Monday, June 29, 2015

The Best Things I Ate on My SoCal Sojourn

by Sydney "Brown Nose" Blanchard

Long before I began working for Jay, I had an appreciation for good food.

Fun fact: The cover letter I wrote when applying to intern at Bite and Booze was about my love for specialty meats. 

I attribute this love to two things: my Cajun heritage and growing up in Baton Rouge where eating out is considered weekend entertainment. 

Among my friends, I'm the token "food snob." I don't care how great the drink specials are at Chili's, I'm not paying good money for something that came from the freezer and was heated in a microwave.

Needless to say, when I planned my post-graduation California vacation, my biggest concern was food.

My girlfriend Ryan and I would be flying to A-Camp two days early to explore Southern California a bit before our week-long stay in the mountains of Angelus Oaks.

Check me out on the bottom left with some of my fellow campers on a hike

If movies/media have taught me anything about California, it's that everyone is vegan and that smoothies and fruit-infused water are a primary source of nutrition. 

And that terrified me. 

I'm happy to report we were pleasantly surprised by the food we ate in Los Angeles, Santa Monica and Long Beach.

It's a good thing we got our gourmand on before camp, because the camp kitchen was kosher, and they tried to pass off nachos for lunch one day. We literally starved the whole week.

Without further adieu, here's a list of some of the best things I ate in my two days in SoCal:

Santa Monica | Tacos Por Favor

The Tacos Por Favor spread

Like all great Mexican restaurants, Tacos Por Favor looks sketchy as hell from the outside. Big red block letters spell out the restaurant's name on its teal blue storefront, and mismatched chairs and tables make up the interior decor.

Chorizo and cheese soft taco at Tacos Por Favor
But $30 fed me, Ryan, and our friend/tour guide Michael at Tacos Por Favor. Don't assume their Taco Bell prices mean Taco Bell quality. The tacos were amazing.

We ordered a variety of tacos a la carte: potato, chorizo, and al pastor, all topped with salsa, onions and cilantro. The chorizo and cheese taco was my favorite – seasoned, crispy, and topped with a dollop of guacamole, it made the perfect meal after a 4-hour flight following three hours of sleep.

I highly recommend this tiny, hole-in-the-wall joint for a cheap and satisfying meal.

Los Angeles | In-N-Out

If you've ever scrolled through Tumblr, you've seen the stylized, filtered images of In-N-Out burgers and fries that are ubiquitous among the cool California teens of the blogosphere. 

The chain burger restaurant has made a name for itself by serving nothing but high-quality (for fast food) burgers and by paying their employees a livable wage. 

Fast food burgers don't usually excite me, but when in California, do as the Californians do. 

Burgers and fries from In-N-Out at Signal Hill in Los Angeles
We got a couple Double Doubles and one Animal Style burger (items on their not-so-secret "secret" menu), along with regular fries and a couple milkshakes. I wasn't blown away by the burgers, and the fries were over-cooked and under salted in my opinion, but the customer service and speed at which our food got to us was notable.

Also, they hooked us up with some rad paper In-N-Out hats. Points all around. 

Long Beach | Tee's Donuts 

Fruit Loop topped donut at Tee's Donuts
In Louisiana, it's rare I enter an establishment where I am in the minority.

At Tee's Donuts in Long Beach, we were the only white people in the store. And it was everything we ever dreamed of.

The shop was inexplicably an Asian-Mexican hybrid. They served traditional (and sort of wild) donuts, breakfast and lunch sandwiches, and boba teas and shakes in a huge array of flavors.

I got a decent breakfast sandwich, a donut topped with Fruit Loops, and a Thai iced tea with boba. I'm a sucker for boba tea, and I wish I'd have been able to try the green tea with boba or the avocado shake with boba.

(For the uninitiated, boba, or bubble, tea is a cold tea with sweetened tapioca pearls added.)

