Brain food — You shouldn't need another reason to head to Cliff Bell's on Tuesdays (happy hours, anyone?), but that's exactly what the Park Avenue jazz club is giving you with its new deal on Great Lakes perch. The restaurant will serve light, flaky, beer-battered perch with French fries and cabbage cole slaw for only $6 all day on Tuesdays, starting Aug. 3. The special will also be available Wednesday-Friday with the normal happy hours menu between 4-7 p.m. Couple the fare with jumpin' jazz at 2030 Park Ave., Detroit; 313-961-2543; cliffbells.com.
Like to watch? — One of Birmingham's newest restaurants, Zazios, has a lot going for it: modern Italian cuisine, a stylish, 10,000-square-foot interior, an exclusive martini bar and a downtown location. What's more, their chef, Matt Schellig, formerly of Shiraz, has a fresh space to show off, with Zazios' "chef's table," with stadium seating for two dozen, five video cameras, six flat screen televisions, and more. At 34977 Woodward Ave. Birmingham; 248-530-6400; chef's table seats are $65, with wine packages available.
In his new book, 660 Curries (Workman Publishing, $22.95), Raghavan Iyer shows that Indian curries derive their flavor from freshly ground and very fragrant spices and herbs. In exploring this complex cuisine, Iyer takes pains to point out how real Indian cooks seldom use packaged curry powder, instead relying on a combination of ingredients that produce assertively seasoned — not necessarily hot — dishes. And, with a little reading, you can too.
We drink a lot of sparkling water. Every week, until recently, our recycling bins were full of empty plastic water bottles and our wallets were down $10-$15. That's when we discovered Sodastream. For $150, you can purchase the Fountain Jet, four reusable, BPA-free, one liter plastic bottles and three recyclable Co2 canisters. That's enough to make nearly 200 liters of sparkling water. Your initial investment is paid off by the time those three Co2 canisters are emptied. And Detroit tap water tastes fantastic with bubbles.
Here's a virtual one-man-band of openers: the Kuhn Rikon Auto Safety Master Can & Bottle Opener, a 5-in-1 gadget that opens cans, bottle caps, plastic screw tops, jars and pull-tab tops without the usual hand strain. The classic "church" key opens flip-top bottles. Screw top water bottles and can tabs are a cinch, as are tabs on all manner of cans. Break vacuum seals on screw-top jars effortlessly. The can opener attaches to the can and cuts the outside rim so the lid can be removed and can't slip inside.
Thanks to editorial intern David Uberti for his assistance with this column. Send food bits to email@example.com.