Thursday, April 30, 2015

Brandi Lauck: Warden of Whiskey

by Blair "B-Rex" Loup

Born in Virginia and raised on a farm in North Carolina, co-owner of Lock and Key Whiskey Bar Brandi Lauck transplanted to Louisiana to be a part of Playmakers of Baton Rouge and to be close to family. The little girl who grew up showing horses discovered a passion for theater in her teen years.

After working in theater companies in Charlotte, North Carolina, and in Baton Rouge, her focus shifted to teaching art classes to at-risk youth in the Capital City.

“I come from an art background, but I’ve always had a passion for whiskey," Brandi said. "My family is Irish, so it’s in our blood.”

Brandi eventually formed a one-woman show in the form of a small marketing and design company while raising her first child. She enjoyed running her own business so much that when she and her husband Arthur Lauck decided to open Lock and Key Whiskey Bar, she knew they made the right decision.

"It’s always been Arthur’s dream to own a bar, but what’s really cool is that it’s become an outlet for the creativity and the passion that I have for women and their understanding of whiskey," she said. "This has been a great opportunity to ‘be on stage’ and bring my knowledge of whiskey to other females that are interested.”

Brandi Lauck hanging out behind the bar while Arthur rambles on about whiskey
Brandi Lauck hanging out behind the bar while Arthur rambles on about whiskey

Brandi stressed that charity work has also always been an interest of hers and the venue has given them the opportunity to host events that benefit the community. They’ve already hosted some food drives and silent auction events, but Brandi has future plans to gather donations to support the Baton Rouge Crisis Center at her Women and Whiskey events. The Baton Rouge Crisis Center has helped Brandi through some tough times, and she’s hopeful the ladies who attend these free events will be willing to help her give back.

Brandi said Lock and Key is thriving and getting more attention every day. Brandi is as much a part of that as “Whiskey-pedia” Arthur. She’s a respected figure among women in the industry, and she knows her stuff, but it wasn’t always so easy. Like many women in the industry, Brandi had to earn the respect of investors and distributor reps overtime.

What’s unfortunate (I’ve also had the displeasure of experiencing this) is that male counterparts are trusted and respected immediately while women are required to build up trust over time.

“We run our business together, but at the same time, I feel like I’ve had my own ladder I’ve had to climb," Brandi said. "Arthur has been nothing but supportive, and we make a great team.”

Nevertheless, Brandi’s Women and Whiskey program has grown tremendously since its beginning. Now is a great time for women in the whiskey industry. There are more and more women being appointed to master distiller positions all over the world. It is a scientific fact that women have more taste buds and can therefore taste whiskey better than men. That being said, if you are a woman in the Baton Rouge area, head to Lock and Key the third Wednesday of every month and taste some delicious whiskey for free!

This post is part of a monthly series highlighting Louisiana women in the business of booze. Previous features include:

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The Grandstand Julep and the Derby: Whisk(e)y Wednesday presented by Lock & Key

The Grandstand Julep
The Grandstand Julep
As the 141st annual Kentucky Derby approaches this Saturday, the Wild Turkey family is excited to transport everybody to one of their favorite events of the year. Whether at Churchill Downs or in your living room, Master Distillers Jimmy and Eddie Russell encourage you to enjoy the most exciting two minutes in sports with the most classic of Kentucky Bourbon cocktails – the Mint Julep.

This take on the Julep was inspired by the daring fashion of the Kentucky Derby and will deliver an unexpected twist to your guests when hosting a Derby party. With the use of bright flavors like grapefruit and lemon and a little Cynar®, an artichoke liqueur, Wild Turkey has taken this classic drink to a whole new level.

Bourbon is a personal passion at Wild Turkey. They have the only pair of father and son Master Distillers in Kentucky who bring their combined 95 years of experience at the distillery to every aspect of crafting our whiskey. Also, they use only the deepest char no. 4 barrels that achieves a depth of flavor rich with vanilla and caramel, with notes of honey, brown sugar, and a hint of tobacco.

