Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Beers with Chuck: Share This O.C. from The Bruery

by Chuck P

I’ve been a big fan of The Bruery from Orange County, California ever since they began distributing here back in 2013. Their bourbon barrel aged beers are some of my absolute favorites. And now I’ll be adding the Share This: O.C. Imperial Stout made with orange zest, cacao nibs and vanilla to that list as well.

This addition to the Share This series is in partnership with Food Forward, a program that donates fresh produce to hunger relief agencies throughout southern California. These fruits and vegetables from backyard fruit trees, farmers markets and orchards where most would normally go to waste. For every bottle sold The Bruery donates $1 to this great cause.

The aroma hits the senses with with bits of orange, chocolate, vanilla and a light roastiness. A great balance of the cocoa and citrus comes through as well with a bit of the booziness lingering. The taste is fantastic with the orange zest coming first giving way to hints of chocolate and vanilla creeping in along with some light coffee notes. The orange fades to give way to some tartness and the alcohol of the imperial stout that finishes smoothly with minimal burn considering it comes in at a pretty big 11%.

The O.C. is a great imperial stout with a nice balance of citrus and chocolate notes that brings together the tart and sweet ingredients perfectly. Make sure to grab a bottle and enjoy while also donating to a great organization in Food Forward.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Jay D's Bites: Blanc Du Bois Bellini

by Therese Schneider

Summer is right around the corner and the days are only getting warmer. It’s time to break out the swimsuits and anything that can cool you off. Kick back by the pool on the weekends with a delicious, super easy summer sipper. It’s an all in one blitz and done kind of recipe and it couldn't be easier to make. Crisp, and refreshing, Jay D’s Blanc Du Bois makes for the perfect warm weather wine. With the grapes grown right here in Louisiana, it’s a must try and perfect for a fun recipe like this. You can grab a bottle Calandro’s Supermarket or at other local grocery stores.

Blanc Du Bois Tropical Bellini

Yields 8-10 glasses

1 Bottle of Jay D’s Blanc du bois
1 16 oz Bag of frozen peaches
1 16 oz Bag of frozen mangos
¼ cup of honey or agave nectar

Put all ingredients in the blender and blend until it's all combined. Pour into a pitcher and share with friends...or don’t!

Monday, May 22, 2017

Beers with Chuck: The Maharaja Imperial IPA from Avery Brewing Company

by Chuck P

The Avery Brewing Company based in Boulder, Colorado has finally made its way into Louisiana: rejoice craft beer enthusiasts! With a stellar selection of beers coming in like the Vanilla Bean Stout and Raspberry Sour from their Botanicals & Barrels series and year round selections like the El Gose German Style Sour Ale, Out Of Bounds Stout and White Rascal Belgian White Ale there’s enough variety to satisfy even the pickiest beer geek.

Out of their wide selection of beers now distributed here, my go-to is their Imperial IPA, The Maharaja.

According to Avery’s website the word Maharaja is taken from the sanskrit words Mahat, meaning “great”, and Rajan, meaning “king” making this Imperial IPA regal, intense and mighty; mighty it is indeed, coming in at a big 10% ABV.

Pouring into the glass the Maharaja has a very dark amber color with a mild haziness and a nice foamy head that quickly disappears. The aroma is a full on citrus blast with hints of grapefruit, orange and even a bit of papaya coming through as well as some piney notes. The sweetness of the malt comes through as well. The first sip greets you with true bitter hoppiness that hits the palate running.

The middle gives way to the sweet malts with a hint of caramel that breaks up the dankness a bit but returns with a nice dry finish. I didn’t find it to be too boozy given the high ABV at first, but after a few more sips it made it’s subtle presence felt.

This Imperial IPA from Avery Brewing will be a welcomed addition to my growing list of go to IPA’s. It’s strong and fruity with enough of a boozy feel to remind me not to drink these like a freshman at a high school kegger. 

Look for this delicious brew and much more from Avery Brewing Company on local store shelves and bottle shops throughout Baton Rouge and surrounding areas.

