Voting for the 2015 Taste Awards is going on right now!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Monday, September 27, 2010

On Campus: Tailgating at LSU vs. West Virginia

Yes, I'm a lucky man.  This past weekend we filmed the first installment of our On Campus look at Tiger Tailgating.  I traveled around campus with some of the LSU Athletic Department Marketing staff to film, interview, and taste some of the best that game day tailgating had to offer.

Thanks to the following tailgate groups for hosting us while they tailgated for the LSU vs. West Virginia football game:

Level 3 Tailgaters
SOLA Tailgating
Ford Family Tailgating

Now, without further ado, the video:


Click here for the direct link to the video on LSUSports.net.


Want us to come to your tailgate party?  Let me know where you are and what you'll be cooking!

Schedule:
LSU vs. West Virginia
LSU vs. Tennessee
LSU vs. McNeese State
LSU vs. Alabama
LSU vs. ULM
LSU vs. Ole Miss
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Sunday, September 26, 2010

Project Food Blog Round 2: Classic Korean BBQ

The second round of Project Food Blog asks bloggers to step out of their comfort zone and cook a classic dish from another culture.  Having never traveled there or attempted to cook any of their cuisine, I felt a desire to take my talents to Asia where Jeremy Wells, author of the blog Faire Les Courses, helped me narrow that down to Korean Barbecue.  I've never eaten Korean BBQ before despite writing about the food and drinks of both North Korea and South Korea in my World Cup series, so I knew this would most certainly be a challenge.  Still, I figured that with my love and talents for American barbeque, I'd be up to this task!

Oriental Food on Lee Drive in Baton Rouge, La
I started by doing a little research on Korean BBQ by browsing other food blogs and doing some Internet searches.  I quickly decided that I'd try to make some galbi, or beef short ribs.  In Korean, galbi literally translates into "rib".  Most Korean ribs are marinated in a mixture of soy sauce, garlic, sugar, and sometimes fruit like Korean pear.  To make my galbi, I first had to do a little grocery shopping around Baton Rouge, Louisiana to find the right ingredients.

Stop number one took me to a store that is aptly named Oriental Food.  One great thing about exploring the underbelly of Baton Rouge is that this city really offers an outstanding collection of specialty stores from various ethnic and national cuisines.  Oriental Food is actually owned by a Korean family so their selection of sauces and authentic spices was pretty impressive.  After a few recommendations from the owner, I left Oriental Food with some Korean soy sauce, sesame oil, a couple Asian pears, and some kimchi.  More on that later.

Oriental Food's Selection of Sauces
After buying the essential Asian ingredients the time had come to procure some beef.  I took off to Hi-Nabor, a local grocery store with an above average selection of freshly butchered meats.  I wound up buying some beef spare ribs and a few pounds of boneless beef short ribs.  Since I've never cooked Korean-style ribs before I thought it might be good to try a couple different cuts to play around with on the grill.




Ingredients used in the Korean BBQ Marinade








When I got home I created my marinade.  After reading several different galbi recipes I took a stab at making my own sauce in which to soak the meat.  I first collected all the ingredients that I needed.  I used the soy sauce, sesame oil, and Korean pear that I got at Oriental Food.  Added to those items were some garlic, brown sugar, onion, and black pepper.  I finely chopped up most of the onion, the whole pear, and about 2/3 of the garlic bulb and added that mixture to a blend of the other ingredients.  After combining everything together, I poured the marinade over the beef.

Boneless beef short ribs and spare ribs in Korean-style marinade

Jay Ducote places the meat on the Monstrosity
Fresh beef on the hot grill
I let the beef marinate overnight and then lit up the grill for an afternoon barbeque on Sunday.  The preferred Korean method is to grill galbi over charcoal, so that's exactly what I did.  Using the wonderful Third Row Monstrosity barbeque pit, I prepared the grill and placed the meat over the hot coals.  Knowing that beef doesn't take long to cook, and being a fan of medium-rare temperatures, I knew it wouldn't take too long to cook the galbi over the sizzling coals.