Long Beach | Open Sesame

Refreshing glass of Jalab at Open Sesame
After a long day of riding up and down Long Beach on rented cruiser bikes, we'd worked up quite an appetite, although, not a sweat (bless California weather)!

We were desperate for a good meal, and our Uber driver recommended Open Sesame, a trendy Lebanese joint that wasn't too far.

Once we were seated, we understood the hype. The food was the usual Lebanese fare, and we opted for an appetizer of kibbi, and grabbed some chicken shwarma and gyros.

What impressed me most were the beverage options.

I ordered jalab, a rose water and grape syrup mixture infused with incense and topped with pine nuts and almonds. The flavor is nearly impossible to describe, but the words "refreshing," "syrupy," and "nutty" come to mind.

They also offered something called tamarind, an Indian date syrup infused with rose water, and laban, chilled yogurt with dry mint. 

The atmosphere definitely made this spot worth checking out, and the locals are obsessed with it. 

The one thing that surprised me the most about my SoCal sojourn was that the mid-level restaurants in the area were no better or worse than the mid-level restaurants back home. Maybe Baton Rouge lacks those super fine dining experiences, but I'd pit Louisiana food against California cuisine any day. 

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Erin White: Priestess of Pairing

by Blair "B-Rex" Loup

Erin White, sommelier at August in New Orleans
Erin White, sommelier at August in New Orleans
You know that moment when you tell a customer, “If it makes you feel any better, I used to be a man,” because they said they'd prefer wine suggestions from a male sommelier instead? No?

Well, maybe not, but James Beard Award nominated sommelier at John Besh’s August Erin White does.

After over 30 years in the industry choosing and serving wines to some of the culinary world’s most A-list celebrities, Erin is an absolute authority on wine.

The job of a sommelier is one that takes great skill. The ability to pair wines perfectly across each dish and at the right price point for each customer is a dream few dare to chase.

If you watch the documentary ‘Somm’ you’ll learn that the journey through different levels of certifications can leave those that attempt it burnt out and alone.

While some choose to make wine their life, Erin chose to make wine a part of her life; she calls it the “earn and learn,” an approach that started with working at a wine bar, eventually getting an assistant sommelier position, and ultimately landing her where she is today.

At this point in her life, Erin has her priorities in line.

She rides her bike to the restaurant, works long hours on the restaurant floor and in the wine cellar, and then takes home August’s bite-sized, heavenly pralines to her security guard so he’ll let her swim laps in the pool in her building after hours.

“My philosophies about life are very much like my philosophies about wine. I think things need to keep a balance. I think your life needs to be balanced for any sort of longevity,” she said.

There were times in the beginning of her career where she wasn’t given the freedom to exercise that balance. In the ‘80s and ‘90s, Erin explained maître d’hôtels wanted nothing to do with women in fine dining. She was forced to work ridiculous hours with no time off throughout her pregnancy and early stages of motherhood to simply earn the right to come to work every day.

Today, she has astounding relationships with Executive Chef Todd Pulsinelli and Pasty Chef Kelly Fields that foster true collaboration.

When talking about her love for wine, Erin said, “If you make a list of all of the things I love, it all incorporates into wine. There’s an artistic sense of color, fragrance, food, cooking, and people; for me, it all kind of funneled into one category.”

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

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Sweet-T-Sway: Whisk(e)y Wednesday presented by Lock & Key

whiskey cocktail
Sweet-T-Sway at Lock & Key
by Sydney "Brown Nose" Blanchard

Somehow, despite the fact that I've worked with Bite and Booze for 6 months now, I've managed to miss out on team trips to one of Jay's favorite watering holes, Lock & Key. When Blair asked if I wanted to grab a whiskey cocktail after work last week, I agreed, even though whiskey cocktails are generally not my thing.

Blair pointed me to a section of the menu called "Whiskey Doubters," and from there I landed on the Sweet-T-Sway.

Much to my delight, I couldn't even taste the Sam Houston whiskey in this concoction (sorry, whiskey lovers).

