Join us at The Truck, the Brewer, and the Blogger IV Pop-Up Dinner on January 20th!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Alabama's White Sand Beaches: Part I

For my birthday weekend I received an invitation to enjoy the white sand beaches of the Alabama Gulf Coast and to check out the restaurant scene around Gulf Shores and Orange Beach.  Eric and I made the relatively short drive from Baton Rouge to the beach where we checked into the Phoenix All-Suites West.  The view from our 7th floor room let us know there was no oil in sight as the beaches and water looked as pleasant as ever!

White Sand Beaches of Gulf Shores, Alabama
After throwing our luggage down in the hotel room we ventured over to Orange Beach and to our first feasting destination, Live Bait at the Wharf.  We were there as part of the Mamas4Mamas Tweetup, an event to raise money and awareness for the sea turtles that lay their eggs on the Alabama shores.  Eric and I randomly ran into an old friend, Julie Laperouse, who happened to be asking for a table right when we walked in.  Good times!  After checking in at the Tweetup, we grabbed a few Pick Axe Pale Ales from the Tommyknocker Brewery and met the rest of our blogger crowd.

Ericka, Jay, and Shannon at Live Bait at the Wharf on their birthday!
Live Bait at the Wharf served up some grub for all the bloggers to sample.  We started with the Greek seafood nachos and blackened gator bites.  While the gator failed to live up to what we're accustomed to in Louisiana, the Greek seafood nachos were fully loaded and quite good.  They had shrimp and crawfish tails piled up on fried wantons with red onion, olives, banana peppers, tomatoes, scallions, and a creamy spinach cheese sauce.  Interesting, and quite delicious!

Greek Seafood Nachos at Live Bait
Once we sat down at the dinner table we ordered up a couple other appetizers.  This time we selected the fried calamari and baked oysters.  The calamari had a nice golden brown color and tasted about average for a fried calamari.  The oysters were also satisfactory, though they didn't have the size of the oysters we get in Louisiana.  Still, they were topped with garlic, Worcestershire sauce, andouille sausage, Italian bread crumbs, and Parmesan cheese, so they most definitely were not bad!

Fried Calamari with Firecracker Sauce
Baked Oysters
I went with the off-menu Chef's Special for my main course.  The Pecan-Crusted Flounder came with a Franjelico-butter cream sauce, mushroom rice, and steamed vegetables.  The rice reminded me of something a college kid would make when desperate in a dorm room.  Unfortunately, it was barely better than pure rubbish.  The vegetables were little more than filler.  They were steamed and lacked anything other than some nutritional value.  The fish, however, came through in the clutch.  The flounder had a nice flaky flesh and the pecan crusting satisfied my appetite.  Combined with the delightful butter sauce, the entrée saved the evening and my dining experience at Live Bait with its crusty exterior and flavorful flounder.

Pecan Crusted Flounder with Parmesan-Mushroom Rice and Steamed Veggies
The meal concluded with some cake that April and Lori organized for the birthday group.  It capped off a great night of meeting some new people, randomly running into an old friend, drinking a new beer, and eating some all around decent food.  The first night in Alabama had gone well, and I eagerly anticipated the full schedule we had lined up for Saturday!  More about that on Part II of Alabama's White Sand Beaches.

Erika, Shannon, and I's Birthday/Tweetup Cake!
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Thursday, August 26, 2010

Check Out the Toyota Farm to Table Tour at the Red Stick Farmers Market


Toyota Farm to Table Tour Arrives at Baton Rouge

Red Stick Farmers Market August 28
Local Chefs and Farmers Team up to Create Tastings That Celebrate the Bounty of Locally Grown Food

NOTE: This is one of those really cool events that I'm promoting because I'm actually going! I hope to see you there!!!

The Toyota Farm to Table Tour is making its way around the country on this year’s summer tour and will hold the final event at The Red Stick Farmers Market on Saturday August 28, to help showcase the thriving Baton Rouge culinary scene and celebrate the connection between farmers markets and the communities they serve.

