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Thursday, March 31, 2016

Boil ‘Em, Mash ‘Em, Stick ‘Em in a Stew: A National Tater Day Celebration

by Intern Daniel Harris

If there's anything we love at Bite and Booze, it's celebrating seemingly arbitrary national food and beverage holidays. And today, we will celebrate the humble potato, everyone's favorite starch.

“What’s Taters, Precious?” you may ask.





This little root vegetable can be sweet, red, sliced, diced, and cooked any way imaginable. While almost always serving as a side or addition to a meal, we believe potatoes should have their day in the sun.

Here are some of the Bite and Booze Crew’s favorite tater moments.

Portland Tots



A photo posted by Jay Ducote (@jayducote) on


Horseshoe Bay Resort Mashed Taters





Street Breads Tater Salad






City Pork Brasserie and Bar Tater Soup



Today's lunch at City Pork Brasserie & Bar included a grilled cheese and potato soup from Chef Ryan Andre'. I'll gladly take another!
Posted by Bite and Booze on Friday, January 30, 2015


Doe's Eat Place French Fried Taters



A photo posted by Jay Ducote (@biteandbooze) on



Tater Gnocci



Potato gnocchi, lamb bolognese, mint, pecorino. Delightful.
Posted by Bite and Booze on Friday, April 11, 2014



Monday, March 28, 2016

Rolling in the Deep...Fryer: Our Power Rankings of the Best LSU Rolls in Baton Rouge

by Sydney Blanchard & Blair Loup

I'm a Baton Rouge native, and if there's one thing I can say about this city, it's that its people are passionate. I theorize that living so close to the state's seat of government rubs off on us. Our opinions, on everything from LSU football to where to find the best sushi, are about as polarizing as our politics.

Thus, an idea was born.

We decided to do some research and find out which local sushi places had football themed rolls. At first, we thought we'd stumble across a few, but after poring over dozens of menus, we discovered that almost every sushi restaurant in town offers some play on an LSU inspired roll.

There are Tiger rolls, Geaux Tiger rolls, Death Valley rolls, LSU Tiger rolls, and of course, a number of LSU rolls.

It would have been nearly impossible to try to write about all of these, so we narrowed our focus on the LSU rolls and got to eating. One pattern emerged: at least one fried element is present in nearly all of these rolls.

Go figure.

Here's our rankings of the best LSU rolls this town has to offer, with photos for reference.

Rock-n-Sake Bar & Sushi

Shrimp, cream cheese, snow crab, red tuna, avocado at Rock-n-Sake (3043 Perkins Rd #A).

Rock-n-Sake's roll was by far the standout. Colorful, inventive, and tasty, we had no problem gobbling down this roll. This interpretation of the LSU roll consisted of battered shrimp and cream cheese in a traditional rice roll and snow crab topped with ruby red tuna and avocado slices.


Sushi Masa


Snowcrab, crawfish tails, cream cheese, and spicy mayo and eel sauce at Sushi Masa (5837 Essen Ln).

Sushi Masa's LSU roll fell in line with some of the other rolls on this list, but we think their interpretation was the best. Snowcrab, crawfish, and cream cheese combine in a rice roll that's battered, fried, and topped with spicy mayonnaise and eel sauce. The crunchy fried shell plays well with the cool cream cheese in the center.


Ichiban Hibachi Grill & Sushi Bar

Fried oyster, snow crab, avocado, asparagus at Ichiban (5741 Essen Lane).
Ichiban's LSU roll confused then pleased our tastebuds. The combination of fried oyster, snow crab, avocado, and asparagus topped with crunchy and purple and gold sweet sauce was uniquely Louisiana. I'm not a huge oyster fan, but the choice to include fried oysters in a roll earned Ichiban some extra points.


Omi Hibachi Grill & Sushi Bar


Snow crab, cream cheese, battered and fried at Omi (7951 One Calais Ave).

