Get your tickets now for the inaugural TACOS + TEQUILA!

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

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Wakey Whiskey: Kings County Distillery Bourbon Whiskey

by Eric Ducote



Hello everyone, and good morning to you all from Chicago! I know we're all still a little bummed about about the way LSU played against Mississippi State, but the season goes on, as does the #wakeywhiskey. Two years ago LSU played Syracuse and I brought out a small batch bourbon whiskey from Kings County Distillery out of Brooklyn, NY. LSU ended up winning that game 34-24, so I went back to the well and brought some Kings County Distillery Bourbon Whiskey with me up to the Windy City.

This bourbon is distilled in Brooklyn from a mash of NY corn and UK malted barley, then aged for at least two years (some barrels up to four) and bottled at 90 proof. I actually visited this distillery several years ago with my friend Jeremy Spikes, and one thing I did not know was that they used a lot of smaller barrels to expedite the aging process. The smaller barrels allow the whiskey to contact the charred oak at a greater ratio and pull out the flavors faster than in a large 55-gallon barrel. They might be using larger barrels now, but it's a good way for a newer distillery (Kings County was founded in 2010) to produce a quality spirit more quickly.



Now, to the whiskey! But, before I even get into the details, I love the packaging... just a 375ml medicine-style bottle with a small wrapped label describing the basics of the spirit in a Courier typewriter font. Simple and attractive.

The first thing I pick up on the nose is an alcohol burn followed immediately by candy corn sweetness and then vanilla notes from the charred oak. It's still young, but it's picked up a lot of color and flavor in a short amount of time. The taste is a little more mellowed out than the aroma, with less of a harsh burn and more of a caramel and molasses flavor followed by the charred notes from the oak barrel. It finishes smoothly, with a hint of spiciness at the end. Sometimes I advocate for a little water or ice to open up a whiskey, but this one tastes better neat. Adding an ice sphere (I tried both, for science) mutes some of the spicier cinnamon notes. However, if you prefer a little ice or water, I'm not going to stop you!

I hope this game against Syracuse is just what the Tigers need to get back on track. Happy #Gameday everyone and #Geauxtigers!

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Tacos + Tequila: Taco 'Bout A Good Time


So, we are doing a thing. A very big thing. On a mission to bring the people of Baton Rouge a good time, Bite & Booze is teaming up with Brickyard South to throw a major party in the Capital City: TACOS + TEQUILA presented by Tequila Avion! The event will take place underneath the I-10 Mississippi River Bridge behind Brickyard South.



There are going to be ten taco vendors and at least seven tequila cocktail vendors, duking it out for the title of “The Best.” Restaurants like Magpie Cafe, The Overpass Merchant and Mestizo’s will be slinging some majorly creative tacos that we can’t wait to see. There will also be a few restaurants going the traditional route like Cocha and Mr. Taco. We are inviting judges from all over the country to see the best of the best talent here in BR. People like Rue Rusike and Cory Bahr from Food Network Star, Daniel Schumaker, the editor of Louisiana Cookin’ Magazine are all coming to the capital city this Friday.

Once the judging is over, attendees will have the chance to walk around from 7pm-10pm and sample and vote for their favorite chef-driven tacos featuring Hola Nola Foods tortillas and hand-crafted Tequila Avion cocktails while enjoying live music and other fun! That’s all the tacos you can eat and all the tequila you can drink people. Taco bout a good time!

So, what are you waiting for? Grab you tickets now and come hang out with us on Friday. We will see you there!

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Wakey Whisk(e)y: Laphroaig Cairdeas Quarter Cask

by Eric Ducote


Good morning everyone, and welcome to another beautiful gameday edition of #wakeywhiskey! This round I'll be getting into some scotch courtesy of the good people at Laphroaig. Usually I try to find a connection between the occasion and the whisk(e)y I choose to sip on in the morning, but LSU is playing at Mississippi State and I don't have any spirits from Mississippi in the collection. Honestly, I don't even know if there are any legal distilleries in the state. With that being said, Jay was generous enough to share a sample from Laphroaig with me, and of course I saved some for gameday morning.

Laphroaig's distillery was founded over 200 years ago in 1815 on the island of Islay in Scotland. Islay is known for peaty whiskys overall, although not all Islay whiskys are heavily peated. It's a small island with just over 3,000 residents, but they boast 8 distilleries (with more on the way) and even one brewery, Islay Ales! Laphroaig is situated on the southern coast of the island, about a mile from the Lagavulin distillery, which is less than a mile from the Ardbeg distillery... and those are just three. That's it, I'm putting Islay on my bucket list.

This particular sample from Laphroaig is their Cairdeas 2017 Cask Strength Quarter Cask Edition, clocking in at a robust 57.2% abv. At first I thought that Cairdeas must be some sort of wine that contributed their barrels to this aging, but upon further investigation I learned that Cairdeas is the Gaelic word for "friendship" and this is a special release for the Friends of Laphroaig members. See, you're never too old to learn something new! The whisky is actually aged in first-use bourbon barrels for 5+ years and then finished off for 6 months in American oak quarter casks prior to bottling at cask strength with only simple barrier filtration. Alright then, let's get into it!



My first thought on the nose is that this is a crazy smokey scotch, with a touch of peat and bit of honey sweetness. The flavors are all bold and powerful, and there's an unmistakable burn from the alcohol content, but not as much as I would expect from a 114.4 proof spirit. The taste is the same, with a lot of smoke and char, a little bit of peat, and followed by some more subtle sweet tones of honey and vanilla and a bit of a mineral water finish. After giving it a try neat I added an ice sphere to finish out the pour and that really helped the flavors mellow out and blend together without losing the essence of the spirit. The smokey notes still shine but more of the sweetness and oak character break through.

Overall, a fantastic pour, and it even further cements my desire to spend a few days touring the island of Islay. Now, as I recover from this powerful scotch, it's gameday! Geaux Tigers!

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Louisiana Wine Month: Landry Vineyards

by Paige Johannessen



In honor of Louisiana Wine Month I wanted to reflect and share about the wonderful experience I had visiting Landry Vineyards. A few weeks ago, Jay and I headed out to West Monroe for the grape stomp and concert at the Louisiana winery and to celebrate the new vintage of Jay D’s Blanc Du Bois being bottled and ready for release.

