’re Eric Tirone’s family, you start buying whole chickens. Tirone’s older brother, Chris Tirone (a member of the Ones to Watch Class of 2011), convinced their parents to let them practice breaking down the animals. “My dad said it was a little creepy hearing a little kid say he liked cutting raw meat,” Eric said. “But it’s all I’ve ever wanted to do.” At 17, he was helping his big brother butcher whole lambs and
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fish at An American Place. “Eric shared the same interests I had: sports, cooking, hunting, fishing,” Chris explained. “When I got into cooking, he enjoyed it as well and continued to mess around in the kitchen. Even at home I wouldn’t let him skate by.” To understand Eric Tirone, all you have to do is watch him break down a massive hog with the skill of a surgeon and finesse of a ninja. It’s that virtuosity that got him promoted to head butcher at New Orleans’ famous, swine-centric Cochon Restaurant in just one year.
There, he was butchering at least four pigs a week. Now, at Truffles Butchery, he butchers about one a week and teaches classes. Does Eric Tirone want his own place? “Oh my God, absolutely! It’s been my end goal my entire life,” he exclaimed. “I haven’t been doing all this for shits and giggles. I can’t see myself doing anything else!” And when that time comes, after “knocking out a few big-boy things” like his wedding next year, you can bet the Tirone brothers will be back, standing side-by-side in the kitchen. – Michael Renner January 2018
YOU COULD SAY Bryan Russo’s career started at Taco Bell. He did, after all, snag a job at the fast-food chain with his bandmates in high school, leading him to ditch music and sign up for culinary school at Le Cordon Bleu. Or you could say it started with his Italian grandma and her ungodly good biscuits. One bite and he swore off the canned stuff forever, a revelation that took him down the flour-dusted rabbit hole of sourdough trials and fermentation experiments he’s still winding down today. But no matter where he started, now he’s here: running a James Beard Award-nominated kitchen. “Bryan came on before Público was even built out,” explained Público chef-owner Mike Randolph. “He started as a cook and really quickly worked himself up to a sous chef. When we shook up the kitchen about six months ago, it made so much sense to make Bryan chef de cuisine. He is responsible beyond his years. He’s eager to learn.” More like hungry for it. Russo doesn’t believe in secrets, and he doesn’t think you should either. He wants to learn any way he can: with his head in a book, from the guy on the line or trolling bread forums in his spare time. “I went into [Público] not knowing a damn thing about Latin food,” Russo said. “It was, hey, I want those burnt tortillas in my mole. I want those ashroasted carrots in this thing. It was a lot of learning; I couldn’t have done it without the other guys in the kitchen.” And his education continues. At Público, he’s messing around January 2018
with cooking bread in the ashes of the wood-burning fire. “Shove it in there, and in a minute or two you have this ugly looking thing,” he explained. “You knock the coal right off, and it’s got this really nice, caramel-y, tasty bread.” Every item on the menu has his fingerprints on it, most the delectable result of collaboration with Randolph – or “Coach,” as Russo calls him. On the side, he’s baking sourdough for Squatter’s Café, where they slather it with fresh ricotta and serve it simply with the season’s brightest bounty. The only thing Russo knows about his future is that it will involve open fire, something with bread. When you never stop learning, just about anything is possible. – Stacy Schultz
Bryan Russo CHEF DE CUISINE, PÚBLICO, AGE: 27 WHY WATCH HIM: HIS HANDS ARE IN THE FIRE, BUT HIS HEAD IS IN THE BOOKS.
Público, 6679 Delmar Blvd., University City, 314.833.5780, publicostl.com Truffles Butchery, 9202 Clayton Road, Ladue, 314.567.9100, todayat truffles.com saucemagazine.com I SAUCE MAGAZINE I 33
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Evy Swoboda CHEF DE CUISINE, PASTARIA, AGE: 26 WHY WATCH HER: SHE’S THE NEXT BIG THING IN THE NICHE FOOD GROUP EMPIRE.
