Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Maxwell's Market for a "Business" Lunch

Maxwell's Market now has three locations in Baton Rouge.  The original is on Corporate Boulevard near Jefferson Highway, another is across from Pennington on Perkins Road, and the newest spot is right off of Highland Road near Ruffino's.  On a nice sunny day in Baton Rouge I joined Laura and Natalie for a nice "business" lunch at the Perkins location. 

Maxwell's Market on Perkins Road

Maxwell's is a locally owned market that carries premium meats, fresh seafood, a great selection of beer and wine, specialty foods, and local produce.  Additionally, they offer a delicatessen for patrons that would like to dine in.  Their slogan is "Bake. Grill. Chill."  Not bad, considering I like all of those things!  We took our lunch breaks from busy downtown government life and headed to Maxwell's to sample the deli menu.  Maxwell's offers a variety of poboys, burgers, soups, and salads.  I decided to go with the Cuban, a poboy style sandwich with a little kick.

Cuban Sandwich from Maxwell's Market

The Cuban sandwich came with layers of roast pork, ham, turkey, salami, Monterey Jack cheese, pickles, mayo, and Creole mustard served hot on French bread.  Naturally I ordered mine sans the pickles and mayo.  I habitually despise pickles to the point that my hatred would lead to anger and my anger would lead me down the path to the dark side of the Force, but I'm actually ok with mayo in small amounts.  Still, when I'm eating at a restaurant, deli, burger joint, or sandwich shop, I typically order my food without mayo because I find that it is rare to find someone who knows my definition of a "thin" layer of mayo.  The sandwich tasted fine but I would have preferred a more generous portion of meats and cheeses than what they served.  One of my very few complaints about poboys is that often times the bread overshadows the filling.  I enjoy overstuffed poboys, and this certainly did not fit that bill.  Still, the meats and cheeses were freshly sliced Boar's Head brand and certainly gave a good flavor to the sandwich.  The Creole mustard complimented the spicy Monterey Jack perfectly, so all in all I was a happy eater.

Basket of Sweet Potato Fries at Maxwell's Market

During the Fall and the holidays, one thing that I find hard to resist is sweet potato fries.  These crispy wedges of sweet potato goodness make me happy that yams are so plentiful around here.  They are such a terrific stray from the usual French fry.  I shared this basket of fries with the other guests at the table and we were certainly not disappointed.

Overall the trip to Maxwell's ended successfully.  I'm glad I went in and saw what this local market has to offer.  Although the deli did not blow me away, I'm going to make sure that I do some wine, beer, specialty foods, and meat shopping there.  They had some pretty cool stuff!

Maxwell's Market II on Urbanspoon

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Monday, December 28, 2009

5,000 Visitors!

5,000 Visitors!  Thanks everyone!


A huge thank you to Samantha ( for capturing the above image of visit number 5,000.  I'd also like to especially thank Darrell (4,993), Stacie (4,996), and Nikki (4998) for keeping me up to date on facebook!  If you aren't a fan on facebook yet or you aren't following me on twitter, make sure to click the links on the left to sign up!

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#10 Hunter's Club at Jimmy John's

After a recent late night at work I swung by Jimmy John's on the way home to grab a sandwich for dinner.  While there I had a chat with Kyle, the owner and a friend of mine from college, about his business, my blog, and our mutually share passions for travel and good food.  Kyle opened the reasonably new Jimmy John's location in Baton Rouge, the first and only one in Louisiana, on Perkins Road near the overpass.  I wrote about Jimmy John's in one of my first blog posts ever, but now I have pictures, so I thought it was time for an update!

The J.J. Sign Looking Towards Perkins Road

Kyle's team is a fun and energetic crew that makes sub-style sandwiches with a purpose.  Their assembly line flows far better than the Baton Rouge traffic outside the restaurant, so it is really never a bad idea to stop in for a bite or call in the order for delivery! 

The Jimmy John's Crew Busy at Work

On this visit I took a shot at the #10 Hunter's Club which features a 1/4 pound of medium rare roast beef, provolone cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, and mayo all aboard Jimmy John's signature fresh-baked bread.  I opted for dijon mustard instead of the mayo cause that's what I do. 

#10 Hunter's Club at Jimmy John's

The sandwich tasted delicious.  The fresh, thinly sliced roast beef melted in my mouth and combined with the provolone to create a wonderful flavor profile.  The soft bread held the sandwich together perfectly as the tomato and mustard worked together to accent the sub.  I do love a good sandwich.  The only thing I found wrong is that the Jimmy John's crew, apparently in a rush to get a catering job wrapped up and delivered, forgot to add the lettuce to my sub.  No worries though.  It made me feel even more like a wild hunter man as I devoured the meat and cheese sandwich and proceeded to lick my fingers to get every morsel of flavor onto my tongue!  I'll be back, that's for sure.  Thanks Kyle, and keep up the good work!

