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Friday, May 27, 2016

Beers with Chuck: Big DIPA Release at Gnar-Fest

by Chuck P

Gnarly Barley's Big DIPA is perfect for front porch sipping on a hot Louisiana day.
Gnarly Barley's Big DIPA is perfect for front porch sipping on a hot Louisiana day.

The Gnarly Barley Brewery located in Hammond, Louisiana, is one of my top three favorite local breweries. Their passion for making delicious craft beer comes through in spades in the final product, and owners Zac and Cari Caramonta might be two of my favorite people in the whole world.

With word of them introducing a new brew to their line-up, a double IPA called Big DIPA, at their second annual Gnar-Fest, I knew I couldn’t miss this event.

That Saturday the brewery was packed with craft beer lovers inside and out as the cool sounds of Casey Saba and Andrew Robin filled the brewery. The food truck lines were long, and the line for beer was longer, but both were moving fairly quickly. After weaving my way through the crowd and saying a few hellos, I ran into Jay at the side of the bar (obviously) and jumped in line to get my first taste of the Big DIPA.

Wow. Just...wow. This is one of the most easy drinking DIPA’s I’ve had. It comes in right at 8% ABV, so it’s got some bite to it. The aroma is spot on, the golden color of the beer is beautiful, and I found the overall bitterness of the beer more subtle than I expected, but it still packed a nice hop punch. Since it was a brewery-only release, I knew I’d have to grab a few bottles before leaving.

After a few more glasses of Big DIPA, I tried some of the other specialty brews on tap. The selection included Raspberry Catahoula Common, Imperial and Barrel Aged Korova Milk Porter, but I had to grab a glass of one of my favorites, the Korova Peanut Butter Porter. It’s like a liquid version of a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup. Perfection.

Hopefully the Big DIPA will make its way to store shelves here in Baton Rouge soon. In the meantime, it’s the perfect excuse to take a little road trip to Hammond.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

8 Summer Sips You Can't Miss

by Sydney Blanchard & Hannah Alkadi

Summertime always brings out the drinker in me. The way I see it, if I'm expected to tolerate the heat and humidity of Louisiana summers, at least have the decency to fix me up a fancy, freezing cold cocktail.

Luckily, all my favorite bars and restaurants have taken the hint. Here are some of my favorite cocktails around town to beat the summer heat.

Rum Punch at Barcadia

barcadia

Masonrita at Mason's Grill


A photo posted by MasonsGrill (@masonsgrill) on

Cane Shaker at Donner Peltier Distillers




Adult Snoball at Olive or Twist




Jardin District at Radio Bar



Moscow Mule at Beausoleil




Rose Freeze at Bistro Byronz




Southern Hemisphere at City Pork Brasserie


A photo posted by Christina Stephens (@christinastephens) on


Friday, May 20, 2016

Hit Us with Your Best Shot: Jay D's Louisiana Memorial Day Photo Contest

Calling all food photographers (amateur or otherwise)!

street steak tacos
Skirt steak tacos shot in natural lighting, using ingredients from Indie Plate.

This Memorial Day Weekend, hit us with your best shot. From May 27 through 30, we'll be monitoring the hashtag #sauceandstripes for the best photos featuring Jay D's Louisiana inspired products.

skirt steak
Skirt steak roulade, a great Memorial Day option. Recipe here.

Here's how to enter to win two tickets to our July 8 James Beard preview dinner at LCI:

1) Head to your favorite local grocery store (or pantry) and grab Jay D's Louisiana Barbecue Sauce or Jay D's Louisiana Molasses Mustard. Or act now and get it from jayducote.com/shop. All online orders through Memorial Day also get a free Jay D's koozie!

2) Snap a photo of a recipe or dish utilizing Jay D's Louisiana inspired products

3) Tag @jayducote and #sauceandstripes so we can see your photos and select our winner

We'll be reposting some of our favorite Facebook, Twitter and Instagram posts throughout Memorial Day weekend, and we'll choose the winner on Memorial Day.

meatball
Barbecue meatballs? Absolutely

Best of luck, and may the odds be ever in your favor!


Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Chef Eusebio Gongora of City Pork on Guy's Grocery Games

by Sydney Blanchard

Eusebio doing what he does best


The rumor mill of Baton Rouge is constantly churning, and sometimes it seems like no one in town is capable of keeping a culinary secret for too long.

We've been bursting at the seams to talk about Chef Eusebio Gongora's appearance on Food Network's Guy's Grocery Games.

