Louisiana's meandering byways and scenic sights scream for picnicking, especially now, before the blanket of summer heat fully descends. Think local when planning your menu; Baton Rouge's food shops and eateries are chock-full of inspiring raw materials for great on-the-go grub.
Thanks to its signature bread, few sandwiches travel as well as the muffuletta. The hefty, sesame-topped round Italian loaf is adept at absorbing flavor without becoming soggy, an important attribute in a sandwich slathered with olive salad. By the time you open the picnic basket, the flavors of your muffuletta have married perfectly while the bread is still toothy and springy. A few examples stand out in the Capital City, including Anthony's Italian Deli's sumptuous pressed version and the plump and savory one from Pocorello's Casa D'Italia. The eggplant-centric veggie muffuletta at Yvette Marie's Café is a tasty winner for vegetarians.
Paper Bag Pleasure
A tiny sack of deep-fried boudin balls is the traveler's ultimate guilty pleasure, and Tony's Seafood has some of the best in the area. The stalwart North Baton Rouge seafood purveyor prepares three varieties: pork, crawfish or shrimp and crab. They may weep with greasy goodness inside your paper bag, but once the crispy crust yields to that spicy tender interior, it's hard to stop at one.
The memorable breads from hardworking artisan bakery Forte Grove make tasty little canvases for homemade sandwiches. Whole-wheat multigrain, Kalamata olive, cranberry walnut, blue cheese walnut, and sundried tomato and roasted garlic elevate ordinary sandwiches and make special ones even more interesting. Forte Grove's proprietors, Bill and Kathleen Cooper, sell breads and pastries every Thursday and Saturday at the Red Stick Farmers Market.
To 'Die' For
Pasta salad is an enduring picnic accompaniment, and Fresina's in Baton Rouge is a great place to source the main ingredient. The family-owned and -operated Drusilla Shopping Center store features all sorts of pasta shapes, made fresh and dried on-site from Old World molds called dies. Tiny tubes called ditali, rotini, penne and shells are perfect for pasta salad, but it's hard to pass up the company's festive Louisiana shapes, including tiger heads and fleurs-de-lis.
Founded in Baton Rouge in 1934, Baum's has been turning out cakes and pastries for 78 years. Road trips demand portable desserts that won't fall apart, and Baum's cookies fit the bill. Bright yellow smiley-face butter cookies evoke summer whimsy, and hand-painted gingerbread boys and girls in swim trunks are a hit with children and children at heart.
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Bad Guys, Good Eats! Pop-Up Dinner at Restaurant IPO
Chef and 225 contributor Jay D. Ducote and Chef Chris Wadsworth hosted the Bad Guys, Good Eats! dinner at Restaurant IPO Wednesday night. The dinner was themed around famous movie villains, pairing cocktails and ales with plates of food resembling famous baddies like The Joker, Lord Voldemort, Hannibal Lector, and many others. The highlights of the night were the three middle courses—a black bean soup laced with blood sausage to signify Lord Voldemort, a brace of coneys on black eyed peas resembling Sauron, and lamb medallions atop a fava bean puree to pay homage to the famous favorite of Hannibal Lector.
Elizabeth Arkley Hammett, a local nursing student and Fur Ball co-coordinator, and her husband Grey Hammett III, who works in commercial real estate, will take you through our summer guide. And they'll look good while doing it, too. Where noted, their clothes and accessories are available from local retailers.
These swimsuits will keep you stylish all summer long
Better Block BR
On Saturday the two blocks between Bedford and Beverly drives on April 13, 2013, residents will get to see a model of what Government Street could look like if we push local and state officials to update the roadway to a safer, more "complete street" model.