The key to a true Louisianan’s heart is without a doubt through his stomach. The rich and exciting culture that surrounds our state is reflected in the delicious food found on every corner, no matter the city. The endless menu offered by Baton Rouge can be overwhelming when deciding what to eat, so we reached out to local food bloggers to find out how they satisfy their cravings.
Meredith McKernan & Lauren LeBlanc
Baton Rouge natives and cousins Meredith McKernan and Lauren LeBlanc of @grubgurlz are experts on the food scene in south Louisiana. Years of scrolling through Yelp and researching menus have given McKernan and LeBlanc a long list of favorite dishes to choose from when hunger strikes.
After narrowing it down, McKernan decided that her favorite Baton Rouge dish is Gino’s Arancine. “Whether it’s the classic meat, the seafood or the crawfish one, I don’t care–I love them all,” says McKernan. However, she says tries to take advantage of when the seafood and crawfish selections are in season since the meat option is always available. “I always ask for them with angel hair pasta–so delicious,” adds McKernan.
Enjoying one of Louisiana’s classics, LeBlanc’s favorite place is Zeeland Street Market for its delicious red beans and rice. The dish is served with a sweet potato soufflé, mustard greens, and a cornbread muffin. “They taste just like home,” says LeBlanc.
For McKernan, another favorite when cravings hit is the salmon special at Mansurs on the Boulevard. “If they have the Ora King salmon available, get it,” advises McKernan. She also suggests having it served cedar plank style with lump crabmeat on top. “It is the most flavorful, fatty piece of salmon you will ever have,” she says.
And while LeBlanc is currently living in New Orleans, she’s constantly craving Sushi Yama’s Atlantic Salmon. “If you haven’t had this appetizer yet, you are missing out,” says LeBlanc of the dish, which features fine pieces of Atlantic salmon in Sushiyama’s special ponzu sauce. “It is a must have when you go to Yama.”
Jonathan & Ashton Duhon
The couple who eats together stays together, right? This seems to be the case for Jonathan and Ashton Duhon of the food blog Well Wife Healthy Husband. The Duhons are big fans of whipping up a healthy meal in the comfort of their own kitchen, but on a lazy Sunday, they switch it up and create a customized pizza at Lit Pizza. Going all in on one pizza, their ingredients of choice are marinara sauce, mozzarella, feta, ricotta cheese, pepperoni, bacon, Roma tomatoes, roasted red bell peppers, artichoke hearts, kalamata olives, roasted garlic and oregano. "Once it's done in the oven, we add olive oil, habanero honey, pesto, parmesan, fresh basil and red pepper flakes," says Ashton. "Talk about delicious."
Another typical craving for the Duhons is Mestizo's. "We start with their bacon and feta guacamole and almost always wind up getting their Frisco tacos," says Ashton. The Frisco tacos are a combination of grilled skirt steak, sautéed onion, fresh pico, cilantro, avocado, cotija cheese and chimichurri.
Scrolling through Veronica Droulia’s Instagram feed, you’ll find beautifully plated and colorful dishes in every post. The refreshing twist on Droulia’s account is that she aims to share delicious but also healthy recipes with her followers to inspire and create healthy eating habits.
Droulia’s first go-to recipe is an arugula steak salad with mushrooms and asparagus, which she suggests pairing with your favorite red wine.
Arugula Steak Salad
Salt and pepper to taste
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Apple cider vinegar
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Put asparagus on a baking sheet with foil and drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper. Cook for 8 minutes. While asparagus cooks, prepare mushrooms and steak (cut mushrooms or buy pre-cut). Pat dry the ribeye and add olive oil, salt and pepper. Remove asparagus from oven and set oven on broil at 500 degrees.
Cook steak on the stove in a cast-iron skillet with olive oil and butter for 2 minutes on each side over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms, garlic and thyme to skillet. Place in broiler for 2 minutes, then flip and cook for another 2 minutes in broiler. Let ribeye cool for 5 minutes before cutting into slices.
Place arugula and asparagus in a bowl. Top with lemon juice, a splash of apple cider vinegar, cherry tomatoes, steak and mushrooms.
Another great recipe to use for an appetizer while hosting guests, or even as your own snack, are Droulia’s brown sugar bacon-wrapped dates.
Brown Sugar Bacon-wrapped Dates
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove pits from dates by slicing lengthwise, then add goat cheese to the inside of dates. Cut bacon into thirds and wrap each date with bacon. Secure with a toothpick. Dip dates into maple syrup and coat with brown sugar. Place in oven for 12 to 15 minutes. Flip halfway through so bacon cooks evenly.
