Linked up — What Eastern Market restaurant has the tastiest sausages? For us, it's Farmer's Restaurant, hands-down. If you've been open since November 1977, you must be doing something right. And Farmer's links are made just for them, by a vendor whose name they keep top-secret. Yeah, it's that good. Taste for yourself, at 2542 Market St., Detroit; 313-259-8230.
Fresh starts — Kim's Produce has moved into Midtown, bringing one more shopping option to the mid-city area. Drop in for a peek, at 4206 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-831-1960; kimsproduce.com. And, speaking of fresh starts, Starter's Bar & Grill has moved in a few blocks away at 4501 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-831-3100.
Lovers' specials — There will be some special fun for Valentine's Day weekend at BRIO Tuscan Grille. From Friday, Feb. 12, until Sunday, Feb. 14, the grill will offer special dishes from Italy's northern region. Prices start at less than $20. Call for reservations; starts at 4 p.m. With locations at Partridge Creek (17430 Hall Rd., Clinton Twp.; 586-263-7310) and the Somerset Collection (2801 W. Big Beaver Rd., Troy; 248-643-6045).
What better way to ward off winter's blustery chill than with a bowl of hot soup? Clifford A. Wright's The Best Soups in the World (Wiley, $22.95) offers 300 recipes for tempting soups, from African black-eyed pea to zuppa di pesce, the delectable Italian seafood soup. The selections seem endless, ranging from basic broths to smooth, creamed soups to chowders and bisques, from origins as diverse as Algeria, China, Thailand, Indonesia and Latin America.
Grown in the Ratnapura District in south central Sri Lanka, Ceylon Hills FOP New Vithanakande Estate is a black tea with a long, well twisted leaf. The coarse, wiry leaves produce a dark, tawny cup revealing moist odors of warm steeping barley, tangerine rinds and honey. A sip initially washes soft across the tongue with the earthy sweetness of loam then swiftly dries up and turns powdery toward the back. FOP, or flowery orange Pekoe, is one level in a complicated tea grading system — quality, for short.
Straining soups and sauces can results in clear, smooth liquids without any sediment, while straining loose tea keeps the leaves out of the cup (and your mouth). Pouring liquids into vessels with small openings often results in wet countertops. This funnel-with-strainer by Norpro eliminates both problems. The removable strainer insert combines the processes, saving you time and avoiding the inevitable mess. For a measly $7 you can pick one at apexstores.com. It's made of 18/10 stainless steel and is dishwasher-safe.