IRISH YPSI — For those seeking a taste of Ireland, but wishing it meant more than corned beef and cabbage, Ypsilanti's Food Co-op might be worth a St. Patty's Day visit. On March 17, the co-op will have Bailey's coffee cupcakes, Irish soda bread, and caraway rye from River Street Bakery, as well as organic cabbage, Scottish and Irish cheddar cheeses, and Irish beer. The store is open 9 a.m.-9 p.m., at 312 N. River St., Ypsilanti; 734-483-1520.
IRISH EVE — Another program of Irish fare comes the day after St. Patrick's at Ann Arbor's Eve. In a special tasting, they'll offer Irish beers, spirits and cordials along with an Irish-inspired menu. Starts 7 p.m. March 18, at 415 N. Fifth Ave., Ann Arbor; $50; reservations recommended; 734-222-0711.
IRISH CORK — Love Irish whisky? Drop by Woodbridge Pub on Thursdays for Irish Whiskey appreciation night From 6 p.m. to 2 a.m., it's $2 off all Irish Whiskeys. If their float in the Sunday parade through Corktown jogs your memory, you may recall they have specials on Michigan beers from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. Drop on in, at 5169 Trumbull Ave., Detroit; 313-833-2701.
EAT THE PAGE
Is barbecued tempeh really barbecue? Bryant Terry's Vegan Soul Kitchen: Fresh, Healthy, and Creative African-American Cuisine (Da Capo Press, $18.95) might not convince you of that, but it surely will convince you that soul food can be delicious without he animal fats and sodium associated with it. Baked BBQ black-eyed peas, coconut-pecan pralines, and roasted plantain pieces with roasted garlic-lime dipping sauce sound like contemporary dishes made with many of the ingredients indigenous to traditional Southern cuisine.
A TASTY BEVERAGE
Sweet vermouth (aka Italian vermouth) is a must in any home bar. Though this herb-infused, sweetened and fortified wine is not bad as an aperitif, it is a vital component in scores of classic cocktails. Don't even try making a Manhattan or a perfect martini without it. And when spring finally arrives and you're looking for an easy, porch-sipping, after work tipple, try it with bitter Campari and sparkling water for a tasty Americano. The Carpano Antica brand is a first-rate choice but hard to find. Stock is our inexpensive pick.
This kyocera ceramic fine mill will finely grind peppercorns, sea salt and more with a simple twist of the inverted jar. The ceramic grinding mechanism provides consistent, durable performance, (unlike steel blades, which rust) and is totally impervious to acids, juices, oils and salts. The body is made of dishwasher-safe glass and polypropylene resin. Using Kyocera's ceramic grinder, you can prepare rubs, season salads and enjoy a variety of foods. Freshly ground spices add more flavor to every dish. The ceramic grinding blade is second only to diamonds in sharpness.