King coal — Michael Weinstein, owner and pizzaiolo of Tomatoes Apizza at 14 Mile and Middlebelt roads in Farmington Hills, has recently added a coal-fired oven to his bag of tricks, giving him the ability to duplicate the famous New Haven-style pies served at Sally's, Frank Pepe's and Lou Abate's. The resulting blister and char testify to the intense heat of a coal fire. Michael's sole ambition is to spread the gospel of pizza as he sees it, and he is well on the way, in his opinion and in ours. Two locations to choose from, coal-fired (29275 14 Mile Rd., Farmington Hills; 248-855-3555) and not coal-fired (24369 Halsted Rd., Farmington Hills; 248-888-4888), but damn good anyway.
Extra support — Next week, Gilda's Club Metro Detroit will host a "Bras for a Cause" event. The "luncheon, fashion show and holiday boutique" will be held at Troy's Somerset Inn. For the fashion show, cancer survivors will don the latest intimate apparel and walk the runway. Participants are invited to decorate and design a bra in honor of someone, or just for fun.
Some proceeds will benefit Gilda's Club Metro Detroit, offering "emotional and social support to men, women and children impacted by cancer."
Shopping from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Lunch and fashion show at noon; $75 ($650 for a table of 10); Friday, Dec. 7, at Somerset Inn, 2601 W. Big Beaver Rd., Troy. For more information, call 248-577-0800 or see gildasclubdetroit.org.
EAT THE PAGE
Susan Spicer and Paula Disbrowe's Crescent City Cooking: Unforgettable Recipes from Susan Spicer's New Orleans (Knopf, $35) features many of the recipes from Bayona and Herbsaint, Spicer's acclaimed French Quarter restaurants. Utilizing Gulf Coast ingredients, she marries Southern flavors — comfort foods — with the cuisines of the world: India, Italy and Asia among them. The photograph of "jalapeño roast pork" seems irresistibly easy to prepare. The "Sicilian cannoli with bittersweet chocolate filling" brings to mind the adage, "Life is short: start with dessert."
A TASTY BEVERAGE
At Dexter's Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales they harm no squash in the brewing of their beer. It's composed of ingredients you're used to drinking, but made special with wild yeasts and barrel aging. Coming to a retail shelf near you is their holiday seasonal release Noel de Calabaza. It has been described both as a complex blend of malt, hops, dried fruit and nuts, and as a deliciously simple peanut-butter-and-jelly on fresh whole wheat. Whatever the interpretation, it weighs in with a big 9 percent alcohol yet retains the tangy drinkability that all of Jolly Pumpkin's brews possess.
'Tis the season to splurge. Since 1925 French chefs — and more recently, others — have sworn by Le Creuset, the enameled cast-iron cookware that is renowned for its ability to conduct heat, allowing browning of meats and slow cooking, especially braising, on the stovetop or in an oven. Cast iron is energy-efficient, requiring less heat than many other materials. Le Creuset's colorful finishes make attractive serving pieces, and their conductivity keeps food hot on the table. It is expensive, but well worth its cost, as this cookware will last for generations.
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