Grab your tickets for The Taste benefiting the Mary Bird Perkins Our Lady of the Lake Cancer Center

Check out all of Jay Ducote's products at the online store with free shipping on orders over $50!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Month of Salads #9: Beausoleil

Beausoleil's Grilled Shrimp Pasta Salad
Beausoleil's Grilled Shrimp Pasta Salad
Beausoleil gets a lot of recognition for their curried chicken salad sandwich on their brunch and lunch menu, but their other versions of salad also highlight bold flavors that come together in a way that has this big guy craving something a little greener. I'm a huge fan of their seafood salad, but I ventured out of my norm for this post and gave their grilled shrimp pasta salad a try. The skewered grilled shrimp were lightly seasoned, superbly succulent, and slightly warmed atop a cool pasta salad. A rainbow of Rotini pasta dressed with a pistou sauce which is essentially a Provençal pesto with cloves of garlic, fresh basil, and olive oil was satisfying without weighing me down. For an added fresh bite, some red onion, peas, and tomatoes round out the textures and flavors. Chef Nathan takes things to an entirely different level with goat cheese. It marries all of the flavors together and makes this a truly restaurant quality pasta salad.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Month of Salads #8: Bistro Byronz

Bistro Byronz Blackened Shrimp Salad
Bistro Byronz Blackened Shrimp Salad
Bistro Byronz presents a lovely dining option nestled sweetly in Mid-City Baton Rouge. I brunched there the day after Fête Rouge with the ladies from Visit Baton Rouge as well as the great group of food bloggers that took to the town for the weekend. With a lot of water and several cups of coffee, I seemed to be on the way to Fête Rouge recovery. We also devoured plenty of bleu cheese chips and french toast beignets to get started, which certainly helped. Since August is the Month of Salads, I felt the blackened shrimp salad calling my name! Spicy shrimp atop a spritely bed of mixed greens were accompanied by Mandarin oranges, feta crumbles and one of the most gorgeous sliced avocados I've seen. The salad presented crunchy, spicy, and sweet flavors with an orange rosemary vinaigrette and served as a nice pick me up from my wine hangover!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Roux Wine Tours: Whisk(e)y Wednesday presented by Lock & Key Whiskey Bar

Photo Credit: Bob Hamilton Photography
Photo Credit: Bob Hamilton Photography
On this wonderful Whisk(e)y Wednesday presented by the Lock & Key Whiskey Bar, I'd like to take this opportunity to welcome new sponsor, Roux Wine Tours! Owner and Certified Sommelier Myrna Arroyo specializes in traveling around the world and taking people on exclusive journeys. She has some incredible things going on as of late that I'm excited about including a whisky tour of Scotland! Roux Wine Tours will be taking a small group of people on an escorted tour of Edinburgh, Speyside, Orban and Islay where you'll get the chance to envelop yourself in single malt heaven. Trips to five different distilleries like Laphoaig, Oban, and Balvenie await you when you dive into the world of Scotch whisky. If you want to take a peek at the full itinerary click here. I haven't been to Scotland, but when I do go, it'll be a trip like this! And stay tuned because we might be working on a Kentucky Bourbon Trail trip before too long!


Friday, August 22, 2014

Month of Salads #7: Pronto Truck

The Pronto Truck's Baja Shrimp Cob Salad
The Pronto Truck's Baja Shrimp Cob Salad
Gourmet Girls Fine Catering has recently spawned the Pronto Truck. A drop of bright yellow sunlight at the base of the Perkins Road Overpass is the new "it girl" on the grab and go lunch scene. Gourmet Girls started the Pronto Truck because people kept trying to go to their storefront for lunch. After the demand began to grow they decided to cook items on a changing lunch menu in the Gourmet Girls kitchen, pack them up, and sell them through the Pronto Truck window. I went on Taco Tuesday and had their pulled chicken tacos. They were quite tasty once put together, but I imagine they would have been even better had they been assembled to order. Having that said, I had been seeing pictures of their good looking salads for days on Instagram and had to pop over and give one of them a try as well. The Baja Shrimp Cobb Salad contained every bit of crispness and deliciousness that I would expect from Gourmet Girls. Lovely boiled shrimp over mixed greens with cucumber, carrots, and tomatoes with a salsa ranch dressing provided a fresh bite on a seriously warm day. I look forward to trying the other salads they come up with.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The Sazerac: Whisk(e)y Wednesday presented by Lock & Key Whiskey Bar

