This Week's Edition / April 10, 2014

First Bite

A look inside The Rum House

The Rum House is now serving its trademark Caribbean-style cuisine and signature cocktails. The taqueria, started by Michael Buchert and Kelly Ponder in New Orleans, made its Baton Rouge debut with a soft opening just a few weeks ago featuring temporary nighttime-only hours.

A carefree, island feel is the focus of the new location. Inside, the restaurant has a 52-foot-long bar with captain-style boat chairs. The dining room opens up to canopy-style patio with picnic tables and an outside bar with rope-swing barstools and a mural of Bob Marley behind it.

There is even more on the way for The Rum House. Read the full story.

Beausoleil highlights new flavors on spring menu

Chef Nathan Gresham is no stranger to mixing it up. For Beausoleil's spring menu, the local chef has made some changes to items that have become staples for the Bocage area restaurant at 7731 Jefferson Hwy.

The new menu starts next week and features changes to dishes like the lamb meatball, which will be closer to the Indian dish chicken korma with tomatoes, peas and a curry sauce. The restaurant's petite green salad will feature cold-smoked grapes and Port Salut fried cheese. Mussels will be served in a Pomodora sauce. Gresham is also working on a spring pea hummus to go along with the ever-popular fried chicken livers. Read the full story.


Foodies

'225': Celebrate strawberry season with these local treats

The 43rd annual Ponchatoula Strawberry Festival kicks off this weekend at the town's historic Memorial Park. The free, family-friendly outdoor festival features food, games and entertainment. If you're in Baton Rouge and won't be able to attend, "there are still plenty of ways to celebrate Louisiana's favorite fruit right here in the Capital City," Kaci Yoder writes in the new issue of 225. Among the featured treats is the snack-sized gourmet strawberry cheesecake cupcake at Frosted Cupcakes (5251 Nicholson Dr.) which is "moist, memorable and the pinnacle of hand-held sweet tooth indulgence," Yoder writes. Read the full story.

Red Stick Mobile Farmers Market opens next Wednesday

The Red Stick Mobile Farmers Market resumes spring season operations next Wednesday, April 16, at the Scotlandville Library (7373 Scenic Hwy.) at 9 a.m.-11a.m., and Star Hill Church (1400 N. Foster Dr.) 12:30 p.m.-2 p.m. The pop-up unit will also be open Thursday at Delmont Service Center (3525 Riley St.) 8:30 a.m.-10:30 a.m., and Dr. Leo S. Butler Community Center (950 Washington St.) noon-2 p.m. The mobile farmers market provides a source of fresh food in areas without direct access to grocery stores. Wellness resources are also offered at each site. The market operates weekly at all four locations, weather permitting.

Du Jour

More than 70 restaurants at French Quarter Festival this weekend

This weekend marks the 31st annual French Quarter Festival in New Orleans. The once under-the-radar event is now the largest free music festival in the country, attracting more than 560,000 attendees to the Quarter every spring. It's also a food lover's paradise because coveted vendor spots largely go to popular New Orleans restaurants, old and new.

Most vendors will prepare three dishes each, setting up an impossible task among tasters. Look for brisket with horseradish from Tujague's, debris poboys from Chef John Folse's R'evolution, hot, boiled crawfish from Rouses and chicken livers with pepper jelly from The Praline Connection. Three Muses will serve its popular bulgolgi poboy with Korean marinated ribeye and house made kimchi, and iconic Plum Street Snoballs will offer a truncated list of its timeless shaved ice treats.

Original festival vendor Vaucresson Sausage Company returns once again this year with a Creole crawfish sausage poboy, among other items. New festival vendors include Broussard's Restaurant, Café Reconcile, Loretta's Authentic Pralines, Rib Room, Ruth's Chris Steak House, Ninja Restaurant and Sushi Bar and the Mid-City neighborhood pizza joint, Theo's.

Food booths will be set up around Jackson Square, the Old U.S. Mint and along the riverfront. The festival runs through Sunday. —Maggie Heyn Richardson

From Spatula Diaries: What young people really like to eat

Trying to figure out what to serve the children can be difficult for working parents. However, in Maggie Heyn Richardson's latest blog post, she asked a group of young people what they liked to eat and was surprised by the answers. Some of their answers were smothered pork chops and rice, flank steak tacos with grilled scallions and homemade pico de gallo and more. "The beauty of all these dishes is their versatility," Richardson says. "They can all be confected from the hip, and most don't require a ton of ingredients." Read the full story.





