Detroit food power — The recent MOCAD fundraiser at Eastern Market, dubbed "Home Slice," was a virtual cornucopia of local food providers. The vendors ranged from such restaurants as Slows Bar-B-Q and Atlas Global Bistro to upstart meat vendors such as Porktown Sausage and Corridor Sausage Co. Also on hand were jams and preserves from the Detroit Zymology Guild and Beau Bien Fine Foods (get it? Beaubien?), as well as granola from fresh cereals from Suzanne Vier. There were pickles from McClure's and Suddenly Sauer, and the fresh message of urban agriculture from the folks at Earthworks urban farm. They even rolled in the Airstream trailer that is the restaurant on wheels known as Pink FlaminGO Café. With this much food creativity under one roof, we are again reminded just how much creative ferment there is in the local food scene. Bravo, foodsters!
C'est bon — For Sweetest Day (Saturday, Oct. 16), Josephine Crêperie and Bistro has put together a five-course prix fixe menu. It includes such entrée crêpes as maple-glazed carrots, spinach and ricotta, chicken and asparagus, and shrimp and scallops, or meatier choices that include coq au vin, herb-poached salmon, duck confit and filet mignon. Best of all? It can cost as little as $20 (plus tax and tip) for the entire meal, depending on your choice of entrée. (If you really want the surf and turf, it'll be $37.) It all happens Oct. 16, at 241 W. Nine Mile Rd., Ferndale; 248-399-1366; josephinebistro.com; call for reservations.
Funds for the fallen — With a spate of spectacular fires hitting Detroit these last few months, what better time to consider the firefighters who put out the flames? A special cocktail party fundraiser this week will commit proceeds in support of injured firefighters, with live entertainment from Sponge. It happens at 7 p.m. Oct. 15, at the Roostertail, 100 Marquette Dr., Detroit; 313-822-1234; $50; cash bar; for tickets, call the Engine House Bar & Grill, 586-468-2442.
Frankenfoods — Here's a clever promotion: To highlight their fresh ingredients, Chipotle Mexican Grills are offering an unusual promotion called "Boorito 2010: The Horrors of Processed Food." On Halloween, 6 p.m. to closing, come in dressed as a horrifying, unhealthful processed food and get a burrito made with wholesome, naturally raised ingredients for only $2. There's also an online costume contest at chipotle.com/boorito.
If you like writing that conjures up the aromas and flavors associated with the American South, get ahold of Cornbread Nation: The Best of Southern Food Writing (University of Georgia Press, $19.95). It's the fifth in a series exploring Southern food lore, including essays, poems, photos and a few recipes thrown in for good measure, all compiled and edited by notable authors Fred W. Sauceman and John T. Edge, in conjunction with the Southern Foodways Alliance. Edna Lewis addresses "What is Southern?" Perhaps best is "Some Like it Extra Hot," the tale of David Ramsey's incendiary meal at Prince's legendary chicken shack in Nashville, which will delight anyone with a pepper jones.
Punt e Mes (POONT eh mehss) is a unique Italian vermouth, one of the world's most popular. Unlike many of the economical vermouth brands, Punt e Mes is less cloying, with a complex sweet herbal flavor and stridently bitter finish. It's excellent on the rocks as an aperitif with a fat orange peel garnish, but mixologists like to use its distinctive characteristics in everything from the venerable Manhattan to the shockingly pungent Negroni. Though fashionable worldwide, it's still fairly difficult to find locally. Check the well-stocked shelves at Western Market or Holiday Market.
We don't know if cornbread shaped like an ear of corn tastes any better than a slice cut from a round loaf, but sure looks cooler. Lodge, long a manufacturer of all sorts of high-quality cast-iron cookware, makes this cast-iron 7-cob corn-stick pan that makes seven of these "ears" at a time. Start with a good cornbread recipe; perhaps add a few chopped jalapeños and some sharp cheddar cheese to the batter, and spoon it into the well-greased and well-seasoned pan. Watch these bad boys brown in the oven. Available at chefscatalog.com.