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Thursday, February 26, 2015

Nora McGunnigle: Head Mistress of Hops

by Blair "B-Rex" Loup

Nora McGunnigle at Avenue Pub in New Orleans
Nora McGunnigle at Avenue Pub in New Orleans
The world as it pertains to Louisiana beer bloggers is what the average person would expect: a small group of white men who have nice day jobs, but when night falls, they're cloaked in a cape of Untappd beer patches, home brew tools in hand, and opinions in tow.

For a moment, let me suggest a alternative image: a New England native with a degrees in Theatre and Higher Education Administration transplanted in New Orleans to drink beer like it's her job, because it is.

Clad in blue jeans and a Gnarly Barley Catahoula Common t-shirt, Nora McGunnigle is the "it girl" of craft beer writing (my words, not hers). I had never formally met Nora until I joined her for a beer at Avenue Pub on St. Charles, but I knew instantly we would get along because of the shirt. I've said it many times, but Gnarly Barley is my craft beer spirit animal. Anyone who shows up in one of their shirts is automatically on my good side.

Patrons of New Orleans' top craft beer bars treat her like the nice popular girl in high school. She's knowledgable, she's friendly, and she is cool.

Nora decided to move to New Orleans after a few visits, and like any female in charge, made it happen. Thankfully her lovely husband is a talented software engineer and was able to bring a valuable skill set to the New Orleans market; they were able to move just in time for American Craft Beer Week.

I learned from the Women in Booze segment I wrote on Lindsay Nations of Great Raft Brewing that it was not unusual for women to not be taken seriously in the beer industry. When I asked Nora if she had encountered anything similar to Lindsay's experiences, she gave me an interesting response.

"I definitely feel like it took me a long, long time for people to take me seriously as a beer person. In fact, it probably wasn't until I quit [my day job] and started writing professionally," she said.

Nora said there are definitely instances where she feels out of the loop on a new beer, or doesn't get a media sample some of the other beer writers receive.

I feel like everyone in the business of blogging has experience that at some point, even Bite and Booze.

What I found interesting was that she didn't make it into a, "Woe is me, I am woman," thing. She said she wasn't sure if those instances of exclusion were due to her gender or her status as a Louisiana transplant.

"Being a transplant, I think, and justifiably to some extent, people in Louisianan and New Orleans are very wary of transplants coming in and telling them what's what and what's going on," she said. She mentioned that it was hard to see the difference in the beginning. 

I find this disheartening because in my opinion Nora is very much an authority on craft beer. To leave her out of anything cool going on in the industry would be an injustice. I look forward to a day where it's not noteworthy to be a female beer blogger.

Until then, I sleep soundly at night knowing that Nora is looking out for giving everyone, including females in the beer industry, credit where credit is due. Cheers to Nora McGunnigle and to those like her striving to make Louisiana a better/cooler place.

You can find Nora on NOLA Beer Blog and as a writer for Gambit Weekly, Eater, or Thrillest just to name a few. Follow her on Twitter @noradeidre.

This post is part of a monthly series spotlighting Louisiana women in the business of booze. Previous features include:
Natalie Parbhoo: Duchess of Distribution
Lindsay Nations: Baroness of Beer
Dori Murvin: Sorceress of Service

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Tour the Kentucky Bourbon Trail with us this summer: Whisk(e)y Wednesday presented by Lock & Key

by Sydney "Brown Nose" Blanchard, intern

You know what sucks? Being a broke intern. Pinching pennies gets old, and things can look pretty bleak until Treat Yo Self day.



But here's the thing: Team Bite and Booze is heading to Kentucky this summer, and it's a trip even a broke intern can afford.

Really. It's, like, alarmingly affordable.

For $1,850 per person, you can come with us on a trip to explore the Kentucky Bourbon trail. From July 9 to 13, we will be staying in the state's fanciest historic hotels and having lunch and dinner at the best local restaurants, all while tasting the best drinks bourbon country has to offer.

This is an all-inclusive trip. You don't have to worry about where you'll be staying, what you'll be eating or how much you'll be drinking.

We've got all that covered.

For three days we'll be touring distilleries across the state hand-selected by Jay. The only thing not included in the price is airfare. You'll have to arrange your own flight.

You can get a look at the more detailed itinerary by filling out the form here or by sending an email to our tour guide and favorite sommelier Myrna Arroyo at myrna@rouxwinetours.com.