Korean-style beef spare ribs
The spare ribs turned out to be ridiculously flavorful.  The combination of soy and pear came through the most and was followed by the tastes of the sesame oil and garlic.  I'm definitely going to play around with this idea a little more and try to get some bolder flavors by perhaps making a barbeque sauce that would complement the marinade.  Even still, I deemed this first attempt at Korean ribs to be a great success.

Korean Kimchi
I also took the liberty of picking up some kimchi while at Oriental Food.  Kimchi is a Korean staple that is basically fermented cabbage with a red pepper sauce.  There are a bunch of different variations on kimchi throughout South Korea, and this one tasted pretty darn good.  It is typically served as a side dish with almost any meal, so naturally I used it to help dress my galbi.  I sliced up the boneless short ribs in order to make lettuce wraps.  With some thinly sliced beef cooked to an ideal temperature and the addition of a little kimchi in the lettuce wrap, this Korean BBQ ended up satisfying quite a few hungry appetites!  I really enjoyed playing around with some new flavors and exotic ingredients.  Hopefully this Project Food Blog journey will continue so I can try a few more new recipes!

Korean galbi and kimchi on a leaf of lettuce

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Friday, September 24, 2010

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Bite and Booze's Blackberry-Bourbon Boston Butt

Check out the video recipe for the blackberry-bourbon boston butt that has been selected to represent LSU in the Tony Chachere's Tailgating Cook-off on CSS!  After watching the video, please VOTE FOR LSU!!


VOTE FOR ME AND LSU HERE (just click play over and over again)!


Friday, September 17, 2010

Project Food Blog: Ready, Set, Blog

Greetings Biters and Boozers;

This post represents my first entry into Foodbuzz's Project Food Blog.  The contest involves a series of themed blog posts in a competition format to determine who will advance to the next rounds and ultimately one food blogger will be named the next Food Blog Star!  For the very first posts, titled "Ready, Set, Blog!", bloggers have been asked to simply write about what defines them as a food blogger and why should they be the next food blog star?  Well, let me give it a shot!

I began Bite and Booze in late September 2009 and by October I realized that I had a pretty strong passion for it... though I had no idea where it would take me.  One of the first steps I took in the food and beverage blogging world was to join Foodbuzz, an organization that is now the largest online food website/community in the world.  I attended the first ever Foodbuzz festival in November and things really started to take off from there.

When I began, my main mission was to simply chronicle the many adventures and experiences of my life through the food and drinks that I consumed.  I wrote about things I cooked, restaurants I ate at, tailgate parties I attended, breweries I visited, and anything else along those lines.  I really enjoyed the online journal and scrapbook that I created, but I also realized quickly that Bite and Booze needed to be so much more.  My hometown, my community, Baton Rouge, La, needed a foodie outlet that not only added to literature of its food, but also to the culture and character.  It wasn't long before I formed relationship with the fine people at the Baton Rouge Convention and Visitors Bureau to help promote Baton Rouge through new and social media.  A local magazine, Town Favorites, picked me up to be a food writer/contributer to their publication.  I started promoting events and helping Baton Rouge get the word out about things that were going on related to food and drink.  I had begun to create a food community in Baton Rouge, not just a food blog.

Now, with Bite and Booze approaching one year of food writing, I can't even stop to imagine where the next year will take me.  I'm working on sponsorships and promotions.  I'm getting into video production to add to my social media publications.  I'm being featured in contests, delivering foodie monologues at shows, getting appearances on local television programs and mentions in the newspapers and magazines, covering foodie events from epicurean society wine tastings to farmer's market farm to table tours, and I'm growing my readership at an exponential rate.

