20080409-finds-0101.jpgICE-COLD COFFEE
With humid days and sticky nights ahead, sometimes it’s just too hot to turn on the stove, even to drip a pot of coffee. Fortunately, N.O. Brew, a cold-dripped bottled iced coffee, has just hit the market in Lafayette. The bottled brew is a blend of arabica beans and French chicory, the coffee New Orleans is famous for, and comes in three flavors: regular, mocha and french vanilla. Cold dripping leaves the bitter acids that spoil coffee behind, resulting in an extremely smooth cup of coffee. Owners Fred Peer and Michael Stonebreaker (a former New Orleans Saints linebacker) recommend mixing the coffee concentrate half and half with whole milk, delivering cafe au lait over ice, or warmed up right in your coffee cup. The unopened bottle will keep for three months in the fridge; once it’s opened they recommended you finish it up in two weeks. N.O. Brew ($4.49 a quart) is distributed by Kleinpeter Dairy and can be found at Champagne’s, Adrien’s, Breaux’s Mart, Piggly Wiggly, Fresh Market and at www.nobrew.com. — Mary Tutwiler

SKAGGS REDUX

One of the highlights of mandolin master Ricky Skaggs’ exhilarating January 2008 show with pianist Bruce Hornsby at the Heymann Center was a sneak preview of Skaggs’ brilliant new album, Honoring the Fathers of Bluegrass: Tribute to 1946 and 1947. The title says it all, as Skaggs and his virtuoso band Kentucky Thunder revisit the two years of material that bluegrass patriarch Bill Monroe cut with his new band at the time — which included Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs. Skaggs and his cohorts lend their high and lonesome tenors and pickin’ prowess to laments like “Toy Heart” and spiritual material like “Remember the Cross,” treating the songs with equal parts reverence and unbridled enthusiasm. Bringing the album full circle, banjoist Scruggs — the last surviving member of the original bluegrass band — plays on “Goin’ Back to Old Kentucky.” Honoring the Fathers of Bluegrass is available locally at Barnes & Noble, Circuit City and Best Buy.  — Scott Jordan

SEAFOOD EXTRAVAGANZA
The Crescent City Brennan clan has been one of Louisiana food’s first families for decades, and Ralph Brennan — impresario behind Bacco, Mr. B’s Bistro and Red Fish Grill — is now bringing his legacy to bookshelves. Ralph Brennan’s New Orleans Seafood Cookbook, four years in the making and clocking in at impressive 430 pages filled with renowned NOLA photographer Kerri McAfferty’s stunning images, is a mouth-watering homage to Louisiana seafood. The book features 170 classic and contemporary seafood recipes including redfish courtbouillon and seafood-stuffed flounder with garlic butter sauce, not to mention entire sections on shrimp and oysters. As lagniappe, there’s a dessert denouement that includes decadences like chocolate bourbon pecan pie. Ralph Brennan’s New Orleans Seafood Cookbook retails for $45 and is available locally at Barnes & Noble and Books-a-Million. — SJ

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