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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Kentucky Bourbon Trail - July 2015: Whisk(e)y Wednesday presented by Lock & Key

Greetings on this New Year's Eve edition of Whisk(e)y Wednesday! I've got some exciting news for 2015. I'll be teaming up with Roux Wine Tours to take a trip to the Kentucky Bourbon Trail! We're going from July 9th to 13th and will have three full days of hanging out in Louisville and touring bourbon distilleries. We're working out all of the lodging, transportation, eating, and drinking details, so all you have to do is sign up and come along for the ride! We're in the early planning stages, but as of now we're looking at hitting up:

Frankfurt, KY:
Buffalo Trace
Woodford Reserve
Four Roses

Louisville, KY:
Bulliet/Stitzel-Weller Experience
Evan Williams
Vendome Copper

Bardstown, KY:
Heaven Hill
Willet
Jim Beam or Maker's Mark

We'll also make sure to find some good restaurants and other activities along the way to make this a truly Bite and Booze inspired trip. Right now we are having people who might be interested in going with us on this journey sign up for more information. You can do that, and keep updated with more information as we get it, at this site: http://info.rouxwinetrips.com/kentucky-bourbon-trail-getaway,

Cheers, and Happy New Year!

Monday, December 29, 2014

The 10 Best Bites of Food I Ate in 2014

I've had the chance to travel fairly extensively around Louisiana and across the country this year, and along the way I've tasted some extraordinary dishes. I wanted to end the year with a bang by sharing the ten best bites of food to come across my taste buds this year. It proved to be no easy task, but each of these culinary creations struck a chord within me. Each picture brings back fond memories similar to those you'd feel when reconnecting with an old friend. These dishes trigger automatic salivation, instant warmth, and big smiles. While to some this may sound dramatic, those who've experienced such a dish will understand completely. In descending order, I give you my ten favorite dishes of 2014.

1) The Black Drum at Village Café in Lafayette

While filming at Village Café for Louisiana Culinary Trails, I had the pleasure of trying Chef Jeremy Conner's stuffed fish: Louisiana black drum stuffed with lump crab meat and pan seared served over squash and topped with a lemon crab butter sauce. I can taste this dish all over again each time I look at this picture. It was one of the most perfectly cooked pieces of Gulf seafood I've ever had, and that's even after waiting for the cameras to stop rolling before taking a bite. The velvety butter sauce had a citrus tang that complimented the sweetness of the crab and mild flavors of the Black Drum. This dish, which is always on the menu in some form, represents Gulf fish the the way it is meant to be eaten and most certainly is a must try.

The Black Drum at Village Café in Lafayette
The Black Drum at Village Café in Lafayette

2) The Oyster Stuffed Quail over Pumpkin Purée at Le Foret in New Orleans

I had the opportunity to dine at Le Foret in New Orleans a couple of times this year. Each trip provided exceptional bites. The plating and flavor profiles of Chef Brandon Felder's dishes are off the charts. Packed with Gulf oysters and set atop a beautiful artwork of pumpkin puree and other delicious sauces, this quail dish was so quintessentially Fall I could hear leaves crisping under my every step.

The Oyster Stuffed Quail over Pumpkin Purée at Le Foret in New Orleans
The Oyster Stuffed Quail over Pumpkin Purée at Le Foret in New Orleans

3) The Chicken Curry at Dang's Vietnamese Restaurant in Baton Rouge

Over the course of several weeks, my Chief Confusion Coordinator, Blair Loup, and I visited the Vietnamese restaurants of Baton Rouge for a pho round-up post. In doing so, we stumbled upon a surprising and incredibly delicious bowl of chicken curry at Dang's Vietnamese Restaurant. In addition to having the best pho in town, they also have this golden beauty. Curry isn't something you see often in Vietnamese cuisine and while it caught me off guard to find it on their specials menu in the first place, the bowl of chicken curry with layers of citrus and coconut flavors served with rice noodles is something I will order time and time again.

