This Week's Edition / July 31, 2014

First Bite

Spotlight on Pure Delight coffee beans

Niklas Isaac is a coffee connoisseur. Before landing in the Capital City a year ago, he lived in New Orleans, playing jazz guitar, and in Denver, Colorado.

"I've been making coffee all along the way," Isaac says.

In January, Isaac started purchasing sustainable, specialty grade coffee beans and roasting them, selling the beans under the moniker Pure Delight.

"Coffee is graded on a 100-point scale," he says. "We don't buy coffee that is graded any lower than an 80. We buy the nicest coffee we can get our hands on. I pride myself on knowing the back-story of these beans, too, knowing where and how it is processed. I only buy it that way."

For Isaac, this is all about doing what he loves. His entire family loves coffee. His first job was as a barista. Until now, his main jobs have been serving up cups of joe wherever he's lived.

"About a year ago, I decided I wanted to learn how to roast and got further into researching it," he says. "Even when I was 14 or 15 years old, I loved hanging out in coffee shops. It's one of my favorite places to be. I thought being a barista was a dream job. I just really got into it."

So far, Isaac's Pure Delight has been available by a bicycle delivery system around the Capital Heights and Mid City areas. Interested coffee drinkers can purchase a bag through, and they will get their bag the next day, he says. Pure Delight also ships anywhere in the U.S. Recently, Isaac obtained his first wholesale account with Lagniappe Records, which is serving Pure Delight's French press coffee at the record store's new location at 705 St. Joseph St.

The Chimes announces Beer University game

Though The Chimes' recently and quietly ended its Around the World beer drinking game, the restaurant and taproom has announced it will start a new program next Monday called Chimes Beer University. The program allows patrons to complete different courses, such as Abita Orientation, Beginner's Brown Ale and IPAs 101, and earn an undergraduate degree, master's and a Ph.D. in beer drinking. Participants can enroll through and sign up for classes.

"You choose a course and drink your way through the curriculum," says Logan McCoy, bar manager at The Chimes' Highland Road location. "You can see how you rank amongst your peers. You log in, record the beer you tried, and we give you credit for the beer."

To get your undergraduate degree, participants must drink 50 beers from at least 15 courses. The master's degree requires 30 unique beers from 10 different courses, and to obtain a Ph.D., participants must try 20 "over-the-top" beers, such as barley wines or other extravagant brews. You can enjoy the beers from any Chimes location, but only five beers may be logged in within a 24-hour period.

Those who complete the undergrad courses will get a T-shirt. If you earn your master's, then you get a T-shirt and your name will be printed on a Beer University plaque at The Chimes location of your choice. A Ph.D. gets a T-shirt, pint glass and your name printed on a plaque.

McCoy says that while the Around the World game is no longer operating, those guests who have been participating and haven't finished can request a T-shirt and the plaques for those who completed the journey will still be displayed.—Matthew Sigur


Mahtook twins ‘Get Real’ with new cookbook

Catherine and Christina Mahtook, the twin LSU grads behind the Twinatics blog about healthy choices and spirituality, released a cookbook titled Get Real with Twinatics last week. The book features 30 simple recipes for those looking to cook plant-based meals.

Christina says the recipes are meatless, dairy-free and easy to follow, featuring dishes such as pizza made with a quinoa crust and stuffed peppers, as well as dishes highlighting super foods such as kale, beans and lentils.

"For us, it's about simplifying the complicated," Christina says. "About two to three years ago, we started a plant-based diet with our mom after she completed chemotherapy for her breast cancer. We did a 30-day meal challenge with her. We felt great and she felt great. Her joint pain started going away, and we started experimenting more and more with recipes."

Catherine says after the twins completed the meal challenge, they were interested in helping out those interested in a healthy lifestyle.

"We would start having wine and food parties with our friends, having them taste dishes," Catherine says. "If they liked it, it went in the book. The big thing is these recipes don't have a lot of steps and don't take up an entire day of prep. They're simple, easy and healthy."

The cookbook is now available via the Twinatics' website. —Matthew Sigur

Fête Rouge announces menu for Lifetime Achievement Award dinner

Foodies and local culinary enthusiasts have less than a month to prepare for August's Fête Rouge. The main Food & Wine Fête takes place at L'Auberge Casino & Hotel Baton Rouge Friday, Aug. 22, featuring more than 200 wines and area chefs putting their talents to the test.

However, the festivities begin the night before with a seven-course wine dinner honoring Grace "Mama" Marino Lifetime Achievement Award winner Jay Campbell. The event is also at L'Auberge Casino & Hotel, and begins at 6 p.m. with live entertainment. Dinner is served at 7 p.m. Tickets are $200 per person.
225 Dine was recently given a peek at the menu for the dinner. Read the full story for more details.

Du Jour

From Spatula Diaries: A recipe for the last eggplants of the season

In south Louisiana, eggplant shows up in a ton of dishes from Angels on Horseback to roasted eggplant soups to deep-fried eggplant Parmesan. To celebrate one of the last crops of summer, Maggie Heyn Richardson has prepared a low-maintenance dish. The recipe is "a versatile side, pairing nicely with seafood and meat alike, and it's enriched with shredded cheese and crunchy breadcrumbs," she writes. Read the full story.


'That's the Spirit' heads to Rock-n-Sake for happy hour

Rivers Hughey's favorite time of day is happy hour. In her latest post for the new blog "That's the Spirit," Hughey heads to Rock-n-Sake for its TGIT (Thank God It's Tuesday) to try out the restaurant and bar's $5 cocktail and wine specials. At the bartender's recommendation, she had a Lychee Fizz, which features Hana Lychee Sake, elderflower liqueur and soda water. Read the full story.