Chefs at the Toyota Farm to Table Tour Hand Out Food in Salt Lake City
Nine of the area’s top chefs will be paired with market farmers to highlight the best of the market’s fresh local produce and products. The chefs will prepare complimentary tastings using their partner farm’s locally grown items for visitors to sample.

The Mobile Herb Garden Makes a Stop in Washington D.C.
In addition to complimentary tastings, visitors will have the opportunity to receive complimentary potted culinary herbs as well as enter for a chance to win a culinary trip to Santa Barbara. Market visitors will also have the chance to take a ride in a 2010 Prius, Prius Plug-in Hybrid, Camry Hybrid, or Highlander Hybrid and take home a John Boos cutting board as a memento of the experience.
________________________________________________________________________

WHAT: Nine of the area’s celebrated chefs will create complimentary samplings for farmers market visitors using fresh local produce to highlight the amazing food available at the Red Stick Farmers Market.

WHO – LOCAL CHEFS:        Terry McDonner of Juban’s
                                        Don Bergeron of Don Bergeron Enterprises
                                        Jaime Hernandez of The Bluffs Country Club
                                        Peter Sclafani of Ruffino’s Restaurant
                                        Eric Arceneaux of City Club
                                        Frederick H. Nonato of Tsunami Sushi
                                        Chris Motto of Mansurs on the Boulevard
                                        Ross Headlee & Johnathan Metellus of Louisiana Culinary Institute
                                        Jim Urdiales of Mestizo Restaurant

WHERE:   Red Stick Farmers Market, 501 Main St. Baton Rouge, LA
WHEN:    Saturday, August 28, 2010 – 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

CHEF/FARMER PAIRINGS SCHEDULE (pairings subject to change):

TENT 1: 8:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m. Terry McDonner + TBD
             9:15 a.m. – 10:15 a.m. Eric Arceneaux + TBD
            10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. Don Bergernon + Papa Tom Bonnecaze Farm

TENT 2: 8:15 a.m. – 9:15 a.m. Peter Sclafani + Glaser Produce Farm
             9:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. Jim Urdiales + Fekete Farm
            10:45 a.m. – 11:45 a.m. Fredrick H. Nonato + Chenier Farm

TENT 3: 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. Jaime Hernandez + Papa Tom Bonnecaze Farm, Amato Louisiana Native Winery, and Smith Creamery
             10:15 a.m. – 11:15 a.m. Chris Motto + Bocage Bee Company
             11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Ross Headlee & Johnathan Metellus + Bocage Bee Company, Lance Nacio, Ann Marie
Seafood and Plantation Pecan


To learn more about the Tour, visit www.farmtotabletour.com.

###

About the Red Stick Farmers Market
The Red Stick Farmers Market, produced by the Big River Economic and Agricultural Development Alliance (BREADA), first opened in 1996 in order to create a link between locally owned family farms and food businesses in the Baton Rouge area. The Red Stick Farmers Market is open every Saturday morning from 8:00 a.m. - noon but with a growing demand for local foods, BREADA operates two additional Mid Week Markets on both Tuesday and Thursdays in outlying areas of Baton Rouge. BREADA works with communities across Louisiana through the Buy Fresh-Buy Local campaign to involve consumers in the revitalization of the local food system.  
For more about the Red Stick Farmers Market and BREADA, visit www.redstickfarmersmarket.org.

About Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., INC.
Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), U.S.A., Inc. is the marketing, sales, distribution, and customer service arm of Toyota, Lexus, and Scion. Established in 1957, TMS markets products and services through a network of nearly 1,500 Toyota, Lexus, and Scion dealers which sold more than 1.77 million vehicles in 2009.  Toyota directly employs nearly 30,000 people in the U.S. and its investment here is currently valued at more than $18 billion.
                               
For more information about Toyota, visit www.toyota.comwww.lexus.comwww.scion.com, or www.toyotanewsroom.com.

