Friday, April 30, 2010

Slap Ya Mama Cajun Seasoning Giveaway #2

Welcome to the Bite and Booze Slap Ya Mama Cajun Seasoning Giveaway: Round 2!

The fine folks at Slap Ya Mama Cajun Seasoning have graciously donated some fine products to be given away through Bite and Booze.  Slap Ya Mama is a Certified Cajun company in Ville Platte, Louisiana which produces an array of seasoning options including their original Cajun seasoning, a white pepper blend, hot sauce, fish fry, seafood boil, and their new etouffee sauce.  What sets Slap Ya Mama apart from other Cajun seasonings is that their mixture contains more red pepper and other spices that make great tasting Cajun dishes without filling the product with such high levels of sodium that leave you with over-salted food.  Slap Ya Mama is "recommended for all dishes, from popcorn to seafood, breakfast to late night snacks, gourmet foods to French fries."

Our two grand prizes are SYM Gift Mugs that come stuffed with a 8 oz can of regular seasoning, a Slap Ya Mama koozie, and a Cajun roux spoon!  Two other winners will receive a 16 oz can of Slap Ya Mama original blend seasoning and a purple and gold SYM koozie.

2 Grand Prizes:
 Slap Ya Mama Travel Mug with 1 can of SYM Original Cajun Seasoning, 
a SYM Koozie, and a Cajun roux spoon (not shown)

Two Other Prizes: 
and a purple and gold SYM Koozie (not shown)

To enter the giveaway contest, please fill out THIS SIMPLE FORM.  Before you will be eligible to win, you will also need to be following Bite and Booze on Twitter OR be a fan of Bite and Booze on Facebook (doing both will double your chances of winning).  You can also increase your chances of winning by "retweeting" or "sharing" this contest on Twitter, Facebook, or any other social media platform that you may use (use the share button below to make it even easier).

The contest will end at midnight central time the night of Sunday, May 16, 2009!  I'll be in touch with the winners shortly after that.  Thanks for entering, and have fun making all your food so good that it makes you want to "slap ya mama!"

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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Fiber Fete Day 2: Bandwidth to the Belly

The second day of Fiber Fete brought about even more innovation, enthusiasm, and general excitement to the gathering of technology leaders.  I once again found myself at the LITE Center in Lafayette, where on day one all of the participants were treated to a series of inspirational speakers followed by cocktails and fresh Louisiana cuisine.  I knew that the same agenda was in order for day two, so I prepared myself accordingly!

Fiber Fete at the LITE Center in Lafayette, Louisiana

It's a good thing that Fiber Fete revolved around a home-to-home fiber network connecting the citizens of Lafayette to high speed internet access rather than connecting fiber to one's diet.  Fortunately, they did manage to supply a little bit of fibrous food early in the day to help with our digestive future.  We began our post-breakfast feasting with a selection of vegetables such as carrots, celery, broccoli, and cauliflower with some spinach and cheese mini-quiches and breakfast pastries.  A little later on the conference goers were treated to some soft pretzels with mustards.  Not bad snacks for a technology conference, I must say!

Veggie Plate with Quiches and a Pastry, Salt-Covered Soft Preztels

Lunch brought us out of the LITE Center and to the Cajun Dome where we joined a business luncheon sponsored by The Independent Weekly, Lafayette's premier news, culture, and commentary publication.  The food clearly did not come from Prejean's and certainly lacked the Cajun pizazz that filled the rest of the Fiber Fete fare. By no means did I think it tasted bad, but it also did not showcase Louisiana's culinary superiority.  We started with a bisque of some sort.  It tasted like a tomato and crab bisque with a severe lack of seafood.  Perhaps they were going for just a tomato and basil soup, but it seemed to have other elements in there.  The soup had savory elements to it and all in all wasn't too shabby.

The main course featured a seafood topped fish filet with a rich cream sauce, jasmine rice, and a vegetable medley that pretty much featured nothing but green beans.   Everything on the plate tasted fine but didn't blow me, or anyone else I talked to, away.  The fish had a smooth texture but was too covered in sauce for me to tell what it was by taste.  The good news is that I like the sauce enough to eat it with the fish rice and veggies.  The meal did nothing more than me fill me up, ignite my sweet tooth and prepare it for carrot cake, and make me miss the Prejean's catering.  As for said carrot cake: sufficient, not spectacular.

