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Thursday, May 25, 2017

Jay D's Bites: Blanc Du Bois Bellini

by Therese Schneider

Summer is right around the corner and the days are only getting warmer. It’s time to break out the swimsuits and anything that can cool you off. Kick back by the pool on the weekends with a delicious, super easy summer sipper. It’s an all in one blitz and done kind of recipe and it couldn't be easier to make. Crisp, and refreshing, Jay D’s Blanc Du Bois makes for the perfect warm weather wine. With the grapes grown right here in Louisiana, it’s a must try and perfect for a fun recipe like this. You can grab a bottle Calandro’s Supermarket or at other local grocery stores.

Blanc Du Bois Tropical Bellini

Yields 8-10 glasses

1 Bottle of Jay D’s Blanc du bois
1 16 oz Bag of frozen peaches
1 16 oz Bag of frozen mangos
¼ cup of honey or agave nectar

Put all ingredients in the blender and blend until it's all combined. Pour into a pitcher and share with friends...or don’t!

Monday, May 22, 2017

Beers with Chuck: The Maharaja Imperial IPA from Avery Brewing Company

by Chuck P

The Avery Brewing Company based in Boulder, Colorado has finally made its way into Louisiana: rejoice craft beer enthusiasts! With a stellar selection of beers coming in like the Vanilla Bean Stout and Raspberry Sour from their Botanicals & Barrels series and year round selections like the El Gose German Style Sour Ale, Out Of Bounds Stout and White Rascal Belgian White Ale there’s enough variety to satisfy even the pickiest beer geek.

Out of their wide selection of beers now distributed here, my go-to is their Imperial IPA, The Maharaja.

According to Avery’s website the word Maharaja is taken from the sanskrit words Mahat, meaning “great”, and Rajan, meaning “king” making this Imperial IPA regal, intense and mighty; mighty it is indeed, coming in at a big 10% ABV.

Pouring into the glass the Maharaja has a very dark amber color with a mild haziness and a nice foamy head that quickly disappears. The aroma is a full on citrus blast with hints of grapefruit, orange and even a bit of papaya coming through as well as some piney notes. The sweetness of the malt comes through as well. The first sip greets you with true bitter hoppiness that hits the palate running.

The middle gives way to the sweet malts with a hint of caramel that breaks up the dankness a bit but returns with a nice dry finish. I didn’t find it to be too boozy given the high ABV at first, but after a few more sips it made it’s subtle presence felt.

This Imperial IPA from Avery Brewing will be a welcomed addition to my growing list of go to IPA’s. It’s strong and fruity with enough of a boozy feel to remind me not to drink these like a freshman at a high school kegger. 

Look for this delicious brew and much more from Avery Brewing Company on local store shelves and bottle shops throughout Baton Rouge and surrounding areas.

To hear more about The Maharaja Imperial IPA check out our On Tap segment sponsored by Mockler Beverage Company on the Bite & Booze Radio Show below.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Wakey Whisky: Alberta Rye Whisky Dark Batch

by Eric Ducote

Good morning everyone and a happy #WakeyWhisky to you on World Whisky Day! World Whisky Day (#WorldWhiskyDay) was founded in 2012 by Blair Bowman, a university student in Scotland, and has grown into a worldwide celebration of all things whisky and whiskey.

 According to Bowman, "World Whisky Day is all about making whisky fun and enjoyable. It’s not about being exclusive or prescriptive. You can drink it however you enjoy it (ice, water, mixer – whatever works for you). We want to be all inclusive and that means any kind of whisky/whiskey from anywhere in the world."

For me, that really meant I wanted to try something that wasn't a typical American whiskey and get into something from somewhere else in the world, so I dug through the Bite And Booze whisk(e)y collection and found something new to me. My pick is the Alberta Rye Whisky Dark Batch, a blended rye whisky from Calgary, Canada. This is a unique blend, 91% Canadian Rye Whiskey, 8% Bourbon, and 1% Sherry. Alberta Distillers is the largest rye whisky distiller in North America, but they must source their bourbon from the United States, as it's only legal to call a product bourbon if it's from the US of A. I would also assume that the sherry is sourced, then blended with some of their choice barrel aged rye whisky to create this blend. 

Normally, I'm a bigger fan of non-blended whisky and whiskeys, but I do enjoy a good rye, and a blend with bourbon and sherry sounds intriguing, so... let's dig in. The nose is robust, with the typical cinnamon spice from a rye whisky and also a hint of the sweetness coming from the sherry. Honestly, an excellent first impression, and it's a powerful aroma, I could pick it up as soon as I popped the cork on the 750ml bottle. 

The taste, more of the same, but even better. It's a powerful whisky without being obnoxious, coming in at 90 proof and 45% abv. The cinnamon spice is still going strong, with strong charred oak characteristics from all contributors to the blend, and a sweet honeysuckle-esque finish. The spice lingers for a bit, even getting up into my nostrils as I breathe while I write this post.

From what I can find online, this bottle should be somewhere between $30-$40 if you can find it, which I think is an excellent value. It's exactly on the tipping point between easy drinking and robust without finding it's way into the "so strong it's hard to drink," or "so weak it's barely there" categories. An excellent blend, a real eye opener for me, and without a doubt a pleasant surprise.

I'll be enjoying plenty more of this spirit in the future, but for now, CHEERS!, #wakeywhisky, and Happy #WorldWhiskyDay to you all!

