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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

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

Bulleit Bourbon Frontier Whiskey
This scoring might upset some people.  I know plenty of folks who think Bulleit Frontier Whiskey is one of the better bourbons on the market for the dollar.  I think they just like that it comes in a nostalgic looking medicine bottle.  Don't get me wrong, the bourbon is okay.  Our taste test just revealed that none of us found it to be spectacular.  The nose has plenty of spice.  The extra rye comes through as cinnamon on the snout.  The flavor carries that kick like a "Pow!" from a Batman cartoon.  It is spicy enough to give you heartburn.  A medicinal flavor sneaks in, perhaps from your mind because of the bottle.  The finish is smooth considering the spice, and dry on the back of the tongue.  Overall the whiskey is certainly enjoyable.  I'd drink it on the rocks or in a cocktail for sure.  And I'd be willing to keep a bottle on my shelf.  But it isn't going to be one of my go-to bourbons.

Bulleit Bourbon

Average Score 68.5


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.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

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

Woodford Reserve Distiller's Select
Woodford Reserve is a go-to Kentucky bourbon of mine.  It has a pretty nice balance between overall satisfaction, price, and shelf appeal.  The nose is heavy on the oak with grass and hay coming though more than vanilla.  At the tip of the tongue you get the flavors of charcoal from the burnt oak barrel.  It reminds me of a summer barbecue, which might be why I like it so much.  It is fresh and clean throughout the mouth and the fresh cut grass remains through the low and slow finish.  The flavors linger a bit in a pleasant way like sweet honeysuckle on the palate.  Jeremy and I had the Woodford Reserve at 82 and 83, but Eric and James's scores took the average down a bit.  Still, the whiskey is a nice one to have on the shelf.  Enjoy!


Woodford Reserve

Average Score 75.75


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.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Patron Dinner at Restaurant IPO

Pork Belly Course
Recently I had the opportunity to attend the "Dinner of all Dinners" as Chef Chris Wadsworth and Sean "Foodie Patutie" Rivera combined forces on a multiple course dinner cooked and paired with different products from the Patron portfolio.  Of course, for the most part, that meant tequila!  And as you might imagine, my memory of the meal is quite faded, so while I can show you pictures, I certainly won't remember every detail from the feast.  We got started with a shot of cream liqueur mixed with the Patron XO Cafe, a coffee liqueur made with tequila.  After a couple of those, we sat down for dinner in The Office bar above Restaurant IPO.  Our first course brought on some pork belly from Chappapeela Farms that had been brined in Patron Anejo tequila.  It came with a Reposado tequila reduction and pickled mirliton.  This dish really worked well with all the textures and flavors coming together to dance on my tongue.  It paired with a Greek infused Ultimat Vodka, a potato and grain vodka in Patron's collection of spirits.  Chef Wadsworth's infusion with cucumber and whole lot more is spot on.  I suggest getting up to Restaurant IPO and trying it! 

Greek Infused Ultimat Vodka
The next course came a delicious chilled soup from Chef Sean Rivera with a tequila based play on a Bloody Mary.  Unfortunately, I can't tell you exactly what was in the soup.  I just know I ate it all.  And I liked it.

Chef Sean Rivera's Soup with a Tequila Bloody Mary
The salad course also escapes me a bit.  The plate presented a duo of salads, one with crab and the other with roasted peppers.  Both were quite nice, as was the tequila based cocktail that came with it.  Or maybe that was the Pyrat Rum.  I had been drinking and forgot to take good notes.

A cocktail with... something

A tequila-based sorbet palate cleanser

I do know the next items that came out, although they maybe the main reason the rest of the details are fuzzy.    The Gran Patron Burdeos and Gran Patron Platinum were poured side by side.  The Burdeos is the most expensive of all Patron tequilas, retailing in the neighborhood of $500 per fifth.  The tequila is made from extremely selective agave and matured in a combination of new American and French oak barrels for a minimum of 12 months, and up to 2 years.  It is then distilled again before it is racked in vintage Bordeaux barrels.  The tequila is smooth and sweet.  It picks up notes from the wood similar to a bourbon with the vanilla and oak flavors.  It can be sipped repeatedly without the need to pucker of gasp at the taste of tequila.  I'd go so far as to say it might be the best tequila I've ever had.  Though in all honesty, the Gran Patron Platinum may have had it beat just because it actually tastes like tequila.  Really.  Good.  Tequila.  The Platinum is comes from those same high-quality agave plants that are hand-selected for sugar content.  It is triple distilled and rested in oak tanks.  The silver tequila is smooth yet carries the taste of agave without being covered up by excessive aging.  This is what the best agave in the world tastes like, and I'd never pass up a taste.  Don't shoot it though.  Both of these tequilas deserve to be sipped and enjoyed, not chased with a squeeze of lime.