It was Blair's and my first time at Omi, and we were excited to see what it was all about. We were pretty disappointed this roll was so similar to Sushi Masa and Koi's LSU roll (snow crab, cream cheese, rice roll, battered and fried), but Omi's choice of batter made this one of our favorites. The texture of the batter reminded us of beignets, and it worked well with the other ingredients.


Drunken Fish


Spicy tuna, cucumber, salmon and eel at Drunken Fish (4410 Highland Road).

Blair and I were impressed with how different Drunken Fish's take on the LSU roll was compared with the others, but for us the flavor just wasn't there. Spicy tuna and cucumber nestle together in a rice roll topped with fresh salmon and barbecue eel. Drunken Fish was my spot in college, but this roll was a miss for me.


Koi Sushi Restaurant

Crawfish, Snow crab, cream cheese, all fried at Koi Sushi (Koi Sushi Restaurant).

Koi's interpretation fell in line with that of Omi and Sushi Masa, but the biggest turnoff for us was the value. This was the most expensive roll we had, and we couldn't figure out why. The components were the same as the LSU roll as Omi and Sushi Masa, but Koi's batter just didn't hold up as well as the others.


Do you agree with our rankings? Did we miss a must-try LSU roll? Let us know in the comments!

Friday, March 25, 2016

Great Raft Brewing + Restaurant Calla: A Flavorful Balancing Act

by Blair Loup

Southwest Louisiana is the place I call home. I grew up in the small city of Sulphur near what some might call the “main drag,” in this case the street with the most chain restaurants. We had to go across the bridge to Lake Charles to go to a mall or see a movie; you know, the fun stuff.

While it was a great place to grow up, I’ll admit throughout college I didn’t find myself itching to leave Baton Rouge to go home for a visit, but that’s changing.

Lake Charles is booming, and there are some cool people working hard to showcase what the area has to offer. One of those shining stars is Chef David Sorrells at Restaurant Calla.

The relatively new restaurant is one of the first businesses to open in a sparkly new development, Walnut Grove. Chef David has a long history of restaurant experience, but perhaps the most notable is his time at Thomas Keller’s French Laundry.

So what’s he doing in Lake Charles? He’s plating up some of the tastiest and creative bites I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing in the region.

Recently, Jay teamed up with Restaurant Calla and Great Raft Brewing to kick off our Louisiana Winter Beer Festival weekend. Great Raft's Chief Brewer Harvey Kenney claimed it was easily the best Great Raft Beer pairing dinner he’s experienced.

Blue Crab Beignet + Southern Drawl Pale Lager



blue crab beignet
Blue crab beignet, malt vinegar aioli, red pepper confit.

What I imagined would be a bready fritter with a few chunks of crab turned out to be this magical delicately fried ball stuffed to the gills with blue crab. The subtle sweetness of the crab met with a malt vinegar aioli to give it a tinge of acidity that set off the flavors. This lovely, bright but sweet red pepper confit added a necessary savory element. Pair that with a crisp, clean lager and the first course was set.

Red Snapper Ceviche + At Arm’s Length India Pale Lager


red snapper ceviche
Red Snapper ceviche, tropical fruit, coconut cream.

Easily one of the best ceviches I’ve eaten, Chef David’s balance of flavors in this dish was spot on. Ceviche is the art of curing fish or other seafood in citrus juices. The tango of that popping citrus with tropical fruit and a coconut cream set off the hop-forward lager in a way that will stay with me.

Grilled Octopus + Commotion American Pale Ale

octopus
Grilled octopus, avocado, chipotle, barley, cilantro, grapefruit, Commotion vinaigrette.
This is not your mom’s grilled octopus dish. Super tender grilled octopus sprinkled with accoutrements like creamy avocado, smoky chipotle, cilantro, barley, and juicy grapefruit tossed in Commotion vinaigrette had my taste buds partying like it was 1999. Those flavors combined with the relaxed hoppy Commotion were money. Commotion is one of those hoppy beers that even even a Coors Light drinker can get behind. It’s easy to drink and refreshing.