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Jay D's Bites: B.E.L.T. Sandwich

by Therese Schneider

I love this time of year right at the end of spring and the beginning of summer. All of the best produce comes to the Farmer’s Market. One of my favorite ingredients is the heirloom tomato. They’re so juicy, sweet and fragrant and make for an awesome romesco sauce or as a key player in your sandwiches. Recently, I tried it on a very simple B.E.L.T. The BLT brings me back to my childhood. I can whip up a pretty mean BLT, but my dad’s is still the best.

To kitck it up a notch, I added a fried egg to it...that’s the “E” in the B.E.L.T (see what I did there?). Instead of regular lettuce, I used Arugula which gives it a nice bite and goes great with the Jay D’s Louisiana Molasses Mustard. Try it out and let me know what you think!

B.E.L.T. Sandwich

1 Artisanal loaf, you’ll need 2 slices per sandwich
1 egg
½ cup of Arugula
2 slices of bacon
1 heirloom tomato, sliced
1 Tbsp of Jay D’s Louisiana Molasses Mustard
2 Tbsp of mayonnaise
3 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. On a baking sheet lined with parchment paper put down your slices of bread and drizzle with 2 Tbsp of Extra Virgin Olive Oil (saving the remaining 1 Tbsp for the egg), then pop it in the oven for 6-8 mins or until it starts to develope a little bit of brown around the crust. While the bread is in the oven, cook bacon to desired crispiness and set aside. 

Next, combine the molasses mustard and mayo and set aside. Get 2 slices of the toasted bread and spread the molasses mustard/mayo mixture on the each slice, add arugula, 2 slices of tomato and bacon. 

Then, in a non-stick skillet over medium heat, add the remaining tablespoon of Extra Virgin Olive Oil, crack the egg in the skillet and cook for about 3-4 minutes until the whites look almost done, but still a little runny. With a spatula, flip your egg and let it continue to cook for 1-2 more minutes and add it on top of the bacon. Put it all together and there you have it!

Monday, May 15, 2017

It's Not a Goodbye, It's a "See You Later": Hannah Reflects On Her Internship

by Hannah Wilson, intern

I remember Blair coming to Dr. Folse’s marketing class like it was yesterday. She shared what Bite & Booze was all about and I remember having a gut feeling that this was meant for me. That sounds so cheesy and so easy to say now that we’re here, a semester later...But, that’s the thing, I follow my gut. I have honed in on listening to my intuition, and it’s gotten me this far. As the class ended my friend Chad leaned over and said, “You seem a lot like her, are you going to talk to her?”; I said yes.

I marched down, got her business card and that was that. We skyped for the interview on a winter day when it was about negative four degrees in Chicago, and I remember Jay asking me what my least favorite food was. Later that day I got an offer from them, and I took it.

Me chowing down on some high quality Gov't Taco
Photo Credit: Jordan Hefler Photography

Coming back from winter break, and walking up to the #OfficeHouse on the first day, I was incredibly nervous. I have always loved eating food, but I did not think I was qualified enough to review food or represent a company all about food. The most crafty I got in the kitchen was putting olive oil in a pan with vegetables and stir frying them and I’m still not even sure if that’s exactly what you would call that. I was ready to try though, even if I was a nervous and excited mess.

Being Blair’s intern has been a little something extra. Blair, Chief Confusion Coordinator and Spin Doctor, is someone I view with the to utmost respect and has become one of my role models through this whole experience. I’ve gotten to see her goofy, honest and kind personality shine through whether we’re editing blog posts, cleaning the #OfficeHouse or having a dance party while running errands. There is never a dull moment with this crew, and everything turns into laughter and dancing in almost no time at all.

From private dinners, to grocery stores, to working Gov’t Taco events, there’s always something going on. Throughout these various adventures, I’ve learned so much more about culinary marketing and real life experience than any classroom could have taught me. This internship has opened my eyes to all of the amazing experiences that happen off of LSU’s campus, and it’s made me appreciate this city so much more than I could have ever imagined.

I also have a new appreciation for food and shopping locally. Jay and the team are so dedicated to buying local ingredients and supporting small businesses, and it really made me evaluate where I was shopping and what I was feeding myself.

Our partnerships with local Louisiana companies gives outlets to promote local commerce to both parties, and it’s been very interesting to see how everything works together. I think that shopping locally and focusing on the quality of ingredients has changed how my body operates, and I’ve definitely noticed an improvement. It makes a world of difference when you care about the quality of food you’re putting into your body (except for this sinfully delicious grilled cheese I wrote about).

Getting to pal around with Blair and taste almost every cup of coffee in Baton Rouge, pho and having our almost weekly lunches at Zippy’s have grown to be some of my favorite memories of college. But also, seeing all the effort and hardwork that goes into building a brand for a restaurant and getting to be a voice in the decision making process has been a truly rewarding experience (taste testing almost every taco hasn’t been too shabby either).

Since coming through that door in early January, the adventures, laughs and love have been endless. Which, again, sounds cheesy but it could not be more true. This group of humans have been one of the most genuine I’ve ever come into contact with. 

The success of this team, I believe, is due to the cohesiveness and family-like atmosphere we work in every day. For the past five months I’ve woken up and looked forward to my Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at Bite & Booze. So much so, that I’m coming back in the fall when I finish up my last semester at LSU!