The Chicken Curry at Dang's Vietnamese Restaurant in Baton Rouge
The Chicken Curry at Dang's Vietnamese Restaurant in Baton Rouge

4) The Japanese Kobe Beef at Ember Wine Bar & Grille in Lake Charles

I've never had steak like this before, and that's saying something. A few other steaks were in the running for my favorite chunk of beef this year. The bone-in ribeye from Doe's Eat Place in Baton Rouge, the classic Florentine porterhouse from Carnevino in Las Vegas, and the New York Strip from 33 Steak in New Orleans all placed highly on my beef-o-meter, but this beauty from Ember at the L'Auberge in Lake Charles, Louisiana wins the blue ribbon. The beauty of being based out of a casino is to be able to play within your food service outlets, and Chef Mark Chapman knows exactly what kind of fun to have. He imports this authentic Japanese Kobe Beef and sells it for $30/ounce with a minimum order of four ounces. For you people who struggle with math, that means that the cheapest you can get a taste of this steak butter is $120, and that's still not quite the size of a respectable petite filet. But damn is it worth it! The marbling in the beef is unlike any I've seen in person. Seared to a glorious rare temperature, the shingled beef is as close as you could imagine to a breathtaking bite of beef bacon packed with umami.

Japanese Kobe Beef at Ember Wine Bar & Grille in Lake Charles
The Japanese Kobe Beef at Ember Wine Bar & Grille in Lake Charles

5) The Crispy Pig Ear Salad at Sojourn in New Orleans

Sojourn chef Jeff Williams invited me via Twitter to attend his first tasting menu pop-up dinner in New Orleans. The courses were some of the more inspired dishes upon which I have feasted. As I'm sure you know, I'm not much of a salad guy, but Chef Jeff's crispy pig ear salad is something I could eat on a daily basis. Crisp, local greens sprinkled with strips of crunchy and salty pig ear and sweet baby carrots were brightened with a peppery horseradish vinaigrette and balanced brilliantly with grated egg yolk. The flavors erupted upon my taste buds in ways that very few salads ever have, making my only complaint to be that I haven't had it since that night.

Sojourn's Crispy Pig Ear Salad in New Orleans
Sojourn's Crispy Pig Ear Salad in New Orleans

6) The Tuna and Grapefruit at Lucy B. Goode in Gulf Shores, Alabama

On a media trip to Gulf Shores and Orange Beach this past summer I had the pleasure of dining at Lucy B Goode. In an area ruled by tasty but all-too-often deep fried Gulf seafood, Lucy B Goode boasts contemporary dishes featuring locally sourced ingredients from area farms. Chef Randall Baldwin started us out with an off-menu appetizer which included only a few simple ingredients. Slices of fresh tuna and ripe grapefruit were adorned with celery leaves for a sharp contrast to the sweet juiciness of the dish which he finished with sea salt, cracked black pepper, and a light drizzling of sesame oil. The subtle flavors of the tuna and grapefruit fused together like the crescendo in a lovely score.

Tiled Fresh Tuna and Grapefruit Slices with Celery Stems at Lucy B. Goode in Gulf Shores
Tiled Fresh Tuna and Grapefruit Slices with Celery Stems at Lucy B. Goode in Gulf Shores

7) The Barbecue Spare Ribs at Arthur Bryant's in Kansas City, Missouri

A month before I launched Jay D's Louisiana Barbecue Sauce I found myself on a bachelor party adventure for my brother Eric. We just so happened to trek to the barbecue mecca that is Kansas City where I set my sights on the legendary smoked meats institution called Arthur Bryant's. Our hungover bachelor party gang showed up ready to devour some Que, so after ordering heaping portions of nearly everything on the menu, we sat down to chow down on heavenly swine and bovine. The pork spare ribs were of worthwhile wonder as if the pit-masters had wept tears of deliciousness over these bones. Few ribs have boasted the superior texture and flavor of these magically smoked morsels of pig.

