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The culinary scene in St. Louis continues to flourish, and 2013 was an especially exciting year for diners and drinkers and those who serve them. Here are just a few of the notable events in the past 12 months:
The holidays came early this year when readers submitted their homemade sweets for LN’s Holiday Dessert Recipe Contest. Four Seasons pastry chef Mary Boehne, LN Cooks’ chef John Johnson and Spicy Bits writer Matt Sorrell helped judge the tight, but oh-so-delicious race, and Ladue Florist decked the festive holiday table.
Burgundy, Sonoma and Oregon’s Willamette Valley—pinot noir enthusiasts will quickly recognize the common thread of regions noted for their production of the finicky grape.
Nothing completes a decadent dining experience like the perfect pairing of fine wine and five-star fare. Indulge in these recommendations from some of the city’s top wine connoisseurs.
Four Muny premieres are in the lineup for the 2014 season—The Muny’s 96th summer at Forest Park! New season tickets will be available beginning March 8; single tickets go on sale May 31. The upcoming shows are...
D'oh! Strange Donuts has opened at 2709 Sutton Ave. in Maplewood. Look for 12 fresh donut varieties each day, and late-night hours for you night owls with a donut craving. Meanwhile, Blind Tiger at Sutton Place is slated to open soon at 7376 Manchester Road, and will offer signature pizzas and a bar with an emphasis on whiskies.
KRISTEN NORDSTROM has joined STAGES as a GM and will oversee day-to-day operations for administrative staff. Nordstrom is a graduate ofWebsterUniversity and has worked as a dancer, choreographer and educator. Former STAGES managing director RON GIBBS is now the director of human resources.
After just nine months as catering and banquet chef for Balaban's Wine Cellar & Tapas Bar, D. SCOTT PHILLIPS has been bumped up to executive chef. According to Phillips, he wants to take the restaurant back to its standard for classic recipes. "We will focus on every element of every dish," he says. "That includes the quality, the flavor and the presentation." Congratulations, Chef!
Get your appetites ready, because next week is the ninth annual Downtown Restaurant Week in the Lou. From Monday, Aug. 19, through Sunday, Aug. 25, enjoy a special three-course menu for $25 at 27 different eating and drinking establishments in the heart of the city. Get the whole rundown of participating venues at downtownrestaurantweek.net.
Cini is now open in Ladue’s Colonial Marketplace. The ‘fast-casual’ Italian restaurant concept was created by DAVID JONES and DOUG TIEBER (developers of Buffalo Wild Wings in the St. Louis area), along with FRANK and CARMELO GABRIELE of Il Bel Lago. Short for ‘arancinis,’ the name comes from a traditional fried Italian street food staple made with rice and vegetables, which will be handmade daily at Cini. Also open at Colonial Marketplace is The Original Pancake House, known for its mouth-watering breakfast treats like the Dutch Baby and Apple Pancakes.
The Missouri History Museum is now offering a fun way for history buffs and barflies alike to gain an appreciation and a new perspective on the city’s fine public houses. The new initiative is called History On Tap: Pub Tours of St. Louis' Historic Neighborhoods. The first excursion led participants through Soulard. The next tour will focus on Dogtown and is scheduled for Wednesday, July 24. More info can be found at mohistory.org.
The past year has been a busy one for the St. Louis culinary scene. Here are a few of the highlights from 2012:
Make her day with one of these thoughtful hostess gifts.
Big congrats go out to Robust in Webster Groves and Copia Restaurant And Wine Garden downtown. The two vino-centric eateries made Open Table's Diners' Choice 2012 Most Notable Wine List Top 100. Way to represent the Lou!
Since landing in Chesterfield a few years ago (following a decades-long run in the Central West End), Balaban's Wine Cellar & Tapas Bar has reinvented itself, morphing from a French-inspired bistro into more of a small-plate destination. Balaban's has continued to garner accolades, including multiple Wine Spectator Award of Excellence nods. While there were still several enticing classic entrees on the menu, like the Beef Wellington ($21), on our recent visit, we decided to stick fairly close to the tapas that are now the restaurant's signature.
Rick Graefe |STLhighschoolsports.com Lobster Ravioli at Balban's Wine Cellar and Tapas Bar
There's finally a chill in the air, signaling that fall is upon us. In addition to better weather and some glorious foliage, the shift in seasons also brings a changing of the menu at many local eateries.
Chef JACK MACMURRAY III has taken the position of executive chef at Schneithorst’s Restaurant & Bar. MacMurray recently announced the move on his Facebook page, adding, “Look for German-American favorites with my Jack Mac Twist.” MacMurray, formerly the executive chef at Sage in Soulard, has been consulting on a number of projects since leaving that post last year.
If you decide to throw an impromptu dinner party—or you need a last-minute hostess gift—could your wine cellar come to the rescue? We asked these local wine experts for recommendations of bottles (and varietals) to keep in stock for such an occasion.
A big congratulations to Balaban’s Wine Cellar & Tapas Bar in Chesterfield, which has been awarded a Best Award of Excellence in Wine Spectator’s 2012 restaurant awards. The 3-year-old restaurant is one of only 878 internationally eateries to receive the accolade. Qualifying restaurants must have a wine list of 400 or more selections, superior presentation and display of “significant vintage depth or superior breadth in one or more major wine regions.” Balaban’s surpassed the criteria with some 700 different labels and recognized strength in California and French wines.
You’ve opened the bottle. Now, how do you get the most pleasure from the fruit of a winemaker’s labor? Did you bring the bottle to its proper temperature prior to opening? This, among other tips, will help you to enjoy your next glass of wine to its full potential.
Whether you’re a seasoned expert or a novice just learning the difference between shiraz and cabernet, wine clubs allow you to try new varieties that you may have never thought to pick up.
There’s nothing more helpful to a novice wine drinker than walking into a store where the shopkeeper is willing to give you all the recommendations you need. “Don’t feel bad if you don’t know a lot about wine,” says Steve McIntyre, co-owner of Balaban’s wine cellar & tapas bar in Chesterfield. “The number of people who really know what they’re doing is probably less than 10 percent of the total wine-buying public.” He adds, “There are a lot of good shops in St. Louis where the owners and employees take pride in knowing what’s in their store and telling you about it.” With that in mind, we asked local wine experts for their recommendations, and we can’t wait to try them out!