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Monday, February 29, 2016

Pam Sandoz: Professor of Pours

by Blair Loup

Many things have changed around LSU’s campus over the years, but some things remain sacred. Slinky’s has held its residence on Chimes Street for 17 years. Home to the Lunch Box drop shot and underwear-ridden rafters, bar owner Pam Sandoz says each item on the walls has a story to tell, and she has more than a few.

Pam Sandoz, owner of Slinky's
Pam Sandoz, owner of Slinky's

Pam grew up in a Cajun family full of attorneys in Abbeville, Louisiana. Following in her family’s footsteps, she pursued a law degree at LSU. Like so many college students do, Pam entered the service industry bartending at different establishments. Little did she know that cutting her teeth behind the bar would be the start of a long lasting love affair.

“Somewhere along the way, I realized I could take my favorite college job and turn it into my career and kind of avoid growing up,” Pam said.

Anyone who hangs out with Pam in her bar for an extended period of time will notice her grandmother’s huge influence on her. Her grandmother was a medical professional, and after a long day of work at the hospital, she’d host famous eight course dinner parties. With a reputation for constantly entertaining, it’s not hard to see where Pam’s love of people and conversation stems from.

It takes a special kind of person to weather the service industry. At 25, Pam realized she had officially found her calling and opened Slinky’s with her then boyfriend, and she’s been holding the keys since 1999.

On the surface, Slinky’s may look like another dive bar serving up simple mixed drinks and Michelob Ultras, but upon closer examination, you’ll notice two refrigerators full of craft beer and the bartender slinging creative whiskey cocktails.

I’ll admit, I was a little thrown off. I didn’t expect to see much beyond a couple of Louisiana craft brews. Shame on me! As it turns out, Pam studied abroad in Germany and gained a palate for beer hardly any Baton Rouge bars served in the early 2000s.

While Pam seems to have found her dream job, she explained that being so close to campus has its advantages and pitfalls. She describes the fluctuations in population to be a “feast or famine” situation, which I think most businesses in college towns experience. One of Slinky’s major advantages is Pam.

Pam is backbone that keeps people coming back to Slinky’s. Every customer’s interaction with her sounds like the conversations you have with your cool aunt if your cool aunt owned a bar.
You hear a lot of, “Hey Ms. Pam,” and “Yes Ms. Pam, thank you Ms. Pam.” She’s not to be messed with, but she has fun messing with her customers.

Slinky’s is a different kind of college bar. Most of their clientele consists of rugby players, LSU professors, and graduate students. Pam sees herself as a moderator for educated conversations about politics, religion, and science under a canopy of undergarments.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Wish You Were Here: Postcards from Our 2015 Travels

by Sydney Blanchard

As much as we at team Bite and Booze love to celebrate the local culinary scene, on occasion we don't mind checking out other cities and seeing the best they have to offer.

We got to do a good bit of traveling in 2015, and obviously we blogged about it. Check out our take on Oxford, Shreveport, Oklahoma City, and New York!

Oxford, Mississippi


oxford

"Oxford doesn't preen or parade; it waits patiently to unravel itself to curious passersby."

oxford

"There’s plenty of old school historic Oxford to fall in love with, but it’s the vibrant group of new culinary talent that captured my attention."


Shreveport, Louisiana


taco


"The general theory tossed around as I was growing up is that North Louisiana is essentially Yankee territory, with a disturbing lack of Catholics, culture, and alcoholic beverages. "


lucky


"Sure, they say, the food is phenomenal, but that's not what makes Lucky Palace special. It's the location, the decor, the service."


Oklahoma City, Oklahoma


okc


"If there’s one thing I learned about Oklahoma, it’s that it isn't what you'd expect."

testes


"I'm okay with Jay shipping me off to Oklahoma any day. The people are passionate and forward-thinking in a way that's making room for some very cool stuff."

New York, New York


sac a lait



"While winning a James Beard Award is one of the ultimate milestones of a career in the culinary arts, getting invited to cook at the James Beard house is also one of those monumental achievements for aspiring chefs."


milk


"No trip to Momofuku Noodle Bar would be complete without a walk to their sister bakery Milk Bar a few blocks away."

Monday, February 22, 2016

Louisiana Seafood, 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.

In 2010, after the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig caused 4.9 million barrels of oil to spill into the Gulf of Mexico, BP vowed to clean up the mess for which they were responsible.

