Monday, July 28, 2014

Local Libations: Olive or Twist hosts Sweet Crude Rum Tasting

Sweet Crude Rum
Sweet Crude Rum

Olive or Twist is known for their ability to craft unbelievably delicious cocktails utilizing fresh ingredients and a flurry of inspiration. They're also known for great happy hour specials and the ever-popular weekly Wednesday free tastings! This Wednesday, July 30th from 7-9pm, Olive or Twist will be hosting Lafayette's Sweet Crude Rum. If you swing join the party you can taste the rum and sample some cocktails featuring Sweet Crude including their award-winning Hemingway Daiquiri. Rank Wildcat's distillers, David and Cole, will be there to tell you all about what they're doing in Lafayette, and the sample cocktails will be on the menu all day! Don't miss a great time with a wonderful Louisiana Rum.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

True Grit: 7 Places to get Shrimp & Grits in the Capital City

Shrimp and Grits is a typical Southern dish rumored to be the creation of South Carolina where it is often referred to as Low Country Shrimp. In Louisiana, we have a slightly different passion for shrimp and grits which can do you right for brunch or really any meal. Over the last couple months I gathered up a list of places in Baton Rouge you can get shrimp and grits any time and a few killer brunch spots as well. These restaurants displayed either a beautifully executed plate of gulf shrimp and grits or a creative twist on the dish that couldn't be ignored. So next time you get a hankering for ground corn and the bacon of the sea, look no further than these great spots in the Capital City:

L'Auberge Baton Rouge's 18 Steak: 777 L'Auberge Avenue

Creamy, hearty grits topped with delectable Louisiana shrimp? Count me in! The spicy tomato base of the shrimp brightens up with the slight crunch from the fresh green onions. Snag some of the grits in your bite and magic happens on your taste buds! The flavors blend together so naturally that you'll wonder where this dish has been all your life.

Gulf Shrimp and Grits with Cracklin and Heirloom Tomatoes

The Chimes Restaurant & Tap Room: 3357 Highland Road

Everyone goes to Chimes for something different. I usually go for the top notch beer selection, half-off oysters on the half shell from 4-7pm (or all day on Tuesdays!), and a big plate of red beans and rice. They also have New Orleans-Style BBQ Shrimp and Grits! A creamy grit cake dredged in a garlicky, well spiced sauce and jumbo shrimp is a favorite menu item for many at the legendary Chimes.

New Orleans-Style BBQ Shrimp
New Orleans-Style BBQ Shrimp

Leroy's: 4001 Nicholson Drive

They may be known for their fried chicken over at Leroy's, but it's the cast-iron Southern comfort dishes I like best. Take for example the Garlic Shrimp and Asiago Grits. These are some of the creamiest grits I've had and they don't hold back on the serving size. Leroy's shrimp and grits presents a mountain of silky grits topped with savory garlic shrimp and your choice of one of their splendid sides. You'll need a nap afterwards, but if you didn't they wouldn't be doing it right.

Garlic Shrimp and Asiago Cheese Grits
Garlic Shrimp and Asiago Cheese Grits

City Club: 355 North Boulevard

I met up with a friend at City Club downtown and happened upon their shrimp and grits. It's not often I make it over to City Club, but Chef Eric Arceneaux puts out some of Baton Rouge's best cuisine (you seriously need to try his breads). What I like most about this version of shrimp and grits is the nice tang from the heirloom tomatoes. The shrimp boasted a freshness you hope to find in Louisiana as well. These creamy, garlicky shrimp and grits should definitely be on your list to try in the Capital City.

Bite and Booze Bonus: City Club is a club. Unfortunately you have to know a member or be a member to get a bite of these Shrimp & Grits.

Shrimp and Grits at the City Club in Baton Rouge
Shrimp and Grits at the City Club in Baton Rouge

Le Creolé: 18135 E. Petroleum Dr.

Chef Ryan André does Southern comfort food right every day at Le Creolé, and his shrimp and grits dish is no exception. Creamy Papa Tom's grits smothered in a tomato-shrimp roux is the perfect craving fix. Ryan knows seafood and uses only the choices jumbo Louisiana shrimp in his masterful dish. The roasted bell peppers bring a bold flavor that brightens up the roux and gives the dish another textural element not typically found in this decadent favorite.

Le Creole's Shrimp and Grits
Le Creole's Shrimp and Grits

Portico: 4205 Perkins Rd. & 11777 Coursey Blvd.

Portico is breaking the mold with their shrimp and grits by whipping theirs into shape...literally. These delicious fritters of cheesy grits are molded around sautéed shrimp. Turning this classic Southern dish into an easy-to-share appetizer is a nice twist. The roasted pepper and mushroom cream sauce really builds the flavors...a must try in Baton Rouge for sure!

Creamy Asiago Cheese Grits Stuffed with a Sautéed Shrimp, Hand Battered, Deep Fried, and Topped with a Mushroom & Roasted Pepper Cream Sauce
Creamy Asiago Cheese Grits Stuffed with a Sautéed Shrimp, Hand Battered, Deep Fried, and Topped with a Mushroom & Roasted Pepper Cream Sauce

Mason's Grill: 13556 Jefferson Hwy.

Photo Credit: Mason's Grill
Photo Credit: Mason's Grill

Mason's Grill rocks their own version of shrimp and grits. The fried grit cake gets surrounded by sauteed shrimp in a nice butter sauce. This is the kind of dish that makes you wonder about all the other versions of shrimp and grits that might be out there. With a great combination of textures in each bite due the crispy and creamy grit cake met with the buttery shrimp, there's no way to resist it. Obviously Mason's is known for their brunch and this would be a great choice for that meal, but they actually spoil us by putting it on their full time menu! And speaking of brunch...