Coffee & Cocoa Rubbed Tenderloin + Reasonably Corrupt Black Lager


tenderloin
Coffee and cocoa rubbed tenderloin, creamed yucca, charred leeks, ancho hollandaise.
This dish spoke to me on levels I didn’t know beef tenderloin could speak on. The bitter but savory rub on the beef married with the ancho hollandaise seamlessly. Drag that buttery soft bite through the thick creamed yucca, and it’s on. The toasty notes you get in the Reasonably Corrupt from the roasted paired perfectly with the chocolate-peppery notes in the dish.

Chocolate Short Bread Cookies + Provisions and Traditions Vol. 3 Oak Aged Oktoberfest with Louisiana Cane Syrup


cookies calla
Chocolate short bread cookies, banana sorbet, dulce de leche, peanut butter powder.
Chocolate short bread cookies with a banana sorbet drizzled with dulce de leche and peanut butter powder is never a bad decision. What I love about flavored powders like peanut butter, strawberry, green tea, etc. is that you get the entirety of the flavor full on, but not the substance. It’s a very cool way to accentuate dishes. This Oak Aged Oktoberfest is slightly sweet from the malt with a bittersweet cane syrup taste…now if only dipping the cookies in beer were a good idea!

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Our Favorite Pork Posts, Just in Time for Hogs for the Cause

by Sydney Blanchard

At Bite and Booze, it's safe to say we love pork in all its iterations, whether it's a juicy smoked Boston Butt or a crispy cut of bacon.
 Our pork passion is one of the main reasons you'll find us out at Hogs for the Cause each year. Hogs for the Cause, a New Orleans Barbecue Competition, started in 2009 as a way to raise money for a child with incurable pediatric brain cancer. Today, the event has grown into a huge barbecue competition and music and food festival. All the money raised goes directly to families with kids fighting brain cancer.

If you feel so inclined, consider donating to our Hogs for the Cause team. Teams are ranked not only by their barbecue chops but also by their ability to raise money for the cause, so please help us out!

In the meantime, take a scroll down memory lane and check out some of our favorite pork pics to date.

Blackberry Bourbon Bone-In Boston Butt


pork butt
We like pork butts and we cannot lie.


Pork Belly at Houmas House


pork belly
Pork belly and local honey? Sold.


Cured Bacon from Iverstine Family Farms



Jay D's Barbecue Pulled Pork


pulled pork
For more recipes like this one, head to hugjayd.com.

Pork Chop at SALT in McAllen, Tx



Grilled Pork Chop with Spicy Peach Chutney


pork peach
Click the link for the recipe!


Pulled Pork Grits Bowl at City Pork Kitchen & Pie



Pork Sliders at City Grocery



Jay's Barbecue Pork Belly, Charred Fennel, and Candied Dates



Mixed Assortment of Pork and Beef in Austin, Tx



Pork Ribs at City Pork Deli's Cochon De Lait



Sampler Platter at Nola Smokehouse




Soon to be Pork at Mahaffey Farms in Shreveport


Monday, March 21, 2016

Good Times at Olde Tyme Grocery in Lafayette

by Chuck P

A couple of months ago Jay and I had the pleasure of taking a culinary tour of Lafayette and visiting a few places neither one of us had been to before. One of our stops brought us to Olde Tyme Grocery near the campus of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.

We got to spend some time with the owners and grab a table to get ready for the feast that was on its way. We were joined by one of Jay’s former co-workers, Minnesota native Geoff Daily who now lives in Lafayette. Olde Tyme Grocery is one of his favorite food spots in town, and he assured us we were in for a treat.

shrimp poboy
Shrimp poboy at Ole Tyme Grocery

First, we got to try the fried shrimp poboy. Unfortunately for me, I have a shellfish allergy, but this poboy looked so good I almost ran out to get an EpiPen just so I could have a bite. Stuffed with ample amounts of golden fried shrimp, the guys quickly scarfed it down and left nary a crumb on the plate.