Pork Ribs at Arthur Bryant's in Kansas City
Pork Spare Ribs at Arthur Bryant's in Kansas City

8) The Homemade Poptart at Magpie Cafe in Baton Rouge

All hail the Magpie poptart. Every kid who grew up in the 90's knows the Kelloggs version all too well. Frosted Brown Sugar Cinnamon could do me no wrong. Naturally, when I heard that Magpie Café  made a homemade rendition of the poptart, I knew I had to try it. They're typically made on Saturday mornings, but every now and then you can find the folks over at Magpie sneaking it into their weekday breakfast offerings. You may be saying, "Jay, a poptart? Really? With all of the wonderful things you've had to eat how did this make the list?" Well, I'll enlighten you. Not only is Magpie's version on the poptart euphorically delectable, it also gets bonus points on principle. The nostalgia it represents creates an experience that is at once memorable and triumphant above the original. Plus, the fact that someone thought up an idea like making a badass version of the poptart deserves recognition.

A Blueberry Poptart at Magpie Café in Baton Rouge
A Blueberry Poptart at Magpie Café in Baton Rouge

9) The Pork Belly Ramen at Bread and Circus Provisions in Lafayette

Lafayette has always had some amazing food, but right now their food scene seems to be exponentially exploding. Getting to experience some of the state's creations through filming the Louisiana Culinary Trails has been some of the most fun I've had this year. Shortly after visiting Village Café, we hopped over to Bread & Circus Provisions to see what Chef Manny Augello had going on in his kitchen. I sampled several of Chef's dishes, but this Pork Belly Ramen stole my heart. Legitimate ramen is hard to come by in Louisiana and it's exciting to find it in places you wouldn't expect. The vegetation gave an earthy taste to the creamy broth and I firmly believe that pork belly makes most things better. You'll definitely want to stop by Bread & Circus if you're anywhere around Lafayette area... you won't be disappointed!

The Pork Belly Ramen at Bread & Circus Provisions in Lafayette
The Pork Belly Ramen at Bread & Circus Provisions in Lafayette

10) The Hog Bone from Bacon Rouge's Chef Alex Hamman at Hogs for the Cause in New Orleans

One of the more underrated bites I've had this year came from Chef Alex Hamman's Hog Bone. I have competed in an all pork cook-off by the name of Hogs for the Cause for the past couple of years. Not only have our numbers increased for team Bacon Rouge, but so has the talent. Pastry Chef Instructor for the Louisiana Culinary Institute Alex Hamman created the Hog Bone for the Porkpouri (wild card) category in the 2014 competition. Our entire team watched in a state of shock when it didn't place in the top 10 because the flavors were so beautifully layered and innovative. Chef made a homemade cheese cracker as the base for a slightly spicy tasso and cracklin dust base that was then coated in velvety chocolate. The hog bone had all of the elements: sweet, crunchy, smoky, porky, and spicy, and they were devoured in no time. Chef Alex displayed some extreme skill in this whimsical creation and I can't wait to see what he comes up with for the 2015 Hogs for the Cause (which you can buy tickets for now... make sure to list "Bacon Rouge" as the team who referred you)!

The Hog Bone: Tasso, Cracklin Dust, Homemade Cheese Cracker invented by Alex Hamman for Team Bacon Rouge
The Hog Bone: Tasso, Cracklin Dust, Homemade Cheese Cracker invented by Alex Hamman for Team Bacon Rouge

Friday, December 26, 2014

Louisiana Culinary Trails: Delta Delights

Chef Cory Bahr and Jay Ducote filming  at Restaurant Cotton in Monroe.
Chef Cory Bahr and Jay Ducote filming
at Restaurant Cotton in Monroe.





The Louisiana Culinary Trails crew made its way up to North Louisiana to dig into Delta cuisine for the final video in the series. From Louisiana wine to Ruston peaches, we learned a few things from Chef Cory Bahr at Restaurant Cotton, Joe Mitcham, Jr. of Mitcham Farms, Chef Mark Smith from Restaurant Sage, Mike and Katie Coullard of Panola Pepper Company, Jeff Landry from Landry Vineyards, and Log Cabin Grill's Chris Garriga. There's a lot to be said for traveling within the state. There's much more than Cajun/Creole cuisine in Louisiana, so grab a fork and start exploring!












