Forest's veggies Forest Street in Detroit, that is: Ann Arbor's venerable Seva, long a trusted name in vegan and vegetarian dining, has finally opened its outpost in Detroit. Drop in for lunch at 66 E. Forest, Detroit, with access through the pedestrian alley.
Geeked for Greektown Congrats to downtown Detroit's Greektown Casino on the opening of its stylish new lounge, Asteria. It opens to the public at 6 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 23, and there will be an appearance at 7 p.m. from country crooner Josh Gracin. At 555 E. Lafayette Ave., Detroit; greektowncasino.com.
Strike up the music The revamped St. Regis Hotel now comes complete with its own in-house restaurant. It's called La'Musique, serving Cajun-themed cuisine in a dramatic dining room featuring memorabilia from Motown hitmakers, as well as a clubbier lounge for cocktails. Drop in at 3071 W. Grand Blvd., Detroit; 313-873-3000; hotelstregisdetroit.com.
Wine and more The menu at Royal Oak's best-known wine bar has expanded dramatically. At Vinotecca, diners will find fresh choices, including sushi (spicy tuna rolls, California rolls, even a "vino" roll), as well as chimichurri steak skewers, shrimp satay, baked Bulgarian feta, rustic Italian pizza, pan-roasted salmon and more. At 417 S. Main St., Royal Oak; 248-544-6256; vinotecca.com.
Cookies as art A co-worker came in after the Holiday Food Bazaar at Eastern Market raving about a cookie from Miette, an Ann Arbor-based baker. The cookie in question was called a Moroccan corne de gazelle or kaab el ghzal, which mean "gazelle horn." The delicate creations are filled with an almond paste perfumed with orange blossom water. Though they're traditionally served with Moroccan tea, our co-worker said they go swimmingly with a Motor City Ghetto Blaster. And, according to Chris Wick of Miette, "they are also one of the most time-consuming and intricate pastries in my repertoire. The recipe I use is a cherished one given to me from one of my dear friends, who is from Casablanca." Of Miette, Wick says it's her attempt to create high-toned sweet things using locally sourced ingredients, such as fresh seasonal fruit, butter, honey, eggs, flour and minimal sugar. For more info, see Miette's Facebook page, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or drop by the Ann Arbor Farmers' Market on Saturday mornings.
Seed smarts It's getting chilly, which means it's almost time to order some seed catalogs and dream up 2012's garden. Have any favorites you subscribe to year after year? Any upstarts you recommend? Let us know!
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Tuscan Peasant Cooking
Andrews McMeel Publishing, $21.99
The essence of Italian cooking — especially Tuscan cooking, some would say — is its simplicity, the combining of fresh ingredients without numerous steps. The cuisine's satisfying dishes reflect pure flavors — rather than hiding them. The title of Pamela Sheldon Johns' Cucina Povera: Tuscan Peasant Cooking translates into English as "poor kitchen," referring to inexpensive, locally available meats and produce, herbs and grains. Combine the ribolitto, classic vegetable bread soup, with a grilled fish drizzled with olive oil and lemon juice and parsley. End with fresh figs stuffed with walnuts and gorgonzola.
the works What often makes a gift special is the surprise-factor of getting something that you probably wouldn't have bought for yourself. Oenophiles that we know would love to receive a handsome French-made Laguiole Ebony Wood & Ivory Waiter's Corkscrew. The contoured handle is handcrafted by a single master cutter from dense, dark ebony wood and fossilized ivory mammoth tusks. Ultra-strong, durable Sandvick stainless steel is used to forge the corkscrew and the serrated foil cutter with built-in bottle opener. The decorative engraving on the metal spine exhibits the signature of the craftsman who made the tool. It's pricey though: $300 at Williams Sonoma.