To hear more about The Maharaja Imperial IPA check out our On Tap segment sponsored by Mockler Beverage Company on the Bite & Booze Radio Show below.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Wakey Whisky: Alberta Rye Whisky Dark Batch

by Eric Ducote

Good morning everyone and a happy #WakeyWhisky to you on World Whisky Day! World Whisky Day (#WorldWhiskyDay) was founded in 2012 by Blair Bowman, a university student in Scotland, and has grown into a worldwide celebration of all things whisky and whiskey.

 According to Bowman, "World Whisky Day is all about making whisky fun and enjoyable. It’s not about being exclusive or prescriptive. You can drink it however you enjoy it (ice, water, mixer – whatever works for you). We want to be all inclusive and that means any kind of whisky/whiskey from anywhere in the world."

For me, that really meant I wanted to try something that wasn't a typical American whiskey and get into something from somewhere else in the world, so I dug through the Bite And Booze whisk(e)y collection and found something new to me. My pick is the Alberta Rye Whisky Dark Batch, a blended rye whisky from Calgary, Canada. This is a unique blend, 91% Canadian Rye Whiskey, 8% Bourbon, and 1% Sherry. Alberta Distillers is the largest rye whisky distiller in North America, but they must source their bourbon from the United States, as it's only legal to call a product bourbon if it's from the US of A. I would also assume that the sherry is sourced, then blended with some of their choice barrel aged rye whisky to create this blend. 

Normally, I'm a bigger fan of non-blended whisky and whiskeys, but I do enjoy a good rye, and a blend with bourbon and sherry sounds intriguing, so... let's dig in. The nose is robust, with the typical cinnamon spice from a rye whisky and also a hint of the sweetness coming from the sherry. Honestly, an excellent first impression, and it's a powerful aroma, I could pick it up as soon as I popped the cork on the 750ml bottle. 

The taste, more of the same, but even better. It's a powerful whisky without being obnoxious, coming in at 90 proof and 45% abv. The cinnamon spice is still going strong, with strong charred oak characteristics from all contributors to the blend, and a sweet honeysuckle-esque finish. The spice lingers for a bit, even getting up into my nostrils as I breathe while I write this post.

From what I can find online, this bottle should be somewhere between $30-$40 if you can find it, which I think is an excellent value. It's exactly on the tipping point between easy drinking and robust without finding it's way into the "so strong it's hard to drink," or "so weak it's barely there" categories. An excellent blend, a real eye opener for me, and without a doubt a pleasant surprise.

I'll be enjoying plenty more of this spirit in the future, but for now, CHEERS!, #wakeywhisky, and Happy #WorldWhiskyDay to you all!

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Jay D's Bites: B.E.L.T. Sandwich

by Therese Schneider

I love this time of year right at the end of spring and the beginning of summer. All of the best produce comes to the Farmer’s Market. One of my favorite ingredients is the heirloom tomato. They’re so juicy, sweet and fragrant and make for an awesome romesco sauce or as a key player in your sandwiches. Recently, I tried it on a very simple B.E.L.T. The BLT brings me back to my childhood. I can whip up a pretty mean BLT, but my dad’s is still the best.

To kitck it up a notch, I added a fried egg to it...that’s the “E” in the B.E.L.T (see what I did there?). Instead of regular lettuce, I used Arugula which gives it a nice bite and goes great with the Jay D’s Louisiana Molasses Mustard. Try it out and let me know what you think!

B.E.L.T. Sandwich

1 Artisanal loaf, you’ll need 2 slices per sandwich
1 egg
½ cup of Arugula
2 slices of bacon
1 heirloom tomato, sliced
1 Tbsp of Jay D’s Louisiana Molasses Mustard
2 Tbsp of mayonnaise
3 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. On a baking sheet lined with parchment paper put down your slices of bread and drizzle with 2 Tbsp of Extra Virgin Olive Oil (saving the remaining 1 Tbsp for the egg), then pop it in the oven for 6-8 mins or until it starts to develope a little bit of brown around the crust. While the bread is in the oven, cook bacon to desired crispiness and set aside. 

Next, combine the molasses mustard and mayo and set aside. Get 2 slices of the toasted bread and spread the molasses mustard/mayo mixture on the each slice, add arugula, 2 slices of tomato and bacon. 

