Our Bull Grill from Goodwood Hardware loaded up with meats at Tin Roof Brewing
photo credit: Jordan Hefler Photography
The Bite & Booze team was excited to throw a Backyard BBQ party at Tin Roof Brewery to help celebrate the release of their new Watermelon Wheat. The day started early, cleaning ice chests, loading red beans and Supreme Rice into the Goodwood Hardware trailer, lugging heavy cast iron pots to the brewery, cooking up cheese sauce and slicing smoked sausages. Aimee and Therese planned the schedule for smoking the chicken, ribs and sausage days in advance. The pimento cheese sauce was made with love the morning of the event, proportions of rice and beans and seasonings were calculated carefully, and lists of supplies covered tables in the office.
What was on the menu for the event, you ask? Tender, fall of the bone ribs, juicy smoked chicken, and flavorful sausage. The trio of meat was accompanied by impossibly creamy pimento mac and cheese, dirty rice and BBQ beans.
Chef Aimee Tortorich shows off some Jay D's smoked ribs! photo credit: Jordan Hefler Photography
All of which was served with an iconic slice of white bread to sop up all the juices that gather in the bottom of the red checkered trough used to serve our “Full Monty” (a plate of all three meats and each of the sides). The team used Jay D’s Spicy & Sweet BBQ Rub to season the meats, Louisiana Barbecue Sauce to mop the meats as we finished them on the grill and Louisiana Molasses Mustard and barbecue sauce were available for dipping and slathering.
The weather was perfect for the event, sun shining and clear skies. It was the ideal day to relax in the yard at Tin Roof Brewery, Watermelon Wheat in one hand a smoked BBQ rib in the other. As we anticipated, the “Full Monty” was our best seller. No one wanted to miss out on any of the meats or sides. We were so happy with the turnout, it felt like there was an endless line of people from the start to when we sold out of meat.
Sophie Spring and Chuck P. scooping the Supreme Rice dirty rice for service photo credit: Jordan Hefler Photography
The team was running back and forth with hot trays of ribs and sausage, using paddles to scoop steamy dirty rice into hotel pans, pulling BBQ beans out and rushing to get them to our customers.
Sold out BBQ! photo credit: Jordan Hefler Photography
The food was gone before we knew it, and at the end of the night all we had left was the bottom of the pot of dirty rice and BBQ beans. Overall, the event was a success: beer, BBQ, and a good time!
The culinary scene in Lake Charles has grown significantly over the past few years. There has been a growth of new restaurants doing truly fantastic dishes and they are making their presence known with local foodies. But, along with that rise, there are a few old favorites that have stood the test of time. Personally, the one place that keeps me coming back is Darrell’s Famous Poboys and their mouth watering Darrell’s Special.
Since 1985 Darrell’s has been serving up some truly awesome poboys. Their commitment to quality shows in their food and has been rewarded by the loyalty of their customers who have been returning time and time again for lunch and dinner since they’ve opened their doors. It’s no surprise to see the parking lot packed no matter what time of day you visit. And I am willing to bet the majority of orders coming out of the kitchen throughout the day and night are the exquisite Darrell’s Special.
It’s actually a pretty simple sandwich. You’ve got fresh cut ham, turkey and made-in-house roast beef, lettuce (I normally pass on this because...it’s lettuce), mustard, mayonnaise (regular or jalapeno), your choice of cheese (American, Swiss or Provolone) and the absolute best roast beef gravy I’ve ever had. The beauty lies in the simplicity. Or is it the gravy? It might be the gravy.
While sitting at the table awaiting your order you’ll notice a very large stack of napkins.
SPOILER ALERT: You will need these.
The Darrell’s Special is as messy as it is delicious. They’re very generous when it comes to the roast beef gravy, which is certainly not a bad thing. To quote their website “Unless you use at least 10 napkins, you’re doing it wrong”.
Now don’t get me wrong, there are other great tasting poboys on the menu as well. The BBQ Beef is really good and I’ve heard the Surf & Turf is almost as popular as the Darrell’s Special. Almost. But for me, it’s that signature sandwich that gets me every time.
No matter what I’m doing in Lake Charles, I make it a point to stop in and grab a Darrell’s Special. It truly is that good. Next time you’re in Lake Charles stop by and see for yourself.