Eusebio, Director of Culinary Operations at City Pork in Baton Rouge and a close friend of Jay's, is looking forward to having his friends and family cheer him on.

city pork
Chef Eusebio Gongora, Director of Culinary Operations at City Pork
"The biggest thing for me is that I'm excited to be on national TV," Eusebio told Jay on a phone call. "My friends have been asking when I'm going to give it a shot for a few years now, so to finally be on a show like Triple G is an honor, and I'm excited for everyone to see it."

City Pork Brasserie & Bar will host a viewing party May 29 at 6:30 p.m. with complimentary food and cocktail tastings.

The Bite and Booze team will be in attendance, ready to cheer Eusebio on. See you all there!

Monday, May 16, 2016

Dog Hunting: In Search of the Best Hot Dogs Around

by Sydney Blanchard
frankie's dawg house
All the dawgs


Despite my social media handles being @pizzagirlfriend, I'm actually more of a hot dog fan than a pizza fan these days. Hot dogs are a recent obsession of mine, and I think it's here to stay.

Hot dogs came into my life early. Growing up middle class with two working parents, boiled Oscar Meyer wieners on Bunny buns with mac 'n cheese were an uninspiring go-to weeknight meal (no offense, mom and dad, you tried).

As a teenager, hot-off-the-printer driver's license in hand, I often journeyed to New Orleans for the day to shop, meet up with friends, and, ah, who am I kidding? New Orleans was where I went to "party," as much as a 17 year old Catholic school kid knows how. And when hunger struck, I discovered Dat Dog.

I remember it requiring much convincing to get me to order anything off the menu. I kept having flashbacks to Wednesday night dinners with mom and dad, and I couldn't imagine Dat Dog would be much better.

But boy, I was wrong.

Years later, any time I'm in New Orleans, it's inevitable I'll get Dat Dog. I even got my picky-eater girlfriend on the gourmet hot dog band wagon. Despite all the amazing new restaurants and classic New Orleans eateries, when in Nola, you'll find me at Dat Dog.

But the nearest Dat Dog to me is an hour away, and what's a girl to do when the hot dog craving strikes in Baton Rouge? Sonic's chili dogs and Costco's all-beef dogs just don't cut it.

That's why I'm on the hunt for the best hot dogs in Baton Rouge.

Jay tipped me off to Frankie's Dawg House, which recently came under new ownership. Tucked away on Perkins behind Magpie Cafe, this unassuming hot dog joint is easy to pass up if you're not looking for it.

Recently Chuck P, our intern Hannah and I decided to see what all the fuss was about.

frankie's lobster dawg
Frankie's Lobster Dawg with fries


Hannah went for the Lobster Dawg, an all-beef hot dog covered in lobster tails and spinach. She got fries with her dog, and while it made for a pretty shot, she wasn't in love with the seafood-beef combination.

frankie's red dawg
Frankie's Red Dawg with mac 'n cheese


Chuck P got the the Red Dawg, a boudin link topped with pulled pork and barbecue sauce. Of course, Chuck added mac 'n cheese to his dog. He said the boudin was flavorful, but the pulled pork and barbecue sauce lacked flavor. Maybe Frankie's should get on the Jay D's Louisiana Barbecue Sauce train?


frankie's deer dawg
Deer Dawg with pickled jalapeño


As for me, I opted with the Deer Dawg, deer sausage topped with pickled jalapeño, and I added cheese. At the time I was fighting a killer sinus infection, so I made Chuck taste mine for me. He said it was all heat, no flavor, but I thought it more than edible.

We all agreed the quality of buns could have been better, but that the tots were out of this world.

I'd definitely eat Frankie's again, but I'm not itching to go back any time soon.

Where is your favorite hot dog spot in town? Let us know where we should head next in the comments!

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Snapshot of Santo Domingo: Blair's Favorite Moments in the Dominican Republic

by Blair Loup

Working at Bite and Booze is an ongoing whirlwind. I’ve gotten more out of this job than I could have ever imagined. I figured out early in my time working with Jay to never turn down an opportunity to have a good time because those times usually turn out to be unbelievable experiences.

Since turning 25 in January, I’ve dubbed this the “Year of Blair,” so when the Dominican Republic’s Magistry of Tourism invited me to travel to Santo Domingo, I couldn’t say no. 

My journey got off to a rocky start with plane drama, but after a stop in Atlanta and a gin martini at JFK, I made it to Santo Domingo. My sleepy friend and fellow travel writer/blogger Caroline Eubanks of This is My South and Caroline in the City met me in the lobby with a Presidente. 

I didn’t know it at the time, but holding a cold Presidente wrapped in a tiny white napkin was #soDR. 