But the sweet tea combined with pomegranate liqueur and muddled mint served over crushed ice was perfectly refreshing and brought to mind a mint julep.

Maybe if I try each cocktail on the Whiskey Doubters menu I'll eventually become a Whiskey Believer.

If Lock & Key keeps slinging creative, hand-crafted whiskey cocktails like the Sweet-T-Sway, I'll be converted in no time.

For all you Whiskey Doubters out there, I highly recommend trying the Sweet-T-Sway.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Dare to Pair: Here is a list of items that pair reasonably well with Jay D's Blanc Du Bois

– Sydney "Brown Nose" Blanchard

Jay D's Blanc Du Bois shot by Nicole Colvin at the Olive or Twist wine launch on May 20, 2015. 

Jay D's Blanc Du Bois won't be on shelves for much longer. We only corked 1,000 bottles, and most of those have been snatched up already. But if you can get your hands on one, or if you're one of the lucky few with a bottle sitting in the fridge, feel free to use this very official Jay D's Blanc Du Bois Pairing Guide to take your sipping to the next level.


I discovered this pairing by accident. As it turns out, the buttery, salty flavors of microwave popcorn go swimmingly with the tart, refreshing flavors in the Blanc Du Bois. Jay recommends seasoning the popcorn with his FNS buddy Arnold Myint's Herbs de Provence or with some Slap Ya Mama Cajun Seasoning!

BBQ Chicken Pizza

bbq chick
Barbecue chicken pizza made with Jay D's Louisiana Barbecue sauce. 

It almost goes without saying that Jay D's Blanc Du Bois was made to pair perfectly with outdoor cooking. But if outdoor cooking isn't your thing, try Jay D's with barbecue chicken pizza. All the flavors of the outdoors combined with the honeysuckle and pear flavors in the wine work together magically. Check out our recipe for barbecue chicken pizza using Jay D's Louisiana Barbecue Sauce here!


I love contrasting the crisp flavors of a white wine with a handful of salty nuts. Something about it just works without being too filling. Try pairing salted pistachios with a glass of Jay D's Blanc Du Bois, or if you're feeling crazy, maybe try pairing the wine with some pistachio gelato. Who's going to stop you?

Chicken Salad

Calvin's Bocage Market's chicken salad is legendary. Photo from 

There's no greater love story than that of white wine and chicken. The two are a match made in heaven. Also made in heaven? Calvin's chicken salad. Recently I nearly pitched a fit when I went to grab a container of the stuff for a beach trip and another shopper stood directly in the way of the chicken salad. Grab your favorite crackers, a couple of pounds of Baton Rouge's favorite chicken salad and a glass of Jay D's Blanc Du Bois and call it a night.

(Bite and Booze bonus: Check out this vintage video of Calvin himself appearing on NBC nightly news in 1996!)

Hot Dogs

Jay D's Blanc Du Bois tastes like summer. You know what else tastes like summer? That's right. HOT DOGS. I can't even express my excitement at the idea of an outdoor hotdog cookout and a glass (or three) of Blanc Du Bois. A little mustard, a little ketchup, and a dash of relish on a pork or sausage hot dog, surrounded by a fresh, toasted bun washed down with a cold glass of Jay D's? Sign me up.

Fro Yo

If you're feeling especially indulgent, this is the pairing for you. Counter Culture's Humphrey, a frozen yogurt treat with strawberries, bananas, grapes, and granola drizzled with honey, works well with the Blanc Du Bois. The fruit flavors in the wine compliment the fruits in the yogurt, and the tartness in the wine is balanced by the tartness in the yogurt. 


Ruth's is my favorite locally made hummus.