When it comes to finding a tasty burger, one of the last places some people might think to look would be a donut shop. Unless, of course, you happen to stop by the newly renovated Tiger Deauxnuts and check out their revised menu which now features lunch options, including one very delicious Brunch Burger.
When I noticed there was a burger on their new lunch menu, my obvious first thought was “This thing better have donuts for buns.” I mean, how could it not? This is a donut shop and it would only make sense! Thankfully, I was not disappointed.
Sandwiched between two donut buns was a perfectly cooked patty that was seasoned to perfection. There was a nice crust on the top and bottom of the incredibly juicy patty. And of course, what’s a Brunch Burger without a fried egg. The egg was cooked just right with very little greasiness. The bacon was crispy without being overcooked and dry and the tomato marmalade was a nice touch to finish it off. My only suggestion would be to maybe drizzle a bit of glaze over the donut buns to give it that sweet and savory taste.
Owner Jeff Herman has been making some of my favorite donuts ever since he was operating out of a very small shop right off of Coursey Blvd years ago and I’m happy that he has continued to grow and be successful with his newly renovated location on Government Street. The next time you’re craving a burger and want to try something new, give the Brunch Burger at Tiger Deauxnuts a try.
Before late April I had no idea what Jay Ducote did or who he even was, but that all changed when Jay spoke to my Digital Marketing class at LSU. Usually the guest speakers don’t interest me all too much, but when Jay came along and talked about Bite & Booze, Jay D’s, and Govt Taco, I was sold. I am not sure if it was Jay’s public speaking ability that caught my attention or the fact that he ate and drank for a living. All I knew was that I wanted to be a part of his team.
A few days later I emailed Jay about the possibility of joining the company as an intern and he invited me to the office for an interview. When asked what my least favorite food was, I responded “pickles..” (as anyone should) and Blair replied “Oh great, Jay hates pickles too.” That’s when I knew I was in.
When Jay spoke to my class he said he was looking for a jack of all trades type of intern, and he meant that literally. On the first day I put tags on our bomb AF Louisiana Molasses Mustard (seriously if you’re reading this and haven’t tried it then do yourself a favor and go buy some right this second, this blog isn’t going anywhere) helped craft tweets for our Twitter accounts, created graphic designs, and worked a private dinner at the office. At the end of the day I had worked a little over 13 hours. You’re probably thinking “I bet this dude wanted to quit immediately”, but you would be mistaken. It was single handedly the best day of “work” I have had in my entire life, and I worked at Disney World for 6 months so that’s saying something! The best part about it was that at the end of a 13 hour work day I felt like I knew everyone in the office for years and that I was a part of the family.
Aaron rocking his Jay D's shirt alongside fellow intern Drew, helping serve at Jay D's Backyard BBQ at Tin Roof Brewery. Photo by Jordan Hefler Photography
In a month’s time I have done so many things that I never expected to do. I recorded a podcast sampling beer, wrote multiple blog posts, assisted at demos in grocery stores, made product deliveries, packed and moved our entire office (#RIPOfficeHouse), and attended a handful of Gov’t Taco and Jay D events. It has been a great experience so far and I can only imagine it will keep getting better.
In addition to all of these great experiences I’ve gained an appreciation for local products and most importantly craft beer, thanks Chuck! You would think being from the Baton Rouge area I would try to stick to local products, but I have honestly never thought much about it. Now, I make an effort to only shop at Calandro’s or other local grocery stores. The team has shown me a bunch of locally owned restaurants in Baton Rouge that I never even knew existed, and my fridge is stocked with delicious Louisiana beer.
I hope the rest of this internship goes just as smoothly as the first month, I certainly think it will.
Happy National Mac and Cheese Day! In honor of this glorious day, we thought we'd give you a look into Baton Rouge's innagural Capital City Mac Fest where our Gov't Taco team took home the People's Choice Award earlier this summer. Geaux Rouge presented the first ever Capital City Mac Fest at Curbside Burgers where 15 competitors showed up to present their version of mac and cheese and raised money for altBR.
A ticket to this gastronomic festival got you a one way ticket to cheese town where you could taste each competitors interpretation and cast a vote for the People's Choice Award. There was also a "Taste Award" voted on by a panel of judges and a battle amongst the competitors for The "Best Booth Award."
The competition was comprised of a heavy hitting list of some of the best places in Baton Rouge. This is definitely something you won't want to miss out on next year.