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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Cocktails and Fine Dining at Galatoire's Bistro in Baton Rouge

Not too long ago I dined at Galatoire's Bistro in Baton Rouge for a great evening with a couple buddies.  Galatoire's Bistro is another location of the legendary Bourbon Street restaurant.  After Hurricane Katrina in 2005 the owners quickly opened a venue in Baton Rouge and it has been serving great food ever since.  I had the pleasure of being joined by Chef Eusebio Gongora from Fleming's Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar, and Brian Thom, bartender extraordinaire at Galatoire's.  So what happens when you put a chef, a bartender, and a food writer all at the same table to enjoy a luxurious meal?  Well, you're about to find out!

Galatoire's Bistro in Baton Rouge
Our evening began with some custom cocktails at the bar.  Brian knew a thing or two about the adult beverages at Galatoire's first hand so he pointed us in the right direction... not that there is a wrong direction.  I began with a New Orleans Belle Martini.  The fruity concoction had a pleasant taste without an overpowering sweetness.  The martini featured Absolut Vodka infused with mango and white pepper, cointreau, pomegranate, and fresh lime juice.  The Absolut with white pepper provided a nice little kick that usually isn't found in martinis.  I followed that up with a classic New Orleans cocktail: the Sazerac!  The glass came lined with Herbsaint (an anise-flavored liqueur from NOLA) and carried a mixture of bitters, simple syrup, and rye whiskey on the rocks.  Believe it or not, this was my first ever Sazerac, but it surely won't be my last.  The tasty cocktail sipped fairly easy but with a bite to let me know it wasn't playing around.  Just what I needed to get the festivities started right!

Left: New Orleans Belle Martini
Right: Classic New Orleans Sazerac

I had another beverage at the bar consisting of Crown Royal, basil, strawberries, simple syrup, and a squeeze of lime before heading to the dinner table.  Galatoire's Bistro starts all of their guests out with some fresh New Orleans French Bread.  There's a funny thing about French Bread.  Like beer, it takes on characteristics of the water used to produce it.  Small variations in the water can lead to totally different tastes in the finished product.  For that reason, Galatoire's actually brings in their French Bread from New Orleans instead of baking it in Baton Rouge.  That NOLA water really does French Bread right!  

Left: New Orleans French Bread
Right: The Prisoner 2008 Napa Valley Red from Orin Swift Cellars

Once we got to the table the three of us made a shift from cocktails to fine wines.  Our first choice came from Napa's Orin Swift Cellars.  The Prisoner, a 2008 Zinfandel blend, featured a big fruit taste with its dark red color and hints of berry and cherry.  My kind of wine for sure!  We couldn't make up our minds on an appetizer so we did what anybody should do: we ordered four!  We chose the Galatoire Gouté, Oysters Rockafeller, Sweetbreads, and the Duck Crepe.  The Galatoire's Gouté included a duo of shrimp remoulade and crawfish maison.  The maison sauce on the crawfish tails included green onions, capers, lemon, and creole mustard.  Both items were served cold with reasonably light sauce.  The beauty of the dish is that it didn't try to do to much or pretend to be anything else.  Quite simply, the dish provided great shrimp and crawfish and allowed the diner to actually taste them... and they were fantastic!  

Left: Galatoire's Goilet - Shrimp Remoulae and Crawfish Maison
Right: Oysters Rockafeller

I've had a lot of Oysters Rockafeller lately, but I don't think any have come close to matching the mollusks we consumed at Galatoire's.  The gulf oysters were huge, and the spinach topping created a creamy compliment to the salty oysters.  As Brian said, "I can't imagine a better way to have spinach."  I have to agree!  Next up were the sweetbreads.  If you aren't sure what sweetbreads are, let me begin by saying that they aren't really sweet and certainly aren't bread.  Sweetbreads is the term used to describe food that comes from an animal's pancreas or thyroid glands.  Obviously if they called them that, people wouldn't order them very often.  Once you get past the thought of eating digestive or throat organs, you'll find that these tasty parts are most certainly worth eating.  The sweetbreads were sautéed with mushrooms and a little lemon.  I actually found Galatoire's sweetbreads to be tremendously flavorful with an incredible texture that I'd love to eat again and again.

