Get your tickets now for the inaugural TACOS + TEQUILA!

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Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Tacos + Tequila: Taco 'Bout A Good Time

So, we are doing a thing. A very big thing. On a mission to bring the people of Baton Rouge a good time, Bite & Booze is teaming up with Brickyard South to throw a major party in the Capital City: TACOS + TEQUILA presented by Tequila Avion! The event will take place underneath the I-10 Mississippi River Bridge behind Brickyard South.

There are going to be ten taco vendors and at least seven tequila cocktail vendors, duking it out for the title of “The Best.” Restaurants like Magpie Cafe, The Overpass Merchant and Mestizo’s will be slinging some majorly creative tacos that we can’t wait to see. There will also be a few restaurants going the traditional route like Cocha and Mr. Taco. We are inviting judges from all over the country to see the best of the best talent here in BR. People like Rue Rusike and Cory Bahr from Food Network Star, Daniel Schumaker, the editor of Louisiana Cookin’ Magazine are all coming to the capital city this Friday.

Once the judging is over, attendees will have the chance to walk around from 7pm-10pm and sample and vote for their favorite chef-driven tacos featuring Hola Nola Foods tortillas and hand-crafted Tequila Avion cocktails while enjoying live music and other fun! That’s all the tacos you can eat and all the tequila you can drink people. Taco bout a good time!

So, what are you waiting for? Grab you tickets now and come hang out with us on Friday. We will see you there!

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Wakey Whisk(e)y: Laphroaig Cairdeas Quarter Cask

by Eric Ducote

Good morning everyone, and welcome to another beautiful gameday edition of #wakeywhiskey! This round I'll be getting into some scotch courtesy of the good people at Laphroaig. Usually I try to find a connection between the occasion and the whisk(e)y I choose to sip on in the morning, but LSU is playing at Mississippi State and I don't have any spirits from Mississippi in the collection. Honestly, I don't even know if there are any legal distilleries in the state. With that being said, Jay was generous enough to share a sample from Laphroaig with me, and of course I saved some for gameday morning.

Laphroaig's distillery was founded over 200 years ago in 1815 on the island of Islay in Scotland. Islay is known for peaty whiskys overall, although not all Islay whiskys are heavily peated. It's a small island with just over 3,000 residents, but they boast 8 distilleries (with more on the way) and even one brewery, Islay Ales! Laphroaig is situated on the southern coast of the island, about a mile from the Lagavulin distillery, which is less than a mile from the Ardbeg distillery... and those are just three. That's it, I'm putting Islay on my bucket list.

This particular sample from Laphroaig is their Cairdeas 2017 Cask Strength Quarter Cask Edition, clocking in at a robust 57.2% abv. At first I thought that Cairdeas must be some sort of wine that contributed their barrels to this aging, but upon further investigation I learned that Cairdeas is the Gaelic word for "friendship" and this is a special release for the Friends of Laphroaig members. See, you're never too old to learn something new! The whisky is actually aged in first-use bourbon barrels for 5+ years and then finished off for 6 months in American oak quarter casks prior to bottling at cask strength with only simple barrier filtration. Alright then, let's get into it!

My first thought on the nose is that this is a crazy smokey scotch, with a touch of peat and bit of honey sweetness. The flavors are all bold and powerful, and there's an unmistakable burn from the alcohol content, but not as much as I would expect from a 114.4 proof spirit. The taste is the same, with a lot of smoke and char, a little bit of peat, and followed by some more subtle sweet tones of honey and vanilla and a bit of a mineral water finish. After giving it a try neat I added an ice sphere to finish out the pour and that really helped the flavors mellow out and blend together without losing the essence of the spirit. The smokey notes still shine but more of the sweetness and oak character break through.

Overall, a fantastic pour, and it even further cements my desire to spend a few days touring the island of Islay. Now, as I recover from this powerful scotch, it's gameday! Geaux Tigers!

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Louisiana Wine Month: Landry Vineyards

by Paige Johannessen

In honor of Louisiana Wine Month I wanted to reflect and share about the wonderful experience I had visiting Landry Vineyards. A few weeks ago, Jay and I headed out to West Monroe for the grape stomp and concert at the Louisiana winery and to celebrate the new vintage of Jay D’s Blanc Du Bois being bottled and ready for release.

En route, we needed a brief stop for lunch and found ourselves at The Camp in Natchez, MS. This cool waterfront restaurant is an obvious favorite with the locals. On a beautiful Saturday afternoon people were congregating on the patio and stopping in for a cold one after a morning run or bike ride along the water. Two burgers and a cold beer later, we were prepared to make the rest of our journey to the rolling hills of West Monroe.

The Slow Burn: pepper jack, bacon, jalapenos, Cajun haystack onions, Slow Burn sauce

Upon arrival, I literally felt as though I had been transported out of Louisiana and dropped somewhere in Texas Hill Country. Lush green pastures and elevation that towered higher than the Indian Mounds on LSU’s could this be?

As we pulled in, Jay pointed out Jeff Landry, the owner of the vineyard, manicuring the area around the stage in preparation for his guests to arrive. Drenched in sweat and covered in dirt, this man was obviously not afraid to get his hands dirty. After having a few days to sit and visit with Jeff and his family, it is apparent that hard work and belief in Louisiana agriculture is what has propelled this vineyard to the success they are seeing today. They truly care about the land, value a hard day's work and their product speaks to all of those truths.