The recipe for this refreshing Bourbon-forward drink calls for our premium Wild Turkey® 101 Bourbon, fresh fruit juice, lots of fresh mint from the garden and a little bit of time to sit down, sip up and enjoy.

Grandstand Julep

1 ½ oz. Cynar®
¾ oz. Wild Turkey 101® Bourbon
½ oz. Simple Syrup
½ oz. Fresh Lemon Juice
½ oz. Fresh Grapefruit Juice
12 Mint Leaves
2 oz. Soda Water
2 Dashes Fee Brother’s Grapefruit Bitters

In a Julep cup or rocks glass add mint and all ingredients except soda water and bitters. Gently muddle, add ice then soda and top with bitters.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Munching on a Monday: Mole at Mestizo

by Blair "B-Rex" Loup

Mole (mow-lay) is one of those foods on a menu I can never pass up. It's a personal rule, you know, like when a Spice Girls song pops up on my playlist, I listen to it. Last Monday, Jay and I were talking about a green mole dish that Jim Urdiales' Mestizo presented at Crawfête and decided to head there for lunch. Jim happened to be there and we all started talking about moles. One thing lead to another, and Jim wound up putting us in a food coma for the rest of the afternoon. 

We tried a green and red mole with two different proteins and I honestly can't tell you which one I enjoyed more.

The red mole, served over a grilled chicken breast, had that slightly bitter ever-so-sweet sweet balance working with a velvety texture; in the words of Jay Ducote, it was "money." A mound of Spanish rice, pico, and sautéed onions laid on the plate, but who has time to think about rice when there are pieces of fried plantain all over the place? The sweetness of the the fried plantain combined with the bold flavors in the mole left me satisfied...but wait, there's more!

Mole con Pollo at Mestizo
Mole con Pollo at Mestizo

Just like Jim, the food at Mestizo is fun. The green mole topped this crazy fresh stacked enchilada/Mexican lasagna-type dish. Instead of being rolled inside of the tortilla, the flavors were stacked: fresh spinach, chunks of feta, and succulent shrimp. It was all so fresh and light, totally different from the richness of the red mole, but totally flavorful. I loved the fresh spinach inside, it just brightened the entire dish with the zesty tomatillo in the mole.

Green Mole at Mestizo
Green Mole at Mestizo

Jim and his executive chef, Stephany Novoa are creative, fun, and full of personality, and you can taste it in the dishes they create. Sometimes it's nice to step out of the Tex-Mex slump and try some of that same "south of the border" flare fusing with Louisiana cuisine.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Provisions and Traditions: The Beginning of a True Louisiana Collaboration

by Blair "B-Rex" Loup

Great Raft Brewing out of Shreveport cranks out some of the finest beers in the state. Their new collaboration with the John Besh Restaurant Group is something I’m particularly jazzed about.

Co-owners Andrew and Lindsay Nations, along with their brewmaster Harvey Kenney, have released their first beer in a series of four to go with the different styles of cooking at each Besh restaurant.

This is all being done in the spirit of bringing together the two things Louisiana loves most: food and beer. For every bottle sold, Great Raft Brewing will donate one dollar to the John Besh Foundation, which helps preserve the rich culinary history of Louisiana.

Volume One: Provisions and Traditions, A Chef Brian Landry Collaboration
Volume One: Provisions and Traditions, A Chef Brian Landry Collaboration

Volume One: Provisions and Traditions is a collaboration with Borgne’s Chef Brian Landry. The dry-hopped Kölsch made with Louisiana Cajun Country Rice pours with a thick white head that doesn’t disappear. Like a good Kölsch, there’s a bready maltiness up front, but the hops come through on the back end. I like that there’s a sort of muted citrus pop with some grapefruit notes after the cracker-like malts in the beginning. All of the flavor notes are balanced well, and the beer is well-carbonated which offers a slight effervescence.

