DIG Magazine's Burger & Beer Week is back! Get the details:

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

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Cooking Culture with Stephany Novoa

To call Stephany Novoa a prodigy wouldn't be an overstatement. The Sous Chef at Mestizo Louisiana Mexican Cuisine in Baton Rouge balances being a full-time business student at LSU with her culinary career and family life.

Stephany (far right) stands behind the prep table in this behind-the-scenes shot with other featured LCI chefs


Stephany grew up cooking with her Honduran family, though her mother wasn't initially pleased with her culinary ambitions.

Stephany is one of LCI's great success stories. She's young, ambitious, and helping mold Baton Rouge's restaurant culture.

Check out this video, made by tommystv in conjunction with Visit Baton Rouge and LCI, to learn more about Stephany!


Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Maker's 46 Haunted Old Fashioned: Whisk(e)y Wednesday

by Sydney Blanchard

Halloween has always been my favorite holiday. As a kid I excitedly planned my costumes months in advance and reveled in all things scary and creepy as a teenager. 

Now, I'm just trying to get a little buzz going and eat some Halloween Oreos while watching Hocus Pocus on my couch. 

Maker's must have read my mind, because they came up with this very spooky, pumpkin-y Old Fashioned recipe that's perfect for sipping at home while handing out candy to trick-or-treaters or at your annual Halloween bash.

Check it out, and report back your findings.

Maker’s 46 Haunted Old Fashioned

Created by Arley Marks of #ArleyMarksDrinks and Dimes

Maker's 46 pumpkin inspired Old Fashioned

4 parts Maker’s 46
1 ½ parts pumpkin syrup*
8 dashes angostura bitter
8 dashes orange bitters
4 orange peels, squeeze oil from zest into tin


Shake all ingredients with orange peels and then strain into pumpkin filled with fresh ice. Add orange peels for decoration and top with a splash of soda water. Garnish with a handful of candy corn & enjoy as a Halloween snack and a drink in one!





*Pumpkin Syrup: Remove seeds from a whole pumpkin and cut into slices that can be juiced. (A small pumpkin will yield approx. 1 cup of juice.) In a saucepan over low heat, combine 1 cup pumpkin juice and 1 cup organic evaporated cane sugar with 2 whole cinnamon sticks. Heat until sugar is dissolved, let cool before using. Alternatively: buy natural pumpkin syrup.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Between Two Shells: Buffalo Chargrilled Oysters with Chafunkta's Kingfish Cream Ale

by Blair Loup

Buffalo Chargrilled Oyster and Chafunkta's Kingfish Cream Ale at Jolie Pearl Oyster Bar in Baton Rouge
Buffalo Chargrilled Oyster and Chafunkta's Kingfish Cream Ale at Jolie Pearl Oyster Bar in Baton Rouge

It’s fall, and sports are happening. If fall means sports, then sports means spicy food and beer. There’s something about watching sports ball something covered in buffalo sauce in one hand and a crisp craft beer in the other. It really gets me in the (team) spirit.

Yet, I can get bored with the battered chicken wing. I find myself craving that buffalo flavor without all the bones and mess. And I don’t know, when I’m eating in public, I don’t want to need a roll of paper towels to keep myself in check.

Conveniently, Jolie Pearl Oyster Bar now has a buffalo chargrilled oyster.

Jackpot.

These buffalo-style chargrilled oysters are simple but delicious: Gulf oyster, Tabasco’s Buffalo Style Hot Sauce, and creamy bleu cheese. It’s a recipe for scrumptious-ness. Pair with Chafunkta’s Kingfish Cream Ale, and you’re looking at a good time.

The Kingfish Cream Ale is crisp, but flavorful with a slight maltiness. It’s definitely a go-to oyster beer for me, and combined with the buffalo flavors, it’s a W.

Some of my best times in downtown Baton Rouge include indulging in some Gulf oysters with a Louisiana craft beer in hand.

Below are some other pairings we suggest at Jolie Pearl:




Monday, October 26, 2015

Abigail Gullo: Leading Lady of Libation

by Blair Loup

Abigail Gullo, bartender at Compère Lapin in New Orleans
Abigail Gullo, bartender at Compère Lapin in New Orleans
Photo courtesy of Compère Lapin

It seems everyone who winds up in Louisiana has a story, and the story of bartender Abigail Gullo’s journey to Nina Compton’s Compère Lapin is one of a New Yorker born to live in Louisiana.

Daughter to a pair of writers, Abigail always felt like an old soul. Growing up around movies like "The Thin Man," where martinis and cocktail hours were a main component of society at the time, turned Abigail into a “girl with moxy.”

“My parents are big drinkers, and like the good New Yorkers they are, they didn’t take me seriously until I had a cocktail published in the New York Times," Abigail said.

