Thursday, July 29, 2010

Seattle Part III: Quinn's Pub

Quinn's Pub in Capitol Hill, Seattle
Eric and I departed the Pyramid Alehouse a few hours before the start of the Yankees v. Mariners game on our intoxicating Friday-Funday around Seattle.  A crowd had already gathered in the Pyramid beer garden and all around the stadium.  I enjoyed seeing the atmosphere and fanfare around the ballpark, but Boo and I had another place to visit before we headed to the pre-wedding barbeque, so we couldn't stay for the game.  If you need a reminder, we had already raised our glasses at The Pike Brewing Company (Seattle Part I) before making our way over to the Pyramid Alehouse (Seattle Part II) for even more beer and festivities.  Now we found ourselves traveling back downtown by light rail and then catching a taxi to Capitol Hill where we found a fine establishment known as Quinn's Pub.  This place came recommended to me by the Seattle Food Geek himself, so I figured it had to be good! 

Quinn's Pub is located on East Pike Street, just a little ways up the hill from Pike Place Market and downtown Seattle.  The Capitol Hill neighborhood is known for being a unique part of town.  The area is one of Seattle's most densely populated neighborhoods and is known for its LGBT friendliness, the Seattle art scene, and is home to Seattle's music, made famous by the Grunge movement of the 1990s.  It was in this historic and hip neighborhood that Eric and I met up with Regan Vaugn, the General Manager of Quinn's Pub, for a few more beverages and some gastropub grub.

The Balcony Level at Quinn's Pub

Quinn's had a slightly rustic yet hip ambiance that provided to its obviously well-established culture.  It seemed to match the neighborhood very well in that regard.  However, it wasn't the culture that brought me to Quinn's Pub.  After getting the recommendation and looking up some details, I realized that Quinn's had two great things going for it: an excellent Trappist and local craft beer selection and inspiring, original cuisine.

Eric and I both started with one of Regan's local selections: a pint of Dick's Grand Cru. Dick's Brewing Company resides in Centralia, WA and brews up 21 different varieties of ale. The Grand Cru is an award winning Belgian-style ale made with malted barley and Noble hops. One of 14 beers that Quinn's had on tap, the Grand Cru poured with an amber-orange body and off-white head. The sugars and fruit did wonders to mask the 10% or so ABV on this bad boy, providing a smooth taste, clean finish, and deceptively strong beer.

Ragan and a Glass of Dick's Grand Cru
Regan kindly sent us a couple of Quinn's Pub's signature pretzels to taste.  The doughy knot of flour and salt may have been one of the best soft pretzels I've ever eaten.  The texture seemed to be a mixture between chewy and melt-in-your-mouth goodness.  One dip in the Welsh rarebit, a beer and cheese sauce, and I had a perfect snack to go along with my imbibing.

Pretzel with Welsh Rarebit
In addition to a superb beer list, Quinn's also has enough whiskey, whisky, and bourbon to make a grown cry out of pure joy.  Being a rather large fan of all Irish whiskey other than Jameson (not that it's bad, just that it is the only one that is available everywhere), I noticed that Quinn's had one that I'd never tasted before.  I ordered a glass of Knappogue Castle 1995 neat.  The Knappogue is different than most Irish whiskey.  It is aged in oak bourbon barrels, and even more rare, the Knappogue Castle is a single malt whiskey, not a blend.  Distilled in 1995 and bottled in 2007, the whiskey has a pale golden color and distinct floral and citrus fruit notes on the nose, as well as possibly some honey and vanilla.  I found each sip to be remarkable smooth, easy to drink and somewhat mellow yet sweet.  There's not much like drinking some great whiskey after hours of beer drinking.  In all reality, I'm sure it's what did me in, but it was worth it!

Knappogue Castle 1995 Irish Whiskey
Aside from the booze, what really attracted me to Quinn's Pub was the unique gastropub fare.  The menu consists of various salads, sandwiches, small plates, large plates, snacks, sides, and cheeses.  Deciding what to order proved to be a very difficult task, so I continued to let Regan and our waitress, Erin, steer us in the right direction.  They certainly did just that!  For a sandwich we sampled the wild boar sloppy joe.  The ground boar's game flavor came through while the fresh sage leaves added a peppery kick.  The sloppy joe presented a great twist on the cafeteria classic, and I enjoyed every bit of the nostalgic nosh.    