I’m looking forward to the next collaboration release, which shouldn’t be too far away. Until then, you can enjoy Chef Brian Landry’s dishes at Borgne in New Orleans with this delicious Great Raft Beer!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Sharp Dressed Man: Whisk(e)y Wednesday presented by Lock & Key

Sharp Dressed Man at Lock & Key
Sharp Dressed Man at Lock & Key
One of the newest cocktails to grace the menu at the Lock & Key Whiskey Bar is the properly named Sharp Dressed Man. The simple but refreshing take on an Old Fashioned begins its life with a house-made ginger simple syrup. The ginger adds a touch of floral spice that takes the drink in a unique direction. A few dashes of Angostura bitters and a generous pour of a peppery bourbon make this whiskey drink the real deal. It is then garnished with an orange peel and served over a new hand cut crystal clear ice block. Lock & Key is getting fancy!

You may notice that there is no muddled orange and cherry at the bottom of this glass. Not to worry, though, as this is really the appropriate way to make an Old Fashioned. Bitters, sugar and a brown spirit do the trick. The rest if just lagniappe.

The Sharp Dressed Man is definitely worth a try next time you're at Lock & Key!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Scary Good: L'Auberge Baton Rouge's 18 Steak Stalks Our Taste Buds

by Blair "B-Rex" Loup

Gulf Shrimp Mousse with Choupique Caviar  paired with the Hall Sauvignon Blanc
Gulf Shrimp Mousse with Choupique Caviar
paired with the Hall Sauvignon Blanc
Maybe it’s just me, but every time I drive onto the L’Auberge Baton Rouge property, I feel extravagant. I’ve visited L’Auberge for a few drinks in Edge with live music, hung out at the rooftop pool during the summer at their Sunset Society events, attended grandiose events like Fête Rouge, and I’ve even tried my hand at gambling (not my forte). However, some of my favorite experiences have revolved around nothing more than a good meal. With wine, of course.

18 Steak has been hosting wine dinners regularly for the past few months and they’ve been delightful. In March, the lovely Julie Collins, PR professional extraordinaire at L'Auberge, invited Jay and me to experience their Hall Family Wine Dinner. The evening kicked off with a stellar glass of Hall’s Sauvignon Blanc and three different passed hors d’oeuvres: Gulf Shrimp Mousse with Choupique Caviar, Spicy Hummus and Toast, and Local Tuna Tartar. Incidentally, a bottle of the citrusy Sauvignon Blanc sat on our table for me to take home. They know how to take care of you over at L’Auberge.

If you know anything about my food loves, you know I absolutely adore most vegetables that many people hate. Beets are my number one favorite vegetable and Brussels sprouts run a close second. When I looked at the menu on our table, I got the feeling Executive Chef, Jared Tees and Pastry Chef Arlety Estevez had my apartment bugged.

First up: baby beet salad with frisée, salata ricotta, and Meyer lemon paired with the Walt La Brisa Sonoma Chardonnay 2012. Many people don’t like beets because they “taste like dirt” which is a valid deduction, but I love the earthiness of the beets with the sharp spiciness of the frisée. The chardonnay was funky and fresh all at the same time, which paired perfectly with the salad. I only wish they had given me all of the beets.

Baby Beet Salad with Frisée, Salata Ricotta, and Meyer Lemon Paired with the Walt La Brisa Sonoma Chardonnay 2012
Baby Beet Salad with Frisée, Salata Ricotta, and Meyer Lemon
Paired with the Walt La Brisa Sonoma Chardonnay 2012

Next we tried some Louisiana roasted oysters casino with bacon, Parmesan, and Pernod paired with the Walt Blue Jay Anderson Valley Pinot Noir 2012. I found this pinot to be bolder than most on the nose followed with floral notes including some heavier dry, dark fruit flavors. The oysters were sharp and earthy, so these flavors worked well together.

