Simone Faure on Competing on Spring Baking Championship

Courtesy of the Food Network
Simone Faure on Spring Baking Championship
Simone Faure wasn't just a fan of the Food Network's Holiday Baking Championship. She was a superfan.

So when she heard that casting agents were in St. Louis interviewing finalists for a spinoff called Spring Baking Championship, she did what any obsessed fan would do: Despite not being on the shortlist, she showed up with her dark chocolate croissant, a.k.a. the Darkness. "Once you embrace the Darkness, all bets are off," she says, laughing.

Faure, of course, isn't just any reality-TV fan. The acclaimed pastry chef behind the La Patisserie Chouquette, the French-inspired shop in the Botanical Heights neighborhood, she also makes the desserts served at Ben Poremba's Old Standard Fried Chicken, Olio and Elaia. (Poremba is also a partner in the patisserie.)

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Starbucks to Open a Ferguson Location, But Won't Say Where

Categories: Coffee

Courtesy of Flickr/Irfaan Photography
Starbucks is coming to Ferguson, or so they tell us.
Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz may have abandoned plans to decorate your latte with "Race Together," but he hasn't given up on making the world a better place.

Schultz announced Tuesday that Starbucks would be opening its first Ferguson store, according to Fortune, as a "way to increase employment."

Details, however, are few.

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The Kitchen Sink to Open Downtown Location, Live Music Stage

Categories: Restaurant News

Photo by Mabel Suen
The Kitchen Sink's crab-cake beanie.
The Kitchen Sink is expanding.

The two-and-a-half-year-old Cajun/Creole restaurant will open a second location in downtown St. Louis this summer, "hopefully by the end of July, early August," says chef/owner Anthony Ellerson Jr. Befitting the location at 555 Washington Avenue across the street from the National Blues Museum, which is currently under construction, the second iteration of The Kitchen Sink will have a bluesy feeling. Live music will be on offer every night of the week, along with an amateur night on Tuesday. There will be a stage to accommodate performers and a small dance floor for people who feel like dancing.

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Review: Winfield's Gathering Place Shows Jim Edmonds and Mark Winfield in Winning Form

Mabel Suen
Ribs and baked bean platter, burnt ends sourdough melt and the "BBQ Carolina Steak Burger."

Winfield's Gathering Place
10312 Manchester Road, Kirkwood; 314-394-2200
Mon.-Sat. 11-1 a.m.; Sun. 11 a.m.-10 p.m.

After a good first inning with their successful 15 Steakhouse, the team of Jim Edmonds and Mark Winfield got into a jam. First came the city's temporary closure of the sleek midtown steak house following assaults and other criminal incidents both on its premises and in the surrounding neighborhood, then the botched rebranding of the space in 2013 as the Precinct. From the delayed relocation of the neighboring St. Louis Metropolitan Police headquarters to a series of negative reviews, it was clear that the game wasn't going their way.

See also: Review: Miss Leon's Serves Some of St. Louis' Best Comfort Food

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Bridge Bread to Open Shop on Cherokee This Spring

Courtesy of Bridge Bread
Bridge Bread's mini cinnamon rolls have drawn a following at area churches.
Bridge Bread will open its first retail store on Cherokee Street in the next month or two, founder Fred Domke confirmed to Gut Check yesterday.

The shop, at 2604 Cherokee, will sell the nonprofit baker's artisan bread, brioche dinner rolls, cinnamon rolls and what Domke calls its "coup de grace" -- its "4x Chocolate Rolls," which are studded with chocolate chips, filled with chocolate and topped with chocolate frosting. "They went from being a brand-new product to being our most popular product in three weeks," Domke says.

The new storefront, located at the base of the Nebula coworking space just west of Jefferson, won't be a bakery -- Bridge will continue to bake out of its kitchen on South Grand, and all the breads and treats will be sold prepackaged to keep things simple with the health department.

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Chef Chat: Tilford Restaurant Group's Peter Schweiss on Becoming the Masa Master

Categories: Chef Chat

Peter Schweiss of Tilford Restaurant Group. | Mabel Suen

Peter Schweiss clearly remembers the first thing he ever cooked. "Grilled cheese," the commissary manager for Tilford Restaurant Group recalls. "My mom cooked a lot at home. I was always following her around the kitchen asking questions. When I was about nine or ten, she got this pancake griddle and let me make grilled cheese on it. For three weeks that's all we ate."

See Also: Chef Chat: Jason Tilford Turns Corn into Masa and Water into Wine

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Brunch at Grove East Provisions: Simple Comfort Food and Savory Specials

Grove East Provisions' eggs benedict made with Red Foxing Baking's bread and Salume Beddu's prosciutto cotto. | Photos by Mabel Suen

Where: Grove East Provisions (3101 Arsenal Street; 314-802-7090)

When: Every Sunday from 11 a.m. until supplies run out.

We Tried: Eggs benedict ($8), turkey club ($8), beef stew ($8.50).

See also: Review: A Drummer Finds a New Calling with a Charming Neighborhood Bodega at Grove East Provisions

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Pastries of Denmark's Petit Fours: Bite-Size Confections From Copenhagen to Creve Coeur

Categories: Sugar High

Welcome to Sugar High, a series devoted solely to spotlighting the best ways to sate a sweet tooth in St. Louis. We'll sample the best the city has to offer at restaurants, bakeries and holes-in-the-wall, and provide some insight on how these confections are made along the way.

An assortment of petit fours from Pastries of Denmark. | Photos by Mabel Suen

Since 1988, Pastries of Denmark (12613 Olive Boulevard; 314-469-7879) has offered residents of Creve Coeur a variety of eats and sweets in its European-style cafe. Chef-owner Kristian Vesth -- a fourth-generation baker -- whips up everything from authentic Danish pastries and breads to cheesecakes, pies and cupcakes. The dessert most true to his roots, however, is the petit four, a miniature confection he brought with him all the way from Copenhagen's landmark Hotel D'Angleterre.

See also: The Ten Best Dessert Spots in St. Louis

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Historic California Do-Nut Co. Will Get a Second Life with New Owner

Categories: Food News

Paul Sableman via Flickr Creative Commons
The iconic sign went dark long ago.

In 1948, a man named Henry J. Bielefeld founded the California Do-Nut Co. (2924 South Jefferson Avenue). The shop churned out freshly fried doughnuts from a machine that automatically flipped them to the delight of the neighborhood kids.

Eventually, the shop closed. Paper went up in the windows, and then a car lost control and plowed into the building, so boards covered the damage. Then graffiti covered the boards.

But the iconic green "California Do-Nut Co." neon sign remained, and if all goes according to plan, new owner Felinna Love will be able to switch it back on in 2016.

"I'm so in love with the sign," she says. "I was born in San Francisco, so the name is dear to my heart."

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Invented in St. Louis, Huga Bars Are a Different Kind of Snack

Courtesy of Huga Foods
Luis Rivero (left), with brother-in-law and Huga Bars co-founder Luis Mendoza.
Luis Rivero had an idea for a different kind of snack bar -- something that wasn't as dense as a power bar, but also not as sticky sweet as most granola bars, either.

"All the nutrition bars on the market have very American flavor profiles," he says. "Peanut butter, chocolate chip, apple berry tart. The same old flavors. After growing up abroad, I wished we had a nutrition bar that had some of the flavors I'd grown up with."

In August, Rivero quit his job in DuPont's St. Louis office to work on creating just that. His dream came true last week, when he and brother-in-law Luis Mendoza launched a new line of snacks called Huga Bars.

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