The Wild Boar Sloppy Joe at Quinn's Pub
From the 'small plates' menu came the oxtail.  The dish featured the slow-braised oxtail with gnocchi, fontina, and crispy marrow.  Erin warned us that "most people that order one end up ordering two."  While we resisted the urge due to our bellies being slightly stuffed from the day's bites and boozes, it wouldn't have taken much of an arm twist to get me to double the portion.  The oxtail's tenderness and flavor were incredible.  Each savory taste presented a myriad of flavors with the gnocchi and marrow adding proper complex, yet friendly, flavors.  The beautiful, imaginative, and modern dish had classic and rustic characteristics that perfectly matched the charm of Quinn's Pub.

Quinn's Small Plate: Oxtail, Gnocchi, Fontina, Crispy Marrow
Eric and I each had one more beer while wrapping up our time at Quinn's.  We got a couple more pints of locally brewed glory, Manny's Pale Ale and Odin's Gift Ruby Ale.  Manny's comes from the Georgetown Brewing Company in Seattle.  With a semi-orange color, Manny's nicely combines its Northwest hops with a trio of malts and English ale yeast to put forward a quality beer that is smooth and crisp on the finish.  Odin's Gift Ruby Ale comes from the Odin Brewing Company, also in Seattle.  The self proclaimed "most adventurous microbrewery in America" makes only small, hand-crafted batches of its deep-ruby colored ale. Living up to their "adventurous" label, Odin's Gift is brewed with juniper berries for a unique finish while still maintaining a nice balance of malt and hops.  If nothing else, it is an interesting beer with a unique twist, and is certainly worth a try.

Manny's Pale Ale and Odin's Gift Ruby Ale
And with that, our brief tour of Seattle had come to its conclusion.  The remainder of the weekend was filled with more food and drinks (well, not much to drink for me as it took a full day to recover from Friday), with family time and wedding obligations mixed in.  I thoroughly enjoyed the trip and will be looking forward to my next trip to the Pacific Northwest where I hope to find even more craft beer and great food.  Until then, Louisiana cuisine calls my name.  Gosh, my life is hard!

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Monday, July 26, 2010

Seattle Part II: The Pyramid Alehouse

After wrapping up with drinks and a snack at The Pike Brewing Company in Seattle Part I, Eric and I took a nice little walk to SoDo where we found the Pyramid Alehouse right next to Safeco Field, home of the Seattle Mariners.  Stop number two on our Friday-Funday awaited us with more beer and delicious food.  We met up with Meech Crowley, a "brandvangelist" for Pyramid Brewing, who hung out with us at the bar as we talked about Seattle, Louisiana, travels, and, of course, beer.    

The Pyramid Alehouse in Seattle, WA
Once again we began our beverage intake with a sampler platter.  Pyramid's sampler came with five brews to choose from out of the majority of the beers they had on tap.  Picking the first five to try proved to be a bit of a challenge, but after I accomplished that task I promptly had some assorted liquid refreshments awaiting my taste buds.

A Beer Sampler Pyramid Style
I tried to get as much of a variety pack as I could when choosing my sampler dejour.  My selection included the Audacious Apricot Ale, the Haywire Hefeweizen, the Thunderhead IPA, the Alehouse Amber Ale, and the Grifter IPA.  The Audacious, Haywire, and Thunderhead are three of Pyramid's flagship, year-round brews.  I found the apricot ale to be a great fruit beer.  After the walk from the Pike Place Market, a refreshing, summertime beer really hit the spot.  The wheat malt and unfiltered appearance added to the beer's overall aroma and appearance.  The hefeweizen was very similar to the apricot ale minus the fruit influence.  A typical unfiltered wheat beer, the Haywire didn't blow me away.  The Thunderhead IPA is a lighter, golden IPA that is not over-hopped and is quite enjoyable.  While it does not deliver a "thunderous" Pacific Northwest hop overload to the tongue, it is quite nicely balanced with malt to make a pretty good light IPA.  The Amber didn't impress me much, but like almost all cold beer, it was certainly drinkable.  The Grifter IPA may have stolen the show though.  One of Pyramid's summer seasonals, the Grifter IPA delivered a much stronger bite than the Thunderhead.  Using two different malts and four different types of hops, this beer packed a punch of flavor just like what I was looking for in Seattle.  Bravo to the brewer!