Ruth's Hummus tastes fresh and lemony, and it's perfect for dipping just about anything. It's locally-made and versatile, just like the blanc du bois. Grab some vegetables, your favorite pita, and a glass of Jay D's Blanc Du Bois and snack outside by the pool on a hot day and thank me later.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

The Time Jay Shipped Me Off to Oklahoma for a Week: Part II

by Blair "B-Rex" Loup

Much like Baton Rouge, Stillwater, Oklahoma, is a college town. Oklahoma City aside, Stillwater is considered to be a bustling oasis amid the rolling plains. Home to the world-famous Eskimo Joe's, Stillwater has recently opened the doors on its first craft brewery and is 23 years deep in a red-dirt tradition: the Calf Fry.

Eskimo Joe's is celebrating their 40th anniversary this year, and, like Rotolo’s, they've become famous for their plastic cups and for being the only company in America that prints more t-shirts than Hard Rock Café.

Legitimately, most of the other casual restaurants in the area have adopted the same cups printed in a similar style. It's so ubiquitous that Eskimo Joe's cups are an actual unit of measurement in Stillwater.

Most of the shirts that are printed in Stillwater came from the warehouse Eskimo Joe's owns. If something were to happen to their cups or shirt printing operation, or the well of cheese fries dried up, I'm not entirely sure life would go on in Stillwater.

Needless to say, they’ve come a long way from being a hole-in-the-wall bar. Now that you have a grasp on how important this place is to Stillwater, let’s talk about the cheese fries.

These cheese fries are sacred to anyone in Stillwater and any student who has attended OSU, but in my mind I kept thinking, “Okay, cheese is good and so are fries. Together they’re delicious, but can these cheese fries be that groundbreaking?” The answer to that question is no, they can't.

But what is so incredible about these cheese fries is the sweet pepper bacon they're topped with. You take ordinary bacon, make it a little sweet, and add a kick of black pepper. Suddenly, these scrumptious cheese fries transform into groundbreaking cheese fries. They absolutely live up to the hype, and if you happen to be in the area, I suggest you pop in, grab some cheese fries, grab a shirt, and don’t forget to take your cup on the way out.

The legendary Sweet Pepper Bacon Cheese Fries at Eskimo Joe's
The legendary Sweet Pepper Bacon Cheese Fries at Eskimo Joe's

Drinking Iron Monk's Milk Stout  with Co-Founder Dave Monk
Drinking Iron Monk's Milk Stout
with Co-Founder Dave Monk

Iron Monk Brewing Company shows a lot of promise. Co-Founder Dave Monk has his PhD. in biology, which is a great start to making solid brews. While we were touring the brewery, Dave and I were talking about some of the great beers in Louisiana and tasting their creamy milk stout and bold double IPA. I look forward to seeing more from them in the future and you can find them on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter (@IronMonkBeer) to see what they’re up to.

As an adventurous eater, I jumped at the chance to eat fried bull testicles in Oklahoma; it’s the part of this trip I looked forward to for months.

The Stillwater Calf Fry is a colossal festival in the middle of nowhere where young men in their flashiest cowboy hats and young women in their shortest cutoffs go to listen to country music and eat bull testicles.

If you can’t see the magic in this, stop reading now.

I will say that if you’re looking for tasty testes, you may want to eat them elsewhere. The calf fries at the Calf Fry are frozen, pre-breaded, and then dropped into a deep fryer. They taste like fried—nothing more, nothing less. In any case, the event is a sight to behold.

Calf Fries at the Calf Fry in Stillwater, Oklahoma
Calf Fries at the Calf Fry in Stillwater, Oklahoma

In the end, I'm okay with Jay shipping me off to Oklahoma any day. The people are passionate and forward-thinking in a way that's making room for some very cool stuff.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Introducing "Free Booze Friday": Whisk(e)y Wednesday presented by Lock & Key

Pappy, Stephen, and Lorraine pose with host Jay Ducote on the set of  Free Booze Friday
Pappy, Stephen, and Lorraine pose with host Jay Ducote on the set of
Free Booze Friday
by Sydney "Brown Nose" Blanchard

At the Bite and Booze headquarters, we receive a lot of free alcohol (including whiskey) in the mail. Brewers, distillers, and winemakers (well, their PR people, mostly) constantly send us a barrage of booze. So much, in fact, that we now have a legitimate bar in our office.

