Take a Stroll at White Light Night

Mid City Merchants
Grab your family or your friends and head to Mid City tonight for the neighborhood’s annual White Light Night.
This yearly event is heralded by the several of the area’s businesses and neighbors as an opportunity to celebrate the arts, food, music and shops.
Whether you choose to spend next to nothing or splurge on unique pieces, you can make the most of White Light Night.
There are more than 50 businesses and restaurants participating in the artistic evening to welcome you to their establishments.
Some of our favorite picks include Brew Ha Ha!, Bistro Byronz and Time Warp.
The event will begin at 6:00pm and end at 10:00pm. For more information, visit midcitymerchants.org.
Avett Bros

A modern festival in an old setting

Shout out to Wade Trapp!

The first Modern South Music Fest set up shop at Hemingbough in St. Francisville this past weekend. The country-folk event brought in locals for David St. Romain, Charlie Worsham, Wade Bowen and the incredible Avett Brothers.

Check out the festival through our photos.

Duck Popper at IPO

Walking for your food never tasted so good

Originally published in DIG Magazine

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Some of the best of Baton Rouge’s food can now be seen and tasted in less than three hours for one price. Thanks to the new delicious venture, Baton Rouge Food Tours, visitors and residents now have an opportunity to explore the area’s rich history and delicious food within a mile radius at one time for $45.

The walking tour is a living dream that came to its creator Kim Harper while she was on vacation earlier this year.

“I went on my first food tour in another city and truly got the essence of that city,” Harper said. “My next thought was that our food is much better than this and our history is much better than this.”

Along the two-and-half-hour walk, Harper stops at historical points such as the Old State Capitol, the Hilton Capitol Center and St. Joseph’s Cathedral, to fill tourists in on unique bits of information. Harper attributes her detailed knowledge of Baton Rouge to having a deep love for our city’s history and desire to know more than what is on the surface.

Additionally, she researched from books, the Internet, family members and local figures for several months leading up the launch in early November.

“I wanted to know everything about Baton Rouge and because of that, I fact check everything,” Harper said.

Because of her curiosity, Harper provides the tour participants with historical nuggets that most would not have immediately known about local monuments and restaurants.

There are more than 40 restaurants located in the downtown area that span over two miles. The tour narrows the list down to six restaurants along the tasting journey that are only within a few blocks of each other. When selecting the eateries, Harper carefully plotted out a walking pattern and a menu that best told the story of Baton Rouge in a culinary fashion.

Some of the food tastings include “Shrimp on a Hot Tin Roof” from Zolia Bistro Enoteca, a duck popper from Restaurant IPO and a twist on beignets from Kingfish Grill. Other stops along the tour are at Poor Boy Lloyd’s, Stroubes and The Lobby Cafe.

“I tasted everything and wanted to make sure that everyone got something unique and different,” Harper said. “There is a little bit of classic Southern dishes and new and exciting food dishes. Everyone should have something they enjoy.”

If tourists enjoy an item, they are encouraged to compliment the food by proclaiming the local phrase “C’est Si Bon” which translated means “It’s So Good”.

In addition to the generously-portioned items, tourists can expect to be treated like a VIP at reserved tables, receive inside information about the establishments and visit with some of the owners or chefs at participating restaurants.

Chef Raine Bayyan of the Kingfish Grill at the Hilton Capitol Center appreciates what the tour represents and what it provides for the community.

“It’s a beautiful thing to show your work to people who love food and who are willing to explore new food,” Bayyan said.

“I love meeting them [tourists] and explaining how we at the Hilton infuse the city’s history into our food.”

Tiffany Terrell, owner of the recently opened Lobby Cafe, feels the tour provides an opportunity for locals to explore the downtown area all over again.

“People in Baton Rouge tend to be either ‘downtown’ or they are not,” Terrell said. “The tour is especially great for locals because it brings them out of their comfort zone.”

Downtown Baton Rouge is known for its recurring events and unique nighttime venues. However, the tour provides participants with the option of exploring some unearthed gems in the area during the day.

“There is great food down here and that food is available during lunch as well, not just at night,” Terrell said.

Harper has plans to expand the tasting tour to more frequent times during the week and eventually spread it across different pockets of town.

“Baton Rouge has a lot of great food areas to explore,” Harper said.

The Baton Rouge Food Tours currently offers tours on Thursdays and Fridays at both 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. While walk-ups are accepted, reservations are strongly encouraged and can be taken for one person to the maximum of 12. For more information or to make reservations, visit BatonRougeFoodTours.com or call 1-800-838-3006.

Country Table

Organic food at your doorstep

Originally published in DIG Magazine

From the farm to your fork is what the owners of the new food delivery service, Country Table, promise their customers. Owners Lauren Beth Slowik and Kallie Svendson recently opened their fresh produce warehouse-on-wheels after many years of searching for the right product.