Pyramid's Garlic Cheese Roll
Needing to put a little more food in our stomach's, we opted for our waiter's suggestion for an appetizer.  The garlic cheese roll is a well-portioned pizza roll filled with mozzarella cheese and rep pepper flakes, and brushed with roasted garlic olive oil.  Ours also came stuffed with pepperoni and served with marinara for dipping.  While the garlic cheese roll did nothing to bring out Seattle culture or flavor, it did pair nicely with my empty stomach and all that beer.  The dough tasted hot and fresh while the filling and sauce made me happy.  Hard to argue with that.

The Sausage Sampler at Pyramid
Needing to fill up with a little more pub-grub in between vessels of liquid courage, I opted to try Pyramid's sausage sampler.  The entrée came with three links of Uli's Famous Sausages, mashed potatoes, sauerkraut, grilled onions, Audacious Apricot Ale BBQ Sauce and honey beer mustard. The sausage came in three different styles which I found quite appealing.  There was a traditional English banger, a German bratwurst, and a Cajun chicken sausage.  All of the sausages were quite appetizing and the sauces were delicious.  But the main thing was that I had some subsistence in my stomach because I was really there to drink.

The sampler obviously could not satisfy my thirst alone, so I drank several more pints.  And then a few more... I think.  The bar filled up as the pre-game Mariners crowd started to arrive.  We had a couple of visitors stop and chat with us for a while about the oil spill and other things, but the main thing Eric and I did was keep drinking.  My favorites included the Fling Pale Ale and the Dark IPA, though there were several more that added to the flavor profile of Pyramid.  They did seem to be missing a dark beer though.  There was no porter or stout option, which would have been nice to try.  Still, the cold beer satisfied every bone in my body during the Seattle heat wave.  Thanks to Meech for chatting with us about the brewery, and I'll make sure to go back next time I'm in Seattle!

Now on to Seattle Part III for more debauchery and amazing cuisine!

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Friday, July 23, 2010

Seattle Part I: The Pike Brewing Company

I'd like to thank my cousin Erin for getting married in Seattle and giving me an excuse to revisit the Pacific Northwest.  Seattle is a town that is in the heart of the organic and sustainable food movements.  They also pride themselves on fresh, local seafood.  Oh, and don't forget about craft beer!  Yeah, I knew from the start that this was going to be a good trip.  My brother Eric, author of the BR Beer Scene, and I made sure to have a little extra time outside of the wedding festivities in order to check out the local scene.  Our Friday will be split into three separate blog posts, all chronicling our culinary and indulgent cultural experiences before we made it to the pre-wedding barbeque.  It was a long day, and you'll soon understand why I couldn't stomach a drink at the wedding reception the next day!

Our Friday started in downtown Seattle.  After a morning stroll down the hill we made it to the famous Pike Place Market.  The clock read 10 am, but the market already buzzed with fresh seafood, fruits, vegetables, cheeses, and, of course, tourists.  One thing that sucks about tourism is all the tourists.  Especially knowing that in the grand scheme of things, I'm one of them.  Still, I make a conscious effort to not travel like a stereotypical tourist, but alas, there are some things you just have to see.  The Pike Place Market is probably one of them.

 The Pike Place Market in Seattle, WA
Fresh Seafood at the Pike Place Market
After a quick tour, avoiding some crowds, and eating a few samples of fresh fruits and cheeses, we made our way to the neighboring Pike Brewing Company.  After patiently awaiting the opening establishment at 11 am, we took our seats at the bar and placed a beer order.  We both started with beer samplers to get a taste of what The Pike had to offer.