Lock & Key's Sazerac
The Sazerac is a cocktail of historic lore. The fact that it was created in New Orleans is undisputed, but the legends of apothecaries, pharmacists, and bartenders that contributed to the cocktail are vastly differing. One thing we do know is that the Sazerac started with a base of Cognac, Sugar, Peychaud's Bitters, a lemon peel, and of course a glass lined with Absinthe. Throughout the course of history due to a devastated grape crop in France and the craft wine industry successfully lobbying to outlaw absinthe, the cocktail transitioned from cognac and absinthe to rye whiskey and Herbsaint. Herbsaint, of course, is almost an anagram for absinthe, and highlights many of the same herbs as the Green Fairy minus the wormwood, the herb which was claimed to be hallucinogenic.

The Lock & Key Whiskey Bar features a more new world Sazerac on their featured cocktail list as well as on their happy hour menu ($5) from 4:30-7 PM M-F. The Sazerac-Sazerac ($10 regularly) begins with Sazerac brand rye whiskey and continues with the aforementioned bitters, and Herbsaint. You'll definitely get a taste of a fine Louisiana cocktail here!

Also of note, tonight at Lock & Key is their monthly Women & Whiskey Event. The free educational whiskey lesson is from 6:30-8:30 tonight. Anybody is welcome!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Black Magic Beers: Brew Dogs Works Voodoo into the Louisiana Craft Beer Scene

Martin Dickie (left) and James Watt (right) on a balcony in New Orleans, Louisiana
Martin Dickie (left) and James Watt (right) on a balcony in New Orleans, Louisiana

If you've never heard of Brew Dogs, now is the perfect time to do your homework. James Watt and Martin Dickie are the owners of Brew Dog brewery in Scotland, a rising star amongst the brewing constellation in the United Kingdom. Their show on the Esquire Network follows the pair as they visit brewing cities in America and concoct inspired beers along the way.

So why am I telling you about Brew Dogs? If you were listening in to the Bite and Booze radio show a while back, you could have heard NOLA Brewing's owner, Kirk Coco telling us about how these crazy guys were while brewing on an airboat in the middle of the bayou. James and Martin came down to New Orleans to see what Louisiana craft beer had going on and while they were here, brewed entirely on an airboat composed of flavors like mayhaw and the "resurrection plant", Rose of Jericho. During their stay, they participated in a friendly competition against Bayou Teche Brewing to test their skills pairing craft beers with the local cuisine.

Tune in August 20th at 9/8c on the Esquire Network to see how these Scots fair in the swamp!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Month of Salads #6: MJ's Café

The peach and blueberry salad at MJ's Café
The peach and blueberry salad at MJ's Café
MJ's has been one of my favorite hidden gems in Baton Rouge for several years now. Despite my carnivorous ways, popping in to MJ's for a freshly made soup, vegetarian sandwich, or a locally constructed salad really hits the spot for me at lunch time. Maureen Joyce, the owner, has always made it a point to serve the freshest and most local ingredients she can get her hands on. While she has a regular menu, I tend to stick to the rotating soups and salads of the day. This particular salad was made with fresh Louisiana peaches and blueberries atop a bed of mixed greens, fresh feta cheese, and roasted Louisiana pecans. The flavors worked so well that once Blair finished Instagramming and eating her cup of pinto bean soup, she took one bite of the salad and proceeded to praise the merits of the fresh flavors and diverse textures until her bowl contained no more. If you're ever in the mood for something amazingly delicious and local, stop in and let Maureen set you up!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Month of Salads #5: The Salad Shop

The Salad Shop
My Creation at The Salad Shop
After listening to one too many sad attempts made by Blair to change the lyrics to 50 Cent's "Candy Shop" to something about salad, I finally made it in to The Salad Shop for lunch. They have eight signature salads for the indecisive, but the coolest thing about The Salad Shop is their "build your own salad feature." While you can find this model at a few other places in town, The Salad Shop has four different types of lettuce, 52 toppings, and 16 dressings to choose from (you can even turn your salad into a wrap). It's like the mad scientist lab of salads! I mixed some romaine and arugula together and added in edamame, sliced almonds, feta cheese, red onions, sun-dried tomatoes, bacon, and avocado and had it tossed in Hanley's Sensation Salad Dressing! They throw it all in a bowl, chop it to bits, and boom! Whether you're on the go or have a minute to sit down and relax, The Salad Shop is a great place to veg out.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Ardbeg Auriverdes: Whisk(e)y Wednesday presented by Lock & Key