Having grown up in a time when as a child she made Manhattans for her grandfather, she felt like she grew up in a bubble.

“When I turned 21, I realized that time had passed. No one made those drinks anymore. You were hard-pressed to find anything other than Angostura bitters," she said.

While studying theater at George Mason University in Virginia, she and her friends took road trips to New Orleans, where she quenched her thirst for rye whiskey.

After she graduated, she moved to New York, where she became "one of those very strange New York actors who didn't work in a restaurant."

She taught early childhood development in the mornings, worked as a nanny in the afternoons, and took to the off-Broadway stage at night.

In her off hours, Abigail still made time to chase the cocktail culture of the city around in places like the Rainbow Room and Windows of the World. It wasn’t until she learned about Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans that she got serious about her craft.

Fascinated with the cocktail culture of New Orleans since her late teens/early twenties, Abigail found herself intoxicated by spirits in New Orleans. She moved to New Orleans and began a true bartending career. Older than her most of her counterparts, Abigail explained she took her job very seriously.

“When you dedicate your life to service and hospitality, you want to go to a city and a culture that supports that,” she said.

To her, New Orleans was the obvious choice.

While there is more support for craft cocktails in the industry, she also sees room for support for female bartenders saying.

“It’s never-ending," she said. "Women may be known as bartenders, but men are 'mixologists.' I feel like I’ve missed out on a few jobs because I don’t have a mustache.”

Bartending requires thick skin and a sunny disposition, both qualities Abigail attributes to her theater background.

She looks forward to clocking in every shift, and she thrives on the challenges of the job.

As someone who spends much of her time working in the Compère Lapin bar (the restaurant was built around the bar), Abigail has nothing but kind words for Nina Compton and the bar's stellar cocktail program.

"I am just blown away by the professionalism, determination, and how much fun it is," she said. "A lot of hours of our lives are spent here, and I believe that translates to the guests."

She may be a New Orleans transplant, but Abigail Gullo embodies all the qualities of a true Louisiana native. Cheers!

Bite and Booze Bonus: Abigail started a blog when she lived in New York City that logged all of her cocktail adventures and it contains countless tasty recipes: RyeGirlinNYC

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


Friday, October 23, 2015

Free Booze Friday: Get to Know Simone

HAPPY FRIDAY! What's good, boozers?

Are y'all keeping up with the happenings in our Free Booze Friday video series on Geek Nation?

Take this opportunity to stream them all. You deserve a break. It's been a long week.

You know who hates long weeks? Simone. Learn more about what (and who) Simone loves and hates down below.

Drink up!

simone free booze friday
Simone prefers taking cute pictures of her #cocktails to listening to #misogynists like Brodie


1. Song that always makes you sad?
"Fergalicious" makes me lose my appetite

2. Last thing you bought?
A mint mojito clarity candle to help me deal with all the idiots I am surrounded by

3. Last person you argued with?
I tried arguing global warming with Pappy. Kill me.

4. Favorite day of the week?
TGIF!

5. Favorite Sundae topping?
I once made a choice between sweets and alcohol, and alcohol won.

6. Most frequent song played?
I wake up every morning to "Vogue" by Madonna.

7. T.V. show you secretly enjoy?
The whole Real Housewives franchise. Watching middle aged women drunkenly argue about arcane shit is my favorite pastime. One of the main reasons I love going home for Christmas.

8. Date someone older or younger?

9. Older. Older men annoy me less, and they aren't as intimidated by me.

10. Pen or pencil?
Pen. Your girl never makes mistakes.

11. What alcoholic beverage did you drink when you got drunk for the first time?
Peppermint schnapps. Good times.

12. What was your first job?
Personal shopper at Saks.

13. How old were you when you first moved away from your hometown?
I don't really have a hometown, so to speak. 

14. Who is the first person you call when you have a bad day?
Papa John’s.

15. What is the first thing you do in the morning?
COFFEE.

16. What was the first concert you attended?
Spice Girls

17. First tattoo or piercing?
Why put a bumper sticker on a Maserati?

18. First celebrity crush?
Leo DiCaprio. Always and forever <3333 p="">


Thursday, October 22, 2015

Cooking Culture with Chef Traci Vincent

By now you're probably familiar with the Cooking Culture series we made with tommysTV featuring Visit Baton Rouge and four successful Louisiana Culinary Institute graduates.

Chef Traci Vincent was the first LCI student we interviewed. Her openness, her warm personality, and her great sense of humor proved her the perfect Cooking Culture candidate.

Chef Traci Vincent displaying her culinary chops for the cameras at Louisiana Culinary Institute 

The Baton Rouge native discovered her passion for cooking Louisiana cuisine when she was working in Washington, D.C. She missed home, and she missed the food she grew up with, so she started cooking for herself and for her friends.