Turkey poboy
Turkey poboy at Olde Tyme Grocery


Next, we tried a smoked turkey poboy stuffed with tons of meat, lettuce, tomato, and cranberry sauce that instantly gave me Thanksgiving vibes. The turkey was juicy and had a nice subtle smokiness to it. I knew I’d be craving more of this one as soon as I walked out the door.

Olde Tyme Grocery muff
Classic muffuletta at Olde Tyme Grocery

Then there was the delicious classic muffuletta. This one featured a very generous amount of olive salad and a hearty amount of salami, ham, and provolone. The bread had a great texture that was soft but with a bit of a crunch. It's understandable why this is the favorite among loyal customers.

Olde Tyme Grocery
Chuck P, Geoff, and Jay post for a photo at Olde Tyme Grocery

Overall it was a great time catching up with old friends and enjoying some truly delicious New Orleans-style poboys. Be sure to make Olde Tyme Grocery one of your next dining destinations when you’re in Lafayette.

Check out the Bite and Booze podcast we recorded at Olde Tyme Grocery!



Thursday, March 17, 2016

Pride in the Products: A Californian Revels in Louisiana's Love for Local

by Intern Vanessa Mejia

calandros
Jay D's Louisiana Barbecue Sauce and Blanc Du Bois, displayed at Calandro's Supermarket
I've only lived in Louisiana for the last year and a half, and although Baton Rouge feels like home, I have to remind myself I'm an outsider.

Okay, so maybe using the term "outsider" has a bit of a harsh connotation, but in technical terms it's accurate. Being born and raised in Southern California, it slips my mind more than you might believe.

Now, having interned with Bite and Booze/HugJayD for two semesters, I've got some serious homework: take my last months before graduating to explore the city I'm living in. Challenge accepted.

Part of my role as an intern was to create fun and unique content to describe what HugJayD represents, and in order to do that effectively, I had to see for myself all the local places that carry the products and the places that use the products in recipes to create some seriously delicious bites.

Full disclosure: prior to this internship, the only places I bought groceries in Baton Rouge were Winn Dixie, Whole Foods, Trader Joes, and the Neighborhood Walmart (only three of which exist in California). 

I was excited to explore shops that sell local products, like Matherne's, Bocage Market, Maxwell's Market, Calandro's, Red Stick Spice Company, and Tony's Seafood.

You want to know what each of these places have in common? That they make you want to go home and cook a full Cajun spread? Yes, but there's something else.

It's the pride in the products; Louisiana-made products specifically. 

Front and center when you walk into these places, Louisiana products are proudly displayed. Including products like Jay D's Louisiana Barbecue Sauce and Molasses Mustard. (Cue selfish plug. I’m a good intern, what can I say?).

If I'm being honest, I can’t recall a single place similar in California. Yes, maybe those super cliche organic shops and farmer’s markets, but nothing like these local city grocery stores. 

Impressive, Louisiana. That’s pride, and that’s what makes me feel welcome and at home here.

By tagging along on some of Chuck P's sauce deliveries, I wanted to buy everything off those Louisiana product shelves. It made me proud to see Louisiana flavors bottled, bagged, and being shared. 

It's how "outsiders" like me connect on more levels than just purple and gold (Go Tigers!). 

And on the day of my departure, I will proudly stuff the trunk of my car with plenty of Louisiana products, and then search high and low for them in California because you just can’t beat Louisiana flavor.

*Editor's note: We did not assign this piece to Vanessa. She felt compelled on her own to write it. We will miss her when she graduates and leaves us!*


Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Culinary Enlightenment at Dark Roux in Lafayette

by Chuck P

If you’re ever in Lafayette, Louisiana, and find yourself struggling to decide what to eat, just know I’ve felt your pain.

And that’s not because choices are limited; it’s because there are so many different types of delicious food to choose from, your brain will go into overload. Luckily for me, I have an awesome boss to make those decisions for me.