Gran Patron Burdeos and Gran Patron Platinum
The main course featured a crawfish stuffed pork chop over boursin risotto with a tequila sauce and crowned by cracklins.  The chop had a well seared exterior with a juicy middle.  The spiciness of the crawfish and the rub played with the sweetness in the tequilas for a great pairing.  In fact, they both worked extremely well, showing me that tequila can be used to pair with foods.  Good to know!

Crawfish Stuffed Pork Chop
By the time dessert came, tequila ran through my blood like Rickey Henderson through a stop sign from his third base coach.  I know it had a chocolate cake with strawberry... because I have the picture below.  I'm sure there was tequila in there somewhere, but I don't really recall.  I also don't have a picture of whatever cocktail came with it, so I'm totally lost there.  But it still capped off a great meal.  Chef Chris Wadsworth and Chef Sean Rivera pulled off an fantastic dinner, and I'm glad I got to attend with rest of Team Voltron.  The folks from Glazers and Patron were excellent as well.  It definitely made me understand what makes a great tequila.

Dessert

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Evan Williams Single Barrel: Whisk(e)y Wednesday presented by Calandro's Supermarket

In a Whisk(e)y Wednesday first, Evan Williams Single Barrel received the exact same final score from all four judges.  While we rated the bourbon differently for nose, taste, finish, and balance and complexity, after the scores were tallied, everybody ended up with a 75/100.  The Even Williams Single Barrel is a significant step up from regular EW.  The nose is delicate, with maple and corn coming through in the tones of maple flavored corn-based pancake syrup.  The whiskey had a little punch on the tongue with a slight spice.  The flavors are subtle, with nothing harsh nor overly interesting.  It finishes smoothly and easily, so much so that you can swish it around your mouth, if you'd like.  The flavors could be more robust, but the drink-ability is there and this is a solid bourbon to put on your shelf.


Evan Williams Single Barrel

Average Score 75.0


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.

Monday, March 11, 2013

926-Muff... the Name and the Number

Using the phone number in the business name... brilliant.  Offering delivery in the 70808, even more so.  But the question is, can they make a good muffaletta?  Of course, I had to see.  I swung by the little joint on Congress at Perkins the other day and met owner Leigh Anne Town.  With a kind smile and welcoming opening of the walk-up window, Leigh Anne asked what she could get for me.


I ordered a half-muffaletta.  The we chatted for a bit about how I heard about the place (driving by up and down Perkins) and other things that I might happen to do or not do in the food world of Baton Rouge.  Then I got my sandwich, took it home, and scarfed it down, but not before snapping a picture.  Well, kinda.


The 926-Muff sandwich rested on the foundation of Leidenheimer muffaletta bread.  Add that to the traditional ingredients of olive salad, salami, ham, mortadella, and provolone, and you certainly had an authentic, Central Grocery style concoction.  Leigh Anne also adds the option of running the muffaletta through a conveyor oven, if desired.  I opted for the heat in order to crisp the bread and melt the cheese.  Overall it definitely proved to be a satisfying sandwich.  Since they'll deliver to my house, I'll probably eat quite a few of them.  By no means will it replace the occasional trip out to Anthony's Italian Deli on Florida Blvd. for what I believe to be the best muffaletta on the planet, but 926-Muff is definitely a welcome addition to the Baton Rouge food scene.   