She moved back home, enrolled at LCI, and the rest you can watch here:








Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Grain-to-Glass with WhistlePig: Whiskey Wednesday

by Sydney Blanchard

WhistlePig's barn-to-distillery set up in Vermont


You may have heard of farm-to-table, but have you heard of grain-to-glass? WhistlePig, a highly-decorated aged-rye whiskey, just opened a brand new distillery in a converted 100-year-old barn on the WhistlePig Farm in Vermont.

This makes WhistlePig one of the few American whiskey companies to conduct the entire whiskey-making process in one place, which is pretty cool.

From harvesting the rye fields to distilling, barreling, aging, and bottling the liquid, it's a grain-to-glass affair.

The distillery grows its own rye on the farm, pigs are fed the spent rye grain, and oak trees logged on the farm become barrels in which to age the rye.

We're really digging what WhistlePig is doing in Vermont. Wouldn't it be awesome to see more grain-to-glass distillers in Louisiana?

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Iverstine Family Farms, Uprooted

by Sydney Blanchard

Each month, our Uprooted series will highlight local chefs, restaurants, organizations, and farmers who are spearheading the farm-to-table and local foodways movements in South Louisiana.

Galen Iverstine (right) and his wife Angela (left) at Iverstine Family Farms in Kentwood, La.


When Galen Iverstine was nearing graduation, he said he found himself faced with the age-old question all liberal arts majors ask themselves: "What the hell do I do now?"

Following graduating from LSU, the political science major considered a number of options including the military or law school.

But a school project on food policy and environmental impacts of food systems got him thinking. He began looking at alternative methods of farming and how to bring products to consumers. 

Iverstine saw a gap in the Baton Rouge market for sustainably farmed proteins, and with zero experience, lots of passion, and some start-up capital from his father, Iverstine Family Farms was born the winter of 2010.

"[My dad] never saw a business idea he didn’t like," Iverstine said.

At the 127-acre farm in Kentwood, Louisiana, it's a family affair: Iverstine's father acts as the head project task manager; his mom does the bookkeeping; Iverstine keeps up with daily chores, harvesting, and marketing and sales; and Galen's wife Angela works full time in Baton Rouge "to support [Iverstine's] farming habit."

"[Angela] always jokes she started dating a political science major and married a farmer," Iverstine said. "Every time I have a crazy idea, she’s like, 'Hey, if you think you can do it, go for it.'"

Iverstine's crazy idea wasn't a novel one. But it was one that predates the industrialization of meat.

The farm utilizes animal impact on land to improve soil quality. Iverstine uses what is called an "intensive rotational grazing method," in which beef cattle, chicken, turkeys, and hogs work together on a patch of land.

Here's how it works: the cattle intensively graze the tall grass in pastures for one day. The cattle effectively trample the grass, feeding microbes in the soil, and defecate, fertilizing the soil. Next comes the poultry, who sanitize the manure by eating parasites in cattle feces, which reduces the amount of chemical de-wormer used on the cattle. Then, the hogs are rotated through any wooded areas and act as a kind of controlled burn.

Needless to say, for a newcomer, it isn't easy to break into the world of farming.

"While we have a large agricultural university, we’re not seeing any farmers coming out,” Iverstine said.

According to Iverstine, the biggest prohibiting factors for new farmers are acquiring land and start-up funds. Land is expensive and tends to stay within families that own it.

Further, mentors are hard to come by. Not many older farmers are eager to help out the next generation, but Iverstine was able to learn from local cattle producers and from a farm he interned with in New Hampshire.

Iverstine hopes to help foster new farmers and to pass along the skills he's learned in the last years, including how to sell products to consumers.

For Iverstine Family Farms, that includes actively keeping their customer base informed, engaged, and growing.

“Social media creates this level of transparency about what we do," Iverstine said. "I think there has been this development of mistrust between people and their food for some reason. [Social media] creates a complete open door.”

Using social media not only helps Iverstine promote his products, but it helps him to educate his consumers. Creating a smarter consumer who will support local agriculture means teaching people to eat seasonally, Iverstine said.

Often, that can mean convincing customers to cook something they've never looked before.

"It’s about people gaining confidence in cooking real food and different cuts of meat," Iverstine said. "That's what it takes: an open-minded consumer who’s flexible in the kitchen.”

Iverstine said once people taste "real food," it's a game changer.

Currently, Iverstine Family Farm products are available at the Red Stick Farmer's Market and through IndiePlate, and local restaurants including Nino's Italian, Table Kitchen & Bar, City Pork, Houmas House, and Velvet Cactus put Iverstine products on their menus.

“There’s a larger call to keeping your local economy booming by supporting people who are circulating their dollars into the local economy," Iverstine said. "Just like our animals work together on the pasture, there is defintiely this produce-consumer symbiotic relationship that has to happen.”