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Beers with Chuck: Goin' Coastal IPA with Pineapple from SweetWater Brewing

by Chuck P

I find that people are usually on the fence when it comes to adding pineapple to different foods and drinks. Unless it’s a tropical beverage, I tend to shy away from it, but sometimes you just have to take that chance and when you do you might find out that something like a pineapple IPA might be even more delicious than you previously imagined. That’s where I found myself when I tried the Goin’ Coastal IPA with pineapple from the SweetWater Brewing Company.

I’ve always been a fan of SweetWater’s designs. The bright colors and artwork bounce off of their products when you see them on store shelves and the Goin’ Coastal 16oz can is no exception.

The beer has a hazy golden straw body to it that shined in the glass. The aroma smells fantastic with the pineapple being at the forefront followed by hints of mango and some tangerine coming through as well as solid floral and piney notes; taste wise, you can flip that aroma description around.

The floral and piney notes are what caught me first with the pineapple coming in the middle and finishing with the other citrusy flavors. There’s a nice malt balance from start to finish.

This is a very juicy and refreshing IPA, although I do think the grapefruit and tangerine shown through a bit more than the pineapple.

Make sure to pick up a few of these cans this summer to enjoy; especially if that day is spent in your boat with a line in the water.

To hear more about Goin’ Coastal click below for our On Tap segment sponsored by Mockler Beverage Company on the Bite & Booze Radio Show.

Monday, May 8, 2017

The Big Cheezy in The Big Easy

by Hannah Wilson, intern

This past Sunday, while waiting on the Jazz Fest gates to open, my friends and I decided to hit up one of our favorite restaurants in New Orleans, The Big Cheezy in mid city. The staff is always so polite and welcoming. With three locations in mid city, uptown and in Kenner, it’s definitely something that’s become a NOLA must for me.

Each location has a slightly different menu, but our go-to favorites are the Big Cheezy, the Mac N’ Cheezy and the Flying Dutchman.

The Big Cheezy

The restaurant’s namesake is a great spin on the classic staple. Staged on Hawaiian Sweet Bread it’s a magnificent, triple decker sandwich comprised of not one, but six cheeses! The Gouda, Mozzarella, Cheddar, Pepper Jack, Monterey Jack and Parmesan all compliment each other for one tasty take on the Grilled Cheese. 

The Flying Dutchman

A more wild version of the grilled cheese, The Flying Dutchman, is a must try. Gouda paired with smoked turkey and applewood smoked bacon is topped off with honey mustard; the perfect amount of meat, cheese and all things good.

Mac N' Cheezy

This one is my absolute favorite. Their four cheese, bacon mac and cheese piled high with cheddar cheese on their country white bread is easily that most savory thing I’ve ever tried. The flavors all perfectly blend and are sure to leave your taste buds beyond content. We paired it with their sweet potato fries as a side and boy, were we in Heaven.

Although it was kind of a bummer that Jazz Fest was delayed due to the crazy weather, The Big Cheezy’s gourmet grilled cheeses were the perfect pick me up for our spirits and our appetites. Next time you’re looking for a savory twist in the Big Easy, check out the Big Cheezy!

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Beers with Chuck: Grass Monkey Hoppy Wheat Ale from Sweet Water Brewing Co.

by Chuck P

I know that technically summer won’t officially begin until June 20th, but here in Louisiana it pretty much feels that way 10 months out of the year. Luckily for us we can enjoy the latest seasonal release from Sweet Water Brewing Company to help us transition from “spring” to “summer”. I present to you the Grass Monkey Hoppy Wheat Ale.

Sweet Water Brewery started out of Atlanta, Georgia in 1997 and made their way here to the Pelican State back in 2013. Their brews have been a staple in many craft beer fan’s fridges way before they entered our state and even more so after launching here, especially their popular 420 Pale Ale.

Recently I had the chance to try their seasonal Grass Monkey Wheat Ale and discovered what might be my new favorite summer beer.I’ve never been a big fan of wheat beers. They’re not bad beers, I just don’t crave them the way I crave other beer styles. Sometimes for research purposes, I have to try things I don’t normally drink and can be pleasantly surprised.

The first thing I noticed after pouring the beer were the lemon and citrus notes I got on the nose, obviously from the lemongrass that Sweet Water added. The look of the beer is a hazy orange kind of color with a head that quickly diminishes. 

The flavor is light and refreshing with the lemon and a bit of orange coming through thanks to the Lemondrop Hops they introduced in the kettle and dry hop processes. The wheat element definitely shines through with a light sweetness that I thought had a tinge of grapefruit.

This beer seems like the perfect companion when lounging on the patio, by the pool or after some yard work on a hot summer day. Make sure to add this crisp wheat ale to your Sweet Water collection. 

To hear more about the Grass Monkey check out the On Tap segment below sponsored by Mockler Beverage Company from our latest episode of the Bite & Booze Radio Show.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

All Good Things Must Come to an End: Abby Reflects On Her Internship

by Abby Sewel, intern

February 23rd, 2017 was unusually hot, which gave me an excuse for the sweat stains I had produced my first day on the job with the Bite and Booze Team. The day before, I had come to an interview during which I took two pages of notes because I was entirely too eager. Since becoming a part of Jay’s team, I have learned everything is hands-on. If you need any instruction, Blair (Chief Confusion Coordinator/Spin Doctor) will give you a thorough demonstration of the right way to do it.

The visual learning environment forced me to quickly adapt to the fast-paced nature of the #OfficeHouse and I couldn’t be happier. Within a month I quickly fell into place alongside my fellow interns, anxious to learn anything and everything we can from the inspiring and driven crew that runs this ship.

