Sound Bites | St. Louis Public Radio

Sound Bites

Mission Taco Joint's curbside margarita program is back on track after Missouri's government suspended laws preventing local restaurants from selling pre-batched cocktails.
Mission Taco Joint

Pre-batched drinks have long been a low-key strategy used by bartenders to serve patrons sophisticated drinks quickly. Made ahead of time, they allow bartenders to mix perfect proportions, shake them to the perfect temperature and serve them efficiently. 

With the coronavirus pandemic shuttering the restaurant industry, though, pre-batching isn’t simply a shortcut — it’s a necessity. In mid-April, the Missouri Division of Alcohol and Tobacco Control began allowing local restaurants to sell pre-mixed cocktails, so long as they’re in a sealed container and accompanied by a food purchase. The relaxed rules that permit curbside cocktails are in effect through May 15.

A St. Paul sandwich at Chinese Express in Richmond Heights.
Julia Calleo | Sauce Magazine

St. Louis has an abundance of unique culinary creations that locals don’t care to convince outsiders to embrace: If newbies don’t like this stuff, it just means more for the rest of us. We’ll happily keep our fried ravioli, Provel cheese to ourselves, along with gooey butter cake’s havoc on the arteries. 

But one creation that really perplexes the masses is the St. Paul sandwich: It’s an egg patty topped with lettuce, tomato and pickles, and held together by white bread smothered in mayo. Regional eaters can now find variations of the sandwich that include pork belly, ham or shrimp. 

Taste offers a variety of cocktails and snacks in the Central West End.
Izaiah Johnson | Sauce Magazine

When you’re out on the town, it can be fun to try a couple of different spots. What isn’t fun, though, is driving from one spot to another, or having to seek out parking in one packed neighborhood after another. 

Fortunately, our friends at Sauce Magazine have addressed this problem in their most recent issue. They’ve outlined a three-stop nightlife tour in eight St. Louis-area neighborhoods in their “Night Moves” feature. 

Meera Nagarajan, art director of Sauce, and Heather Hughes Huff, Sauce’s managing editor, joined host Sarah Fenske on Monday’s St. Louis on the Air to explore the highlights the region has to offer for date nights. 

Michael Turley is the fourth generation to operate his family's dairy farm.
File photo | Virginia Harold | Sauce Magazine

Michael Turley wasn’t always a farmer. In fact, before he started managing the 120 Holstein cows on his family’s dairy farm in Greenville, Illinois, he was managing workers at the St. Louis communications and marketing firm Osborn Barr as its CEO.

Turley joined Tuesday’s  St. Louis on the Air, along with Sauce managing editor Catherine Klene, to talk about his journey for this month’s Sound Bites segment. They also discussed innovation in the farming industry and how farms are adapting their business plans to stay relevant to consumers. 

Sauce Magazine founder and publisher Allyson Mace.
R.J. Hartbeck

Each month, staffers at Sauce Magazine join our program for a regular Sound Bites segment that showcases the area’s latest food trends and highlights local chefs, farmers, restaurateurs and more. But during Friday’s show, the topic wasn’t just the people and places covered within the magazine. It was the publication itself.

On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Sarah Fenske delved into the history of Sauce, which first launched as a website in 1999. Twenty years later, Sauce Magazine is still going strong. A huge reason is publisher Allyson Mace, who remains with the publication to this day. 

Lisa Haddon (at left) is a server at Trattoria Marcella, and Peggy Conley is a bartender at Sidney Street Café. Both joined Thursday's talk show alongside Sauce Magazine staff writer Matt Sorrell.
Greg Rannells | Sauce Magazine

For many, restaurant work is a temporary gig to make money in college or pick up shifts as a bartender between periods of more permanent employment. But among restaurant veterans, service industry jobs are a profession. And they often bring all the opportunities for accomplishment — and financial benefits — of jobs thought of as more prestigious. 

Sauce Magazine’s latest issue features local career servers at some of St. Louis’ oldest establishments, like Tony’s and Sidney Street Cafe. On Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Sarah Fenske talked with two of themabout why they love what they do, how they’ve made a living in a job so dependent on gratuity and why the job is something for others to consider. 