Sweetbreads at Galatoire's Bistro
Our wonderful wait staff brought out the duck crepe as our final appetizer.  Roasted duck meat filled the pastry along with boursin cheese while a port-cherry reduction and pistachios smothered the crepe.  The dish had a unique flavor combination that paired awesomely with dark fruit flavors of The Prisoner wine that we continue to indulge upon.  As if I needed it, I also had a cup of Galatoire's crawfish bisque.  The bisque revealed a darker roux than I'm accustomed to with crawfish, and there were seemingly no crawfish to be found by looking at it.  However, I soon learned that the crawfish had been pureed to give the bisque a smooth texture while still delivering the flavor of the mud bugs.  The bisque had a nice spicy kick to it and some very earthy notes with the dark roux.

Left: Galatoire's Duck Crepe
Right: A Cup of Crawfish Bisque

Finally the time had come for the main course.  I opted for a daily special that made me salivate from just hearing the words.  The dish featured a fresh, fried, soft-shell crab topped with New Orleans-style barbeque shrimp.  Yes, a soft-shell crab TOPPED with barbeque shrimp!!  My heart may have skipped a beat as the special echoed in my mind, my mouth watered, and my decision process about what to order finished without ever so much as glancing at the menu.  The combination resulted in pure glee.  The Creole butter from the barbeque, the crispy fried exterior of the crab, the meat of the shrimp... it all laid there on my plate looking beautiful, and awaiting its gastronomic demise.  Devouring this entrée didn't fill my stomach, it filled my soul.  Fortunately the crab and shrimp were huge and I had plenty to share with Brian and Eusebio, though I found it difficult to part with even the smallest morsel.  I'm a good friend!

Galatoire's Special: A Soft-Shell Crab Topped with Barbecued Shrimp
Like many fine dining spots, Galatoire's does its sides a-la-carte.  We figured it would make sense to try a couple despite having no need for extra food.  The group opted for the classic Southern grits and the equally Southern smothered okra.  Both sides were nice, though certainly not the highlight of this feast.  Brian ordered the Grilled Poisson Provencal.  I don't recall which fresh Gulf fish it had that day, but I do know it was grilled with tomatoes, onions, olives, capers, and basil.  Quite tasty!

Left: Grilled Poisson Provencal
Right: Stone Ground Grits and Smothered Okra

Eusebio ordered the Veal Liver.  The entrée boasted two sautéed veal liver medallions and came served with caramelized onions and a couple strips of bacon.  Oops!  If you want to know what iron tastes like, you only need one bite of a veal liver.  That thing would have cured anemia (not literally, I'm sure).  Still, if you like the taste, or can at least appreciate the taste of a good piece of liver, this dish is a must.  I only had a couple bites of it, but I remember them fondly.  Each taste got better and better as I acclimated myself to the liver flavor.  

Left: Veal Liver Topped with Caramelized Onions and Bacon
Right: 2005 Amizetta Complexity, Napa Valley

Before the evening ended we had also gone through another bottle of wine.  We selected another Napa Valley red, this time a 2005 Complexity from the Amizetta Winery.  Complexity is a Meritage wine featuring mostly the Cabernet Sauvignon grape with a little Merlot and Cabernet Franc mixed in.  Once again, this wine was right up my alley.

Profiteroles With Ice Cream
Naturally, no good meal is complete without dessert.  Also naturally, we wouldn't be satisfied only getting to taste one of them.  The profiteroles included three pastries that were sliced in half and stuffed with ice cream, then topped with melted chocolate.  The puffy pastries were served cold and created a rather interesting ice cream sandwich.  However, I'd have to say they were bested by our second dessert.

Crème brûlée Cheesecake
The crème brûlée cheesecake combined two of my favorite desserts into one exceptional show-stopper.  I think cheesecake crème brûlée would have been a more appropriate name, but either way, the cream cheese filling worked well as a foundation, then with a torched top layer and selection of berries, Galatoire's found a great way to end my evening.  