My main role as a sales intern is assisting our Product Czar and Sauceror of Sales, Chuck Pierce, with product demonstrations in stores that carry Jay D’s brands. I’m fairly certain I was brought on board to basically double check everything before we walk out the door because Chuck’s memory retention is equivalent to Eeyore.

As fun as that sounds, acting as Chuck’s second brain isn’t my sole purpose at the office. I have also created a new and improved product sales sheet for Jay D’s, tagged and boxed countless cases of sauce, prepped Gov’t Taco pop ups, assisted in catering a private dinner party, participated in creative design meetings for Gov’t Taco and even had the honor of assisting in culinary research for the Bite & Booze blog. Now I’m writing my first blog post so I think it’s safe to say that I have a large range of responsibilities.

I snapped this shot of Chuck P. at one of our private dinners.
I snapped this shot of Chuck P. at one of our private dinners.

My favorite part of this whole experience is working as one team while having a rocking time celebrating the culinary culture of Louisiana cuisine.

Thanks to my real-world experience with Jay’s team and my sales training in LSU Professional Sales Institute, I have finally found the direction for my future: sales and marketing in the food and beverage industry.

My interest in food and beverages came from my parents who taught me to be open minded and try new things; your taste buds change every 7 years so you may never know what you’re missing out on if you don’t give it another try! I am a self-proclaimed foodie who has recently decided to make her love of food into a career.

Joining the team, even briefly, has been truly wonderful. I’m forever kicking myself for being late in the intern game and only being able to fit in half a semester, but it’s been the best half semester ever! I’m so motivated to find a job in Virginia with more people like the fine individuals at Bite and Booze so I can learn even more about the industry. Having a goal to reach once I graduate helps distract me from the fact that I unfortunately leave this wonderful #officehouse to explore my future very soon.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Patio Vibing at Brickyard South

by Chuck P

For a little over a year now owner Danny Wilson of Brickyard South, located across from The 13th Gate, has been cooking up his own bi-weekly pop-ups to the delight of sold out crowds that range from regular patrons to local foodies.

For only $20 you get a delicious three course meal and for $5 more you can get drink pairings to go along with your dishes. Recently, I finally had the chance to attend one of these dinners and, as expected, I was not disappointed.

I’ve known Danny for many years. From his days of working at TJ Ribs on Acadian back in the mid 90’s and hanging out at The Caterie (R.I.P.) to having drinks and talking about old times when he was managing the Port Royal Bar on College Drive, Danny has always had a passion for food. Now, through the creation of his Dinner On The Patio series at Brickyard South, he’s contributing to the food scene.

The night I attended Danny planned a menu that featured Jay D’s Louisiana Barbecue Sauce, Molasses Mustard and Spicy & Sweet Rub on the first two dishes. Danny is a big supporter of using local products so I was very grateful for him to be using our products on his dishes.

After grabbing a cold can of Gnarly Barley’s Korova Milk Porter and meeting up with some friends and my band members from The Anteeks, we made our way out to the patio to grab a seat. The weather was gorgeous with a slight breeze in the air and very little humidity.

Around 7pm our first course came to the table, beer braised chicken wings covered in a combination of Jay D’s Louisiana Barbecue Sauce and Molasses Mustard. 

Chicken Wings covered in Jay D's Louisiana Barbecue Sauce and Molasses Mustard
Chicken Wings covered in Jay D's Louisiana Barbecue Sauce and Molasses Mustard

These wings were bigger than I expected and with enough meat for me to be thankful there were only two on the plate. The combo of the barbecue sauce and the mustard provided a nice amount of heat that lingered a bit, but quickly faded.

Our main entree was next featuring a beautiful seared pork chop in an Abita Purple Haze glaze with Brussels sprouts. 

Pork and Brussels sprouts glazed with Abita Purple Haze
Pork and Brussels sprouts glazed with Abita Purple Haze

The chop was cooked to a perfect medium-- super tender and juicy. The beer glaze that covered the dish complimented it perfectly. I’ve only recently become a fan of Brussels sprouts and these were delicious. It also helped that they too were covered in the beer glaze!

After a few minutes of letting our last dish find its way home in our bellies the dessert dish made its way to our table: a Salted Caramel Bread Pudding. Guys and gals, no matter how much I eat at lunch or dinner, I always...ALWAYS have room for dessert. Especially when it’s my #1 weakness, bread pudding.

Salted Caramel Bread Pudding
Salted Caramel Bread Pudding
The caramel sauce was sweet and warm with bits of pecan and the bread pudding itself was rich, dense and absolutely delicious. Luckily not everyone finished theirs so I of course decided to help clean up a few extra dishes lying around the table.

Dinner On The Patio is a great evening of mouth watering cocktails, delicious home style dishes and a fun night with friends or your significant other. Danny Wilson is doing a great job and I hope he continues to provide this amazing treat to Baton Rouge diners for years to come. Make sure to follow Dinner On The Patio on Facebook to find out about upcoming dinners and other special events.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Beers with Chuck: Coop'd Up Tart Farmhouse Ale from Urban South

by Chuck P

Urban South has finally made their way up from New Orleans to the Baton Rouge market and local craft beer fans couldn’t be more excited. Since arriving here, their Holy Roller IPA, Charming Whit Ale and their spring seasonal Delta Momma Citra Lager have been flying off store shelves.