Read more Uprooted here:



Friday, October 16, 2015

Free Booze Friday: Get to Know Brodie

It's Friday! And it's not too early to start sipping on some free booze. Or, just live vicariously through Jay and his puppet pals by watching our Free Booze Friday video series on Geek Nation.

By now, you might have caught on that each Friday, Jay tries to drop some knowledge on the gang about what they're drinking, and they spend the entire time harassing each other and Jay.

This week we'll hear from Brodie. Brodie's favorite things are drinking "Mic Ultras," hitting on any woman in a 10-mile radius, and suggesting body shots constantly. 

Get to know Brodie by checking out his answers to a Myspace survey down below. Fun fact: Brodie hasn't changed his visor since Myspace was relevant back in 2007.

Cheers!

free booze friday
Brody (far left) hanging with the Free Booze Friday crew and Jay


1. Does a kiss make you feel better?

I need a little more to make me feel better…

2. Have you ever passed out on the bathroom floor?

Do you mean have I ever had a good time? Um YAH

3. What did you do today?

Chilled

4. Have you ever brushed your teeth while in the shower?

Yeah multitasking is a specialty

5. Ever been in love?

No, but don’t tell any of my exes I said that.

6. Would you rather be in a permanent relationship or play the field?


Honeys love it when you say the word “relationship”

7. What is your favorite sport?

LAX

8. What color is your shower curtain?

My mom bought me one with the map of the world on it so I would learn geography

9. Have you ever had stitches?

Yeah from that time I cracked my head open on my frat's annual ski trip

10. Lyrics stuck in your head?

"SHOTS, SHOTS, SHOTS, SHOTS, SHOTS, SHOTS, EVERYBODY!"

11. What are you doing tomorrow?

Your mom

12. Who was the last person you couldn't take your eyes off of?


This hot mom at the grocery store

13. What is your favorite cereal?

Fruit Loops...no homo

14. What are you doing right at this moment?

Your mom. Refer to question number 4.

15. Do you think it’s right for straight guys to get their tongue pierced?

Absolutely not

16. Where's your favorite place to be?

Shredding some sweet slopes with my bros

17. Have you ever been arrested?

I got a couple MIPs back in the day

18. Do you dream in black and white?

What?

19. Are you a redneck?

Are you a dumbass?

20. Funniest thing you heard all day?

I said this really funny thing earlier...

21. What are you afraid of?


Looking at my bank account after a night out

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Cooking Culture with Chef Nathan Gresham


If you didn't know, a few months ago, Team Bite and Booze collaborated with Visit Baton Rouge, TommysTV, and four Louisiana Culinary Institute graduates to showcase what Baton Rouge's food scene has to offer.

cooking culture
Behind the scenes in the kitchen at Beausoleil 

One of the chefs we got to interview was Chef Nathan Gresham at Beausoleil Restaurant & Bar. Chef Nathan journeyed across the country taking on a number of cooking jobs before winding up as a chef-owner at Beausoleil. His story is definitely unique, but not unheard of around here.

People have a tendency to fall in love with Baton Rouge.

cooking culture nathan
Chefs Ryan Andre' and Nathan Gresham prepare an outdoor dinner for the Cooking Culture video series

Without further adieu, here's Chef Nathan Gresham in his own words.





Be sure to check out all four of the Cooking Culture videos!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Boudin, Bourbon & Beer Benefitting the Emeril Lagasse Foundation: Whisk(e)y Wednesday presented by Lock & Key

by Sydney Blanchard

Boudin, Bourbon & Beer! Photo courtesy of boudinbourbonandbeer.com.

Boudin, bourbon, and beer? Yes, yes, and yes! 

If you're a fan of any of the aforementioned vices, or even if just love a music festival, this year's Boudin, Bourbon & Beer benefitting the Emeril Lagasse Foundation is going to be your jam.

On November 13, 50 chefs from across the country, including Cory Bahr, Jeff Henderson, Justin Devillier, Kristen Essig, John Currence, and Chris Shepherd, will join Emeril Lagasse in New Orleans for a Louisiana-inspired boudin cook-off.

Along with Abita Beer surprise brews, specialty Buffalo Trace cocktails, and cigar tastings will be fun live music performances by Silverado Pickups, Sweet Crude, Elle King, and St. Paul and the Broken Bones. 

Tickets are $99, which includes all food, beverages, and live entertainment. All proceeds benefit children's charities. It's going to be a good time!

Monday, October 12, 2015

On Gourmet Doughnuts, Chicken Wings, and Craft Beer: A Portland, Oregon Odessey


My soul smiled.