Apart from removing oil from the Gulf, BP allotted money to be used for a PR campaign that would not only clean up their image but would clear up the idea that the Gulf’s seafood was tainted by the spill.

Six years and millions of dollars later, the Louisiana Seafood Board is still working to do just that.


horizon
Photo courtesy of the Louisiana Seafood Board

The Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board, considered part of the office of tourism, moved to Baton Rouge from New Orleans two years ago. Since their founding in 1984, their goal has been to promote and educate people about Louisiana’s rich abundance of seafood.

Following the 2010 oil spill, the Seafood Board was handed a $30 million dollar check to be used on, among other things, aggressive public relations campaigns to rebuild the lost confidence in Louisiana’s seafood industry.

According to the agency’s Executive Director Karen Profita, the state is the second largest seafood producer in the nation, right behind Alaska. The challenge Profita and her small team face is that 90 percent of seafood consumed in the United States is imported. Of that 90 percent, less than three percent of it gets tested, she said. And according to recent research that tested imported seafood from local grocery stores, 90 percent contained chemicals banned in the United States.

shrimper
Local shrimpers take pride in their superior product. Photo courtesy of the Louisiana Seafood Board.


Before the LSU alum became the board’s Executive Director less than two years ago, Profita knew next to nothing about the state’s seafood industry, and she said it’s been a steep learning curve from her background in non-profits.

“There’s a lot more to it than I would have guessed,” she said.

Profita said her agency is tasked with ensuring Louisiana’s seafood industry is getting the support it needs. The board is comprised of representatives from the Alligator Industry, the Wild Catfish Industry, the Oyster Task Force, and the Louisiana Shrimp Association, to name a few.

Day to day, Profita plays a role in representing the board members’ interests and working with legislators to come up with compromises that benefit both the fishermen and consumers.

Despite hurricanes and oil spills and rising gas prices that greatly affect their margins, Profita said she is continually impressed and inspired by the state’s shrimpers and oyster farmers and crab fishers.

shrimp
Karen Profita, the board's Executive Director, is inspired by the fishermen she interacts with. Photo courtesy of the Seafood Board.


“I think that’s what so amazing to me,” she said. “I have a great respect for them because they keep coming back. It has just been challenge after challenge for them.”

One of the main challenges for local fishermen is an uneven playing field, Profita said. Imported seafood, mainly from overseas, isn’t required to pass the rigorous inspection or uphold the ethical labor standards domestic seafood producers do. Much of the seafood the United States imports isn’t tested for antibiotics or other banned chemicals, and reports of countries using slave labor to process seafood have increased.

This makes imported seafood cheaper for restaurants and for consumers, often at the cost of the domestic seafood industry.

"We kind of like to get people mad about it,” Profita said. “And it’s important the people in Washington know.”
So why buy domestic? The Seafood Board has spent the last few years (and a few million dollars of BP money) explaining to the public why insisting on Gulf seafood is so important.

Their strategy has mainly been one of education so far. Profita explained that educating consumers about the Gulf’s diverse ecology and showing them the superior quality of its seafood is a major part of the approach.

“We know the purity of our product and the safety of it is going to win out,” Profita said.

The Louisiana Seafood board also stresses the seafood industry’s huge economic and cultural impact in the state. One of the many reasons tourists flock to Louisiana is for culinary tourism. And according to Profita, visitors are impressed not only by Louisiana’s seasoning but by the quality of the seafood itself.

Commercial shrimping, crabbing, and fishing are also part of the culture here. Entire communities were founded upon the commercial fishing industry. Any hit the seafood industry takes hurts local fisherman trying to make a living off their catch.

Profita said she often finds herself asking, “How do you preserve that and make sure they can still make a living from that?”

One of the ways the Louisiana Seafood Board tries to preserve this way of life is with their grocery co-marketing program. Their goal is to sell large volumes of seafood to grocery chains across the country to get loyal fans in other markets. If the grocery chain agrees to buy a certain amount of seafood, the board agrees to put 10 percent of the cost of the seafood toward helping the stores market the seafood with things like social media campaigns.

Their co-marketing program has already seen success in a grocery chain in the Northeast, and they’re hoping to continue to grow it across the country.

Profita explained the farm-to-table movement, or in this case, the “dock-to-dish” movement, often overlooks seafood.

"I don’t know why that hasn’t registered with people,” she said. “It’s really fascinating that they’ll spend forever picking out the tomato that goes in the dish and not think about the shrimp they’re putting it on.”