There have been rumors circulating about them changing their location in Baton Rouge to somewhere a little closer to town.  That could mean great things!  For right now though, you can find them on Perkins near Highland Road.  Just make sure you bring your appetite!  Thanks to Brian and Eusebio for enjoying a great evening with me!

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Thursday, August 19, 2010

Bite and Booze BBQ Recipe is a Finalist for Tony Chachere's and CSS Sports!

Bite and Booze's BBQ Recipe for
Bourbon Blackberry Bone-In Boston Butt 
 is in the TOP TWELVE for the
Tony Chachere’s Tailgate Cook-off!



CSS (Comcast Sports South) will have their tailgate chef cook my recipe in one of 12 features airing on SportsNite each week.  Each of the 12 contestants represents an SEC School, with mine of course representing LSU!!




VOTING IS LIVE.  YOU CAN GO STRAIGHT TO VOTING FOR MY RECIPE BY CLICKING HERE.  JUST CLICK THE VIDEO OVER AND OVER AND OVER AGAIN!!  GEAUX TIGERS!

All the recipes will be posted on css-sports.com for fans to vote on their favorite.  Official voting starts on the morning of 8/20/10 and runs through 11/5/10.  I need you, all of your friends, family, and all LSU fans to vote for my recipe!

If Jay Ducote/Bite and Booze is selected in the top three, I will be in a cook-off at a LSU home game in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, "Tailgating Capital of the South!"  The game is 11/20/10 Ole Miss at LSU.  CSS Sports will tape the event and air it on CSS with me cooking (and three of my guests)!  

After the cook-off, the top three recipes will be on css-sports.com for votes to see whose tailgating recipe is #1! 

Below is a list of prizes for the top winner (top three will all get some prizes):

1st prize
1 large Big Green Egg plus accessories
2 Tony Chachere's T-shirts
2 Tony Chachere's coozies
2 Tony Chachere's aprons
1 year Supply of Tony Chachere's Products
1 Cajun Country Cookbook full of Mr. Tony's Recipes
1 Ole Master Gift Set
1 Mr. Tony's Favorites Gift Set
1 Marinade Kit
A private Tony's Catered cooking event for 25 people ( values at $1500)

I think I'd look pretty good with all those prizes!!

Please vote from 8/20 to 11/5.  Also, please share this with your friends, family, facebook people, twitter followers, etc.  I need all the votes I can get.  LSU needs all the votes I can get.  It will be embarrassing for LSU to host the final three competitors on our home turf and NOT be represented!  Plus, Tony Chachere's is a Cajun/Creole product, so who knows how to use it better than Louisianans?  Use the button below to share this however you see fit, and thanks for voting for Jay Ducote/Bite and Booze!!

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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Taco de Paco Hits the Streets of Baton Rouge

Baton Rouge is in the midst of a Food Truck Revolution, and I, for one, am loving it!  The latest venture to join the scene on the streets is Taco de Paco, a large orange movable kitchen dishing out delicious tacos all around town.  They'll soon (as in as I write this) be going under a little logo work on the truck, so now they'll be really recognizable.

Taco de Paco is the Latest Food Truck to Take to the Streets of Baton Rouge
I recently paid a visit to the food truck during "grand opening".  Needless to say they were still working out some kinks, but I thought I'd give the tacos a try anyway!  Taco de Paco set up alongside Ninja Snowballs at a "Stabbed in the Art" show on Perkins near City Park.  A line quickly formed as customers awaited the opening of the service window and a chance to see just how "deLicious" Taco de Paco can be.

Left: Michael Benton Prepares Tacos for Some Customers
Right: Owner Jared Loftus Passes some Tacos to an Eager Eater

Since Taco de Paco still had some logistics to iron out and they knew there would be a crowd for this much anticipated service, they featured a limited menu with three taco options.  Justin and I each ordered two of them, but Jared was kind enough to throw in the third taco so I could get a good sampling of the menu.  The tacos came with traditional Latin-influence names: Juan, Pablo, and Miguel.


