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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

A post shared by Small Coffee | Big Taste (@smallcoffeebigtaste) on

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

A post shared by District Donuts.Sliders.Brew. (@districtdonuts) on

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 

A post shared by French Truck Coffee (@frenchtruck) on

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!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Barbecue Worth Killen For

by Chuck P

Texas and BBQ are a classic duo like peanut butter and jelly or cereal and milk. No matter what city you're in, it won't be hard to find a tangy rack of ribs, smoked chicken or juicy brisket. Recently, the whole Bite & Booze team had the lucky opportunity to try some some legendary BBQ when we visited Killen’s BBQ in Pearland, Texas.

Established in 2013 by Ronnie Killen, a local pitmaster, Killen’s has made a name for itself as one the best BBQ spots in the Pearland/Houston area with lunch lines on the weekends stretching out as long as the lines you'd see at Austin’s famous Franklin Barbecue. On a recent trip to Franklin, I'd proclaimed their brisket to be the best ever (which it is), I found the rest of their choices to be just average; at Killen’s this is not the case.

All the meats at Killen's BBQ in Pearland, TX
All the meats at Killen's BBQ in Pearland, TX

After a few moments of trying to decide what to pick from the menu, Jay made the choice of just ordering everything: brisket, beef and pork ribs, and smoked turkey along with sides of mac n cheese, baked beans and what was definitely the best creamed corn I'd ever had.

The Pork Ribs
The Pork Ribs

Every piece of juicy meat on our tray was absolutely delicious. The pork ribs may go down as my favorite, but the brisket and turkey were seriously vying for second place. I don't remember ever having a full plate of such amazing BBQ selections and not really having a bad choice in the bunch. And I'm telling you that creamed corn…it changes a person.

We did our best to take down as much as we could and then made our way inside for some of their famous bread pudding.

Everyone knows I love burgers and beer, but the simple pleasure of bread pudding can tempt me like no other.

This was not just any regular ole bread pudding; this one was made with croissants. The airiness of the croissants was a nice change to the normal denseness of a classic bread pudding.

If you find yourself in the charming town of Pearland, Texas stop and visit Killen’s BBQ for a true Texas treat, order extra creamed corn and you can thank me later.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Wakey Whiskey: St. Paddy's Irish Whiskey Battle - Jameson vs Tullamore DEW

by Eric Ducote

Good morning everyone, and happy St. Patrick's Day to you all!  Or it could be St. Paddy's Day, but never Patty... never. Seriously, never.

Now, I'm not really going to #wakeywhiskey on a Friday morning (always #wakeywhiskey responsibly) before work, but here's a sneak preview of what tomorrow morning has in store for me. Tomorrow of course will be the 32nd annual Baton Rouge St. Patrick's Day parade, Wearin' of the Green, a great event for all of the city to enjoy.  In that honor, it's time for a good old-fashioned Irish whiskey showdown, Jameson vs. Tullamore DEW.

Jameson and Tullamore DEW tastings
Jameson and Tullamore DEW tastings

These are a couple of standard-bearers in the Irish Whiskey world, both triple distilled and bottled at 80 proof. Jameson has been in production since 1810 in a distillery that was established in Dublin 30 years earlier in 1780. Tullamore DEW originated in 1829, and after shifting production around a few other distilleries in the mid-to-late 1900s is now back in Tullamore, Ireland.

The first observance is that served neat the Jameson is a little darker than the Tulllamore DEW, which indicates to me that it's been aged slightly longer, but it's not a significant difference.  The Jameson, on first sip, is just so smooth, even smoother than I remember, with hints of honey and a floral sweetness. I'm really amazed as the finish as well, just as easy as the front end, which could make a dangerous Saturday morning if I'm not careful.  Overall, even better than I remember, and a worthy choice for any St. Patrick's Day... but... how about that Tullamore DEW?

The color of the Tullamore DEW is slightly lighter, and the aroma is a little more floral and less sweet than the Jameson, with a hint of minerals likely from the water used in the process.  The taste is more of the same, with a little more bite than the Jameson, but still less than most whiskeys out there, putting it on the smooth side of the spectrum. Now, mind you this is on my personal spectrum, so a novice whiskey drinker is probably going to get a good bite out of both of these Irish selections.