Registration closes on March 15, so get in touch with Myrna to pay your deposit and save yourself a spot! This is a trip you won't want to miss out on.

Monday, February 23, 2015

A Lifetime of Achievement...& Sausage! The BRES honors Manda CEO with a pre-Fête Rouge Dinner

The Baton Rouge Epicurean Society does a lot of amazing work for childhood nutrition in the area, and we just heard that at their Annual Awards Dinner they'll be honoring the co-owner and CEO of Manda Fine Meats, Robert "Bobby" Yarborough! Congratulations, dude! We love Manda sausage.

This year's honorees at a luncheon, with Yarborough in the center. Can you spot one of our Women in Booze, Dori Murvin? 

The Baton Rouge native has dedicated much of his life to serving the community, notably through his support of organizations like the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank, Family Road, YMCA, Boys & Girls Club and the Baton Rouge General Hospital.

The honor couldn't be going to a more deserving guy.

Yarborough will be honored with the Grace ‘Mama’ Marino Lifetime Achievement Award on August 27, 2015, at the Annual Awards Dinner held at L’Auberge Hotel & Casino.

A seven-course dinner will be served in his honor by local area chefs and will feature a selection of fine wines paired with each course. The dinner kicks off the Fête Rouge Weekend, which showcases prominent Baton Rouge area chefs and some of the finest wines from around the world.

Tickets are $200 per person or $1,600 for a table of eight. For more information and tickets to the festival, check out www.feterougebr.com.

Off-Kilter Nostalgia: Botsky's Premium Hotdogs

Premium Hotdogs at Botsky's in Downtown Lake Charles, Louisiana
Premium Hotdogs at Botsky's in Downtown Lake Charles, Louisiana


by Blair "B-Rex" Loup

Not long after my start at Bite and Booze, I accompanied Jay and the crew at TommysTV on a Louisiana Culinary Trails shoot. Each video in the web series highlights an area of Louisiana and the cuisine that makes that particular area special.

Jay told me we would be going to Sulphur/Lake Charles for this shoot, which I found perplexing. Being from that area, I didn't remember ever being blown away by the food scene.

The Lake Charles "Seafood Sensation" video wound up being one of my favorite videos in the series because of Botsky's owner, Mike Krajicek.

Being on camera is not easy for everyone. Like I always say, "Not everyone can be Jay Ducote." Not only was Mike completely natural on camera, he had a way of describing Southwest Louisiana that made me proud to be from that area of the state.

Mike has lived elsewhere, but he came home to do something cool, because when you think about it: nothing is going to become cool if all of the cool people keep leaving to do cool things everywhere else.

He has since gone on to double the size of the now year-old business and has recently been named "Restauranteur of the Year" by the Louisiana Travel Promotion Association.

Botsky's has a modern, grayscale interior with pops of color from framed pictures and wall decor to napkin holders featuring movie characters holding a Botsky's hotdog with talking bubbles singing the restaurant's praises.

It's unique, it's real, and it's just what the Lake Area needs more of.

With a main focus on high quality franks and sausages with fresh and outlandish toppings, Botsky's has something for everyone.

But seriously, I took my mom there.

While she loves hotdogs, she doesn't like things that are different. She ordered her hotdog pretty standard, but was stunned by its deliciousness and started picking at my mess of a creation.

If you're ever swinging through Lake Charles, these dogs are a must-eat.

P.S. They now carry Jay D's Louisiana Barbecue Sauce, so there's that.

Kobe Beef Frank topped with Mac n' Cheese, Feta, Pickled Jalapeños, Jay D's Louisiana Barbecue Sauce and Bacon
Kobe Beef Frank topped with Mac n' Cheese, Feta, Pickled Jalapeños, Jay D's Louisiana Barbecue Sauce and Bacon

Beef Frank topped with Dill Pickle Relish, Chili, and the most beautiful array of Ketchup and Mustard you've ever seen
Beef Frank topped with Dill Pickle Relish, Chili, and the most beautiful array of Ketchup and Mustard you've ever seen

How about this dog topped with Shrimp Creole with a side of sweet potato fries topped with Steen's and powdered sugar?
How about this dog topped with Shrimp Creole with a side of sweet potato fries topped with Steen's and powdered sugar?




Thursday, February 19, 2015

Grubbin' and Crawlin' for a Cause


I was pretty excited when Jay told me about the first annual 3rd Street Grub Crawl happening in March. 

