Grab you tickets to Mary Bird Perkins' The Taste!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Who make the best American whiskey? - Whisk(e)y Wednesday presented by Lock & Key

Thomas H. Handy Sazerac Rye Whiskey
Thomas H. Handy Sazerac Rye Whiskey
Last week I wrote about the best single malt whisky in the world for 2015 according to Whisky Magazine's World Whiskies Awards. For this week's Whisk(e)y Wednesday posted, presented by Baton Rouge's Lock & Key Whiskey Bar, I wanted to reveal the results of the American Whiskey category.

For starters, the Balcones Texas Single Malt represented America in the single malt category. The Son of Liberty Seasonal Hop Flavored Whiskey also too the American spot in the flavored whiskey category.

For Best American Whiskey, the categories are best bourbon, best non-bourbon, best rye, and best wheat whiskey. The Pappy Van Winkle's Family Reserve 20 Year won best bourbon, proving that their hype isn't solely based on supply and demand. The Mellow Corn Kentucky Straight Corn whiskey won for best non-bourbon. The Thomas H. Handy Sazerac Straight Rye Whiskey took the prize in the rye category while the Parker's Heritage Collection Kentucky Straight Wheat Whiskey won its round. Out of those finalists, the Thomas H. Handy Sazerac Rye took home the best American Whiskey. Congrats to them! Oh, and you can find it at the Lock & Key Whiskey Bar!

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

The end of an era brings a dilemma: Taco n Sabor is closed

by Blair Loup

Taco n Sabor is closed and it sucks.
Taco n Sabor is closed and it sucks.

How many more lives need to be ruined? We literally cannot with the closure of Taco n Sabor.

I think it's important for Baton Rougeans to recognize the culturally diverse and delicious food scene that exists within our large Latin American community.While La Carreta, Superior Grill and Ninfa’s serve a purpose, they don’t come close to offering the incredible flavors that Taco n Sabor did.  

I understand the lusting after free chips and salsa and the enjoyment of multiple high fructose corn syrup laced albeit refreshing margaritas, but the food simply isn't on par with the truly authentic eateries in the city.


Spicy Beef Gordita at the former Taco n Sabor
Spicy Beef Gordita at the former Taco n Sabor


This closure in particular literally hit close to home for Team Bite and Booze. Located near Bite and Booze headquarters, Taco n Sabor served up some of our favorite, authentic Mexican dishes with friendly and quick in-and-out service not to mention a chance for Jay to put some of those high school Spanish classes to good use. Now that it’s closed, we’re feeling the true definition of the word dilemma. Where the f*(& is our new lunch spot?

This news is absolutely devastating. It’s the kind of news that brings us to our knees with our fists in the air while shouting, “Why?!” at the ceiling. Why must dreams be crushed and lives be ruined?

Tacos at Taco n Sabor
Tacos at Taco n Sabor
We did try to reach out to our amigos at Taco n Sabor but have not heard back on why they’ve closed. While we assume it is likely financial reasons, it certainly could be a personal or professional decision.

Regardless of why this tragedy has unfolded on College Drive, I’m upset. Taco n Sabor taught me that beef tongue is one of my top 5 favorite proteins and made me realize my undying love for Joya Grapefruit Soda. I’ll miss all of the business talks and ideas that Jay and I came up with at their bolted down booths. Most of all, I’ll miss the roasted jalapeños because they were especially delicious.

"I’ll miss the way they stuck the tortilla chips up in the beans on my plate, the cold Mexican cokes, and the spicy beef,” says Jay. “It was so convenient and they were good people. This sucks.”

We’ll never forget you Taco n Sabor. RIP.

If anyone else's pain is as real as ours, please feel free to check out some other amazing whole-in-the-wall Latin American restaurants in Baton Rouge to fill the void: Palo Rojo: 7 (now 6) Places to get Your South of the Border Fix in the Red Stick.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Myrna Arroyo: Vino Valedictorian

Myrna Arroyo
Myrna Arroyo
by Blair Loup

Not every rung on the ladder to success is dredged in plight for females. Myrna Arroyo's story is one of passion and determination. I know what it sounds like, but this is not a triumphant sports tale.

Myrna is a wearer of many hats: lawyer, former wine shop owner, public relations guru, luxury travel advisor, and certified sommelier. She can trace her love for wine back to one particular sip. A celebratory Bordeaux was left behind in her law firm’s boardroom years ago. That glass of Bordeaux gave Myrna a wine wake up call. It’s a taste she kept chasing with wine tastings and trips to popular wine destinations. Then, after she and her husband took a trip to Barolo, Italy, Myrna decided to become a certified sommelier.

Almost all who attempt to become a certified sommelier come from the service industry or alcohol industry. Myrna was chasing the goal on fumes of interest alone. She admits that she was relatively clueless about the process at first. It took hours of wine tastings in New Orleans and submerging herself into the culture surrounding the grape with wine dinners, small group tastings with others in the program, and classroom-style learning about different regions of wine.