Jimmy John's on Urbanspoon

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Friday, December 25, 2009

When All Else Fails There is Free Outback

Behold the joys of discounted food.  While Outback Steakhouse belongs in the category of corporate giant restaurants that aren't allowed any culinary creativity and mostly employ only cooks (not chefs) at each location, they still are able to produce edible grub that satisfies even a foodie's hunger.  Due to Eusebio's relationship with Fleming's Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar, which falls under the same corporate umbrella as Outback and other chain establishments, he gets to occasionally use a comp card that gives him a $100 discount off of Outback food.  Not being in the mood to go there and eat, we recently placed an online order of as close to $100 worth of food without going over as possible, and thus, we dined for free other than the $20 that we customarily tip the "curbside" to-go staff.  I believe it is always good to tip generously, even when ordering to-go.

$100 Worth of Outback Steakhouse Food

Our Outback spread consisted of an assortment of items to please our taste buds.  We had three side salads on the order.  One was a classic Caesar and the other two were the  blue cheese pecan chopped salad, which is one of my favorite side salads on the market anywhere, let alone at a chain.  All the way on the left sits the first entree, The Melbourne porterhouse steak cooked medium-rare.  I can find several better porterhouses in town, but for the price and the kind of restaurant, this one certainly isn't bad.  It came with a baked sweet potato that got stuffed with butter and cinnamon sugar.  To the right of the steak is a bacon cheeseburger.  I wouldn't recommend this dish if you are really craving a good burger, but it will cure your hunger if you are at Outback on a budget.  Below the burger is the seared Ahi tuna, then grilled shrimp to the left of that.

To the right of the burger sits my entree for the evening, the Alice Springs Chicken (add bacon and cheese to a grilled chicken breast) with a grilled lobster tail and sweet potato.  The chicken is not my typical order at Outback as I'm usually lured by the ribs or rack of lamb, but on occasion the Alice Springs hits the spot... I mean, how can you go wrong with adding bacon and cheese to anything?  Adding a lobster tail to any meal seems like a good idea to me, so I did it, because I could.  The box to the right of my meal contains the Alice Springs quesadillas which are flour tortillas that come filled with diced chicken, bacon, and cheese and served with honey mustard for dipping.  I have to say that they are pretty delicious.

A Platter of Food from Outback Steakhouse

Desserts from Outback Steakhouse

All good meals should end with a little something sweet... or a lot.  Since it fit in our budget, we ordered a sampling of their dessert menu for a little taste testing.  In the top left corner there is a piece of cheesecake that is nothing but ordinary.  I like cheesecake, so I enjoyed it, but it is far from special.  Moving clockwise around the plate we get to the peanut butter pie with chocolate topping.  This dessert needs to be accompanied by a glass of milk and is for peanut butter lovers only.  The pie is rich and overly peanut-buttery for my tastes, but again is edible.  Moving on is a portion of the "Chocolate Thunder from Down Under."  This warm chocolate brownie is covered with vanilla ice cream for a classic combination that is hard to beat.  Next we get to a morsel of key lime pie that was tart but delightful.  Finally, we have one of my favorites, Outback's carrot cake.  The cake is always moist with creamy frosting and an excellent flavor.

Disclaimer: We did not actually finish all of this food in one sitting... but we did come really close!

Outback Steakhouse on Urbanspoon

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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Lucy's Retired Surfers Bar and Restaurant - Baton Rouge

Lucy's Retired Surfers Bar and Restaurant is another venue on the list of places to get its start in New Orleans and then open another location in Baton Rouge.  This most certainly is not a problem though, as Lucy's has brought a new type of establishment downtown.  Sitting right next to the Roux House on Third Street, Lucy's took over the space previously occupied by D'Agastino's.  With a complete renovation, Lucy's now serves lunch and dinner thoughout the day and stays open for bar patrons at night.

Lucy's Retired Surfers Bar and Restaurant, Third Street, Downtown Baton Rouge

I went to Lucy's twice during the week that it opened to check out the menu and the overall vibe of their new location.  It definitely has a surfer theme with surf boards hanging on the wall and surfing videos playing on the TVs that are scattered around. 

Chips and Salsa from Lucy's

On my first visit I sat at the bar (unfortunately it was my lunch break so there was no drinking this time) and ordered the chips and salsa appetizer while I waited for Eric to meet me.  The salsa was made made fresh and the tortilla chips were home-fried, which is always a good way to start a meal.  The salsa contained fresh chunks of tomato and a lovely mixture of spices that I thoroughly enjoyed.