The Pike Brewery and the Beer Sampler
The sampler featured six 4oz brews arranged from light to dark on a wooden tray.  It started with the Naughty Nellie Organic Golden Ale and then continued with the Pike Pale Heirloom Amber Ale, the Pike IPA, the Kilt Lifter Scotch Ale, the Tandem Double Ale and the XXXXX Extra Stout.  The Naughty Nellie had a good malt and hop balance for a light beer, but it still left me thirsty for more flavor.  I really thought that Pike's beers got better as I moved down the sampler.  The Pike Pale has been brewed since they opened in 1989 and was a pretty decent American Pale Ale.  The Pike IPA had an extra burst of hops and a more floral nose.  I found it to be considerably better than the APA, and I don't think I'm alone.  Author Roger Protz called this beer one of "300 Beers to Try Before You Die."  I don't know if I'd go that far since it wasn't my favorite at The Pike, but it was still a good Pacific Northwest hop-fest.  If you'd like to check out the book, you can get it from Amazon here:

My favorite beer from the sampler may have been then Pike Kilt Lifter.  This Scotch Ale wasn't shy about the peated whisky malt that blended with the other malts and hops to give the beer excellent character.  At 6.5% ABV, the brew had plenty of kick to match the peat flavors.  The Pike Tandem Double Ale also impressed me.  It had a few add-ons like coriander and candy sugar to give it a more complex flavor while still allowing the malt and hops to shine.  Finally, the sampler finished with the XXXXX Extra Stout.  The dark roasted grains were evident in the chocolaty tones of the stout.  I found the beer to be particularly well flavored and balanced; a fantastic stout which I don't get every day in Louisiana.

The Pike's Ploughman's Plate
Needing something to snack on, Eric and I ordered a charcuterie platter, the Ploughman's Plate.  The gorgeous spread came with an assortment of artisan cured meats from Seattle's Salumi (ran by the parents of celebrity chef Mario Batali) and from La Quercia Artisan Cured Meats in Iowa.  The pate also included three local cheeses all from Washington and a homemade olive tapenade with crostinis.  Salumi's meats are incredible.  The salty and savory coppa is cured in sugar and salt and the spiced with cayenne and chili peppers.  But as good as the coppa and salami were, the proscuitto blew me away.  The La Quercia proscuitto provided amazing flavor and bold textures that usually aren't present in store bought meats.  It is salted, dried, and aged with only sun-dried sea salt added.  Delicious!  The cheese and olive spread rounded out the platter nicely.  After polishing off the Ploughman's Plate, the time had come for one more brew, then off to the rest of our Seattle adventure.

Pike Monk's Uncle Tripel Ale
Eric and I finished our Pike experience with a tasting of the Monk's Uncle Tripel Ale.  This beauty of a brewsky has a 9.00% ABV.  It is made with Belgian yeast and organic malt to produce a sensational ale in the style of the Belgian Abbey ales.  The beer is crisp and fruity with that distinctive Belgian taste.  The monks would be proud.

After leaving The Pike, we headed to the stadiums to give the Pyramid Alehouse a try, but you can read about that in Seattle Part II.

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Monday, July 19, 2010

Honeysuckle White and Shadybrook Farms Turkey Barbeque Challenge

I need your help!

Bite and Booze has entered the Honeysuckle White and Shadybrook Farms Turkey Barbeque Challenge!  I created a video of my barbeque creation in order to enter the contest.  Chef Eusebio Gongora and I teamed up to barbeque a turkey in about an hour on the Third Row Tailgaters' legendary BBQ pit and smoker.

Please visit the contest homepage and vote daily!  Just watch the Bite and Booze video, and click vote!


Jay D.

Also, PLEASE share with your friends!!!

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Thursday, July 15, 2010

Wine Tasting To Benefit Swine Palace

Bite and Booze is going event crazy right now!  Here's another one that I'll be attending, and I invite you to join me!!

Wine Tasting To Benefit Swine Palace

Sponsored by Maxwell’s Market

Swine Palace will hold its second Wine Tasting Event on July 22nd at 7:00pm.  Mawell’s Market will sponsor an evening of fine wines and hors d’oeuvres on the historic Reilly Theatre stage on the LSU Campus. The tasting will include 16 excellent champagne and wine varietals as part of a benefit to support Swine Palace, Baton Rouge’s only professional Equity theatre company. The evening will include a $5 raffle to win an instant Wine Cellar – 25 bottles of summer’s finest wine varietals. Also for sell will be mystery envelopes filled with wonderful gifts provided by some of the area’s finest hotels, arts organizations, restaurants, spas, and businesses.