Jeff, Libby and their four sons; Ethan, Kohen, Noah and Micah are the backbone of the business and have continued to grow thanks to the great support of friends in the Monroe area. The first vineyard started in Folsom, LA with two acres of a white European American hybrid grape, Blanc Du Bois. After the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, the Landrys relocated to the beautiful hill country of West Monroe, LA. The vineyard has now grown to a 20-acre site including a new winery and beautiful tasting room.

Concert days are no joke at the vineyard. Hundreds of people come from the surrounding areas with blankets, chairs and picnics packed ready to purchase bottles of wine to be enjoyed right on the vineyard property.

Jay and I set up a small tasting booth that featured our Jay D’s Spicy and Sweet BBQ Rub popcorn and sausage sauteed for guests to grab and dip into our Louisiana Barbecue Sauce and Molasses Mustard. We were so happy to be out there and mingle with everyone and experience the thrill that is a Saturday evening at Landry Vineyards.

If you have never been out to the vineyard, I highly recommend the journey on a Saturday afternoon with friends and family. They have tractors rigged up with trailers and benches for vineyard tours, tastings of all of their different varietals set up in the pagoda and live music echoing from the stage nestled right at the base of the hill rolling down to the vineyard. It was the perfect summer evening to relax, listen to music and enjoy the bounty that this family has worked so hard to produce.

You can find Jay D’s Blanc Du Bois at most of your local supermarkets. We are proud to partner with a local vineyard supporting Louisiana agriculture.

Also, check out our latest podcast talking about Louisiana wine month and Landry Vineyards with Jeff and Libby Landry:

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Wakey Whiskey: Prichard's Lincoln County Lightning

by Eric Ducote

Good morning on this #wakeywhiskey gameday! Now, we all know LSU put on a defensive clinic last week, so the easy choice here would be to go back to the well and stick with the same whiskey, right? You're right, that would be easy. However, LSU was supposed to beat BYU and I'm not a superstitious person. So, since LSU is playing Chattanooga, I checked the liquor cabinet for Tennessee whiskeys. I didn't have any Jack Daniel's... but I did have some Prichard's, both the Double Chocolate Bourbon and the Lincoln County Lightning. I've been enjoying some white "moonshine" styled whiskeys lately, so I opted for the Lincoln County Lightning.

Prichard's opened in 1997, which is much younger than the established distilleries in Kentucky, Tennessee, and elsewhere, but still relatively old in the current era of craft spirits. They currently produce multiple types of rum, whiskey, and liqueur in two locations within the state.

Two of my last three #wakeywhiskey posts have featured white whiskey, and in both cases I really enjoyed the spirits. This Prichard's Lincoln County Lightning was one of my first introductions to white whiskey many years ago and I didn't really care for it at the time, but I wanted to break it back out and see if my tastes have changed... and they certainly have.

I used to find this spirit overly corn-sweet and a little harsh on the palate with an alcohol-induced burning sensation. I guess I've gotten more and more used to that feeling as the corn sweetness is still there but overall this whiskey goes down smoothly. The burn is replaced with a honeysuckle and corn sweetness that drinks like mineral water. It's pretty amazing really how my tastes on this one have changed, so I'm damn glad that I went back to the well and gave it another try.

An excellent start to my gameday morning, now #GEAUXTIGERS!

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

North African Appetite: A Private Dinner at Red Stick Spice Co.

by Paige Johannessen

Jay Ducote along with Commander in Chef of Gov't Taco, Aimee Tortorich, hosted another sold out four course dinner at Red Stick Spice Company in August. Using Red Stick Co.'s high quality spices and oils, they took guests on a culinary adventure through North African cuisine.

The room was set up beautifully, including a gorgeous display of spices laid out for the guests to fawn at. Now that we have had a few repeat customers to our pop up dinners at Red Stick Spice Co. they know the drill and are arriving before we can even pour the first glass of wine. This gives them time to shop around the store and watch as Chef Aimee Tortorich put the finishing touches on a few of her dishes. 

photo by Red Stick Spice Co.
To start the evening off we had plates of warm lamb meatballs served over a delicate but full flavored mint yogurt dipping sauce. The lamb was soft and juicy and the flavors set off by the mint prepared the guests for a savory evening. To compliment this earthy appetizer were glasses of Jay D's Blanc Du Bois for our guests to sip on. 

Once everyone had a chance to try the lamb and grab a glass of wine or two, it was time to be seated. Jay started off the dinner service with a brief introduction  and then the plates starting rolling out! For the first course, a procession of carrots roasted with oranges and dates, garnished with chickpeas and crumbled pistachios came marching out to the guests. This warm and robust dish paired nicely with a spicy glass of Pinot Noir.

photo by Red Stick Spice Co.
Next, for the main course was the beef short rib tagine. This crowd favorite was visibly tender and the aroma of ginger and fig wafted from the plates. The short rib was served with a delicate scoop of couscous, and garnished with peanuts. To compliment the subtle fruit notes of this dish was a full glass of Syrah for all to enjoy.

Last but certainly not least came the most artistic and sweet dish of the night. Chef arranged small sculptures of milk bastilla, a thin cinnamon dusted pastry layered into stacks and drizzled with a custard like cream. Hidden between the layers of crunchy pastry were cloves and apricots, and crunchy pine nuts were sprinkled on top to finish it off. 

Blair prepared a warm rougaroux spiked cocoa with homemade marshmallows from Counter Space BR to be served with this decadent dessert. 

photo by Red Stick Spice Co.

Once again, we were thrilled to see a room full of empty plates and satisfied taste buds. We can not wait to be back at Red Stick Spice Co. this month for a special TWO night seating of our Modern Italian Mangia four course dinner on September 26th and 27th. Join us before it sells out!