Then, in a non-stick skillet over medium heat, add the remaining tablespoon of Extra Virgin Olive Oil, crack the egg in the skillet and cook for about 3-4 minutes until the whites look almost done, but still a little runny. With a spatula, flip your egg and let it continue to cook for 1-2 more minutes and add it on top of the bacon. Put it all together and there you have it!

Monday, May 15, 2017

It's Not a Goodbye, It's a "See You Later": Hannah Reflects On Her Internship

by Hannah Wilson, intern

I remember Blair coming to Dr. Folse’s marketing class like it was yesterday. She shared what Bite & Booze was all about and I remember having a gut feeling that this was meant for me. That sounds so cheesy and so easy to say now that we’re here, a semester later...But, that’s the thing, I follow my gut. I have honed in on listening to my intuition, and it’s gotten me this far. As the class ended my friend Chad leaned over and said, “You seem a lot like her, are you going to talk to her?”; I said yes.

I marched down, got her business card and that was that. We skyped for the interview on a winter day when it was about negative four degrees in Chicago, and I remember Jay asking me what my least favorite food was. Later that day I got an offer from them, and I took it.

Me chowing down on some high quality Gov't Taco
Photo Credit: Jordan Hefler Photography

Coming back from winter break, and walking up to the #OfficeHouse on the first day, I was incredibly nervous. I have always loved eating food, but I did not think I was qualified enough to review food or represent a company all about food. The most crafty I got in the kitchen was putting olive oil in a pan with vegetables and stir frying them and I’m still not even sure if that’s exactly what you would call that. I was ready to try though, even if I was a nervous and excited mess.

Being Blair’s intern has been a little something extra. Blair, Chief Confusion Coordinator and Spin Doctor, is someone I view with the to utmost respect and has become one of my role models through this whole experience. I’ve gotten to see her goofy, honest and kind personality shine through whether we’re editing blog posts, cleaning the #OfficeHouse or having a dance party while running errands. There is never a dull moment with this crew, and everything turns into laughter and dancing in almost no time at all.

From private dinners, to grocery stores, to working Gov’t Taco events, there’s always something going on. Throughout these various adventures, I’ve learned so much more about culinary marketing and real life experience than any classroom could have taught me. This internship has opened my eyes to all of the amazing experiences that happen off of LSU’s campus, and it’s made me appreciate this city so much more than I could have ever imagined.

I also have a new appreciation for food and shopping locally. Jay and the team are so dedicated to buying local ingredients and supporting small businesses, and it really made me evaluate where I was shopping and what I was feeding myself.

Our partnerships with local Louisiana companies gives outlets to promote local commerce to both parties, and it’s been very interesting to see how everything works together. I think that shopping locally and focusing on the quality of ingredients has changed how my body operates, and I’ve definitely noticed an improvement. It makes a world of difference when you care about the quality of food you’re putting into your body (except for this sinfully delicious grilled cheese I wrote about).

Getting to pal around with Blair and taste almost every cup of coffee in Baton Rouge, pho and having our almost weekly lunches at Zippy’s have grown to be some of my favorite memories of college. But also, seeing all the effort and hardwork that goes into building a brand for a restaurant and getting to be a voice in the decision making process has been a truly rewarding experience (taste testing almost every taco hasn’t been too shabby either).

Since coming through that door in early January, the adventures, laughs and love have been endless. Which, again, sounds cheesy but it could not be more true. This group of humans have been one of the most genuine I’ve ever come into contact with. 

The success of this team, I believe, is due to the cohesiveness and family-like atmosphere we work in every day. For the past five months I’ve woken up and looked forward to my Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at Bite & Booze. So much so, that I’m coming back in the fall when I finish up my last semester at LSU!

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Beers with Chuck: Goin' Coastal IPA with Pineapple from SweetWater Brewing

by Chuck P

I find that people are usually on the fence when it comes to adding pineapple to different foods and drinks. Unless it’s a tropical beverage, I tend to shy away from it, but sometimes you just have to take that chance and when you do you might find out that something like a pineapple IPA might be even more delicious than you previously imagined. That’s where I found myself when I tried the Goin’ Coastal IPA with pineapple from the SweetWater Brewing Company.

I’ve always been a fan of SweetWater’s designs. The bright colors and artwork bounce off of their products when you see them on store shelves and the Goin’ Coastal 16oz can is no exception.

