No beef with that! — One interesting discussion that resulted from our Best of Detroit issue concerned Bread Basket Deli. We had heard a rumor that the local mini-chain sold more corned beef than any other retailer in the state. It had the ring of truth. Their website says, after all, they cook it fresh at all 12 locations every three hours, and accept daily deliveries fresh from the pickler, Detroit’s United Meat & Deli. So we gave them a call. They confirmed the claim right away and gave us a number: 5,000 pounds a week. That’s 130 tons a year. This may take more than an egg cream to wash down. To find a Bread Basket Deli near you, see breadbasketdelis.com.
Rolling them out — By now, most people have heard of Mark’s Carts, brainchild of Mark Hodesh, owner of Ann Arbor’s Downtown Home and Garden, as well as the food court and commissary kitchen behind it. Hodesh, who opened the Fleetwood Diner in 1972, decided to take the rear property he couldn’t rent and turn it into a kitchen and court for carts. Open since May 9, 2011, they have at least a half-dozen carts serving a variety of foods, including vegan fare. It has been a smash success, with a few of the carts establishing themselves as brick-and-mortar businesses. What’s more, the all-cart food court has seen improvements over the years. There was always the live music and communal seating, but Hodesh has added misters for hot days, a greenhouse, a demonstration kitchen and more. Not bad for a place that once housed Dumpsters and broken bottles. This year, the carts will include the Asian street food of San Street, the nutrilicious Indian flavor of Hut-K Chaats, wood-fired pizza from A2 Pizza Pi, the eclectic flavors of Darcy’s Cart, California-inspired healthy street food fare at the Beet Box, such dishes as grilled cheese and tomato soup at Cheese Dream, central Mexican fare from El Manantial, and authentic, affordable barbecue with Satchel’s BBQ. It all kicks off on Monday, April 1, at 211 W. Washington St.
I wanna go to Florida! — Curious about a good Michigan wine? April is the official Michigan Wine Month (ahem, in Michigan, that is), so you might as well start your investigation now. And you wouldn’t be alone; you’d be joining the ranks of a growing crowd. According to the Michigan Grape and Wine Industry Council, “Sales of Michigan wine in the state rose more than 6 percent in 2012, while total wine sales increased just 1 percent. Michigan wine sales have outpaced total wine sales over the past 10 years, doubling Michigan wineries’ market share to 6.5 percent.” So far, our critics have favored whites from the Traverse area, made with such grapes as Riesling and Gewürztraminer, but with new wineries and vineyards opening all the time, we’ll likely be making some New World discoveries and maybe even discern a terroir or two. For information on upcoming events — including tastings at the Rattlesnake Club and a two-day tour of the Southeast Michigan Pioneer Wine Trail — see michiganwines.com.
Know of any upcoming food or drink events? Let us know! Call 313-202-8043 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Polish Classic Desserts
by Laura & Peter Zeranski
Pelican Publishing, $16.95
FOOD THOUGHT For people of all the world’s cultures, no meal is complete without something sweet for dessert. Those unfamiliar with Polish cuisine will find Laura & Peter Zeranski’s Polish Classic Desserts (Pelican Publishing, $16.95) an eye-opener. The wide variety of traditional confections includes mazureks, the festive Polish cakes traditionally served at Easter, as well as black tortes, jam-filled kolachki, myriad cakes and cookies, and even babas — with a photograph of a delectable-looking saffron baba drizzled with frosting and topped with candied orange peel.
THE WORKS Experienced cooks are aware of the punched up flavor that citrus zest lends to cakes and pastries — and, frankly, just about anything else. Always on the lookout for functional, affordable kitchen tools, we’ve found this BeaterBlade ZestN’est, a zester designed for citrus, but handy for grating cheese directly over pasta, ginger and garlic for a stir-fry, or chocolate over a dessert. An ergonomic pod aids in keeping your knuckles intact while passing the food over the sharp stainless steel surface into a bowl or the attached chamber, which can be used to measure and store the zest.