Recently, myself along with Jay, Blair and Jay’s brother Eric had a chance to sit down and try their latest offering, the Coop’d Up Tart Farmhouse Ale during an “On Tap” segment for the Bite & Booze Radio Show.

Coop'd Up Tart Farmhouse Ale by Urban South Brewery in New Orleans
Coop'd Up Tart Farmhouse Ale by Urban South Brewery in New Orleans

Farmhouse Ales or Saisons as some are commonly known are normally brewed during winter months so as to be ready for consumption during hot summer days. The Coop’d Up fits this description perfectly. It was also kettle soured using Lactobacillus which sours the beer at a faster rate rather than going the traditional route which could take years. Luckily we don’t have to wait that long.

This brew has a nice hazy golden color with very little carbonation to it. I immediately tasted hints of lemon and maybe coriander on my first sip. There’s just enough tartness cutting through and some of that sour funkiness on the back end that I really like. 

The finish is pretty dry which only makes me want to reach for my glass again for another taste. This really is a perfect light and refreshing summertime beer.

So far everything I’ve tried from Urban South has been fantastic and I can’t wait to see what they’ve got coming up next. To find out more about Urban South and the Coop’d Up Farmhouse Ale click the link below and check out the Bite & Booze Podcast presented by Mockler Beverage Co.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Zesting into Sunshine A Fruit Salad Actually Worth Making

by Hannah Wilson, intern

In a conscious effort to put some more freshness in our diets, I figured why not try a zesty fruit salad. Fruit salad is the perfect for the warmer weather, whether it’s for a weekday lunch or a weekend brunch. We tried this Jamie Deen recipe for Tropical Fruit Salad with honey and lime and thought we’d share this recipe! While I’m not the best in the kitchen, I gave it a go!

It’s a fairly easy recipe that will be sure to leave your taste buds satisfied! What you’ll need is:

¾ cup of sweetened coconut flakes
2 Tbs of local honey
2 Tbs of fresh mint, chiffonade
Zest and juice of one lime
2 kiwis, peeled and sliced
1 banana, peeled and sliced on a bias
1 small bunch of red grapes
1 mango, peeled, pit removed and cubed
½ large pineapple, peeled, cored and cubed

I started by zesting the lime, this was a new concept to me, but it’s all too simple. After washing the limes and grating them delicately you take the grated peel and voila! You’ve successfully zested. You’ll want to set this aside in a bowl. After the zest has been zested, you simply juice the lime.

After adding the local honey to the lime zest and juice, it’s time to chiffonade the mint. Chiffonade, as I have learned, is a fancy word for how one can prepare herbs or leafy vegetables by cutting them into long, thin strips. Once you add the mint to the honey, lime juice and lime zest, you whisk it all together.

This is about the time I started to preheat the oven to warm the coconut flakes, they’re relatively low maintenance in this recipe, and the toasting gave it a nice little crunch!

Next, we tackle the wide variety of tropical fruits. We have your kiwis, banana, grapes, mango and pineapple. Another life lesson learned, the directions for cutting a pineapple are on the pineapple itself, pretty innovative!

Now, you’re ready to mix it all together! I added the fruit into the freshly whisked ‘dressing’ if you will and to top it off I added the toasted coconut flakes! This recipe blended a lot of flavors and they each come through nicely when the fruit salad comes together. We loved it for an afternoon snack!

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Wakey Whiskey: The Spirit of America Handcrafted Bourbon Whiskey

by Eric Ducote

Hey everyone, it's time for another #wakeywhiskey!  This one is coming to you strong on this Easter Sunday from Indianapolis, Indiana, USA. The Spirit of America Handcrafted Bourbon Whiskey, bottles at 86 proof for a 43% whiskey. Now, I know I said Indianapolis, but this spirit is only "produced & bottled" in Indianapolis, but it's actually distilled in Lawrenceburg, Indiana. Remember that location if you're a frequent reader, as it will pop up a good bit. It turns out Lawrenceburg is home to one of the largest distilleries in the USA and their specialty is sourcing high-quality whiskey.

The Spirit of America Handcrafted Bourbon Whiskey
The Spirit of America Handcrafted Bourbon Whiskey

Spirit of America is labeled as a Bourbon Whiskey (not a Kentucky Bourbon mind you, but bourbon can be made anywhere in America) and is shown on the back label as being 2 years old, which designates the youngest possible barrel using in making the spirit. Of course labeling it as a bourbon has a few other requirements, including that it's made from a minimum of 51% corn.

On to the spirit... it's on the light side for a bourbon, so this is most likely coming in at the younger side of 2 years.  There's really not much of a nose, what is there is a hint of corn syrupy sweetness mixed with a strong booziness. There's not much oak flavor in the aroma, not much vanilla, and it's not very pleasant.

To the taste... the oak comes through a bit more, but it doesn't balance well with the strong alcohol burn of the overall whiskey. Even still, the flavor is rather bland and lacking in complexity.  This needs something else to cut the flavor, like a good mix. Honestly, this would probably be decent as a mixing whiskey, but as a stand alone sipper, it's just not worth the price. The Spirit of America is coming in around $40 a bottle and I'd rather grab a $20 bottom shelf handle of bourbon like Ancient Age or Early Times if I'm going to go full on Touchdown. A Touchdown, for those of you unfamiliar, is just a straight up bourbon and coke/diet coke. Geaux Tigers! Excuse me... #GEAUXTIGERS. If you've ever celebrated a touchdown in the student section of Tiger Stadium, then you probably know exactly what I'm talking about. The aroma marinates the air, and it's amazingly intoxicating.