So what defines me as a food blogger?  I think for starters it is that sense of community.  My writing and blogging seems to bring people together and unite people around something we all love... bites and boozes.  I also think it is my sense of adventure.  I'm not a niche blogger like many people that only write about health eating or solely document restaurant reviews.  I pretty much write about anything and everything I can that deals with eating and drinking.  I'll eat anything, and I'll say the truth about how I thought it tasted.  I write about travel, I write about hole-in-the-wall eateries at home.  Really it all boils down to this: "I eat. I drink. I write."


I think I've described already why I should be the next Food Blog Star.  My passion for food writing is strong, and I absolutely love what I'm doing.  If you love it too, please take the time to vote for Bite and Booze on Project Food Blog starting September 20th... I'd appreciate your support!

Thanks everyone!


ON TO ROUND 2!!!

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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Capital Area United Way's Jambalaya Jam


There are 40 teams competing for the top jambalaya cooking title, and yours truly, Jay D. Ducote, author of Bite and Booze, has been selected to serve as a celebrity judge for the event!

The Capital Area United Way’s 2010 Jambalaya Jam competition scheduled for Thursday, September 23rd is spicing things up this year with a new venue and time for this traditional event.

Over the last eight months a team of volunteers from the community have been working with United Way staff to add a fresh look and feel to the twenty-third annual event sponsored by Dow Chemical Company. The committee composed of volunteers, non-profit agency representatives, marketing professionals, and United Way and Volunteer! United Board Members have been planning exciting new things to generate more revenue, create a signature downtown event, and involve more downtown partners and businesses.

The event, typically held at lunch time, is moving to an evening lineup from 5: 00 – 8:00 pm on Third Street. Forty competing teams will be stretched on the sidewalk areas between North Boulevard and Main Street serving up some of South Louisiana’s best jambalaya. Guests will be encouraged to stroll the area, interact with the competing teams, and flow in and out of the local participating restaurants and bars which will be featuring live entertainment and specials.

A team competes in last year's Jambalaya Jam

The Roux House, Happy’s Irish Pub, Schlittz and Giggles, Boudreaux and Thibodeaux’s, Lucy’s Retired Surfers Restaurant and Bar, The M Bar, Stroube’s Chophouse, Red Star, The Office, and Punchers are also joining the event lineup this year. Thanks to the support of Glazer’s, individuals that purchase the 3rd Street Sampler pass will be treated to a special tasting of various drink samples at the bar and restaurant locations.

Four ticket types are available including the following options:
To-go plate dinners - $7.00
All-you-can-eat jambalaya - $10.00
3rd Street Sampler (includes all-you-can-eat and a drink tasting at participating bars) - $25.00 (How could you pass this up?)
Exclusive VIP Lounge located at the 2nd floor of Boudreaux & Thibodeaux’s - $75.00 (Join me after I judge!)

In addition, several local eateries, such as Kleinpeter Farms Dairy, LLC and Brew HA-HA are also joining the event and will be handing out free samples of their products.

To purchase tickets and to learn more about the event, please visit CAUW.org.

2010 Sponsors: Dow Chemical Company, Glazer’s, Red Six Media, Baton Rouge Coca-Cola, The Roux House, Happy’s Irish Pub, Schlitz & Giggles, Boudreaux & Thibodeaux’s, Lucy’s Retired Surfers Restaurant and Bar, The M Bar, Stroubes Chophouse, Red Star, Puncher’s, The Office, vitaminwater, Louisiana Fish Fry/Tony’s Seafood, Krazy Kajun, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana, The Advocate, WBRZ-TV Channel 2, 225, Greater Baton Rouge Business Report, The Boot Magazine, Lee Michaels Fine Jewelry & Distinctive Gifts, Baton Rouge Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, Les Zydeco Da Baton Rouge featuring Mel Chavis, 484 Southband, Smoothie King, The Camelot Club, Brew Ha-Ha, Rex Photobooth Company LLC, Kleinpeter Farms Dairy, LLC , EMCO Technologies, National World War II Museum, CC’s Community Coffee House, Silk Screen Shop, City of Baton Rouge, Around Town TV Show, Jean Pierre’s Special Blend Season-all, New Orleans School of Cooking, Court of Two Sisters, Holiday Inn-Downtown Superdome, and YMCA.