Jay Ducote, Dan Jones, and Fred Mince filming an interview with Jeff Landry
Jay Ducote, Dan Jones, and Fred Mince filming an interview with Jeff Landry

Tommy Talley and the tommysTV crew about to roll on the Mitcham Farms interview
Tommy Talley and the tommysTV crew about to roll on the Mitcham Farms interview

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Best of 2014: Whisk(e)y Wednesday presented by Lock & Key

Pappy Van Winkle 23 year
Pappy Van Winkle 23 year
This year in whiskey started strong at the Social Southern Small Batch Bourbon Dinner in January. You never argue with a chance to taste George T. Stagg, Black Maple Hill, the Thomas H. Handy Sazerac Rye, and Pappy Van Winkle 23 year. One of the most coveted whiskies in the world, the Pappy 23 year lived up to the hype with the strong notes of vanilla, oak, and sweet corn with a bit of lingering spice. Each of the spectacular whiskies partnered marvelously with a dish from Social (Lafayette, LA) to create one of the best whiskey tasting experiences I've ever been a part of. I didn't score the Pappy or any of the other small batch whiskeys that day because I didn't have my panel present and I wanted to enjoy the dinner. I'm not sure exactly how they would fare in the Whisk(e)y Wednesday points system, but here are the top three scored whiskies from 2014. For the full list of the top 20 all time whiskies scored on Bite and Booze, scroll down the right column of the site. 





Monday, December 22, 2014

Flavorful Shreveport/Bossier: Sabores Brings a Dominican Flare to Northern Louisiana

On a Shreveport-Bossier media trip this past May I had the pleasure of eating at an authentic Dominican restaurant in Bossier City. Sabores is a family owned and operated eatery with dishes reminiscent of those I had on my trip to the Dominican Republic (Parts Uno, Dos, and Tres). I'm extremely glad that we got to try some of the international cuisine in the area because they rolled out the red carpet for our group. We feasted on their favorite traditional dishes and a few surprises. I really hope I get to go back to Sabores and the entire area about the Barksdale Air Force Base. I understand that there's even more ethnic restaurants to explore!

Shrimp Mofonguitos: a plantain pedestal topped with an avocado mixture and a sautéed garlicky shrimp, garnished with a fried plantain spear.

Shrimp Mofonguitos
Shrimp Mofonguitos

Picadera: essentially a snack tray, this dish is decorated with a creamy cilantro sauce, cracklin-esque morsels of pig, fried plantains, and mini sandwiches.

Picadera
Picadera

Sancocho: a traditional stew made with bone in cuts of pork, hearty potatoes, and other veggies. Sabores typically only serves this on Sundays, but the owners were nice enough to fix a pot for our visit and didn't disappoint. The rustic and earthy stew packed plenty of flavor!

Sancocho
Sancocho

This dish is sort of like a Dominican take on Shrimp Creole served atop gulf fish. A tomato based red sauce sprinkled with red and green bell peppers and succulent shrimp is poured over a dramatic whole Red Snapper that's crispy fried and heaven in my mouth.

Red Snapper
Red Snapper with Shrimp

Pernil Herneado: Slow-roasted pork with cooked down onions. Sometimes the simple things are the most delicious.

Pernil Horneado
Pernil Horneado

Bandeja: literally meaning platter, this bandeja consisted of fried pork belly, white rice, avocado, fried egg, chorizo, and red beans. It reminded me a lot of an authentic Dominican rice and beans dish.

Bandeja
Bandeja

Mama Juana: The family prepared this traditional liquor in celebration of welcoming a new baby to the family and was kind enough to allow us all a few sips. This isn't a great picture, but you can clearly see all the leaves, twigs, and roots packed in the bottle. All of these bits and pieces of tree and herbs are soaked in rum, red wine, and honey to make an end result tasting like an earthy, licorice-y port wine. On the beaches of the DR the locals would sell Mama Juana and rave about its aphrodisiac properties. It can't hurt to take a shot, that's for sure!

