New toppings — In August, we noted Southfield's new Pizzeria Biga (29110 Franklin Rd.; 248-750-2500; pizzeriabiga.com), which opened in late June. The pizzeria is the production of Luciano Del Signore, the owner-chef of the justly celebrated, upscale Bacco (29410 Northwestern Hwy., Southfield; 248-356-6600; baccoristorante.com), just around the corner. This week, both restaurants have some news. Pizzeria Biga will now deliver their pies to homes and places of business within four miles; best of all, you can place your orders online, with a selection of beer and wine marked down to carryout prices. And over at Bacco Ristorante, the heated outdoor patio will allow them to extend outdoor service throughout the winter season.
Hot November — In addition to top-shelf cocktails and high-quality small plates, there will be plenty of live music heating up Cliff Bell's this month. On Nov. 19, it'll be Phil Ogilvie's Rhythm Kings, with James Dapogny, a U-M music professor for more than 30 years, and band manager Chris Smith putting together a band to synthesize a 1920s jazz sound. On Nov. 20, it's the Clif Wallace Trio, headed by Wallace, who took the drummer's seat in the African American Jazz Caucus' Historically Black College and University All-Star Big Band. Then, on Nov. 26, it's Count Bracey and the Pleasure Tones, influenced by everything from the Fabulous Thunderbirds to Nick Curran. All shows at 9:30 p.m., with a $10 cover charge, at 2030 Park Ave., Detroit; 313-961-2543; cliffbells.com.
Cookie enabled — This time of year, people do interesting things with cookies: trying new recipes, sharing at cookie swap parties, and just generally gearing up for the high-calorie month of December. If you think you could use a little help, don't want to muss the kitchen or feel daunted by baking all those cookies on your own, the good people at Modern Food & Spirits are hosting private cookie bakes every Saturday, Nov. 28-Dec. 18. The classes are three hours, running 9 a.m. to noon, and are $60 per person for eight dozen cookies. Or they'll host a private cookie bake for you and your friends — 20 people minimum. For more info, call 248-681-4231 or just drop in at 1535 Cass Lake Rd., Keego Harbor.
Football and tofu — One of the strangest news items brought to our attention this week was high praise for Ford Field from none other than PETA. Frankly, it's a breath of fresh air to hear the cantankerous organization throwing out positive vibes, honoring our stadium's vegetarian-friendly choices. Thanks to the venue's veggie burgers, mu shu tofu wraps and grilled vegetable pasta salads, among other vegetarian choices, Ford Field tied with the Kansas City Chiefs' Arrowhead Stadium in fifth place among NFL stadiums. The fun award for the field helps underscore how veggie-friendly choices are cropping up in all sorts of unexpected places, even in the stadium. As for preventing cruelty down on the gridiron, however ...
Nearly all the chefs we know have a shelf of cookbooks written by their peers — books that inspire culinary creativity and exploration. David Tanis' Heart of the Artichoke and Other Kitchen Journeys (Artisan, $35) will surely grace many of these collections. In addition to the simple, seasonal recipes, Tanis' use of the freshest and, whenever possible, locally grown and raised produce and meats results in dishes with clean flavors that reflect their purity. Gorgeous photos of asparagus-scrambled eggs and New Mexican slow roasted carne adovada hint at what awaits.
While most rum is made by fermenting and distilling molasses, a byproduct of the sugar refining process, Trinidad's 10 Cane rum is created from the first pressing of Trinidadian sugar cane. All 10 Cane is distilled twice in small batches in French pot stills and then aged for 6 months in vintage French oak barrels. The result is a light, golden rum with mild flavors of pear and vanilla, ideal for premium cocktail mixing. Try it with lime juice, bitters and Fentiman's Curiosity Cola for a Cuba Libre like you've never tasted.
Rookie cooks don't realize that a sharp knife can prevent hand wounds. Dull knives require excessive pressure that often causes the blade to slip off the food that is being cut. Crusty bread can be hazardous when the knife fails to penetrate the crust and slides into the hand of the user. Compared to the cost of an electric sharpener, the Wusthof Precision Edge 4 Stage Knife Sharpener will put an edge on your blade that will make food prep infinitely easier. Preset angles and four stages that each perform different processes can be yours for about $40.