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Monday, September 13, 2010

Beignets Heat Up In Baton Rouge

This article has been published in the September 2010 issue of Town Favorites Magazine. You can visit the Town Favorites website at http://www.townfavorites.com/, follow them on Twitter @TownFavorites, and find their magazines at over 150 restaurants and businesses around Baton Rouge! Pick up a copy today!


Beignets Heat Up in Baton Rouge

by Jay D. Ducote

Beignets epitomize creating gastronomic glory while respecting simplicity. The decadent deep-fried dough is the state donut of Louisiana. Yes, we have a state donut! World renowned for their influence in the New Orleans’ French Quarter at Café du Monde, beignets are undoubtedly just as deeply entrenched in Louisiana cuisine as gumbo and red gravy. A beignet, in case you don’t know, is a fluffy pastry made of fried dough and typically sprinkled with confectioners (powdered) sugar.

Beignet fingers and cafe au lait with hot chocolate at Coffee Call
Beignets have been served for decades at Baton Rouge’s own institution, Coffee Call. The College Drive hot spot built its own character, charm, and clientele in a location that gave way to the expanses of Super Wal-Mart earlier this decade. Part of the construction and redesign of the entire shopping center involved a brand new location for Coffee Call on the other side of the parking lot. Unfortunately for most of Coffee Call’s loyal patrons including the graduate students, artists, and authors of the Capital City, the new edifice failed to transfer the culture that had been established a mere couple hundred yards away. Says Baton Rouge author D.B. Grady, “Five stars for the memories. Two stars for its current, soulless, reanimated corpse.”

Despite the unfortunate relocation, Coffee Call’s business still seems to be going strong on the back of hot chocolate, café au lait, and, of course, beignets. The restaurant has a small outdoor dining area with some bistro tables and several options for indoor seating with large wooden tables, a high top with bar stools, and more bistro set ups. A quick jaunt through their ordering line gives access to the self service beverage staples of hot chocolate and café au lait (coffee with hot milk added, a signature blend to go along with the French-influenced beignets). Prior to my Coffee Call visit I received a tip from a good friend, Jeremy Spikes, to try mixing the two together. He claimed that the hot chocolate typically poured too sweet for his palate and that the café au lait needed a little sweetener, so combining the two created a spot-on final product. I gave it a try to judge for myself. As I figured, Jeremy did not steer me wrong. The warm beverage sipped creamy and smooth with an enticing combination of coffee and chocolate.

Hot chocolate and cafe au lait are ready to be poured
As for the beignets, Coffee Call has long been the only place to go in Baton Rouge. Their beignets come in the traditional pillow shape or in the form of beignet fingers. For a fairly reasonable price Coffee Call will pile up plenty of whichever kind you order on a plate and coat with a thick layer of white powdered sugar. The portions on their fingers are rather enormous, so unless it is the only meal you’ll eat that day, one person should never order a large by themselves. Like any fried food, beignets are best served immediately after departing their submersion in the hot oil. Unfortunately my small order of fingers had spent several minutes under a heat lamp. Still, that didn’t stop me from enjoying the sugar-coated dough sticks with my hot chocolate and café au lait concoction!

Carolyn, Jay, and Evan pose at Rue Beignet
I left Coffee Call wanting more. It has long been the place in Baton Rouge for beignets, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for a little competition. On April 24 of this year Rue Beignet opened its doors on East Petroleum Drive across Highland Road from Ruffino’s and next door to Maxwell’s Market. I met owner Evan Duhy and her mother Carolyn at Rue Beignet for a sample of the latest beignets to heat up Baton Rouge. Evan got the idea to open a beignet shop in the Red Stick after dining with her mom at Café du Monde in New Orleans. It was there, sitting at that iconic café, overlooking Decatur, that Evan received a moment of total consciousness… so she’s got that going for her, which is nice. She had dined at Café du Monde plenty of times while living in New Orleans, but it had never hit home like it did this time. “I thought I was just finding instant gratification by indulging in the delicious warm pillows of dough covered in powdered sugar,” Evan told me. “Little did I know beignets would shape my entire life and future.”

