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Wednesday, October 18, 2017

A Day in the DR

by Blair Loup

People are always telling me how fun and cool my job is and they’re 100% correct. As a result of being a Bite and Booze employee, I’ve landed a seat on several adventures, but my trips to the Dominican Republic are always at the top of my list.

Sipping on a Santo Libre on the North Coast. Photo Credit: Dawn Garcia
Sipping on a Santo Libre on the North Coast. Photo Credit: Dawn Garcia


Walking around with an ice-cold beer in hand past walls and doors bursting with color and music flooding the streets is an all too familiar feeling for a Louisianan in Santo Domingo. The people, culture and food of the Dominican Republic always make me feel at home…until someone asks me something in Spanish.


Jay and I posing in Santo Domingo. Photo Credit: Dawn Garcia
Jay and I posing in Santo Domingo. Photo Credit: Dawn Garcia


While the taste and ingredients are far from Louisiana dishes the cooking methods and love that goes into their food hits home. Inspired by the dishes that are classic Dominican for me, Jay and I have created an authentic, sort of “Day in the DR”, menu we’ll be cooking at Red Stick Spice Co. Oct. 23rd and 24th.

Trust me, this four-course paired dinner is one worth getting out on a Monday/Tuesday night for.

Here’s a look at some of the dishes and drinks we had all along the island that we’ll be recreating:


Goat Empanadas:


Goat Empanadas made with yucca flour.
Goat Empanadas made with yucca flour.


They’re not the prettiest bite you’ve ever seen, but these flavor-packed pockets are a must-try. Stewed down with tomato and plenty of strong, fragrant oregano, the goat is stuffed into yucca flour dough.

You’d be hard-pressed to not find yucca in something you eat in the DR. The yucca flour comes out a little more flat than the dough you’d use for a Natchitoches meat pie, but holds up against the filling and coconut/habanero hot sauce I doused mine in.

This will be paired with a Passion Fruit Sangria made with Jay D’s Blanc Du Bois. I would say that passion fruit, yucca and plantains are some of the most often seen ingredients on a menu. There’s passion fruit juice everywhere you go, fresh passion fruit at breakfast every morning, passion fruit candy…you name it. It’s tangy, tart and naturally sweet all at once which will balance well with the crisp, honeysuckle vibes of the Blanc Du Bois.

Sancocho:


Sancocho with long grain rice and fresh avocado.
Sancocho with long grain rice and fresh avocado.


Everyone’s mom makes it differently, but they’re all good. This stew is as comforting as a bowl of gumbo, but with more vegetables and less fat. Sancocho combines, different roots and tubers, often times a mixture of stew meats and fresh herbs.


Jay loves Brugal Rum.
Jay loves Brugal Rum. 

We’ll be pairing the Sancocho with the ever popular Santo Libre. Not a far stretch from its cousin the Cuba Libre, this rum and seven cocktail will be made with Jay’s favorite Dominican rum that we brought back with us: Brugal. Like Louisiana, the DR is flush with sugar cane and is home to some delicious rum distilleries.


Pollo Guisado:


La Bandera lunch plate: Pollo Guisado, tostones, rice and beans with a little fried chicken for good measure.
La Bandera lunch plate: Pollo Guisado, tostones, rice and beans with a little fried chicken for good measure.


Pollo Guisado is a stewed chicken dish that has an extreme depth of flavor with a strong tomato backbone. Often served with different sides, the most common way to enjoy pollo guisado is with rice and beans.

This is typically called La Bandera Dominicana. A plate made up of red beans, white rice, a meat option and usually fresh slices of avocado and tostones (fried plantains).

You can find a meal like this at any lunch counter across the island. It’s always cheap and delicious.

It’s one of my favorite things to eat while I’m there and we’ll be pairing it with my DR beverage of choice: Presidente.


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Finding a frosted bottle of Presidente is more common than a bottle of water and I’m not complaining. A simple, crisp lager, Presidente is bright gold and light bodied with a foamy head that dissipates after a few sips. You can buy a regular sized bottle or go for the jumbo that gets served with a few dental office cups for you to share with friends…or not.


Coconut Cake:



We’ll wrap up our Dinner Dominicana with a piece of coconut cake. Dominicans love their sweets. They always spring for dessert and coffee, and yes, even the coffee comes pre-sweetened at times.

You can sip on a fresh coconut while you walk along the beach or find it in their dough mixes and hot sauces, but why not just eat coconut cake?

We’ll be serving Jay D’s Single Origin Coffee: a very special project using beans from the Dominican Republic. You can read more about our Dominican coffee project in conjunction with Lycoming College and local Baton Rouge roastery, Cafeciteaux here.


Tickets for Dinner Dominicana at Red Stick Spice Company on October 23rd are still available now (October 24th is sold out). Book your spot and take a stay-cation to the DR with us!