This Week's Edition / September 18, 2014

First Bite

Chef Ryan Andre named executive chef at City Pork's second location

Chef Ryan Andre disclosed to 225 yesterday that he will be the executive chef at City Pork's second Baton Rouge location. The restaurant is slated to open sometime this fall at 7327 Jefferson Highway in the former location of Dempsey's.

Andre, who previously worked as executive chef at Le Creolé, has teamed up with the City Pork brand and says he's excited to bring his flavors to the restaurant. Already, he's started collaborating with City Pork Deli & Charcuterie executive chef Troy Deano on a menu for the new location. Read the full story.

Details for Slow Food Fall Heat event revealed

Slow Food Baton Rouge hosts its second-ever Slow Food Fall Heat Sunday, Oct. 19. The fall farm-to-table showcase kicks off at 4 p.m. at the Burden Center's new outdoor pavilion and grounds at the LSU AgCenter's Botanic Gardens (4560 Essen Lane).

The event will feature a chef's cook-off, and the slate of competing chefs who have already signed on includes Scott Varnadoe of Restaurant IPO, Jenny Cornelius of Nino's, Alan Niemand and Ben Triola of Oscar's Pizza and John Breaux of The Camelot Club. The chefs will pair a dish with a beer from Hammond's Gnarly Barley Brewing Co. The Retro Duke will provide music, and the event also includes a sunset bonfire and a cupcake/dessert competition.

Tickets are $75. Student discounts are available.

Proceeds from Slow Food Fall Heat will benefit Slow Food Baton Rouge's programming. The event will be a part of National Food Week, which culminates in the nationwide celebration of Food Day Oct. 24.

For more information on Slow Food Baton Rouge, click here. —Matthew Sigur


'Five Seasons' cookbook set for release early next year

Two local food lovers plan to spotlight seasonal ingredients and their versatility with a new cookbook in the works. Erin Nugent and Lauren Beth Slowik plan to release Five Seasons next spring. The book will feature 100-150 recipes catered to the four seasons of the year. The "fifth season" will focus on recipes that are good year-round, as well as those that are good for entertaining.

While those interested in the cookbook will have to wait to get their hands on a copy, the duo has just launched a blog at Five Seasons' website, which focuses on one ingredient each month. The blog will feature recipes as well as how readers can use ingredients in home décor or art projects.

The duo met while attending LSU and remained friends. Slowik, co-founder of Country Table Delivery, and Nugent say they have been inspired to start cooking exclusively with whatever ingredients are in season.

"We like paying homage to the natural beauty of the ingredient and using the actual ingredient," Nugent says. "There are so many different ways this fresh produce can be enjoyed." Read the full story.

La Divina Italian Cafe expanding its menu

Thanks to budding popularity and a new hire in the kitchen, a local café and gelateria is building on its successful menu. Lance LeBlanc, general manager of the Baton Rouge location of La Divina Italian Café, is adding entrées to the food menu, such as chicken tortellini, personal pizzas, lasagna and traditional breakfast items like grits, eggs and bacon.

"Altogether, we've added about 10 items," LeBlanc says. "We'll whittle it down to around five items that will be on the menu permanently by the end of the month, maybe sooner."

The café hired Chef Eric Lefort about a month ago, and LeBlanc says the local spot is now able to broaden its scope outside of sandwiches, salads and gelato.

"We're currently in the growth stage, and we're just experimenting with what our customers want," LeBlanc says. "I'd hope we get some pros and cons, but our customers have loved it all and want us to do it all. If I did that, I'd have a menu that's three pages long."

La Divina's Baton Rouge location opened last December. Carmelo Turillo founded the business in 2007 and opened the first location in New Orleans. For more information on La Divina, click here. —Matthew Sigur

Du Jour

From ‘Spatula Diaries’: Save the week with beans

Want a simple suggestion that could make weekly cooking a little bit easier? 225 contributor Maggie Heyn Richardson recommends cooking a pot of beans once a week. "They're ridiculously cheap, rich in protein and antioxidants, low in fat and linked to disease prevention," she writes. In her latest blog post, she also includes a few suggestions on how to prep different types of beans. Read the full story.