An hour after arriving on location for this past summer's guy's trip, I had a cold beer in my hand and a platter of fried chicken wings tossed in various sauces at my fingertips. 

"Is this heaven?" I asked myself. 

"No, Jay," my inner monologue replied, "this is Portland."

Maple Doughnuts made from a croissant inspired dough from Nola Doughnuts in Portland, OR
Maple Doughnuts made from a croissant inspired dough from Nola Doughnuts in Portland, OR

While Portland exists as a Mecca for all things hipster, shades of just being really freaking cool were evident at every turn. I focused my trip on a few food groups that I heard Portland did exceptionally well: gourmet doughnuts, chicken wings, and craft beer. This post represents a modest selection of my overall calorie intake on those food groups during my stay. Only the best for Bite and Booze.

Nola Doughnuts


We begin with the above photographed Maple Doughnuts from none other than Nola Doughnuts. Robert Herkes, the man seen through the donut hole, is a New Orleans/Baton Rouge transplant who found himself slinging croissant-inspired doughnuts at farmers markets outside of Portland. His apple fritters, doughnuts, and bites sell out quickly, and soon he's building a brick and mortar location for his insanely good treats. 

Robert is really onto something here. 

I ate my way around the Portland doughnut scene, and his were the best. The. Best. I need more of them in my life. Buttery layers of sweetened croissant dough flaked brilliantly under a fresh maple icing. Robert presented other flavors on the doughnuts as well, like his signature jelly or oats filled "La'ssant" and the even more magical apple fritters. If you're in Portland, track him down. Seriously. 


Blue Star Donuts


Blur Star Donuts' Raspberry Buttermilk, Buttermilk Old Fashioned, and Vanilla Poppyseed Brioche Donuts
Blur Star Donuts' Raspberry Buttermilk, Buttermilk Old Fashioned, and Vanilla Poppyseed Brioche Donuts

The next stop on the sugar train with donut wheels came in the form of the award winning Blue Star Donuts. Often thought as the culinary superior but less gimmicky (compared to Voodoo) donut heavyweight of Portland, Blue Star crafts brioche-style donuts with delightful results. The soft bread-like interior is a pleasant contrast to the flavored sugar shell on the outside. We ordered a mixed dozen and tried all twelve. I didn't regret any decision.

Voodoo Doughnuts


Fruity Pebbles and Cocoa Crisp Doughnuts from Voodoo Doughnuts
Cap'n Crunch and Cocoa Crisp Doughnuts from Voodoo Doughnuts

Voodoo Doughnuts represents Portland's most popular and hipster doughnut joints. If you ask locals, most will tell you that while they may not be the best, a visitor still needs to check them out. Known for their promotion of the color pink and topping doughnuts with craziness, Voodoo made a splash as pioneers of the Gourmet Doughnut revolution. We tried quite a few options including their signature Voodoo Doll doughnut and their Maple Bacon Bar doughnut. I thought the most intriguing were the above pictured Captain my Captain (aka Cap'n Crunch) and Triple Chocolate Penetration (aka Cocoa Puffs) doughnuts.

Pok Pok


Ike's Vietnamese Fish Sauce Chicken Wings from the OG Pok Pok
Ike's Vietnamese Fish Sauce Chicken Wings from the OG Pok Pok

Hands down, more people suggested Pok Pok to me than any other eatery in Portland. Why? The chicken wings. These flappers aren't just any old run-of-the-mill wing. Each order bestows up on the table a half dozen whole natural chicken wings, marinated in fish sauce and sugar, deep fried, tossed in caramelized Phu Quoo Fish Sauce and garlic, and served with a Vietnamese table salad. They were possibly, and I'm not exaggerating, the best chicken wings I've ever eaten. I've had some really spectacular Korean fried chicken wings, but these take the cake. And the trophy. And the medal. And everything else I have. To everyone who suggested Pok Pok: you were right.

Fire on the Mountain


A Platter of Chicken Wings from Fire on the Mountain in Portland
A Platter of Chicken Wings from Fire on the Mountain in Portland

Fire on the Mountain is a great name for a wingery. It is also the first place we feasted on wings and beer in Portland within moments of our arrival. Eric, Eusebio, Brent and I got a table and placed a wing and beer order as we waited for Chuck P. to join the party. A slathering of sauced up chicken hit our table and we gorged ourselves, hungry from a day of travel.

Base Camp Brewing


S'mores Stout from Portland's Base Camp Brewing Company
S'mores Stout from Portland's Base Camp Brewing Company

Of course, beer drinking in Portland is paramount. No single beer caught my eye more than the S'mores Stout from Base Camp Brewing. Any time beer preparation starts Sandlot style ("First you roast the mallow"), said beer should always win. Add a hint of chocolate and graham in the brew, and this stout is perhaps double winning. Base Camp poured a plethora of other great beers as well, but how could you not order this beauty?