Mama Juana
Mama Juana
Sabores Dominican Bar & Grill Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Friday, December 19, 2014

Louisiana Culinary Trails: Red River Riches

Tommy Talley helping his photography directors test the light at Inglewood Farms
Tommy Talley leads the tommysTV crew at Inglewood Farms



The Shreveport/Bossier area may not be know for their food, but Louisiana Culinary Trails says otherwise. Follow the Red River through the Northwest corner of the state all the way to Alexandria and you'll find some great local eateries. In filming, tommysTV and I were able to chat about what makes this area of the state so delicious with Chris Jay of the Shreveport-Bossier Convention & Tourist Bureau, Jason Brady from Wine Country Bistro, Shreveport food lover Steven Jackson, Steven Reed of Inglewood Farms, Angie White from Slow Foods North Louisiana, as well as Angela Lasyone of Lasyone's Meat Pies and Lacey Tanner from Lea's Lunchroom.







tommysTV getting set up for a Chris Jay's interview at Herby K's
tommysTV getting set up for Chris Jay's interview at Herby K's

Dan Jones captures the magic of Herby K's Shrimpbuster

Sherry's Diner in Shreveport, Louisiana

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Tasting Whiskey: Whisk(e)y Wednesday presented by Lock & Key

Tasting Whiskey by Lew Bryson
Tasting Whiskey by Lew Bryson
For this week's Whisk(e)y Wednesday we are going to hit you with some knowledge, proudly sponsored by the Lock & Key Whiskey Bar. Whiskey is enjoying a huge surge in popularity from all segments of the population. Whether it is Scotch, Irish, bourbon, rye, Canadian, Japanese, or artisan American whiskies, the spirit is flourishing. It is important for any imbiber to know where and how this impeccable liquor is created. Storey Publishing sent me a review copy of Tasting Whiskey, written by Whisky Advocate's managing editor Lew Bryson, and it is worth the read for all levels of enthusiasts.

From a guy who has spent the last 20 years immersed in the world of whiskey, our eyes are opened to how whiskey is made, how it is aged, and why it tastes the way it does. There are many “laughable” misconceptions that Bryson addresses, and it is essential that we debunk how we think whiskey is produced, aged, and spelled. Bryson takes the reader on an exploration of the whiskey world by further explaining the unique challenges of tasting it. Once we get through the basics, he discusses the many differences among whiskey regions and types, teaches us how to collect and store whiskey, and provides cocktail recipes and food pairings.

As we all dream to embark on our own whiskey journey, make sure you pick up one of the best whiskey books I’ve seen and absorb Bryson’s knowledge of the wonderful world of whiskey.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Lindsay Nations: Baroness of Beer

The Louisiana craft beer scene has taken off in the past few years and we definitely haven't seen the last of it. There are already talks of a handful of new breweries planning to open within the next couple of years. One of the newer kids on the block, the Great Raft Brewing Company out of  Shreveport, Louisiana,  has made quite a splash since they came on the scene a little over one year ago.

Lindsay Nations Co-founder and Vice President of Great Raft Brewing Company in Shreveport, Louisiana
Lindsay Nations, Co-founder and Vice President of Great Raft Brewing Company in Shreveport, Louisiana

Lindsay Nations, the Co-founder and Vice President of Great Raft Brewing Co., says her love for craft beer took off once she moved to Washington, D.C.. After growing up in Shreveport, she earned a degree in journalism from Baylor University then moved to the nation's capital where she worked for in enterprise communications. "There are different distribution laws in DC so you have access to craft beers from all over the world. It was a unique opportunity to learn what beer can be. It doesn't always have to be an amber or a lager, it can be a lot of different things. I think being exposed to that variety got me interested," Lindsay explained over a pint of their Commotion Pale Ale. Homebrewing with her husband Andrew Nations (Co-founder and President of Great Raft Brewing Co.) also really sparked the couple's involvement in the D.C. beer culture. "Everything we did outside of work revolved around beer: spending time at breweries, friends were opening breweries, doing beer tastings and education events, just being really involved to the point of having an influence in that community," said Nations, "It just became our lifestyle."