En route, we needed a brief stop for lunch and found ourselves at The Camp in Natchez, MS. This cool waterfront restaurant is an obvious favorite with the locals. On a beautiful Saturday afternoon people were congregating on the patio and stopping in for a cold one after a morning run or bike ride along the water. Two burgers and a cold beer later, we were prepared to make the rest of our journey to the rolling hills of West Monroe.

The Slow Burn: pepper jack, bacon, jalapenos, Cajun haystack onions, Slow Burn sauce

Upon arrival, I literally felt as though I had been transported out of Louisiana and dropped somewhere in Texas Hill Country. Lush green pastures and elevation that towered higher than the Indian Mounds on LSU’s campus...how could this be?

As we pulled in, Jay pointed out Jeff Landry, the owner of the vineyard, manicuring the area around the stage in preparation for his guests to arrive. Drenched in sweat and covered in dirt, this man was obviously not afraid to get his hands dirty. After having a few days to sit and visit with Jeff and his family, it is apparent that hard work and belief in Louisiana agriculture is what has propelled this vineyard to the success they are seeing today. They truly care about the land, value a hard day's work and their product speaks to all of those truths.



Jeff, Libby and their four sons; Ethan, Kohen, Noah and Micah are the backbone of the business and have continued to grow thanks to the great support of friends in the Monroe area. The first vineyard started in Folsom, LA with two acres of a white European American hybrid grape, Blanc Du Bois. After the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, the Landrys relocated to the beautiful hill country of West Monroe, LA. The vineyard has now grown to a 20-acre site including a new winery and beautiful tasting room.

Concert days are no joke at the vineyard. Hundreds of people come from the surrounding areas with blankets, chairs and picnics packed ready to purchase bottles of wine to be enjoyed right on the vineyard property.


Jay and I set up a small tasting booth that featured our Jay D’s Spicy and Sweet BBQ Rub popcorn and sausage sauteed for guests to grab and dip into our Louisiana Barbecue Sauce and Molasses Mustard. We were so happy to be out there and mingle with everyone and experience the thrill that is a Saturday evening at Landry Vineyards.

If you have never been out to the vineyard, I highly recommend the journey on a Saturday afternoon with friends and family. They have tractors rigged up with trailers and benches for vineyard tours, tastings of all of their different varietals set up in the pagoda and live music echoing from the stage nestled right at the base of the hill rolling down to the vineyard. It was the perfect summer evening to relax, listen to music and enjoy the bounty that this family has worked so hard to produce.



You can find Jay D’s Blanc Du Bois at most of your local supermarkets. We are proud to partner with a local vineyard supporting Louisiana agriculture.

Also, check out our latest podcast talking about Louisiana wine month and Landry Vineyards with Jeff and Libby Landry:


Saturday, September 9, 2017

Wakey Whiskey: Prichard's Lincoln County Lightning

by Eric Ducote



Good morning on this #wakeywhiskey gameday! Now, we all know LSU put on a defensive clinic last week, so the easy choice here would be to go back to the well and stick with the same whiskey, right? You're right, that would be easy. However, LSU was supposed to beat BYU and I'm not a superstitious person. So, since LSU is playing Chattanooga, I checked the liquor cabinet for Tennessee whiskeys. I didn't have any Jack Daniel's... but I did have some Prichard's, both the Double Chocolate Bourbon and the Lincoln County Lightning. I've been enjoying some white "moonshine" styled whiskeys lately, so I opted for the Lincoln County Lightning.

Prichard's opened in 1997, which is much younger than the established distilleries in Kentucky, Tennessee, and elsewhere, but still relatively old in the current era of craft spirits. They currently produce multiple types of rum, whiskey, and liqueur in two locations within the state.

Two of my last three #wakeywhiskey posts have featured white whiskey, and in both cases I really enjoyed the spirits. This Prichard's Lincoln County Lightning was one of my first introductions to white whiskey many years ago and I didn't really care for it at the time, but I wanted to break it back out and see if my tastes have changed... and they certainly have.



I used to find this spirit overly corn-sweet and a little harsh on the palate with an alcohol-induced burning sensation. I guess I've gotten more and more used to that feeling as the corn sweetness is still there but overall this whiskey goes down smoothly. The burn is replaced with a honeysuckle and corn sweetness that drinks like mineral water. It's pretty amazing really how my tastes on this one have changed, so I'm damn glad that I went back to the well and gave it another try.

An excellent start to my gameday morning, now #GEAUXTIGERS!

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

North African Appetite: A Private Dinner at Red Stick Spice Co.

by Paige Johannessen


Jay Ducote along with Commander in Chef of Gov't Taco, Aimee Tortorich, hosted another sold out four course dinner at Red Stick Spice Company in August. Using Red Stick Co.'s high quality spices and oils, they took guests on a culinary adventure through North African cuisine.

The room was set up beautifully, including a gorgeous display of spices laid out for the guests to fawn at. Now that we have had a few repeat customers to our pop up dinners at Red Stick Spice Co. they know the drill and are arriving before we can even pour the first glass of wine. This gives them time to shop around the store and watch as Chef Aimee Tortorich put the finishing touches on a few of her dishes. 

photo by Red Stick Spice Co.
To start the evening off we had plates of warm lamb meatballs served over a delicate but full flavored mint yogurt dipping sauce. The lamb was soft and juicy and the flavors set off by the mint prepared the guests for a savory evening. To compliment this earthy appetizer were glasses of Jay D's Blanc Du Bois for our guests to sip on. 


Once everyone had a chance to try the lamb and grab a glass of wine or two, it was time to be seated. Jay started off the dinner service with a brief introduction  and then the plates starting rolling out! For the first course, a procession of carrots roasted with oranges and dates, garnished with chickpeas and crumbled pistachios came marching out to the guests. This warm and robust dish paired nicely with a spicy glass of Pinot Noir.

photo by Red Stick Spice Co.
Next, for the main course was the beef short rib tagine. This crowd favorite was visibly tender and the aroma of ginger and fig wafted from the plates. The short rib was served with a delicate scoop of couscous, and garnished with peanuts. To compliment the subtle fruit notes of this dish was a full glass of Syrah for all to enjoy.