The question of what to do with all this booze kept coming up, so Jay and Tommy (from tommysTV) came up with an answer: a web series where Jay would act as host and bartender, serving free booze to puppets with big personalities crafted by Baton Rouge puppeteer Clay Achee

And thus, Free Booze Friday was born.

You can find a safe trailer here.

But for a little Whisk(e)y Wednesday fun, here's a somewhat NSFW teaser trailer. You may notice that some of this series was filmed at the Lock & Key Whiskey Bar. Beausoleil Restaurant and Bar served as our other backdrop. 

You may be asking yourself, "Why?"

But our answer to that is, "Why not?"

Why the heck not?

Geek Nation will be hosting each bi-weekly episode (there are 12 this season), so check out their website to stay up to date.

You can also like and follow Free Booze Friday on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

And tune in to learn a little bit about all sorts of interesting wines, beers, spirits, liqueurs, and, of course, whiskeys.

Monday, June 15, 2015

The Time Jay Shipped Me Off to Oklahoma for a Week: Part I

by Blair "B-Rex" Loup

The first time Jay sent me on a media trip to represent Bite and Booze, I didn’t know what to expect.

Typically, these kinds of press trips are orchestrated by convention and visitors bureaus to familiarize other travel writers and bloggers with the area in hopes that we’ll like what we see and encourage others to travel to said destination.

I had zero expectations on my first media trip to Shreveport, Louisiana. Originally, I couldn't imagine what Shreveport had to offer that was worth writing about. But during the trip, I was blown away by all the cool things to eat, drink, and do in Shreveport.

With this in mind, when Jay asked if I wanted to go on a trip to Oklahoma City and Stillwater, Oklahoma, I immediately agreed and booked my plane tickets.

Similar to Shreveport, if there’s one thing I learned about Oklahoma, it’s that it isn't what you'd expect.

After indulging in a big (literally physically large) country dinner at Toby Keith's, we enjoyed an informative water taxi ride through Bricktown at sunset before we crashed at the beautiful boutique Ambassador hotel.

Learning about how the Bricktown development came to be with my buddy Karen Dawkins. She admittedly likes me more than Jay. It's the small victories in life that keep you going.
Learning about how the Bricktown development came to be with my buddy Karen Dawkins. She admittedly likes me more than Jay. It's the small victories in life that keep you going.
The lovely ladies at Visit OKC had us up early to show us a different side of town where we had the chance to enjoy an authentic Guatemalan breakfast at Cafe Kacao. If you've never eaten breakfast plates piled high with chorizo, black beans, avocado, eggs, and plantains, I highly suggest reevaluating your lifestyle.

Shorty after we were seated, I realized why Tabbi and Brittany from Visit OKC had us up so early. The place stays packed.

Traditional Guatemalan Breakfast at Cafe Kacao
Traditional Guatemalan Breakfast at Cafe Kacao
I know what you're thinking...

"Blair, where does a girl like you find herself on the average OKC afternoon? Surely you aren't eating the entire time."

It is impossible to eat all day long, so we took a couple of breaks to tour the American Banjo Museum, home to the largest collection of banjos in the world.

Later, we visited ACM@UCO, a highly esteemed school of music run by the manager of The Flaming Lips, zip-lined across a river much to my chagrin (I have a fear of heights), and had the opportunity to tour the Oklahoma Memorial.

My roommate encouraged me to visit the Memorial, and I'm ashamed to admit I didn't know what it was all about at first. In my defense, I was born in 1991, and my history classes in school never mentioned the bombing. So let's just blame the Louisiana public school system for that one.

The Memorial was emotional and beautiful, and I'm glad I carved out the time to visit. 