After Nations received her MBA from George Mason University, she and Andrew began talking about owning and operating their own brewery. Once the pair decided their brewery would be back home in Shreveport there was no turning back. Lindsay is in charge of the brewery's taproom operations and marketing in addition to administrative duties, accounting, and legal work. In conjunction with running the brewery with Andrew, Lindsay "has a day job" where she does strategy, planning, and communications work for Cisco. As if her busy schedule didn't present enough of a challenge, Lindsay expressed that it can be hard to be taken seriously as a female in the beer business. "A lot of times, people think that you are, as a woman, just in a supportive roll. 'Andy the owner of Great Raft... and his wife, Lindsay,' it's not necessarily 'Andrew and Lindsay are the co-founders and part owners of Great Raft Brewing,'" said Nations. While it's upsetting that assuming such a thing is just a creature of habit (pardon the pun, Creature of Habit is the name of their new coffee brown ale), it is something that Nations says she thinks may change over time. There are more and more females entering the industry all the time. Not only do their duties go beyond supportive roles, but these women are the ones who are in large part running the show.

"I can't grow a beard and be the typical face of the company in the brewing industry, but there are so many things that would fall apart if I left one day," Lindsay said laughing, "You don't get to be the face of the company when you don't fit the stereotype sometimes." Nations then began talking about Kim Jordan of New Belgium Brewing, stating how much harder she must have to work to get that recognition in the industry. "When I hear New Belgium, I think Kim Jordan. Maybe one day that will be the case with Louisiana breweries."

To that I say cheers to Lindsay Nations and cheers to women kicking ass in beer.


This post is part of a new monthly series spotlighting Louisiana women in the business of booze. Previous features include:
Natalie Parbhoo: Duchess of Distribution

Friday, December 12, 2014

Louisiana Culinary Trails: Seafood Sensation

Dan Jones, Jay Ducote, Jordan Lewis, Fred Mince, and Tommy Talley interview Mike Krajicek inside of Botsky's in Downtown Lake Charles
Dan Jones, Jay Ducote, Jordan Lewis, Fred Mince, and Tommy Talley interview Mike Krajicek inside of Botsky's in Downtown Lake Charles



Tommy Talley sips on a Bayou Rum cocktail  at the distillery in Lacassine
Tommy Talley sips on a Bayou Rum cocktail
at the distillery in Lacassine



You can find boudin, cracklin, and crawfish across the state of Louisiana, but some of the best stuff originates from Southwest Louisiana. The Louisiana Culinary trails crew rolled to the lower left corner of the state and the city of Lake Charles to highlight the bold flavors and characters that make this part of the state sensational. We learned a lot about what it means to take slow down and savor the dishes with Mike Krajicek of Botsky's, Chef Lyle Broussard from L'Auberge Casino Resort, Jeff Benoit of B&O Kitchen and Grocery, crawfish farmer Burt Tietje of Tallgrass Farm, Trey Litel of Bayou Rum, and local food writer Eric Cormier. This is a serious destination for food in Louisiana, head over and see what's cooking!










Tallgrass Farm's Burt Tietje waits for his close up while his dogs take a snooze after running through the crawfish ponds
Tallgrass Farm's Burt Tietje waits for his close up while his dogs take a snooze after running through the crawfish ponds

Dan Jones, Fred Mince, Jay Ducote, and Jordan Lewis getting footage at the Bayou Rum distillery
Dan Jones, Fred Mince, Jay Ducote, and Jordan Lewis getting footage at the Bayou Rum distillery

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Nick Offerman's Tales of Whisky: Whisk(e)y Wednesday presented by Lock & Key

Nick Offerman singing about whisky. Life is now complete.



Sure, the good people at Oban and Lagavulin (or really Diageo) set this up to be a marketing campaign for their Scotch, but what's not to love about our favorite mustached man's man singing a tune about whisky? If it has given you a hankering for of dram of Scotch, make sure to head over to the Lock & Key Whiskey Bar as they have multiple varieties of Oban and Lagavulin to choose from, all of which are fantastic!

You can actually see more Nick Offerman videos about Scotch at the My Tales of Whisky Youtube Channel.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Baton Rouge Holiday Sweets Guide: A Cake Train Ride to Sugar Town


It's that special time of year... you know the one. 'Tis the season of indulgence. Blame the holiday spirits, the super rich eggnog, or my favorite excuse: testing all of the fudge so no one in the family gets poisoned. Any way you slice it, we all suffer from at least a tad bid of gluttony during the holiday season. Fortunately, my team did a little taste testing on your behalf and found some great local places to pick up some sweet treats for your holiday gatherings and office parties! So without further ado, here are six places to grab some sugar!

