One Drink: The Cane and Able at Olive or Twist Wednesday, May 29 2013 

 

Cane and Able cocktail

 

Scott Gremillion and Joshua Duke, the owners of Olive or Twist, wanted an original recipe that incorporated rye and Steen’s Cane Syrup for the menu of their popular Perkins Road craft cocktail lounge, but they knew it had to be perfection. After much trial and error, a triumph of biblical proportions was achieved and given the fitting name of The Cane and Able.

Rittenhouse Rye, ginger liqueur, Steen’s, lemon juice and Old-Fashioned Bitters are combined to form a cocktail that is a true love letter to rye drinkers. The lemon, ginger and bitters give it just the right amount of flavor while the Steen’s keeps the tartness in check. The result is a cocktail that sips smooth and easy all the way down.

Olive or Twist
7248 Perkins Road
225-772-2218

Sugar Belle Bakery Wednesday, May 29 2013 

 

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Kasie Coleman, owner of the newly opened Sugar Belle Bakery on Plank Road hands me a freshly made praline and says, “Try it and then try to tell me it isn’t the best praline you ever tasted.” I am skeptical until I take my first bite and have no choice to agree that it surpasses the pralines of bake sales and Christmases past. It possesses a creamer more complex quality, but this could be said about everything Coleman creates at Sugar Belle.

Coleman started baking cakes at the tender age of 4. Her grandmother, Mary J. Davenport has served has her lifelong mentor and inspiration for her newly opened bakery.  Mary’s picture even hangs near the entrance along with one of her handwritten recipes.  Since opening on April 20th, Coleman has been selling out of her signature cupcakes, whoopie pies and Bundt cakes almost every day.  Some days she even debates whether or not she should close a little bit early due to lack of stock.  Coleman does not bake late in the day because she believes nothing should sit on the shelf overnight. Everything is baked fresh daily from scratch. “Sugar Belle would never use a mix,” Coleman says. “I am in the back room sifting flour and cracking eggs every morning.”

The bakery always keeps staples like their butter and cream cheese pound cakes, red velvet cupcakes and pralines, but Coleman also features six different specialty cupcakes each week from her collection of more than 100 different recipes. Currently the most popular group is her Booze Collection. I had the pleasure of eating a White Russian cupcake that managed to capture the spirit of one of my favorite cocktails without being overpowering or too sweet.  The only downside to this rotating menu is that folks fall in love with a cupcake and the next week it isn’t on the shelf.  Coleman does take special orders if patrons can’t stand to wait until a favorite makes it back into the display case.  “It’s fun,” she says. “People come every week just to see what is new.”

Coleman didn’t always wear an apron to work.  She is a former pharmaceutical sales representative who turned to baking as a form of therapy during a life-changing bout with retroperitoneal cancer which affects the entire abdominal cavity.  “While I was recovering, I would bake seven or eight cakes a day for people,” she says. “The idea for the bakery and all the recipes were all in my head.” Coleman has been in remission for about a year now and enjoying a rebirth in the form of a cancer-free life and a thriving new business.  She still continues the fight against cancer.  She is the Louisiana coordinator for the Million Cancer Survivor March and will be leading the march up the steps of the U.S. Capitol Building on June 1, 2014 for the anti-cancer rally.

5151 Plank Road, in Delmont Village Shopping Center. (225) 355-8080 or mysugarbelle.com.

 

Mother’s Day Essay Constest for The Clarion-Ledger, Jackson, MS Wednesday, May 29 2013 

Mother’s Day Essay Contest for The Clarion-Ledger, Jackson, MS

Nancy Hanks-Myers

Growing up, my mother made me costumes, not clothes. These jumpsuits with ears and tails caused my father great pain. He would say, “Nancy, you can’t take her to the Dairy Queen dressed as a dragon. What will people think?”
My mother would reply, “Stephanie Leanne Hanks Myers … Never worry about what other people think of you. It isn’t worth your time.”  This comment served as a foundation for my fearlessness and led me down many unexpected roads.
Whether it was being the consummate room mother or spinning fabulous tales about Bigfoot, Civil War treasures buried along forgotten fence posts, or putting on all black and running round the backyard in the moonlight with a flashlight covered in red cloth to convince me that a monster called the Big Red Eye roamed freely on the banks of the Amite River, my mother made every day an adventure. Her free spirit has stayed with me all of these years and I like to think she is the reason I carry a little bit of magic in my pocket everyday.
This Mother’s Day, we won’t have brunch.  Instead I will order a cake from Baum’s with butter cream frosting and we will eat it while it is still in the box.