Last but certainly not least came the most artistic and sweet dish of the night. Chef arranged small sculptures of milk bastilla, a thin cinnamon dusted pastry layered into stacks and drizzled with a custard like cream. Hidden between the layers of crunchy pastry were cloves and apricots, and crunchy pine nuts were sprinkled on top to finish it off. 


Blair prepared a warm rougaroux spiked cocoa with homemade marshmallows from Counter Space BR to be served with this decadent dessert. 

photo by Red Stick Spice Co.

Once again, we were thrilled to see a room full of empty plates and satisfied taste buds. We can not wait to be back at Red Stick Spice Co. this month for a special TWO night seating of our Modern Italian Mangia four course dinner on September 26th and 27th. Join us before it sells out!

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Wakey Whiskey: Yellow Rose Outlaw Bourbon

by Eric Ducote


Well, it has been a crazy week, but one thing I think almost everyone down here can agree on is that it's good to see some LSU football! My #wakeywhiskey tradition began as a gameday tradition, back in the Third Row Tailgaters days of glory. We would aim to get out to our tailgate spot by 7 AM, if not the night before. What better way to start the morning off than with a celebratory bourbon and coke? Tastes may have changed, but traditions haven't. As football season rolls around, so does the wakey whiskey!

As I'm sure you all know, Hurricane Harvey has made a mess of this last week, devastating the gulf coast from Corpus Christi up into South West Louisiana. The Bite and Booze and Gov't Taco team was hard at work Thursday night serving tacos and donating a portion of their proceeds to hurricane relief. In honor of the resilient nature of the gulf coast and of all the amazing people that have been doing their part to help, it was an easy choice to find a Texas bourbon for this morning's selection. I had a few to choose from, but ultimately I had to pull out the Outlaw Bourbon from Yellow Rose Distilling.

Yellow Rose was founded in 2010 and started hitting the market in 2012, making them Houston's first legal whiskey distillery. This bourbon is created in small batches from a 100% corn grain bill, then aged in small fresh charred oak barrels. The benefit of using the smaller barrels is that there is much more surface area per volume of whiskey, which serves to accelerate the aging process as the initially white (or clear) whiskey soaks in and out of the charred oak. The drawback is that more is typically lost to the "angel's share" than in a larger 55 gallon barrel.



The accelerated aging process is evident, as the Outlaw Bourbon pours a deep reddish, almost copper color. The nose is strong with hints of vanilla and charred caramel. The taste is a superb follow through on the aroma, powerful with sweet corn notes, hints of vanilla, a touch of mineral water on the mouthfeel, and a slight burn from the alcohol without being a tough sip. This one clocks in at 46% alcohol or 92 proof, so it's a step above your standard 40%, but nowhere near as potent as some barrel proof bourbons on the market. The finish is smooth and that vanilla from the aroma comes back strong.

All in all, a pretty damn good bourbon, absolutely worth looking for. 

On that note, stay strong Houston, and GEAUX TIGERS!

Thursday, August 31, 2017

On Tap: Tin Roof FOMO Double IPA

by Charles Pierce



The hazy New England style IPA’s have been the big trend in the craft beer world for a while now. With very little hop bitterness at the end and a more tropical and juicy sweetness, this style has been embraced by beer lovers and breweries alike here in Louisiana. With great selections of this style from Parish Brewery (Ghost In the Machine), Great Raft Brewing (Grace & Grit) and Gnarly Barley (Jucifer) there’s no shortage of really delicious cloudy brews for us to enjoy. Now Tin Roof Brewery has joined the craze with their latest taproom only release, the FOMO Double IPA.

After redesigning the recipes for their flagship Voodoo Pale Ale and Juke Joint IPA, new Head Brewmaster Michael Till along with owners Charles Caldwell and William McGehee decided the time was right to start working on their own signature double IPA. After a few months of doing test batches and honing in on the right recipe, the FOMO, which stands for Fear Of Missing Out, was born.



The beer has a deep golden color with the haziness to match its depth. The immediate aromas I picked up were some dark fruitiness and tropical notes with a hint of the dankness that comes with the Eureka hops. The body is very light and easy drinking for 8% ABV beer. The taste is filled with hints of pineapple and candied fruit along with some piney dankness which is normally associated with some of the juicier west coast style IPA’s. There was some slight bitterness on the end with a nice dry finish.

Overall I think Tin Roof has done a nice job with their first entry into the haze filled market of New England style IPA’s. This brew is a taproom only release (hopefully that changes) so make your way over to Tin Roof and grab a glass and/or get yourself a crowler to go.

Monday, August 28, 2017

That's not a carrot cake, THIS is a carrot cake: BRQ

by Paige Johannessen


There has been a lot of buzz surrounding the opening of BRQ Seafood and Barbeque. While BBQ is not a new concept to the South, having new local BBQ place is filling a gap in what is a pretty sparse culinary category in Baton Rouge. BRQ’s Chef Justin Ferguson is a Baton Rouge native who recently returned home after overseeing a number of Chicago restaurants and brought his knowledge and experience back to South Louisiana to show off his pit master skills.

The restaurant is large and inviting and has a contemporary, yet rustic feel. We were greeted by sunlight pouring into the large, street facing windows and delicate flowers adorning every table. Despite its size, it still feels quaint-- homey almost. Once we were seated, our server came to greet us with a basket of house made BBQ chips and pickles. Honestly, that could have been my meal. It took everything in my power to control myself from gorging all of them down because our waiter informed us that we had a feast heading our way. Even Jay, a known pickle hater, downed a handful of pickles and even seemed to like them. That’s big news people!

After I mentally prepared for the feast ahead, the dance of BBQ began. The opening act was an array of appetizers. One by one we were served crab beignets, boudin balls and a heaping mound of buffalo mozzarella in olive oil topped with caviar. I was not expecting to see a mozzarella appetizer at a BBQ restaurant, but I'm not complaining. It was by far my favorite appetizer and a nice change of pace from the typical fried fare.



Act two was on the lighter side, a pair of salads. Maybe “light” is the wrong word because it was more like a mountain range of salad. The Brussels sprouts and kale salad came topped with smoked bacon, parmesan, toasted almonds and a tahini dressing. It was a really nice compliment to the BBQ menu and would be delicious topped with pulled chicken or pork if you’re looking for something “lighter” on the menu.