GOyaya’s Crêpes won the the judge’s “Taste Award” with their “Pot Calling The Kettle Mac,” a pot roast mac and cheese with caramelized onions and tomato confit with a lattice work pie crust.
The team had a blast and we hope this festival sticks around next year! p.s. we heard there is another mac and cheese festival happening in New Orleans this October with a very special celebrity guest judge...hope to see you there!
photo by: Blair Thompson Photography, Gov't Taco Team: Blair Loup, Chef Aimee Tortorich, Jennifer Breithaupt, Jay Ducote, Sophie Spring, Charles Pierce, Paige Johannessen
"Welcome to Bite and Booze", they said. After exactly two weeks in my new position with Bite and Booze I was in a minivan heading to our nation’s capital for a Gov’t Taco pop up. 1,200 miles, 5 people, and 18 hours each way in the car. Ok, so I guess this is orientation.
We left late Saturday afternoon to head to our first destination, Auburn, AL. The home of the other Tigers. Tucked away in this college town is a restaurant the group has been gushing about relentlessly since they found out we were taking this trip. Apparently on the way back from cooking at the James Beard House in New York the team stopped at Acre for what turned out to be one of their favorite meals of the trip (you can read more about that here).
So, my expectations were set very high for our first night on the road... It did not disappoint.
Chef David Bancroft spoiled us with an "off the menu" experience that was truly once in a lifetime. The dinner started with a bottle of Rosé and Murder Point oysters to clean the palate. Fresh, light, and the perfect warmup for the dishes to come.
Most, if not all, of the produce displayed and prepared for the dishes were grown on Acre’s property or in Bancroft's own yard. Acre exemplifies “farm-to-table” and chef displayed his vision and creativity proudly to us throughout the night. I left that Saturday night full and happy. The bar was officially set for the rest of the trip.
Sunday, we were back on the road to head to our next destination, Shady Valley, Tennessee. En route we decided to take a break in ATL to check out Ponce City Market. With the opening of Gov’t Taco in White Star Market we have been anxious to check out any and all markets/food halls when given the chance. While walking through the market we decided to continue our Gov’t Taco research and stopped for lunch at Minero, a casual Mexican eatery created by renowned southern chef, Sean Brock.
Torta of the Day at Minero: jamon, chihuahua cheese, queso fresco, hot sauce, salsa verde and a fried egg
We tried their trio of salsas, ordered every single one of their tacos and one glorious torta. It was the perfect opportunity to stretch our legs, eat our fill and check out a really cool spot in the Atlanta area.
After a beautiful and relaxing night in Shady Valley, including spaghetti courtesy of Chef Aimee Tortorich and Therese Schneider, we were hitting the road again. But first, Jay insisted that we stop at the local Raceway Restaurant for a home style breakfast.
Is there really anything better than biscuits, pancakes, eggs and bacon in the morning? I think not. Our bellies were full and ready for the last leg of the trip and our final destination!
After settling in at the Airbnb in Washington D.C., our new home for the next week, a few of the team members headed out to a local watering hole to meet Chef Alex McCoy (Jay’s co-contestant on Food Network Star and owner of Alfie’s) for local beers and a spot to watch the LSU baseball game (side note: great season Tigers!).
Once the game was over and our hearty breakfast had worn off, Alex recommended some late night Korean fare. We ended up at Tosokchon in Virginia for a truly authentic experience. Korean beer mixed with shots of soju, a rice wine liquor served in bowls, pork, kimchi, soup, dumplings, and these are just a few of the dishes that were shared at the table.
View of our table at Tosokchon
We drank, we ate, we drank some more. It was one hell of an introduction to D.C.!
Tuesday was spent working and wandering the city but our evening started with rooftop drinks in China town followed by a first for me, Ethiopian cuisine at Ethiopic. Ethiopian wine, a vegetable sampler and meat sampler were presented to us on a bed of injera, a large spongy sourdough flat bread.
We ate with our hands, using pieces of injera to pick up our bites! It was simple, delicious and something I will miss not having access to in Baton Rouge. Maybe one day...
After Ethiopic we ended the night with a round of oysters, lobster rolls and oyster shooters (my favorite!) at The Salt Line. Located right outside the Washington National’s baseball stadium this restaurant has a true oyster bar feel with a killer food and cocktail menu that I hope to check out more next time I am in the city.
