Thursday, April 27, 2017

All Good Things Must Come to an End: Abby Reflects On Her Internship

by Abby Sewel, intern

February 23rd, 2017 was unusually hot, which gave me an excuse for the sweat stains I had produced my first day on the job with the Bite and Booze Team. The day before, I had come to an interview during which I took two pages of notes because I was entirely too eager. Since becoming a part of Jay’s team, I have learned everything is hands-on. If you need any instruction, Blair (Chief Confusion Coordinator/Spin Doctor) will give you a thorough demonstration of the right way to do it.

The visual learning environment forced me to quickly adapt to the fast-paced nature of the #OfficeHouse and I couldn’t be happier. Within a month I quickly fell into place alongside my fellow interns, anxious to learn anything and everything we can from the inspiring and driven crew that runs this ship.

My main role as a sales intern is assisting our Product Czar and Sauceror of Sales, Chuck Pierce, with product demonstrations in stores that carry Jay D’s brands. I’m fairly certain I was brought on board to basically double check everything before we walk out the door because Chuck’s memory retention is equivalent to Eeyore.

As fun as that sounds, acting as Chuck’s second brain isn’t my sole purpose at the office. I have also created a new and improved product sales sheet for Jay D’s, tagged and boxed countless cases of sauce, prepped Gov’t Taco pop ups, assisted in catering a private dinner party, participated in creative design meetings for Gov’t Taco and even had the honor of assisting in culinary research for the Bite & Booze blog. Now I’m writing my first blog post so I think it’s safe to say that I have a large range of responsibilities.

I snapped this shot of Chuck P. at one of our private dinners.
I snapped this shot of Chuck P. at one of our private dinners.

My favorite part of this whole experience is working as one team while having a rocking time celebrating the culinary culture of Louisiana cuisine.

Thanks to my real-world experience with Jay’s team and my sales training in LSU Professional Sales Institute, I have finally found the direction for my future: sales and marketing in the food and beverage industry.

My interest in food and beverages came from my parents who taught me to be open minded and try new things; your taste buds change every 7 years so you may never know what you’re missing out on if you don’t give it another try! I am a self-proclaimed foodie who has recently decided to make her love of food into a career.

Joining the team, even briefly, has been truly wonderful. I’m forever kicking myself for being late in the intern game and only being able to fit in half a semester, but it’s been the best half semester ever! I’m so motivated to find a job in Virginia with more people like the fine individuals at Bite and Booze so I can learn even more about the industry. Having a goal to reach once I graduate helps distract me from the fact that I unfortunately leave this wonderful #officehouse to explore my future very soon.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Patio Vibing at Brickyard South

by Chuck P

For a little over a year now owner Danny Wilson of Brickyard South, located across from The 13th Gate, has been cooking up his own bi-weekly pop-ups to the delight of sold out crowds that range from regular patrons to local foodies.

For only $20 you get a delicious three course meal and for $5 more you can get drink pairings to go along with your dishes. Recently, I finally had the chance to attend one of these dinners and, as expected, I was not disappointed.

I’ve known Danny for many years. From his days of working at TJ Ribs on Acadian back in the mid 90’s and hanging out at The Caterie (R.I.P.) to having drinks and talking about old times when he was managing the Port Royal Bar on College Drive, Danny has always had a passion for food. Now, through the creation of his Dinner On The Patio series at Brickyard South, he’s contributing to the food scene.

The night I attended Danny planned a menu that featured Jay D’s Louisiana Barbecue Sauce, Molasses Mustard and Spicy & Sweet Rub on the first two dishes. Danny is a big supporter of using local products so I was very grateful for him to be using our products on his dishes.

After grabbing a cold can of Gnarly Barley’s Korova Milk Porter and meeting up with some friends and my band members from The Anteeks, we made our way out to the patio to grab a seat. The weather was gorgeous with a slight breeze in the air and very little humidity.

Around 7pm our first course came to the table, beer braised chicken wings covered in a combination of Jay D’s Louisiana Barbecue Sauce and Molasses Mustard. 

Chicken Wings covered in Jay D's Louisiana Barbecue Sauce and Molasses Mustard
Chicken Wings covered in Jay D's Louisiana Barbecue Sauce and Molasses Mustard

These wings were bigger than I expected and with enough meat for me to be thankful there were only two on the plate. The combo of the barbecue sauce and the mustard provided a nice amount of heat that lingered a bit, but quickly faded.

Our main entree was next featuring a beautiful seared pork chop in an Abita Purple Haze glaze with Brussels sprouts. 