The Moroccan Citrus Salad is a perfect summer salad. Mixed greens topped with grilled pineapple, carrot, pink grapefruit, orange segments, dates, almonds, goat cheese and a citrus mint vinaigrette is a meal in itself and almost too pretty to eat!



Next came the headliner. A procession of waiters presented us with the “Feed Me" platter. I think just about everyone in the restaurant had to come over and get a look at the butcher block of deliciousness that came to our table. The board was packed with St. Louis which have a straight, rectangular cut and tend to be more tender and Baby Back ribs which have a meaty cut with short, curved bones, smoked and pulled chicken, pulled pork and sliced brisket. The meats were served with four kinds of sauce: original mild, North Carolina vinegar, Louisiana spicy, and South Carolina mustard. Accompanying the board were sides of green beans, collard greens cooked down with bacon, mashed potatoes and goat cheese jalepeño grits.



We were all impressed by the display and all of the meat was smoked and cooked to perfection. The sliced brisket was to die for and the pulled pork was the perfect, juicy base for the various sauces. Phew! Yall, I am getting hungry again writing this.

And finally, the encore: A monstrous, delicious CARROT CAKE. It has to be put in all caps because it would be an injustice to the size and magnitude of this dessert for it to just simply be written out. See Jay’s head for scale:



BRQ put on quite the show for us and we had a wonderful experience dining at what we are sure is a new staple in the Baton Rouge area. Word to the wise: come hungry.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

The Bouillabaisse Diaries: Tallulah Crafted Food and Wine Bar

by Paige Johannessen


I must say, until recently I had not heard much about Tallulah Crafted Food and Wine Bar, or even knew where it was located. To be honest, I had never stepped inside of the Renaissance Baton Rouge until visiting Tallulah last month. It’s beautiful in there! I typically refer friends and family who are coming to visit to stay downtown, but on the corner of Bluebonnet and Anselmo is a hotel with a stunning interior and a surprisingly good wine bar and restaurant.

I went to meet a friend at the wine bar for a glass of wine before sitting down for the dinner tasting and y'all, I thought I walked into heaven. There was bottle after bottle of wine on tap. Tallulah uses an Enomatic Wine Serving System, which in layman's terms means a fancy way for preserving open bottles of wine which allows them to serve lots of different wines by the glass. To top all of this off I was pleasantly surprised to find out it is half off glasses of wine on Wednesdays AND there was live music. We were off to a good start.

After gabbing, having more wine than we planned, and catching up about life and love and our growing waist lines we finally sat down for dinner.

The restaurant is small and intimate, located directly behind the bar. You could still hear the live music playing in the bar area and we had a lovely view of the outside patio thats full of patio seating around fire pits (note to self: drink wine on tap next to a fire this winter).

From left to right: Tuna Poke Lettuce Cups with a citrus soy marinade, Creole Oysters served over duck bacon and topped with rockefeller butter, Crab Cake served over corn maque choux and a remoulade drizzle

Once settled we were presented with a collection of appetizers. Tuna poke delicately presented in lettuce cups, fried oysters over duck bacon and crab cakes served on a heaping pile of corn maque choux. I could not pick a favorite from these because they are all so different but the fried oyster over duck bacon stood out the most. The oysters were delicately battered and the duck bacon was not chewy or dry. I could have popped one after another of those suckers and not felt the least bit guilty.



Next, we were brought a sandwich duo. A three cheese grilled cheese filled with bacon and red onion jam and a duck BLT. Duck bacon in a BLT. Hallelujah! Duck was a common theme throughout the dinner tasting and I was pleased to learn from Jace Schexnaydre, Tallulah’s Sous Chef, that his staff takes a lot of pride in not wasting any parts of the ingredients that come through their kitchen. If they have duck on the menu, they are going to do their damndest to use all parts of the duck in other dishes, nothing goes to waste. 

Duck Bacon BLT: house made duck bacon, arugula, tomato, pickled red onion, remoulade 

Up next was a trio of entrees. Cold smoked fried chicken served alongside a four cheese cast iron mac and cheese, a steaming bowl of bouillabaisse, and a vegetarian eggplant dish with shiitake mushrooms stacked high over quinoa. 

Let me interrupt here for a quick story: When I first moved to Baton Rouge from Las Vegas, Nevada, needless to say, I had never experienced true cajun cooking. My grandfather who has lived his whole life in Findlay, Ohio had taken a trip to New Orleans many, many years ago and apparently had one of the best dishes of his life, a bouillabaisse. Every time I talk to my grandfather, he asks me if I have had a bouillabaisse yet. And for eight years I have had the same answer, “I can’t find it anywhere”.

Well, I finally got to try a bouillabaisse and maybe I am being sentimental here, but I was so impressed by this rich, flavorful dish. The head on shrimp, chunks of delicate redfish and mussels all soaking in the creole broth mixed with the hunks of andouille made for a truly spectacular dish. I could not wait to call my grandfather the next day and rave to him about my bouillabaisse experience. So, thank you Tallulah, for ending my eight year quest! 

Bouillabaisse: head on shrimp, redfish, mussels, andouille, creole broth, wild rice

Last, but certainly not least a single, hearty slice of cheesecake topped with chunks of praline, a honey drizzle and sprinkled with blueberries finished off the night. Just when I thought I could not take one more bite...but who can resist cheesecake?




I left that evening with a parting bag of duck cracklins in hand and incredibly impressed by this tucked away gem on Bluebonnet that I had never visited. Believe me, if there is a restaurant in town serving half off glasses of wine and rich bowls of bouillabaisse, you will see me there again.

Cheers!

Monday, August 21, 2017

Wakey Whiskey: Manhattan Moonshine

by Eric Ducote



Good morning everyone, and a Happy Birthday edition of #wakeywhiskey to Mr. Bite and Booze himself, Jay D. Ducote! My little bro is turning 36 today, so in his honor I'm treating myself to a #wakeywhiskey.

My selection today is a Manhattan Moonshine Prohibition-Style Whiskey from the Manhattan Moonshine Company out of Westfield, New York. Now, Westfield isn't exactly in Manhattan, in fact it's about as far as possible from New York City as you can get without leaving the state... way over in the Western tip on Lake Eerie about 10 miles from the Pennsylvania border. Regardless, moonshine was made throughout the country during prohibition, and whiskey is made throughout the country these days.