Cinco de Mayo in Baton Rouge: Five Margaritas and a Recipe Wednesday, May 29 2013 

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Five Red Stick Margaritas and a Recipe: With a special history lesson, tequila tutorial and margarita recipe by our resident bartender Lynn Burgett II.

Another drinking holiday is upon us. Cinco de Mayo means everyone is Mexican for the day and margaritas and nachos must be consumed in mass quantities. Here is my list of 5 diverse standouts to enjoy while celebrating Mexican Independence Day. For those who wish to remain at home on May 5th, Lynn Burgett, barman to the stars, was nice enough to provide a brief history of the margarita, tequila tutorial and his own special recipe.

5 Muy Bueno Baton Rouge Margaritas 

1. Superior Grill makes their Superior Margarita big, strong and tasty. Large Styrofoam cups keep them cold. This is the iconic Baton Rouge margarita. 5435 Government Street.
2. Go the nontraditional route on May 5th. The Pepino Diablo at Olive or Twist is made with jalapeno tequila, cucumber and lime juice, and agave nectar. It is spicy and soothing all at the same time. 7248 Perkins Road.
3. Mestizo’s Maximillian Margarita is worth the splurge. It combines the perfect proportions of Tres Generaciones Reposado Tequila, Cointreau, fresh oranges and lime juice for a luxurious experience. 2323 South Acadian Thruway.
4. La Carreta has always believed that margaritas can come in a rainbow of flavors. Their Mango Margarita is sweet tropical paradise in a glass. 4065 Government Street or 9828 Bluebonnet Boulevard. 
5. At Ninfa’s, they make their Ninfarita frozen or on the rocks. The recipe hasn’t changed for almost 40 years because it is just that perfect. 4738 Constitution Avenue.

A Purist’s Guide to the Margarita
By Lynn Burgett II

Cinco de Mayo is rapidly approaching, and I wanted to share a classic recipe to enjoy on Mexico’s Independence Day. The margarita is a timeless cocktail that almost a dozen bartenders claimed to have invented as early as the 1930’s. So its true history and original creator will never be known.

I would, however, like to give you a brief guide to the different types of tequila and my own recipe. The first piece of advice I want to impart is to closely read the label for “100% Blue Agave”. Jose Cuervo Gold Especial is a “mixto” which means it is 51% tequila, 49% other liquors (usually corn derived) and colored to resemble aging. About 95% of tequila in the U.S. is “mixto”. Jose Cuervo does have higher-end brands that are “true” tequilas.

In order to be considered “true” tequila, it needs to be harvested from the blue agave plant primarily in the area surrounding the city of Tequila, Jalisco, the western state of Mexico. The starchy core of the blue agave plant is called the pina. Once the core is harvested, it is roasted and mashed. The pulp is discarded. The remaining product is referred to as “honey water.” This “honey water” is used as the base for tequila. After that, yeast is added; the mixture is distilled—yielding basic tequila.

Blanco (white) is only aged for a couple of months—if at all. It basically comes straight from the still. Reposado (rested) is aged for a couple months to a year in oak barrels previously used to mature bourbon. Finally, there is Anejo (aged): this is aged in the same seasoned barrels, but for 1 to 3 years. The gold/brown hue of Reposado and Anejo tequila is the result of the liquor sitting in the wooden barrels.