Come early to enjoy the Champagne Reception at 6:30pm. Buy your tickets today on the Swine Palace Facebook page at

Wine Tasting to benefit Swine Palace 
Sponsored by Maxwell’s Market

July 22, 2010

Champagne Reception at 6:30pm

7:00pm – 9:00pm

Tickets $40 in advance/$50 at the door (limited tickets available)

Reilly Theatre, Tower Dr. - LSU Campus

For more information contact Jacquelyn Craddock at or at (225) 578-9277.

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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Meanwhile, Back at Cafe Du Monde

Join me at:


– a festive Food Story/Monologue Event 

If you have missed this outstanding event in the past, then make sure you look it up this time!  Due to the overwhelming response and standing room only performances this past weekend, Superstar Events-LA and Ralph & Kacoo’s are adding an additional performance of “Meanwhile, Back At Café Du Monde…” at Ralph & Kacoo’s at 6110 Bluebonnet Boulevard on Sunday, July 18th. “Meanwhile, Back At Café Du Monde…" is a unique, festive food story/monologue event about the 2nd Universal Language, FOOD, and how our lives revolve around food with Food Monologues written and performed by Baton Rouge personalities creating a “gumbo of deliciousness”! 

The show is created, directed and produced by Peggy Sweeney-McDonald and Jay Basist of Superstar Events-LA. The monologues will be written and performed by local personalities including Paul Arrigo, Pam Bordelon, Elizabeth Dent, Evan Duhy, Bert Fife, Colleen King, Michael Martin, Daron Stiles, Peggy Sweeney-McDonald, and Jim Urdiales. Tickets are $25 and include the show, buffet, dessert and coffee. Beignets will be provided by Rue Beignet. Drinks will be available for purchase. The doors will open at 5:30 PM with the show beginning at 6:45 PM. For reservations and tickets, please call Ralph & Kacoo’s at 225-766-2113. 

Let me know if you'll be going.  I'm going to be there for sure... and you could see me speaking at future events, but only time will tell! For more information about this event or other upcoming events including shows at the House of Blues in New Orleans, please visit!

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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Pimanyoli’s Sidewalk Cafe Dishes up Some Succulent Summer Barbeque

This article has been published in the July 2010 issue of Town Favorites Magazine. You can visit the Town Favorites website at, follow them on Twitter @TownFavorites, and find their magazines at over 150 restaurants and businesses around Baton Rouge! Pick up a copy today!

Pimanyoli’s Sidewalk Cafe Dishes up Some Succulent Summer Barbeque 

by Jay D. Ducote

In a strip mall along Airline Highway, across the street from the Klienpeter Dairy, sits an unimposing barbeque restaurant that exceeded all of my expectations… and I expected it to be great! Pimanyoli’s Sidewalk Cafe & Catering serves smoked meats, incredible sides, and terrific tamales to the various crowds that come through its doors. Piman and Yolanda (nicknamed Yoli, hence the name) are a husband and wife combo that got into the restaurant business after catering as a hobby. Both of them had professional jobs but made sure to cater together part time on the side. Deciding to follow their dreams, they opened Pimanyoli’s to focus on their culinary talents and share their delicious food with more people.

Piman, Yoli, and Jay Ducote at Pimanyoli's Sidewalk Cafe

However, following this dream did not prove to be easy. Pimanyoli’s opened its doors on June 23rd, 2008. Shortly after their debut in the Baton Rouge restaurant scene Hurricane Gustav hit, and their vision nearly faded away. Piman and Yolanda lost everything in their freezers as they, and most of Baton Rouge, were without power for over a week. Despite this setback, they got back to work after the storm and tried to make a name for themselves and their business. Still, Yoli describes the entire first year as a bust. “There were really rough times,” Yoli said. “But lately the word has gotten out and business has picked up.” Having just celebrated their second anniversary of serving great food, Pimanyoli’s has made it through the hard times. While they certainly struggled, things are now looking up.

I had the pleasure of dining at Pimanyoli’s recently and having a great conversation with Yoli about the business. As I entered the restaurant I wasn’t exactly sure what to think. It’s rare to find good barbeque in a strip mall, and even more rare to find a place in a strip mall that refers to itself as a sidewalk cafe. I looked around and there was no sidewalk to be seen. Something seemed odd on the outside, but after walking in, everything felt right. The ambiance of the newer restaurant welcomed me in and put me at ease. Piman and Yoli have created a casual, relaxed environment in a space where you can get a really nice lunch or dinner.

I took a seat near at the bar and began chatting with a gentleman who seemed to be thoroughly enjoying a pulled pork sandwich smothered in slaw. I asked him for his thoughts about the restaurant since he seemed like a regular customer. “Let me put it this way,” Jason Pitre said, “My wife told me to stop coming because I spend too much money here.” I hope that doesn’t come back to haunt him as his wife’s comments clearly didn’t keep him out of Pimanyoli’s for lunch that day! Perhaps this says something about the customer base that they have developed. I couldn’t wait to try some barbeque!

Piman's Meat Plate with Pulled Pork, Brisket, and Ribs

Piman brought out a plate with ribs, pulled pork, and brisket. Yoli followed with a sampling of green beans, baked beans, potato salad, and mac & cheese. I started salivating at first sight and found it difficult to wait for Eric to take the pictures before digging in. The green beans were reasonably normal aside from the huge chunks of tender ham that filled up the bowl. The recipe for Yoli’s baked beans has been used for 27 years, and I can understand why. The deliciously sweet beans had enough brown sugar and bacon to make shoe leather taste good, though at the same time I still tasted the beautifully prepared beans in every bite. The potato salad is a specialty of Piman, who also works the smoker and grill. It didn’t blow me away, but the homemade potato salad certainly did not disappoint. Finally, the mac & cheese might have stolen the show from the other sides. The creamy creation contained a blend of two cheeses, though Yoli wouldn’t tell me more than that. The recipe had been passed down from her mom and she swore it to secrecy, only adding that “it didn’t come from a blue box or a yellow box!” There is no doubt about that.

Green Beans, Baked Beans, Potato Salad, and Mac & Cheese Fill a Plate of Sides

I started the main course with all little taste of pulled pork and brisket from Piman’s meat plate. The pulled pork tasted pretty ordinary. It needed a little of Piman’s homemade barbeque sauce featuring 21 ingredients to kick it up a little. This is the only sauce at Pimanyoli’s, and for good reason. It is a delightful vinegar-based sauce that had sweet and tangy elements with a unique flavor. The recommendation is to get the pulled pork on a sandwich, topped with slaw, and smothered in sauce. The brisket at Pimanyoli’s is actually their top seller. This surprises me a bit because I found the brisket to be dry and crumbly. Perhaps this is preferable for some eaters, but I’m looking for a moist brisket that pulls apart but doesn’t crumble in your hands.

A Full Rack of St. Louis Style Ribs at Pimanyoli's

The main reason I wanted to try Pimanyoli’s was the ribs. I heard they had some of the best in town, and being an extreme lover of ribs, I thought I should go check it out for myself. Piman smokes his St. Louis style ribs (and the rest of this barbeque) with Louisiana pecan wood. I’ve always loved pecan for smoking because of its mild, sweet taste. The ribs are coated in a rub that Piman puts together himself and served with the sauce on the side, as it really should be. I wish more barbeque restaurants would figure that out. To me, when you sauce ribs for the customer it says that you are trying to hide something. Letting the customer decide the fate of the barbeque sauce says, “Here are my ribs, they are good, but eat them wet or dry as you please.” The ribs at Pimanyoli’s were salty and mildly spicy. They had just enough heat to tingle the tongue without being noticeably hot. The meat pulled off the bone with a gentle tug from the incisors. Again, this is how true ribs should be. I don’t want my rib meat to fall off just from handling it. Instead, a little pull should slide the meat clean off the bone. The ribs were deliciously moist and well seasoned and were so tender that they nearly melted in my mouth. They exceeded all of my expectations about ribs that I could find anywhere in Baton Rouge, and that is saying something!

Jay Ducote Digs Into a Succulent Rib

Yoli capped our meal off with some bread pudding and apple cobbler. The bread pudding had a light and airy consistency with raisins, nutmeg, and a homemade vanilla rum sauce. The cobbler featured fresh apples that had been cooked down into soft chunks of sweet fruit that filled every bite. Both desserts were absolutely delicious and are worthy of capping off any meal at Pimanyoli’s.

Bread Pudding with Vanilla Rum Sauce

The trip to Pimanyoli’s resurrected my feelings about Baton Rouge barbeque. There are some good places in town, but for the most part few of them are truly great. While the brisket left a little to be desire for my taste buds, the ribs absolutely blew me away and were exactly what I hoped to find in my Baton Rouge culinary journeys. Pimanyoli’s is well on its way to becoming on Baton Rouge’s “Town Favorites!”