Cascade Brewing House of Sours


Figaro Sour and Apple Crisp Sour from the Cascade Brewing House of Sours in PDX
Figaro Sour and Apple Crisp Sour from the Cascade Brewing House of Sours in PDX

On one of our walking tours of East Portland we came across the Cascade Brewing House of Sours. I'm a man who enjoys just about anything, and sour beers fit right in that category. They can get funky and dank, but what's not to enjoy about that? Most sour beers have a nice yeasty fruitiness to them that gives you more of a sour candy lip pucker rather than a bitter beer face. If you like Sour Patch Kids and the like, you'll enjoy sour beers. We wanted to try every beer on their menu, but time ran out before we needed to get to the next bar. However, this place certainly needs to be on everyone's Portland beer crawl list.

Migration Brewing


Terry's Porter from Migration Brewing
Terry's Porter from Migration Brewing

Many, many great beers were had in Portland. I didn't fare as well at keeping track as Brent, who tracked every ounce of beer he drank in Portland (464 fl oz, he's been counting it all of 2015 so far as his New Year's resolution), or Eric, who checked into damn near every beer he drank on Untappd. I tried to enjoy a vacation and not get too carried away with documenting everything but instead just enjoy drinking great beers and eating great food. The above Terry's Porter from Migration Brewing is one of countless brews that I consumed in Oregon. It drank roasty and toasty with a great head retention. Mostly I just liked this picture, but a beer like this always make me happy. It is a beer. it isn't pretentious. It doesn't need to be double dry hopped. It is just a delicious, dark beer. Hopefully, eventually, I'll be back in Portland for another round.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Free Booze Friday: Get to Know Stephen

Happy Friday, everyone! Have you seen any of our Free Booze Friday videos at Geek Nation yet? 

Jay plays a bartender and tries to educate a crew of rowdy puppets about what they're drinking. It almost never goes according to plan.

Today, we'll hear from our favorite hipster Stephen. We all know and love a Stephen or two, but is Stephen too cool to fill out a Myspace-style survey? Or will he be willing to answer ironically? Read on to find out more.

free booze friday
Stephen is all about stopping the hate, stopping the judgement, and #STOPKONY2012


1. Last beverage:

Double shot non-fat soy latte

2. Last phone call:

I was calling my local record store to see if they had a limited edition of Arcade Fire’s “Neon Bible” available. They didn’t.

3. Last song you listened to:

I have "Intro" by Alt J on repeat. Just to clarify this is the intro from the first album.

4. Last time you cried:

When LCD Sound System announced they were splitting up.

5. Have you dated someone twice?

Yes, I’m a big believer in recycling.

6. Have you ever been cheated on?

It is impossible to be cheated on in an open relationship

7. Kissed someone & regretted it?

Let’s just say all American girls are ALL hype.

8. Have you lost someone special?

Yes, the death of Jim Morrison greatly affected me.

9. What are your three favorite colors?

Every neutral color and black

10. Met someone who changed you in the past month?

Every person I meet has a profound impact on my life.

11. How many kids do you want:

Only one. Over population of the planet is a real issue.

12. Do you want to change your name?

No I am perfectly content with my identity, thank you. 

13. What did you do for your last birthday?

Two words: organic vineyard.

14. What time did you wake up today?

Right before sunrise so that I could do yoga as the sun came up.

15. Name something you CANNOT wait for:

New artisan bagel shop is supposed to open down the street.

16. Last time you saw your mother:

Does FaceTime count?

17. Most visited webpage:

Invisiblechildren.org

18. Relationship status:

Single

19. Zodiac sign:

Aquarius

20. Male or female:

I guess society wants me to say male so let's go with that.

21. Piercings:

I have a septum piercing but I hide it because, you know, society.

22. Tattoos:

Am I a stereotype to you?

23. Strong or Weak?

There is nothing wrong with being emotionally vulnerable, especially when it comes to your music.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Cooking Culture with Chef Ryan Andre'

Earlier this year, Team Bite and Booze had the opportunity to collaborate with Visit Baton Rouge, TommysTV, and a handful of Louisiana Culinary Institute graduates to showcase the ever-growing food scene in the capital city.

chef ryan andre
Behind the scenes during the filming of Cooking Culture at City Pork Brasserie and Bar with Chef Ryan Andre'


For the first video in the series, we sat down with Chef Ryan Andre' to learn about his journey to becoming a chef and what he hopes to bring to the Baton Rouge culinary scene.

City pork kitchen
Signage leading to the City Pork kitchen
We learned that each of these chefs came into the culinary world from different backgrounds and circumstances, and each of the featured chefs contributes their own unique cuisine to Baton Rouge.