All of her hard work paid off. Shortly after receiving her certification, Myrna opened a wine shop in Prairieville called Roux Wine and Spirits. Although that wine shop has closed, she still finds herself picking out fine wines for some of her former customers. “I really enjoy helping people discover wine, it’s as simple as that!” Myrna has goals of opening a wine bar in the future featuring bottles you can’t find in other establishments nearby. In the meantime, she owns a luxury travel company called Roux Wine Tours. The company organizes group trips all over the world tasting wine or other types of booze. Her passion for wine and travel work extremely well together as the alcohol tourism industry has really taken off. Myrna has lead trips to Napa, the Rhone River Valley in France, and to Italy. She's also been playing around with trips to Scotland and Kentucky for whisky and bourbon purposes. You can keep up with her adventures by liking Roux Wine Tours on Facebook and checking out her website at www.rouxwinetours.com.

What I admire most about Myrna is her tenacity. She discovered a passion and decided to master it. To set your sites on a goal and drive relentlessly to that achievement takes a strong female; so to that I say cheers to Myrna Arroyo and other women making things happen!



This post is part of a monthly series spotlighting Louisiana women in the business of booze. Previous features include:

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Sac-A-Yay: Chefs Cody and Sam Carroll open a new restaurant in New Orleans

by Blair Loup, Chief Confusion Coordinator

Chefs Cody and Sam Carroll, both graduates of the Louisiana Culinary Institute, opened a new restaurant in the New Orleans Warehouse District last week and Team Bite and Booze could not be more anxious to get through the doors. Sac-A-Lait boasts a menu full of elevated Prairie and Swamp Cajun dishes.

I first met the Louisiana Culinary Institute graduates while tagging along on shoots for the Louisiana Culinary Trails. We filmed at the duo's first restaurant, Hot Tails, in New Roads.




I hope Jay and I can make it to New Orleans soon to dine at their new venture. Once we do, we'll make sure to get you a full review. But to tide me over, I had Sam send over a few pictures of her favorite dishes. You can check out the full menu for Sac-A-Lait by clicking here.

Drunk Pheasant: Whole Bird with Rosemary with thin Canebrake Gravy
Drunk Pheasant: Whole Bird with Rosemary with thin Canebrake Gravy

Low Tide Tower: Hot and Cold Louisiana Seafood
Low Tide Tower: Hot and Cold Louisiana Seafood

Lost Trout: Perdu-Style Speckled Trout, Sweet Corn Calas, and Crawfish Étouffée
Lost Trout: Perdu-Style Speckled Trout, Sweet Corn Calas, and Crawfish Étouffée

Aged Banana Pudding in a Jar: Peanut Butter Mousse and Vanilla Wafer Crumble
Aged Banana Pudding in a Jar: Peanut Butter Mousse and Vanilla Wafer Crumble

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Who makes the world's best single malt whisky? - Whisk(e)y Wednesday presented by Lock & Key

Kavalan Soloist Vinho Barrique Single Cask Strength
Kavalan Soloist Vinho Barrique Single Cask Strength
Every year since 2007 Whisky Magazine releases the World Whiskies Awards to name the top whiskies in the world. They typically have over 300 entries and go through a multiple-round tasting process to determine the elite sips from around the globe. This year's results came as a shock to many people as a single malt cask strength whisky out of Taiwan called Kavalan Soloist Vinho Barrique took home one of the most coveted prizes: the best single malt whisky in the world for 2015!

Traditionally this category had been dominated single malt Scotch, but last year the Tasmanian Sullivan's Cove French Oak Cask Single Malt took home that prize, and now with the top spot moving to Taiwan, the Scots might need to be worried. In order to be named best in the world, a single malt must first be named best in its region, of which there are 13: Africa, Australia, America, Europe, and Asian get their own regions, as do Ireland and Japan. The rest of the options come from the six whisky regions of Scotland: Highlands, Lowlands, Island, Islay, Campbeltown, and Speyside. So with 6 of the 13 finalists and by far the longest traditions of single malt whisky production, it is easy to see why the Scots are usually the favorites for the award.

Kavalan didn't quite come out of nowhere. In 2012 it won new whisky of the year from Whisky Bible and it also won a gold medal from the San Francisco World Spirits competition. Still, the only whisky distillery on the island of Taiwan, the King Car Distillery, got its start in 2005, so to see it claim the spot as the world's best whisky in 2015 is quite an astonishing accomplishment.

The World Whiskies Awards also have categories for American, Blended Malt, Blended, Canadian, Flavored, Grain, and Pot Still whiskies. Perhaps we'll look at some of those, especially the American category, in next week's Whisk(e)y Wednesday post presented by the Lock & Key Whiskey Bar.