First of all, the Best of 225 is nominated and voted upon based on randomly selected individuals who are plugged into the 225 electronic media outlets. The nomination forms are blank and ask for just that: nominations in each predetermined category. After the nominations are tallied, the top nominees are then listed on a ballot and sent back out to a random group of readers. Here were my picks that warrant noting:
Randy Montalbano's Seafood and Catering
Tony's crawfish are under seasoned on purpose. They self-admittedly don't over heat the mudbugs because they boil so many and have such a large, broad market. I don't blame them, but I also don't think they're the best. Sammy's is where my friends and I go most often... but I still think the chances of them being fresher and spicier are higher at Montabano's on Florida Blvd. You can check out my 2010 crawfish tour for more info.
Mason's came in second place to The Chimes. I'm okay with that. But Mason's has Bloody Masons and bottomless mimosas. Mason's Grill, FTW.
Tramonte's Meat and Seafood
There are plenty of local burger places that deserve to be high on this list. Plenty. My choice goes to Tramonte's. Many people don't even know of this place, but those folks are just missing out. It is easily the best back yard on the grill style burger in town. Side by side with Tramonte's I'd have any burger from the Curbside Truck. I know there was a separate category for food trucks, but Curbside's burgers are no joke! And what about the Cajun Shrimp Burger at Mason's?? And if I wanted a flat-top burger, I'd certainly pick Dearman's or Roul's Deli over Five Guys. I'm ashamed at our voters.
Anthony's Italian Deli
My pick pretty easily goes to Anthony's Italian Deli. Their muffaletta is certainly one of the best in town. And it is just real. It is a locally owned, tiny, hole in the wall Italian deli and market. You can't beat that. I'm a fan of the Maxwell's Market selection in Best of 225 though. They do a great job. I imagine that by this time next year the Swine Market at Marcello's will be on my list. And finally I'd put AM Mart on towards the top of my deli list. They make a mean Cajun turkey sandwich!
First, define "exotic pizza." Then, tell me what is more original and unique to our cuisine than the Boudin Pizza at Pastime? I do LOVE the Around the World at Fleur de Lis, but what makes it exotic? Anchovies? And I'd also like to at least mention the Duck and Andouille Sausage Gumbo pizza at Oscar's. That's pretty exotic in my book.
Latte e Miele
|*photo credit to Latte e Miele's facebook page|
Easy choice. Never been? Fix that, fast!
Doe's Eat Place
Mmmm.... meat! Some of the best steaks in town. Locally owned by great people. Handcut. Prime. Cow. I wrote a whole article about them that you can find on Bite and Booze: Get Your Steak on at Doe's Eat Place.
This little hole in the wall at the Perkin's Road Overpass is excellent. Well, I like it anyway. And yes, I'll count Southeast Asian as "South Asian."
If you've never gone into Sushi Yama, sat at the bar, and asked the talented chefs to just make you something unique, then you aren't really experiencing sushi in Baton Rouge.
I feel sorry for anybody who doesn't know about Strand's Cafe downtown. You want to talk about some amazing sweets? Well, here you go. It is gourmet, but it is also expertly crafted by some great people with constantly smiling faces. The chocolates are delectable. Go stop in and tell them I said hi!
Beausoleil got robbed by not winning this category in the Best of 225, but rest assured that they got my vote! I've still only been for lunch and brunch, so if anybody would like to join me for dinner some time soon, let me know. First glass of Smooth Ambler craft distilled whiskey is on me!
$2.50. Tin Roof. Tuesdays. Yep, they've still got it.
Fleming's Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar
This pick may seem a bit odd, but I challenge anybody to find a better happy hour. If you do, please let me know! What you get at Fleming's for the price tag during their 5-6-7 daily happy hour is the best deal I've found in town. They have 5 appetizers, 5 glasses of wine, and 5 cocktails for $6 from 5-7 PM. Plus, their burger is also $6... and it is an incredible burger compared to anything else I've ever found for $6. It doesn't take much to get me to go to Fleming's for happy hour, so if you're in the mood, just let me know!
I saw Willie Nelson at the Varsity within the past year. I don't need to say anything more than that.
The Roux House has a nice indoor space, a great patio area, and some of the friendliest bar staff around. Plus it is on Third Street, so it is a great place to have an event and then bar-hop if you're so inclined.
I like Enoteca Marcello's as a wine bar because of the atmosphere. The wine list isn't incredibly extensive, but it is really good. And the place is more my style than other "wine bars" in town.
Agree on some of these? Disagree? Have some thoughts of your own? I'd love to hear them! Please leave a comment on this post or hit me up on Facebook and Twitter. These were my picks for 2011, but they've been different in years past and will certainly continue to evolve in the future. Also, stay tuned this fall because the BRFoodies will be releasing the BRTop100: 100 favorite dishes from 100 original Baton Rouge restaurants! It'll be posted in groups of 10 on Bite and Booze to count down from 100 to 1!