Despite its rocky start, the rest of my time in Santo Domingo quickly overshadowed the previous day with bright colors, interesting characters and culinary moments worthy of this epic “Year of Blair.” Here are some of my favorite Dominican Republic experiences: 


Sancocho in the sun... 


Local chef Martín Omar González Mayí explained the lengthy process of making a traditional stew. Cooked down yucca, potatoes and other tubers combined with leaves from native plants like those seen in the pictures from the Mercado Modelo come together with different cuts of beef or pork. Typically served over rice, Sancocho isn’t too far from the stews and Cajun dishes of Louisiana. 

Chef Martín Omar's Sancocho served over rice with freshly sliced avocado.
Chef Martín Omar's Sancocho served over rice with freshly sliced avocado.


Feasting on fried snacks in Boga Chica... 


This local gathering spot is a great way to beach bum it, enjoy a few boat drinks and get your snack on. Vendors line the street selling whole fried fish, plantains, sweet potatoes and “Johnny Cakes” (fried sheets of dough) and carry them across the street for your beach munching pleasure. 

Fried whole fish, sweet potatoes, plantains, and "Johnny Cakes" at Boga Chica.
Fried whole fish, sweet potatoes, plantains, and "Johnny Cakes" at Boga Chica.


Discovering a natural alternative to the Jolly Rancher... 


I learned Cocoa Pods contain delicious fruit that surrounds the beans. It’s super slimy but juicy and tasty beyond all reason. We got the chance to learn about the process of roasting and peeling the cocoa beans on a family's small plantation. Let me tell you, there's nothing like fresh hot chocolate!

A fresh Cocoa pod sliced open. Look at all that juicy goodness!
A fresh Cocoa pod sliced open. Look at all that juicy goodness!


Drinking Presidentes at the Colmado... 


These tiny corner stores are brightly lit and carry everything from cigarettes to toilet paper. That list also includes the Dominican Republic’s answer to water: Presidente. Me and a few of the other writers had a great conversation with a lovely elderly English-speaking man sipping our beer from tiny dentist office cups while a couple danced to some Marc Anthony. Life made.

Our lovely English-speaking friend at the Colmado and our bomber bottles of Presidente.
Our lovely English-speaking friend at the Colmado and our bomber bottles of Presidente.


Pollo Guisado Pit Stop... 


On the way to the Ron Barcelo Rum Distillery, we made a stop at a roadside eatery. Similar to a lunch line/plate lunch eatery you might find in Louisiana, this place had avocado salad, whole fried fish, tamales, rice, etc. I went for the Pollo Guisado, bone in chicken stewed down with tomatoes, onions and spices typically served over rice. Jay Ducote sings the praises of this dish regularly, and it did not disappoint!

A bowl of Pollo Guisado accompanied by fresh chunks of avocado and a Presidente.
A bowl of Pollo Guisado accompanied by fresh chunks of avocado and a Presidente.


This trip to Santo Doming, DR was provided through trade with the Dominican Republic Ministry of Tourism.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Beausoleil Restaurant, Uprooted

by Sydney Blanchard

Nathan Gresham
Chef Nathan Gesham at Christina's in downtown Baton Rouge


On any given Saturday, you're liable to find Chef Nathan Gresham elbows deep in fresh produce at the Red Stick Farmers Market, making the rounds and shaking hands with the local farmers and producers who've become his friends over the last decade.

He doesn't use services like Indie Plate. Gresham, like many chefs, prefers to foster one-on-one relationships with local producers. It's that connection to his ingredients that makes his Beausoleil Restaurant stand out.

The idea for Beausoleil came about in 2010 during Gresham's time as chef de cuisine at Galatoire's. Joining forces with former Galatoire's general manager Jeff Conaway and restauranteur Michael Boudreaux of Juban's, the concept for a Southern, French-style restaurant with Mississippi flair was born.





Gresham said his goal for Beausoleil has been consistent since its opening.

"I wanted to use fresh ingredients, make everything in-house, and evolve it," he said.

And in the four years since the restaurant's opening, he's done exactly that.

According to Gresham, he sources about 60 percent of the ingredients on his menu locally. Along with sourcing directly from the farmers market, Gresham sources from Covey Rise Farms, Iverstine Family Farms, and Two Run Farms in his home state of Mississippi.

Chef Eric Arceneaux makes Beausoleil's bread, and soon he'll be sourcing more from Fullness Organic Farms.

In the mean time, Gresham said, Beausoleil's menu will continue to change constantly. His fresh, locally sourced ingredients inspire him to play around in the kitchen and try out new ideas.

"Baton Rouge can't just be stuck between Lafayette and New Orleans," Gresham said. "If you want Baton Rouge to become this neat place, you've got to support the people around you. Otherwise it's just going to keep being overlooked."

