Chef Liz Schuster on Turning Films into Menus and Her Mad Bow Hunting Skills

Categories: Chef Chat

Chef Liz Schuster and the Tenacious Eats team | Nancy Stiles

I first met Liz Schuster when she was a line cook at a country club, still working her way through culinary school. I was leaving town for graduate school, and as a going away present, she gave me a copy of the film Eat Drink Man Woman. Schuster had very specific instructions: "You'll be living out of boxes for a while, so you'll want to order some really greasy Chinese takeout. Pop in this movie, open a nice bottle of wine, and eat on the floor -- use your moving boxes as a table."

Five years later, Schuster has turned her knack for mixing food, film and scene into Tenacious Eats (314-605-3684), her pop-up restaurant located in the Meyers Grove theater. Schuster took a break from her next food and film pairing (the word is that it's Wes Anderson's the Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou), to chat with us about her thoughts on the St. Louis dining scene and her mad bow hunting skills.

See Also: How Chef Liz Schuster Interprets Mean Girls as a Five-Course Menu for Tenacious Eats

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Your Pick for St. Louis' Best Fish Fry Is...

Categories: Fish Fry Frenzy

You can get this year round at our winning parish. | 5chw4r7z

There's only one more fish fry Friday left this year, and we'll be using it to check out the readers' pick. Last week you voted on four very different celebrations; there were strong write-in candidates as well. So, where should we meet you this Friday?

See also: St. Mary Magdalen Has a Drive-Through Fish Fry

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Guess Where I'm Eating This Pulled Pork and Win Ice Cream for Two at the Fountain on Locust

Pulled pork sandwich topped with slaw. | Nancy Stiles

St. Louis is experiencing a barbecue boom. We already have more than a few top-notch joints, and last week saw several announcements of more to come. This pulled pork sandwich is from a place that isn't super established, but it sure is delicious. Think you know where we got it? Take a guess and win some free food.

See also: UPDATED: Guess Where I'm Eating This Salmon BLT and Win $25 to De Palm Tree

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Tom Colicchio On Tatyana Telnikova's Decision to Change Craft Art Bar Name: "Wise"

Categories: Food Fights

Celebrity chef and restaurateur Tom Colicchio at a charity event. | DC Central Kitchen

Consider these two very different restaurateurs. The first is Tatyana Telnikova, small-business owner, proprietress of the quirky and beloved HandleBar in the Grove, Russian immigrant. The other is Tom Colicchio, star of TV's Top Chef, pioneer of the New York restaurant scene, and owner of the wildly successful Craft Restaurant family, which includes twenty locations of the sandwich shop 'Whichcraft, CraftBar, CraftSteak, and his flagship establishment in Manhattan, called simply Craft.

Last week, Telnikova changed the name of her highly anticipated new Cherokee Street venture from "Craft Art Bar" to just "Art Bar." She did so after realizing that Colicchio has a history of defending his trademark on the word "craft" -- in the past he has sent cease-and-desist letters to restaurants in California, Wisconsin and even to nearby Edwardsville, Illinois. They've all backed down and changed their names.

"For lack of a better word, the guy's just being a bully and throwing his weight around," she says. "In no way would 'Craft Art Bar' hurt his business."

We wondered what Colicchio himself would say to that, so we called Craft in New York. And by gum, he called us back.

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The Purple Martin, A New Beet-Loving Bistro Serving North African Cuisine in Fox Park

Categories: First Look

"Purple Beet and Orange Salad" with arugula and a North African vinaigrette seasoned with cumin, cinnamon, honey and lemon. | Photos by Mabel Suen
Fans of beautiful beets, behold: the Purple Martin (2800 Shenandoah Avenue; 314-898-0011) opened in Fox Park in late March, and true to its namesake, diners will see plenty of purple accenting everything from the restaurant's space to its plates. Located in a residential neighborhood (directly across from Fox Park itself), the American bistro boasts bold North African, Greek and Middle-Eastern flavors.

See also: Purple Martin Brings Homey North African Cuisine to Fox Park

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Dave Bailey Responds to Small Batch Criticism: "I'm Taking Full Responsibility"

Categories: Restaurant News

Inside Small Batch. | Jennifer Silverberg

Prolific restaurateur Dave Bailey announced this week that even before his second Rooster location is open, he's working on a new barbecue place. We were a bit surprised at the news -- not only has his vegetarian and whiskey restaurant Small Batch (3001 Locust Street; 314-380-2040) been open for just over three months, it has gotten less-than-favorable reviews from RFT and others.

See also: Small Batch's vegetarian and whiskey combo doesn't translate

"I don't want there to be any question as to the poor reviews of Small Batch having any bearing on this [barbecue] restaurant at all," Bailey tells Gut Check. "I've been building these three restaurants simultaneously, and I'm taking full responsibility for the lack of consistency for the food at Small Batch. I already knew before those reviews came out there were consistency issues."

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#88: WildSmoke's Smoked Chicken Wings

The smoked chicken wings at WildSmoke. | Jennifer Silverberg

Choosing a favorite chicken wing is like selecting a favorite song: With so many different styles, it's an impossible task. Sometimes, the tangy, Louisiana-style heat of the Buffalo wing dipped in funky blue cheese is the only thing that satisfies. Other occasions call for some thick, molasses barbecue sauce, or perhaps an Asian-inspired glaze. Everyone has their favorite; it's what makes crowning a champion so controversial -- different strokes for different, very opinionated, folks.

See Also: Stick to Your Ribs: WildSmoke succeeds at barbecue basics, but stumbles when it goes off-script

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How Chef Liz Schuster Interprets Mean Girls as a Five-Course Menu for Tenacious Eats

"Gretchen Weiners Had Cracked": housemade tater tots with Hebrew National all-beef wiener (get it?), buttered and grilled challah, fresh arugula and baby kale, tomato, cracked pink peppercorn and housemade Caesar dressing. | Nancy Stiles

Tenacious Eats is the most ephemeral of all pop-up restaurants. There's a completely original menu for just one night -- sometimes two -- and then it's gone forever. Chef Liz Schuster and her team create gourmet five-course dinners that will keep you coming back, even if you can't taste that local rabbit with with morel mushrooms, prunes, juniper berry, garlic, white wine and fresh thyme ever again.

See also: Tenacious Eats Blends Film and Cuisine

The craziest part may be, though, that all of this starts with gas-station fried chicken.

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The Best Food Events in St. Louis This Weekend: April 11 to 13

Cherries at the Tower Grove Farmers' Market. | Pat Kohm

Spring is finally here folks. Get out and enjoy the weather, not to mention all that fresh produce coming in season. It's the first outdoor Tower Grove Farmers' Market, plus we're celebrating the end of Prohibition at Schlafly. Check out our food-related recommendations after the jump, and go outside!

See also: Corvid's Cafe Debuts in Kingshighway Hills with Signature Crabcakes and More

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Schlafly Celebrates the Repeal of Prohibition with Washington State Beers

Categories: Beer

Cabin Fever at Schlafly in January. This time, it'll be warm! | Jon Gitchoff

Every year, St. Louis' hometown craft brewery celebrates that most holy of events, the repeal of Prohibition, with a festival. Each Repeal Fest highlights craft beer from a state that isn't available in Missouri or across the river -- this year it's Washington state. Schlafly will be hosting brewers and their beers from Bale Breaker Brewing Company, Elysian Brewing, Epic Ales and No-Li Brewhouse at the Bottleworks (7260 Southwest Avenue, Maplewood; 314-241-2337)

See also: Schlafly Bottleworks Unveils Remodeled Crown Room Bar March 4

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