For consumers, Profita said, it boils down to “know better, eat better.”

When purchasing local seafood in grocery stores, Profita said, closely inspect the package. Labels on imported seafood may include an American flag or even a Louisiana name, but they’re not always from the United States or from Louisiana.

Profita also encourages Louisianans to demand domestic seafood in their grocery stores and in restaurants they frequent.

“They’re willing to sell it if they know you’ll buy it,” she said.

Find out more about the Louisiana Seafood Board by exploring their gorgeous website and keeping up with them on social media.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Barbecue Bites: Jay D's Molasses Mustard Fried Catfish

by Sydney Blanchard

Ah, yes, it's that time of year again. The time when Louisiana's large Catholic population uses Lent as an excuse to cook up some of the tastiest seafood dishes in their repertoire all in the name of fasting.

Fasting? More like feasting! With oysters and Gulf shrimp and catfish and, according to the Pope, alligator, missing meat on Fridays during Lent doesn't seem like much of a sacrifice.

You don't hear us complaining.

Here's one of Jay's latest recipes: a classic fried catfish using Jay D's Louisiana Molasses Mustard.


mustard fried catfish
The fried catfish and roasted vegetable were sourced locally through Indie Plate. Use promo code DUCOTE30OFF to get 30% off your first Indie Plate order.



Jay D's Molasses Mustard Fried Catfish

Peanut oil or other mild-flavored oil like canola, for frying
1 cup Jay D’s Louisiana Molasses Mustard
1 1/2 cups cornmeal
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
4 tablespoons Jay D’s Spicy & Sweet BBQ Rub
1 tsp kosher salt
10 catfish fillets (4 to 5 pounds)



In a large Dutch oven or other large pot, pour oil to a depth of four inches and heat over medium heat until it reads 375º on a candy or deep-fry thermometer (or use a countertop deep fryer). Pour the molasses mustard into a shallow dish or aluminum pan. In another shallow dish, stir together cornmeal, flour, barbecue rub, and salt. Coat each fish fillet in the mustard, then dredge in cornmeal mixture. Fry fillets in batches in hot oil until golden brown and cooked through, about 6 to 8 minutes per batch.

Transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate to drain. Serve hot with more molasses mustard, Creole tartar sauce, jalapeño relish, or over roasted vegetables (seen here) or cole slaw.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Best of the Southwest: Get in on the Lake Charles action

by Sydney Blanchard

Never let anyone tell you there's not much going on in Southwest Louisiana. In the beginnings of a huge economic boom, the region is looking forward to rapid growth, and with rapid growth comes new reasons to check out the blossoming Lake Charles area.

Southwest Louisiana has always been good about entertaining people. With killer food, music, and culture seeping out of the area, it's made its mark as a Louisiana tourism destination.

Check out some of our favorite blog posts of the past year that highlight the best parts of Lake Charles.

Well, Hot Dog!


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


"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."


Red Hot Ember


stuffed rabbit
Stuffed Rabbit Loin: Pancetta Wrapped, Potato Purée, Natural Jus
Photo: Dan Jones

"There's way more going on amid the rice and crawfish ponds than even the natives give themselves credit for. And with a thriving casino industry bringing folks in from Texas as well as some huge industrial developments, I can only imagine that the next couple years will really see Lake Charles shine."

Pop Culture on Ice


pops
(Your Own) Personal Ginger, Save a Pear, and Same Rosewater As You
Photo: Anna Sprigg

"These guys aren't playing around with these pops. The flavors they're creating are very layered and complex, but don't mistake that for intimidating."

Wild 'N Out


truffe sauvage
Sunchoke velouté en crôute with duck confit


"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."

Get Away From It All


boudin
Smoked boudin from Rabideaux's Sausage Kitchen

"Admittedly, Lake Charles isn't always the first place that comes to mind when I dream up day trips or weekend excursions, but after a recent stay in the Boudin Capital of Louisiana, it's safe to say I've converted."

Monday, February 15, 2016

Get Caffeinated with Cafeciteaux Coffee Roasters

by Sydney Blanchard

cafeciteaux
Stevie Guillory, left, and Chris Peneguy, right, are the co-founders and roasters at Cafeciteaux in Baton Rouge

If there's anything you can learn from the roasters at Cafeciteaux, it's to never doubt the power of a hairbrained idea. 