Classic Margarita Recipe

1 ½ oz Dos Lunas Reposado (or your preference of aged tequila)
3/4 oz Fresh squeezed lime juice (fresh lemon or orange juice can be used as well)
1/2 oz Cointreau or Triple Sec
1/4 oz Agave Nectar
Glass (highball or coupe)

Take a lime wedge and wet the entire rim of the glass. Rim half the glass with kosher salt creating a crescent shape. Leave the remaining rim clean. Wipe all the kosher salt from the inside of the glass. The kosher salt should never be able to directly touch your beverage but you should taste it when you sip to complement the ingredients. Next, fill the glass with ice. Combine all the ingredients in a shaker and shake until the shaker is frosty to the touch. When you pour the margarita over the rocks make sure you “double strain” the cocktail using a tea strainer due to the fresh squeezed lime juice and to capture any ice shards that would further dilute your cocktail. Finally, garnish with a lime wheel that is dropped on top of the cocktail instead of the rim as a throwback to the lime juice used. You can cut back on the Cointreau or triple sec by a ¼ oz or so and add a splash of orange juice. Lemon or orange juices tend to soften the beverage, giving an almost sweet taste.

About Lynn: “I’ve been tending bar for over 13 years and traveling the country for 7 of those as a bar trainer. The epitome of my passion is the history behind the handcrafted cocktail, the use of fresh super-local ingredients and the techniques used to procure a variety of unique concoctions.”

If you require the services of Lynn, you may find him at Galatoire’s Bistro Baton Rouge on Perkins Road where he resides as the head bartender.

Have a libation related question for our resident bartender? Email cherrythedivebargirl@gmail.com

Street Breads Wednesday, May 29 2013 

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Turning quick meals into a special experience…

Husband and wife Josh and Melissa Priola of Lake Charles shared the lofty goal of taking a concept as simple as a sandwich shop and turning it into an exceptional, yet casual and affordable dining experience.  After four years of research and trial and error, they decided their path to success lay in recreating the flavors from some of the world’s best street foods. Their first sandwich shop, Street Breads, opened in their hometown a couple of years ago. After their initial success, a second location in Baton Rouge felt like a natural progression.

Paul Burgess is the general manager of both Street Breads’ locations. He has been with the Priolas since the beginning. “Our goal was not to make the biggest sandwich, it was to make the sandwich with just the right amount of quality ingredients,” Burgess says. All of the sauces and toppings that provide the foundation for their sandwiches are made fresh in store daily and represent a collection of flavors from all over the world. All of their sandwiches are served on high quality fresh artisan bread.

Burgess’ current favorite sandwich is the Mediterranean Portobello, which showcases freshly grilled eggplant and a lemon tapenade, but he says, “With so many exciting flavors on the menu, it just depends on your mood.” Other popular items include a pulled pork sandwich topped with slaw, remoulade, and cheddar cheese called the Deep South. The Argentinean Sierra Beef features roast beef, pepper Jack cheese, spinach, red onion, chimichurri, and Texas caviar, which is black bean based spread, piled onto a rustic bread.  There are also plenty of fresh options for vegetarians. Gourmet salads and wraps are also available. The Pacific Asian salad consists of greens, almond slivers, carrots, cucumbers and fresh-made mango salsa served with an Asian vinaigrette.

Street Breads sandwich, Baton Rouge

Side items include their delicious feta potato salad, which is an inspired twist on a Southern classic and their “Street Slaw” which highlights their mix of secret spices. Street Breads also offers house-made hummus and salsa served with chips.

The interior of Street Breads looks more like a comfortable modern bistro than a sandwich shop. Diners can enjoy everything from a quick affordably priced bite to a leisurely afternoon lunch while sitting on the sofa with a friend drinking a glass of wine.

The Priolas likes to keep it local by keeping Louisiana craft beers from Tin Roof and Parish Brewing on tap.  A nice selection of moderately priced wine is available by the glass and dispensed though a state of the art self-service machine.

Internationally known street artist, Chor Boogie created the vivid mural that encompasses the entire back wall of the shop. Boogie happened to be in town working on a mural for the Museum of Public Art in South Baton Rouge. He liked the concept of Street Breads and agreed to work on a commission.

When asked what was in store for the future of the chain, Burgess said, “We want to keep going. Six months down the road, we want to start looking at other locations.”  And with a concept like this, it is easy to see how Street Breads could leave places like Subway, Quizno’s and Jimmy John’s in the dust. 3131 Perkins Road. (225) 930-4672 or www.streetbreads.com.