Ardbeg Auriverdes
Ardbeg Auriverdes
It took over TWO YEARS, but finally the Whisk(e)y Wednesday Leader Board has a new top dog: Ardbeg Auriverdes Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky ($23 at Lock & Key). Dethroning the Jefferson Presidential Select 18 Year proved to be no small task, but we also knew that it eventually might fall. Signifying both the Ardbeg colors of gold and green as well as the colors of Brazil, which hosted the 2014 World Cup, Auriverdes presents a special release for Ardbeg which came out just in time for the great sporting event. The whisky uses special "fire casks" that are toasted just for Ardbeg to create a signature flavor in this expression. And boy does it make a difference! Right away on the nose you get whiffs of salty, smoky, maple cured bacon. It smells like an old Scotsman's kitchen while his wife is at Church. The country breakfast aroma gives rise to the flavor profile which continues the superb representation of smoked meats with the addition of freshly roasted coffee. A little sugar and sea salt chime into the breakfast blend. With a drop of water the whisky opens up with some honey blossoms and oak. The long mouth-coating finish goes down like a pig, stuffed with barley, trying to swim in the turbulent salty sea. A gentle burn greets the oinker on the way down. The Ardbeg Auriverdes is expertly balanced with a complexity that is all its own. A glimmering cornucopia of magnificent magic awaits the lucky owners of only 1,110 cases which were produced. Need to try it? Get to Lock & Key now.

Also, Flight School at Lock & Key happens this evening with Arthur Lauck from 6:00-8:00pm. They are putting together a very affordable flight to take your whiskey knowledge to new heights while your taste buds soar! Go check it out and learn more about whiskey!

Ardbeg Auriverdes
Average Score: 94.67


Whisk(e)y Wednesday is a blog post series on Bite and Booze sponsored by the Lock & Key Whiskey Bar. Lock & Key has one of Baton Rouge's best selections of bourbon, Scotch, Irish, and other whisk(e)ys available for on premise consumption. This WW feature was scored by Jay Ducote from Bite and Booze, Arthur Lauck from Lock & Key, and Jordan Lewis from tommysTV. Scores are marked for Nose, Taste, Finish, and Balance and Complexity using our own proprietary 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 (though not undrinkable) while anything below 20 is absolute horse piss and anything above 80 is rather extraordinary and anything above 90 is world class.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Month of Salads #4: Fresh Junkie

Fresh Junkie's Brick House Salad
Fresh Junkie's Brick House Salad
If you're like me, you're on the go a lot for lunch throughout the week. Whether it is lunch meetings or grabbing a quick bite to hold you over, that midday meal is always a focal point. On a recent pass through downtown I made a point to hit up the new location for Fresh Junkie. You won't find any tables inside, but there are plenty places to sit in the lovely and adjacent North Boulevard Town Square. At Fresh Junkie you can build your own salad or wrap or choose one of their signature blends that are absolutely delicious. My favorite is the Brick House: romaine, mixed greens, grilled asparagus, edamame, red bell peppers, carrot sticks, grape tomatoes, parmesan, and the brick house dressing. All of their dressings are made in house and the ingredients are as fresh as the name implies. If you're ever in the area or at the Main Street Market, swing by and grab some healthy and satisfying! And if you want to see Pat Fellows, the owner, and I making some wraps on a food truck, then check out this video from last year's 225: Into the Mix series!

Monday, August 11, 2014

LA, meet L.A.: Getting Acquainted with Lower Alabama

I recently had the opportunity to take Team Bite and Booze on a press trip down to Gulf Shores Orange Beach for a little local wining, dining, and R&R. We had the chance to soak up some rays, but the real treat was all of the fresh gulf seafood we were invited to feast on everyday! Here's a look at a few places that were worthy of a pulling up a chair and chowing down:

We arrived at The Wharf ready to get tasting and luckily for us there was a nice little daiquiri shop right next to the parking garage! After we got settled in we walked to one of the restaurants downstairs from our condo: Villaggio Grille. Definitely the nicest restaurant at The Wharf, Villaggio has modern American cuisine with a slight Italian and Mediterranean influence. It's not a place to get spaghetti and meatballs, but they have some great Italian inspired seafood dishes.