Wednesday, Thursday and Friday were dedicated to the Gov’t Taco pop up. The team took over Alfie’s to debut the full menu for the first time, and let me tell you, Louisiana came to town! We had a line around the block both nights and had a blast visiting with D.C. Tigers, Baton Rouge transplants and lovers of Alfie’s, Jay, Alex and all things tacos!
The dog days of summer are upon us which means people are heading out to the beach, lounging in the pool or possibly doing some much needed yard work. We all find different ways of keeping ourselves hydrated and refreshed during these blistering days and New Belgium has the perfect brew to satisfy your summer thirst with their Juicy Watermelon Lime Ale.
Formerly called Heavy Melon, the brewery decided to rename this seasonal release with a title that more accurately represents the profile of their light fruity beer than the “heavy” title from last year.
The ale pours a very light golden color with very little head and lacing on the glass. The aroma of watermelon is prevalent along with a hint of lime zest. The overall taste, unfortunately, has very little watermelon with the lime ending up as the primary flavor before giving way to a smooth dry finish.
Coming in at a nice 5% ABV this is a really easy drinking beer that’s refreshing and perfect for a hot summer day.
Good morning everyone, happy #wakeywhiskey and a happy 4th of July to you all! Whiskey might not be a native spirit to the United States of America, but here on this side of the pond we have gotten pretty damn good at making it. So good, even, that when alcohol was outlawed during prohibition, moonshine became a way of life for many Americans. In a nod to the white lightning, I'm going for a Carpenter's Bluff Moonshine from Ironroot Republic Distilling this morning.
Yes, originally the term "moonshine" referred to illegally produced spirits, but these days it's a pretty standard industry term for whiskey that hasn't been aged at all, leaving it clear in color and often much stronger than barrel aged counterparts. All distilled spirits start off colorless and high-proof before being barrel aged (or not) for various lengths of time. The spirits are then usually blended with other barrels from the same base spirit and watered down to achieve the desired alcohol content. You'll also see various whiskeys out there marketed as barrel proof, or single barrel, indicating that they haven't been blended or watered down, and you're drinking it just as it comes out of the barrel.
For "legal" moonshine though, the aging process is skipped, although there is almost always a bit of watering down to achieve a consistent alcohol content across the product line from batch to batch. In this case, Carpenter's Bluff Moonshine is made from red heirloom corn by Ironroot Republic Distilling, and bottled at 90 proof. Ironroot Republic is a relatively new distillery out of Denison, TX north of Dallas. They produce vodka and gin in addition to their corn whiskey moonshine, and have a tasting room if you ever find yourself up that direction.
On to the liquor... first off, let me say that I never get my hopes up for a white liquor, most are too harsh and too heavy on the candy corn flavors. This spirit, however, is very well done. The dominant aroma is still without a doubt the corn sweetness, but it's not overpowering, and allows me to enjoy the nose rather than reel back. The taste is more of the same, it's sweet, there are unmistakable notes of corn, but also some mineral qualities that I see in a lot of Irish whiskeys that add a very pleasant balance and really smooth out the mouthfeel and finish.
I enjoyed this one straight up, but their website also has a link to several cocktails involving the Carpenter's Bluff, including a Shine Sour which I might have to try myself.
That's all for now. I hope you are all enjoying a glass this morning, a huge #wakeywhiskey cheers to you all, and Happy 4th of July!
Just about every week in the summer, my dad takes a trip to the farmers market and comes home with a bounty of produce. Within the hour, like clockwork, there will be a green bean salad chilling in the fridge. It’s quick to make, easy to snack on, and uses two of my personal favorite farmers market vegetables: green beans and cherry tomatoes.
With my dad’s recipe in mind, I decided to put my own spin on the classic salad and add Jay D’s Molasses Mustard in the dressing. The tangy mustard complements the sweetness of the tomatoes, and the fresh greens beans stay tender and bright after being blanched.
This simple and refreshing recipe is the perfect side dish for your next summer BBQ!
Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil. Add the green beans and let boil until a bright green color, about 3-5 minutes. Drain the beans and immediately rinse with cold water to stop them from cooking.
Mix the oil, vinegar, Jay D’s Louisiana Molasses Mustard, and salt & pepper to taste.
Toss beans, tomatoes, and dressing and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving.