Operator, won’t you put me on through. Gotta send my love down to Baton Rouge. Hurry up, won’t you put her on the line, got to talk to my girl just one more time! As I was sitting across the long 18-person dining table from most of my family, Garth Brook’s infectious (annoying?) tune filled my ears. I was already a bit tipsy happy from the festivities surrounding my brother’s rehearsal dinner and feeling quite comfy in my parent’s beautiful Baton Rouge home, being surrounded by family. Not to mention how amazing my new sis-in-law’s family was, and I was meeting them all for the very first time! (And being the culture-junkie that I am, I must say that I’m ecstatic to be joining forces with a Vietnamese-American family. Vietnam was one of my first country-loves, and I love her people!)
I ignored the rolling eyes of my younger sisters and brother and continued to mouth the words across the boisterous table. But until then I’ll spend my money on down to my last dime…oh oh woah…down in Baton Rouge….. My head playfully nodding to the cajun fiddle, foot tapping involuntarily to the confederate drumbeat, I just couldn’t help myself. Sure, it was cheesy, but there’s an element of love and pride I have for this city we call Red Stick- the place where I came into being – the place where I grew in to an adult, that overpowers any potential self-consciousness. This sweet, southern, Louisiana city swathed me in so much culture, love, and amazing food, that it’s a wonder it didn’t spoil me from ever living anywhere else.
I see a truck stop ahead, so I change lanes. I need a cup of coffee and a couple dollars change, callin Baton Rouge! As the night and wedding weekend festivities raged on, I took the greatest pleasure in opening up our hearts and home to our new family and friends. Southern hospitality lives here, mon cher.
As luck, or fate, would have it, I was able to meet with the friendly folks from Visit Baton Rouge at TBEX in Toronto last May, and they invited me to join a culinary tour of Baton Rouge this weekend! Since I’m all about culture and food (which in my opinion, Louisiana has the best of), I am thrilled to participate in Friday’s Fete Rouge Wine and Food Festival (local chef competition? why, thank you, I will gladly help pass judgement on this fine food) and other events and tours throughout the weekend.
Follow along with me for live coverage on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest as we tour my go-to Tony’s Seafood Market (pick your own live catfish!), The Red Stick Farmer’s Market (a first for me), Louie’s Cafe (college haunt), White Oak Plantation (another great food event!), a pop-up brunch with Bite and Booze’s Jay Ducote, and more! Check for hashtags #TravelToBR #GoBR, #BRFoodieFam
In Baton Rouge….Sweet Baton Rouge…My Baton Rouge….Oh Oh Oh Ohhhh….