The Oklahoma Memorial
The Oklahoma Memorial
Enjoying an Oklahoma brew at Bleu Garten
Enjoying an Oklahoma brew at Bleu Garten

After a long and exhausting day, I rushed back to the hotel to get ready for drinks at an amazing food truck park/bar, Bleu Garten, and dinner at a farm-to-table restaurant called Ludivine.

The highlight of the meal was demolishing bone marrow and doing bone marrow luge shots around the table.

Afterward, we hit up the restaurant's sister cocktail bar, R & J Lounge and Supper Club for some classic, stuck-in-time cocktails.

Bone Marrow at Ludivine
Bone Marrow at Ludivine
Most of what I ate in OKC lived up to my standards, but it was our last meal that piqued my interest.

Waffle Champion is everything Leslie Knope ever dreamed of. Sweet waffles, savory waffles, and gourmet sodas to boot; Waffle Champion made me hungry for more of Oklahoma City.

Smoked Duck Banh Mi Waffle packed with pickled veggies, jalapeño, and cilantro mayo
Smoked Duck Banh Mi Waffle packed with pickled veggies, jalapeño, and cilantro mayo

The thing I enjoy most about traveling is discovering great restaurants and bars, and Oklahoma City has plenty of them. We got the chance to try out a handful of cool establishments, but there’s still more to discover, and I can’t wait to go back. From drinking out of a red solo cup in Toby Keith’s I Love this Bar and Grill to zip lining across the Oklahoma River, to doing a luge shot of whiskey out of a bone, I did it all in OKC.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Between Two Shells: Raw Gulf Oysters topped with Cucumber Mignonette and Fresh Grapefruit Margaritas

by Blair "B-Rex" Loup

The Fresh Grapefruit Margarita and Cucumber Mignonette at Jolie Pearl Oyster Bar
The Fresh Grapefruit Margarita and Cucumber Mignonette at Jolie Pearl Oyster Bar

If you've stepped outside lately, you may have noticed it’s hot out. This time of year presents me with an unsolvable problem: when I get out of my car, my glasses fog up because I’m blasting the air conditioning, then my vision gets hit with 90% humidity. It’s my cross to bear, and the only respite is a fresh-squeezed margarita from Jolie Pearl.

Aside from serving fresh oysters from all over, they freshly squeeze all of the juices for their mixed drinks. When the heat gets unbearable, I hop on that citrusy-drink-and-ice-cold-seafood train.

I highly recommend dropping everything and grabbing a few grapefruit margaritas, a dozen raw Gulf oysters, and top them with Jolie Pearl's flavor-packed cucumber mignonette.

This pairing tastes like summer.

One second I’m downtown, and one bite later,  I’m by a pool with attractive people fanning me and pouring grapefruit margaritas down my throat. The sweet and spicy cucumber mignonette paired with the cool creaminess of the oyster matches up perfectly with the tangy citrus of the grapefruit and that element only tequila can bring.

It’s summer, y’all, and it’s hot outside, so treat yo self and head over to Jolie Pearl Oyster Bar. They can get your life right.

Below some of the other pairings we suggest at Jolie Pearl:

Raw Gulf Oysters and Fresh Margaritas
Oysters Rockefeller and the Louisiana Mule

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Irish Mule: Whisk(e)y Wednesday presented by Lock & Key

The Irish Mule at Lock & Key
There comes a time on every trip to a cocktail bar that a patron glimpses at a menu and sees some sort of play on a Moscow Mule. The normally potent but refreshing vodka drink features lime and ginger beer. Fortunately, those flavors go with all sorts of spirits. Take for example, Irish Whiskey.

Lock & Key's Irish Mule features Tullamore DEW Irish Whiskey, an excellent choice for those of you who want to drink some quality Irish elixir. Add to that a squeeze of lime, orange bitters, and some ginger beer, and you've got quite a spin on the mule in every amazing way.