Louisiana Roasted Oysters Casino with bacon, Parmesan, and Pernod Paired with the Walt Blue Jay Anderson Valley Pinot Noir 2012
Louisiana Roasted Oysters Casino with bacon, Parmesan, and Pernod
Paired with the Walt Blue Jay Anderson Valley Pinot Noir 2012

The main course is further evidence that L’Auberge is stalking my tastebuds: kumquat braised short ribs and foie gras with baby root vegetables and spaetzel paired with the Hall Jack’s Masterpiece Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 (this wine is only available at the winery). I am an absolute sucker for root vegetables. I’m also that person who looks beyond the process and loves foie gras, and braised short ribs are my jam. Needless to say, I enjoyed this course tremendously. The kumquat didn’t quite come across in the short ribs, but the dish, in harmony with the earthy and bold cabernet, still lived up to the hype I gave it in my head.

Kumquat Braised Short Ribs and Foie Gras with Baby Root Vegetables and Spatzel Paired with the Hall Jack's Masterpiece Cabernet Sauvignon 2012
Kumquat Braised Short Ribs and Foie Gras with Baby Root Vegetables and Spatzel
Paired with the Hall Jack's Masterpiece Cabernet Sauvignon 2012

Here’s where things get tricky. I don’t super enjoy desserts that are overly sweet unless they’re loaded with chocolate, but for the past two wine dinners at L’Auberge, Pastry Chef Arlety Estevez has given me desserts that are so delightfully toned down and delicious. Paired with the Hall Napa Cabernet Sauvignon 2012, the plum almond tart with cinnamon gelato and orange blossom caramel made all the sense in the world. Lightly sweet and slightly fruity, the heavy tannins of the cabernet set all of the flavors off like land mines in my mouth.

Plum Almond Tart, Cinnamon Gelato, and Orange Blossom Caramel Paired with the Hall Napa Cabernet Sauvignon 2012
Plum Almond Tart, Cinnamon Gelato, and Orange Blossom Caramel
Paired with the Hall Napa Cabernet Sauvignon 2012

I look forward to another delectable dining experience at 18 Steak this Wednesday at their Heaven Hill Bourbon Dinner! Make your reservations for it today and be on the lookout for more wine dinners and other events at L’Auberge; they’re always up to something!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Experimentally Delectable: Dinner Lab's First Event in the Capital City

The Dinner Lab set up at the Olde Town Emporium in Baton Rouge, LA
The Dinner Lab set up at the Olde Town Emporium in Baton Rouge, LA

by Blair "B-Rex" Loup

Team Bite and Booze couldn’t be more excited to have something like Dinner Lab come to Baton Rouge. Dinner Lab strives to highlight up and coming chefs from all over the country with pop-up dinners featuring experimental menus in off-the-wall venues.

Dinner Lab is a simple, brilliant idea. Once you sign up for membership, you gain access to buy tickets to dinners in Baton Rouge or in any of the other 24 cities Dinner Lab operates in. They handle the logistics, the chef shows up to cook, and you shove delicious food in your mouth.

Jay and I had the opportunity to attend their first event in Baton Rouge at the beginning of April, and it was everything I imagined it would be: cool menu, cool space, and cool chef.

I feel it necessary to inform you that as a diner, I am down for anything. I will taste almost everything at least twice. While Dinner Lab's Culinary Director, Chef Mario A. Rodriguez, didn't have anything super out of the ordinary on his menu aside from goat and fish dumplings, I’ve learned throughout my time here at Bite and Booze that some people are more cautious about what they’re willing to eat and where they’re willing to eat it. I, on the other hand, am an adventurous eater and do not discriminate against sketchy places.

Having that said, I found myself to be perfectly comfortable sitting in the Olde Town Emporium eating a Malaysian menu inspired by dishes Chef Mario learned in New York City kitchens.