Evan prepares the beignets for the fryer
Evan has tried to recreate the feel of New Orleans in her strip-mall beignet store. Rue Beignet is inviting and welcoming. Eric and I were immediately greeted when we walked in the door; something that can’t be overlooked in these days of impersonal rushes through life’s chaos. I had a mug of café au lait while my beignets were cut and fried fresh to order. Like most beignets, Rue Beignet uses a large vat of cottonseed oil to fry their dough to a crispy outside with a delicately chewy interior. I began with the classic powdered sugar beignets. One bite and I might have fallen in love. This beignet, straight out of the fryer to a plate and then to my mouth, may have been one of the best donuts, let alone beignets, I’ve ever enjoyed. The beignet itself contained the ideal combination of doughy texture inside a salty and crispy shell and sweet confectioner’s sugar… pure deliciousness.

Fresh beignets entice me at Rue Beignet
Jay Ducote takes a bite of beignet heaven
For ‘un petit lagniappe’ (a little something extra), Rue Beignet offered up some of their own beignet fingers with a twist. While they gladly offer the fingers with the traditional powdered sugar, Evan thought taking the New Orleans staple and “kicking it up a notch” with different toppings might present something unique to her customers. As I munched on classic beignets three other plates were set in front of me. The plates held beignet fingers topped with honey, cinnamon sugar, and chocolate, respectively. At first I had some mixed emotions about the idea. Confectioner’s sugar nearly defines a beignet, and I couldn’t believe they were changing it up. However, after one bite of the honey beignet, I quickly changed my mind. That beignet simply tasted too good for me to disapprove. The honey finger’s flavor reminded me of an amazing version of a sopapilla while the cinnamon finger brought up equally fond thoughts of Latin inspired desserts. With that solitary taste Evan sold me on the toppings, and on Rue Beignet as a whole. I’ll continue to be a customer, that’s for sure!

Rue Beignet's twist: beignet fingers with cinnamon sugar
Coffee Call and Rue Beignet show that Baton Rouge has some great options for beignets. Next time you’re looking to change things up for breakfast, grab an afternoon snack, or finish a great meal with a little fried dough dessert, check them out. Your taste buds will be glad you did!


Jay D. Ducote is the author of the blog Bite and Booze, which chronicles his culinary and indulgent cultural experiences around Baton Rouge, South Louisiana, and the world. It can be found at www.biteandbooze.com. You can also reach him by email at jay@biteandbooze.com and follow him on Twitter @biteandbooze.

Thanks to Eric Ducote of BRBeerScene.com for taking all the pictures for this article.

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Rue Beignet on UrbanspoonCoffee Call on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Alabama's White Sand Beaches: Part III

After leaving Tacky Jacks, Eric and I had a few hours to kill before we needed to meet up with the group again for lunch.  Naturally, we used that opportunity to try to find a few craft beers that we can't get in Baton Rouge.  Since we were rolling around before 10 AM, finding an open liquor store proved to be a bit of a challenge, but eventually we spotted one with an open sign and walked on in.  After grabbing a couple of six packs we journeyed back to the Phoenix All-Suites West where Brett/Robinson Properties put us up for the weekend.  Thanks, guys!

The View of the Oil-Free Beach from our Room at the Phoenix All-Suites West in Gulf Shores, AL
Once we got back to the room the time had come to pry open a few cold ones.  Eric, my beer-blogging brother, selected the Tommy Knocker Imperial Nut Brown Ale and the Bell's Two Hearted Ale for us to "research".  You can check the BR Beer Scene for some reviews of the beers themselves.  I will say that I really enjoyed the Two Hearted Ale as it fairly excellently combined malt with some great hops to leave a well balanced pale ale.