Manhattan Moonshine is made from 4 grains, featuring oats but not including corn. It is then distilled in their handmade still prior to being barrel aged for less than an hour and then immediately bottled. It clocks in at 95 proof or 47.5% alcohol, nowhere near the strength of true "white lightning" but also a step up from the standard 80 proof of the majority of liquors.

On to the whiskey itself... obviously the color is clear, just like water, vodka, and other unaged spirits. Less than an hour in the barrel does not do much, that's for sure! The nose is very clean, hints of grain but nothing overpowering, including the booziness. It's a little sweet, and if anything slightly on the grassy side.

I really enjoy the taste as well, super smooth with hints of sweet grains. There is a little hint of booziness at the end, but nothing I'd normally expect from a 95 proof white whiskey. The heavy oat presence in the grain bill gives this one a crazy easy mouthfeel that drinks way easier than it should. Their website gives plenty of cocktail recipe ideas, but personally I enjoy this one just fine straight. Historically, I've had a tough time with white whiskeys, but between this one and the Ironroot Republic moonshine featured on the 4th of July, I'm starting to come around.

So, Happy Birthday Jay! And be sure to enjoy a #wakeywhiskey this morning!

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Contemplating Existence at Pop’s Poboys

by Drew Broussard, intern



The Poboy (Po’boy, Poorboy…?), where do I even begin? It is as important to Louisiana as festivals, Bourbon Street or hurricanes. It occupies an entire row on the metaphorical Cajun Food Pyramid. It is a bonafide staple of so many people’s diets, and I am no exception. From their humble beginnings as street food for New Orleans transit strikers in the early twentieth century, poboys have evolved into a sort of cultural (and epicurean) phenomenon. No matter where you are in Southern Louisiana, you are sure to be able to get your hands on one of these quality sandwiches. And it is with great enthusiasm that I encourage you to eat at every poboy stop that your stomach will allow. There are plenty of options. Oh, and trust me, no matter how many you have, they don’t get old.

It was on this very crusade that I happened to stumble into a small restaurant on the corner of Jefferson Street in Downtown Lafayette last summer. I agreed to meet friends at a new restaurant called Pop’s Poboys. We were set to journey on a two week camping trip the following day, and we were all in search of a parting meal, Louisiana style. When I first walked in, I could sense the trendiness. This place was like a plaid wearing, man-bunned hipster playing Ice Cream Paint Job on acoustic (excuse the hyperbole). It had it all: chalkboard menus, a self-service water station, and butcher’s paper on the tables! This wasn’t the greasy, grimy, country music type of poboy place that I was used to. This was poboys for millennials. Who was this “Pop,” guy anyway?




Even more questions popped into my head as I looked at the menu hanging from the wall above me. What was this place? I saw the classics, such as catfish, roast beef, and hot sausage, but what were these imposters? Meatball poboy, Nashville hot chicken poboy, red bean falafel poboy, where does it end?! I grew skeptical, but my friends at the table encouraged me to try something new. It was then that I first laid my eyes on the beast of a sandwich known as the Cajun Castro. Pulled pork, ham, cheese, stewed greens, AND fried pickles all on crispy french poboy bread. This wasn’t a cuban, but it wasn’t a poboy either. My curiosity overcame my doubts, and I went for the Castro along with a side of fried okra (you know, to keep things authentic). When it arrived at my table, I started to grow excited. I suppose that my stomach was overpowering my mind, because the juices seeping through that butcher paper containing the sandwich were having me feel some type of way. I peeled back the tape, unwrapped the thing like it was Christmas morning, and took a moment to behold what was in front of me. Forget about whether it was authentic or not, this thing looked GOOD. The crispy loaf gave way to creamy smothered greens that were seemingly struggling to bear the weight of all the meat on top of it. Cheese and fried pickles were on top of that, along with the top piece of the french bread that seemed like it had fully coped with the fact that it was never going to see its bottom half again. This thing was packed, and I dug in. The cajun pork tasted like it had been cooking for hours, and its fattiness was cut perfectly by the bold greens underneath. And despite the overwhelming juiciness, the bread and fried pickles managed to stay crispy enough to provide varied texture. There is a lot to be said for good bread on a poboy. I truly don’t know how, but I finished the thing. The flavors were too good to go to waste. Somehow, amidst all the internal conflict, I knew that I’d have to come back. Poboy or not, this place was too good to pass up. I could keep a secret from my Cajun forefathers, right?

Two weeks passed and I arrived back from my camping trip. It took less than twenty-four hours at home before I found myself looking through Pop’s glass doors once more. This time I was serving as the millennial ambassador to my parents as I led them through this New-Age poboy experience. This time around, I opted for the Hot Hot Chicken Poboy. One of the employees warned me that this Nashville style sandwich would bring the heat, but I was not afraid. Although I am usually skeptical of a restaurant’s judge of spice, this sandwich didn’t hold back. The homemade buttermilk ranch and house pickles cut the spice to the point where I can only describe the sensation in my mouth as, “hurts so good.” My parents were completely on board too after their experience. A Shrimp Bahn Mi Poboy is untraditional, but man, did my mom enjoy it! My dad had similar sentiments after chowing-down on the Cajun Castro, the one that started it all for me. After I realized that my parent’s, true poboy enthusiasts, had an incredible experience eating these non-traditional dishes, I started to wonder: does the tradition even matter?

Pop’s has since become the go-to spot for my friends and I anytime that we find ourselves in Lafayette. The uniqueness is too intriguing to pass up on. From the hamburger poboy with pimento cheese to the cheese fries with spaghetti noodles and pickled onions, I haven’t been led astray. Even their more adventurous weekly specials are a guaranteed home run. In fact, my absolute favorite sandwich from Pop’s is the El Guapo Cochon. Try not to salivate: crispy poboy bread with deep red, pastor style pork, pineapple pico di gallo, a sprinkling of queso fresco, and a little bit of spicy chipotle mayonnaise.

Sinful.

The El Guapo has got the perfect amount of spice, and the pineapple is just bright enough to register on the tastebuds. The queso fresco is a subtle yet crucial sprinkling of cheesy beauty on top. I could eat it every day, but unfortunately it's available only on a rotating weekly basis. With that being said, be sure to check out Pop’s Facebook, they keep it populated with all of their latest creations.