Stevie Guillory and Chris Peneguy, the co-founders of Cafeciteaux Coffee Roasters based in Baton Rouge, met when they lived across the street from each other. The two became friends, and it was inevitable that after a couple of beers they'd dream up all sorts of potential business ventures.

Cafeciteaux is the one that stuck.

The Louisiana natives found themselves searching Baton Rouge for the best cup of coffee around and coming up empty-handed. Commercial coffee companies and national chains dominate the area, and only a few locally-owned coffee shops exist. 

cafeciteaux wheel
When "cupping" or tasting coffee, a chart can be used to pick out certain flavors in each roast

In July 2014, the pair decided to start responsibly sourcing coffee beans and roasting them at home. With eight pounds of beans and a whirly pop, Guillory, a PA, and Peneguy, a CPA, taught themselves everything they now know about roasting coffee.

cafeciteaux cupping
A coffee bean's flavor depends on a number of factors including how it's roasted, where it's from, what the planting conditions were like, etc. 

When they started, they were only able to produce and sell 40 one-pound bags of coffee that year. But by 2015, they had jumped to selling thousands of pounds of their responsibly sourced, locally roasted beans from places like El Salvador, Rwanda, Ethiopia, and Sumatra, to name a few.

Now, their online sales are picking up, and you can find Cafeciteaux's single origin, blend, and espresso roasts in both Calandro's locations, at Alexander's Highland Market, and at other specialty shops across the state.

cafeciteaux source
Cafeciteaux prides itself on responsibly sourcing beans from around the world to ensure quality

Guillory and Peneguy plan to eventually transition into roasting full-time and expand their reach to coffee shops and restaurants across the state whose passion for that perfect cup of coffee matches their own.

Check them out on Facebook and Instagram to keep up with the latest Cafeciteaux news, and listen to the podcast we recorded on site at Cafeciteaux!




Friday, February 12, 2016

Jay Takes on More Austin Barbecue

by Jay Ducote

Franklin Barbecue may have been home to some of the best brisket I've ever tasted, but I knew my barbecue tour of Austin couldn't stop there. While I didn't get the chance to venture to any of the legendary stops outside the city limits, I did make sure to find a couple of the best BBQ trailers around.

The first of those quests brought me to Valentina's Tex Mex BBQ. A trailer located a little out of downtown, Valentina's puts a Texas-Mexican spin on traditional Hill Country barbecue. Their pork ribs were the best I had in Austin. Brilliantly spiced and the proper kind of tender, I could go back and get a whole rack of ribs if it weren't for something else on the menu calling my name...


Brisket Taco Special at Valentina's Tex Mex BBQ in Austin
Brisket Taco Special at Valentina's Tex Mex BBQ in Austin

The brisket taco gave me a new appreciation for what happens when good barbecue combines with Tex Mex flair. A fresh flour tortilla engulfed the smoky brisket which was dressed with spicy salsa, crunchy slaw, and a squeeze of tart lime juice. This is what I want in a taco. Layers of flavors and textures combine into one sensational bite after another. And like a burger is only as good as its bun, the tortilla game at Valentina's is strong.

Of course, I didn't just have the brisket taco. I also feasted on an arrangement of brisket, ribs, and a play on an off-the-cob Mexican street corn. I found my happy place.


A photo posted by Jay Ducote (@jayducote) on


On the east side of town is a food truck lot that hosts a single occupant: La Barbecue. With two smoking trailers, a service trailer, and plenty of picnic tables and open space, this joint just rings out “Austin” in my ears.
Jess Pryles set me up to meet Ali, one of the owners of La Barbecue, to do a proper sampling of the smoked meat menu. Along with my Chief Confusion Coordinator Blair, my buddies Andrew, Jonathan and Zac joined me because I knew we couldn't eat it all.

When the cafeteria tray covered in pink butcher paper came out, the salivation began, and the meat sweats ensued. Before us, arranged majestically to cover every square inch of the platter, lay a smorgasbord of smoked meats that could feed an army. One of the stars of the show was the legendary La Barbecue beef rib. Accompanying the rib were brisket, pulled pork, smoked turkey, smoked sausage, pork ribs, and a number of legit sides.





After polishing off the entire spread, we could barely manage to pose for a picture. Every bite I took brought me to new levels of barbecue glory. There was a line when we arrived, but nothing like the one at Franklin. I'd gladly go back to La Barbecue again and again. This place is the real deal!



