Vinnie's Pinwheel Baklava: A Lighter Take on the Traditional Greek Favorite

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.

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The warm and crispy baklava at Vinnie's. | Mabel Suen
If you type the name "George Potsos" into the search bar on YouTube, you'll find one of two things: videos of his band, Honeytribe, or short cooking lessons. The bassist and chef at Vinnie's (3208 Ivanhoe Avenue; 314-664-7007) starred as "Rock'n'Roll Chef" years ago for a friend's project, whipping up some of his favorite dishes and family recipes. The how-to on his mother's baklava video only got a few hundred views, but now anyone can see the authentic Greek sweet up close just by stopping by Vinnie's for lunch or dinner.

"My mom's the best Greek chef that I know, and it's not just because she's my mom," says Potsos. "She grew up in Rhodes, Greece, and is pretty much self-taught -- she's just got the touch."

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Red Fox Baking & Catering's Lemon Tart: A Delicate Pastry Baked In a Wood-Fired Oven

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.

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Red Fox Baking's lemon tart. | Photos by Mabel Suen
Red Fox Baking & Catering got its start working out of the kitchen at Black Bear Bakery, handcrafting hearty breads and flaky pastries to sell at local farmers' markets. After partnering with south-city grocery-cafe concept Grove East Provisions (3101 Arsenal Street) in the spring of 2013, the homegrown bakery carved out its own little corner in south city, building a brick wood-fired oven from scratch that would take the company's baked goods to the next level. Its beautiful lemon tart is no exception.

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Sugarfire Smokehouse's Crack Pie: A Gooey, Buttery Treat Perfect For the Fourth of July

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.

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Sugarfire Smokehouse's "Crack Pie." | Photos by Mabel Suen

Summertime means plenty of must-eat foods in St. Louis, but with the fourth of July fast approaching and the tantalizing smell of barbecue soon to envelop the air, there's one food we look forward to the most on the picnic table: a slice of that good old-fashioned American pie. Luckily, Sugarfire Smokehouse (9200 Olive Boulevard, Olivette; 314-997-5301) provides.

See also: Sugarfire Smokehouse's New '50s-Style Outpost Slinging Barbecue in St. Charles

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Russell's on Macklind's Coconut Cake, A Divine Classic Dessert By the Slice

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.

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The coconut cake at Russell's on Macklind. | Photos by Mabel Suen
Chef Russell Ping of Russell's on Macklind (5400 Murdoch Avenue; 314-553-9994) describes his baking style as "homespun gourmet," perfecting nostalgic, American-style family recipes. His toasted coconut cake, a buttermilk pound cake filled and frosted with lightly sweetened vanilla whipped cream, is a classic example of his unadulterated, divine desserts.

"I believe that there is a certain art to keeping things simple. We use the highest quality ingredients we can find and try to balance flavors. We strive for product that is rich and decadent, but never overly sweet or complicated," says Ping.

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The Kitchen Sink's Sweet Potato Fries: A Taste of Thanksgiving In Each Bite

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.

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The Kitchen Sink's sweet potato fries. | Photos by Mabel Suen
Servers at the Kitchen Sink (255 Union Boulevard; 314-454-1551) will likely forewarn guests who order it: "Have you had our sweet fries before?" The Cajun-themed restaurant's take on the hand-cut fry comes out way different than the traditional plain jane. Coated in a syrupy marshmallow glaze, they encapsulate a Thanksgiving casserole in a convenient finger food that's more suited as a dessert than as a side.

See also: First Look: The Kitchen Sink Debuts Expanded Space and Menu

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Giovanni's Kitchen's Panna Cotta Trio, A Creamy Dessert in Three Different Flavors

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.

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Panna cotta trio with berries, Grand Marnier and Belgian chocolate. | Mabel Suen
Here's how we know the panna cotta dessert at Giovanni's Kitchen (8831 Ladue Road; 314-721-4100) is authentic: Chef Alessando Bozzato got the recipe from a pastry shop in Gorizia, a small town in Northeast Italy, when he was only fifteen.

"I wrote down copies of the recipes, and the owner still doesn't know," he says with a laugh. "And I've been making it for the past thirty years."

See also: First Look: Giovanni's Kitchen

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Crepes Etc.'s Crepe Cake: Layers and Layers of Delicate Flavors

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.

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Tiramisu crepe cake. | Photos by Mabel Suen
It should be no surprise that Crepes Etc. (52 Maryland Plaza; 314-367-220) excels at dessert -- its sweet specialty displays itself prominently in the business' name, after all. Outside of the cafe's made-to-order menu, the French take on the pancake comes readily available at the pastry case in the form of a carefully assembled crepe cake.

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Cafe Ventana's Beignets, an Airy Sugar-Dusted Fritter to Go with a Cup of Joe

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.

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An order of Cafe Ventana's beignets. | Photos by Mabel Suen
Cafe Ventana (3919 West Pine Boulevard; 314-531-7500), a self-proclaimed "bohemian bistro with a French Quarter feel," offers the one pastry that any cafe touting a N'awlins theme ought to: beignets. The hand-cut fritters are brought to life in a bath of hot oil and come with the requisite dusting of fluffy powdered sugar.

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Frida's Deli's Raspberry-Chocolate Avocado Mousse, A Guilt-Free Chilled Treat

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.

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Avocado mousse flavored with raspberry and chocolate. | Mabel Suen
Most desserts serve as guilty pleasures, but not at Frida's Deli (622 North and South Road, 314-727-6500), a healthy-lifestyle restaurant that's both butter free and processed-sugar free. Since opening in July 2012, chef Natasha Kwan has held a firm commitment to offering wholesome, low-glycemic food -- dessert notwithstanding. One particular superfood appears frequently throughout her menu, even in a sweet capacity: Frida's avocado mousse comes out cold in a small bowl, a revitalizing treat to enjoy by the spoonful.

See also: Chef's Choice: Natasha Kwan of Frida's Deli

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India Palace's Gulab Jamun: A Fried Delight with Exotic Spices

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.

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India Palace's gulab jamun. | Mabel Suen
Every culture has its own take on treats made with fried dough. At India Palace (711 Olive Street; 314-621-8533), it's the gulab jamun, described on the menu as "sweetened milk balls." The phrase means "rose berries," named after the dessert's rose-infused syrup and round shape.

See also: First Look: India Palace Downtown


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