As a life-long Baton Rouge resident, I've spent years wishing my city would step it up and aspire to be more like Austin, Atlanta, Houston, or even D.C. Now I feel like my wishes are coming true.

This event sounds like a righteous time, totally causal and easy on my wallet. A bunch of fun downtown venues will play host to Baton Rougeans looking for a night of live music, food and drink specials. Ten bucks buys you a wristband and access to all the night's activities including food and drink specials at participating venues. For a broke college student, a night of food and drink specials coupled with live music can't be beat. 

This is really exciting not only for the BR party scene, but also for THRIVE Baton Rouge. THRIVE, created four years ago by former Teach for America corps member Sarah Broome, is a charter school for at-risk children and has been helping out local kids immeasurably since its inception. 

Not only is 3rd Street Grub Crawl a party, it's also a benefit. Your $10 wristband buys you a night of fun and helps to support a local non-profit doing its damnedest to educate kids who would otherwise be left behind by the school system. 

I can't think of a better reason to drink and eat to my heart's content. And as an added bonus, the folks at Dudley DeBosier are paying for you cab ride home. Just hop in a taxi and say this one's on Dudley DeBosier and they'll pay for your ride home from the Grub Crawl!

Come out and celebrate for a good cause on March 26, 2015, 6 to 9 p.m. We'll see you there! 

– Sydney "Brown Nose" Blanchard, intern

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Willett 2 Year Rye: Whisk(e)y Wednesday presented by Lock & Key

Willett 2 Year Rye
Willett 2 Year Rye
Unlike last week's review of Maker's Mark, which all things considered proved to be a massive disappointment, Willett's two year rye whiskey impressed our panel. This rare whiskey is interesting because it came from Willett's own copper still rather than being sourced from somewhere else as Willett's previous bourbons and ryes have been. You can find this beauty at the Lock & Key Whiskey Bar for $8 a pour, which also makes it a pretty incredible deal! Willett is also on our list of distilleries to visit when we do a tour in July. You should join us!

The rye comes in big on the nose with grains, grass trimmings, and buttercream icing. You get the booze from the cask strength bottling at 111.4 proof yet it remains fairly clean. On the palate the whiskey presents hay, amber waves of grain, and a multitude of baking spices. It tastes a little green too, like freshly cut grass, or really more likely whiskey that has great potential but probably belongs in the barrel a little longer. The finish is sharp, bold and sweet, however, not too harsh for the over-proofed rye. Again, you can tell the whiskey is young. It is front heavy, giving you more at the start than on the finish. With a little more time in the barrel Willett will really be onto something with this rye.

Willett 2 Year Rye
Average Score: 76.67


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 Jeremy Spikes. Using our own proprietary scoring system, whiskeys are marked for Nose, Taste, Finish, Balance and Complexity, and "Bang for the Buck" which should encompass the whiskey's overall value. 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, you'd let somebody buy you one) while anything below 20 is absolute horse piss, anything above 80 is rather extraordinary, and anything above 90 is world class.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Monday Morning Wakeup Call featuring Cafeciteaux (again)

by Sydney "Brown Nose" Blanchard

The Éthiopiques Blend beans. They were very aromatic.
The Éthiopiques Blend beans. They were very aromatic. 

Perfect Monday morning perk-up.
Perfect Monday morning perk-up.
For those of you keeping tabs, last week Blair and I decided we weren't hyper enough, apparently. We somehow thought it might be a good idea (productivity!) to sample coffees weekly and write about our findings. 

Last week we tried local roaster Cafeciteaux's Guatemala Patzun and wrote up a little blog about it. When we posted it to Facebook, the guys as Cafeciteaux insisted we try the Éthiopiques Blend next, and who are we to ignore an expert recommendation?

Blair and I both preferred this blend to last week's. The Éthiopiques Blend was significantly darker than the Guatemala Patzun, and the taste was darker as well. We picked up notes of dark berries and fruit, but we didn't notice much of the jasmine or lemon rind the packaging suggested. 

Any suggestions of what we should try for next week? Leave us a comment!





Thursday, February 12, 2015

Three Blind Mice: A Hoppy Experiment

by Blair "B-Rex" Loup

Six IPAs blind tasted by Brenton Day, Eric Ducote, and Chuck P.
Six IPAs blind tasted by Brenton Day, Eric Ducote, and Chuck P.