Kayla Doughty assists guests at ramen x rui, the pop-up Steven Pursely hosts at his apartment.
Greg Rannells | Sauce Magazine

The underground pop-up restaurant scene is growing, and St. Louis is no exception. Pop-ups are a way for amateur chefs to experiment with selling their cuisine without the commitment of daily catering and operating from a brick-and-mortar shop. They also help talented newcomers build a following and give diners a chance to taste the latest and greatest.

They are set up in the kitchens of established restaurants, held in private homes and can even be found on a downtown roof. Established local chefs like Gerard Craft, Michael Gallina and Mike Randolph host pop-ups around a new opening or to scratch a creative itch, while others like Logan Ely use them to test a market and figure out how to run a business. 

Styling by Joy Wiedner of Sauce Magazine.
Ashley Gieseking | Sauce Magazine

St. Louis on the Air’s latest Sound Bites segment with Sauce Magazine explored how salads are indeed culinary staples that can withstand the vegan trends of 2019 and beyond. 

On Friday’s program, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jeremy D. Goodwin talked about how the magazine compiled its list of the 12 best salads foodies should try in the St. Louis area with Sauce’s art director, Meera Nagarajan, and Kevin Willmann, chef and owner of Farmhaus Restaurant

“Research like this tends to be fun in the beginning because like, we’ve done a pizza story for example [and] you feel pretty bad after doing research for a full-on pizza story, but for the salad story you feel super healthy – like a beacon of health,” Nagarajan said. 

Sugarfire Smoke House is the 2019 readers' choice winner of best restaurant and best barbecue.
Jonathan Gayman | Sauce Magazine

Every year, Sauce Magazine puts its critiques of local bars and eateries to the side and lets readers decide which restaurants and chefs deserve the spotlight.

This year, Sugarfire Smoke House won three Readers’ Choice awards: Favorite Restaurant, Favorite Barbecue and Chef of the Year – which went to Matt Glickert, catering and events chef for Sugarfire 44 in Valley Park, Missouri.

Nicola Macpherson owns and operates Ozark Forest Mushrooms.
Virginia Harold | Sauce Magazine

Ever think about where local restaurants get their mushrooms to serve with their delicious meals? Probably not. But this month’s Sound Bites segment with Sauce Magazine features Nicola Macpherson of Ozark Forest Mushrooms.

She’s an immigrant from the UK who runs a mushroom farm and supplies many of the restaurants in the St. Louis area with mushrooms. On Monday’s St. Louis on the Air, Macpherson and Sauce's managing editor Catherine Klene joined guest host Sharon Stevens to expand on how people get their start in mushroom farming and what all goes into it.  

The Total Organics Recycling compost site.
Virginia Harold | Sauce Magazine

Consumers are becoming more aware of the negative effects mass consumption has on the environment. Many are calling for more ethical fashion, eating less meat and raising awareness about what happens to food that doesn’t make it on the shelves, or onto a plate. The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports that 30 to 40% of the U.S. food supply is wasted.

Composting and combating food waste are the subjects of this month's Sound Bites segment with Sauce Magazine. On Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air, Sauce managing editor Heather Hughes and Total Organics Recycling marketing coordinator Sara Koziatek joined guest host Sharon Stevens to explain what composting is, how it helps the environment and how some local restaurants are making it a priority to keep food scraps out of landfills.

Bottles of homebrews at an STL Hops meeting.
Adam Rothbarth | Sauce Magazine

It’s no secret that St. Louisans love their beer, so much so that some take the matter into their own hands with no intention of ever going pro. Homebrewing is the subject of this month’s Sound Bites segment with Sauce Magazine. The publication’s new Guide to Beer features several local homebrew clubs that meet monthly to swap brews, recipes and critique each other’s creations. 

On Monday’s St. Louis on the Air, producer Lara Hamdan talked with local homebrewers Suzie Emiliozzi, president of The OG: Women’s Craft Beer Collective, and Troy Meier, president of the STL Hops Homebrew Club. Sauce managing editor Catherine Klene also participated in the discussion. 

Greg Rannells

St. Louis on the Air’s latest Sound Bites segment with Sauce Magazine explored how local chocolatiers create confections ranging from truffles and sauces to classic chocolate bars – and what makes them different from mass-produced chocolates from companies such as Mars and Hershey’s.

On Thursday’s program, host Don Marsh talked with Sauce Magazine managing editor Catherine Klene and Brian Pelletier, chief chocolatier and owner of Kakao Chocolate.

It’s one thing to make chocolate, but another to whip it up as a delicacy.

