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Monday, January 17, 2011

11 Things I’m Excited to Eat and Drink in 2011


This article has been published in the January 2011 issue of Town Favorites Magazine. You can visit the Town Favorites website at http://www.townfavorites.com/, follow them on Twitter @TownFavorites, "Like" them at Facebook.com/TownFavorites, and find their magazines at over 150 restaurants and businesses around Baton Rouge! Pick up a copy today!

11 Things I’m Excited to Eat and Drink in 2011
By Jay D. Ducote

2011 is sure to bring renewed resolutions and fresh starts when it comes to diets and detox, but I’d prefer to kick off the New Year by thinking about 11 local items I can’t wait to eat and drink. Some of these are relatively new items in the Baton Rouge food and beverage scene, and some are old staples that will bring back memories of 1984, but still, all should be mouthwatering, enticing, and crowd pleasing in 2011. In no particular order, here are my picks:

BBQ Beef Sandwich at KickersBBQ
BBQ Sandwiches from KickersBBQ
KickersBBQ provides barbeque on wheels, and it is obvious that Tony and Nani know what they are doing. Their street eats have quickly rolled to the top of the BR BBQ scene. It is a hard call between the pulled pork or brisket sandwiches, but either way you’ll be happy you tracked them down! And if you are feeling adventurous, you could also try a Tex-Mex hotdog!

Nani, Jay, and Tony show off some BBQ!
King Cake
Louisiana isn’t short of seasonal foods, and one of my favorites is King Cake around Mardi Gras time. I usually opt for a little cream cheese filling or a classic cinnamon cake. Ambrosia Bakery makes one my favorites in town, but it is usually hard to go wrong with any of them! Good luck finding that baby and getting to buy the next cake for the house or office!

Boiled Crawfish 
Speaking of seasonal cuisine, Louisiana Crawfish are about as good as it gets. Every Spring I look forward to devouring quite a few pounds of mudbugs, and 2011 will be no different. Whether you get your crawfish from a local restaurant or you boil them yourselves, just roll up your sleeves and start peeling! I can taste the spices already!

Chef Eusebio Gongora and Travis Ducote dump a batch of boiled crawfish onto the table at the Third Row Crawfish Boil
Cocktails at Galatoire’s Bistro
Expert bartender Brian Thom mixes up some of the best custom cocktails in Baton Rouge. Check out their Sazerac or even opt for the New Orleans Belle Martini. While it might be pink in color, it still packs a mighty punch. The martini is made from house-infused mango pepper vodka, Cointreau, pomegranate juice, and fresh squeezed lime and orange.

New Orleans Belle Martini at Galatoire's Bistro
Pho
Sadly I’m not all that experienced with the Vietnamese soup called Pho (fuh), but that will certainly change in 2011. I’m hoping to become a regular at Pho Quynh and Tasty Casian where I will consume bowl after bowl of that traditional noodle soup.

Craft Beer from the Tin Roof Brewing Company
From their new brewery in an old warehouse off of Nicholson Drive, William and Charles have brought Baton Rouge their own craft brew, and I’m excited to drink it. Whether you opt for the Perfect Tin Amber or my personal choice, the Voodoo Bengal Specialty Pale Ale, you might as well quench your taste buds all around town with these delightful local suds!

Tin Roof's Perfect Tin Amber
Raw Oysters
In 2010 Gulf oysters had quite a setback with the oil spill. In order to make up for lost time, I think the best thing we could do is eat an unprecedented amount of oysters in 2011. I’ll probably sit at the bar in quite a few restaurants and eat them raw by the dozen. Some of my favorite places for oysters are The Chimes, Mike Andersons, Mason’s Grill, and ACME, but I’ll be happy to meet you anywhere there is shucking going on!

Coffee from A Coffee Truck 
Not everything I drink in 2011 can be alcohol, so I might as well find the trendiest place to get my caffeine fix. A Coffee Truck started rolling around Baton Rouge in late 2010, and I’m excited to track them down more in 2011. Using the food truck model of being followed on social media, A Coffee Truck can be located using Twitter, Facebook, or by sniffing out the ground espresso beans. They are sure to have something to perk you up!


Honey Bourbon
Then again, I guess I could have a little more booze. Here’s one of my favorites: honey bourbon! Juban’s makes fantastic honey bourbon out of Knob Creek Kentucky Bourbon and fresh honey comb. I’ll drink that every time I’m there. However, in 2011 I also intend to make some of my own. I’ll use some honey comb from the Bocage Bee and Honey Company and some great bourbon, and see what I can come up with. Cheers!

Praline Bacon and Pork Belly Preserves at Curbside Truck 
There are few more beautiful combinations of words than “praline bacon.” Just the thought of that sweet candy and savory meat combination makes my mouth water. At Curbside Truck, yet another one of Baton Rouge’s mobile eateries, you can enjoy a delicious cheeseburger topped with praline bacon. And if that doesn’t quite do it for you, they also have a magical little spread called pork belly preserves. Or, you can do what I do, and get both of them!

A burger with praline bacon and pork belly preserves from Curbside Truck
Duck
Finally, in 2011 I look forward to eating a lot of duck. Yes, it may slightly because of viral videos and the fact that the LSU Tigers play the Oregon Ducks in Dallas to kick off the 2011 football season, but Duck is also extremely tasty! You can find duck meat in gumbos, crepes, tacos, and more. Chef Eusebio Gongora at Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar also cooks up an amazing duck appetizer on occasion or has a blueberry glazed duck breast on the featured mixed grill. However you find it, just make sure to join me in feasting on feathered fowl this year!


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, like the Bite and Booze fan page on facebook.com/biteandbooze, 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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