Make food, not war Ann Arbor's leading slow-food eatery Eve: The Restaurant will hold an "extravagant Middle Eastern feast and wine tasting" at the end of the month, showcasing the wine regions of the Middle East and offering a menu inspired by the cuisines of Israel, Lebanon, Cyprus and beyond. Despite the region's political turmoil, the culinary harmony is surprising, and the event promises an opportunity to "enjoy the warmth and conviviality of these cultures." On Jan. 31, in the Kerrytown Market Shops on Kingsley between Fourth and Fifth avenues, Ann Arbor; 734-222-0711; arrive 7 p.m.; $60 per person.
Nice cakes Want to make a special cake for the loved ones in your life but worry about your decorating chops? You're in luck. Zingerman's Bakehouse is offering cake-decorating classes, and, at four hours long, they're sure to help you spice up your icing. Whether you want to adorn a Tiger fan's cake with an old English D or are looking for classic icing designs, this would seem to be the place to learn it all. Classes are 2-6 p.m. Jan. 6, 5:30-9:30 p.m. Jan. 24, and 8 a.m.-noon Feb. 24. Cost is $100. At 734-761-7255.
Eat the Page
If you've ever seen Tyler Florence on the Food Network, you know that he makes cooking look like fun. His charisma, his talent as a chef, and the ease with which he puts together meals all make him a good teacher. His books, the latest of which is Tyler's Ultimate: Brilliant Simple Food to Make Anytime ($35 Clarkson Potter), are written with clear instructions and cooking tips in a manner that is easy to follow with plenty of photographs. The ingredients are easy to find, and the recipes are uncomplicated, typically quick and delicious.
A Tasty Beverage
These designer beverages are coming at us faster than we can drink them not exactly a terrible problem. In the last several years, we've seen a proliferation of vodkas, many of them claiming a distinctive flavor. Cîroc is distilled from fine French grapes, giving it a flavor that we find unique, vaguely fruity, unlike your typical vodka. In other words, it's mighty tasty. The distillation process yields a juice higher in sugar, preserving the flavor of the grapes. Drink it neat. Visit the Ciroc Web site www.ciroc.com for recipes if you prefer it mixed.
Are you tired of burning your hands every time you cook? You probably don't own one of the least expensive but most essential kitchen tools available: a pair of tongs. They are indispensable for fried chicken you don't ever want to have hot oil splashed on your arm when the thigh falls off the fork. Plate pasta right from the pot you don't want to rinse it anyway. Any Italian chef will tell you to use a little of the hot pasta water to moisten the dish. The longer ones are perfect for turning meat on the barbecue. The best price we have found is from GFS Marketplace (gfs.com).
Know of any new restaurants, special dinners or food-related events? Let us know. Send materials two weeks in advance to firstname.lastname@example.org.