Pork and Brussels sprouts glazed with Abita Purple Haze
Pork and Brussels sprouts glazed with Abita Purple Haze

The chop was cooked to a perfect medium-- super tender and juicy. The beer glaze that covered the dish complimented it perfectly. I’ve only recently become a fan of Brussels sprouts and these were delicious. It also helped that they too were covered in the beer glaze!

After a few minutes of letting our last dish find its way home in our bellies the dessert dish made its way to our table: a Salted Caramel Bread Pudding. Guys and gals, no matter how much I eat at lunch or dinner, I always...ALWAYS have room for dessert. Especially when it’s my #1 weakness, bread pudding.

Salted Caramel Bread Pudding
Salted Caramel Bread Pudding
The caramel sauce was sweet and warm with bits of pecan and the bread pudding itself was rich, dense and absolutely delicious. Luckily not everyone finished theirs so I of course decided to help clean up a few extra dishes lying around the table.

Dinner On The Patio is a great evening of mouth watering cocktails, delicious home style dishes and a fun night with friends or your significant other. Danny Wilson is doing a great job and I hope he continues to provide this amazing treat to Baton Rouge diners for years to come. Make sure to follow Dinner On The Patio on Facebook to find out about upcoming dinners and other special events.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Beers with Chuck: Coop'd Up Tart Farmhouse Ale from Urban South

by Chuck P

Urban South has finally made their way up from New Orleans to the Baton Rouge market and local craft beer fans couldn’t be more excited. Since arriving here, their Holy Roller IPA, Charming Whit Ale and their spring seasonal Delta Momma Citra Lager have been flying off store shelves.

Recently, myself along with Jay, Blair and Jay’s brother Eric had a chance to sit down and try their latest offering, the Coop’d Up Tart Farmhouse Ale during an “On Tap” segment for the Bite & Booze Radio Show.

Coop'd Up Tart Farmhouse Ale by Urban South Brewery in New Orleans
Coop'd Up Tart Farmhouse Ale by Urban South Brewery in New Orleans

Farmhouse Ales or Saisons as some are commonly known are normally brewed during winter months so as to be ready for consumption during hot summer days. The Coop’d Up fits this description perfectly. It was also kettle soured using Lactobacillus which sours the beer at a faster rate rather than going the traditional route which could take years. Luckily we don’t have to wait that long.

This brew has a nice hazy golden color with very little carbonation to it. I immediately tasted hints of lemon and maybe coriander on my first sip. There’s just enough tartness cutting through and some of that sour funkiness on the back end that I really like. 

The finish is pretty dry which only makes me want to reach for my glass again for another taste. This really is a perfect light and refreshing summertime beer.

So far everything I’ve tried from Urban South has been fantastic and I can’t wait to see what they’ve got coming up next. To find out more about Urban South and the Coop’d Up Farmhouse Ale click the link below and check out the Bite & Booze Podcast presented by Mockler Beverage Co.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Zesting into Sunshine A Fruit Salad Actually Worth Making

by Hannah Wilson, intern

In a conscious effort to put some more freshness in our diets, I figured why not try a zesty fruit salad. Fruit salad is the perfect for the warmer weather, whether it’s for a weekday lunch or a weekend brunch. We tried this Jamie Deen recipe for Tropical Fruit Salad with honey and lime and thought we’d share this recipe! While I’m not the best in the kitchen, I gave it a go!

It’s a fairly easy recipe that will be sure to leave your taste buds satisfied! What you’ll need is:

¾ cup of sweetened coconut flakes
2 Tbs of local honey
2 Tbs of fresh mint, chiffonade
Zest and juice of one lime
2 kiwis, peeled and sliced
1 banana, peeled and sliced on a bias
1 small bunch of red grapes
1 mango, peeled, pit removed and cubed
½ large pineapple, peeled, cored and cubed

I started by zesting the lime, this was a new concept to me, but it’s all too simple. After washing the limes and grating them delicately you take the grated peel and voila! You’ve successfully zested. You’ll want to set this aside in a bowl. After the zest has been zested, you simply juice the lime.

After adding the local honey to the lime zest and juice, it’s time to chiffonade the mint. Chiffonade, as I have learned, is a fancy word for how one can prepare herbs or leafy vegetables by cutting them into long, thin strips. Once you add the mint to the honey, lime juice and lime zest, you whisk it all together.

This is about the time I started to preheat the oven to warm the coconut flakes, they’re relatively low maintenance in this recipe, and the toasting gave it a nice little crunch!

Next, we tackle the wide variety of tropical fruits. We have your kiwis, banana, grapes, mango and pineapple. Another life lesson learned, the directions for cutting a pineapple are on the pineapple itself, pretty innovative!