On our recent trip to Lafayette, we found ourselves at one of the city’s newest restaurants, Dark Roux.

Jay and I were instantly impressed with our surroundings. The small, intimate interior seats about 40, and a nice bar area creates the perfect atmosphere for couples or small groups to engage in conversation.

dark roux
Interior at Dark Roux

After being joined by Lafayette food writer Andre Arceneaux, we were brought a small bowl of Dark Roux’s signature gumbo. 

How can you not have a gumbo on the menu with a name like that? 

Filled with hefty portions of pastured chicken and Rabideaux’s house-made sausage, this little bowl of heaven was a great way start to the night.
Executive Chef Corey Bourgeois introduced himself to the group and began sending out his Tasting Menu along with a few signature cocktails, saving us choosing from the many amazing looking menu options.

don draper
Don Draper cocktail at Dark Roux in Lafayette

The stand-out cocktails were the Don Draper and the Avada Kedavra. The Don Draper, a refreshing, slow-sipping cocktail, was obviously inspired by the TV show Mad Men. Made with rye whiskey, Luxardo, angostura, and satsuma bitters, this drink is reminiscent of an Old Fashioned.

The Avada Kedavra, named after the killing curse from the Harry Potter series, combined green cayenne vodka, orange, lime, and basil for balance. This peppery, refreshing citrus cocktail definitely put a spell on me.

Avada Kedavra cocktail at Dark Roux

The night’s memorable dishes were many, but the Fried Pig Ear with Quail Egg and the Cornbread Bread Pudding really stuck with me.

The crunchy pig ear was perfect for dipping into the broken quail egg yolk. 

pig ear
Fried pig ear with quail egg at Dark Roux


The mealy texture of the cornbread is a nice change from typical bread puddings.This dessert is beyond words will probably be making my list of the top five things I have eaten this year.


cornbread bread pudding
Cornbread bread pudding

Next time you find yourself in Lafayette and you’re stumped on dinner options, do yourself a favor and check out Dark Roux. You will leave one satisfied customer.

Wanna hear more about Dark Roux? Listen to the podcast below!

Monday, March 14, 2016

Steakspiration in Baton Rouge and Beyond

by Daniel Harris

Any time is a good time for steak, and today is no exception. You can dress it up, getting the nicest cut from a five-star restaurant, or take the more approachable route by slicing it up and putting it in a taco.

No matter the presentation, you'll have to pry red meat out of Team Bite and Booze's cold dead hands. Here’s a look at some of the best steaks we’ve had (or served) over the years.

Doe's Classic Steak and Fries


doe's
Starting our journey through steak heaven with this classic, juicy steak from Doe’s.

Lucky Palace Steak with Onion & Bell Pepper 


lucky palace
The perfect trio at Lucky Palace in Bossier City.


Jay's Street Steak Tacos 


steak tacos
This easy to make recipe (using ingredients from Indie Plate) allows you to create your own delicious Steak Tacos.

SALT Steak with Veggies & Potatoes


SALT
This expertly cooked piece of steak pairs beautifully with the colorful bed of veggies and potatoes.

Jay’s Flank Steak, Fried Plantain & Chimmichurri Bites





18 Steak Ribeye


18 steak
This great cut of meat is aged for 45 days before being cooked over a mix of mesquite, hickory, and pecan.


Jay's Skirt Steak Roulade 



skirt steak roulade
This skirt steak roulade is made with Jay D’s Louisiana Barbecue Sauce and fresh ingredients from Indie Plate.


Ember's Tomahawk



A photo posted by Jay Ducote (@biteandbooze) on


Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Blair's Five Favorite Bites in McAllen, Texas

by Blair Loup

Recently, Jay and I were invited to eat and drink our way through McAllen, Texas. It’s an obscure but magical place with 24-hour taco joints.