The Ambrosia Bakery: 8546 Siegen Ln.

Ambrosia may be known for their fresh strawberry cake and grandiose confections, but if you're looking for an assortment of cakes, brownies, baklava, petit fours, and beyond tasty truffles you can't go wrong.

Bite and Booze Bonus: Try their bourbon pecan truffles!

Sweet eats from The Ambrosia Bakery
Sweet eats from The Ambrosia Bakery



Baum's Fine Pastries & Chocolate: 10550 Perkins Rd. & 8046 Florida Blvd.

On the Baton Rouge scene since 1934, Baum's is no stranger to baking up holiday treats for Baton Rouge families. Instead of picking up big box store cookies for your kids' school celebrations, try some of Baum's homemade, hand-iced gingerbread and butter cookies!

A lovely assortment of sugar rushes from Baum's Fine Pastries & Chocolate
A lovely assortment of sugar rushes from Baum's Fine Pastries & Chocolate



Brew Ha-Ha!: 711 Jefferson Hwy.

This one is for all of you ballers out there...cake ballers, that is! Gabby Loubiere and her barista-bots have been bringing bite-sized deliciousness to the stomachs of the Capital City for 10 years now. Definitely stop in for lunch and leave with a few dozen cake balls.

Bite and Booze Bonus: Have the cake ball queen whip up something killer for your office party! I love her cinnamon roll cake balls.

Stellar cake balls from Brew Ha-Ha!
Stellar cake balls from Brew Ha-Ha!



Cupcake Allie: 5251 Nicholson Drive or find the Cupcake Allie food truck on the road

Allison Offner has a love for cupcakes. She bakes delicious varieties of cakey goodness completely from scratch and delivers them straight to your tastebuds. If you're in the mood for something petite she also makes all of their cupcake flavors in cake bite sizes and then decorates them in to Christmas trees or light bulbs for your holiday needs. 

Bite and Booze Bonus: You must have the Pecan Pie Cupcake. It is amazing.

Pictured are Cupcake Allie's Pecan Pie Cupcake, Eggnog Cupcake, and Red Velvet, Vanilla, & Chocolate Cake Bites
Pictured are Cupcake Allie's Pecan Pie Cupcake, Eggnog Cupcake, and Red Velvet, Vanilla, & Chocolate Cake Bites


Les Amis Bake Shoppe: 11826 Coursey Blvd.

I gave Les Amis Bake Shoppe a try for the first time and it blew me away. They have gingerbread, eggnog, and peppermint cake balls, beautiful macaroons, rich salted caramel dark chocolate cake, red velvet brownies, white chocolate peppermint cheesecake, and cupcakes in crazy delicious flavors! My saliva glads had a field day with this one. Pop in and see what fresh, from-scratch treats they have baking.

Bite and Booze Bonus: To sweeten the deal Les Amis throws in a bonus bag of their peppermint buttercrunch with every holiday order!

The smorgasbord of sugar from Les Amis Bake Shoppe
The smorgasbord of sugar from Les Amis Bake Shoppe


Strand's Café: 226 Laurel St.

Strand's is tucked away in a cozy spot downtown where they crank out some delicious coffee, breakfast bites, and lunch sandwiches. They're really best known for their fine chocolates and confections. During the holidays they also have this traditional and devilishly sweet Caribbean rum cake. Anyone can show up to my party any day with one of these! This cake is heavy on the rum and just the right level of sweet if you're an elf. Try it out and let me know what you think!

The Traditional Caribbean Rum Cake at Strand's Café
The Traditional Caribbean Rum Cake at Strand's Café

Friday, December 5, 2014

Louisiana Culinary Trails: Bayou Bounty

Jordan Lewis sipping a Swamp Pop at Bread & Circus Provisions in Lafayette
Jordan Lewis sipping a Swamp Pop at Bread & Circus Provisions in Lafayette


When Louisiana's marshes and the Gulf of Mexico are your backyard, you can't help but capitalize on the amazing bounty of food at your fingertips. A trip to this part of the state means you're in store for a spectacle of Louisiana seafood like you've never experienced! From local sodas to clawing crabs, the Bayou Bounty installment of the Louisiana Culinary Trails video series shows eateries defending the world from bland food one bite at a time. This trail represents the heart of Acadiana, Lafayette, and follows the bayous and spillway down through New Iberia to Morgan City. Take a minute to listen to Chef Brian Blanchard of Cafe Jo Jo's, Chef Jeremy Conner of Village Café, Chef Richard & Lori Hurst from Little River Inn, Cecil Hymel from McIllhenny Co., and Abi Falgout of Bread & Circus Provisions boast their Cajun flair.