Who doesn't love a good shrimp and grits brunch? Here are a few more Baton Rouge shrimp and grits spots that proudly boast their own version on the brunch menu.

Juban's Shrimp & Grits: Gulf shrimp broiled in New Orleans barbeque butter, with garlic cheese grits,  and spinach primavera
Juban's Shrimp & Grits: Gulf shrimp broiled in New Orleans barbeque butter, with garlic cheese grits,
and spinach primavera

All of the aforementioned eateries have shrimp and grits on their menu at all times, but there are a few places in town that include it in their brunch menus. Here are a few of my favorites:

Juban's: 3739 Perkins Rd. 
Mansur's on the Boulevard: 5720 Corporate Blvd.
City Café: 4710 O'Neal Ln.
Frank's Restaurant: 8353 Airline Hwy.

If you have a favorite shrimp and grits dish in Baton Rouge that we missed leave it in the comments or let us know on the Facebook page!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Sam Houston American Whiskey: Whisk(e)y Wednesday presented by Lock & Key

Sam Houston American Whiskey
Sam Houston American Whiskey
Tonight is again the night for Women & Whiskey at Lock & Key. The gathering starts at 6:30 with lessons about different types of whiskey kicking off around 7. Anybody interested in learning more about whiskey should feel free to attend, especially ladies who want to learn a thing or two to impress their significant other! One of the featured whiskeys tonight is Sam Houston American Whiskey ($7). Technically a bourbon, this corn-forward whiskey produces a creamsicle nose with aromas of orange and vanilla met with orange flavored corn syrup candy. Oak comes forward on the tongue as just a hint of cinnamon is present among all the citrus. The 86 proof spirit would pair very well with a Mexican Coke and make an orange centered Old Fashioned. Slight flavors of clove and coconut round out the palate. It finishes just like it starts with great balance but a complete lack of complexity. There's no lingering warmth as the whiskey pleasantly fades away down the gullet. Sam Houston is approachable, drinkable, and affordable, so in that sense it is worth trying, but it won't knock your socks off.

Sam Houston American Whiskey
Average Score: 68.33

Whisk(e)y Wednesday is a blog post series on Bite and Booze sponsored by the Lock & Key Whiskey Bar. Lock & Key has one of Baton Rouge's best selections of bourbon, Scotch, Irish, and other whisk(e)ys available for on premise consumption. This WW feature was scored by Jay Ducote from Bite and Booze, Arthur Lauck from Lock & Key, and Jordan Lewis from tommysTV. Scores are marked for Nose, Taste, Finish, and Balance and Complexity using our own proprietary scoring system. Marks are then added and averaged, leaving us with a final score out of a 100 point scale. Our scale should be looked at on the full range of 0-100 rather than an academic range where 70 is passing and anything less is failing. A 50 should be considered a very mediocre whisk(e)y (though not undrinkable) while anything below 20 is absolute horse piss and anything above 80 is rather extraordinary and anything above 90 is world class.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Fresh on the Shelves: The Bite and Booze Featured 5 at Calandro's

Bite and Booze Featured 5 at Calandro's
Bite and Booze Featured 5 at Calandro's

I'm excited to announce a brand new promotion at Calandro's Supermarket, title sponsor of the Bite and Booze Radio Show! The Bite and Booze Featured 5 is a new monthly promotion supporting local products in your favorite neighborhood grocery store! You get 5% off of your entire basket (with no limit high or low) at both locations of Calandro's if you grab each of the five items being featured that month. We will be changing the items on a monthly, but starting now through the month of August you can grab these five items to ring up your discount:

Any Slap Ya Mama product
Any 6-pack of Tin Roof beer
Any Hanley's salad dressing
Jay D's Louisiana Barbecue Sauce
Any package of Richard's sausage or other pork products

Drop everything and head to Calandro's for the best local shopping deal you've ever seen, unless you hate deals... if you hate deals on great local products you may want to skip out on this one. All you have to do is check out with those 5 items in your basket and you'll automatically get 5% off your entire purchase.

Also, please leave a comment below about what local products you'd like to see in September on the Bite and Booze Featured 5!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Big Announcements from LA1: Whisk(e)y Wednesday presented by Lock & Key

Donner-Peltier's LA1 Whiskey
Donner-Peltier's LA1 Whiskey

Happy Whisk(e)y Wednesday everyone! I'm excited to share some big news out of Thibodaux, Louisiana's Donner-Peltier Distillery which means great things for LA1 Whiskey. They will soon be expanding their distillery and in the coming months will begin full time production of the LA1 Whiskey. This production will not only include the LA1 Louisiana Whiskey which has already been released a couple times in very limited quantities, but also some brand new spirits: LA1 Rye & LA1 Bourbon! If this doesn't make you excited, then you probably shouldn't be reading my Whisk(e)y Wednesday posts. I'll keep you posted about when we can expect these new whiskeys to be released. In the meantime, I think they still have a little bit of LA1 over at Lock & Key.

Also, congratulations to Donner-Peltier are in order because the Rougaroux Sugarshine Rum was just awarded a score of 93 by the Beverage Tasting Institute (BTI), making it the highest rated rum being made and produced in Louisiana! Make sure to look for all their products including the other Rougaroux Rums as well as the Oryza Vodka and Gin at both locations of Calandro's Supermarket in Baton Rouge!