I’ve been an almost shameful amount of times to this place over the past year, and in that time I have achieved a bit of an ideological transformation. I used to believe that Louisiana’s cajun and creole culture is rooted in its ways, unchanging, settled. I thought that a poboy had only a handful of of variations that had been tried and tested over the course of generations. I couldn’t imagine the New Orleans street car workers enjoying a Nashville Hot Chicken version of their beloved sandwich, but this isn’t the late 1800’s. Pop’s has helped me realize that an area’s culture is living, no matter the number of references made to its past. No agent of culinary change would exist without there being an element of disruption, and Pop’s is that nontraditional force. The cajun cookbook is long and venerated, with the poboy claiming one of the largest chapters. But that cookbook is still being written, and I can promise you that Pop’s Poboys in Lafayette, Louisiana will be adding a few pages.

Friday, August 11, 2017

South American Supper: A Private Dinner at Red Stick Spice Co.

by Sophie Spring, intern


Gov't Tacos Chef Aimee Tortorich, Jay Ducote and their culinary team were able to take a break from slinging tacos and focus on the latest Red Stick Spice Company private dinner, South American Supper for 24 lucky guests. The four course meal featured traditional South American foods, with a Bite and Booze twist.

The guests starting arriving around 7, with the tantalizing scent of roasted potatoes filling up the store.

Our first passed course was red snapper ceviche with a crispy fried plantain chip and glasses of bubbly Prosecco. The guests enjoyed this course while perusing the store, allowing them to see all of the delicious oils, vinegars, and spice mixtures Red Stick Spice Co. has to offer.

Photo by: Jordan Hefler Photography

Once the guests were seated it was time for the second course, a seafood paella. Our paella was traditional, using Supreme Rice with saffron, mussels, shrimp, and green peas. The dish was complimented nicely by Jay D’s Blanc du Bois. An added bonus for the guests were the extra prepared mussels that were served family style to each table.

Chef Aimee Tortorich plating the paella. Photo by: Jordan Hefler Photography 
The third course was a real show stopper: Cafeciteaux coffee rubbed tri-tip served over fresh green cilantro chimichurri with a side of creamy paprika roasted potatoes a la plancha. This course was probably the biggest hit of the night. Every plate brought back to the kitchen was licked clean. Our guests enjoyed this course with a glass of robust Malbec.

Photo by: Jordan Hefler Photography

For the dessert course, the culinary team put a spin on traditional tamales, making a dulce de leche tamale served with homemade bananas foster ice cream. The tamales had a subtle sweetness and the bananas foster ice cream melted beautifully over the warm masa. The guests loved this unexpected dessert. Served alongside the tamale was Jay D’s Single Origin Coffee, with a splash of Frangelico hazelnut liqueur and cinnamon whipped cream.

Photo by: Jordan Hefler Photography

The dinner went off seamlessly, thanks to help from Anne and the Red Stick Spice staff there to help us out. After the dinner was over, the team received such great feedback that we were inspired to plan another SOLD OUT Red Stick Dinner, North African Appetite on August 16!

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Pico's: A Houston "Mex-Mex" Institution

by Blair Loup

Since establishing Pico’s in 1984, it has become a shining beacon of “Mex-Mex” cuisine in the holy land of Tex-Mex. The Richards family treats their customers like relatives. When you enter the sprawling restaurant you can hear fresh margaritas shaking, smell the hand-pressed tortillas on the flat top and see the genuine smile across the faces of their employees. You can’t have a bad time at Pico’s; they simply won’t allow it.

It’s a large restaurant, but don’t let that fool you. Chef, and owner, Arnaldo Richard has his hand in every dish. The attention to detail that goes in to the flavor built on each plate is extremely authentic. If you’re looking for true Mexican cuisine in the Houston area, you need not look any further.

The depth of flavor isn’t just in the food though. Arnaldo’s daughter Monica Richards is at the helm of their fantastic tequila program. Even the most baseline of margaritas at Pico’s is top-notch. Whether you’re looking to demolish a couple of shakers of their house margaritas or taste from some of Monica’s select barrels, she has taken the time to curate a truly special tequila experience for their guests. The tequila selection alone is a worth the trip.




Jay, Chef Aimee and I have had the pleasure of dining with Monica and visiting with Arnaldo on a couple of occasions and each trip has only made our hearts grow fonder. Here are a few of the best bites and sips we had the last time we were there:




Ontiones Carlos Slim is one dish that I think speaks to the attention to detail and flavor building Arnaldo's cooking is centered around. With this take on Oysters Rockefeller, Arnaldo uses an intricate blend of celery leaf, tarragon, chervil, parsley, herb saint, spinach, collard greens and purslane and tops each bite with cotija and parmesan cheeses.

Ontiones Carlos Slim
Ontiones Carlos Slim



These mussels are sautéed in a white wine and crema sauce with Spanish chorizo and topped with micro cilantro. After we got a hold of their bolilla (similar to French bread) these babies didn't last long. The creaminess of the sauce combined with the flavor of the mussels and the little kick and umami from the chorizo made each one more poppable than the last.


Mejillones a la Gallega



I'm not going to lie. I think about this next dish all the time. In a section on their menu called Al Ajillo you can find some of the tastiest dishes in the whole joint. Ajillo is a condiment in Mexican cuisine that is made by infusing olive oil with dried chilis and fresh sliced garlic for a minimum of 72 hours. It's even more amazing than it sounds. They sauté different types of seafood in this delectable concoction, but my favorite version is the octopus. So tender, it feels like you're biting into a cloud that's soaked in garlic/chile olive oil; insane.

Pulpo Al Ajillo
Pulpo Al Ajillo



Mole holds a very special place in my heart. There's a lot that goes into each mole, but you can always be sure of one thing when it comes to this comforting dish: whoever took the time to make it, undoubtedly stirred in a lot of love. In this case Arnaldo moved me to feelings. The duck fell apart in the rich, decadent mole and the tostones hit the hearty, but sweet notes. I would order this dish again and again.  



Until next time, Pico's! If you're ever in the Houston area, Pico's is a must. Keep a look out for some of their phenomenal tequila dinners as well! 


