More Mexican As we go to press, we hear tell that downtown Detroit has a new taco joint. It’s called Hot Taco, and it’s just a few blocks north of Cliff Bell’s and Park Bar. The address is 2233 Park Ave., Detroit; 313-963-4545; hottacodetroit.com. And good news for those leaving the bars, they’ll be open late; posted hours are 11 a.m.-2 a.m. Sunday-Wednesday, 11 a.m.-3 a.m. Thursday-Saturday.
Raw deal The RAW Cafe in Detroit is hosting a class about transitioning to a raw diet. Dubbed an "un-cooking" class, students will learn to prepare raw food at home using the restaurant’s carefully constructed recipes. Expect to learn more about such dishes as Italian pastas, vegan meatballs, mock meats such as burgers, mock rice, marinated vegetables and even quick desserts like apple pie and no-bake cookies. All recipes are well-suited for diabetics. It all happens 9-11 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 7. For info, see therawcafe.com.
Meal and a show Though it’s not strictly a culinary affair, the Detroit Repertory Theatre’s Champagne opening offers food to nibble on, a Champagne toast at the theater’s handsome bar and an evening of entertainment, in this case, the Michigan premiere of M.E.H. Lewis’ play Burying the Bones, a timely play about torture, truth and reconciliation in post-apartheid South Africa. The play starts at 8:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 12, followed by a Champagne afterglow with the cast and crew. Tickets are $17 in advance and $20 at the door; reservations at 313-868-1347; detroitreptheatre.com.
Seed smarts This is the time of year when we ask what seed catalogs you’re perusing as you plan next year’s garden. We heard good things about Peppermainia’s wide selection of unusual chile seeds and reasonable shipping prices — only $1.75 for seeds, regardless of how many. There’s no paper catalog, but the information is all there at the website, peppermania.com. One reader offered special praise for their "chilhuacle rojo chiles," originally from Oaxaca, Mexico, and "great in salsa or mole rojo."
Another reader wrote in to praise the D. Landreth Company. "They are an old company and carry lots of heirloom varieties." Self-identified as the "oldest seed house in America" (founded in 1784!), the firm offers a full range of bulbs, seeds, roots, potatoes and more. Have a gander, at landrethseeds.com.
Ice wines With the coming of frost to northern Michigan’s Leelanau Peninsula, expect new batches of ice wines. What’s that? Growers leave grapes on the vine for harvesting after they’ve gradually frozen, and the resulting beverages are often of outstanding quality. Of course, it’s also labor-intensive, and that means the wine can be pricey, ranging from $92.50 for Black Star Farms’ Riesling Ice Wine to $30 for Good Neighbor Organics’ version. To learn more, ask your local quality wine dealer.
Know of an upcoming event involving food, wine or gardening? Let us know! Call 313-202-8043.
My Family Table: A Passionate Plea for Home Cooking
Andrews McMeel Publishing, $35
Despite owning six restaurants, New Orleans chef John Besh, in My Family Table: A Passionate Plea for Home Cooking, encourages families to spend time cooking, using fresh, unprocessed foods and eating together at home. Chapter one, "Kitchen Focus," delivers the basics: risotto of almost anything, any creamy vegetable soup and any warm fruit crumble. Others are "Breakfast with My Boys," "Barbecue Wisdom" and "How to Cook a Fish." The photos of his wife and four boys that grace the images of the food show the reader where his heart lies in and out of the kitchen.
the works Filling a plastic storage bag with rice, beans or liquids — you name it — can be a daunting task. Two hands just aren’t enough to keep the bag open and flat while aiming and pouring the ingredients, keeping them off the counter and the floor. You gotta love a $10 tool that makes the whole process a snap. The Bagwell sealable bag holder fits the bill. Merely insert the four-pronged device into a one-gallon plastic bag, freeing up your hands to guide and pour. It works for Legos and nuts (and bolts) too. See thebagwell.com.