Finds 07.30.2008

Leave it to Charley G’s to put a Louisiana twist on an Italian classic. Its summer menu focuses on hot weather specialities — Gulf redfish and bluepoint crabs — heightening and lightening taste with seasonal flavors like watermelon, okra, basil and Ruston peaches. Take the saltimbocca for instance. As part of the Italian canon, the dish, which literally means “jump in your mouth,” is a thin veal scallop, layered with prosciutto, Parmesan and sage, rolled up tight, sauteed in olive oil and served after the pasta course. Award-winning chef Holly Goetting sautés her saltimbocca flat, the better to top with a heaping ladle of fresh lump crabmeat. Sage switches to basil, pureed into pesto, which is used to sauce the accompanying, fryer-crisped potato gnocchi. And if you’re into small plates, this one shares beautifully. Call Charley G’s at 981-0108 for more information. — Mary Tutwiler

Writing on his laptop by candlelight, freelance writer and Gambit Weekly contributor Ian McNulty chronicled his experience every night throughout the months after Katrina submerged New Orleans. During the days he tackled the cleanup of his flooded house and rode the rhythm of a city slowly coming back to life. A Season of Night is a deeply intimate account of McNulty’s experience, and by extension the emotional roller coaster of everyone who has come home to the Crescent City. The fear of those first days, the tension of wanting to get back to the city, the anger, surprise and unexpected joy McNulty felt every day as he learned how to live in the new New Orleans is all captured in this memoir. A Season of Night: New Orleans Life After Katrina, $25, is on sale at local bookstores. — Mary Tutwiler

Jon Cleary is possessed. At times, the British native and New Orleans transplant will channel the boogie blues piano professors of the Crescent City, then suddenly snap out of the spell and ease into a Stevie Wonder-esque R&B groove, only to change course again, diving into a Latin-influenced jam a la Tito Puente. Along with his stellar backing band, the Absolute Monster Gentlemen, Cleary makes the transitions effortlessly, continuing the New Orleans tradition of blurring the lines between musical genres. On his new live CD, Mo Hippa, Cleary and company are at the top of their game, charging through original material and their own rendition of New Orleans’ classics like “Tipitina” and “Go to the Mardi Gras.” Order Mo Betta online at for $13.99 or download an MP3 version for $10.99. — Nathan Stubbs