As a logistics company, they killed it: four separate seatings of sixty people each over the course of two nights. From our vantage point as diners it seemed that everything got executed flawlessly.

The signature cocktail of the evening prepared our palates for the courses to come and the menu lived up to the Dinner Lab hype that's been buzzing around town these past few months. We got some sensational food with some bold flavors that are hard to find around here. The clams and goat stood out as the highlight of the meal. If I'm being picky, I thought the menu contained too much pineapple. Three of the five courses had a pineapple element. In one case I found it overpowering (the salad), in the second it didn't truly belong (the soup), and in the third the pineapple absolutely made sense (with the goat). Overall, the night was a blast and I'm looking forward to future Dinner Labs in Baton Rouge.

First Course: Green Papaya & Lychee Salad with Fried Peanuts and Cilantro Crema
First Course: Green Papaya & Lychee Salad with Fried Peanuts and Cilantro Crema

Second Course: Red Chili Littleneck Clams with Chinese Sausage and Green Onion
Second Course: Red Chili Littleneck Clams with Chinese Sausage and Green Onion

Third Course: Tamarind Stew with Fish Dumplings, Rice Noodles, and Red Chilies
Third Course: Tamarind Stew with Fish Dumplings, Rice Noodles, and Red Chilies

Fourth Course: Goat Rendang with Coconut Rice, Pickled Pineapple, and Kaffir Lime
Fourth Course: Goat Rendang with Coconut Rice, Pickled Pineapple, and Kaffir Lime

Fifth Course: Coconut Panna Cotta with Rice Cake, Ginger Granita, and Cashew Crumble
Fifth Course: Coconut Panna Cotta with Rice Cake, Ginger Granita, and Cashew Crumble

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Women and Whiskey Features the Sazerac: Whisk(e)y Wednesday presented by Lock & Key

The Lock & Key Whiskey Bar may have a new sign, but that doesn't mean anything will change on the inside. If you're a lady and you've been missing the Women and Whiskey events, do yourself a favor and head over to Lock & Key this evening. They'll have special guests to come in to teach everyone the history of the Sazerac, Louisiana's official cocktail, along with a demonstration on how to make your very own.

Each month, Women and Whiskey is lead by Brandi Bostic Lauck, one of the owners of the whiskey bar. She organizes this special monthly tasting in order to provide an opportunity for women to come learn about whiskey with other women. Socially, whiskey is usually associated with the male gender and Brandi is looking to change that by providing women with vocabulary and facts they need in order to "talk like a man about whiskey." Forget everything you knew about girls night, because Brandi is going to hit you with free whiskey tastings, door prizes, and knowledge.

It all starts at 6:30 PM on one Wednesday a month at Lock & Key, and the April event is tonight (4/15).

Monday, April 13, 2015

Between Two Shells: Raw Gulf Oysters and Fresh Margaritas

by Blair Loup aka BRFluff

A Louisiana Gulf Oyster paired with a Fresh Margarita at Jolie Pearl
A Raw Gulf Oyster paired with a Fresh Margarita at Jolie Pearl
I remember as a child growing up in Southwest Louisiana, all of the men in my family gathered around a table slurping oysters out of shells at crawfish boils and fish fries. When my dad handed me my first Gulf oyster he encouraged me to try it without crackers and cocktail sauce. I looked at this slimy thing with a few drops of Tabasco and a squeeze of lemon cautiously, then knocked it back in true YOLO fashion (sorry not sorry). I’ve been a sucker for raw oysters ever since. When Jolie Pearl Oyster Bar opened up in downtown Baton Rouge I was excited to taste oysters from other areas for the first time.

Jolie Pearl offers a wide range of raw, baked, and chargrilled oysters and we at Bite and Booze have made it our self-serving mission to pair each of these with a delicious craft beer, wine, or one of Jolie Pearl’s stellar cocktails.

