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Cupcakes make it easier than ever to satisfy a sweet tooth. Perfectly sized for one--or two, if you're feeling generous--each cupcake bite is an experience to be savored. Lucky for us, there seems to be a never-ending supply--and selection--thanks to cupcake connoisseurs who have elevated the formerly ho-hum children's birthday party staple to a whole new level.
Love to report new places opening up: The Sweet Divine's new Soulard location at 1801 S. Ninth St. is now open for business. Likewise, Piccione Pastry at 6197 Delmar Blvd. in the U-City Loop is now up and running.
LN first reported months ago that Chef LOU ROOK of Annie Gunn's is releasing his first-ever cookbook, Rook Cooks; Simplicity At Its Finest. Well, it’s finally here! The tome is available at the restaurant, as well as such area stores as Left Bank Books and Kitchen Conservatory, for $35.
The past year has been a busy one for the St. Louis culinary scene. Here are a few of the highlights from 2012:
So many recipes are literally just a couple of clicks away. Want to make an Amaretto Cake? All it takes is a phone or any other mobile device to find variations with chocolate or vanilla, iced or drenched in syrup, layered or Bundt. With so many options at our fingertips, why use a cookbook at all? Answer: For a keepsake compilation resulting from an author’s ardent affection for the kitchen that is filled with anecdotes, wonderful inspiration and mouth-watering photography! Here are LN’s 2012 Cookbooks of the Year:
The Sweet Divine
For those just not up to the chore of making a Turkey Day feast for the whole fam, Cielo Restaurant in the Four Seasons downtown has the answer: Chef FABRIZIO SCHENARDI and his crew are whipping up Thanksgiving dinner to-go. The dinners include delectable items like roasted Brussels sprouts, roasted sweet potato puree and a take on a holiday favorites, green bean casserole, as well as a whole roasted free-range turkey (brined for a full 48 hours before baking), and a choice of two pies from pastry chef PETER WHITLEY. The cost per dinner is $295 (excluding tax) and it feeds 10. Orders have to be received by Monday, Nov. 19, and can be made by calling 881-2105.
Win-win! St. Louis husband-and-wife team JASON and JENNA SIEBERT emerged victorious during the most recent Cupcake Wars on the Food Network.
Jason and Jenna Siebert at their bakery, The Sweet Divine
Story: To celebrate its fifth anniversary of providing site-specific plays, On-Site Theatre is reviving its original presentation, Bowling Epiphany. Consisting of three short skits, the show is performed at Epiphany Lanes, which adjoins Epiphany Catholic Church in south St. Louis and is one of the few remaining Catholic Church bowling alleys.
Story: Benny Silverman spends his days painting canvasses on a patio that overlooks the Pacific Ocean from his handsome home in Malibu. In earlier days he was a successful and well-known entertainer until his one-time friend and colleague, Leo Greshen, testified against him before the House Committee on Un-American Activities and its crusade against communists in America. That act by Greshen effectively stifled Benny’s career for years before he eventually landed a starring role on a TV comedy titled Rich but Happy that earned him enough money to pay for his Malibu manse and paint away his bitter days.
◆ Chef BRIAN HARDESTY, who took over the kitchen at Nosh a few weeks ago, has announced he’s dropping the Nosh name in favor of Root. The name is reflective of the new culinary direction Hardesty is pursuing: original takes on classic American cuisine that span the years from the founding of the country until roughly the Great Depression era. Hardesty says to expect lots of game, roasted meat and whole fish preparations. The restaurant (co-located with Starr’s in Richmond Heights) is closed during the transformation, and is scheduled to open for business on Tuesday, Jan. 10.
The Monday blues are more bearable if you take a few minutes to relive the too-short weekend, so why not create some great memories to tide you over until next Friday night? With so many options besides just ‘dinner and a movie,’ the St. Louis entertainment scene can fill your summer calendar with the Victorian magic of The Secret Garden, the exuberance of Disney’s Little Mermaid or the timeless romance of Romeo and Juliet. And since no special night out is complete without a fabulous culinary experience, we asked three St. Louisans ‘in the know’ for their idea of creating the perfect summer night.
> Popular CWE spot Pickles Deli will soon have another location. Co-owner TIM METZ tells us he and fellow owner SEAN OLSON will soon be opening a second Pickles downtown at 701 Olive St., the former home of Teutenberg’s, which closed last fall. Metz says the new space is about three times bigger than the current restaurant, and should have about 80 seats or so when all is said and done. The new Pickles will have basically the same lunch menu as the original, but also will feature a breakfast menu, and will serve as the base for the restaurants catering operations. Look for an opening in the next couple of months.
Sunset 44 in Kirkwood recently got a new chef, Tony Nguyen, and he has changed things up a bit. CIA-trained, his pedigree includes Whitmoor Country Club, the Ritz and other high-end restaurants. He has moved the menu from a largely classical French tone to ‘global-Pan-Asian,’ with subtle decorative elements like sprouts and colorful herbs that crop up in delightful ways: sugar-fried greens on a dessert plate and fennel seeds in toasted ravioli. One thing that has not changed is the excellence of the meal: our food was consistently good, and very well priced for dishes of this caliber.
Bravo to the ST. LOUIS SYMPHONY YOUTH ORCHESTRA on its 40th anniversary! Founded by maestro LEONARD SLATKIN, the 100-member orchestra consists of young musicians (age 12 to 22) from more than three dozen schools in the region. The youngsters are gearing up for celebratory performances, including a Nov. 27 invitational rehearsal for parents, alumni and members: Slatkin himself will conduct the Billy the Kid suite, as he did during the orchestra’s inaugural performance Dec. 4, 1970.
Replacing the Clayton gelato spot Benito’s on Central Avenue, Mosaic Market Bistro is an appealing little spot with tables that spill out onto the bustling street. It has been opened by members of the Schmitz family (specifically sister Ellen), who are building quite a little restaurant empire, much of it in Clayton.
Nestled between a boutique and a doggie bakery in the middle of Town & Country Crossing, a romantic little French restaurant has opened. Bistro 1130 is a delightful gem of Gaelic culinary expertise, with a touch of Indochine thrown in to mix things up.
Even after three years, Araka in Clayton packs ‘em in. It doesn’t hurt that the place is snugly ensconced in one of the toniest parts of town, near the Ritz. Nonetheless, restaurants in St. Louis have to earn their stripes because diners like to try new places.
When they were both students at University City High School, Edwin Pepper was teaching his girlfriend Lenore how to drive, and he turned into a quiet street in Richmond Heights.
Fun food in a fun place is a quick way to describe The Fountain on Locust. Opened a couple of years ago, the midtown diner near Saint Louis University is a hopping throwback to soda fountain days, serving made-from-scratch designer salads, sandwiches and starters. Here, toppings like pesto, salad dressings and sandwich spreads do not come from bottles and cans.
Atlas Restaurant, long an oasis of hospitality in the southwest corner of the CWE, has changed ownership. Founders Jean Donnelly and Michael Roberts built a lively neighborhood spot by greeting patrons personally and serving delicious French-Italian cuisine. Taking over the reins are culinary couple Bryan and Diane Carr, of Pomme fame.