The beer has a hazy golden straw body to it that shined in the glass. The aroma smells fantastic with the pineapple being at the forefront followed by hints of mango and some tangerine coming through as well as solid floral and piney notes; taste wise, you can flip that aroma description around.

The floral and piney notes are what caught me first with the pineapple coming in the middle and finishing with the other citrusy flavors. There’s a nice malt balance from start to finish.

This is a very juicy and refreshing IPA, although I do think the grapefruit and tangerine shown through a bit more than the pineapple.

Make sure to pick up a few of these cans this summer to enjoy; especially if that day is spent in your boat with a line in the water.

To hear more about Goin’ Coastal click below for our On Tap segment sponsored by Mockler Beverage Company on the Bite & Booze Radio Show.

Monday, May 8, 2017

The Big Cheezy in The Big Easy

by Hannah Wilson, intern

This past Sunday, while waiting on the Jazz Fest gates to open, my friends and I decided to hit up one of our favorite restaurants in New Orleans, The Big Cheezy in mid city. The staff is always so polite and welcoming. With three locations in mid city, uptown and in Kenner, it’s definitely something that’s become a NOLA must for me.

Each location has a slightly different menu, but our go-to favorites are the Big Cheezy, the Mac N’ Cheezy and the Flying Dutchman.

The Big Cheezy

The restaurant’s namesake is a great spin on the classic staple. Staged on Hawaiian Sweet Bread it’s a magnificent, triple decker sandwich comprised of not one, but six cheeses! The Gouda, Mozzarella, Cheddar, Pepper Jack, Monterey Jack and Parmesan all compliment each other for one tasty take on the Grilled Cheese. 

The Flying Dutchman

A more wild version of the grilled cheese, The Flying Dutchman, is a must try. Gouda paired with smoked turkey and applewood smoked bacon is topped off with honey mustard; the perfect amount of meat, cheese and all things good.

Mac N' Cheezy

This one is my absolute favorite. Their four cheese, bacon mac and cheese piled high with cheddar cheese on their country white bread is easily that most savory thing I’ve ever tried. The flavors all perfectly blend and are sure to leave your taste buds beyond content. We paired it with their sweet potato fries as a side and boy, were we in Heaven.

Although it was kind of a bummer that Jazz Fest was delayed due to the crazy weather, The Big Cheezy’s gourmet grilled cheeses were the perfect pick me up for our spirits and our appetites. Next time you’re looking for a savory twist in the Big Easy, check out the Big Cheezy!

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Beers with Chuck: Grass Monkey Hoppy Wheat Ale from Sweet Water Brewing Co.

by Chuck P

I know that technically summer won’t officially begin until June 20th, but here in Louisiana it pretty much feels that way 10 months out of the year. Luckily for us we can enjoy the latest seasonal release from Sweet Water Brewing Company to help us transition from “spring” to “summer”. I present to you the Grass Monkey Hoppy Wheat Ale.

Sweet Water Brewery started out of Atlanta, Georgia in 1997 and made their way here to the Pelican State back in 2013. Their brews have been a staple in many craft beer fan’s fridges way before they entered our state and even more so after launching here, especially their popular 420 Pale Ale.

Recently I had the chance to try their seasonal Grass Monkey Wheat Ale and discovered what might be my new favorite summer beer.I’ve never been a big fan of wheat beers. They’re not bad beers, I just don’t crave them the way I crave other beer styles. Sometimes for research purposes, I have to try things I don’t normally drink and can be pleasantly surprised.

The first thing I noticed after pouring the beer were the lemon and citrus notes I got on the nose, obviously from the lemongrass that Sweet Water added. The look of the beer is a hazy orange kind of color with a head that quickly diminishes. 

The flavor is light and refreshing with the lemon and a bit of orange coming through thanks to the Lemondrop Hops they introduced in the kettle and dry hop processes. The wheat element definitely shines through with a light sweetness that I thought had a tinge of grapefruit.

This beer seems like the perfect companion when lounging on the patio, by the pool or after some yard work on a hot summer day. Make sure to add this crisp wheat ale to your Sweet Water collection. 

To hear more about the Grass Monkey check out the On Tap segment below sponsored by Mockler Beverage Company from our latest episode of the Bite & Booze Radio Show.