New book chronicles ‘A Year of Spirited Libations’

Longtime New Orleans bartender Marvin J. Allen released a book this month featuring recipes, techniques and more about seasonal cocktails. The book, Magic in a Shaker: A Year of Spirited Libations, is an informative guide with sips and tips perfect for every month. Warm rum cocktails for February, a Pimm's Cup for the August heat and absinthe recipes for October are just some of the drinks featured in the book. Allen has more than 20 years experience crafting cocktails and is the current bar manager and bartender at the Hotel Monteleone's Carousel Bar. In 2005, New Orleans Magazine voted him Bartender of the Year. In 2010, he received the City Business Culinary Connoisseur award. For more information on the book, click here.


Fast Break: Lunch from Fresh Junkie's new location downtown

The most recent addition to the downtown food scene is something familiar to fans of its Main Street Market stall. Patrick Fellows opened a brick-and-mortar version of Fresh Junkie over the summer in a prime location along North Boulevard's Town Square.

The shop offers plenty of fresh salads and wraps, including the popular Brickhouse with grilled asparagus, edamame, grape tomatoes, Parmesan cheese and their signature dressing. On a recent visit, we opted for the Thai salad with grilled chicken ($9). Featuring plenty of mixed greens, carrots, cucumbers, red bell peppers, chopped snow peas and sprinkled with cilantro—all crammed into a deep container—this salad is enough to divide across two meals or share with a coworker. The addition of chopped grilled chicken brought a flavorful helping of protein to the mix. We asked for the spicy peanut dressing that comes with the salad on the side, which is a good suggestion—you never know if a server might get too generous with the dressing, leaving you with a soggy mess.

If you're having trouble deciding what to eat, you can “freestyle” your own salad or wrap with up to four toppings, cheese and a dressing.

While Fresh Junkie doesn't have seating for dining in, it provides an easy and healthy option for downtown professionals or visitors to take with them. Once the weather cools off, it will be hard to resist taking one of their salads to a park bench across the street in Town Square and enjoying an outdoor lunch far away from your cubicle. —Benjamin Leger

Latte e Miele owner discusses recent closure

Baton Rouge's culinary scene was dealt a surprising blow last week when Latte e Miele owner Luca Di Martino confirmed on the restaurant's Facebook page what many had suspected—the Jefferson Highway gelateria and restaurant was closing. In the midst of a cross-country drive to visit family, Di Martino spoke exclusively with 225 about his decision to close the restaurant.

"This closing had nothing to do with [the staff] or my dedicated clientele," Di Martino says. "It was a huge decision I had to make. It's hard to walk away from this. It's six years of 14-hour days, seven days a week. And I'm not someone who gives up and walks away. It's bittersweet." Read the full story.


Enjoy charcuterie and rosés at Restaurant IPO tonight

Restaurant IPO (421 Third St.) hosts a tasting tonight, 7 p.m.-10 p.m., highlighting the restaurant's charcuterie boards, pâtés and a selection of rosés. The event will also feature a silent auction and live music on the patio. Proceeds from the silent auction will be donated in full to the Bella Bowman Foundation. Tickets are $50. To RSVP and get more information, click here.

On the road: Great American Seafood Cook-Off lands in New Orleans

A new seafood king will be crowned as 19 chefs from across the nation head to New Orleans for the 11th annual Great American Seafood Cook-Off Saturday. The event begins at 11:30 a.m. at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center (900 Convention Center Blvd., New Orleans, LA, 70130). Tickets are $5 in advance and available at Whole Foods locations in New Orleans at Broad Street and Arabella Station, in Metairie at Veterans Memorial Boulevard and in Baton Rouge at Towne Center, or $10 at the door.

Participants in this year's event will represent 19 states. Chef Aaron Burgau of Patois Restaurant in New Orleans is representing Louisiana. Earlier this month, he told 225 Dine that he's confident and looking forward to competing against a group of America's most talented chefs.

This year's judges include Ben Pollinger, executive chef of Oceana in New York; Kris Moon of the James Beard Foundation; Barbara Mathias, co-publisher and vice president of Food Arts magazine; Brian West, chef-instructor at the Culinary Institute of America-San Antonio; and Susie Selby from Selby Winery.

For more information on the cook-off, click here.—Matthew Sigur


‘Business Report’: Louie’s Café move pushed back until fall

Fans of the Chimes Street staple Louie's Café will have to wait a little longer for the restaurant to move into its new location. In Business Report, Stephanie Riegel writes that Louie's "won't be moving into its new location on Lake Street by the end of the summer as originally planned" as permitting and constructing delays have pushed back the timeline. Read the full story.

Heritage Lecture Series hosts Sam Irwin tonight

Writer Sam Irwin will share his personal history and the story of Louisiana crawfish tonight as a part of The Foundation for Historical Louisiana's Heritage Lecture Series at The Old Governor's Mansion. The event kicks off with refreshments at 6 p.m., followed by Irwin's presentation at 6:30 p.m. Irwin was born and raised in Breaux Bridge. Earlier this year, he released the book Louisiana Crawfish: A Succulent History of the Cajun Crustacean, featuring history, recipes and photographs that trace how far the state's crawfish culture has come. The event is free to FHL members and $10 for guests. Click here to register or call 387-2464 for more information.

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