The Rio Grande Valley area is teeming with authentic Mexican cuisine, but most of the best bites we had may surprise you. Here’s a look at the five best bites I had in McAllen:

Il Forno a Legna


pizza
Shrimp, smoked salmon, mushroom, mozzarella, parsley pizza at Il Forno.

This Italian eatery is brand new, and the people of McAllen are as stoked to have them churning out beautiful pizzas.

I’ve never had smoked salmon on a pizza before, and now I feel like my whole life has been a lie. The seafood married with the earthiness of the mushroom, and parsley intrigued my taste buds the way no pizza has before.


The Lunchbox on 10th


trout
Trout en pappillote with fresh herbs, carrots, squash, and zucchini at Lunchbox.

Chef Marcel has created something truly unique here. His menu is a fantastic dance of Latin American, Asian, Italian, and European cuisines.

“En Papillotte” is a classic French fish dish where that day’s catch is cooked inside a paper pouch with savory herbs, butter, and vegetables. This trout in a pouch was prepared to the point of maximum deliciousness. I’m currently penning a love letter to butter to show my appreciation for the dumbfounding effect it has on proteins.

Bodega Tavern & Kitchen


beet fries
Beet fries at Bodega.

I don’t know what I was expecting, but Bodega spoke to me on so many levels. The first thing I noticed was the meat curing room. Chef Adam Cavazos turned the previous owner’s giant fish tank into a curing room you can see from across the restaurant.

In my opinion, Chef Adam’s great cocktail program and beautiful restaurant why in comparison to his vegetable menu. He treats vegetable sides as composed dishes, and to me that warrants sainthood.

If you know me, you know I love beets. These are beet fries with a smoked aioli sprinkled with funky blue cheese and crunchy pepitas; a dish that would sway any beet doubter.

Ms. G’s Tacos n’ More


Barbacoa taco from Ms. G's.

I am a taco fiend. You may remember my deep mourning over the loss of our beloved Taco n Sabor in Baton Rouge, so I had to get my fix in a town riddled with tacos. There are 24-hour tacos, grab-and-go tacos, drive-thru tacos, and even gas station tacos.

I tried them all, but none were better than Ms. G’s. This barbacoa taco changed my life. Barbacoa is mostly, if not all, beef cheek and tongue. While that may make some cringe, adventurous eaters know that this meat tastes like the best beef roast you’ve ever had, but better.

Salt New American Table


Compart Duroc Pork Chop, Huilacoche Tamale, corn relish at SALT.

Chef Larry Delgado is something special. We had the opportunity to have dinner at his restaurant with him and his wife, Jessica, and we were stuffed to the brim.
When they brought out this pork job, Jay’s jaw fell to the ground. This cut has to be butchered in house and contains the chop, the loin, and the belly and is sous vide, pan seared, and then dropped in the fryer. It’s a beast. If you slice it all the way across, it’s one of the most perfect bites of pork you’ll ever have.

Be on the lookout soon to see what Jay has to say about out eating and drinking adventures in McAllen!

Monday, March 7, 2016

Barbecue Bites: Jay D's Barbecue Venison Pizza

Sometimes when you get your hands on some venison and some fresh dough from Indie Plate, you have to just put it in the pizza.


Behold, our Jay D's Barbecue Venison Pizza recipe! All the hunters with a surplus of ground venison in their freezers this time of year, fear no more.

pizza
Jay D's Barbecue Venison Pizza

Jay D’s Barbecue Venison Pizza

Makes 2 10-12” Pizzas

3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 lb ground venison
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp dried oregano
1 tbsp red chili flakes
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 pack of Indie Plate pizza dough, divided in half
1/2 cup Jay D’s Louisiana Barbecue Sauce
6 oz shredded white Indie Plate cheddar cheese
1 red onion, diced
3 serrano peppers, sliced thinly to form little circles



Preheat oven to 375 F with two cast iron skillets inside.

In a large skillet, heat one tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat. Place the venison in the pan and break apart with a wooden spoon. Brown the meat in the olive oil for five minutes. Add the garlic, oregano, chili flakes, salt, and pepper, and continue to brown the venison, stirring often, about five more minutes. Reserve.