The duo, who met during freshman year at Louisiana State University, always knew they wanted to start a business together, but did not know the particulars. It was not until they were both working in local establishments that the idea of opening a mobile produce business developed.
“We threw out a bunch of ideas, landed on this and said ‘that’s it’,” said Slowik. Svendson added that their joint interest in fresh produce made this idea the best one.
“Fresh local food is something that we are both interested in and Baton Rouge needs something like this,” said Svendson. “We have seen this done in several other cities and wanted to bring the idea here.”
Through Country Table, members can purchase bundles of 10-14 seasonal fruits and vegetables either weekly or every other week. Members can also add grains, organic cleaning products, sauces and meat from local farmers at an additional cost.
Country Table membership requires a one-time fee of $35 to cover the costs of the crate and ice packs. The weekly cost is $37, with the biweekly option costing $39. Members can also expect healthy tips and recipes included in their bundles.

Galen Iverstine, farmer and owner of Iverstine Family Farms, partnered with Country Table to provide fresh meats to the project.  “It’s a really cool concept that caters to [the needs of] Baton Rouge,” said Iverstine. “Buying local isn’t always the cheapest, but it’s worth it for the time and the natural methods.”

Iverstine currently offers pork for the weekly bundles and will be providing turkeys for the Christmas holidays.
The entrepreneurs work with farmers like Iverstine to bring the flair of the local market to members’ homes or offices. Part of their research included talking to the Big River Economic & Agricultural Development Alliances (BREADA), the facilitators of the Red Stick Farmer’s Market. “We love the farmer’s market and support them. However, many of our members live outside of the city, but work in Baton Rouge.” said Slowik. “We can now service those who can’t make it out to the market by delivering to their offices.”
From the beginning, Slowik and Svendson have had their hand in nearly every step of the process. They made visits to all 18 partnering farms to see firsthand where their produce originated. “It is important for us to know where our produce come from,” said Svendson. “We made appointments and went out there.”
The girls work organically together and play to each other’s strengths. Svendson primarily engineers the manufacturing of the bundles and communication with the farmers, while Slowik helms the marketing and creative front.
Additionally, the owners personally deliver every order in their servicing area. “People get so excited about receiving the produce, and that makes us happy,” said Slowik.
Slowik and Svendson realize that the costs might be intimidating. However, they guarantee that their produce is just as good, if not better and healthier, than big box organic giants such as Whole Foods and Fresh Market. Furthermore, the two emphasize the importance and appreciation of community in their produce. “We love fresh food and we love that it’s local,” said Svendson. The well-balanced pair hope to continue to offer the personalized touch as they expand across the state for years to come.
For more information, visit www.countrytabledelivery.com.

Saddle up and give us your “Boot Bucks”

The “Old West” was brought to the South last night at Youth Oasis’ Annual Celebrity Waiter Roundup fundraising event and we were thankfully there to experience it.

Youth Oasis, a local non-profit organization,  feeds, shelters and takes care of teenagers who are in desperate need of love and support in emergency situations.

The western-themed event asks guests to bid on items in both a live and silent auction, participate in games such as a wine toss and hay pull. Additionally, each of the celebrity waiters competes to earn enough tips (also called “Boot Bucks”) to become the top waiter.

This event was one of the coolest events that we have attended. There were hundreds of people who had a big desire to make an impact on our community. Our goal was to not only serve these guests, but more importantly win the title of “Top Waiter” in the process. We were tasked with beating the likes of Matt Williams of WAFB, Michael Shingleton of WBRZ, Hillar Moore, Coach Cador and more. This was no easy challenge. However, challenges are what we live for.

Ryan working the tables to earn "Boot Bucks"

Ryan working the tables to earn “Boot Bucks”

After being assigned our individual tables, we quickly realized that two is better than one, so we tackled our tables together. This tactic not only allowed us to meet some awesome new friends (and followers?), but we also landed in the top 3 of celebrity waiters. There was only one way a winner could be decided…a dance competition. With Ryan being a dance champion and Josh having moves better than Jagger, the clear bet would have been on us to dominate Matt Williams and Steve Webb.

The song: “The Wobble.” Our dance moves: Impeccable. Miley Cyrus would have been out of business (that might not be such a bad thing). Our finish: Third. Even though our dancing skills were intense and unique, we failed to bring home the prize. However, we were very pleased to be a part of this opportunity.

Michael Shingleton, Ryan and Josh

Michael Shingleton, Ryan and Josh

We are honored to have been involved in this annual activity, and hope to do more with Youth Oasis. Every child deserves to have their provisions met and we can all do something to make this a reality.