Overall, this is going to come down to personal preference... if you want velvety smooth, go for the Jameson, but if you like a little bite to your sip, opt for the Tullamore DEW.  Either way, as a St. Paddy's #wakeywhiskey both are sure to get you in the Irish spirit.


Monday, March 13, 2017

A Spanish Sojourn

by Sarah Grimball, intern

Over the summer I had the pleasure to travel to Madrid and Barcelona for a study abroad program with LSU. We spent a week in Madrid and a week in Barcelona. Before taking this trip I was unfamiliar with the different types of Spanish delicacies, but this trip opened my eyes to a whole new world of culinary delights: paella, tapas, jamon iberco -- and who could forget the Sangria.

Trying Fideuà for my first bite in Spain.
Trying Fideuà for my first bite in Spain.

The first dish that I ate in Madrid was called Fideuà. My friend and I stumbled upon this place as we were exploring the streets of Barcelona. We couldn’t speak any Spanish, so we went with the first restaurant that had a picture on the menu.

I can’t speak to how authentic this first dish I enjoyed was, but I can say that it was delicious and a wonderful welcome into the great country of Spain. Fideuà is a type of paella that uses noodles instead of rice as the base ingredient and is served with mussels, fish and prawns. The flavors all blended together to create a beautiful, garlicky pasta that probably has the ability to change lives.

In a country where the wine is cheaper than the water, it’s not hard to find good sangria. The best sangria that I had in Spain was at this little restaurant that my friend and I stumbled upon randomly. They served each pitcher of sangria with some kind of small dish of food called a tapa. This is traditionally done because the idea in Spain is to drink to have a good time – not to get drunk. We had a tapa of olives, but these weren’t just plain old olives. These olives were flavored with smoked paprika and garlic. The salty, savory flavors of the olives combined with the sweet, bubbly burst of sangria is the stuff dreams are made of.

Sangria and marinated olives.
Sangria and marinated olives.

Another beautiful, uncommon occurrence is seeing ham legs in the windows of restaurants waiting to be shaved into Spain’s famous jamón ibérico. This delicious ham comes from the black Iberian pig, and up until 2007 it was illegal in the United States.

Jamón Ibérico
Jamón Ibérico

Leave it to the American to find a delicious burger in Barcelona! Though there were many delicious foods to choose from in Barcelona, sometimes you just have to have a burger...with sangria...on the beach--it’s Spain. This burger was served with thick cut fries and a sauce similar to a patatas bravas sauce (a robust tomato sauce). It was the best of both worlds.

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Finally, you can take the girl out of Louisiana, but you can’t take the Louisiana out of the girl. Even in Barcelona I sought out a delicious Strawberry Daiquiri and enjoyed it overlooking the sunset of the beach. It really doesn’t get much better than this.

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Thursday, March 9, 2017

Recipe: Rösch Bakehaus Pretzel Bread Pudding with Rougaroux 13 Pennies Praline Sauce

by Chef Aimee Tortorich

One of the best desserts that you will find in the Deep South is bread pudding. In Louisiana, we take our bread pudding seriously, and rightly so. So simple to make, but celebrated by all, it is no mistake that this dessert canvases menus across the state.

We like sticking to the basics: bread, custard, and rum sauce. No crazy fillings, just bread pudding done right. For our version, we decided to use pretzel bread from our friend Jim Osborne at Rösch Bakehaus. After having a surplus of pretzel buns left over from Brats & Brews at Great Raft Brewing last fall, we decided to give it a shot. The finished product was stunning. A little salt, a bit of sweet and a lot of love made it a perfect bread pudding. Check out Rösch Bakehaus for pretzel bread that is sure to make a difference in your next bread pudding!
Rosch Bakehaus Pretzel Bread Pudding with Rougaroux 13 Pennies Pecan Praline Sauce
Rösch Bakehaus Pretzel Bread Pudding with Rougaroux 13 Pennies Pecan Praline Sauce

Pretzel Bread Pudding
Yields 30 servings

20 bratwurst or hamburger sized pretzel buns from Rösch Bakehaus
1 ½ quarts heavy cream
20 egg yolks
2 whole eggs
2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons of vanilla extract
1 tablespoons of cinnamon

Praline Rum Sauce

2 cups light brown sugar, packed
1 cup (2 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup Rougaroux 13 Pennies Praline Rum from Donner Peltier Distillers
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 cups pecan pieces

Praline Pretzel Bread Pudding served at a holiday party
Praline Pretzel Bread Pudding served at a holiday party


Preheat oven to 350F.