Thursday, August 3, 2017

A Bonut Baker’s Dozen: Batch 13 Biscuits & Bowls

by Paige Johannessen


Before the new Copeland’s concept opened, the Bite and Booze team had the chance to try out Batch 13 Biscuits & Bowls. If you haven't been by to try the fun and inviting bright yellow restaurant, you're missing out. The menu is certainly different than the other restaurants under the Copeland's name, featuring a “Grab-and-Go” wall lined with salads and bowls, as well as a dine-in option for the guests that want to hang out and enjoy the quirky signage and dozens of succulents.



We had the chance to try a few of their signature menu items as well as grab a "bonut" or thirteen. I wasn’t starving when we made the trek over to Batch 13 so I opted for the “It’s All Greek To Me” lunch bowl. The hummus and vegetables were light and delicious, a perfect refresher for a warm summer afternoon. Not exactly filling for those who want a complete lunch, but could definitely serve as a sharing item for a table.

Herbed hummus, cucumber, feta, mixed tomatoes, olives, roasted peppers, extra virgin olive oil, balsamic reduction sauce and sumac, with lavish chips.

The “Wild Wild (South)West Hot Bowl” was my personal favorite. A rice bowl, served with spicy chunks of chicken, veggies and pickled jalapeños...right up my alley.

Spicy chicken cutlets, pickled cabbage, charred corn, pickled onions, roasted red peppers, pickled jalapeños, black beans, cilantro, warm seasoned rice and Southwest Ranch.

The table favorite was definitely the "Spicy Fried Chicken and Andouille Gravy Smothered Biscuit." This classic spoke to the hearts of all of the Popeye’s lovers out there. Fried chicken and a warm buttermilk biscuit, what else could a South Louisianan need? 

Andouille sausage gravy, fried marinate chicken and Copeland's hot sauce on a toasted buttermilk biscuit.

To cap off the meal we tried a handful of Chef Darryl Smith’s signature creation, the “bonuts.” This fusion of a donut and biscuit is something that could get my wallet in trouble if I lived closer to Batch 13. I recommend the apple cinnamon bonut. It's like a gooey apple pie that is meant to be eaten for breakfast. Glorious.

 
From top left going clockwise: Apple Cinnamon, Hot, Choc & Bacon, Cinnamon Sugar and Glazed bonuts.

Batch 13 Biscuit & Bowls is a must lunch spot for those of you who frequent the Essen/Perkins area. It's quick, convenient and darn good! A great fast-casual breakfast and lunch addition for that part of town.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Jay D’s Backyard BBQ at Tin Roof Brewery

by Sophie Spring, intern

Our Bull Grill from Goodwood Hardware loaded up with meats at Tin Roof Brewing
Our Bull Grill from Goodwood Hardware loaded up with meats at Tin Roof Brewing
photo credit: Jordan Hefler Photography

The Bite & Booze team was excited to throw a Backyard BBQ party at Tin Roof Brewery to help celebrate the release of their new Watermelon Wheat. The day started early, cleaning ice chests, loading red beans and Supreme Rice into the Goodwood Hardware trailer, lugging heavy cast iron pots to the brewery, cooking up cheese sauce and slicing smoked sausages. Aimee and Therese planned the schedule for smoking the chicken, ribs and sausage days in advance. The pimento cheese sauce was made with love the morning of the event, proportions of rice and beans and seasonings were calculated carefully, and lists of supplies covered tables in the office.


What was on the menu for the event, you ask? Tender, fall of the bone ribs, juicy smoked chicken, and flavorful sausage. The trio of meat was accompanied by impossibly creamy pimento mac and cheese, dirty rice and BBQ beans.

Chef Aimee Tortorich shows off some Jay D's smoked ribs!
Chef Aimee Tortorich shows off some Jay D's smoked ribs!
photo credit: Jordan Hefler Photography

All of which was served with an iconic slice of white bread to sop up all the juices that gather in the bottom of the red checkered trough used to serve our “Full Monty” (a plate of all three meats and each of the sides). The team used Jay D’s Spicy & Sweet BBQ Rub to season the meats, Louisiana Barbecue Sauce to mop the meats as we finished them on the grill and Louisiana Molasses Mustard and barbecue sauce were available for dipping and slathering.

The weather was perfect for the event, sun shining and clear skies. It was the ideal day to relax in the yard at Tin Roof Brewery, Watermelon Wheat in one hand a smoked BBQ rib in the other. As we anticipated, the “Full Monty” was our best seller. No one wanted to miss out on any of the meats or sides. We were so happy with the turnout, it felt like there was an endless line of people from the start to when we sold out of meat.

Sophie Spring and Chuck P. scooping the Supreme Rice dirty rice for service
Sophie Spring and Chuck P. scooping the Supreme Rice dirty rice for service
photo credit: Jordan Hefler Photography

The team was running back and forth with hot trays of ribs and sausage, using paddles to scoop steamy dirty rice into hotel pans, pulling BBQ beans out and rushing to get them to our customers.

Sold out BBQ!
Sold out BBQ! photo credit: Jordan Hefler Photography

The food was gone before we knew it, and at the end of the night all we had left was the bottom of the pot of dirty rice and BBQ beans. Overall, the event was a success: beer, BBQ, and a good time!


Thursday, July 27, 2017

All Aboard The Gravy Train: The Darrell’s Special

by Charles Pierce



The culinary scene in Lake Charles has grown significantly over the past few years. There has been a growth of new restaurants doing truly fantastic dishes and they are making their presence known with local foodies. But, along with that rise, there are a few old favorites that have stood the test of time. Personally, the one place that keeps me coming back is Darrell’s Famous Poboys and their mouth watering Darrell’s Special.

Since 1985 Darrell’s has been serving up some truly awesome poboys. Their commitment to quality shows in their food and has been rewarded by the loyalty of their customers who have been returning time and time again for lunch and dinner since they’ve opened their doors. It’s no surprise to see the parking lot packed no matter what time of day you visit. And I am willing to bet the majority of orders coming out of the kitchen throughout the day and night are the exquisite Darrell’s Special.


It’s actually a pretty simple sandwich. You’ve got fresh cut ham, turkey and made-in-house roast beef, lettuce (I normally pass on this because...it’s lettuce), mustard, mayonnaise (regular or jalapeno), your choice of cheese (American, Swiss or Provolone) and the absolute best roast beef gravy I’ve ever had. The beauty lies in the simplicity. Or is it the gravy? It might be the gravy.