A photo posted by Jay Ducote (@jayducote) on

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

When in Nola...

by Sydney Blanchard

Looking back, 2015 was a big year for Bite and Booze. Jay nearly won season 11 of Food Network Star. I became the third member of the team. We all had the chance to travel, eat, and drink all over the country. Not too shabby, right?

Some of the best things we got to eat (and some of the best times we had) were in New Orleans. From sipping cocktails at Compère Lapin to watching Food Network Star at Sac-A-Lait to jamming out at Jazz Fest, we owe New Orleans for some fond 2015 memories.

I've compiled a list of my favorite New Orleans-centric posts from the past year. Hopefully 2016 will bring plenty more New Orleans blogspiration.

Happy Hour at Johnny Sánchez


Al Pastor taco at Johnny Sanchez

"The restaurant, situated in the CBD, resulted from the combined efforts of Chefs Aarón Sánchez and John Besh. Together, the two established a Mexican-style taqueria utilizing the amazing local ingredients available in New Orleans."

Getting festive at Jazz Fest


Crawfish at Jazz Fest in New Orleans

"Thanks to the festival gods, we find ourselves in the midst of crawfish season during Jazz Fest. There's no smell as tantalizing as a fresh pot of boiled crawfish. It's not a five pound tray of crawfish, but it's enough to get a taste."

It's in the stars at Ursa Major


Tuna and peach slice at Ursa Major in New Orleans

"Ursa Major was opened recently by the same people who opened Booty's Street Foods, one of my favorite New Orleans restaurants. But Ursa Major is astrological themed – with each rotation of the zodiac calendar, they switch up their drink list and their menu to items inspired by that zodiac sign."

Not the scary kind of spider at Araña


Queso Fundido at Araña in New Orleans

"Araña is everything I want in a Mexican restaurant. Their presentation is beautiful, the flavors are on fleek, and it’s simply built for a good time."

 Brunch with your buddy Lüke


tomato salad
Tomato salad at Lüke in New Orleans


"Lüke's heirloom tomato salad consists of sliced heirloom tomatoes, garden herbs, burrata, and country ham. Heirloom tomatoes just taste better. In recent years, this non-hybrid tomato has become more readily available, and I can't get enough of them."

Monday, February 8, 2016

A Night at the Taproom: A Local Pair & Their Local Pairings

by Blair Loup

Tin Roof Brewing Company can always give you something tasty to sip on, but if you pop by the brewery every now and then, you might find yourself in the middle of a good time.

Since the opening of their taproom, Tin Roof has played host to pop-up dinners, home brew competitions, yoga classes, crawfish boils and more.

Recently, I enjoyed a five-course beer dinner prepared by Chef Kelley McCann of Galatoire’s Bistro and Jesse Romero of MasterChef Season 6 at the taproom. Pro tip: keep up with Tin Roof on their social media channels to hear about local chefs cooking up seriously delicious stuff.

The dishes were well thought out and paired deliciously.

Whether it’s a five-course beer dinner or Jesse serving greens out of a cast iron cauldron on the loading dock, you won’t want to miss it.


First Course: Oyster Mignonette with the Blonde Ale


Gulf Oysters with Satsuma Mignonette
Gulf Oysters with Satsuma Mignonette

I’ve had a lot of raw Gulf oysters and some good mignonettes, but this Satsuma mignonette with fresh parsley had me feeling incredibly Louisiana. It’s a really good feeling.

Jesse and Kelley mixed in some gelatin to firm up the mignonette so it would stay on the oyster and not get lost in the oyster juices that eventually spill out of the shell. I really appreciated that little flex of technique.


Second Course: Citrus Poached Louisiana Shrimp with Turnrow Harvest Ale


Citrus Poached Louisiana Shrimp with Turnrow Beurre Blanc
Citrus Poached Louisiana Shrimp with Turnrow Beurre Blanc

Who knew a single succulent Louisiana shrimp could be so exciting? The Turnrow beurre blanc really set this dish off. Tin Roof’s Turnrow, originally intended to be a seasonal brew, became so popular they now brew it year round. It is hands down my favorite Tin Roof beer.

The coriander in the Turnrow came through beautifully in the beurre blanc, and incorporating the beer into a beurre blanc is one of the most delicious ways I’ve experienced it.


