Gut Check continues to roll out new features. I previewed two of them last week. In this week's column, a sneak peek at three more.
First is Chef's Choice, in which regular Gut Check contributor Robin Wheeler profiles a St. Louis chef while he or she prepares a favorite recipe. In this excerpt Wheeler visits Mary Harden, the pastry chef at the Chesterfield pan-Latin restaurant Wapango:
"Even now, Harden still derives the therapeutic buzz hardcore bread-makers get from managing dough. 'It gives me time to think,' she said as she cut four-pound chunks from the morning's mountain, kneaded them into smooth rounds, wrapped them in plastic and caressed them. Who can blame her? The sleek orbs radiated the warmth of the growing yeast trapped in the plastic. It's irresistible."
Chef's Choice also includes a recipe or two: Harden's cinnamon rolls topped with caramel sauce or, the previous week, fried rabbit livers from Jerad Garden of the Grafton, Illinois, restaurant the Rotten Apple.
Josh Bacott writes Stuck to My Ribs, a celebration of the high-calorie meals that St. Louisans love so much:
"I put in a solid 35- to 40-hour work week, eat reasonably healthy the majority of the time and stumble into some exercise on occasion. In return, my body sees to it that certain meals just won't count toward my general health. Call it a gentlemen's agreement. The internal accountant who crunches caloric intake with every bite discreetly looks the other way when I find myself face-to-face with one of the many worthy blue-collar meals that St. Louis has to offer."
In the Sweet Scout, Adrienne Jones explores the decadent world of desserts and treats:
"How is it, you ask, that someone who loves dessert as much as I do hasn't wrapped her wanton lips around something as universally loved as crème brûlée? Honestly, the opportunity has only arisen once, and having been denied the chance to try it then — the kitchen was closed (d'oh!) — I became obsessed with the very idea of crème brûlée. What is it? Where can I get it? Is it as high-falutin' as it sounds?"
Not enough food and drink writing for you? This week, Gut Check introduces a beer-centric column. And in October, Gut Check will host the return of one of Riverfront Times' most popular columns, Drink of the Week.
Are you opening a new restaurant? Know of a place that has closed? Something else for Ian to chew on? E-mail ian.froeb@riverfronttimes .com. And check out this column's virtual doppelganger here.