Dakota Williams (at left) and Evy Swoboda, both in their 20s, have each made their mark on the St. Louis restaurant scene.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Twenty-four-year-old Dakota Williams has quickly worked his way up to a sought-after position – executive sous chef – at one of St. Louis’ top-notch restaurants. But the primary reason Williams gives for his choice of career isn’t all that sophisticated.

“I’m constantly hungry, so I knew when I was younger that I would have to find a job that I could eat at, because when I get angry it’s all because of hunger,” the Sardella standout told St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh in a conversation that aired Monday. “And everybody knows that at work, so they just know to feed me.”

One of seven young professionals selected by Sauce magazine as this year’s “Ones to Watch,” Williams shared his journey from starting out at McDonald’s to working with celebrated restaurateur Gerard Craft. Fellow up-and-comer and Niche Food Group colleague Evy Swobody also joined the discussion, as did Sauce managing editor Heather Hughes.

(from left) Heather Hughes, Ekkachai Danwanichakul, and Chelsie Hellige joined Thursday's St. Louis on the Air to discuss Spirit House.

Having grown up in Thailand, Ekkachai Danwanichakul does not want to settle for anything less than truly traditional Thai food in his current home of St. Louis. But the goal of authenticity has turned out to be a lofty one.

David Bohlen, owner of Bohlen Family Farms, with his brother Mark in the background.
Carmen Troesser

St. Louis-area restaurants and consumers are becoming more interested in knowing where their food is coming from. And, they are discovering the benefits of working closely with local farmers: fresh, locally sourced food, exposure to rare foods such as heirloom corn, Chinese broccoli and radicchio, and supporting family businesses.

But starting these kinds of farms is no small feat. St. Louis on the Air’s latest Sound Bites segment with Sauce Magazine explored the new generation of farmers in St. Louis and how they work with area chefs.

The Parlor's Cup at Parlor, a bar located in the Grove neighborhood, is just one offering among a growing trend of low-to-no-ABV cocktails.
Carmen Troesser | Sauce Magazine

An evening of merriment, fun and flavor doesn’t have to involve alcohol – that’s an oft-repeated and frequently doubted notion. But it’s a growing mantra even among some bartenders and drink-industry enthusiasts, and it needn’t be a buzz kill.

Plus, for people trying to drink less – or not at all – it’s a welcome trend that can make the idea of going out socially much more appealing.

“It’s so valuable to remove that social element of not drinking,” said Heather Hughes, managing editor of Sauce Magazine. “If you’re trying not to drink for whatever reason – if you think you may have a problem or if you are pregnant – it’s a huge issue of concern to go out with people.”

Lomo Soltado is a Peruvian beef tenderloin stir fry available at Mango Peruvian Cuisine in downtown St. Louis.
Carmen Troesser | Sauce Magazine

“[Peru has] an incredibly diverse cuisine, and not just because of the geography of the region, but also because of the immigrant culture and colonization history that Peru has,” Catherine Klene said on Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air. “It’s a really excellent mix of flavors and cuisines.”

From Incan staples like corn and ancient grains to varieties of peppers and potatoes, Peruvian food has been also influenced by regions including Europe, Asia and Africa, according to Klene, the digital managing editor at Sauce Magazine.

Left, Matt Sorrell, David Sandusky and Otis Walker ignite a conversation about barbecue with host Don Marsh on Monday’s “St. Louis on the Air.”
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis on the Air

For the backyard barbecuer ready to light up the grill for the Fourth of July, there’s no need to stress about which method or recipe is best.

“You can have a guy driving a Corvette, and another guy out here driving a Mustang, but if you can’t drive, it doesn’t make no difference,” Otis Walker said making an analogy for various barbecuing methods on Monday’s St. Louis on the Air.

Lona Luo, originally from rural China, joined “St. Louis on the Air” host Don Marsh and Sauce Magazine’s Matt Sorrell for a conversation about the success of her restaurant, Lona’s Lil Eats.
Virginia Harold | Sauce Magazine

Two key ingredients make up Lona Luo’s philosophy at her popular Chinese eatery in St. Louis’ Fox Park neighborhood: great food and excellent service.

The Lona’s Lil Eats chef suspects that both had something to do with her being named a James Beard Award semifinalist earlier this year.

“That’s what they are looking for all the time, no matter what, no matter where,” Luo said of the recent recognition during a conversation this week on St. Louis on the Air.

