The Burnt Ends at The Shaved Duck Are No. 1 in the Nation, New Book Says

Categories: Meat, Media

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Photo courtesy of Flickr/Stu Spivack
Burnt ends are a classic barbecue dish -- albeit one associated with Kansas City.

Johnny Fugitt didn't take any shortcuts while researching his new book about barbecue. Over the course of a year, the Branson, Missouri, native drove 31,000 miles and visited no less than 365 barbecue joints -- and tried every last one.

With the release of his new book, The 100 Best Barbecue Restaurants in America, Fugitt doesn't just name names. He ranks the restaurants he visited -- crafting a list of both the top 100 and the top 10 in numerous categories.

And while St. Louis didn't take the No. 1 spot overall (that honor went to Kerlin BBQ in Austin, Texas), the city did very well indeed. Bogart's ranked No. 12 in the nation, with The Shaved Duck, Pappy's, Vernon's, The Capitalist Pig, Hendrick's and Salt + Smoke all placing in the top 100.

The Shaved Duck took home another cool prize: It won top honors for its burnt ends.

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Gerard Craft Finally Just Won a James Beard Award. So What Took So Long, Anyway?

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Photo by Jennifer Silverberg
Gerard Craft
Apparently six is Gerard Craft's lucky number.

The acclaimed chef and head of Niche Restaurant Group (whose properties include Niche, Taste, Brasserie and Pastaria) was named Best Chef Midwest by the James Beard Foundation at its annual awards gala tonight in Chicago. This was Craft's sixth nomination and first win.

He has been jokingly referred to as the "Susan Lucci of the James Beard Awards," which gives some idea of just how long the recognition has been in coming. Speak with Craft, and he will say that it's an honor just to be nominated, and that the field is filled with great talent. But there's no question that he was long overdue to win.

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Simone Faure on Competing on Spring Baking Championship

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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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Gerard Craft Talks His Sixth James Beard Foundation Award Nomination

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Gerard Craft at Niche. | Jennifer Silverberg

The James Beard Foundation Award finalists were announced last week, and out of several St. Louis semifinalists, only one will make it to Chicago this year: Gerard Craft. That should be no surprise -- it's his sixth nomination. We talked to Craft about what that means for him, his team and whether he thinks he's the Susan Lucci of the James Beard Awards.

See also: Nashan, Heath, Poremba and More Named James Beard Foundation Award Semifinalists

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The Precinct Makes USA Today's List of America's Spiciest Eating Challenges

Categories: Media

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Billy Sukoski takes the Hot Pursuit Challenge (after signing a waver). | Jennifer Silverberg

St. Louis has its fair share of eating challenges -- one Gut Checker attempted to best them all -- but the Hot Pursuit Challenge at the Precinct (1900 Locust Avenue; 314-588-8899) is definitely one of the spiciest. USA Today named it on its list of the spiciest eating challenges in America.

See also: The Precinct Launches Revamped Menu

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Why Sweetie Pie's Robbie Montgomery Didn't Want Her Son Protesting in Ferguson

Categories: Media

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Robbie Montgomery on an upcoming episode of Welcome to Sweetie Pie's. | OWN

Sweetie Pie's (4270 Manchester Avenue; 314-371-0304) was a neighborhood institution even before it got a reality show, Welcome to Sweetie Pie's, in 2011. Although a Ferguson location was eventually shuttered, the restaurant still has an interest in the community. In an upcoming episode, owner Robbie Montgomery deals with her son and business partner, Tim Norman, who protested in Ferguson last August.

See also: The 9 Best Southern Restaurants in St. Louis

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Anheuser-Busch Is Helping Frank Underwood Control the White House in "House of Cards"

Categories: Beer, Media

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Sneaky, guys. | Netflix

OK, sort of. If you've been watching the latest season of House of Cards on Netflix, which came out last Friday, you may have noticed a few choice Anheuser-Busch products. A-B InBev has signed a deal with Netflix, making it the "exclusive beer marketer" on the award-winning drama.

See also: House of Cards Producers Tap Local Firm to Film Scenes of Downtown St. Louis for Season 2

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Help Budweiser Find Its Lost Puppy for the Super Bowl

Categories: Beer, Media

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Help this handsome rancher and his majestic horse! | YouTube screenshot

Anheuser-Busch announced a few weeks ago that the iconic Clydesdales would be returning for Budweiser's 2015 Super Bowl ad. Last year, the commercial depicted a very cute friendship between horse and puppy, which will be back come game day. But alas, said puppy is "missing." We must find it.

See also: Anheuser-Busch is Keeping the Clydesdales for Super Bowl Commercial

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Gooey Butter Cake Represents Missouri in the New York Times' 50 States of Thanksgiving

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Gooey butter cake from Ann and Allen. | Crystal Rolfe

Ahead of Thanksgiving, the New York Times has put together a list of dishes from every state, plus Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. We don't usually think of this as a Thanksgiving food, but gooey butter cake represents Missouri, and we couldn't be more proud.

See also: Chef's Choice Recipe: Marilyn Scull's (Mom's) Gooey Butter Cake

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Thrillist Names Pastaria the Best Pizza in Missouri

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"Roman" pizza at Pastaria, with tomato, garlic, bacon, mozzarella, pecorino and chiles. | Jennifer Silverberg

Thrillist, a national food, drink and travel site which has given much love to St. Louis restaurants in the past, just put out a list of the top pizza place in each state. And nope, it didn't pick Imo's. Gerard Craft's Pastaria (7734 Forsyth Boulevard, Clayton; 314-862-6603) got the nod for the Show-Me State.

See also: At Pastaria in Clayton, Gerard Craft and crew use their noodles

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