At Faubourg St. John's Whole Foods Market (3135 Esplanade Ave., 943-1626), the best alcohol purveyor in walking distance of BYOB restaurants Lola's (3312 Esplanade Ave., 488-6946) and Sushi Cafe (see Restaurant Review above), Rogue's Morimoto Hazelnut Ale is labeled a good sushi beer. Dubious as it may sound, the dark, malty brew with its chocolatey nuances and nutty aroma actually did work when paired with certain dishes at Sushi Cafe. It's light on the finish despite a thick, dessert-like mouthfeel, and it acts like wine -- fruity but unobtrusive -- when drunk with spicy and soy-salty foods. Based in Oregon, Rogue partnered with Japanese Iron Chef and Food Network superstar Masaharu Morimoto to formulate the recipe.
Peacock Indian Cuisine (3410 Williams Blvd.), a momentary outpost for super-spiced and South Indian dishes in Kenner, is closed. A "loan production office" now inhabits the former Shoney's space.
In response to dieters' ever-increasing carbohydrate phobia, Elmwood Fitness Center's Executive Chef Marc Gilberti is teaching a reduced-carb cooking class from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 4, at the fitness center (1200 S. Clearview Parkway, River Ridge). The dietician-approved recipes -- all roughly 300 calories per serving and six total carbohydrates -- will steer clear of fad diet extremes and gear students towards eating a balanced diet in reduced, but not eliminated, carbohydrates. The class costs $10 and includes copies of the recipes. Call 733-1600 to sign up. Chef Gilberti also teaches regular "Healthy Cooking" classes.
The Brunch Is Back
Beginning this weekend, Cobalt (333 St. Charles Ave., 565-5595) will again offer brunch from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Buttermilk pancakes with toasted macadamia nuts and poached eggs with fried green tomatoes headline Chef Brack May's weekend menu. Students from NOCCA/Riverfront will entertain on Saturdays, while Heather & the Monkey King will play on Sundays.
Also beginning this week, check out Wine Flight Wednesdays from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on the first Wednesday of each month at Martin Wine Cellar's dual locations (3827 Baronne St., 899-7411; 714 Elmeer Ave., Metairie, 896-7300). $12 buys tastes of five different wines; hors d'oeuvres and cheese plates will be available for purchase.
Through the Grapevine
The Windsor Court Hotel's New Orleans Grill (300 Gravier St., 522-1992) will host a more formal, five-course wine dinner on Wednesday beginning at 7 p.m.; Shari and Garen Staglin of Staglin Family Vineyards will pour their own Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon. The cost is $185.
This week's column powered by whole fried trout -- served still snap, crackle and popping -- at Willie Mae's Scotch House.