Wednesday, March 9, 2011
Written by The Independent Staff

20110309-finds-0101OYSTER HEAVEN
If the gold standard for charbroiled oysters is Drago’s in New Orleans, I just bit into platinum. I’m a big fan of Drago’s — and local restaurants’ versions of this tasty Gulf treat — but the last few times I had them at the New Orleans institution, the oysters were overpowered by the sauce. Not so with Trynd downtown’s take on this delicacy. Trynd’s are grilled unshucked for five minutes, with a sauce of butter, garlic and herbs brushed over the shells. When they’re done, the shucked plump oysters are then basted with the buttery sauce and topped with a shave of Parmesan, preserving much of the oyster flavor (if you prefer ’em heavier, a buttery sauce is served on the side.) But here’s the real palate kicker: Monday through Friday for the 4-6 p.m. Happy Hour they’re only 50 cents a piece (oysters on the half shell are 25 cents). Otherwise they’ll set you back $3.25 for a trio. Wash ’em down with the Trynd-Tini of the day, a glass of red or white wine or champagne for an extra $5, Happy Hour only, of course. — Leslie Turk

St. Francisville author Anne Butler ventures away from her base at the Butler Greenwood Plantation bed and breakfast she operates and heads west of the Atchafalaya Basin for Acadian Plantation Country Cookbook (Pelican Publishing, $20), a collection of recipes and stories that mainly trace the rich culinary heritage of Cajuns along Bayou Teche. With vintage photographs of the people and places of eastern Acadiana, Butler’s book features what to our collective palate are familiar dishes like crawfish étouffée as well as little-known and wildly exotic fare such as pear-jalapeño marmalade. An adopted Louisianan, Butler pens lively prose and chooses her recipes with clever care. “What a tasty literary legacy this gentlewoman has given our state,” gushes Baton Rouge celebrity chef John Folse. — Walter Pierce

It just goes to show that hard work, paired with talent, will pay off somewhere down the line if you hold your spine to the grindstone for long enough. Three years ago no one knew who or what a Vagabond Swing was. Thanks to a tireless work ethic, indisputable band chemistry and their killer new CD Soundtrack to an Untimely Death, Vagabond Swing is happening. Filled with mandolin, trumpet, upright bass, killer percussion and guitars, Soundtrack to an Untimely Death — from the packaging to the art to the actual songs — resonates like a love letter written on the back of a Tarot card found in an alley in Paris where circus freaks mingle with the ghosts of John Wesley Hardin and Jean Genet. If that’s not enough for the price of admission, the songs on the CD interlink to tell the tale of a dicey love triangle, occurring between the main characters — Daisy, a farmer and “the Vagabond.” Produced by Grammy-winner Tony Daigle and packed with tarantella gypsy jazz, haunted Euro-waltze and enough musical twists to keep you interested from beginning to end, Soundtrack to an Untimely Death is a keeper as well as a testament to the kind of imagination and originality Louisiana bands should aspire to. To buy it, go to — Dege Legg


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