If you would like to join Youth Oasis in their mission, do not hesitate to volunteer for next year’s Roundup. You can donate today. This is another opportunity for you to #GeauxforBRoke.

This event and organization is definitely #BRokeApproved

The challenge that changed our lives

It’s been nearly a week that our city-wide challenge has ended and we are still recovering in many different ways.

To catch you up, we took on a challenge with the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank and LSU Campus Life to raise awareness for Hunger Action Month. We ate on $2.25/day for five days. We couldn’t accept any “donated” food, couldn’t exceed the daily limit and had to count every thing we ate.

Ryan chose to take the approach of eating the same thing every day. His choice was red beans and rice with sausage, homemade cornbread and muffins.

Josh’s plan of action initially started in similar repetitive pattern to Ryan’s in the form of black bean soup. However, he switched it up with hard-boiled eggs, protein shakes, peanut butter wraps and even ice cream.

Both approaches were diverse, yet we both kept our pledge. We capped the week off with a fun celebration at the Pelican House on Saturday with some amazing cupcakes from Cupcake Couture.

 

Pelican House

Loving some cupcakes from Cupcake Couture

We learned so much from this event. The first is that our community knows how to pull together and take care of one another. We caught onto the spirit that Trevor Sims evoked in the beginning of the month by continuing his desire to feed the hungry. Thousands of cans were collected and money donated.

The other powerful item that we discovered is that there isn’t much of a healthy option for those who are on an extremely tight budget. McDonald’s, Taco Bell, Burger King and more offer many options that are cheap. While those items can be considered #BRokeApproved, it’s amazing how those are sometimes the only option for those in our area.

Our sponsor and Josh’s trainer from Deuce5 Complete Fitness, told us that when the body is weak and can’t pinpoint the next meal, a fatty meal is necessary. However, if items can be regularly purchased at an inexpensive cost, they can be helped.

We really hope to continue to raise awareness for the needs in our community and for the Geaux for BRoke Challenge to be an annual event.

We can all do something!

The challenge has arrived

Have you been following along with us on our Geaux for BRoke challenge? We seriously hope so. If not, we don’t hold grudges and it’s not too late to start!

Here’s the breakdown…

From September 23 through September 27, 2013, we are encouraging you to put an action behind the awareness by feeding yourself on only $2.25 a day.  That equals to $11.25 for the five day week.

Participants are then encouraged to donate the difference of what they would normally spend for the week, to the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank.  There will also be bins for canned items around the city that the community can contribute towards.

To donate funds: https://brfoodbank.volunteermatrix.com/donateonline.php

Everyone can do something. If you knew your neighbor, family member, coworker and friends were struggling, would you not want to help? Make plans to #GeauxforBRoke at the end of September and see this community be changed.

LSU Women’s Basketball Head Coach Nikki Caldwell is about to #GeauxforBRoke. Will you?

 

#GeauxForBRoke

Have you been following along with us on our GeauxforBRoke challenge? We seriously hope so. If not, we don’t hold grudges and it’s not too late to start!

Here’s the breakdown…

From September 23 through September 27, 2013, we are encouraging you to put an action behind the awareness by feeding yourself on only $2.25 a day.  That equals to $11.25 for the five-day week.

Participants are then encouraged to donate the difference of what they would normally spend for the week, to the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank.  There will also be bins for canned items around the city that the community can contribute towards.

To donate funds: https://brfoodbank.volunteermatrix.com/donateonline.php

Everyone can do something. If you knew your neighbor, family member, coworker and friends were struggling, would you not want to help? Make plans to #GeauxforBRoke at the end of September and see this community be changed.

LSU Women’s Basketball Head Coach Nikki Caldwell is about to #GeauxforBRoke. Will you?

LSU Women’s Basketball is going to #GeauxforBRoke

 

BRoke Guide to Furnishing your Home on a Budget

Ryan recently moved and has been trying to figure out how best to decorate his new place without dropping a million dollars or it looking like it should be condemned.  Here is what he did and suggests you do when it comes to furnishing your home.

New furniture doesn’t come cheap—at least if you go for the good stuff. If you buy used, however, you can get some great stuff for a lot less. #BRokeApproved

Of course, finding used furniture you’d actually want requires more effort than a quick search on Craigslist. To get the best stuff at the best price, you need a plan of attack.

Step One: Make a Wishlist

When you buy used furniture, you don’t (necessarily) go into a used furniture store and look around. Instead, you’ll often find yourself online browsing through tons of options you don’t want. It helps to know what specific pieces you hope to buy in advance so you can look for those instead of trying to come up with a list of keywords.

BRoke Shop Before You Shop…What?