FRESH-FACED, 17-year-old Evy Swoboda arrived at The Lodge of Four Seasons at Lake of the Ozarks to accept a garde manger position on the word of a friend. There was just one problem: The chef had hired her, but human resources hadn’t. Swoboda was undeterred. Armed with a resume boasting a two-year stint as Subway sandwich artist, she talked her way into the job and a career crash course. “I didn’t even know how to cut a pineapple,” she said. “I just faked it until I made it, basically. Read a lot, pretended I knew a bit more than I did until I knew what I was doing.” Confidence, dedication and a whole lot of practice eventually led her to the grill station at 44 January 2018
Stone Public House in Columbia, Missouri, and then to Pastaria shortly after it opened in 2013. The eager line cook rocketed up the chain of command, landing at chef de cuisine under executive chef Ashley Shelton. “She can read my mind,” Shelton said. “I can give her a look and she understands, ‘You need me on pizza.’ She understands, ‘That burned.’” There’s no doubt Swoboda can cook. She creates daily pizza specials and recently took over the entire menu of the popular Clayton restaurant. However, it’s Swoboda’s deft leadership on the line that sets her apart. “I can be a little more hammer, and she’s a little more honey,” Shelton said. “She has a way with the line cooks that is very
friendly. … She can get her point across without having to yell or be stern.” It’s a quality Niche Food Group owner Gerard Craft has noticed, and the reason he wanted Swoboda to help open Pastaria’s Nashville location. “That’s one thing a lot of people overlook,” Craft said. “They might be really good cooks, but they might be terrible, terrible managers. I think she handles herself really well. She’s really well organized. She’s a really good teacher.” Swoboda’s rapid ascent at Niche Food Group won’t stop if she has anything to say about it. “I want to continue helping open other Pastarias and hopefully get my own one day,” she said. “I definitely want one of the restaurants.” – Catherine Klene
Pastaria, 7734 Forsyth Blvd., Clayton, 314.862.6603, eatpastaria. com/stlouis
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PATRICK SEIBOLD SOUS CHEFS, VICIA, AGES: 33 WHY WATCH THEM: THE BEST NEW RESTAURANT IN ST. LOUIS COULDN’T RUN WITHOUT THEM.
TO BE THE BEST, you’ve got to have direction. Aside from growing up in Illinois and working as Vicia sous chefs, that’s perhaps the biggest thing Patrick Seibold and Alec Schingel have in common: a lodestar commitment to improving agriculture through their work with farmers as chefs. It’s why they’re both at Vicia now. “But also,” Schingel added and Seibold would agree, “I don’t like the idea of working at the second-best restaurant in St. Louis. I just don’t. I want to work at the best.”
Vicia, 4260 Forest Park Ave., St. Louis, 314.553.9239, viciarestaurant.com
The two have been chasing better food sourcing through some of the best restaurants in the country for most their careers. Seibold went from Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Bistro straight out of culinary school to Danny Meyer and Michael Anthony’s Gramercy Tavern to Alice Waters’ Chez Panisse. Asked about this laundry list of America’s culinary elite, the clean-cut chef matter-of-factly explained he thought Keller’s focus on technique would be a good
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introduction to fine dining, he was attracted to Anthony’s vegetable-centric philosophy, and he wanted to experience Chez Panisse’s relationships with farmers. Wouldn’t we all, though?
“It was the opportunity to take a graduate school mentality,” Schingel said. “[It was a place to] learn how sourcing products works, how to talk about farming practices and intelligent methods.”
If it sounds like Seibold had to have plotted that precise course his entire life, that’s probably because he grew up in a restaurant family and always knew he wanted to be a chef. Schingel, equally intentional though perhaps less methodical, got into cooking because he was sick of eating Hot Pockets every day in college. Then he became obsessed.
It’s also where he met Vicia chef-owner Michael Gallina, then chef de cuisine at Blue Hill. “Alec is exactly what I’m looking for in someone to work close with – very intelligent, very hardworking, very meticulous,” Gallina said.
After a sudden swerve into culinary school, he worked his way up the St. Louis food ladder to sous chef at Gerard Craft’s now-closed Niche. When Schingel later landed a stage position at In de Wulf in Belgium, his experience with farmers and foraging at the remote Michelin-starred restaurant sparked an increased interest in sourcing. That made his next gig at Dan Barber’s Blue Hill at Stone Barns a dream job.