Back to the present... I try not to get negative in these #wakeywhiskey columns, but this just isn't a good bourbon for the money. It needs some more time in the barrels, whether that's at the source distillery or at the finishing company doesn't really matter, but it's obviously too young and too harsh to be a good sipper.
Happy Easter everyone, and choose your #wakeywhiskey wisely!

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Read Between the Buns: It's National Sandwich Day!

by Sarah Grimball, intern

It’s hard to make sandwiches sexy; but when the right flavors come together, there is nothing better than a good sandwich. We’d like to celebrate this classic dish’s national holiday by celebrating some of the tastiest sandwiches we’ve ever had:

Curry Chicken Salad Sandwich

Beausoleil Restaurant & Bar in Baton Rouge, LA

Grilled Cheese with Jay D's BBQ Date Jam

Pastrami Croque Madame

City Pork Brasserie & Bar in Baton Rouge, LA

Classic Muffuletta

Olde Tyme Grocery in Lafayette, LA

Torta Ahogada

Araña Taqueria y Cantina in New Orleans, LA

Monday, April 10, 2017

All Wrapped Up: Chowing Down at Go Ya Ya's

by Sarah Grimball, intern

When I was a senior in high school, we had to do a job shadowing project and link it to something that is relevant to our community. I chose to shadow Luca D Martino, the former owner of Latte e Miele.

My time shadowing Luca opened my eyes to the importance of using fresh, natural and local products. I eventually did my final project on the subject of supporting local farmers and restaurants, and I’ve been enthralled with a good farmer’s market ever since.

It’s not often that I’m able to make it out to the farmer’s market on Saturday mornings, so it’s an absolute treat when I find the time to do so, and I try to make a whole morning of it. Along with the gorgeous selection of bright red strawberries and leafy greens, the Red Stick Farmer’s Market features many delicious food stalls where you can order breakfast.

My absolute favorite place to eat in the Main Street Market is Go Ya Ya’s Crêperie. For breakfast they offer both sweet and savory crêpes and omelets along with a coffee bar. I was fortunate enough to sample the Vietnamese, muffaletta and bananas foster crêpes.

The Vietnamese Crêpe had shredded pork, bean sprouts, onions and lettuce. It was like pho in a crêpe. The crunch of the lettuce and bean sprouts nicely accompanied the savory flavor of the shredded pork.

The Muffaletta Crêpe had all of the fixings and flavor of this traditional sandwich without the thick bread. Therefore, all of the mouthwatering olive and meat flavors were able to shine and were accompanied by a nice crunch from the crêpe outer shell. All in all, these two crêpes were extremely tasty and worth the trip.

My absolute favorite crêpe of the morning was the Bananas Foster Crêpe; it’s to die for. It’s sweet, full of bananas and the rich brown sugar and buttery flavors really came through. What more could you want from a crêpe? Look at it; it’s beautiful.

Crêpes can be a treat that’s hard to find in Baton Rouge. Go Ya Ya’s is doing it right and doing it well. Definitely go get your own crêpes next Saturday at the Red Stick Farmer’s Market!

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Tangoing with Twine

by Hannah Wilson, intern

The welcoming entrance at Twine stocked with some local pantry items.
The welcoming entrance at Twine stocked with some local pantry items.

Twine’s quality is evident the moment you step in the door. This local eatery is a hybrid of sorts, blending a restaurant and a butcher shop. Steve Diehl, born and raised in Twin Falls, Idaho, grew up on a farm. He and his wife Krisitin had a desire to make local farms more accessible to the people of mid city Baton Rouge.

On a beautiful spring day, the Bite & Booze team ventured over there to check out their seasonal menu and boy did look tasty! The staff is so friendly and knowledgable about what they have to offer. We started off with some samples of their seasonal sides:

We tried the Tuna Poké Salad. A blend of avocado, mango, tobigo and scallion, this salad is made in house and only when there’s enough Tuna and Yellowfin, so it can be a rare commodity at times but so worth the try. 

Up next, we gave the Tangy Blackened Shrimp Salad a taste. It’s a staff favorite and Jay would even venture to say that it’s “righteous”. This salad was a perfect blend of tangy, savory and sweet.
We decided for our lunch we wanted to try three of the crowd favorites and also see what Steve suggested. We tried the Filet Burger, the Blackened Chicken Sandwich and their Reuben On Rye. 

The Filet Burger might be the best burger I’ve ever had. It’s served on a toasted brioche bun with melted provolone cheese, spring mix greens and bourbon maple bacon jam. The bacon jam was the perfect accent to top off and pull together all these amazingly fresh ingredients. 

The Filet Burger
The Filet Burger

The Blackened Chicken Sandwich is served on a croissant with tomato, bacon, provolone and spring mix greens. This was another great sandwich that left us feeling a bit lighter, so for a lunch on the lighter side, this is a great option.
The Blackened Chicken Sandwich.
The Blackened Chicken Sandwich

The Reuben on Rye was a perfectly layered classic staple for any menu. The classic elements of a Reuben; sauerkraut, Swiss cheese and thousand island dressing are all piled high but balance equally on the Twine’s version of this sandwich. Yet another thing not to pass up on their menu. 