Tommy Knocker Imperial Nut Brown Ale and Bell's Two Hearted Ale
After bumming around and drinking a few brews, Eric and I headed to King Neptune's Seafood Restaurant for lunch.  King Neptune's is a local joint that has good character and some entrenched history of surviving hurricanes and now an oil spill.  They are known for their quality seafood and outstanding prices, as well as the royal reds that they serve up (deep-water ruby red shrimp).

King Neptune's Seafood Restaurant in Gulf Shores
I met Al Sawyer, the owner of King Neptune's, and chatted with him for a little while about his restaurant, the food on his menu, and his love for seafood.  He gave us a couple suggestions on what to order as well, though he naturally stressed that it is all good!

Jay Ducote and Al Sawyer Inside King Neptune's Seafood Restaurant
Al sent out a round of appetizers to get things started.  We began with some coconut shrimp and assorted baked oysters.  The shrimp may have been the best coconut shrimp that I've ever eaten.  I'm usually not a fan of coconut shrimp, but these were spot on!  The shrimp get dunked into a Coco-lopez batter then covered with shredded coconut and fried before getting served with a Creole Marmalade.  They oysters were certainly edible, but again they just weren't like the Louisiana oysters that I'm used to!

Coconut Shrimp at King Neptune's Seafood Restaurant
Four Kinds of Baked Oysters at King Neptune's
As an effort to not quit drinking, Eric and I each ordered a round of beers.  I opted for the Jimmy Buffett-inspired and Anheuser Busch-produced Land Shark Lager (which, due to the Parrot Head ties, is pretty much the beer of choice down there) while Eric ordered a Yuengling.  Ah, cheap, light swill.  I'll give Land Shark this... it is refreshing!  It tastes like a mix between a Budweiser and a Corona, for whatever that is worth!

Landshark and Yuengling... Enough to Keep Us Going!
As good as the coconut shrimp were, the highlight of the appetizers and really the entire meal had to be the West Indies Crab Salad.  The dish consisted of jumbo lump crab meat and sweet Vidalia onions that were drizzled in a special vinegar-based mixture.  The crab meat tasted fresh and absolutely delicious.  It may not be the cheapest thing on the menu, but it certainly is delightful and worth every penny!

The West Indies Crab Salad at King Neptune's Seafood Restaurant
For our entrées, as if we needed more food, Eric and I ordered shrimp just about every which way we could.  I figured it would be easier to make a decision that way!  My favorites were the boiled shrimp and butterflied shrimp.


 Starting at the Top Left and Going Clockwise: Boiled, Butterflied, BBQ Skewer, and Broiled (with Scallops and Flounder)

Finally, no good meal can be truly complete without dessert.  King Neptune's delivered with quite an interesting option: a deep fried cheesecake!

Deep Fried Cheesecake
I have mixed emotions about the cheesecake.  First, it was incredible.  The crispy exterior, the warm and gooey interior, the caramel and pecan sauce... I really wanted to like it for all the right reasons.  However, I'm a huge fan of cheesecake, and for some reason, something just proved interesting and mildly disturbing about eating a slice in this fashion.  On my first bite, the inside was so warm that it changed the texture of the actual cheesecake and some of it dribbled down my chin.  Hot melted cheesecake just isn't my thing!  However, as I got into the center the texture returned to normal and from that point on it was every bit as good as I had hoped.  Basically it is a frozen wedge of cheesecake that is coated in cornflakes and then flash-fried.  Interesting, yes, but that's just all the more reason for me to suggest that everyone give it a try!

Overall I had a very positive experience at King Neptune's and I would gladly go back.  The only think I really didn't enjoy were the skewed and barbecued shrimp.  Other than that, everything tasted great!  After King Neptune's it was on to a kayaking adventure, but I'll save that for the next post!

King Neptune Steamed Seafood on Urbanspoon

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