Tomato Bisque, Lunch Plate, and Carrot Cake

After the letdown of a lunch (truly only because it didn't compare with the rest of the food from the event), we all made our way back to the LITE Center for the afternoon session of Fiber Fete.  The main theme of the afternoon asked now that we have the fiber network, what do we do with it?  The event proved to be informative and inspiring, and I'm glad that I was able to be a part of it.  Soon, the time came for the evening's reception complete with a limited supply of Gigabit IPA (for more on the Gigabit IPA check day 1 of Fiber Fete) and plenty of tasty treats!

Gigabit IPA and Carencro Shrimp

The Carencro Shrimp are a new appetizer that Prejean's has been playing around with and if they want my opinion, I'd say it's a winner!  The should without a doubt put these babies on the menu.  The Carencro (a town just North of Lafayette) Shrimp were lightly battered and fried then tossed in a Thai chili sauce that added a sensational blend of spicy sweetness.  Magnificent! 

Fried Green Tomatoes Topped With Crawfish Etouffee, Crawfish and Alligator Cheesecake

The next selection of appetizers came in the form of fried green tomatoes topped with crawfish etouffee and melted cheese followed by a crawfish and alligator cheesecake.  The fried green tomatoes were tender and succulent, and very unique when topped with a Cajun favorite like crawfish etouffee.  Similarly, the "cheesecake" also contained crawfish in a very unique setting.  The dish had a texture that reminded me more of a quiche than a cheesecake, but the flavor of the crawfish and alligator mixed with just he right portion of cream cheese turned out very nice.

Goat Cheese Crepes

Finally, still part of our pre-dinner cocktail party hors d'oeuvres, Prejean's put out several trays of absolutely delightful goat cheese crepes.  The sensational texture of the creamy cheese inside the soft and delicate crepe blew me way.  These were right up there with the shrimp as my favorite appetizers, any possibly even passed them up.  There is also something about the taste of goat cheese that wakes up the palate and excites the taste buds.  I'd gladly eat these crepes again, and again, and again!

Dinner Plate from Day Two of Fiber Fete

The tremendous catering staff knew how much I liked the Gigabit IPA and hid the last couple of bottles for me.  After consuming the final bottle of Gigabit, I switched to other cocktails, namely a little Tennessee Whiskey known as Jack Daniels.  Several stiff ones later it came time for dinner, so I helped myself to another plate of fantastic food.  Starting at the top right are some delicious green beans with bacon cooked right in.  Pretty much everything is better with bacon!  Next came a small filet mignon topped with an onion ring.  The seasoned beef steak had a beautiful dark pink center that left it wonderfully rare and delicious.  It is hard to get steak catered to the masses and still have cooked so well, so many compliments to the chef!  Next down the plate is a piece of alligator stuffed with crawfish etouffee.  Very delicious, but much like on day one, the etouffee theme got a little repetitive.  Finally there is a barbecued chicken leg and some bow-tie Parmesan pasta. The true highlight of the plate (right up there with the steak) actually came in a bowl.  The duck and andouille gumbo had a magnificently dark roux and proper spice to be a real Louisiana treat.  I'd go back this gumbo time and time again.  I previously have not been a fan of this dark of a roux, but after tasting this masterpiece of a gumbo, I may have changed my mind!  It is rare when a taste of something can change your mind about a certain ingredient or method.  I don't think I've been awoken to something so beautiful since the Brussels sprouts in San Francisco!  

White Chocolate Bread Pudding

The final dish of the evening came in the form of a superb white chocolate bread pudding.  The bread pudding itself was moist and buttery.  The white chocolate sauce accented the rich pudding with a mild sweetness and terrific flavor.  This is the best bread pudding I've had in a while, and I wasn't the only one who thought so.  Ryan Petticrew, our event coordinator and Lafayette native, claimed that "this bread pudding makes me not give a f&(k about anything else!"  Well said, Ryan, well said.

Prejean's Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

2010 Best Buddies Moveable Feast!!

Bite and Booze is proud to support the 2010Moveable Feast supporting the Best Buddies of Louisiana!  Come join in the fun tomorrow!  Purchase your tickets before midnight tonight.  See blow for more information!

Thursday, April 22, 2010
6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
The best tasting generosity in the city!
Announcing the Features for Moveable Feast 2010

Chelsea's Cafe - Crawfish Cakes with Homemade Pepper Jelly & Pasta Salad - Parrot Bay 90 Proof Rum Punch 
DiGiulio Brothers - Chicken Pasta Salad with Feta & Tomatoes - Pierree Spar Riesling
George's - Muffalettas - Burnett's Pink Lemonade Vodka 
Gourmet Girls Fine Catering - Smoked Gouda Pimento Bouche - Barefoot Pinot Grigio
Ivar's Sports Bar & Grill - Fried Catfish Nuggets with Homemade Tarter Sauce - Beer provided by Mockler Beverage
Jimmy John's Gourmet Sandwiches - Variety of Gourmet Sandwiches
Pinetta's European Restaurant - Meatballs, Hummus, & Bread Pudding with Rum Sauce - Banfi Centine Bianco
Rock N Sake - Fresh Salmon Roll & Spicy Snowcrab Roll - Pomegranate Sake Punch
Schlittz & Giggles - Pizza Slices - Beer provided by Mockler Beverage
Zee Zee Gardens - Pigs-in-a-Blanket - Jeremiah Weed Tea
Zippy's - Chips & Queso - Sauza Margarita

Also featuring...

Coca Cola:
Water, Coke, & Diet Coke
Kleinpeter Farms Dairy Ice Cream:
Mint Chocolate Chip, Praline-N-Cream, Cookie-N-Cream, Blueberry Cheesecake, & More
Raising Cane's Lemonade Cart
Whole Foods Market Desserts
Gift Bags for first 350 Guests to Arrive

Purchase tickets now!

Sponsored by:

Louisiana Health Information Management Association
 Other Contributions by:

Bella Bella
Bet-R Grocery
Bolton's Health Mart
Cottonwood Books
Loft 3H
Overpass Cleaners
Royal Standard
Stella Boutique
Tremont's Home & Garden

1699, Massage Emporium, Bally Total Fitness, Tigerweekly, Baton Rouge Convention & Visitors Bureau,
Community Coffee, Brew Ha Ha, Beehive Salon, The Real Yellow Pages, Louisiana Lottery, Mockler Beverage, New Orleans Sheraton, Kean's, Avant Garde, Harper's Haberdashery, and Hancock Bank
Thank you to our Media Sponsors:
WBRZ Channel 2 & 2une-In
The Advocate
Guaranty Broadcasting
Country Roads Magazine
Special Thanks to: 

Baton Rouge PARENTS Magazine
City Social 
In Register
225 Magazine
Around Town Show

 The Moveable Feast is designed to raise funds and awareness for Best Buddies Louisiana's friendship and leadership development programs for children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDDs). All proceeds from the evening support programs in Louisiana.

Historic Perkins Road Overpass Area Merchants Reunite For Second Annual “Moveable Feast” Benefiting Best Buddies Louisiana 

Merchants and Restaurants in the Perkins Road Overpass area are working together to offer a unique dining experience on Thursday, APRIL 22, 2010 to benefit Best Buddies Louisiana.  The second annual Moveable Feast is a progressive dinner where guests will sample and savor delectable food, experience some of Baton Rouge’s finest entertainment and enjoy late-evening shopping at some of the popular shops in the Historic Perkins Road Merchant’s District.
All proceeds from the evening benefit Best Buddies Louisiana, an international nonprofit, founded in 1989 by Anthony K. Shriver, whose mission is dedicated to establishing a global volunteer movement that creates opportunities for one-to-one friendships, integrated employment, and leadership development for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. 

“More than 50% of people with intellectual disabilities have never had a visit from someone outside of a paid caregiver or a family member,” said Tiffany Rutledge, State Director of Best Buddies Louisiana.  “Best Buddies Louisiana provided 300 one-to-one friendships last year.  Next year, we will provide more, and Moveable Feast 2010 will help us do it.  Growing funds as we grow fun.” Awareness and funds raised from this event will provide friendships for people with intellectual disabilities right here in Louisiana.

Some participating restaurants and merchants include Chelsea’s CafĂ©, Zippy’s, Schlittz & Giggle’s, DiGiulio Brothers, Pinetta’s European Restaurant, BET-R Grocery, Ivar’s Sports Bar and Grill, Zee Zee Gardens, Royal Standard and Cottonwood Books. 
To purchase tickets ($35 in advance/ $40 on night of event) for the Moveable Feast or call 225-226-1677.

About Best Buddies International
Founded in 1989 by Anthony Kennedy Shriver, Best Buddies is the largest nonprofit devoted to providing friendships and jobs to people with intellectual disabilities. Best Buddies programs engage participants in each of the 50 United States. To find out more, visit or call 1-800-89-BUDDY.

Fiber Fete: Here's To Our Connected... Stomachs!

Fiber Fete kicked off this afternoon in Lafayette, Louisiana and I am excited to be a part of it.  The event is designed to be a meeting of the minds about our "connected future" where we will have speakers and discussions about the future of high speed broadband access.  Included in these talks will be a conversation about what can be done with the new and innovative fiber-to-the-home network in Lafayette that serves as a beacon of technology on a global level.  While I am attending the three day event to focus on the connection between broadband and health care, for the purposes of this blog I made sure to also examine the bites and boozes, which were plentiful and fantastic!

The "Fiber Fete Quartet" Played Some Cajun Tunes

Fiber Fete is being held at LITE, the Louisiana Immersive Technology Enterprise center, which has been built to help drive digital and technological economic development in Lafayette.  Tuesday's kickoff included comments from Mayor Joey Durel, Louisiana Economic Development Director Stephen Moret, and some other influential people in Lafayette's rise to prominence in fiber networks.  Secretary Moret claimed that Louisiana  will be a leader in digital technology, and after seeing him take the Louisiana film industry from non-existent to third in the nation in just seven years, I don't doubt him.  

Alright, enough about that, how about some food?

Crab Cakes and Crawfish Boudin Balls

The post-speaker reception featured a great collection of finger foods with Cajun flare for the guests from around the country to enjoy. Pictured above are some mini crab cakes and a batch of crawfish boudin balls. Neither impressed me all that much being from Louisiana and eating this cuisine all the time, but they were certainly tasty.  I'd give the slight edge to the crab cakes out of the two.

Crawfish Pies and Fried Alligator

Fiber Fete also had some international guests, though many other European invitees were unable to make it because of flight cancellations due to volcanic ash.  I guess not even home-to-home fiber networks can stop Mother Nature!  Still, that didn't stop those of us who did attend from eating crawfish pies and fried alligator.  Both of these dishes were superior to the first two.  The alligator in particular was some of the best fried gator I've ever had!

Crawfish Enchiladas and Veggie Pastalaya

Two other dishes that I thought had some promise were the crawfish enchiladas and vegetable pastalaya.  The enchiladas featured even more crawfish, which I though ended up being a little bit of an overkill.  I didn't need crawfish boudin balls, crawfish pies, and crawfish enchiladas.  While I do love crawfish, I also love shrimp.  Just sayin'.  Oh, and I didn't try the pastalaya.  If you are confused, pastalaya is a term for a Cajun jambalaya that is cooked with pasta instead of rice.  First, a veggie jambalaya is about the dumbest thing I've ever heard.  Just call that rice with vegetables and stir-fry it!  Second, this didn't remind me one bit of jambalaya or even pastalaya.  I was really just a vegetarian pasta dish that they tried to give a Louisiana name.  For shame.

Seared Tuna and Andouille Sausage Stuffed Dates

The highlight of the appetizer selections came from the platters that Prejean's, the restaurant that catered the event, had their staff carry around.  The above spread feature bite-sized morsels that might have been my favorite treats of the evening other than perhaps the fried alligator.  The sesame crusted seared tuna was masterfully prepared and topped with a bit of a wasabi based sauce.  The tuna melted in my mouth while the wasabi added a hint of spice and flare to the dish.  But, as good as the tuna was, the winner of the entire evening came in the form of the andouille sausage stuffed dates that were topped with goat cheese.  These dried plums were sliced down the middle and loaded with a seasoned sausage before being topped with a strip of soft, creamy goat cheese. The flavors blended together in an inspired harmony and proved that you could bring such different things together for the common good.  Okay, maybe I'm stretching too far to make an analogy to Fiber Fete, but still, it was damn good!

Gigabit IPA from the Hopworks Urban Brewery in Portland, Oregon

The City of Portland, Oregon sent an offering of craft-brewed beer to Fiber Fete in order to congratulate the city on the success of its fiber network.  The Gigabit IPA was named as a response to Google's program to select a city in which to implement a similar fiber network as a pilot for future infrastructure initiatives from the website giant.  The organic ale tasted smooth and hoppy.  It left a clean aftertaste compared to many Cascade-hopped IPAs, which I really enjoyed as it tasted like a great pale ale while still being refreshing.  I'll take any shipments of beer from Portland that they'll send, so I was happy to indulge!  Feel free to send me more, Hopworks.  Just message me for a shipping address!

Festive Louisiana Dinner

The opening evening of Fiber Fete concluded with a festive Louisiana dinner, more cocktails, and quite a bit of mingling, connecting, discussing, and imagining.  I was able to have quite a few conversations with industry leaders about health care and broadband, and of course the conversation also shifted to food blogging, barbeque, Cajun food, and southern hospitality.  The dinner feature some eggplant, seasoned corn, real jambalaya, and crawfish etoufee.  Highlighting the plate were some stuffed and bacon wrapped fried shrimp and a heaping serving of bread pudding.  The shrimp were insanely good.  The jumbo Gulf shrimp that I had been craving earlier were stuffed with cheeses and other spicy treats, then wrapped in bacon, battered, and deep fried until the inside melted together while the outside turned crispy.  What a sensational shrimp.  I'll certainly give props to Prejean's for that one!

Here's to great people, visionary leadership, wonderful food, delicious craft beer, and looking forward to day two of Fiber Fete, which you can read about here!

Prejean's Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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Friday, April 16, 2010

Christina's in Beauregard Town

Hidden in downtown Baton Rouge at the corner of St. Charles and Somerulos, Christina's has been offering up quality home cooking for years.  This little restaurant is not as well known as it should be around town, but its loyal customers still keep the place packed for breakfast and lunch.  I recently ate lunch at Christina's for my first time and was certainly not disappointed.  Darrell Broussard joined me on the walk from our busy offices to the Beauregard Town neighborhood.  The quaint restaurant is warm and welcoming, and the lunch menu is full of Southern-fried home cooking. 

Christina's in Downtown Baton Rouge

Christina's had a lunch special on this fortunate day that featured a chicken fried steak with gravy and three sides.  Their list of sides rotates so it is written on the wall instead of in the menu.  However, it is long enough to count as reading a book, so picking three seemed like a difficult task.  I wanted to vary things up a bit, so I eventually settled on the buttered corn, collard greens, and praline yams.

Chicken Fried Steak with Buttered Corn, Collard Greens, and Praline Yams

The corn had a good buttery taste as the name implied but beyond that was just your average canned corn.  The collard greens tasted pretty good and I enjoyed their saltiness and tender texture.  However, the highlight of the sides, and in fact the entire meal, came in the form of the praline yams.  They may not have been much more than canned sweet potatoes with plenty of butter and caramelized sugar, but this dish was purely delightful!  I could have eaten those praline yams all day!  The chicken fried steak had a great flavor and combined well with the white gravy, but it was a little smaller than I would have liked.  Still, the praline yams made up for everything and in the end, I had no complaints with the meal or the restaurant.  I'd gladly go back to Christina's any time, and I especially want to check it out for breakfast!

Christinas on Urbanspoon

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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Cajun Tales... Tall Tales After Dunk Hunting

After a successful duck hunt in South Louisiana, our group realized that we had worked up quite a hunger.  Brent, Brandon, Billy, P, and I took a ride to Cajun Tales Seafood Restaurant in Welsh, Louisiana to fill our empty stomachs with some comfort food.  P seemed to know everyone in the place, and the waitress brought him a tea that was half sweet and half unsweetened mixed together without even having to ask for him.  That was nice.   

Cajun Tales Seafood Restaurant in Welsh, La

I decided that my hunger warrented plenty of grub, and wanting to try an assortment of local fare, I ordered the fried seafood platter which also came with gumbo and salad.  The seafood gumbo had a rich and earthy roux that worked very well with the accompanying shrimp and oysters.  What a great way to start out any meal!  The green salad with honey mustard dressing was about as standard as it gets.  Chopped iceberg lettuce, check.  Honey mustard, check.  Call it a salad, check.  Moving on...

A Bowl of Seafood Gumbo and a Honey Mustard Salad

After I got the formality of the roughage scarfed down, the time came to turn my attention to the fried seafood platter that lurked in the shadows of the table.  The fried catfish, stuffed shrimp, fried oysters, hushpuppies, crab fingers, and sweet potato fries all stared back at me as though they knew their disposal would come in the form of my digestive system.  Oh yes, it was devouring time!

Fried Seafood Platter

All of the food on the plate was wondeful under the cirumstances.  I had an extreme hunger, and everything was certainly very edible.  However, the fried seafood did not blow me away.  I think they could use an upgrade to their badder and a change of cooking oil.  Likewise, the sweet potato fries were nothing that I'd die to go back for.  Of the meal, I thought that the fried catfish was probably the best item.  I still ate all I could and at the end of the meal left full and satisfied.  I suppose that is what really counts!

Cajun Tales Seafood on Urbanspoon

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