Before working for Bite and Booze, I wasn't much of a beer drinker. Mainly because I was in college and most of the beer that surrounded me tasted like water gone wrong.

After tasting Saint Arnold's Santo, I wanted to learn more about different beer styles and the craft beer industry. My next beer hurdle was the IPA. Every time I tried an IPA, I couldn't cross the bitterness threshold.

During my first few months working at Bite and Booze, we recorded a radio show while sipping on Parish Brewing's Ghost in the Machine Double IPA. Seeing the label featuring a skull whose head is full of hops intimidated my tastebuds, but it was love at first sip.

Since that 1/4 glass of Ghost, I'm all hops all the time. 

I decided to wrangle some of my favorite hop heads to do a blind tasting of IPAs at the Tin Roof tap room. Each brew was ranked in the following categories: appearance, aroma, taste, mouthfeel, and overall. 

Eric Ducote, older brother of Jay Ducote, is a home-brewer and craft beer fanatic. You can find him on BRBeerScene.com

Accountant by day, home-brewer by night, Brenton Day writes about his beer adventures on The Ale Runner.

Chuck P. is a man of many talents. Rock star drummer for local band, The Anteeks, rock star dad, manager at the Tin Roof tap room, and Jay Ducote's "hetero life mate," Chuck P. also produces the Bite and Booze Radio Show when we record out of studio and his own podcast, Me and My Big Mouth.

After tasting all six beers, the scores were averaged. Here are the results (worst to best):


Covington Anonymous IPA (6.2% ABV): 33


Covington Anonymous IPA
Covington Anonymous IPA


With a dark orange color, Eric mentioned that this one "tastes like someone went to make a Black IPA and didn't go through with it."

Very malty, this IPA was bitter, but lacking in flavor. Having that said, IPAs are not meant to sit on shelves for very long. I couldn't find a bottle date, but it is highly likely this had been sitting for too long.


RJ Rocker's Hop Quake (6.5% ABV): 38


RJ Rockers Hop Quake IPA
RJ Rockers Hop Quake IPA

Hop Quake has a slightly lighter orange hue with a heavy amount of haze. Little to no aroma, the beer had contained only faint notes of pineapple.

This one, too got the, "more bitterness than hop flavor," note. The lingering finish didn't please Brenton, Eric, or Chuck P.

I love when I can smell the beers as I'm pouring this one. I got my nose so close to Hop Quake looking for any sort of aroma, I accidentally snorted some... Still no aroma.


Lagunitas IPA(6.2% ABV): 53


Lagunitas IPA
Lagunitas IPA

Extremely different than the previous two, Lagunitas' IPA is very clear and yellow in appearance. The beer's aroma doesn't match the flavor. While there isn't much of an aroma, the bold flavors of the beer surprised our tasters.

It finishes clean, which we all enjoyed after having a few lingering finishes.


Tin Roof Juke Joint (7% ABV): 59


Tin Roof's Juke Joint IPA
Tin Roof's Juke Joint IPA

Described as "biscuity," "funky," "chewy," and  even "barnyardish," the Juke Joint was well-received.

Brenton wanted more hops, Eric enjoyed the grassy chew, and Chuck P. found it to be a pleasant IPA.

Slightly orange and hazy, Juke Joint is medium-bodied and finishes clean. I like drinking it with boiled crawfish, probably because of that funky, grassy taste.


Founders Centennial IPA (7.2% ABV): 69


Founders Centennial IPA
Founders Centennial IPA

The initial pour is instantly aromatic with smells of citrus and tropical fruits. This beer has a golden, slightly orange hue. The guys found this one to be an easy drinker with only a little lingering bitterness.

Eric found it to be a little one noted, but this was my personal favorite.


Sam Adams Rebel IPA (6.5% ABV): 74


Sam Adams Rebel IPA
Sam Adams Rebel IPA

I originally bought this as a joke, so it seems fitting that it ended up on top.

Extremely clear and bright yellow, the Rebel IPA boasted citrus and bready aromas, bold flavors, and a crisp finish.

Brenton mentioned that he had the Rebel IPA once before and didn't like it as much as he liked it this round.

