Timmy's tacos As we've noted before, Timmy Vulgar, frontman of Detroit's own cosmic space punk band, Timmy's Organism, also makes a mean taco — he uses real corn tortillas brimming with tasty beef, white onions, fresh lime and cilantro, and very limited cheese. Vulgar's band and his authentic, award-winning tacos will be at the Loving Touch in Ferndale on Saturday for an evening of rock 'n' roll complete with taco bar. Teenager, a group of Toronto rockers, and the Crooks, a local band that'll melt your face off, will also be on hand. What's more, Fostey's Fiesta will be slinging veggie tacos for vegetarians in the crowd. At the Loving Touch, 22634 Woodward Ave., Ferndale.
Dogs have their day Boy, did we get an earful over last week's column about hot dogs. One reader wrote in to scold us for not including anything about Flint-style coney islands. "These are completely different," she said. "They use only Koegel natural-casing weiners, topped with generous amount of finely chopped onion, and the coney sauce, which is not a chili sauce like the Detroit style, it's drier sesoned, cured meat." Another reader called in to remind us of Ray's Red Hots (629 E. University Ave., Ann Arbor; 734-998-3647), a quiet, family friendly diner, that gets lively at night, when the Dollar Dog Special reigns supreme and the place fills with a younger crowd. The staff will tell you that a Ray's Red Hot is all-beef, no other meats or fillers, and their signature dog. You can get it Chicago-style with mustard, pickle, onions, relish, tomatoes, peppers and celery salt, or have it fixed as a "slaw dog" with Swiss cheese, onions, coleslaw, and a tangy-sweet honey mustard sauce. Sounds good! Sorry we missed you, Ray!
Wine is fine The folks at Assaggi Bistro are hosting a "meet the winemaker" dinner with Alberto Erbice. Dinner will be a luxurious, four-course Italian affair featuring shrimp salad with orange slices and mustard aioli, penne pasta with duck ragout, and beef tenderloin with fig demi and roasted fingerling potatoes. Each course will be accompanied by a glass of wine from Villa Erbice that uniquely complements the flavors of the meal. As you take in the glow of the large, wood-fired oven within Assaggi's open kitchen, Erbice will tell the story of each glass of wine — the grapes that were used, the composition of the land they were grown in, and the herbs, flowers and fragrances of the area that have been infused into every bottle. It all happens Wednesday, April 18, at 330 W. Nine Mile Rd., Ferndale; call 248-584-3499 for reservations.
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The Glorious Pasta of Italy
Chronicle Books, $30
Back in the day, "pasta" invariably meant "spaghetti and meatballs." How times change! Today it can conjure images of all kinds of shapes of noodles, chewy layers of lasagna, or luscious ravioli filled with meats, vegetables or cheeses. Domenica Marchetti's The Glorious Pasta of Italy runs that wide gamut, including recipes for the classics: linguine with white clam sauce, paglia e fieno, ditalini and cannellini bean soup with escarole, or tortelli with rainbow chard and ricotta, shaped to resemble wrapped candies. The pictures will inspire you to try the book's recipes — or to create your own designs.
Store-bought pasta is available in dozens of shapes, and it requires only salt and boiling water to prepare. But should you try rolling your own, you're in for a whole new experience. Yes, you can do it by hand with a rolling pin, but a pasta machine sure simplifies the task. Just combine flour, eggs, salt, water and perhaps a bit of oil, mix the ingredients with your fingers, knead the pasta dough briefly and put it through the rollers of a hand-cranked machine that thins the dough and cuts it to adjustable widths. Remember: Fresh pasta cooks fast, so make your sauce ahead of time. This machine is available at williams-sonoma.com