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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Old Weller Antique: Whisk(e)y Wednesday presented by Calandro's Supermarket

Old Weller Antique
The Old Weller Antique is another 107 proof bourbon (like Baker's from last week), but this one we found to be a good bit better.  It is a wheated bourbon, which means that in addition to the corn, wheat will play fairly predominantly on the grain bill in place or rye or more corn.  The Old Weller Antique is sweet on the nose with hints of vanilla and a spiciness like the Red Hot candies.  It is subtle on the tongue in a drinkable way, not overwhelming with a burn from alcohol or spice.  It remains that way, finishing sweet and smooth with complexities on the back of the tongue.  The whiskey brings an exceptional depth of flavor with a light burn at the very end, which is quite welcoming.

Old Weller Antique

Average Score 83.75


Whisk(e)y Wednesday is a blog post series on Bite and Booze sponsored by Calandro's Supermarket. Calandro's has one of Baton Rouge's best selections of bourbon, Scotch, and other whisk(e)ys as well as wine and craft beer. WW is created and rated by the hosts of Raise a Glass. Scores are marked for Nose, Taste, Finish, and Balance and Complexity using our own propriatary 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 while anything below 20 is absolute horse piss and anything above 90 is rather extraordinary.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Sundance or Bust

Jay Ducote with Sommer and Chris Wadsworth at the Sundance Film Festival
It wasn't easy, but Chef Chris Wadsworth from Baton Rouge's Restaurant IPO successfully guided our team through dinner impossible at the Sundance Film Festival.  With contributions from Chappapeela Farms (duck, pork belly), Inland Seafood (shrimp, crawfish, oysters, redfish, tasso), and Community Coffee, we arrived in Park City, UT ready to cook up a snow-storm of Louisiana dishes.  Chris and I received and invitation to serve as guest chefs for a party being thrown to promote the Louisiana International Film Festival.  Before we left, Chris and I made a video about what we were bringing to Sundance:


Our team hard at work at the Deer Valley kitchen
Trouble came at 9 AM on the day of the party when Chef Chris, his wife Sommer, and I arrived at Cisero's Ristorante.  Kitchen space that we had been promised suddenly disappeared.  Their kitchen, overwhelmed by private parties along with breakfast, lunch, and dinner services, simply had no capacity for us traveling chefs to make our magic happen.  In addition to needing extra space for the three of us to prepare seven different hors d'oeuvres for 200 people, we also had five culinary students from the area who were willing and ready to help us out.  Fortunately, Lisa, one of our extremely helpful students, had a connection at the Deer Valley ski resort, and was able to book us a couple hours of commercial kitchen space.  There's obviously much more to the story, and it will be told at some point.  But for now, let me just thank Deer Valley for their incredible generosity in opening up their kitchen and pantry to us.  We couldn't have pulled off this culinary feat without them.  The same can also be said for our five helpers.  They saved the day.

Ashley serving Strawberry and Pepper stuffed Bacon wrapped Dates
Upon returning to Cisero's only a couple hours before guests were to arrive, I went off on a wild goose chase for some Sternos, knowing that chafing dishes were our only option for keeping food hot.  Fortunately the chef community at Sundance all felt each other's pain, and I eventually found some heat.  We set up a makeshift assembly line and miraculously began to serve our food on time.  

Adjustments had to be made.  Not every dish was exactly like we would have wanted it, but considering the circumstances, Chef Wadsworth made magic happen, and I'm glad I could be there to help!  It was quite an honor to get to go to Park City and bring Louisiana cuisine to Sundance, and it was a trip that I won't soon forget.  

Jessica serving Louisiana Redfish Ceviche with Avocado Relish
The group celebrates with cocktails after all the food had been served
Jay Ducote, Jeff Dowd, Dan Ireland, and Chris Wadsworth enjoy the red carpet

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Baker's: Whisk(e)y Wednesday presented by Calandro's Supermarket

Baker's Bourbon
Ah bourbon.  I love you.  And Baker's, you're alright!  Out of Jim Beam's small batch collection comes Baker's, a high-proofed tasty bourbon whiskey out of Kentucky.  Aged seven years and clocking in at 107 proof, this bourbon smells of clover, permanent marker, honey, and oak.  For a bourbon, the sweetness fades quickly on the palate and flavors of charcoal and burnt oak turn into a spiciness.  It finishes pretty well for a 107 proof bourbon.  The big oak remains through the end.  Ultimately this bourbon needs a few ice cubes, some water, or a full on cocktail to reach its potential, but it is still pretty nice, all things considered.

Baker's Bourbon

Average Score 71.0


Whisk(e)y Wednesday is a blog post series on Bite and Booze sponsored by Calandro's Supermarket. Calandro's has one of Baton Rouge's best selections of bourbon, Scotch, and other whisk(e)ys as well as wine and craft beer. WW is created and rated by the hosts of Raise a Glass. Scores are marked for Nose, Taste, Finish, and Balance and Complexity using our own propriatary 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 while anything below 20 is absolute horse piss and anything above 90 is rather extraordinary.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Hogs for the Cause 2013

Team Bite and Booze will be present at this year's Hogs for the Cause.  Iverstine Family Farms will provide the pigs.  I'd love for you to join us!  When you buy a ticket, you'll be prompted with the question “Would you like to credit one of the competitors with this purchase?” There will be a dropdown box with every single team name, so make sure to pick "Bite and Booze."  Credits go to our team fundraising tally, so spread the word!

We'll be cooking whole hog, pork shoulder, pork ribs, and porkpouri (anything goes)!  Come eat, enjoy the music, and have a great time.

Pre Sale tickets are only $10 throughout January. I assure you this is an incredible value like always. The line-up is kicked up a notch this year but still maintains the Hogs “vibe.” Pre Sale jumps to $15 in February until March 22. $20 at the gates.


Friday, January 18, 2013

Great Raft Brewing floats toward Shreveport

A Great Raft Brewing growler to add to my collection
Great Raft Brewing is on its way to Shreveport.  Still in planning stages, the brewery hopes to be operational in 2013.  Andrew and Lindsay Nations, a new beer powerhouse couple, are the folks behind the brewery, and they recently made a trip to south Louisiana to meet some fellow Louisiana craft brewers as well as some enthusiasts like me.  Both Andrew and Lindsay are Cicerone certified beer servers, which means they probably know more than 99.9% of people in the world about beer.  They also both have degrees with fancy letters to put behind their names, but after working in the tech world and going to grad school in D.C., they decided what they'd really like to do is come home and make good beer for the people of north Louisiana.  I wish them all the best!



While they were passing through Baton Rouge I was fortunate enough to snag a couple bottles of some Great Raft test batches.  The one on the left is an American style pale ale with wheat in the grain bill and 100% Nelson hops.  It had a strong grapefruit-like presence on the nose and taste, while being light and refreshing with that extra wheat.  The picture on the right is a Saison brewed with lemon zest and pine needles.  The pine flavors are strong and the beer needs some tweaking, but the spirit is certainly there.  This is going to be an inventive and passionate brewery, and I'm excited to welcome them to the Louisiana craft beer scene as soon as their brewery is up and running!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Ardbeg Galileo: Whisk(e)y Wednesday presented by Calandro's Supermarket

Ardbeg Galileo
In honor of actually sending some of their whisky to space, Ardbeg released Galileo as a limited special batch version of their classic single malt Scotch.  You can hear more about it by listening to the podcast below that was recorded for Raise a Glass at Roux Wine and Spirits.  We tasted it on the same show as the Jefferson's Ocean, so both are on that episode.  The Arbeg Galileo is smokey and sea-salt briny on the nose with monster peat and grass aromas.  I called it a "beautiful bouquet of burning earth."  The taste is a like a campfire with big smoldering wood.  It is robust, with hints of mineral sweetness.  It finishes with lingering smokiness, some fruitiness, and a hint of espresso.  It is certainly worth a try for all Scotch lovers!


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Ardbeg Galileo

Average Score 75.5


Whisk(e)y Wednesday is a blog post series on Bite and Booze sponsored by Calandro's Supermarket. Calandro's has one of Baton Rouge's best selections of bourbon, Scotch, and other whisk(e)ys as well as wine and craft beer. WW is created and rated by the hosts of Raise a Glass. Scores are marked for Nose, Taste, Finish, and Balance and Complexity using our own propriatary 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 while anything below 20 is absolute horse piss and anything above 90 is rather extraordinary.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Rock-n-Sake Sushi Rolls!

With Baton Rouge Restaurant Week here (use #BRRW on Twitter), I thought I'd show another video clip from a participating restaurant.  Over 30 restaurants are involved in the first ever Baton Rouge Restaurant Week, creating an exciting opportunity for diners to check out new hot spots, return to an old favorite, and spoil themselves if just for a night... or a whole week!  From today, January 14th, until Saturday, January 19th, each participating restaurant will offer three course menus for a fraction of the normal price.  The food may be discounted, but remember, always tip your servers!

Here's a video from Rock-n-Sake in Baton Rouge with Josh making a couple awesome rolls.  Enjoy!




Restaurant Week gives you the opportunity to enjoy the very best restaurants Baton Rouge has to offer at irresistible price points. From $15 - $35 per person, these unique three course menus are sure to tempt your taste buds at unheard of prices.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Bite and Blend: An Argentine Cuisine and Wine Pop-up

On January 29th, I'll have my first pop-up of 2013.  The folks at Blend on Laurel St. in downtown Baton Rouge have graciously opened up their kitchen and bar to me in order to prepare an exciting six-course wine dinner.  Choosing an Argentina theme, all the dishes will be inspired by the South American country, and all the wine will come from there.  For most people, that means beef and Malbec.  Well, you can't go wrong there, so that's what we're doing.  With a twist, of course.  Argentina meets Louisiana for this dinner as local ingredients will be surrounded by Argentine flare.  The wines will feature four fabulous reds and a white, all from the Republic portfolio.  Check the menu below, and make sure to get your tickets quickly through the Eventbrite Page so you don't miss out!



Empanadas: Pork Chorizo with Cilantro Crema and Golden Raisin Beef with Fire Aioli
Vino: Finca Malbec

Picada: Lamb Carpaccio, Duck Prosciutto, Select Cheeses, Olives, Pickled Pears

Locro: Hearty Beef Stew with Gold Potatoes, Yams, Corn, and More
Vino: Aduentus Mediterraneo

Pescador: Cobia, Shrimp, Bay Scallop, and Avocado Ceviche with a Shot of Bloody Mary Gazpacho
Vino: Alamos Torrontes

Vaca: Beef Short Ribs, Chimichurri, Sopa Paraguaya, Grilled Vegetable and Chili Ratatouille
Vino: Alamos Red Blend

Postre: Spiced Flan, Dulce de Leche, Candied Nut Dust, Berry Compote
Vino: Alma Negra Sparkling Malbec

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Jefferson's Ocean: Whisk(e)y Wednesday presented by Calandro's Supermarket

Jefferson's Ocean Bourbon
Jefferson's recently released a very small batch bourbon that they actually aged at sea called Jefferson's Ocean.  The whiskey sat in casks aboard a shark research ship and aged in the open air over salt water and swishing around inside the barrel.  The result gave the bourbon a sweet saltiness, almost like salted caramel or chocolate covered pretzels.  It finished robust and spicy with a vanilla and cinnamon warmth.  It is a very nice bourbon.  Not world class, but the novelty of it makes it a nice whiskey to have in any collection, especially considering how rare it is.

You can actually listen to our tasting from Raise a Glass at Roux Wine and Spirits here:


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Jefferson's Ocean Bourbon

 Average Score 76.5


Whisk(e)y Wednesday is a blog post series on Bite and Booze sponsored by Calandro's Supermarket. Calandro's has one of Baton Rouge's best selections of bourbon, Scotch, and other whisk(e)ys as well as wine and craft beer. WW is created and rated by the hosts of Raise a Glass. Scores are marked for Nose, Taste, Finish, and Balance and Complexity using our own propriatary 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 while anything below 20 is absolute horse piss and anything above 90 is rather extraordinary.

Monday, January 7, 2013

I visit Chef Ryan Andre at Le Creole to get ready for Baton Rouge Restaurant Week

Le Creole is one of over 25 restaurants participating in the upcoming Baton Rouge Restaurant Week from January 14-19.  I had a chance to hang out in the kitchen with chef Ryan Andre to help him put together a new steak dish: filet mignon over a bed of sweet potato hash with melted BONE MARROW BUTTER and fried leeks.  Take a look for yourself at the deliciousness that ensued!



Restaurant Week gives you the opportunity to enjoy the very best restaurants Baton Rouge has to offer at irresistible price points. From $15 - $35 per person, these unique three course menus are sure to tempt your taste buds at unheard of prices.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Remarkable Root

Amuse at Root
Few restaurants in south Louisiana have gotten the buzz that Root in New Orleans mustered in 2012.  With a plethora of dining options in the Big Easy, it can be difficult for a rookie eatery to burst onto the scene, but Chef Phillip Lopez managed to do just that and more.  Root brings to life modern cuisine in Nola, rooted in traditional flavors and techniques.  But then they are twisted, mangled, and stretched.  They expand culinary palates and challenge even the most sophisticated taste buds.  Every dish plays with textures, flavors,  and art.

I had the chance to dine at Root recently, unannounced, and somewhat incognito.  I didn't get any special Bite and Booze treatment, nor did I ask for any.  I wanted the real experience.  I wanted to see if it lived up to the hype.  Unequivocally, it did.  Joined by Lindsay and Kimmie, a couple friends from New Orleans, we drank, we dined, and we enjoyed.  Now for some food porn: admire this, and know that you can eat it yourself at Root!

Charcuterie selection featuring "Face" Bacon, Chocolate Espresso Cured Lamb Bresaola, and Cochon de Lait Porchetta

Louisiana Pickled Shrimp: Shrimp Stuffed Deviled Eggs, Truffled Egg Yolk Mousse

Palate Cleansing Sorbet made with Liquid Nitrogen

"KFC" Korean Fried Chicken Wings, Pepper Jelly Glaze, House-made Kimchi

Moroccan Goat Boxes, Winter Tabouil, Bergamot Goat Cheese, Compressed Cucumber Salad

Pumpkin Schumpkin: Indian Spiced Pumpkin Ice Cream, Roasted Sesame Praline, Colombian Coffee Cake, Smoked Hay Peanut Butter Panna Cotta

Sweet Corn Caramel Flan: Salted Corn & Caramel Ice Cream, Vanilla Milk Foam, "Cracker Jacks"

I'm happy that I avoided the scallops in the cigar box.  Not because they aren't appetizing... I'm sure they are!  But rather because it is the dish that everyone had told me about.  The dish that I got 6 or 7 glimpses of while sitting in the dining room.  I could pretty much see it and taste it without having to order it.  But the dishes that I did order were sensational.  I'd gladly go back.  I'm also excited for Chef Lopez's next venture, Square Root, which will feature small seatings and outrageous tasting menus on Magazine Street.  Be on the look out for that in 2013!

Root on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Smooth Ambler White Whiskey: Whisk(e)y Wednesday presented by Calandro's Supermarket

Smooth Ambler White Whiskey
Don't let the 56.25 average score fool you... this is a good white whiskey.  Is it as good as some premium barrel aged bourbon or Scotch that has been peat smoked and aged by crashing waves?  Of course not.  But for what it is, I can proudly say job well done to John Little and his team at Smooth Ambler in West Virginia.  A score 56.25 means you'd never hand it back if somebody ordered it for you at the bar.  You'd be happy to drink it, and I certainly am happy to have a bottle in my collection.  It is an ideal white whiskey for anybody looking to make moonshine cocktails or infusions, too.  The nose is of candy-corn and boozy tastiness.  On the lips it delivers more burn in a corn-bomb sort of way.  The corn mellows slightly, then the alcohol from being 100 proof burns on the finish.  It is fiery and sweet as any white whiskey should be, with some obvious signs that a little charred oak aging will do this whiskey good!

Smooth Ambler White Whiskey

56.25 Average Score


Whisk(e)y Wednesday is a blog post series on Bite and Booze sponsored by Calandro's Supermarket. Calandro's has one of Baton Rouge's best selections of bourbon, Scotch, and other whisk(e)ys as well as wine and craft beer. WW is created and rated by the hosts of Raise a Glass. Scores are marked for Nose, Taste, Finish, and Balance and Complexity using our own propriatary 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 while anything below 20 is absolute horse piss and anything above 90 is rather extraordinary.

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