Third Course: Geaux Local Soup with the House Series English Brown Ale


Smoky Tomato Soup with Basil Oil
Smoky Tomato Soup with Basil Oil

This dish, named after one of the brewery’s commonly used hashtags, gave me the feeling the mean food critic in Ratatouille got when he first tasted the mouse’s ratatouille.

Cold-smoked tomato soup with the slightest creaminess drizzled with basil oil may rival that of Chelsea’s. As a longtime lover of soup, it’s hard for me to get wowed by a tomato soup, but it had the most perfect (and I don’t say that lightly) consistency and balance of flavor.

The new House Series English Brown brought some roasty notes to the table to compliment the smoky soup.


Fourth Course: Lamb Two Ways with Rougarou


Seared Lamb Lollipop, Lamb & Risotto Cake and Greens
Seared Lamb Lollipop, Lamb & Risotto Cake and Greens

A mash up of Kelley’s fine dining background and Jesse’s Louisiana sportsman flare, this dish proved to be a true collaboration. I would have been happy with the savory greens and seared lamb lollipop, but the fried risotto and lamb “boudin ball” was the star of the dish.

Creamy risotto, bits of lamb all fried into a ball? It’s like someone slipped a tuxedo onto a boudin ball: genius. The pairing of the Rougarou, an Imperial Black Ale, was a bold choice. I find the Rougarou to be very rich, roasty, toasty, and smoky with a hint of hops, but it worked out nicely and added a little jolt to the creaminess of the risotto.


Fifth Course: Parade Mousse with the Parade Ground Coffee Porter


Parade Ground Coffee Porter Mouse, Candied Bacon and Port Cherries
Parade Ground Coffee Porter Mouse, Candied Bacon and Port Cherries

Chocolate mousse topped with port cherries and candied bacon? Yes. This dessert speaks for itself. Decadent chocolate and candied bacon with a side of Tin Roof’s coveted coffee porter sounds like the best decision anyone could ever make.



Baton Rouge is kind of having a moment right now. With Jay’s success on Food Network Star, Jesse receiving national attention on MasterChef, and Avery Kyle nearly snagging the MasterChef Junior title, I think Louisiana, and more importantly Baton Rouge, has a lot to be proud of.

(You can catch all three of these cool cats this weekend downtown at the Red Stick Roux Rally! Jay will be one of the judges for the gumbo competition, and Jesse and Avery will teaming up to take all the stellar gumbos out there! Stop by, give them a high five, and snap a picture because these folks are bound for great things!)

Friday, February 5, 2016

Beers with Chuck: Who Says Beer and Radio Don't Mix?

by Chuck P

Ever since I began my craft beer journey years ago, I’ve been lucky enough to surround myself with a great group of knowledgeable beer geeks I proudly call friends. And there’ve been a few times where we’ve all gotten together to drink and discuss our love for all things malt and hops.

Such was the case recently when we met up at the Running Monk Brewery for a beer tasting episode of the Bite and Booze Radio Show.
If you’re trying to figure out where this brewery is, don’t. It’s technically a homebrew set-up at the home of my buddy Brenton Day (aka The Ale Runner).
Also joining Jay, Brenton, and me was Buddy Ethridge, the man behind Baton Rouge Adventures in Beer.
Once the recording began, we started on our first two beers, a couple of local Louisiana favorites, Parish Brewing Company’s Envie Pale Ale and Great Raft Brewing Company’s Commotion Pale Ale.

Envie commotion
Envie and Commotion Pale Ale


Parish Brewery recently tweaked the recipe on their latest batch of Envie, and after trying it I can understand why it’s been unofficially nicknamed “Baby Ghost” after their highly popular Ghost In The Machine Double IPA.
Envie might be the most easy drinking Pale Ale I’ve ever had. The hop profile is pretty much perfect and the nice dry finish leaves you craving that next sip. Coming in at 5.5% ABV this is a beer I could find myself drinking plenty of at a house party or tailgate.
Great Raft’s Commotion comes straight out the gate with a great aroma of grapefruit and a nice sweet balance of citrus. A bit darker in color than the Envie and coming in a little over 5% ABV, this is another one that’s great for any occasion and definitely a go-to beer when I’m out.
Sticking with the same breweries, we moved on to Parish’s aforementioned Ghost and Great Raft’s Grace & Grit Double IPA. After pouring both beers side by side, we were all a little surprised at how similar these two beers looked to their previous “little brothers.” 

