Tree House's Ethical Answer for Pâté de Foie Gras

Categories: Food News

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Wild mushroom pâté at Tree House. | Patrick J. Hurley

The Drunken Vegan, a.k.a. Patrick J. Hurley, is a full-time barman at the Civil Life Brewing Company and cocktail enthusiast about town. He's an unapologetic drunkard, a vegan and a bon vivant, and, no, he doesn't think those last two terms contradict each other.

Foie gras has been in the news a lot lately, with California recently overturning a law that banned chefs from putting it on their menus. Carnivores are now rejoicing, but the controversy remains (check out what our colleagues at the LA Weekly have to say about it).

The methods used to achieve the rich creaminess of foie gras dishes are at the heart of the conflict. Foie gras is "the enlarged liver from a goose or duck that has been force-fed and fattened over a period of four to five months. These specially bred fowl are not permitted to exercise -- which, combined with the overeating, creates a huge (up to three pounds), fatty liver." That definition is not from PETA, it's from the New Food Lover's Companion, the Bible for foodies.

So let's say you're craving foie, but your conscience simply won't allow it. Tree House (3177 South Grand Boulevard; 314-696-2100) has got you covered.

See also: 10 Best Spots for Vegetarian Food in St. Louis

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Missouri Bar & Grille is Closed (...for Good?) [UPDATE]

Categories: Food News

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Trifon Panopoulos' downtown institution. | Jessica Lussenhop

Updated with a response from owner Zeta Zavradinos.

On a blustery Monday afternoon in downtown St. Louis, Robert Kennedy stood outside of Missouri Bar & Grille (701 North Tucker Boulevard; 314-231-2234), holding a plastic bag of snacks and waiting to find out if he still has a job.

"Everything is in limbo," said the veteran chef, who's been with Mo Bar for the past 29 years. "Sometimes they open at 3, sometimes 8. Sometimes they don't open at all."

The bar -- once the chosen watering hole for St. Louis royalty like Ozzie Smith, Chuck Berry and Leon Spinks -- has fallen on hard times since the 2013 death of its beloved owner, Trifon Panopoulos. Yesterday was rumored to be the bar's last in business. No one answered the phone, and everything was dark inside at 5 p.m. on Monday, when Kennedy's shift normally begins. He planned to return at 8 p.m. and check again.

By 7 p.m., not even bartender of 32 years Athina Miller knew what was going on. She was trying to reach Trifon's daughter, Zeta Zavradinos, who took the helm of the business after her father's death eighteen months ago.

"I've got the keys. I'm going to go in and find out," Miller told us. She promised to call back.

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Original Red's Barbecue in Ferguson Closes

Categories: Food News

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A protest happening outside of Red's on August 30, 2014. | Bryan Sutter

Red's BBQ (9300 West Florissant) has announced it will not reopen after sustaining damage in the Ferguson protests. The West Florissant mainstay tried to bounce back after protests in August and reopened for a short time. However, following the announcement of the grand jury decision, Red's was looted and burned.

See also: Paul's Market Seeks to Reinvigorate Ferguson

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Local Chefs Extol the Virtues of Broth: A Bone-a Fide Nutrition Trend

Categories: Food News

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Broth is the new superfood. | Peter Smith via Flickr

Step into a professional, from-scratch kitchen, and you're likely to encounter a large, bone- and water-filled pot slowly bubbling like a witch's cauldron. The product of this enterprise -- broth -- will go on to become a number of things: a hearty soup, a rich sauce or the base for any number of dishes. However, recent talk of its nutrient-rich properties has turned this once-humble liquid into a bona fide food trend.

See Also: A Look Inside Bolyard's Meat & Provisions, A New Butcher Shop in Maplewood

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Juniper Hires Cassy Vires as New Head Chef

Categories: Food News

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Cassy Vires, right. | Jennifer Silverberg

Big news from the acclaimed Juniper (360 North Boyle Avenue; 314-329-7696) in the Central West End this afternoon. In his newsletter, chef and owner John Perkins made an exciting announcement.

"Cassy Vires, the owner and head chef of the much loved Maplewood restaurant Home Wine Kitchen, will be joining Juniper at the beginning of the year as our head chef," he writes. "I am excited to work with Cassy as we continue to tell stories through our food, drinks and service."

This is a welcome announcement after the disappointing news that Vires is shuttering her beloved Maplewood eatery Home Wine Kitchen (7322 Manchester Road, Maplewood; 314-802-7676) -- the last day of service is tomorrow.

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Sneak Peek Inside United Provisions, Delmar Loop's New Grocery and Dining Complex

Categories: Food News

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United Provisions readies for opening. | Jessica Lussenhop

Gut Check took a moment to walk through United Provisions (6241 Delmar Boulevard, University City), the new market and dining complex on the ground floor of Washington University's swank new dorms in the Delmar Loop this morning. It was nothing if not impressive in both its scale and the breadth of its offerings.

Stockers were filling shelves as construction workers hurried to put the finishing touches on the building. We even caught James Beard-nominated chef Ben Poremba and Naomi Hamamura puzzling through a tuna crudo dish together behind the sushi bar. Here's a quick photo sneak peek.

See also: Ben Poremba's Old Standard and the Dining District Take Shape

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Nosh Pit at LouFest Features Delicious Snacks from St. Louis' Finest

Categories: Food News

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Happy customers at last year's Nosh Pit. | Theo Welling

We're super excited for LouFest (hello, Outkast!), but of course we can't forget about the food. Contrary to the usual festival food, LouFest actually has eats from some of the best restaurants in St. Louis. Check out the full lineup after the jump.

See also: In the Nosh Pit at LouFest 2013

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Indigogo Campaign Aims to Double Food-Stamp Buying Power at Local Farmers' Markets

Categories: Food News

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Laura Caldie

Everyone knows that food stamps (known now as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or SNAP) provides monetary assistance to low-income individuals and families to buy groceries. But not everyone may realize that there are now six farmers' markets in St. Louis that accept SNAP cards.

There's just one problem -- not a lot of SNAP dollars are spent there. Junk food often costs considerably less, while small, local farms are labor intensive and, thus, charge more than the average supermarket chain for similar items.

Brian DeSmet, manager of the Schlafly Farmers Market, wants to change that. But he needs the public's help.

See also: The Living Room and Art House Coffees to Take Over Black Cat Theatre

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Venice Cafe Closed Indefinitely After Burglary [UPDATE]

Categories: Food News

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Google Street View

Update: Venice Cafe posts another message online about plans to reopen on Monday, July 14.

According to a post on the bar and venue's Facebook page, Venice Cafe (1903 Pestalozzi Street; 314-772-5994) is closed indefinitely following a burglary.

The St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department confirms that the owner reported a computer missing and the safe emptied.

See also: Monte Bello Pizza Closed Due to Plumbing Issues

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What Do St. Louis Restaurant Workers Really Make?

Categories: Food News

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Olle Svensson

Recently, we here at Gut Check found ourselves pondering a simple question: How much do restaurant workers in St. Louis really make?

Just about everyone seems to agree that the St. Louis restaurant scene is booming, and surely that has made a handful of restaurateurs and chefs some very decent money. But what about the people behind the scenes?

We wanted to know how much servers, bussers, sous chefs, prep cooks and others around town earn. We took a highly unscientific survey of people we know in the industry and the people they know, and compiled a short list of some of the real wages of real restaurant workers in St. Louis.

See also: St. Louis Pastor Asks Why Server Deserves Bigger Tip Than God on Receipt

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