Roll or toss out half of the pizza dough. Work the dough until it's large enough to cover the bottom of your cast iron skillets. Remove the skillets from the oven. Drizzle one tablespoon of olive oil in each skillet, coating as much of the bottom as possible. Lay the dough down in the oil in each skillet. Pour two tablespoons of Jay D’s Louisiana Barbecue Sauce onto each dough and spread it out. On top of the sauce, layer the ground venison followed by the cheese and then red onion and serrano.

Place skillets back in the oven and bake for 20 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Remove from the oven and slide the pizzas onto a cutting board. Allow to cool for a few minutes. Drizzle each pizza with two tablespoons of barbecue sauce, then slice and serve.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Beers with Chuck: BBQ and Brews for a Good Cause at Iron Brewer

by Chuck P

For the last three years, Brasseurs a la Maison, Louisiana’s largest homebrew club, has partnered with the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank to put on the Iron Brewer, an event that accepts cash donations and donated canned goods to benefit the less fortunate.


With more than 15 competing homebrew teams from around the state serving up their signature homebrews and delicious BBQ from local Hogs for the Cause team Bacon Rouge, Iron Brewer is a great way to enjoy great beer and great food for a good cause.

iron brewer
Quite the crowd at the third annual Iron Brewer event at Tin Roof Brewing Company.

Like last year, this year’s Iron Brewer was held at the Tin Roof Brewing Company. After dropping off my canned good donation that doubled as an entry free, I grabebd my wristband, voting ticket, and sample cup as I headed toward the collection of tents sprawled across the grassy field next to the brewery. It was a beautiful and warm Saturday afternoon, and the smell of BBQ, malt, and hops lingered in the air as I made my way through the large crowd and arrived at the first tent to begin my sampling adventure.

I knew attempting to try all the homebrews here was going to be tough. Some of the teams had more than one to sample! With that in mind, I began the day with a tasty King Cake Blonde Stout called Bierre Des Rois. This one had everything you would want in a king cake beer. It helped that they paired each sample with a king cake donut hole from Tiger Deaux-Nuts. Not a bad way to start things off.

Then there was the Sazerac Beer. Blake Winchell came up with a delicious beer based on the classic Sazerac cocktail that was probably my favorite of the day. I was wishing I had a growler bottle of it when I got home.
Next, I had the Rum Soaked Scotsman. Another favorite, this brew had the perfect balance of rum that didn’t completely overtake the beer itself. I had this one a few times throughout the day.

Then I tried the Sweet India Chai Spiced Wheat Ale. This beer caught me off guard. I was worried it might be over-spiced, but luckily I was wrong. The balance of spice was exactly what I’d hoped it would be.

Next up, the Cafe Au Lait Brunch. Thanks to the 7th Tap Team for making me choose a favorite out of their four delicious beers. I love stouts and coffee, and this beer is a great mix of both. The chocolate and coffee notes jump out at you. I wish I could walk into a store and buy some now.

How could I not have a Brenton Day beer on here? His entry this year, a wasabi infused IPA (IPA? From Brenton? Shocker!) called the Hoppy Wasabi, was a really refreshing pale ale with just the right amount of subtle heat. As usual, a solid beer from the Ale Runner.

The last beer I got to taste also turned out to be the winner of the competition. The Habit Dropper Satsuma Belgian Triple was a fantastic beer. The citrus notes came through perfectly, and after sampling this one a few times, that 12% ABV started to creep up on me. 

iron brewer
Habit Dropper won the Iron Brewer competition. Congrats, guys!


At the end of the day, the event raised more than $1,000 and received more than 2,000 pounds of canned goods that will provide an upwards of 9,000 meals to people in the Greater Baton Rouge area. Make sure you put this event on your calendar for next year, and come out and support some great causes and enjoy some fantastic local homebrew.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Best of Bite and Booze: 10 Posts You've Viewed the Most

by Sydney Blanchard

Every now and then, in my role as Content Sheriff/Warden of the Web at Bite and Booze, I take a look at our blog stats to see what's working and what could use some tweaking. And the more I look, the more I learn about our audience.