Restaurants

Fast Break: Omi Hibachi Grill & Sushi Bar

An underrated gem in Baton Rouge's food scene is Omi. The restaurant has a mix of Japanese dishes, such as sushi rolls and plates from the Hibachi grill, as well as authentic Chinese cuisine sans the typical buffet line. The restaurant is located off Essen Lane at 7951 One Calais Ave.

For starters, try the spring roll, which consists of two of the traditional Asian favorite appetizers chopped into six bites. Each piece is jammed with crabstick, cucumber, avocado, masago, tamago and onions, topped with the restaurant's special white sauce. The crunch of the roll and flavorful burst makes the usually standard fare a standout.

On the entrée side, you can't go wrong with Black Pepper Beef, a sizzling dish served piping hot in a cast-iron dish with a broth of garlic, onions and celery with a side bowl of steamed white rice. The dish is on the tangy side, and the ingredients that otherwise would threaten to take over your palette are mixed beautifully for each mouthful.

Though the location was once thought of as an eyesore with numerous restaurants going in and out, Omi has the goods and shouldn't be leaving anytime soon. —Matthew Sigur

Blend features Napa Valley wines in dinner event

Blend Wine Bar will serve a four-course dinner Saturday, pairing dishes with wines from Napa Valley's Five Vintners family. The first course will be a fresh Gulf Ceviche with local citrus, cilantro and crispy wontons paired with a 2013 Sauvignon Blanc, Admiral's Vineyard. For the second course, a flash-fried empanada with olives, raisins and salsa roja will be paired with a 2012 Zinfandel, Dry Creek Valley. The third course will be a roasted Anaheim pepper with pulled chicken, blue cheese and red chili sauce, paired with a 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley. The final course is a roasted goat shank with Mole sauce, tequila marinade and bitter chocolate, paired with a 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley. Doors for the dinner open at 4:15 p.m. Dinner will be served at 5 p.m. Admission is $50 per person. Patrons will need to send a request and sign up for the dinner by e-mailing blendwinebar@gmail.com or calling 757-5645. —Matthew Sigur

Calendar

HAART announces Dining Out For Life participants

Six local restaurants will donate a portion of sales for a good cause this month. The HIV/AIDS Alliance for Region Two (HAART) will once again team up with Capital City restaurants for the Dining Out For Life fundraiser. Six local restaurants will give 25% of lunch or dinner sales to HAART on Thursday, April 24. Participating restaurants include Bistro Byronz, The Jambalaya Shoppe on Government Street, Mestizo, Monjunis, Restaurant IPO and Table is Bread. More information is available at Dining Out For Life's website.

Heads up: Gourmet in the Garden set for late April

More than a dozen local chefs will prepare gastronomic delights throughout the botanic gardens at the LSU Rural Life Museum's Burden Center Friday, April 25, for the Gourmet in the Garden event. Festivities will take place 6:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m. and will feature a competition between Louisiana Culinary Institute student chefs and a "People's Choice" tasting competition among the various local chefs. Advance tickets are $60 and $70 at the door. For more information, call 763-3990.

Roundup

‘Business Report’: Zeeland Street and Louie’s seek permission to serve alcohol

If all goes as planned, popular Garden District eatery Zeeland Street Market and the new Louie's Café location near the LSU campus will both be serving alcohol. Applications to rezone the respective properties to allow for alcohol service were filed with the Planning Commission. Read the full story from Business Report.

Texas de Brazil offers Easter menu

On Easter Sunday, April 20, Texas de Brazil will open at 11 a.m. and offer scrambled eggs, fried potatoes, fruit salad, assorted pastries, bacon and sausage in addition to their regular dinner menu. Diners can also enjoy mango, strawberry or passion fruit-flavored spring Mimosas for $8 each. Regular and light dinner options are available for $44.99 and $24.99, respectively. Texas de Brazil is at 10115 Perkins Rowe. Call 766-5353 for more information.

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