Prince Edward Island Mussels: Roasted Tomatoes, White Wine, Lemon, Garlic, & Shallot
Prince Edward Island Mussels: Roasted Tomatoes, White Wine, Lemon, Garlic, & Shallot

The next day we took a trek to The Beach Club to meet with their property managers over lunch at the Village Hideaway. They offered some awesome insight to the cool things going on in the Gulf Shores Orange Beach area and the really great beers from the nearby town of Fairhope. We had a couple of their amber ales while we toyed around with the golf simulator (Aimee and I schooled Blair) then sat down to a pretty tasty rack of ribs, fresh mahi tacos, and coconut shrimp. After lunch we got the chance to relax on the beach and catch some waves before heading back to The Wharf for a Gulf Coast/Alabama Seafood Twitter party and dinner.

Seafood Tacos: Fresh Gulf Mahi, Cilantro Slaw, Sliced Avocado, Key Lime Cream Sauce
Seafood Tacos: Fresh Gulf Mahi, Cilantro Slaw, Sliced Avocado, Key Lime Cream Sauce

Perhaps one of the most fun days we had during our stay in Gulf Shores Orange Beach started out with breakfast at Brick and Spoon. They had a build your own Bloody Mary menu, some massive pancakes, and some killer breakfast tacos. The unique breakfast tacos featured fried wonton wrappers as the shell. Brick and Spoon proved to be a great place to grab breakfast on your way to a sweet dolphin cruise!

Breakfast Tacos: Fried Wonton Shell, Chorizo Scrambled Eggs, Lettuce, Sour Cream, and Mango Salsa with a side of Cheese Grits
Breakfast Tacos: Fried Wonton Shell, Chorizo Scrambled Eggs, Lettuce, Sour Cream, and Mango Salsa with a side of Cheese Grits

If you're going to take a sailing adventure while on the Alabama Gulf Coast, I'd gladly suggest the Wild Hearts Dolphin Cruise. Wild Hearts operates a nice catamaran sailboat that provides a great beer drinking platform in the bay and the gulf. They have fun stuff for kids to play with, water and snacks on board, and a great crew. It was a really nice, relaxing day on the water while soaking up some vitamin D.

View from the Wild Hearts Sailboat at Perdido Bay
View from the Wild Hearts Sailboat at Perdido Bay
We did some more dining in Gulf Shore and Orange Beach, but those places were so good that we wanted to give them their own blog posts. So coming up soon on Bite and Booze will be posts about The Gulf, Lucy B. Goode, and brunch at Fisher's! 

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Month of Salads #3: Oscar's Ice Cream & Pizza Joint

Oscar's Ice Cream & Pizza Joint's Chef's Salad
Oscar's Ice Cream & Pizza Joint's Chef's Salad
It doesn't take science to figure out what you should go to Oscar's for. Oscar's has some creative and beyond delicious pizzas, a decent craft beer selection, and homemade ice cream; that's all you need right? Wrong--they're also home to great starters and hearty salads. I tried the Chef's Salad, a gorgeous mound of baby spinach, romaine, tomato, cucumber, mozzarella cheese, pepperoncini peppers, red onion, kalamata olives, grilled chicken, and ham. I'm a big guy, but I can dig on some salad and the best part of this plate was the heaping helping of chicken and ham that overtook this salad. You will not go hungry at Oscar's if you choose something a little more green!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

The Glenlivet 12: Whisk(e)y Wednesday presented by Lock & Key

The Glenlivet 12
The Glenlivet 12
Whisk(e)y Wednesday needed a return to Scotch and there are few more quintessential brands for a representation of Scotland than The Glenlivet 12 ($6 at Lock & Key)! It starts off simple and clean on the nose. There's no overwhelming peat or briny sea mist. Just grain with subtle floral and fruit notes. As you sip on the whisky it presents a smooth, incredibly drinkable flavor. It is hard not to be pleased. The easy rider swirls around the taste buds more like a dram of apple juice spiked with a splash of Scotch. The flavors are subtle but welcoming. The fruit characteristics with the heavy barley flavorings and a touch of honey create an approachable every-day or introductory whiskey that a pro can enjoy and a beginner can fall in love. The whisky presents an exceptional balance but a lack of complexity. While it goes down easy it doesn't really excite the drinker beyond getting him or her drunk. But for $6 it is hard to argue with bellying up to the bar and getting a pour!