Lucy's Floral and Surfer Themed Menu Cover

Lucy's Assortment of Hot Sauces

Lucy's keeps three different hot sauces on the table for their customers who want to add a little extra kick to their meals.  They have Tabasco which is a staple in Louisiana and all over the world that needs no introduction.  The other two sauces are produced exclusively for Lucy's.  One is a vinegar based hot sauce which is very similar to other Louisiana hot sauces, but the other is a truly unique blend of sweet and spice that uses molasses and various chilis.  It took a couple tastes to decide if I liked it or not, but the end I really did!

Lucy's Club Sandwich With Fries

Lucy's club sandwich came double-decked with turkey, ham, and bacon as the protiens which were complimented nicely by cheese, tomatoes, and cucumbers.  The cucumbers added a twist to the sandwich that I enjoyed, though it certainly did not blow me away.

Havanna Tacos with Pulled Pork, Grilled Pineapple Relish, and Crisp Red Cabbage

The Havanna Tacos grabbed my attention on the first visit that I made to Lucy's and I most certainly did not regret that decision.  I ordered my tacos on soft flour tortillas and they came stuffed with juicy cuban-style pulled pork, grilled pineapple relish, and some crisp red cabbage.  Along side the tacos sat a generous portion of black beans and rice.  The tacos offered a good twist on latin food that were certainly not pure tex-mex like most places in Baton Rouge that offer tacos. 

I'm going to make sure to go back Lucy's during the evening on Tuesdays because, like any good taco stand that wants to get close to my heart, they have a Taco Tuesday special that deals out $1 tacos from 4-10 pm.  How you can you go wrong with that?!

Lucy's Retired Surfers Bar & Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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Sunday, December 20, 2009

Duck, Duck, Goose!

This video is from a duck and goose hunt near Jennings, Louisiana on 12/19/09.  More will come later about cooking the ducks and geese.  I wanted to make sure I showed the hunt for now.   Thanks again to P, Billy, Brent, Rev, and Stanford for a great weekend.

Jay with the Ducks and Geese from the Day

Ducks and Geese Plucked and Cleaned, Waiting to be Roasted or made into a Gumbo

Duck Meat on FoodistaGoose on Foodista

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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Acadian Frame and Art for a Hannah Lane Paintings, Wine, and Dine

Here's my favorite thing about art shows: free wine and food!  A little while back I had the pleasure of attending a show featuring Hannah Lane's work.  Hannah is a great childhood friend and local Baton Rouge painter and illustrator who does amazing work on the canvas.  This past show took place at the Acadian Frame and Art in the Drusilla Shopping Center where the wine and food did not disappoint.

Jambalaya in Front, Fried Catfish Fingers to the Back

Free food is always a good method to draw a crowd and I was impressed with the spread at Acadian Art.  The jambalaya shown above was a classic chicken and sausage Cajun dish that hit the spot.  Equally tempting were the catfish fingers in the background.  These catfish fingers were fantastic, fresh, and crispy finger foods that dipped well into the accompanying tartar sauce.  But, the real reason I attended the show was to see Hannah and the art!

Hannah's Painting on the Wall of the Acadian Art Gallery

You can't see Hannah in this picture but she is back there showing off her paintings to some art show guests.  This wall featured a lot of her work including the crab, pelican, and pear paintings that you can see here.  It is always great to catch up with her and her family, of which saw Papa Robert and Mama Elaine as well as Chelsea at the show.  One member of the family that was not present was the younger Robert who happens to be in New Zealand right now.  You can read about all of his adventures here!

Blueberry and Cherry Cheesecakes

The cheesecakes for dessert were without a doubt the culinary highlight of this evening.  As good as the other foods and wines were, these homemade cheesecakes took home the prize.  The blueberry cheesecake tasted like a slice of heaven in my mouth and I knew from the first bite that I would need to blog about it.  Each additional bite reinforced how creamy and wonderful this treat can be.  I was impressed to say the least.  Thanks for the invite Hannah!

Blueberry on FoodistaWine on Foodista

Farmed Catfish on FoodistaCherry on Foodista

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Monday, December 14, 2009

Camelot Club Wine Tasting and Another Trip to Bonefish

Wine tastings spread joy to people such as myself like Disney World spreads joy to children and most high school to college-aged females, so I'm really glad I recently got take part in one (a wine tasting, not a Disney World) at the Camelot Club in downtown Baton Rouge.  The Camelot Club sits perched on the top of the south Chase Tower and is one of the more exclusive settings in the city with a picturesque sight of the State Capitol to the north and a bird's eye view the Mighty Mississippi peacefully rumbling below.  Eusebio and I previously met Kris Kimball, the Membership Director of the Camelot Club, at the Baton Rouge Culinary Classic when we sat at the same table as her during our gluttonous feast.  At the Assemblage Wine Tasting, Kris and the Camelot Club and Purveyor of Fine Wines invited guests to sample vino that mostly came from smaller distributors and wine makers on the West Coast of the United States. 