The Reuben
The Reuben

Twine may be tucked away amongst the bustling busyness of Government Street, but the quality that you stumble upon inside this eatery is amazing. Along with their seasonal menu that we tasted, they have high quality meat sourced from local farms and a fun wine selection. They also have many pre-prepared meals that are easy to grab and go. Next time that you are in mid city, be sure to stop in to Twine.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Beers with Chuck: Elysian's Space Dust IPA

by Chuck P

A few months ago the Elysian Brewing Company made its way down to Louisiana from Seattle, Washington to the delight of craft beer fans throughout the state. One of their initial releases here is a big favorite among craft drinkers: Space Dust IPA.

On a recent On Tap segment for the Bite & Booze Radio Show myself along with Jay, guest Jacob Talley from Mockler Beverage and Josh Anderson of the Baton Rouge Metro Airport were able to sit down at our recording table and pour a few bottles and give our reviews of this delicious IPA.

As soon as I started pouring it in my glass I immediately picked up notes of citrus and pine. The aroma was very vibrant. The beer also had a nice, warm golden color which shined in the glass. There was a nice bit of maltiness to it but clearly the hops cut right through it with no problem.

I picked up orange and grapefruit on the front with my first taste that gave way to pine notes on the back end. I thought it finished pretty dry with some lingering pine notes which is not at all a bad thing. 

It also comes in at a strong 8.2% ABV so take your time with this one.

Overall, everyone at the table really enjoyed this beer. It’s one that finds its way into my fridge on a regular basis and that I order if I see it on tap or in bottles at one of my favorite watering holes. Hopefully, it’ll be one you pick up as well.

To hear Jay and our guests give their take on the Elysian Space Dust IPA check out the Bite & Booze Podcast below and hear all about it!

Friday, March 31, 2017

Aw Shucks! It's National Oysters on the Half Shell Day!

by Sarah Grimball, intern

It’s a day worth celebrating! Sometimes all you need is a platter of oysters and a good drink to set you right. We love holidays that celebrate food and we hope you hit up your favorite oyster bar after taking a look back on some of the best oysters we’ve devoured in the past:

Bacon & Brie Baked Oysters

Jolie Pearl Oyster Bar in Baton Rouge, LA

Murder Point Oysters straight out of the water

Murder Point in Gulf Shores, AL

Chargrilled Oysters topped with Cajun Corn Maque Choux

Jolie Pearl Oyster Bar in Baton Rouge, LA

Chargrilled Oysters with a Green Garlic House-Pickled Jalapeño and Bacon Butter

Sac-a-Lait in New Orleans, LA

Buffalo Chargrilled Oyster and a Chafunkta Kingfish Cream Ale

Jolie Pearl Oyster Bar in Baton Rouge, LA

Chargrilled Oysters in Curry Butter and House-Made Hot Sauce

Acre in Auburn, AL

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Beers with Chuck: Goose Island IPA

by Chuck P

For those of you that know me, when it comes to craft beer my heart lies with delicious porters and stouts, especially the barrel-aged variety. However, over time my palate quickly became accustomed to other beer styles and soon I began to fall in love with all things hops related.

Pale Ales and IPA’s are definitely not for everyone, but for those who do embrace its tastiness it becomes an obsession to find the juiciest, dank beer out there to quench their thirst. 

Goose Island IPA
Goose Island IPA

One of my favorite IPA’s on the market is from Goose Island Beer in Chicago, Illinois and it’s simply named Goose Island IPA. Recently during an On Tap segment of the Bite & Booze Radio Show I got a chance to review this delicious brew along with Jay, guest Jacob Talley, Craft Brand Manager of Mockler Beverage here in Baton Rouge and Josh Anderson from the Baton Rouge Metro Airport.

The beer comes in at 5.9% ABV which is pretty normal for an IPA with around 55 IBUs. Pouring this one, the copper color shined in my pint glass with a bit of transparency. I inhaled a good bit of citrus notes on the aroma. 

The malt backbone on this was subtle and in no way overpowering the the hops. I liked some of the grapefruit notes I was getting on my first sip. You get a bit of that bitterness on the backend that lingers for a bit but still I thought it had a nice, clean finish.

This is definitely a beer I’ve had a few times before and we all agreed that we’ll surely be drinking this one again on a regular basis.
To hear us talk more about the Goose Island IPA check out The Bite & Booze Podcast below and enjoy!

Monday, March 27, 2017

Wakey Whisky: Usquaebach Reserve

by Eric Ducote

Good morning everyone!  I know, it's a Monday... but it's not just any Monday, today is INTERNATIONAL WHISKY DAY!!  International Whisky Day was started on March 27th, 2008 as a way to honor legendary beer hunter and whisky writer Michael Jackson, who was born on March 27th, 1942 and passed away in August of 2007.

In honor of Mr. Jackson, a couple of days ago I popped open a scotch that I've never tried, Usquaebach Reserve.  Yeah, say that one three times fast.  It's pronounced Oos-Ke-Bah and the name is derived from the Scottish Gaelic term for 'the water of life' which is what the Celts called whisky. A quick note here that all scotch is referred to as "whisky" without the 'e', along with scotch-style whiskies that are made in Japan, Canada and elsewhere. Irish, American and other non-scotch-style whiskies are generally referred to as a whiskey with the 'e' included.