Most of you are viewing our blog from the United States, followed closely by Portugal and then Norway. The majority of you (41 percent) are using Chrome to browse our site. And a large portion of you wind up reading our blog by clicking a link you saw on Facebook.

I'm also able to determine which of our posts are getting the most clicks to see what kind of content you, our audience, like to see on the blog.

From what I gather, y'all love boudin balls, fried food, yummy looking desserts, and women (in booze).

Below, you'll find a list of our top 10 blogs posts of the last year, as told by each post's page views.

Let us know what you'd like to see more or (or less of) in the comments!

1. Lucky Palace: You Either Get It or You Don't 3,128 views

lucky palace
Duck at Lucky Palace in Bossier City

"Here's the thing. Lucky Palace is situated in a seedy part of town within an interstate-side hotel. The parking lot looks like the kind of place where people meet up to buy or sell prescription pain medication. It's poorly lit, and getting to the restaurant requires entering through the yellowing, smoke-smelling hotel lobby. Entering Lucky Palace is akin to entering another dimension. Lucky palace exists in another place and time."

2. All Your Favorite Balls 2,612 views

boudin
Baton Rouge's best boudin balls

"We rounded up seven of our favorite balls from across the city, and left the deciding up to one man. Mr. Loup (progenitor of Blair Loup, Bite and Booze's Chief Confusion Coordinator) is a mustachioed, Opelous-born, Sulphur-raised Southern gentleman. Having grown up in "Boudin Country" and being accustomed to eating the best boudin the world has to offer, we felt Mr. Loup would be the perfect person to rank Baton Rouge ball scene. As an extra qualifier, he had never once eaten a Baton Rouge boudin ball before, so his opinion ethically lacked any preconceived notions."

3. Hymel's Classic Cajun Fare 2,407 views

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Hymel's sign in Convent, Louisiana


"Recently, Team Bite and Booze had the opportunity to eat at the famous Hymel's in Convent, La., where beverages are served in gigantic fishbowls and seafood is served fried and in heaping quantities. Just about everything we ordered was fried."

4. Treat Yoself: A Sugary Sweet Dessert Roundup 2,160 views


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Sour Patch Kid sorbet at Fisher's in Gulf Shores, Alabama

"Much to the horror of my dentist, I love to eat sweets. Gummy, stick-to-your-teeth candies rank the highest for me, followed closely by pastries, cookies, chocolate, and anything else that triggers tooth decay."

5. Fresh Takes on King Cake 2,103 views


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Traditional King Cake from Calandro's

"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."

6. Jay's First Thoughts on Crispy Catch 1,707 views


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Surf and turf at Crispy Catch

"First things first: I enjoyed the food. No, it didn't stand out as revolutionary, inventive, or inspired. Then again, I don't believe anybody ever said that it would be."

7. Iverstine Family Farms, Uprooted 1,650 views

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A curious pig at Iverstine Family Farms in Kentwood

"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."

8. Pam Sandoz: Professor of Pours 1,534 views

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Pam Sandoz, owner of Slinky's

"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."

9. Mary Lewis: Superintendent of Suds 1,490 views

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Mary Lewis, Sales Manager at Mockler Beverage

"If there’s one thing Mary knows, it’s the beer business. Much of what we see as consumers is the boom of craft beers, which is a tiny speck in the universe of beverage distribution."

10. Goin' Up on a Tuesday: Best Tuesday Eats in BR 1,489 views


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Fried chicken and greens at Chicken Shack

"If you're like me, weekends can be as busy and stress-inducing as any weekday. Washing and folding laundry, grocery shopping for the week and running errands sometimes leaves me and my squad no time to party on the weekend. The only solution, then, is to go up on a Tuesday."