Gibron Jones founded HOSCO eight years ago to help provide training, education and expand urban farming food operations.
Ashley Gieseking | Sauce Magazine

On Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh talked about urban agriculture and food justice in the St. Louis region for our monthly Sound Bites segment in partnership with Sauce Magazine.

Sauce Magazine managing editor Catherine Klene, HOSCO Foods founder Gibron Jones and Missouri Coalition for the Environment farm and food director Melissa Vatterott joined the discussion to talk about urban farming in St. Louis.

Madalyn Painter Talla started a Thanksgiving Day tradition with her family where she cooks biryani, a time intensive rice dish.
Madalyn Painter Talla | St. Louis Public Radio

India is one of the most populated and diverse countries – and some of its nuances are reflected in its cuisine.

Joining host Don Marsh to discuss the diverse flavors, styles and recipes of Indian cuisine was Sauce Magazine’s art director, Meera Nagarajan, and her mother Revathy Nagarajan. They focused on the food varieties in north and south India and dispelled common misconceptions about the cuisine. They stressed that curry is not only a spice, but rather a number of dishes, and that not all Indian food is spicy.

Culinary professionals Alex Feick (at left) and Josh Charles (center) joined Sauce Magazine editor Catherine Klene to talk about how they manage demanding careers alongside parenthood and other aspects of their lives.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Like many new parents, Josh Charles sensed that a major switch had been flipped the moment his baby was born 11 months ago. He knew right away that the days ahead would look different for him, professionally speaking, than the previous decade he’d spent cooking in fine-dining kitchens.

“The typical restaurant hours were just something that I could not do anymore,” the chef said this week on St. Louis on the Air. “I had been used to working Tuesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. at minimum, and I just knew that being locked into that restaurant wasn’t going to be cohesive for the hours that I needed to be there for my family.”

Shrimp from Peppe’s Apt. 2 restaurant.
Carmen Troesser | Sauce Magazine

In our monthly Sound Bites segment in partnership with Sauce Magazine, St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh discussed tips for where to dine on Valentine's Day as well as what home cooks can do. Joining him for the discussion were Sauce Magazine’s managing editor Heather Hughes and art director Meera Nagarajan.

Michelle Volansky | Sauce Magazine

The Sound Bites team at Sauce Magazine is always ready to help you plan your nights out at St. Louis restaurants – this time it’s for the month of February.

Chefs Bryan Russo (left) and Evy Swoboda (right)
Carmen Troesser

On this month’s Sound Bites segment produced in partnership with Sauce Magazine, managing editor Catherine Klene  gave an overview of the six up-and-comers the publication chose for its annual "Ones to Watch" feature.  The article highlights local culinary talent to watch in 2018.

On Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh talked to Klene and featured chefs Bryan Russo and Evy Swoboda.

Food from Squatter’s Cafe
Michelle Volansky | Sauce Magazine

The Sound Bites team at Sauce Magazine kicked off the New Year with their top picks for the best St. Louis restaurants to visit during the month of January.

On Thursday, Sauce Magazine managing editors Catherine Klene and Heather Hughes and art director Meera Nagarajan joined St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh to discuss new venues the editors recommend visiting.

You can find full descriptions here, but here are the spots they recommend:

Pizza Head was the no. 9 choice on Sauce Magazine's best 12 new local restaurants  of 2017.
Sauce Magazine

With the year coming to an end, Sauce Magazine has selected the best 12 new local restaurants of 2017.

Joining host Don Marsh on Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air for our monthly Sound Bites segment were Sauce Magazine’s managing editors Heather Hughes and Catherine Klene and art director Meera Nagarajan.

Sauce Magazine is out with their 2017 Guide to the Holidays.
(Courtesy: Sauce Magazine)

Thanksgiving Day is one of the biggest days of the year for cooking and entertaining. Our friends at Sauce Magazine are back for our monthly edition of Sound Bites and have tips for cooking, hosting and attending events this Thursday.

Food trucks usually stop at businesses and other locations throughout the St. Louis area. Many operators are hoping a more permanent location will help create more stable business.
Frankly Sausages | Facebook

The effort to establish a regular spot for many of St. Louis' food trucks is back in the search phase. Supporters are looking for another potential location after a deal announced last year involving property on south Vandeventer Avenue fell through. They have been meeting to examine options, with the goal of having a new spot selected by spring.