ghost grace
Ghost in the Machine and Grace and Grit

What can be said about Ghost In The Machine (8% ABV) that hasn’t already been said? The beer is just flat out delicious, especially if you’re a true hop head. From the aroma to the first sip, your taste buds are assaulted (in a good way) by a massive hop bomb of awesomeness. There’s a reason this beer flies off of the shelves when it’s released.
The Grace & Grit is as equally delicious. Not the hop bomb that Ghost is, this Double IPA (8% ABV) still packs a nice hop punch, but is very subtle in its delivery. The honey malt gives it a slightly sweet finish that lingers on the palate in just the right way. This one comes packaged in 750ml bottles in case you want to share with a friend or drink the whole thing yourself.
After finishing the radio show and thinking our night was just about over, Brenton’s wife Teresa brought out a plethora of delicious food for us to finish out the evening. Another perfect ending to an awesome evening of great friends and great local craft beer.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Fresh Takes on King Cake

by Daniel Harris, intern

The only time it's acceptable to accidentally bite into a baby, be it plastic or not, is when your slice of King Cake is the hiding space for the small trinket traditionally placed inside the cake.

Louisianans know King Cake as a large ring of cinnamon dough, sometimes with a fruit or cream filling, topped with icing and purple, green, and gold sprinkles, like this one from Calandro’s Market, one of our personal favorites at Bite and Booze.




But King Cake, like many things in the food world, is being constantly revamped to include an individual’s personal style and touch. This can mean transforming it into anything from a burger to a cocktail.

Keep scrolling for some of our favorite takes on the King Cake!

Copeland’s King Cake Cheesecake




I like King Cake, and I like cheesecake, so why not combine the two? That’s exactly what Copeland’s did with their King Cake cheesecake.


Fat Cow’s King Cake Milkshake


milkshake
Fat Cow's King Cake milkshake

Fat Cow has some of the best milkshakes in town, but this one takes the cake!


Twin’s Burgers and Sweets Boudin King Cake

boudin
Boudin stuffed King Cake topped with bacon and Steen's syrup


When you get tired of sweets, swing over to Twin’s Burgers and Sweets in Lafayette to get your savory fix with their Boudin King Cake.



Tiger Deauxnut’s Maple Bacon King Cake




Bacon makes everything better, and King Cakes are no exception.

Next time you have a craving for King Cake, why not branch out and give something new a try, because Mardi Gras is right around the corner, and they won’t be around much longer!

Monday, February 1, 2016

Barbecue Bites: Barbecue Chicken Tacos

Looking for a way to spruce up your go-to chicken tacos? Fresh, local ingredients can make all the difference. It's amazing how choosing the right ingredients can immediately elevate a dish.

Recently Jay made these barbecue chicken tacos for lunch using all fresh ingredients from Indie Plate, and the result was amazing! Take a look at these bad boys, cooked with Jay D's Louisiana Barbecue Sauce and Spicy & Sweet Barbecue Rub and topped with a from-scratch salsa and local goat milk feta.

Thinking about trying Indie Plate for the first time? New customers get 30-20-10% off their first, second, and third orders!

barbecue chicken tacos
Barbecue chicken tacos, made with ingredients from Indie Plate


Barbecue Chicken Tacos

Makes 8 tacos

8 chicken thighs
2 tablespoons Jay D’s Spicy & Sweet BBQ Rub
1 tablespoon pecan oil (can use canola oil)
1 bottle (12.7 fl oz.) Jay D’s Louisiana Barbecue Sauce
8 flour tortillas
Goat milk feta cheese, crumbled


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place pecan oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.

Coat chicken thighs with Jay D’s Spicy & Sweet BBQ Rub, and brown skin side down in oil. Sautee for 5 minutes.

Using tongs flip the chicken thighs over so the skin side is up. Drench thighs in Jay D’s Louisiana Barbecue Sauce, and transfer skillet in oven for 15 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.

Once chicken is cooked through remove from oven and shred. Add some leftover barbecue sauce from the skillet to the shredded chicken, and toss.

Salsa

1 Tomato, diced
1 Tomatillo, diced
1 Serrano pepper, diced
1 Red onion, diced
1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped
2 limes, juiced
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Combine tomato, tomatillo, serrano pepper, red onion, cilantro and lime juice. Salt and pepper to taste.

Toast tortillas in a heated pan. Assemble tacos with shredded chicken, a scoop of salsa, and crumbled goat milk feta. Enjoy!