JUST DUCKY — A lighthearted effort to raise funds for Gleaners Community Food Bank hits Clawson this week, when the "Celebri-ducks Party and Auction" brings together food, drinks, entertainment and the opportunity to bid on rubber duckies decorated and signed by celebrities. It happens 6-9 p.m. Sept. 9, at Leon & Lulu's, 96 W. 14 Mile Rd., Clawson. See gcfb.org to RSVP.
ETHIOP'S HERE — Unlike, say, downtown Washington, D.C., metro Detroit has only a few purveyors of Ethiopian fare. But with Southfield's A Taste of Ethiopia opening a lunch spot in Eastern Market and Ferndale's and Ann Arbor's Blue Nile opening a third branch in Trenton, Ethiopian choices are expanding. What's more, the Blue Nile's new Downriver location promises an unusual dining environment. Owner Seifu Lessanwork says they've sumptuously redecorated a venerable Victorian house, giving it a full bar and retaining the home's two fireplaces. The dining experience will otherwise mirror their successful Ferndale establishment. Drop in at 2156 W. Jefferson Ave., Trenton; 734-362-8560.
EAT THE PAGE
Football season is upon us. Just in time, John Madden and Faith Hill — talk about an odd couple — have collaborated to put together the NBC Sunday Night Football Cookbook (Time Inc. Home Entertainment, $27.95). Chefs in NFL host cities, players and the NBC Sports on-air team share their favorite recipes. Contributors include star chefs Daniel Boulud and Susan Goss, players Jerome Bettis and Bret Favre, and sportscasters John Madden and Bob Costas. And their recipes can help you change up your game plan.
A TASTY BEVERAGE
Perhaps the most versatile drink in the home bar is plain old carbonated water. Combine the humble potation with flavored syrup to make an Italian soda. Add cream to that mixture for a French Soda. For a slightly healthier drink try carbonated water and fruit juice. Children love it. Adults must have it to top off their mojitos and juleps and Scotch or as a medium to merge the intense flavors of Campari and sweet vermouth in a refreshing Americano. Even straight in a glass with ice and citrus, carbonated water is a fizzy delight.
Ristorante Café Cortina in Farmington Hills is arguably one of the finest Italian restaurants around. Recently, owners Adrian Tonon and his mother, Rina, began bottling a few of their popular sauces. We tried Sughetto, a light cream, tomato and basil sauce and Pomodoro Veneziano, made with fresh tomatoes and basil. They are both extraordinary, something that a serious cook can use for a shortcut even when serving discriminating guests with high expectations. Visit cafecortina.com for ordering information.