Filming, scripting, and getting to watch these talented chefs do what they do best was quite an experience.

Be sure to check out all four of the Cooking Culture videos.




Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Maker's Mark Hurricane Cocktail to Celebrate Besh Big Easy: Whisk(e)y Wednesday presented by Lock & Key

by Sydney "Brown Nose" Blanchard

Congrats to Chef John Besh

On October 9 and 10 in Kentucky, Maker's Mark Distillery is honoring the New Orleans native with a Maker's Mark TasteMaker Award and celebrating the release of his fourth cookbook, Besh Big Easy! It's always great to see Louisiana chefs recognized across the country.

The cover of Chef John Besh's new cookbook, Besh Big Easy


Since we can't be there to participate in the festivities in person, we'll be enjoying this Maker's Mark Hurricane in the privacy of our own office. 

Cheers to Chef John Besh and his latest venture, Besh Big Easy!


Maker's Mark Hurricane

Maker's Mark Hurricane cocktail


2 parts Maker's Mark Bourbon
2 parts passion fruit juice
1 part fresh orange juice
1 part fresh lime juice
1 part real pomegranate grenadine
1 orange slice, for garnish
1 maraschino cherry, for garnish

Combine bourbon, passion fruit syrup, citrus juices and grenadine. Shake and strain into an old-fashioned or high-ball over crushed ice. Garnish with orange slice and cherry. 

Monday, October 5, 2015

Wining and Dining at "The Wild Truffle" in Lake Charles

by Sydney "Brown Nose" Blanchard

I think there's an often overlooked observation to be made about Louisiana cuisine. For every specialty meats store tucked inside an unassuming gas station, there also exists an extravagant, fine dining establishment that defies expectations.

In my recent travels to Lake Charles, Louisiana, I got to experience the best the area had to offer on both ends of the dining spectrum.

On our final night in the LC, we were loaded onto our party bus one final time and herded to La Truffe Sauvage. Jay had the chance to dine there back in 2013, and his write-up got me excited to try out one of Lake Charles' finest restaurants.

Chef Mohamed Chettouh along with Chef Arthur Durham opened the French-inspired eatery back in 1998. Prior to that, both enjoyed successful international and regional culinary careers.

Chef Mohamed combines his background in traditional French cuisine with a dedication to the local ingredients Louisiana has to offer to create mouth-watering, seasonal menus.

And our dinner at La Truffe Sauvage was no exception.

We started the evening off with French 75 cocktails topped with St. Germain foam, and soon after sat down to begin our five-course wine dinner.

Wild Gulf red snapper with saffron risotto and heirloom tomato confit 


First, the chef sent out pan roasted wild Gulf red snapper on top of saffron risotto and heirloom tomato confit. The delicate, flaky white fish and the buttery, fluffy risotto were paired with a 2010 Domaine William Fevre Chablis, which is a chardonnay with fresh, floral notes. 


Sunchoke velouté en crôute with duck confit


Next came the "sunchoke velouté en crôute" with duck confit, which amounted to a sunchoke soup with bits of duck in it served in a pastry-crusted teacup. Sunchoke, also known as Jerusalem artichoke, is a root vegetable not at all like an artichoke. This course was paired with a 2013 white wine called Vin Soave Classico from the Inama Winery in Italy. Fruity and sweet, it matched well with the delicate flavors of the sunchoke.


Chèvre chaud on roasted red and yellow beets

The next dish was a crowd-pleaser: chèvre chaud (fried goat cheese) atop roasted red and yellow beets, asparagus, and arugula swimming in a black truffle vinaigrette. This was one of the best things I have ever eaten. The aromatic cheese patty was crusted and had a distinct lemony flavor that balanced well. Paired with this dish was a Chilean pinot noir from the Indomita Duette Vineyard. The spicy flavor with hints of dried red fruit made it a perfect match for this course.

Filet mignon topped with foie gras


Last came the tournedo Rossini, or filet mignon topped with foie gras, with pomme macaire (a potato cake), carrot fondante, steamed young spinach, topped with sauce madère. Truly, this dish captured me. The sauce combined with the perfectly cooked cut of meat and the foie gras made for a delicious bite, and the potato cake and carrots were heaven-sent, providing a perfect palate cleanser in between bites of filet. This very French dish was paired with an award-winning Spanish red wine from Ribera del Duero.

Dark chocolate mousse in almond tulip

And finally, dessert. After eating four substantial courses, I doubted I was capable of eating another bite of anything. But when the dark chocolate mousse was brought out, I couldn't resist. The mousse sat in an almond tulip and was topped with orange curd. The vanilla cream sauce and orange segment were a nice touch, but the mousse was the real star of the show. Dessert was paired with a 10 year Tawny port by Quinta do Noval out of Portugal. The dried fruit and orange zest notes brought out the orange flavors in the dessert.