926-Muff on Urbanspoon

Friday, March 8, 2013

Phoenix's O.H.S.O. Eatery + nanoBrewery

Craft Draft at O.H.S.O. Eatery + nanoBrewery
Of course my trip to Phoenix for the MLB FanCave couldn't be ALL baseball.  I had to sneak some Bite and Booze in at some point.  Fortunately after getting picked up from the airport by Veronica, a good friend from back in my LSU days, we had time to swing by the O.H.S.O. Eatery + nanoBrewery for some catching up over brews and a little food.  OHSO had a handful of house-made beers on tap as well as plenty of other options from around Arizona.  There were some really interesting and wonderful beers that I sampled such as the White Chocolate Ale out of Sonoran Brewing (third from left) in Scottsdale and OHSO's own Roasted Apricot Nitro (far right).  I think my favorite may have been the Coconut Joe Coffee Stout (second from left) out of Papago Brewing, also in Scottsdale.  The roasted malt and coffee flavors were nicely accented by the hints of coconut for a refreshing variation on a dark coffee beer!

Moving on to the food, I ordered a signature dish at OHSO, the gnocchi bolognese.  The potato pasta had plenty of cheese mixed in with the beef and sausage bolognese.  The basil added a little freshness to keep the dish from being too rich.  The single plate of it filled me up and could easily be ordered as a dish to pass around and share.  I'm going to have to remember this idea for later, because it was delicious!  Nothing like a good brewpub to get a trip going.  Cheers!

Gnocchi Bolognese 

O.H.S.O Brewery on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Laphroaig 15: Whisk(e)y Wednesday presented by Calandro's Supermarket

Getting back into Scotchy Scotch Scotch, we tasted a 15 year Islay single malt called Laphroaig.  Just to be up front... deliciousness ensued.  Laphroaig 15 is a Scotch drinker's Scotch. The nose salty, smoky, and quintessentially peaty.  It brings hints of cured meats, bacon, and smoked sea salts.  The taste would work with Louisiana flavors such as char-grilled oysters or an andouille smokehouse.  The whisky finishes with lingering smoke, strong flavors, and very balanced.  For some, the smoke from the peat fires on the malted barley will be overwhelming.  For others, that's where the fun begins.  Laphroaig 15 is amazingly smooth for such strong, earthy and smoky flavors.  If you want an Islay single malt for your collection, this is a great one.

Laphroaig 15 Year

Average Score 82.25


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, March 4, 2013

Jay, Jay. Jay, Jay.

By now perhaps you've seen the prank video from the MLB Fan Cave where Jay Bruce, star outfield for the Cincinnati Reds, got me good.  If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter, have paid any attention the MLB Fan Cave, or even if you just happened upon the homepage of Yahoo!, you've seen something about it!



In case you haven't seen it, here's the full video:


So, I definitely got pranked.  And hilarity ensued.  Just to clarify a few things that people have been asking:

1) I had no idea I was getting pranked.  None of the Fan Cavers were in on it, just the video production staff, the MLB FanCave staff, and Jay Bruce.

2) I wasn't scared at first because I knew that I didn't knock the table over on my own.  I didn't know that they had a rope tied to the legs and they yanked it on me, but I knew it wasn't completely my fault.  So I thought it was just adding chaos to a skit where we were trying to be frantic and generate chaos.

3) I think me running away is one of the best parts of the video.  However, I definitely wasn't running away from Jay Bruce out of fear.  I was going back to the line to let the next person come forward, adding to the what I thought was the chaos.

4) My favorite part, when I introduced myself to Jay Bruce by saying, "Jay, Jay. Jay, Jay." didn't make the final cut.  There were other parts of the conversation that were also edited out.  Oh well!  Web video has to be short.  I get it.

5) I did start to get nervous as Jay Bruce questioned me about how much it was worth.  He definitely did a pretty convincing acting job.  I knew it wasn't really my fault, but the more pissed he acted, the more defensive I was starting to get.  I could also tell by the ping the bat made when it hit the ground that it was definitely not solid silver.

6) My questions was: "What is your favorite city to eat in during road trips?"  His answer, after all the chaos, was Chicago.  Can't blame him much there.  Nola has no MLB team!

Let me know if I missed anything.  I won't get the verdict from MLB until Monday, March 11th, so wish me luck in the meantime.  I did get a pretty ringing endorsement from Harold Reynolds and the MLB HotStove crew on MLB Network as well.  That was pretty cool!