Now, you’re ready to mix it all together! I added the fruit into the freshly whisked ‘dressing’ if you will and to top it off I added the toasted coconut flakes! This recipe blended a lot of flavors and they each come through nicely when the fruit salad comes together. We loved it for an afternoon snack!

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Wakey Whiskey: The Spirit of America Handcrafted Bourbon Whiskey

by Eric Ducote

Hey everyone, it's time for another #wakeywhiskey!  This one is coming to you strong on this Easter Sunday from Indianapolis, Indiana, USA. The Spirit of America Handcrafted Bourbon Whiskey, bottles at 86 proof for a 43% whiskey. Now, I know I said Indianapolis, but this spirit is only "produced & bottled" in Indianapolis, but it's actually distilled in Lawrenceburg, Indiana. Remember that location if you're a frequent reader, as it will pop up a good bit. It turns out Lawrenceburg is home to one of the largest distilleries in the USA and their specialty is sourcing high-quality whiskey.

The Spirit of America Handcrafted Bourbon Whiskey
The Spirit of America Handcrafted Bourbon Whiskey

Spirit of America is labeled as a Bourbon Whiskey (not a Kentucky Bourbon mind you, but bourbon can be made anywhere in America) and is shown on the back label as being 2 years old, which designates the youngest possible barrel using in making the spirit. Of course labeling it as a bourbon has a few other requirements, including that it's made from a minimum of 51% corn.

On to the spirit... it's on the light side for a bourbon, so this is most likely coming in at the younger side of 2 years.  There's really not much of a nose, what is there is a hint of corn syrupy sweetness mixed with a strong booziness. There's not much oak flavor in the aroma, not much vanilla, and it's not very pleasant.

To the taste... the oak comes through a bit more, but it doesn't balance well with the strong alcohol burn of the overall whiskey. Even still, the flavor is rather bland and lacking in complexity.  This needs something else to cut the flavor, like a good mix. Honestly, this would probably be decent as a mixing whiskey, but as a stand alone sipper, it's just not worth the price. The Spirit of America is coming in around $40 a bottle and I'd rather grab a $20 bottom shelf handle of bourbon like Ancient Age or Early Times if I'm going to go full on Touchdown. A Touchdown, for those of you unfamiliar, is just a straight up bourbon and coke/diet coke. Geaux Tigers! Excuse me... #GEAUXTIGERS. If you've ever celebrated a touchdown in the student section of Tiger Stadium, then you probably know exactly what I'm talking about. The aroma marinates the air, and it's amazingly intoxicating.

Back to the present... I try not to get negative in these #wakeywhiskey columns, but this just isn't a good bourbon for the money. It needs some more time in the barrels, whether that's at the source distillery or at the finishing company doesn't really matter, but it's obviously too young and too harsh to be a good sipper.
Happy Easter everyone, and choose your #wakeywhiskey wisely!

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Read Between the Buns: It's National Sandwich Day!

by Sarah Grimball, intern

It’s hard to make sandwiches sexy; but when the right flavors come together, there is nothing better than a good sandwich. We’d like to celebrate this classic dish’s national holiday by celebrating some of the tastiest sandwiches we’ve ever had:

Curry Chicken Salad Sandwich

Beausoleil Restaurant & Bar in Baton Rouge, LA

Grilled Cheese with Jay D's BBQ Date Jam

Pastrami Croque Madame

City Pork Brasserie & Bar in Baton Rouge, LA

Classic Muffuletta

Olde Tyme Grocery in Lafayette, LA

Torta Ahogada

Araña Taqueria y Cantina in New Orleans, LA

Monday, April 10, 2017

All Wrapped Up: Chowing Down at Go Ya Ya's

by Sarah Grimball, intern

When I was a senior in high school, we had to do a job shadowing project and link it to something that is relevant to our community. I chose to shadow Luca D Martino, the former owner of Latte e Miele.

My time shadowing Luca opened my eyes to the importance of using fresh, natural and local products. I eventually did my final project on the subject of supporting local farmers and restaurants, and I’ve been enthralled with a good farmer’s market ever since.

It’s not often that I’m able to make it out to the farmer’s market on Saturday mornings, so it’s an absolute treat when I find the time to do so, and I try to make a whole morning of it. Along with the gorgeous selection of bright red strawberries and leafy greens, the Red Stick Farmer’s Market features many delicious food stalls where you can order breakfast.

My absolute favorite place to eat in the Main Street Market is Go Ya Ya’s Crêperie. For breakfast they offer both sweet and savory crêpes and omelets along with a coffee bar. I was fortunate enough to sample the Vietnamese, muffaletta and bananas foster crêpes.

The Vietnamese Crêpe had shredded pork, bean sprouts, onions and lettuce. It was like pho in a crêpe. The crunch of the lettuce and bean sprouts nicely accompanied the savory flavor of the shredded pork.