While Brenton scored this beer much higher than the others,  Eric was the only one of our tasters that scored the Founders Centennial higher than the Rebel IPA.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Maker's Mark Whisky: Whisk(e)y Wednesday presented by Lock & Key

Maker's Mark Whisky
Maker's Mark Whisky
It seems as though I may have turned my back on Marker's Mark. While my score came in higher than the average, it still didn't raise the mean by all that much. I used to be a fan, so I'm not sure what happened. Perhaps I had just been a victim of marketing or perhaps I really just never compared it to anything but Jack Daniels while at a wedding reception. Also, it could be a sense of nostalgia because I've actually been to their distillery (speaking of distillery tours, want to join me on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail this summer?). Still, the scores for Maker's surprised me. You can of course find it at Lock & Key ($7) and try it for yourself, but be aware that if you drink it next to other bourbons, you might have remorse like I do!

The nose gives off a very generic aroma of vanilla, caramel, and oak. It is light and soft and really uninteresting. On the tongue you get a hay and grassy harshness. There is very little sweetness but some warming heat and a touch of spice. It is no wonder that I've always liked Maker's and Coke when I have to drink whiskey in that fashion. With very little inherent sweetness, it doesn't make the drink extra syrup with the addition of soda. Over the whisky (yes, they use the Scotch spelling) has one big note. It is a dry, simple tailgating kind of bourbon with a pretty decent price point. Enjoy it in mixed drinks, otherwise don't bother.

Maker's Mark Whisky
Average Score: 47.67


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 Jeremy Spikes. Using our own proprietary scoring system, whiskeys are marked for Nose, Taste, Finish, Balance and Complexity, and "Bang for the Buck" which should encompass the whiskey's overall value. 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, you'd let somebody buy you one) while anything below 20 is absolute horse piss, anything above 80 is rather extraordinary, and anything above 90 is world class.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Cafeciteaux gets it right: the best roasts we've had in a while

by Sydney "Brown Nose" Blanchard
Cafeciteaux's Guatemala Patzen roast beans


If you're anything like us at Team Bite and Booze, you need coffee. It isn't an optional thing. It's a necessity. 

That's why we get deliveries monthly from Cafeciteaux. It's no longer a thing they do, but a while back they offered what they call "le pari," or the gamble in French. 

For a certain fee, they sent us different coffee beans each month to try. 

As a result, we've got bags and bags of coffee hanging out in the office, waiting to be drank.

Freshly brewed Cafeciteaux Guatemala Patzun.
Cafeciteaux is a great company for a number of reasons. First, they're local – their roastery is located on Airline Highway and you can buy some for yourself at Calandro's Supermarket. Secondly, these Baton Rouge-based roasters sell coffee beans that are directly traceable to the farm and mills where they were produced. 

I don't know about you guys, but I like to know where my coffee comes from. 

Blair and I decided to try the Guatemala Patzun first. We ground the aromatic beans and boiled some water to make the pour over coffee. 

The result was very cool. The coffee was very cloudy and a bit more viscous than other brands. The color of this roast was a dark amber, and we picked up hints of toasted sugar cane and dark dried fruits. 

We can't wait to try out our next bag of Cafeciteaux coffee beans. And thanks to our caffeine addiction, the next taste test might happen sooner than we anticipate.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Craft Beer Awakening in Lake Charles: The Inaugural Louisiana Winter Beer Festival


by Sydney "Brown Nose" Blanchard, intern

If there's one thing I always want more of in my life, it's free pizza... oh, and craft beer. Luckily in Baton Rouge, lots of bars and retail outlets carry craft beer from across the country. However, that isn't the case everywhere in South Louisiana. That's why I'm pretty pumped about the first-ever Louisiana Winter Beer Festival in Lake Charles.

This hoppy event will take place February 21 at 1 p.m. in the gorgeous Historic Calcasieu Marine National Bank building in downtown Lake Charles. Festival goers will be able to taste more than 50 different beers from brewers across the country. What better way could there be to transition out of Mardi Gras season?

On the night before the fest, these brewers will host a Louisiana Brewers' dinner at Lake Charles L'Auberge Casino's Jack Daniels Patio at 6 p.m. A hundred bucks buys you an incredible meal prepared by L'Auberge chefs and featured brews from Abita, Bayou Teche, Covington, and Nola Brewing. The founder and Editor in Chief of AmericanCraftBeer.com, Tom Bobak, will be there to talk about the Southern craft beer scene. I can't wait to mix and mingle with some of the big dogs in the craft beer scene with a Louisiana beer in hand.

