On the Road with Garrett and Betsy Busch: Day Six.
Part VI: Lafayette to Baton Rouge
Tough to wake up this morning… Betsy probably tattled on me about the shenanigans we got into last night with Bonnie, but what a fun time! It was a short stay in Lafayette, but a good one! Betsy and I woke up and gathered our bags (we did a very poor job of packing “lightly” for this trip)! Bonnie was so kind as to make us both some delicious eggs, perfectly seasoned with Tony’s Creole seasoning (one of my personal favorites in the kitchen at home) and bacon! We enjoyed breakfast together and then had to hit the road to head to Baton Rouge.
The morning was beautiful, the sun was shining and we entered Baton Rouge just before 11 am, pulling into downtown and seeing the old capitol building and some other beautiful architecture. Our first stop was right in the heart of it, The Little Village. We went straight there where we met up with Paul Bologna himself and one of his reps, John, who we would be spending the day with. We tasted through the wines with Kevin at the Little Village, who funny enough, grew up in the same area as Brandy and knew her growing up. We exchanged stories about our adventures out in Lettsworth over the weekend and were excited to share some of our newer releases with Kevin.
Next, we headed over to Maxwell’s Market where we met owners, Catherine and Ron. Catherine had actually played a big role in helping Trinitas get to the Louisiana market and we were definitely excited to meet her in person to thank her. Catherine saw my dad speak on EWTN one night and texted Paul Bologna at about 10 pm to ask him to get some of that Trinitas wine! As luck would have it, Paul actually already had Trinitas samples in his office that had been sitting there for four months and he just needed a sign to actually try them out!
After catching up with Catherine, we headed over to Bistro Byronz, a newer restaurant with a great lunch and dinner menu. We met with Emilie, the owner there and were excited to show her the new 2013 Proprietors’ Reserve Chardonnay. We also enjoyed a delicious lunch and it was nice to spend some time talking with Emilie; her family and Paul’s family go way back so we also learned a little bit of the history of the wine distribution industry around Louisiana.
For our next stop, we ventured over to French Market Bistro and tasted in the bar there. The front of the restaurant has a great display of wines and we were excited to see a few bottles on the rack that we recognized. The 2012 Napa Cabernet Sauvignon was tasting quite delicious today!
Being that our family still owns and operates grocery stores in Michigan, this next stop was a fun one for me. We visited Alexander’s Highland Market, an independent grocery store. The wine selection was extensive and Betsy and I got a little lost just looking around at all of the variety! Definitely somewhere we would love to shop around for groceries or wine.
We met with Jesse and headed upstairs to taste. While we were tasting, all of a sudden all of our phones started blowing up at the same time…. What in the world?! We all looked at them to see what the racket was all about and saw an emergency alert “FLASH FLOOD WARNING” for our area… that’s odd, it was sunny all morning and even sunny when we walked into the store. The room that we were in above the market had no windows, so we couldn’t see outside, but sure enough, within minutes we could here the thunderous down pour of rain on the roof. I pulled up the radar on my phone to see what was going on….
Not eager to go back outside, we took our time talking about the wines and tasting with Jesse before finally venturing back outside. By the time we left, the only evidence of rain was the water on the ground… guess we just missed the worst of the rain!
We made one last stop for the end of the day at Maxwell’s Market on the other side of town. We dropped in and said hi and met Trent there but he didn’t have enough time to taste wine with us so we did not stay too long. Great little market though!
John dropped us off at my hotel in downtown Baton Rouge. Nice place with a great location, we freshened up a bit and Betsy decided it was time for an afternoon beverage so we ventured out for a walk around town and stopped at PJ’s coffee shop. Apparently PJ’s is a Louisiana coffee chain. Betsy got the Ginger Peach iced tea and I tried an iced cappuccino. Both were delicious!
John picked us up a few minutes later and we headed over to Bin77 for our Trinitas wine dinner! Betsy and I were particularly excited since we knew many of the attendees that had told us they were coming and had heard great things about the restaurant! When we arrived, we met the owner, Brian, and his wife, Tiffany, and he showed us around the place, including their new expansion next door.
As part of the new expansion, there is a private loft space above the bar that seats 24 people which is pretty neat! Brian had hoped to have the Trinitas wine dinner up there, but due to the number of RSVPs, there was not enough room! Nervous about the weather, they had moved the dinner back and forth from inside to outside and back and finally settled on risking it and having the dinner outside in the courtyard, praying that the rain would hold off!
We could not have asked for a better night! The skies stayed clear, the air cooled off and we had live music and incredible cuisine all perfectly paired with great company and great wine!
The menu was amazing… I won’t even try to describe and these pictures probably won’t do it justice, but well done!
Betsy and I truly enjoyed spending time with some dear old friends as well as some of our newer friends, including the FIRST official members of the newest level of the Wine Society, the Proprietors’ Club as well as some of our most loyal Trinitas friends and Fidelis members, Joe and Paula:
This crowd was too much fun! I am maybe a little bit glad that they put the dinner outside so that we were not too loud for other guests. We even had some of Brandy’s friends and family who we partied with on Saturday come and share in the evening with us:
We were happy to share a wonderful evening with all and look forward to returning to Bin77 again. After the dinner, Betsy had to head back to New Orleans for a 6 am flight out. I am bummed that this is the end of our trip together as we have had such a wonderful time enjoying the company of our Louisiana friends and Trinitas family here. I’m staying in Baton Rouge one more day to visit some more places and for another fun wine dinner tomorrow night. Betsy is headed up to Indiana for a wine dinner tomorrow at Sorin’s at Notre Dame. Wish we could both be in two places at once as both dinners should be a lot of fun!