Also, don't forget about the Cutthroat Kitchen viewing party at Lock & Key this Sunday, August 10th at 7:30 PM!

The Glenlivet 12 Year
Average Score: 65.0


Whisk(e)y Wednesday is a blog post series on Bite and Booze sponsored by the Lock & Key Whiskey Bar. Lock & Key has one of Baton Rouge's best selections of bourbon, Scotch, Irish, and other whisk(e)ys available for on premise consumption. This WW feature was scored by Jay Ducote from Bite and Booze, Arthur Lauck from Lock & Key, and Jordan Lewis from tommysTV. Scores are marked for Nose, Taste, Finish, and Balance and Complexity using our own proprietary 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 (though not undrinkable) while anything below 20 is absolute horse piss and anything above 80 is rather extraordinary and anything above 90 is world class.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Sample the Big Easy without Breaking the Bank: We Live to Eat Restaurant Week is Back!

We Live to Eat Restaurant Week in New Orleans takes place during the week of September 8-14, 2014! This is the one week you won't want to miss--two-course lunches for $20 or less and three-course dinners for $39 or less at premier New Orleans eateries. Over 50 restaurants are participating in the Louisiana Restaurant Association's WLTE event in partnership with Eat Fit NOLA including Chef John Besh establishments – Domenica, Lüke, Borgne, La Provence and August; New Orleans culinary institutions Galatoire’s, Arnaud’s and Commanders Palace; Drago’s Seafood Restaurant; Mr. B’s Bistro; Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse; Galatoire’s 33 Bar & Steak and many more.






This year's installment of We Live to Eat Restaurant Week in New Orleans will begin with a kick off celebration at The Chicory on September 3rd where guests will be able to sample culinary creations and get a "sneak peak" of some participating restaurant's menus. All ticket sales to the kick off celebration benefit the Louisiana Restaurant Association Education Fund.



We Live to Eat Restaurant Week makes for the ideal foodie vacation with hotel and flight packages. Feel free to check back regularly to the WLTE Restaurant Week website for updates on participants, sponsors, travel packages and deals. Restaurant menus will be available online beginning August 1, 2014.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Month of Salads #2: Juban's

Juban's Marinated Seafood & Avocado Salad
Juban's Marinated Seafood & Avocado Salad
When one thinks of Juban's, the words fine dining, hallelujah crab, and honey bourbon typically come to mind. While Juban's has been a staple and a standard for fine dining in the Baton Rouge area for over 30 years, they're also a phenomenal lunch spot. Their salads are crazy good and this Marinated Seafood and Avocado salad is one of my favorites. There's nothing better than fresh Louisiana Seafood over some crisp greens on a hot Baton Rouge day. Putting avocado on salads is something I've recently come to really enjoy. It's smooth and buttery, but it also adds a unique texture and brightness to a salad that I find refreshing. Throw some fresh bell peppers and cracked pepper on top and call it a win!

Friday, August 1, 2014

Month of Salads #1: City Pork

City Pork House Salad
City Pork House Salad
Throughout August, Bite and Booze will be featuring salads from restaurants all over Baton Rouge. Our goal is to find the best salads around town, eat them, and then blog about them. While I am keenly aware that salads aren't the usual fare, during the month of August I'm going to try to eat more of them. It'll be an adventure! Oh, and if you're interested, I did a Month of Salads last August too. Dig through the archives and find the posts!

The folks at City Pork Deli & Charcuterie are best known for their ability to crank out some serious house-cured meats, but there isn't one dish on their menu not worth getting. They have a few salads on their menu, and the House Salad boasts enough porky goodness for me to eat it every now and then. Mixed greens lightly coated in a balsamic vinaigrette are speckled white with crumbled bleu cheese making for a spot on salad. It wouldn't be City Pork without some bacon. Who needs croutons when your salad can be riddled with large cubes of house-cured swine? No one, that's who. Having that said, there are fresh cherry tomatoes and some lovely toasted bread slices... feel free to make your BLT and wash it down with an ice cold Tin Roof Juke Joint IPA!