Luckily the event hasn't sold out yet check out the Brewers' Dinner menu and reserve your spot or purchase tickets to the fest. It looks like the entire weekend will provide a spectacular time.



Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Four Roses Bin-Q Single Barrel: Whisk(e)y Wednesday presented by Lock & Key

Four Roses Bin-Q Single Barrel
Four Roses Bin-Q Single Barrel
Four Roses, one of the distilleries that we will absolutely be visiting on our trip to Kentucky in July, is an expert at the single barrel bourbons. This particular single barrel is available to bring home only at Bin-Q in Baton Rouge, but Lock & Key has some available to taste ($14 for a pour). It is a barrel strength elixir that certainly impressed our judges.

On the nose it is big, bold, and sweet. The intense Big Red aroma shows the whiskey's strength at over 120 proof. It smell like a hot toddy without even having to add any cinnamon or sugar. On the tongue it'll put hair on your chest. Oak, white pepper, and cream all come to play on the merry-go-round of flavors. The full bodied whiskey packs a spicy punch and warms the lips before it continues to the tongue and all the way down to your belly. The long and bold finish highlights a solid bourbon that has plenty going on yet remains balanced the whole time. The price tag also helps. The value is pretty darn good for the quality of this bourbon, plus you get the novelty of knowing where every drop of this barrel of Four Roses ended up.

Four Roses Bin-Q Single Barrel
Average Score: 83.33


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 Jeremy Spikes. Using our own proprietary scoring system, whiskeys are marked for Nose, Taste, Finish, Balance and Complexity, and "Bang for the Buck" which should encompass the whiskey's overall value. 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, you'd let somebody buy you one) while anything below 20 is absolute horse piss, anything above 80 is rather extraordinary, and anything above 90 is world class.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Bleu Cheese and Bread Pudding: The Bistro Byronz Stride

by Sydney "Brown Nose" Blanchard, intern

Heading down Perkins Road, not much revolutionary exists in the span of pavement between Bluebonnet and Siegen. In the last few years, neighborhoods and suburbs boasting large, stately McMansions have cropped up in the expanse, but Baton Rougeans in the area had little to brag about beside a strip mall or two,Perkins Rowe, and the oft praised Louisiana Lagniappe.

Bistro Byronz's famous Bleu Cheese Chips
Bistro Byronz's famous Bleu Cheese Chips
I think Bistro Byronz sensed this. Their new location at Willow Grove offers a dining option where before options were limited.

The second Baton Rouge location opened for business a couple weeks ago at Village Plaza Court on Perkins Road, and the new location maintains a lot of the same atmosphere as the original decade-old Government Street location.

Old fans will be excited to hear the white and black interior mimics that of the original location, with tiled floors and low lighting setting the mood. Mirrors line the walls, opening up the space and making it feel much larger than it looks from the outside. 

But that’s the only optical illusion Byronz is pulling. The food is the real deal.

Redfish Meuniere
Redfish Meuniere


Legend has it, the only way to begin a meal at Byronz is with the bleu cheese chips. Go with the large, and don't turn your back on those chips for one second. Trust me, Jay, Blair and I were fighting tooth and nail for the last chip.

When it comes to choosing an entree, you can’t really go wrong with any item on the menu. Jay opted for the Redfish Meuniere, a pan-seared redfish filet topped with a meuniere sauce – a tasty take on a classic. Interestingly, it is served with a risotto cake and asparagus. Jay made a happy plate, so I'll take that as a thumbs up from him.

I ordered the stand-out on the menu – the Abita Pork Chop – a thick, French-cut chop glazed with Abita root beer and served with roasted potatoes and asparagus. The syrupy glaze paired well with the juicy pork chop. I had to stab my fork at Jay and Blair to keep them from swiping my chop.

Abita Pork Chop
Abita Pork Chop

Bistro Byronz serves up a handful of yummy dessert options, but to dine at the bistro in Carnival Season and not have the King Cake bread pudding would be a mortal sin.

In my experience, bread pudding tends to fall short of impressive, but this unique take on a traditional Louisiana dessert is something to write home (or blog) about.

And, word on the street is, Byronz will soon be serving up some sweet potato fries with a similar twist. Be on the lookout!

A relaxing evening in a dimly lit, newly-built restaurant is tough to top, and Bistro Byronz surely delivered in this first experience at their newest location.