This drink could be suitable ever for people who aren't the biggest whiskey fans out there. The Irish variety is smooth and subtle in the cocktail, so you really won't miss the vodka. That being said, this is also a great drink for you if you enjoy whiskey and just want a little twist on a mule. Bottoms up!

Monday, June 8, 2015

Cultivar Wine Club: Happiness Delivered

by Blair "B-Rex" Loup

These days I feel like I get everything delivered to my door. Perhaps the best and most recent gift technology has granted me is the wine club. Team Bite and Booze is part of the Cultivar Wine club which ships a mystery box of wine to our door each quarter. Because we love our readers even more than we love great wines, we'd like to offer you a code good for 10% off of Cultivar Wines: CultivarWineBiteAndBooze.

Our most recent shipment contained a particularly palatable bottle of their 2012 Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon. Layers of aromas fill the nose: floral, wood, and a hint of tobacco; and then your mouth is enveloped with strong dark fruit flavors followed by a decent level of tannins. It's earthiness is subtle and the sweetness is dulled by the slight tartness of fruit. 

This kind of wine jives with strong, but complimentary flavors. Paired with the Cultivar Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon, I made sous-vide and seared grass-fed New York strips from Iverstine Family Farms, roasted kale sprouts, and smashed purple potatoes roasted in jalapeño olive oil from Red Stick Spice Company over a sweet potato and white turnip mash.

Grass-fed beef has a different flavor that compliments the notes of dark fruit in the the wine. While the slight bitterness of the kale sprouts brings out some funky notes, the smashed, slightly spicy potatoes balance out the tannins. 

I’m required to disclose a sponsored partnership between our site, Bite and Booze, and Cultivar Wine. I have been compensated in exchange for this post in the form of product or experience. All opinions presented are my own.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Touch of Smoke and Fruit Flight: Whisk(e)y Wednesday presented by Lock & Key

The Touch of Smoke and Fruit Flight at Lock & Key
A lot of posts that I've made about the whiskey and whisky at Lock & Key has featured reviews of individual bottles of booze or an insight into the cocktail menu at the bar. This week, however, we'll examine a whiskey flight at Lock & Key, and why they present a terrific way to consume the water of life.

The Touch of Smoke and Fruit Flight ($23) provides a tasting of three single malt Scotches that are nicely balanced but complex enough for any Scotch drinker to appreciate. Typically the Dalwhinnie 15 is included in this flight, but since Lock & Key was out of stock on my most recent visit, they replaced it with the Aberfeldy 12 Highland Single Malt. I didn't complain. The Aberfeldy had a nice peat flavor without overwhelming smoke. A hint of mint and splash of pear were also there.

The Cragganmore 12 from Speyside presented a lovely balance of fruit and smoke, as advertised. This is a nice sipping Scotch to be sure. The Clynelish 14 from coastal Highlands may have been my favorite of the bunch. It carried the most smoke upfront and then finished a little more fruity.

All in all this flight impressed, and getting three pours for $23 is a great way to enjoy different flavors while at a whiskey bar with the kind of selection that Lock & Key has. I highly recommend it!

Monday, June 1, 2015

Looking Ahead to the Food Network Star Premiere Party

Time to catch you up to speed just in case you're lagging behind somehow. I'm going to be on the upcoming season of Food Network Star, the network's largest competition reality show. As one of twelve finalists, I'll be competing in various cooking and presentation challenges in an effort to win my own show on Food Network!

This is how Food Network introduced me on Twitter:

And here's my audition tape:

The premiere party for the Season 11 of Food Network Star will take place at the Jolie Pearl Oyster Bar and North Boulevard Town Square on Sunday, June 7th from 5-9 PM. Bonnie & Clyde will be playing from 6-7:45. We'll have drink specials from the Donner-Peltier Distillery as well plenty of oysters and other grub that you can order. Bring picnic blankets or bag chairs and watch the show in Town Square or come early and get a seat inside Jolie Pearl! I hope to see a lot of you there! Go ahead and set your DVR's and calendar reminders now as well!