The Muffaletta Crêpe had all of the fixings and flavor of this traditional sandwich without the thick bread. Therefore, all of the mouthwatering olive and meat flavors were able to shine and were accompanied by a nice crunch from the crêpe outer shell. All in all, these two crêpes were extremely tasty and worth the trip.

My absolute favorite crêpe of the morning was the Bananas Foster Crêpe; it’s to die for. It’s sweet, full of bananas and the rich brown sugar and buttery flavors really came through. What more could you want from a crêpe? Look at it; it’s beautiful.

Crêpes can be a treat that’s hard to find in Baton Rouge. Go Ya Ya’s is doing it right and doing it well. Definitely go get your own crêpes next Saturday at the Red Stick Farmer’s Market!

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Tangoing with Twine

by Hannah Wilson, intern

The welcoming entrance at Twine stocked with some local pantry items.
The welcoming entrance at Twine stocked with some local pantry items.

Twine’s quality is evident the moment you step in the door. This local eatery is a hybrid of sorts, blending a restaurant and a butcher shop. Steve Diehl, born and raised in Twin Falls, Idaho, grew up on a farm. He and his wife Krisitin had a desire to make local farms more accessible to the people of mid city Baton Rouge.

On a beautiful spring day, the Bite & Booze team ventured over there to check out their seasonal menu and boy did look tasty! The staff is so friendly and knowledgable about what they have to offer. We started off with some samples of their seasonal sides:

We tried the Tuna Poké Salad. A blend of avocado, mango, tobigo and scallion, this salad is made in house and only when there’s enough Tuna and Yellowfin, so it can be a rare commodity at times but so worth the try. 

Up next, we gave the Tangy Blackened Shrimp Salad a taste. It’s a staff favorite and Jay would even venture to say that it’s “righteous”. This salad was a perfect blend of tangy, savory and sweet.
We decided for our lunch we wanted to try three of the crowd favorites and also see what Steve suggested. We tried the Filet Burger, the Blackened Chicken Sandwich and their Reuben On Rye. 

The Filet Burger might be the best burger I’ve ever had. It’s served on a toasted brioche bun with melted provolone cheese, spring mix greens and bourbon maple bacon jam. The bacon jam was the perfect accent to top off and pull together all these amazingly fresh ingredients. 

The Filet Burger
The Filet Burger

The Blackened Chicken Sandwich is served on a croissant with tomato, bacon, provolone and spring mix greens. This was another great sandwich that left us feeling a bit lighter, so for a lunch on the lighter side, this is a great option.
The Blackened Chicken Sandwich.
The Blackened Chicken Sandwich

The Reuben on Rye was a perfectly layered classic staple for any menu. The classic elements of a Reuben; sauerkraut, Swiss cheese and thousand island dressing are all piled high but balance equally on the Twine’s version of this sandwich. Yet another thing not to pass up on their menu. 

The Reuben
The Reuben

Twine may be tucked away amongst the bustling busyness of Government Street, but the quality that you stumble upon inside this eatery is amazing. Along with their seasonal menu that we tasted, they have high quality meat sourced from local farms and a fun wine selection. They also have many pre-prepared meals that are easy to grab and go. Next time that you are in mid city, be sure to stop in to Twine.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Beers with Chuck: Elysian's Space Dust IPA

by Chuck P

A few months ago the Elysian Brewing Company made its way down to Louisiana from Seattle, Washington to the delight of craft beer fans throughout the state. One of their initial releases here is a big favorite among craft drinkers: Space Dust IPA.

On a recent On Tap segment for the Bite & Booze Radio Show myself along with Jay, guest Jacob Talley from Mockler Beverage and Josh Anderson of the Baton Rouge Metro Airport were able to sit down at our recording table and pour a few bottles and give our reviews of this delicious IPA.

As soon as I started pouring it in my glass I immediately picked up notes of citrus and pine. The aroma was very vibrant. The beer also had a nice, warm golden color which shined in the glass. There was a nice bit of maltiness to it but clearly the hops cut right through it with no problem.

I picked up orange and grapefruit on the front with my first taste that gave way to pine notes on the back end. I thought it finished pretty dry with some lingering pine notes which is not at all a bad thing. 

It also comes in at a strong 8.2% ABV so take your time with this one.

Overall, everyone at the table really enjoyed this beer. It’s one that finds its way into my fridge on a regular basis and that I order if I see it on tap or in bottles at one of my favorite watering holes. Hopefully, it’ll be one you pick up as well.

To hear Jay and our guests give their take on the Elysian Space Dust IPA check out the Bite & Booze Podcast below and hear all about it!