Wines Set Up for Tasting

Eusebio and I walked around the event, mingling with wine makers and winery representatives while tasting exquisite vintages that are hard to come by in South Louisiana.  Some of the vineyards and varietals that I enjoyed the most were: Andrew Geoffrey's Diamond Mountain 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon, Cancilla Cellars' 2007 Pinot Noir, Miner Family Vineyards' 2005 Oakville Cabernet Sauvignon, Justin Winery's Paso Robles 2006 Savant (Syrah/Cabernet blend), the 2005 Star Lane Cabernet Sauvignon Astral from the Dierberg Family of Wines in Santa Maria, the 2007 Epiphany Gypsy, Morgan Winery's 2006 Double L Pinot Noir and 2006 Tierra Mar Syrah, and my gold medal winner, Boudreaux Cellars' 2005 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon from Washington State.

Chocolate Fondue Fountain with Fruit, Cheese, Cookies, and Brownies for "Dipping"

The food at the Camelot Club attempted to equal the quality of the wine, though it had a lot to live up to.  Apparently they got the memo that it always helps when there is a chocolate fondue fountain!  One twirl under the flowing rich milk chocolate coated the fruits, cheeses, and cookies that were there for dipping pleasure.  Yum!  More events should have these!

Plate of Hors D'oeuvres

The chocolate fountain wasn't the only thing worth snacking on in between wine tastings.  There were also mini duck egg rolls with Thai chili sauce, crawfish and cheddar croquettes with dilled sour cream, and other special finger-food treats.  I ate enough to keep something in my stomach while we continued to sample and taste the delicious wines that formed a border around the room.

Another Table Full of Delicious Wine

As I mentioned before, my favorite wine of the evening came from the Pacific Northwest state of Washington.  Rob Newsom, the owner and winemaker from Boudreaux Cellars, spoke passionately about his wine while I sampled the 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon, the 2006 Chardonnay, and my personal favorite of the evening, the 2005 Reserve Cab.  Rob is a Louisiana native who now makes outstanding wine in the "middle of nowhere," Washington.  I could try to explain Rob, his wine, and his passion, but it might be better to just let you see for yourself in this video clip:

Rob's wines upheld the standards that have been set by multiple publications which have raved about his vino over the past several years.  I especially love that Rob is still a new, small batch wine maker who puts love and shows his skill for the craft in every barrel and bottle that he produces.  I'm going to make sure I visit his winery when I go to Seattle this summer (although it is a several hour drive through the Cascade Mountains from Seattle). 

After an evening of drinking wine the time had come to eat a real meal.  Since Eusebio and I had been drinking together, a logical choice was to revisit and old favorite, Bonefish Grill.  While it is a corporate restaurant, you can't beat the price when dining with Eusebio.  It's one of the perks of being best friends with the Sous Chef from Fleming's! 

Bang Bang Shrimp

We began our meal with an order of  Bang Bang Shrimp.  These tasty crustaceans are fried and then tossed in a creamy, spicy sauce and are best eaten with the provided chopsticks.  While not my favorite shrimp in town, these are a standby that have never disappointed.

Mussels Josephine

The Mussels Josephine features Prince Edward Island mussels sautéed with tomatoes, garlic, basil, and lemon wine sauce.  This is one of my favorite apps on Bonefish's menu.  I wish mussels were more available around Baton Rouge because they are an underrated seafood option around here.  I guess since they don't really come of out the gulf they aren't very popular, but they sure are good!

Lazy Magnolia Jefferson Stout

Naturally the wine buzz started to wear off after some appetizers.  In order to fix that travesty, I ordered a Jefferson Stout from Lazy Magnolia.  This Sweet Potato Cream Stout beer is dark and smooth in nature with hints of chocolate, coffee, and caramel.  Its creamy head and dark body is sweeter than most stouts which is due to the sweet potatoes and lactose (milk sugar) that are used in the brewing process. 

Sea Bass Filet topped with Shrimp Scampi

To cap off my evening I ordered a grilled sea bass filet topped with Bonefish's supurb shrimp scampi.  The fish melted in my mouth with its firm, yet buttery texture and the shrimp were a great compliment.  As always, the asparagus is a favorite of mine.  This evening ended on a high note just like how it started.  I drank some fantastic wine, met some interesting people, saw some old friends, and finished everything off with a nice meal.  Who says you can't have at all... if only for a night!?

Bonefish Grill on UrbanspoonCamelot Club on Urbanspoon

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