Left: Pablo - Steak, Onions, Cilantro, Lettuce, Bell Peppers
Right: Juan - Chicken, Onions, Cilantro, Lettuce

The first two tacos were certainly a notch up from most typical American quick-service tacos.  They had a level of authenticity to them which I really enjoyed.  The flour tortillas weren't freshly made, but they were at least warmed up and tasty.  I'm a big fan of cilantro, so the fact that they had it on both tacos didn't bother me at all and I really feel like it gave them a nice touch.  Pablo beat out Juan if I had to choose between the two.  The steak had a better flavor than the chicken, and the addition of the multi-colored and sautéed peppers kicked it up a bit more.  Both tacos were tasty, but they lacked a certain "messy" quality that I almost expect out of a taco truck or any street food.  There were no juices running down my chin or forearms after eating these two tacos, and that disappointed me a tad, until...

Miguel - Mushrooms, Bell Peppers, Black Beans, Cheese, Pico de Gallo  
... I met Miguel.  This might be a shock to many people including myself, but the vegetarian version of Taco de Paco blew the others away.  The flavorful liquid from the black beans and pico de gallo lit up the other ingredients as the broth drizzled down my hand after the first bite. The mix of ingredients presented some excellent variety to the taco as this one definitely packed a superior punch to Juan and Pablo.  I actually felt like I was eating some messy street food out of a foil wrapper when I consumed Miguel, and that put a big smile on my face.

Taco de Paco is now roaming the streets of Baton Rouge.  Join their Facebook page or follow them on Twitter to see where you can find them on any given day.  I know I'll be looking them up again to see how the progress is going!

Taco de Paco (Mobile Truck) on Urbanspoon

Monday, August 16, 2010

Bite Club BR - Philly Cheese Steaks

Bite Club BR is a new series from Bite and Booze that presents a foodie fight, or "Battle Royale", between two "Baton Rouge" restaurants, bars, chefs, or other culinary creators.  In Bite Club BR's first ever showdown, we'll take a look at a notable sandwich from the Northeast that has recently made a splash in Baton Rouge: Philly Cheese Steaks!



Cheese Steaks are the culinary icon of Philadelphia.  The sandwich represents to them what the poboy means to New Orleans.  There is culture, creativity, passion, and pizazz all sandwiched between a roll of bread.  And like the poboy, there are many different variations on the Philly Cheese Steak.  One of the first things one needs to know is how to order the gastronomic glory known as the Cheese Steak.  Cheese Steaks in Philly have their own lingo, and if you don't know about it, you are likely to hold up a line while you are confused and trying to order.  

In Philadelphia, the first step is to pick which rival Cheese Steak you want to partake in.  In South Philly, Pat's and Geno's go head to head for sandwich supremacy.  In Baton Rouge, Bite Club BR puts South of Philly and Philly Me Up to the challenge. Step two is to decide what you want before you get to the front of the line.  There are menu boards to drool over while you wait, but once you're to the ordering counter, you best be ready.  The Cheese Steak has four basic items: meat, cheese, toppings, and roll.  You don't need to decide on the roll.  Much like French bread is to the poboy in Louisiana, the Amoroso long roll is pretty much the only option for an authentic Cheese Steak.

As for the meat, you'll usually have an option to go with chicken.  That's like choosing to have relations with the ugly step-sister when the hottie sister is willing and ready.  Stop thinking about yard birds and go with the beef.  Cheese for many is the most difficult decision.  One version of the classic Philly Cheese Steak uses Kraft's Cheez Whiz or just "Whiz" to Philly Phanatics.  First marketed in 1952, Cheez Whiz is a staple at Pat's King of Steaks in Philly where it was made famous as a sandwich topping.   However, since the Cheese Steak has been around since the 1930s, twenty years before Cheez Whiz, the folks at Geno's consider American or Provolone to be more authentic.  Either way, you're going with over 50 years of history and tradition, so the cheese choice really just comes down to personal preference.