Usquaebach Reserve
Usquaebach Reserve

The Usquaebach Reserve is a blended scotch whisky without a specific age marking, although they claim on the bottle that it's a superb blend of only mature select whiskies.  According to their website at the Reserve is a whisky for those seeking elegance and structure. This rare blend features over 50% quality single malts each aged between 16, 17, and 18 years and blended with the finest grain whisky – resulting in a handcrafted spirit that is both timeless and unique. The pour is on the lighter side but still has a nice golden hue.

Now... on to the nose... it's a very complex aroma with sweeter hints of honeysuckle and pear, but also some smoky tobacco notes. It's definitely not a single note aroma, hinting at the whiskies used to make up this blend while still harmonizing together into an agreeable bouquet.

The taste is a little rough on the initial sip - this blend is 43% ABV - but then mellows out into a blend of smoky and sweet, with tobacco notes coming through strong before giving way to some floral sweetness, and then finishing with a combination of vanilla and boozy burn. Although I often try whiskies neat, this one I feel benefits from a little ice or a splash of water.  This helps mellow out some of the harsh boozy burn from the grain whisky while also allowing the more subtle flavors to shine through.

Overall, I think this is a pretty decent scotch for the $40 price tag I'm seeing online, and a good option for someone wanting to get into scotch without going straight to some expensive single malt peat bombs.

Cheers! Happy #wakeywhisky to you all!

Friday, March 24, 2017

Give Me Coffee, or Give Me Death

by Hannah Wilson, intern

Local is always best. Luckily, in Baton Rouge there are more than several options for local coffee. In the past, we have posted about the best local coffee places in Baton Rouge, but those times they are a changin’, so we figured we’d update the list to showcase the new places, both opened and coming soon to Baton Rouge!

Magpie Downtown

333 Laurel Street

A honey latte and mini spinach quiche at Magpie Cafe Downtown
A honey latte and mini spinach quiche at Magpie Cafe Downtown

This calming atmosphere is the perfect blend of hip and soothing. You feel right at home with the pillows, natural lighting and the hardwood floors. Their menu offers offers not only muffins and other pastries but also sandwiches, soups, salads and pizzas that make it more than a coffee shop.

While this is nothing new for the fans of their Perkins Road location, the downtown location features a full bar and a walk up window. We tried their mini spinach quiches with our morning lattes and we couldn’t get enough!

Simple Joe

3057 Government Street

A cup of River Road Coffee and a side of bacon at Simple Joe
A cup of River Road Coffee and a side of bacon at Simple Joe

Simple Joe makes it simple. They stick to what they know and make it easy to order and enjoy. Their incorporation of local art and photography gives it the Ogden Park neighborhood feel that locals love. We decided to enjoy a side of bacon with our piping hot cup of joe!

La Divina Italian Cafe

3535 Perkins Road

An Affogato with Creme Brûlée Gelato at La Divina

Located right at the intersection of Perkins and Acadian, La Divina is an easy way to perk up your day. They have the go-to favorites, but they also have innovative drinks that are a little off the beaten path. Here, we tried an Affogato, an espresso with a scoop of La Divina’s amazing gelato in it. We picked the Creme Brûlée flavor and together it was magnifique! The decor of La Divina gives it a funky, eclectic vibe and whatever they’re cooking in that kitchen smells amazing.

Small Coffee Big Taste

on wheels

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On a quest for better espresso in their travels two years ago, the owners of Small Coffee Big Taste decided to open up a coffee shop on wheels!

Coffee Bean Cafe

12177 Coursey Blvd

A Vanilla Cafe Latte at the Coffee Bean on Coursey
A Vanilla Cafe Latte at the Coffee Bean on Coursey

This was one of my favorite spots! The Coffee Bean had a wide variety of menu options, they even sell Girl Scout cookies! We got a Cafe Latte with a shot of vanilla, and it was the perfect amount of sweet. We enjoyed it on their lovely patio on a lovely Spring day!

Tredici Bakery

5078 Capitol Heights Ave

A simple cup of coffee, delicious macaron and patio vibes at Tredici Bakery  in the Capital Heights neighborhood of Baton Rouge
A simple cup of coffee, delicious macaron and patio vibes at Tredici Bakery
in the Capital Heights neighborhood of Baton Rouge

Celebrating its one year anniversary last November, Tredici Bakery is definitely a place to put on your radar! Nestled in the heart of Capital Heights, they have a plethora of baked goodies, we chose to try one of their many Macaroons. The Salted Caramel Macaron was a perfect pairing for their coffee!

Coming soon to Baton Rouge...

District Donuts

Towne Center

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This gourmet New Orleans favorite is expanding to the Red Stick! Their numerous donuts and coffees are great pairs no matter how you order it.

Rêve Coffee Roasters - White Star Market

4624 Government Street

A rendering of the Square 46 development that will house the White Star Market on White Star Market
A rendering of the Square 46 development that will house the White Star Market on White Star Market

This Lafayette legend is known for roasting their own phenomenal coffee. We’re so excited to have them to be neighbors with Gov’t Taco in White Star Market!

2978 Government Street 

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The compact cafe is making it’s way to Baton Rouge! Opening in New Orleans in November of 2014, French Truck Coffee’s vision for cultivating a sense of community is evident in their close quarters. We cannot wait to see these guys set up shop in Baton Rouge!

Light House Coffee

set to open near LSU

With a mission to employ and help those in Baton Rouge who are refugees or displaced people, Amber and Steve Elworth are currently trying to raise money through to open Light House Coffee. Visit their Indiegogo page to learn more about the concept!