For Gresham, making sure Baton Rouge doesn't get overlooked starts in his own kitchen.

"To me, it's all about relationships and doing what you believe in."


Read more Uprooted here:

Nino's Italian, Uprooted
Indie Plate, Uprooted
Red Stick Farmers Market, Uprooted
Iverstine Family Farms, Uprooted
Murder Point Oysters, Uprooted
Southern Foodways Alliance, Uprooted
Fullness Farms, Uprooted
Louisiana Seafood, Uprooted









Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Not Just a Food Blogger: Other Places to Read Jay's Writing

by Sydney Blanchard

Sure, Jay started writing about food right here on Bite and Booze, but you may not know he's been pretty widely published in a number of magazines and on a number of websites. With all the cooking events and media stuff Jay does these days, it's easy to forget he got into the culinary world by writing about it.

Jay has built a career on celebrating Southern food and beverage culture. Here are a few of my favorite pieces Jay has authored over the years.

Have Your King Cake and Eat It Too


king cake

"It is almost impossible to ignore the doughy, cinnamon-y smell emanating from Calandro’s Supermarket’s bakery this time of year. The smell, to those familiar with it, signals the start of the most important time of year on any Louisiana native’s social calendar: Carnival Season, and with it, Mardi Gras."

Cajun Crawfish Bread


crawfish bread


"Louisiana seasons are not defined by the weather or whether leaves are on trees. They are rooted in our culture and the events that celebrate our joy of life."


Cajun vs. Creole




"So if you’re versed on Louisiana history and culture, then all you really need to know is that Creole cuisine uses tomatoes and proper Cajun food does not. You can stop reading now. That’s how you tell a Cajun vs. Creole gumbo or jambalaya."


Fried With That


fries


"Whether loaded with cheesy goodness or served with a slathering of curries, a good French fry can give even the mighty burger a run for its money."

Louisiana Breweries


tin roof beer

"In Baton Rouge, Louisiana’s capital city, Tin Roof Brewing Company is producing beverages out of malts and hops that make people smile. Only a block away from the Mighty Mississippi, Tin Roof crafts beers worthy of the name."

Southern Hospitality


delta sky magazine


"Baton Rouge has the appeal of a sultry Southern town combined with a dash of Cajun, a pinch of Creole and a heaping spoonful of charm."


Monday, May 2, 2016

Meet Bergeron's City Market, Your New Lunch Spot

by Sydney Blanchard

 

With its crisp white exterior and sleek black and white signage, it's impossible to miss Bergeron's City Market on Jefferson Highway.

Chef Don Bergeron's latest venture took over where Pat's Seafood used to be. Not only is the City Market the hub for Chef Bergeron's catering and retail operations, it also serves up a rotating menu of hot lunches and dinners.

bergeron's city market
Bottles of wine abound in Bergeron's City Market retail space


Most notable is the market's decor. Chef Bergeron's team did a bang up job renovating the building and turning it into a clean, white, airy space with tons of natural lighting.

Local products and a selection of wines gleam in the retail space, and freezers filled with take-and-bake dishes and desserts line the walls.

bergeron's city market
Another view of the wine and frozen goods at Bergeron's

According to Chef Bergeron, his most popular take-and-bake item is his lasagne, but his crawfish bisque also flies off the shelves.

bergeron's city market
Get in line here to grab a hot lunch or dinner

Beyond the retail space lies a beautifully decorated seating area and cafeteria-style lunch line. The menu changes daily and weekly and serves up dishes like red beans and rice, white chicken lasagne, tomato basil soup, and an array of salads.

bergeron's city market
Hamburger steak, burritos, and fish were a few of the options that day

Fridays, or "fry-days" as they're known at the market, typically feature fried catfish and shrimp. Weekly and daily menus are available on Chef Don Bergeron's website and on Facebook. 

White chicken lasagne at Bergeron's

One of the day's offerings: the savory and creamy white chicken lasagna with flavorful greens and succotash.

Fish with green beans and field peas

Another: fish and cream sauce, with green beans (some of the best I've had) and field peas.

"Heart healthy" chicken burrito at Bergeron's


Last, the "heart healthy" chicken and black bean burrito option.

Beyond weekday lunches and dinners, Bergeron's City Market also does a Saturday brunch with tummy ticklers like crawfish and grits and chicken and waffles. During brunch, each entree comes with a mimosa.

I was super impressed with Bergeron's City market: the atmosphere, the hot lunch and the take home offerings. I can totally see myself grabbing a frozen lasagna, a bottle of wine and some dessert and being the hero at dinner.

Have y'all been to Bergeron's City Market yet?