While I enjoy trying different types of oysters, the Gulf oyster tastes nostalgic to me for obvious reasons. It’s creamy, briny, and slightly murky (which is where the flavor comes from); add to that a little pop from a spicy horseradish sauce and you’ve got yourself a bite of Louisiana. Most of the time I would pair this with a beer, but I couldn’t pass up the fresh margarita. This version is made with freshly squeezed lemon, lime, and orange juices in addition to a little agave nectar. There’s something about the taste of fresh citrus and tequila with a sugar/salt rim paired with a freshly shucked Gulf oyster that makes me feel like I’m in one of those wind machines with money flying all around.

It’s a good time at Jolie Pearl Oyster Bar. There’s a vinyl happy hour (because yas) Monday-Friday from 4-7pm, and live music most Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights.

We’ve only shucked the surface with these pairings, so check back here every month for more Bite and Booze pairings from Jolie Pearl Oyster Bar!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Burt Reynolds' Mustache: Whisk(e)y Wednesday presented by Lock & Key

Burt Reynolds' Mustache at Lock & Key
Burt Reynolds' Mustache at Lock & Key
Few things are as legendary as Burt Reynolds' mustache. Perhaps a Hulk Hogan leg drop or Britney Spears in a school girl outfit could come close, but still, that is one Hell of a mustache. In fact, it is such the 'stache that the Lock & Key Whiskey Bar named a cocktail after it. Part bourbon, part Scotch, and part other elixirs, the cocktail presents a smokey, whiskey forward balance that is great for sipping with or without upper lip hair.

The drink begins with a generous pour of Buffalo Trace bourbon. The skilled barkeeps at Lock & Key precisely add dry vermouth, simple syrup, B&B brandy, and Laphroaig 10 yr single malt Scotch to the mixture then pour it over a large square ice cube in a round rocks glass. The cocktail looks simple. It isn't garnished with an herb garden or served up where expectations are for the drinker to extend a pinky while sipping. Instead, the classic whiskey drink presentation is exactly how Burt Reynolds and his mustache would want it. And once you draw it to your tongue, your taste buds will tell you that the drink is anything but simple. There's a touch of sweetness that gets rounded out by the smoke from the Scotch. Every ingredient plays its role, and you'll be looking forward to ordering another.

Burt Reynolds and his famous mustache
Burt Reynolds and his famous mustache

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

My First Thoughts on Crispy Catch

by Jay D. Ducote

First things first: I enjoyed the food. No, it didn't stand out as revolutionary, inventive, or inspired. Then again, I don't believe anybody ever said that it would be. Crispy Catch is what it is – a place to get fried catfish fingers, fries, hushpuppies (or as they call them, corn bobbers), and boudin balls akin to Tony's Seafood, which are some of the most snackable and magical boudin balls in the world. They finished second in our ranking of Baton Rouge balls. The restaurant itself is a new fast-casual concept seeking to bring the flavors of Louisiana to a hungry audience.

Immediately upon walking up to the restaurant that has been built out of the old, iconic Kean's Dry Cleaning building near the Perkins Road overpass, you get the sense that they are going for something bigger than just one location. The branding screams corporate, like they've already designed their logo and color palate to expand to numerous locations. It may work. There is clear evidence of utilizing a Raising Cane's model, which certainly paid dividends for them.

Catfish Fingers at the new Crispy Catch on Perkins

Like Cane's, which started at the nearby North Gates of LSU, Crispy Catch offers a welcoming environment and a simple menu. There are four main combinations to order with different amounts of fried catfish and extras. They also offer fish tacos, which I definitely want to try but haven't yet. I opted for the Surf & Turf combo – the meal that came with boudin balls in addition to the catfish, fries, cole slaw, and hush puppies. The total for the entire plate and a drink came out to just over $13.