Browse online furniture shops, or go into the stores themselves to find what you want, and make a list. If you like multiple items at a specific store, keep its name on your list as well. When searching Craigslist for furniture you like, it helps to search for a store name rather than a keyword. You’ll get to see all the used items from that retailer plus anything with a similar style (since people often use store names as keywords in their listings).

Practice your Negotiation Skills…

Don’t avoid furniture you normally couldn’t afford. Anyone who has sold furniture on Craigslist knows how little money you can make off of an item, regardless of the original cost. If a price seems too high, don’t forget to haggle. Most people don’t expect to get their asking price on sites like Craigslist.

Step Two: Set Up Price Watching

When you need a lot of stuff, searching Craigslist multiple times per day can get pretty tedious. On top of that, you should look out for sales from the actual furniture stores as well. Sometimes a sale will net you a decent price on a new item you can’t find used and will still fit within your budget. Automate the checking process with price watch tools.  Scroll to bottom for instructions to set up a price alert.

Step Three: Check Thrift and Consignment Shops

Don’t discount thrift stores and consignment shops. Remember, we are STRONG lovers of thrift store shopping. Do you remember this? While you may find a handful of crap, if you visit regularly you’ll often find great new used furniture you wouldn’t expect to see at a thrift store. Not only that, but a sturdy, well-built item will generally cost less than its IKEA counterpart. While looking online can score you some great deals, don’t discount the real world. While many turn to Craigslist to make a few bucks off of their unneeded furniture, several others prefer to get it out of their house faster and turn a lesser profit through thrift stores and consignment.

Step Four: Plan Your Pickups

Whether you purchase your used furniture from a store or from regular people, you’ll need to pick it up yourself. This means renting a van or truck to haul the large items. We suggest begging a friend with a truck- #Geaux4BRoke. At the very least, you should budget about $40 for a van rental (including gas and mileage costs) when making a few nearby pickups. Uhaul, Ryder, and Penske all offer this service. You can even find suitable vans and trucks at standard car rental services like Enterprise and Budget. In fact, these services might save you some money depending on your needs.

Get your Friends involved…

Finally, don’t forget to ask a friend to help if you have any large items. Best truck is your friends truck.  But don’t forget to pay them back with food, drinks, high-fives, etc.

Step Five: Enjoy the Benefits

Not only do you save a lot of money with cheap, used furniture, but you really only have to move it. While many items requires a small amount of assembly when shipped from the manufacturer—even the pricier ones—used furniture comes ready-to-go. If you buy from someone who takes care of their stuff, you get an item good as new without any of the hassle of assembly. If you get an item with a minor defect or two, a little handiwork can make it good as new. While buying used furniture may seem to take a lot more effort, it actually doesn’t require much more work than a series of purchases at IKEA. In the end, you get much nicer furniture for a great price.

HOW TO SET UP A PRICE ALERT:

For Craigslist, use one of our favorite webapps: IFTTT (IFTTT means “if this then that”). Follow these steps to set up price alerts for pretty much any item:

  1. Create an IFTTT account or log in, then create a new recipe.
  2. Click the large “this” link and choose Craigslist as your trigger.
  3. You should only have one trigger option to choose from: “New post from search.” Choose it.
  4. Perform a search on Craigslist for a specific piece of furniture (e.g. “aeron chair”) and copy the URL.
  5. Paste the URL into the Craigslist search field on IFTTT, the click the Create Trigger button.
  6. Click the large “that” link and choose Email. (You can also choose another Action, such as an SMS text message, if you prefer notifications through something other than email.)
  7. Choose the “Send me an email” action—it should be your only option.
  8. Modify the parameters to your liking or just leave the defaults, then click the Create Action button.
  9. Finally, enter a description for your recipe and click the Create Recipe button. Now you’ll receive a notification via email every time someone posts about the piece of furniture you’re looking for.

For other sites, you can monitor price fluctuations with a webapp called PricePlease. Simply copy the product page URL, paste it into PricePlease’s front page, enter your email address, and wait for a price drop alert. The service won’t work for every single product page on the web, but it will do the trick for most. This way you can stay abreast of any changes, whether the store has a sale or just discounts the item you want.

 If you ever have any ideas of where we should go, review and experience, please let us know by email,  Twitter , Facebook or just by yelling at us!

Melt your face off this weekend!

 

It’s Art Melt time again! Forum 35′s annual event is in its 10th year in BR. Art Melt brings together local amateur artists to showcase their pieces in spectacular form.

Their preview night, costing a hefty penny, is tonight. However, you can enjoy the fantastic event in its grandeur tomorrow for free.

For more information, visit http://www.artmelt.org/ and for our take on it from last year, view our previous post aqui.

Have a fantastic weekend homies!