Crumble pretzel buns with hands into small pieces and set aside. Mix together egg yolks, whole eggs, and sugar until smooth. Add heavy cream, vanilla extract, and cinnamon to egg and sugar mixture. With your hands, mix custard with pretzel crumbled until it resembles oatmeal consistency. Bake uncovered until middle is set and top is golden brown, about 45 minutes.

For rum sauce, heat brown sugar and butter in a heavy saucepan over medium heat until melted. Add rum, cream, cinnamon and pecan pieces and simmer until thickened. Serve over bread pudding.

Praline Pretzel Bread Pudding served at a luncheon in New Orleans
Praline Pretzel Bread Pudding served at a luncheon in New Orleans

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Franklin Barbecue: The House That Brisket Built

by Chuck P

The city of Austin, Texas is known for many things. It’s eclectic music scene, the University of Texas, Austin City Limits, Matthew McConaughey, bats and SXSW name a few, but the one thing that Austin is definitely known for is BBQ.

You could probably stand on any corner in Austin, throw a rock and hit a BBQ shack or food truck. Out of the many local spots you could go to for some finger-lickin’ goodness, there’s one place that’s considered the Mecca for BBQ in all of Texas: Franklin Barbecue.

Our tray at Franklin Barbecue: Turkey, Sausage, Ribs and Brisket
Our tray at Franklin Barbecue: Turkey, Sausage, Ribs and Brisket

Aaron Franklin has created a cult following for his delicious meats and it all started out of a trailer in 2009. Franklin is probably the only place in the country that consistently has over a 2 hour wait for their food. Outside, in the elements, year-round, people get in line as early as 5am. As the line begins to spread out from the front door down the block and into neighborhoods you can see people setting up folding chairs and grabbing beers out of their tag-along ice chests.

People come from literally all around the world just to get a taste. When (not if) they run out of food,that’s it! There’s no dinner service so if you were one of the unlucky ones who stood in line all morning and braved the elements only to miss out, then it’s a return trip tomorrow to get back in line once again.

When Jay told the Bite & Booze team about our stops in Texas during our Gov’t Taco research trip, I was extremely excited to see Austin on the itinerary. I knew that we were going to be trying out tacos at all of our stops, but I made a vow to stand in line for some of that famous Franklin brisket.

When we arrived in Austin, Jay told us that Wednesday was our only day with nothing on the calendar. In that moment, the BBQ stars aligned. Although Jay had been to Franklin twice before, he agreed to come hang with me in line. We set our alarms that night to be there no later than 8:30am as I drifted off to sleep dreaming of the BBQ deliciousness that was to come.

After hitting snooze on my alarm about 4 times I woke up and realized it was now 9am! Jay mentioned that if the line was too long, he knew of some other great places we could go, but my heart was slowly breaking just thinking about missing the opportunity while we were in town. 

I had never felt so betrayed by a snooze button. 

To my suprise, as we made the turn off of East 11th St. onto Branch St. we saw there only about 30 people in line. The BBQ Gods do exist.

We decided to grab some coffee and made our way around the corner to get in line. We mingled with other customers there who were from out of town and who were also shocked by the short line. 

Pro Tip: We went on a Wednesday if you want to try your luck next time you’re in Austin 

After about 20 minutes one of the employes started making their way through the line taking orders from everyone. The minimum order is 5 pounds so we went with smoked turkey, ribs, sausage and of course, their world famous brisket.

Around 11am the doors opened and the line began to filter inside. Close to noon, we finally made our way through the doors and into Franklin. The aroma of smoked meats inside overwhelmed me. Tables began filling up with eager, hungry guests. I eyed each tray of food that passed making myself hungrier by the minute.