‘That’s the Spirit’ ends summer with a margarita

Summer is officially over. Though 225 contributor Rivers Hughey is sad to see the season's end, she's marked the occasion with a trip to Coyote Blues. There, she enjoyed a little bit of the Mexican restaurant's "Margarita Madness" special, which has classic versions of the cocktail for less than $4. Check back Friday for the full story and read Hughey's previous posts here.

‘Business Report’: New Orleans Original Daiquiris coming to Lee Drive

New Orleans Original Daiquiris, the Metairie-based company credited with making daiquiris more popular in New Orleans in the 1980s, is planning to open its second Baton Rouge location at the end of November. The new location will replace the existing Daiquiri Café at 133 Lee Drive, so the building already has the proper zoning requirements. Read the full story.


‘225’: Checking out Omi's authentic Asian cuisine

Tucked away off Essen Lane in a building that has housed many other restaurants, Omi offers an array of Chinese and Japanese dishes. In this month's 225, our critic tries the restaurant for the first time and comes away surprised by the flavor-packed dishes. Among the highlights of the night out is the Taro Pork, which the critic describes as an “outrageous pork and gravy." This dish consists of meaty pork belly and thickly sliced taro in a slightly sweet and slightly salty sauce. "This dish is what Sunday supper should taste like," the critic writes. Read the full review.

‘Business Report’: Permits filed for Perkins Road seafood restaurant

According to Business Report, Perkins Road might soon get a new seafood restaurant. Stephanie Riegel reports that the owners of the former Kean's Fine Dry Cleaning building near the Perkins Road overpass have submitted plans with the city-parish Department of Public Works to redevelop the property into a new seafood restaurant called Crispy Catch. Tyler Pizzolato acquired the building in May for more than $560,000 from Frank Kean. "The documents filed with DPW end months of speculation that, given their ties to the seafood business, the Pizzolatos were planning to develop some sort of seafood establishment at the site," Riegel says. Read the full story.


Enjoy Louisiana craft beers next week

Louisiana craft breweries will be celebrated next week as part of the state's second-ever Louisiana Craft Beer Week, which runs Sept. 22-28.

In Baton Rouge, Hammond's Gnarly Barley Brewing Co. will showcase beers Monday at The Chimes East, 5 p.m.-7 p.m., and at The Pelican House later that evening. Get more information.

On Tuesday, The Pelican House will feature kegs of Tin Roof's Pucker Up cherry sour amber and a dry-hopped blonde ale in the evening. Tin Roof will also bring its Amber Mounds of Joy cocoa nibs and coconut beer to The Chimes East (10870 Coursey Blvd.) Thursday night.

Bayou Teche Brewing will introduce two new specialty beers, Teche Hombres and Mango Albino, in Lafayette Tuesday at The Greenroom (229 Jefferson St., Lafayete, LA, 70501).

Other specialty brews and casks will be available at Bite and Booze's Louisiana Brewers Bash Wednesday. The event takes place at The Irish House (1432 St. Charles Ave., New Orleans, LA, 70130) and runs 6 p.m.-9 p.m. Tickets are $45.

NOLA Brewing will wrap up its weekly Friday tour with an event dubbed "Pour Decisions" that showcases 18 new specialty beers at the Crescent City brewery's tap room.

How will you celebrate Louisiana Craft Beer Week? Which beers are you looking forward to trying? Let us know in the comments below or on Facebook.—Matthew Sigur


Mason's Grill back in the running for best Bloody Mary

After taking home the prize of Best Bloody Mary at last year's New York Wine and Food Festival, Mason's Grill could be repeat champs this year. The restaurant's Bloody Mason by Kristen Alfandre was voted the best recipe in the state. Tsunami's Wasabi Bloody Mary came in third in the voting. Winners of the contest will be announced Oct. 18 at the Chopped Best Blood Mary Brunch in New York City. Find out more about the event. For more information on Mason's Grill, visit the restaurant's Facebook page or call 756-8815. —Matthew Sigur

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