Jay D. Ducote is the author of the blog Bite and Booze, which chronicles his culinary and indulgent cultural adventures around Baton Rouge, South Louisiana, and the world. It can be found at You can also reach him by email at and follow him on Twitter @biteandbooze.

Thanks to Eric Ducote of for taking all the pictures for this article.

Pimanyoli's Sidewalk Cafe on Urbanspoon

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Sunday, July 11, 2010

Spain - The 2010 FIFA World Cup Bites and Boozes


Spain faces The Netherlands today in the World Cup final, so it is today that we'll look at some Bites and Boozes from España. A fitting finale to the world tour, Spanish cuisine is an honest and non-pretentious cuisine that is loyal to its regions with their specialties and has remained rather uninfluenced by its culinary neighbors. It is not known for its elegance nor for fine cheeses or baked goods, but rather for its rustic approach to the Spanish passion of food. The national dish - the cocido - and well known favorites such as Iberian ham, paella, and tapas are mostly where the Spanish cuisine excels.  Of course, you can always make sure to drink plenty of sherry and sangria and then worry about food after your siesta!

Spanish stews or cocidos, as they are called in Spanish, are typical main dishes in Spain, particularly in the central and northern regions of Spain, typically consisting of meats, sausages, vegetables and garbanzo beans or chickpeas. The most famous is the Cocido Madrileño or Madrid Stew. In this version beef, ham, salt pork, chorizo, morcilla, a stewing chicken, garbanzos, potatoes, cabbage and carrots are the ingredients besides onion and garlic. Often a pig's trotter and a marrow bone and variations of other seasonal vegetables are included. One variation involves the broth of the cocido served as soup before, often with Spanish pasta in it.

Paella is a Spanish dish from the region of Valencia.  The rice dish that originated in its modern form in the mid-19th century near lake Albufera, a lagoon in Valencia, on the east coast of Spain. Many non-Spaniards view paella as Spain's national dish, but most Spaniards consider it to be a regional Valencian dish. Valencians, in turn, regard paella as one of their identifying symbols. There are three widely known types of paella: Valencian paella (Spanish: paella valenciana), seafood paella (Spanish: paella de marisco) and mixed paella (Spanish: paella mixta), but there are many others as well. Valencian paella consists of white rice, green vegetables, meat (rabbit, chicken, duck), land snails, beans and seasoning. Seafood paella replaces meat and snails with seafood and omits beans and green vegetables. Mixed paella is a free-style combination of meat, seafood, vegetables and sometimes beans. Most paella chefs use calasparra or bomba rices for this dish. Other key ingredients include saffron and olive oil.

Sherry is a fortified wine made from white grapes that are grown near the town of Jerez, Spain. In Spanish, it is called vino de Jerez. After fermentation is complete, sherry is fortified with brandy. Because the fortification takes place after fermentation, most sherries are initially dry, with any sweetness being added later. In contrast,port wine (for example) is fortified halfway through its fermentation, which stops the process so that not all of the sugar is turned into alcohol. Sherry is produced in a variety of styles, ranging from dry, light versions such as finos to darker and heavier versions known as olorosos, all made from the Palomino grape. Sweet dessert wines are also made, from Pedro Ximenez or Moscatel grapes. Sherry is regarded by many wine writers as "under-appreciated" and a "neglected wine treasure".

Sangria (Spanish: sangría; meaning "bloodletting") is a wine punch typical of Spain. It normally consists of
a light, dry, young, acidic, unoaked, fruit forward red wine, usually from the province of Rioja in Spain and of the Tempranillo or Grenache varieties; other reds that work well include French wines such as Gamay or Beaujolais, and Italian wines such as Grignolino, Bardolino, Dolcetto, Freisa, or Lambrusco.  Added to teh wine is chopped or sliced fruit (often orange, lemon, apple, peach, berries, pineapple; occasionally melon, grape, or mango), a sweetener such as honey, sugar, simple syrup, orange juice, and/or fruit nectar, a small amount of added brandy, triple sec, or other spirits, and ice.  Some recipes call for carbonated soda to be added to the punch as well.