Jay Ducote interviewing Chef Brian Blanchard at Café Jo Jo's
Jay Ducote interviewing Chef Brian Blanchard at Café Jo Jo's

Chef Richard Hurst and his wife Lori flaunt their fresh catch morning delivery
Chef Richard Hurst and his wife Lori flaunt their fresh catch morning delivery

The Louisiana Culinary Trails Crew getting ready to roll  in front of a wall of aging Tabasco barrels
The crew from tommysTV films the Louisiana Culinary Trails
in front of a wall of aging Tabasco barrels

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

"I've Finally Found What I'm Looking For": Whisk(e)y Wednesday presented by Lock & Key

A new music video has hit the Web from Baton Rouge based Pacifico. The video is produced by tommysTV, the same production company that I've done many projects with including the Louisiana Culinary Trails. The bar scenes in the video for "I've Finally Found What I'm Looking For" were filmed at the Lock & Key Whiskey Bar, the proud sponsor of Whisk(e)y Wednesday here on Bite and Booze. And that, friends, is why Pacifico's new song is being featured here! Oh, and there are puppets! Check it out!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

The Truck, the Brewer, and the Blogger IV: Cuarta Cena Cerveza

The return of The Truck, the Brewer, and the Blogger pop-up dinner series means another can't-miss meal at the Tin Roof Brewing Company. Chef Chris Wadsworth takes the reigns of Taco de Paco, Allison Offner rides in on the Cupcake Allie truck, and Jay Ducote represents Team Bite and Booze. The dinner will feature six courses of authentic Mexican inspired cuisine paired with Tin Roof Brewing Company beers. See below for the full menu with beer pairings!

The event will take place at Tin Roof on Tuesday, January 20th, 2015 at 7 PM. Tickets will certainly make a great surprise holiday gift or early Valentine's date since V-Day is on the Saturday of Mardi Gras weekend!

To get tickets, head over to the Cuarta Cena Cerveza Eventbrite Page!


Monday, December 1, 2014

Make Ahead Bread with a Giveaway!

Make Ahead Bread
Make Ahead Bread by Donna Currie
For those who have been following Bite and Booze for awhile, you might remember back to the Emeril's One Pot Blogger Party that I participated in during the Fall of 2011. After that promotion, the group of bloggers teamed up and formed a group called Virtual Potluck. For the last three years we've teamed up on other projects and watched each others' blogs grow and thrive. One of those bloggers, Donna Currie from the blog Cookistry, has recently released her very own book! Donna's book, Make Ahead Bread, is available for sale on Amazon. If you'd like an autographed copy, you can order one from Barbed Wire Books. You can also find Donna on Facebook and Twitter.

Kneading Dough (photo courtesy of Make Ahead Bread)
Kneading Dough (photo courtesy of Make Ahead Bread)
I received a copy of the book as well as a few gifts so I could bake some of my own bread. There's really nothing more lovely than the smell of freshly baked bread... okay, maybe freshly cooked bacon, but still, bread is amazing. Make Ahead Bread encourages the reader to make the dough ahead of time that way all the mixing and kneading is done and all you have left to do is bake and enjoy! With so many recipes to choose from, it can be difficult to choose which type of bread to make next.

12 lucky winners are going to receive a gift from Virtual Potluck and all the fine sponsors below. There are over $1800 worth of prizes up for grabs in four different groupings. You can enter right here via Rafflecopter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway






For the giveaway, we'd like to thank our sponsors who generously offered some fantastic prizes:

In addition to supplying items for the giveaway, a special thanks to Taunton Press, Silverstone, Microplane and WÜSTHOF for supplying products for all the bloggers to work with.