As we made our way closer to the counter I noticed the man himself, Aaron Franklin, was hanging out by the register just chatting with everyone and taking pictures with enamored guests.

Aaron Franklin, Jay and myself posing after a behind the scenes tour of Franklin Barbecue
Aaron Franklin, Jay and myself posing after a behind the scenes tour of Franklin Barbecue

That’s cool. Here’s a guy that could be at home, on a golf course or anywhere just letting the place run itself and not even worrying about showing up and yet there he was! To see him chilling in a t-shirt, shorts and Chuck Taylor’s just mingling with his clientele was very humbling.

After grabbing our order and some drinks we hit up the patio and got our grub on. I’m not gonna lie to you folks -- the turkey, ribs and sausage were nothing to write home about. They were straight up just ok BBQ. I enjoyed them, but I would not order those again if I went back. However, I would happily pay $100 for a whole brisket.

Brisket at Franklin Barbecue in Austin, TX
Brisket at Franklin Barbecue in Austin, TX

THIS IS THE BEST BRISKET I’VE EVER HAD! I don’t even know where to start... The perfect smoke ring, the juiciness of the meat, the incredible flavor of it all was too much to comprehend. It was like the best chocolate or the best steak or the best whatever is your favorite thing in the world times 100. I couldn’t get enough of it and was felt stupid for not ordering more. I ate until I was miserable.

After our meal we were able to go into the back of the restaurant and talk with Aaron Franklin. This guy was so down to earth and eager to talk with us and answer any questions we had for him. I also discovered that he was also a fellow drummer (!) and that we had similar taste in music. 

Killer brisket and he was a drummer?! Our wedding date is set and we’re registered on Amazon.

We said our goodbyes and headed back to the hotel and I realized 2 things: I need more than a couple of days to fully experience Austin and when I do get back most of that time will be spent eating brisket at Franklin.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Wakey Whiskey: Templeton Rye

'by Eric Ducote

Hello Bite and Booze readers! I'm sure plenty of you know who I am, but for those who don't, I'm Eric Ducote, Jay's brother and fellow lover of whiskey. For years we have had a tradition of "wakey whiskey" going back to when Jay, myself, and some of our good friends would meet up at 7 AM for every LSU home game to get our Third Row tailgate party set up for the day. It just wasn't a good tailgate morning without a bright and early whiskey drink before getting the party in full swing. Back in those days it was usually cheap bourbon and diet coke, but as we have all grown older and wiser the game day whiskey selections have matured as well.

I know, it's not football season, in fact it's not even close to football season, but a good wakey whiskey doesn't have to be a football-only activity. I believe that a good wakey whiskey is the perfect start to any big day, so long as it's always drank responsibly. Today I'm celebrating the #2 ranked LSU Gymnastics team as they take on #3 Florida this afternoon in Baton Rouge. It's been many years since I've made it to a gymnastics meet, but my wife scored us a pair of tickets, so that's today's plan, and it's an added bonus to make it to such a highly ranked match-up.

In honor of this great occasion, it's time for a wakey whiskey. This morning's selection is a Templeton Rye, AKA "The Good Stuff" from Templeton Rye Spirits. This is an 80 proof rye whiskey that claims to be created from the same recipe that outlaw bootlegger Alphonse Kerkhoff used to create Al Capone's favorite prohibition-era moonshine. 

Wakey Whiskey: Templeton Rye
Wakey Whiskey: Templeton Rye

I typically serve my whiskey with an ice sphere so that it slowly melts and subtly changes the flavor as I drink, although sometimes I also drink them neat. For the Templeton Rye, an ice cube worked just fine. The pour is an amber golden color, exactly what I would expect, and the aroma is a classic spicy rye that hints at spice and cinnamon. Upon first sip, one thing I would definitely say is that this is far smoother than I was expecting for a bottle without a specific age. It's easy on the palate, with more hints of cinnamon and even a bit of sweetness on the back end. I can definitely see why this recipe is referred to as "The Good Stuff" as it is a pleasure to drink.

Most prices I see online are in the upper $30s for a 750ml bottle, which makes this an excellent value in my opinion, perfect for adding to your personal sipping collection or it would make a great gift.

Cheers, #wakeywhiskey, and Geaux Tigers!