Finally, the time comes to choose your toppings.  Onions are the most common, so if you want them, you just have to say "with" or "wit" if you want to sound like a local in Philly. If you don't want them, make sure you say "without" or you may be biting into a roll full of them anyway. Other acceptable toppings include mushrooms, sauce, peppers, and more depending on whose Cheese Steak you're eating.

For my taste test, I decided to get the exact same sandwich at both locations.  For consistency sake, I ordered a "whiz wit", their normal beef Cheese Steak with Cheez Whiz and onions.  This was the most basic steak that I'd feel comfortable ordering because I wasn't about to get one "wit out".  My first stop came at Philly Me Up on Jefferson Highway.  Philly Me Up sits a fairly new, small strip mall.

A 10" Classic Whiz Wit at Philly Me Up
Philly Me Up's Cheese Steaks can be ordered in a 6" small or 10" regular size.  Naturally, I opted for the regular at a price of $7.50.  When I asked for Cheez Whiz the guy behind the counter didn't know if they had any.  He went to the back to check, and it turned out they did, but the first impression of  a Cheese Steak place not knowing if they had Cheez Whiz was far from impressive.  The restaurant had a nice, relaxed feel to it.  I took a seat at a booth and watched a little afternoon Sports Center while waiting on my meal.  It didn't arrive in record time, but the wait also wasn't a burden on the lunch.  At first glance the Cheese Steak looked impressive.  It had been cut in half and looked loaded with beef and onions... and then I realized: where was my cheese?  As can be seen on the picture above, a little Cheez Whiz made it on to the left half of the sandwich, but the right half noticeably lacked a substantial amount the deliciously processed cheese sauce.  The good news is that the beef at Philly Me Up tasted very nice.  Each bite featured well seasoned and tender thinly sliced steak, and there were plenty of onions to add flavor.  I gladly ate all 10 inches of Cheese Steak and, along with a side of fries, I left fairly satisfied with the meal.

A 12" Philly Steak Whiz Wit at South of Philly
South of Philly on Sherwood Forrest serves up a wide variety of Cheese Steak combinations, though my duty consisted of ordering the exact same thing that I had at Philly Me Up.  This time around I had to choose between a 7" or 12" sandwich, so naturally I opted for the foot-long.  The 12" Philly Steak Whiz Wit ran me a tab of $9.25.  South of Philly apparently gets plenty of Cheez Whiz orders as they laid it on thick!  While they weren't skimpy on the cheese, they may have forgotten how to season beef.  The steak itself lacked the customary salt and spices, and provided a slightly bland sandwich.  There were plenty of chopped onions mixed in and the amount of cheese added to the flavor, but there was still something missing in the beef.  I ate the entire Cheese Steak, thinking the whole time that it tasted good, but could easily be better.  Perhaps they sell so many variations of Cheese Steaks that come with sauces or other toppings that they don't need to season the beef much.

In any case, the I'd gladly eat either sandwich again, but that's not what Bite Club BR is all about!  This Baton Rouge Cheese Steak Battle Royale must have a winner, and that's no easy decision.  If I could design my own sandwich from the two I had just eaten, I'd take the beef from Philly Me Up and put it with the bread, onions and cheese from South of Philly.  Unfortunately, that's not an option.  I'm going to have to choose...

And the winner is...........


As I said, this was a difficult call. Both sandwiches were by all means satisfactory.  Ultimately it came down to the lack of knowledge about whether or not Philly Me Up had Cheez Whiz and the lack of Whiz that they put on the sandwich after they found some.  Had that Cheese Steak gotten the same cheesy love that South of Philly delivered, this would have been a different story.  For what it's worth, I also like the atmosphere and character of South of Philly more, which goes a long way when trying to recreate an authentic Philly Cheese Steak.  Next time I might try some different varieties of toppings and cheese, but right now, on this edition of Bite Club BR, South of Philly reigns supreme!

If you have thoughts about either of these two places or another place to get Philly Cheese Steaks in Baton Rouge, feel free to leave a comment at the bottom of this post!

Oh, and share the post on all your favorite social media sites here:

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South Of Philly on UrbanspoonPhilly Me Up on Urbanspoon