Based on the way the combo came out on a plate with fries and catfish fingers, I couldn't help but to think of Cane's and their chicken fingers with crinkle cut fries. They even had their signature "Reel Sauce," a remoulade style sauce very similar to Cane's Sauce. All in all, the fries weren't all that much to speak of, though they were fries, and certainly not bad. They were plentiful and thin cut, but not to the point of being shoestring.The cole slaw offered very little to my taste buds, though I suppose a little tang to go with all the fried food isn't bad.

Compared to Cane's (not they have to be compared to Cane's, but they brought the compare and contrast on themselves), I noticed the absence of fresh squeezed lemonade and really good sweet tea. The beverage options were pretty much limited to a Coca-Cola lineup of fountain drinks, which I feel can be improved upon. If you want to be a local joint, bring in a cooler with some Swamp Pop and other regional beverages. If the idea is to build something that can be scaled to many locations, and you're copying Cane's anyway, don't underestimate the value of the beverages.

Another thing that makes Crispy Catch fast-casual but not necessarily "fast food" is that there is no drive through. Nothing wrong with that, though the convenience sales to night-owls in the overpass area could be a good business model. That being said, as of now the hours at Crispy Catch don't go into the late night market anyway.

The star of the show definitely proved to be the fried fish, with a nod to the boudin balls as well. At the end of the day, a place is judged on what they truly claim to be good at, and at Crispy Catch that's the USA farm raised catfish fingers. The don't do any whole filets of catfish. They don't fry shrimp or any other Louisiana seafood. The star of their limited menu is the catfish, and it lived up to expectations. The slender strips of catfish are marinated and battered in seasoned flour. It is a departure from the more common cornmeal style fish fry base around here, but I didn't mind. The catfish indeed had plenty of crispiness. The reel sauce and the house tartar sauce were both great dips for the catfish.

I also can't complain about the hush puppies or boudin balls. I'd even go back for the boudin balls. They really are very similar to Tony's, which again, is good in my book. In fairness, the owners of Crispy Catch are tied to the family that owns Tony's, though they no long share any stock in the famous seafood market. Still, I can see why if they wanted to put boudin balls on the menu that they'd go with a replica of the Italian-inspired boudin ball.

I can see myself going back to Crispy Catch, but I don't know how often. The very limited menu will make it hard to go often. And the fact that they aren't as convenient nor do they have all the intangibles as Cane's means they won't really get the quick-meal-on-my-way-home kind of business. And as much as I've compared Crispy Catch to Raising Cane's, it is missing perhaps the most important element: the "One Love" motto and attitude. I didn't feel it. I just had a decent fried catfish platter, but nothing else about the experience would make me identify with the brand. Perhaps in time they'll find their own motto.

Crispy Catch on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Who makes the best American whiskey? - Whisk(e)y Wednesday presented by Lock & Key

Thomas H. Handy Sazerac Rye Whiskey
Thomas H. Handy Sazerac Rye Whiskey
Last week I wrote about the best single malt whisky in the world for 2015 according to Whisky Magazine's World Whiskies Awards. For this week's Whisk(e)y Wednesday posted, presented by Baton Rouge's Lock & Key Whiskey Bar, I wanted to reveal the results of the American Whiskey category.

For starters, the Balcones Texas Single Malt represented America in the single malt category. The Son of Liberty Seasonal Hop Flavored Whiskey also too the American spot in the flavored whiskey category.

For Best American Whiskey, the categories are best bourbon, best non-bourbon, best rye, and best wheat whiskey. The Pappy Van Winkle's Family Reserve 20 Year won best bourbon, proving that their hype isn't solely based on supply and demand. The Mellow Corn Kentucky Straight Corn whiskey won for best non-bourbon. The Thomas H. Handy Sazerac Straight Rye Whiskey took the prize in the rye category while the Parker's Heritage Collection Kentucky Straight Wheat Whiskey won its round. Out of those finalists, the Thomas H. Handy Sazerac Rye took home the best American Whiskey. Congrats to them! Oh, and you can find it at the Lock & Key Whiskey Bar!