To succeed at a high-concept place like Vicia, you need to be what Gallina called an intelligent chef – not a “headdown cook” who just gets the work done, goes home and doesn’t think about it. “This isn’t a 9-to-5 job for Patrick and Alec. They take it home with them. They research. They read books. They’re constantly diving into what’s going to be next, trying to be ahead of the ballgame.” Schingel is the first person in the kitchen each day; as
daytime sous, he runs the lunch service and Vicia’s whole bread program. Seibold helps Gallina run dinner and handles most of the restaurant’s butchery. “He’s taking on a lot of ownership with the nighttime cooks,” Gallina said. “He’s also a very intelligent person. He’s got a lot of incredible ideas.” Gallina also rhapsodized on both the sous chefs’ teaching abilities. But, most important to Schingel and Seibold, Gallina wants them to take more ownership of the menu and to be more involved in working with producers. “I definitely couldn’t do it without them,” Gallina said. “This restaurant wouldn’t be half of what it is without the help of those two.” After navigating a major restaurant opening (both came on months before Vicia’s first service), Schingel and Seibold leave us with only two questions about their next steps: when and where? – Heather Hughes
from left, patrick seibold and alec schingel
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stuff to do:
JANUARY BY MAT T SORRELL
Experimental Spirits Release Jan. 5 – 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., Still 630 Distillery, 1000 S. Fourth St., St. Louis, 314.513.2275, still630.com Head to Still 630 on the first Friday of each month (for the next five years!) to check out the latest in the distillery’s experimental spirits program. Get a free taste of the new creation and put in your two cents, then buy a 200-milliliter bottle if you like what they’re slinging. This month, sample a whiskey made with 100-percent mesquite-smoked barley.
Ferguson Winter Farmers Market Jan. 20 – 9 a.m. to noon, St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, 33 N. Clay Ave., Ferguson, fergusonfarmersmarket.com Just because the temps have dropped doesn’t mean you can’t get fresh, local ingredients. Stock up with essential seasonal produce and artisan goods at this venerable farmers market’s winter version, which includes vendors like EarthDance Farms, El Chico Bakery, Ferguson Youth Initiative and Alpacas of Troy.
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Sweet Tooth Tour Jan. 27 – noon to 5 p.m., downtown Maplewood, Facebook: Maplewood Sweet Tooth Tour Sweets fans find all manner of delights on this self-guided walking tour of Maplewood’s premier purveyors. Check in at Schlafly Bottleworks and then stroll the neighborhood and snag sweet confections from 15 spots, including Living Room, Strange Donuts, Boardwalk Waffles & Ice Cream, Traveling Tea, Pie Oh My! and Kakao. Tickets available online.
Cooking with Tavon: A Vegan’s Experience Jan. 28 – 6 to 9 p.m., Nexcore, 2631 Gravois Ave., St. Louis, 314.333.2879, smoothlightproductions.com Looking to clean up your eating habits in the new year? Check out this monthly plantbased cooking experience, which features cooking demonstrations and samples of 15 to 20 vegan dishes, from barbecue tofu and macaroni and cheese to eggplant Parmesan and pepper “steak.” Participants also learn how to pair wines with the prepared dishes and take home an interactive recipe. Tickets available online.
Frosty Brewfest & Spirits
Beer With A Woman Scientist
Jan. 27 – 2 to 6 p.m., Crown Valley Brewing & Distilling, 13326 State Highway F, Ste. Genevieve, 573.756.9463, crownvalleybrewery.com It may be cold outside, but Crown Valley Brewery is warming things up in Ste. Genevieve at its annual winter beer fest. Sample beers and spirits from some of the region’s top producers, like Schlafly, Urban Chestnut Brewing Co., Jackson Street BrewCo and Main & Mill. Enjoy a special lunch plate available for purchase while you drink in front of the roaring fire pit and listen to live music courtesy of Scotty Kemp. Tickets available online.
Jan. 31 – 6 to 9 p.m., 4 Hands Brewing Co., 1220 S. Eighth St., St. Louis, 314.436.1559, Facebook: Beer with a Woman Scientist Get to know St. Louis-area women scientists over a pint of 4 Hands beer at this free event. The local chapter of 500 Women Scientists, a nonprofit dedicated to creating an inclusive scientific community, hosts this family-friendly fete. While you sip local brews, check out science demos from area groups, including members of The O.G.: St. Louis Women’s Craft Beer Collective. Kids’ activities and a scavenger hunt are also in store.