Showing off food and drinks from all over the 225 and 504, Morgy Fugarino has a constant craving for one of Louisiana’s favorites: chargrilled oysters. “My favorites in Baton Rouge are at Acme Oyster House; they get them right every time,” says Fugarino. The best part of Acme’s oysters, in Fugarino’s opinion, is the melted cheese, the crispy edges and all the butter you could imagine. “It doesn’t get much better,” she adds.
While oysters are her craving, Fugarino’s favorite dish in Baton Rouge is the Veal Michael at Ruffino’s. The dish combines veal medallions, jumbo lump crabmeat, Imperial sauce, vodka cream and capellini. “Rich, decadent heaven on a plate,” she says.
Asian cuisine is extremely popular throughout Baton Rouge, and especially important to Victoria Hines’ diet. At the moment, Hines’ favorite local dish is Hailey’s Paradise Roll at one of Baton Rouge’s newest hot-spots, Soji: Modern Asian. “This is such a tasty no-rice sushi roll option, especially for those who are trying to cut some carbs,” says Hines. The roll consists of spicy tuna, Ora King salmon, crab salad, avocado, mango, tempura crumbs and eel sauce, all in a soy wrap.
Grace Lee stays loyal to traditional Louisiana cuisine. "There is so much to love about Southern cooking," she says. With many classics to choose from, Lee says that her favorite would have to be gumbo. "I love the complexity of flavors and the unique take on the recipe that comes from the cook that prepares it," she says, adding that whether it's chicken and sausage or seafood, gumbo never disappoints. "It's almost as if you can taste the origin with every bite."
CHICKEN AND ANDOUILLE SAUSAGE GUMBO
3 to 4 boneless chicken thighs, diced into large cubes
3 links Veron's andouille sausage, cut into about 1/4-in. slices
1 tsp. vegetable oil
1 tsp. Savoie's browning seasoning
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup plus 1 tsp. vegetable oil, divided
3 to 4 medium yellow or white onions, diced
2 medium green bell peppers, diced
1 small bunch chopped celery
9 cups chicken broth
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup green onions, chopped
1/2 cup Italian parsley, finely chopped
2 cups fresh or frozen chopped okra
In a 12-inch dark non-stick skillet, cook chicken and sausage in 1 tsp. vegetable oil over medium heat until completely cooked, then set aside in a stock pot for later. I like to use browning seasoning in this step as my little “secret” ingredient. This process takes about 10 minutes.
For roux, set the same skillet at medium heat (it’s key to stay at medium heat to avoid burning the roux; I prefer a dark nonstick skillet over cast iron skillet, but that is the cook’s preference). Place hand over skillet to make sure skillet feels warm. Pour flour into skillet and stir with spatula immediately; this process is quick. Stir in 1/2 cup vegetable oil. Stir continuously until roux is about a crossover color consistency of peanut butter and Nutella mix.
Once roux is ready, incorporate the trinity (diced onion, green bell pepper and celery), Make sure to cook until all vegetables are soft (a great indicator is that the onion is translucent in color).
Turn stove to medium-high heat and pour chicken broth into stock pot. Add vegetables and roux mix to stock pot. Add minced garlic, chopped green onion and finely chopped parsley to pot. Use spatula to mix together all ingredients. Hard boil gumbo, stirring occasionally to avoid any ingredients sticking to bottom, for at least 1 hour or until froth from cooking the chicken has been cooked out. Turn stove to simmer with lid on and allow to cook for at least 4 hours or for as long as you can attend to it from time to time. (For best results, slow cook on stove and stir occasionally. If you want, you may also put cooked gumbo in slow cooker on low all day for the richest flavor.)
Serve with cooked rice or on its own.
Makes 4-6 servings.
Olivia Hoffman, Shea Moreau & Claire Pham
Dedicated to sharing health and fitness tips, Olivia Hoffman, Shea Moreau and Claire Pham post about healthy restaurants around Baton Rouge and share filling and nutritious recipes, motivational quotes, and fitness tips daily. One of the most delicious recipes we saw on their page was baked salmon and sautéed spinach with green beans. Here’s the instructions to make it yourself:
Baked Salmon and Sautéed Spinach
Juice of 1 lemon, divided
Salt and pepper to taste
Bake salmon at 375 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes. Season salmon with some of the lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. In a skillet, add spinach and canned green beans. Stir in additional lemon juice, soy sauce and little olive oil until cooked. Serve with salmon and a lemon slice.
What are your favorite local dishes? Tag us on Instagram at @inRegister to let us know.