Just when we thought we'd finished gorging ourselves, we were brought a selection of truffles: white chocolate, dark chocolate, and milk chocolate. I couldn't bear to take one more bite, so I had mine boxed up to enjoy later that evening in the privacy of my hotel room.

La Truffe Sauvage is small and warm and quaint. It feels like eating at home, if you're able to cook fabulous French cuisine at your house (I'm not). I can't wait to go back!



Thursday, October 1, 2015

Sipping on Spookiness: Blind Tasting Seasonal Pumpkin Beers

by Sydney "Brown Nose" Blanchard

Fall was once my least favorite time of the year. Following the freedom of the summer months where the smell of chlorine permeates the air and snowballs abound, fall was an unfriendly reminder that school would soon be back in session.

Trapped within the physical and metaphorical walls of academia, I could never fully appreciate the way the beginning of falls feels on bare legs and arms during Louisiana's slow but steady march to cooler weather. I never noticed the color of the sky change or the days shortening or the browning of the leaves.

History and literature and geography ruled my world. I was more focused on stuffing information inside my brain than shoving myself outside my apartment.

Now that I've graduated, for the first time in my memory, I will fully embrace fall and all that comes with it: chunky-knit sweaters, Halloween playlists, and pumpkin-spiced everything.

Blair and I are no strangers to the PSL, but we figured a better way to start October would be to blindly taste and rate a number of pumpkin beers. We had Jay wander over to Calandro's to pick up a mixed six-pack of pumpkin brews for us to review.

We ranked each beer on a scale from one to five pumpkins.


STAY SPOOKY, FRIENDS.

[DOOT DOOT]

Legend:

One pumpkin: If somebody bought it for you, you wouldn't drink it.

Two pumpkins: You would drink it if it was free, but under no other circumstances.

Three pumpkins: You'd appreciate it if a friend bought it for you, but you wouldn't buy it yourself.

Four pumpkins: You'd buy this beer and happily drink it. It's worth the money you paid for it.

Five pumpkins: You'd buy this beer for a friend and sing its praises.


Imperial Pumpkin Smash, Crown Valley Brewing

Imperial Pumpkin Smash, Crown Valley Brewing






































"Bitter, I hate it. It smells like pumpkin pie, but it tastes like black coffee. Roast-y." – Sydney

"It almost tastes like a pumpkin car bomb. I love it." – Blair

Blair: 5/5
Sydney: 2/5
Average: 3.5/5





Pumpkinfest, Terrapin Beer Company

Pumpkinfest, Terrapin Beer Company






































"It smells like cider and cinnamon, but tastes like PBR. Needs more pumpkin." – Sydney

"I get a lot of fall spices. I'm into it." – Blair

Sydney: 3
Blair: 3
Average: 3



Black O'Lantern, Wasatch Brewery

Black O' Lantern, Wasatch Brewery






































"This is super dark. It smells creamy and smoky, like coffee. Great beer, but I don't taste any pumpkin, which is like, one of my requirements when it comes to pumpkin beer. Could be great in chili, though." – Sydney

"Yeah, I can't really taste pumpkin. It's a little disappointing." – Blair

Sydney: 4/5
Blair: 3/5
Average: 3.5/5



Pumpkinhead, Shipyard Brewing Company

Pumpkinhead, Shipyard Brewing Company






































"Oh, this is very light. I definitely smell pumpkin, cider, apples. It tastes like cheap beer." – Sydney

"I get some fall flavors and spices, but it's bready at the end. Not getting any pumpkin vibes." – Blair

Sydney: 1/5
Blair: 1/5
Average: 1/5



Pumking, Southern Tier Brewing Company

Pumking, Southern Tier Brewing Company






































"Wow, that's a very intense pumpkin smell. So far this is the only one that actually tastes pumpkin-y. I'm pleasantly surprised." – Sydney

"That's pumpkin candle smell. This is like, a Bath and Body Works candle. It's sweet." – Blair

Sydney: 5/5
Blair: 3/5
Average: 4



Age Old Pumpkin Stout, Crooked Letter Brewing Company

Age Old Pumpkin Stout, Crooked Letter Brewing Company





































"This smells like dark chocolate and a PSL. Wait, a dark chocolate PSL would be really good. It tastes like real pumpkin and coffee." – Sydney

"It tastes like the guts of a pumpkin. In a good way." – Blair

Sydney: 4/5
Blair: 4/5
Average: 4/5




The Final Verdict

In the end, it was a toss up between the Pumking and the Age Old Pumpkin Stout. Next came the tie between the Imperial Pumpkin Smash and Black O'Lantern. Third place went to Pumpkinfest, and dead last came Pumpkinhead.

Would your ranking match ours?