While sitting at the table awaiting your order you’ll notice a very large stack of napkins. 
SPOILER ALERT: You will need these. 
The Darrell’s Special is as messy as it is delicious. They’re very generous when it comes to the roast beef gravy, which is certainly not a bad thing. To quote their website “Unless you use at least 10 napkins, you’re doing it wrong”.

Now don’t get me wrong, there are other great tasting poboys on the menu as well. The BBQ Beef is really good and I’ve heard the Surf & Turf is almost as popular as the Darrell’s Special. Almost. But for me, it’s that signature sandwich that gets me every time.

No matter what I’m doing in Lake Charles, I make it a point to stop in and grab a Darrell’s Special. It truly is that good. Next time you’re in Lake Charles stop by and see for yourself.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Burgers With Chuck: The Brunch Burger at Tiger Deauxnuts

by Charles Pierce


When it comes to finding a tasty burger, one of the last places some people might think to look would be a donut shop. Unless, of course, you happen to stop by the newly renovated Tiger Deauxnuts and check out their revised menu which now features lunch options, including one very delicious Brunch Burger.

When I noticed there was a burger on their new lunch menu, my obvious first thought was “This thing better have donuts for buns.” I mean, how could it not? This is a donut shop and it would only make sense! Thankfully, I was not disappointed.



Sandwiched between two donut buns was a perfectly cooked patty that was seasoned to perfection. There was a nice crust on the top and bottom of the incredibly juicy patty. And of course, what’s a Brunch Burger without a fried egg. The egg was cooked just right with very little greasiness. The bacon was crispy without being overcooked and dry and the tomato marmalade was a nice touch to finish it off. My only suggestion would be to maybe drizzle a bit of glaze over the donut buns to give it that sweet and savory taste.

Owner Jeff Herman has been making some of my favorite donuts ever since he was operating out of a very small shop right off of Coursey Blvd years ago and I’m happy that he has continued to grow and be successful with his newly renovated location on Government Street. The next time you’re craving a burger and want to try something new, give the Brunch Burger at Tiger Deauxnuts a try.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Aaron's First Month: From Coors Light to Craft Beer

by Aaron Arnold, intern


Before late April I had no idea what Jay Ducote did or who he even was, but that all changed when Jay spoke to my Digital Marketing class at LSU. Usually the guest speakers don’t interest me all too much, but when Jay came along and talked about Bite & Booze, Jay D’s, and Govt Taco, I was sold. I am not sure if it was Jay’s public speaking ability that caught my attention or the fact that he ate and drank for a living. All I knew was that I wanted to be a part of his team.

A few days later I emailed Jay about the possibility of joining the company as an intern and he invited me to the office for an interview. When asked what my least favorite food was, I responded “pickles..” (as anyone should) and Blair replied “Oh great, Jay hates pickles too.” That’s when I knew I was in.

When Jay spoke to my class he said he was looking for a jack of all trades type of intern, and he meant that literally. On the first day I put tags on our bomb AF Louisiana Molasses Mustard (seriously if you’re reading this and haven’t tried it then do yourself a favor and go buy some right this second, this blog isn’t going anywhere) helped craft tweets for our Twitter accounts, created graphic designs, and worked a private dinner at the office. At the end of the day I had worked a little over 13 hours. You’re probably thinking “I bet this dude wanted to quit immediately”, but you would be mistaken. It was single handedly the best day of “work” I have had in my entire life, and I worked at Disney World for 6 months so that’s saying something! The best part about it was that at the end of a 13 hour work day I felt like I knew everyone in the office for years and that I was a part of the family.
Aaron rocking his Jay D's shirt alongside fellow intern Drew, helping serve at Jay D's Backyard BBQ at Tin Roof Brewery. Photo by Jordan Hefler Photography

In a month’s time I have done so many things that I never expected to do. I recorded a podcast sampling beer, wrote multiple blog posts, assisted at demos in grocery stores, made product deliveries, packed and moved our entire office (#RIPOfficeHouse), and attended a handful of Gov’t Taco and Jay D events. It has been a great experience so far and I can only imagine it will keep getting better.

In addition to all of these great experiences I’ve gained an appreciation for local products and most importantly craft beer, thanks Chuck! You would think being from the Baton Rouge area I would try to stick to local products, but I have honestly never thought much about it. Now, I make an effort to only shop at Calandro’s or other local grocery stores. The team has shown me a bunch of locally owned restaurants in Baton Rouge that I never even knew existed, and my fridge is stocked with delicious Louisiana beer.

I hope the rest of this internship goes just as smoothly as the first month, I certainly think it will.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Taco 'bout a Good Time at the Capital City Mac Fest!

by Paige Johannessen


Happy National Mac and Cheese Day! In honor of this glorious day, we thought we'd give you a look into Baton Rouge's innagural Capital City Mac Fest where our Gov't Taco team took home the People's Choice Award earlier this summer. Geaux Rouge presented the first ever Capital City Mac Fest at Curbside Burgers where 15 competitors showed up to present their version of mac and cheese and raised money for altBR.

A ticket to this gastronomic festival got you a one way ticket to cheese town where you could taste each competitors interpretation and cast a vote for the People's Choice Award. There was also a "Taste Award" voted on by a panel of judges and a battle amongst the competitors for The "Best Booth Award."

The competition was comprised of a heavy hitting list of some of the best places in Baton Rouge. This is definitely something you won't want to miss out on next year.

GOyaya’s Crêpes won the the judge’s “Taste Award” with their “Pot Calling The Kettle Mac,” a pot roast mac and cheese with caramelized onions and tomato confit with a lattice work pie crust.

photo by: Blair Thompson Photography, GOyaya's Crepes "Pot Calling The Kettle Mac" 


Gov't Taco won the People’s Choice award with their Clucks & Balances taco. The taco features pimento mac and cheese, smoked chicken thigh, nashville hot chicken skins and white BBQ sauce.



The team had a blast and we hope this festival sticks around next year! p.s. we heard there is another mac and cheese festival happening in New Orleans this October with a very special celebrity guest judge...hope to see you there!

photo by: Blair Thompson Photography, Gov't Taco Team: Blair Loup, Chef Aimee Tortorich, Jennifer Breithaupt, Jay Ducote, Sophie Spring, Charles Pierce, Paige Johannessen