Spirited Sessions: Fermented
Clayton Restaurant Week
Jan. 22 – 6:30 p.m., 2nd Shift Brewing, 1601 Sublette Ave., St. Louis, Facebook: STL Barkeep Spirited Sessions explores the wide world of St. Louis beer with Craft Republic account manager Katie Herrera. She and STL Barkeep’s Matt Longueville walk attendees through a beer tasting, then 2nd Shift staff lead a tour of The Hill brewery and tasting room. Tickets available online.
Jan. 22 to 28 – participating restaurants, Clayton, claytonrestaurantweek.com Visit a longtime favorite or discover something new during Clayton Restaurant Week. Enjoy a three-course prix fixe menu for $25 or $35 from restaurants like 801 Chophouse, Catina Laredo, Louie’s Wine Dive, The Libertine and more. A full list of participating restaurants is available online.
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WHAT I DO
was intense, but I kept myself busy. … It’s like if someone likes yoga – loves it. It’s like going to different yoga classes all the time. Me going to different restaurants all the time and working was just fun. It was less like work.”
“ M y d a d a lway s t o l d m e y o u h av e t o e n j o y w h a t y o u ’ r e d o i n g , and if you don’t,
then I won’t back you up in life. If you love McDonald’s and you want to work at McDonald’s and you love everything about the company, then I will support you 100 percent. But if you work at McDonald’s and you bitch about life and complain all the time and do nothing about it, I’m not going to help you.”
“ [ My s o n ] c o o ks a l r e a dy w i t h m y d a d , t o o . ... He
likes to help cook his meals. He drags a chair over and wants to help hold the pan and sprinkle the salt on. He’s already there. My mom’s like, ‘No, you’re supposed to be a doctor!’”
“Since I didn’t go to c u l i n a r y s c h o o l , I promised
[Trochtop] I wouldn’t leave if he taught me something new every day – a new word, anything. Even after work, I’d come back for my third shift and help him roll pasta until two in the morning. We’d grab a beer and roll pasta together because I wanted to learn.”
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Heidi Hamamura’s culinary education started when she absorbed her father, chef Naomi Hamamura’s, knowledge of sushi, Japanese and French fare in their kitchen after school. Since then, she has made a career out of exploring new cuisines: Italian with Jamey Trochtop at Stellina, Malaysian and Chinese with Bernie Lee at Hiro Asian Kitchen and modernist fine dining with Ben Grupe at Elaia. Now she’s diving into Filipino fare as executive chef of Guerrilla Street Food’s upcoming location on The Loop. – Catherine Klene
“ B e n G r u p e wa s o n e o f t h e c h e f s t h a t r e a l ly i n s p i r e d m e . That’s the kind
of cooking that I want to learn, that I love. It might be a small dish, but there is so much flavor in that, and creativity. It’s like art – you don’t want to eat it.”
“If we could find someone to open a [ J a pa n e s e s t r e e t f o o d b a r ] in St. Louis, it would make so
much money. … If the right investor comes or if I win the lottery, that would be really fun to do.”
“ M a k i n g s u s h i i s by fa r t h e m o s t f u n f o r m e . … It’s
the interaction and the different kinds of ways you can create and make sushi and display it. It’s like an art form. There are so many different ways you can beef up sushi or display an array of sashimi with different vegetables that go with certain fish or different spices. … I can eat sushi every day for breakfast, lunch and dinner.”
“I remember the first t i m e m y da d to o k m e o u t [ t o t h e l a k e ] . … We were
sitting on the boat drinking beers, and I had my fishing pole in the water and the sunset is going down and I said, ‘Whoever the hell created fishing is a genius. This is the best feeling ever.’”
Guerrilla Street Food, 3559 Arsenal St., St. Louis, 314.529.1328, guerrillastreetfood.com Guerrilla Street Food’s new location at 6120 Delmar Blvd. is coming in early 2018.
PHOTO BY ASHLEY GIESEKING
“ T h e m o s t I ’ v e h a d wa s f i v e j o b s at o n e t i m e . It
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Published on Dec 27, 2017