Food Stuff 

Full plates for gourmets and gourmands

More 'cue — The rise of the barbecue joint continues. Banking on the success of Detroit's Slows Bar-B-Q, a whole new slab of contenders has arisen, including Detroit's Rub and Red Smoke, Royal Oak's Lockhart's, Bad Brad's BBQ in New Baltimore, Clarkston's Union Woodshop and others. Welcome to the fold Penny Black, bringing a taste of slow-cooked barbecue to downtown Rochester. All the winning elements are here, including lunch and dinner service, a comprehensive draft beer selection and handcrafted cocktails, and even a repurposed space, the historic Rochester Post Office. The extensive remodel mixes rustic and modern touches, ranging from zinc surfaces to multiple flatscreen TVs. Drop in at 124 W. Fourth St., Rochester; 248-841-1522; pbrochester.com.

Speaking of barbecue — Did you see our item last week announcing the advent of Slows to Go? It's the new Cass Avenue takeout location of the now-classic barbecue on Michigan Avenue. The bad news is that, unfortunately, we ran with some incorrect info last week. The good news is that their hours are actually much longer than we'd published: 11 a.m.-8 p.m., seven days a week. Carry it out at 4107 Cass Ave., Detroit; 877-569-7246.

Balls dropped — Royal Oak's BlackFinn pub is planning a New Year's Eve night for those who simply can't make it to the Great White Way. Their Big Apple New Year's Eve party will close 2010 in style, starting at 8 p.m., with free hors d'oeuvres and VIP reservations available. Tickets are $25, available at BlackFinn, 530 S. Main St., Royal Oak; 248-582-9460; blackfinnroyaloak.com.

Small but smart — Detroit's Small Plates is participating in a month dedicated to diabetes awareness, offering a diabetes-friendly sesame beef stir-fry. If you thought diabetes meant you'd never again enjoy delicious meals out on the town, Small Plates is just one of a host of restaurants that can show you otherwise. Drop in at 1521 Broadway, Detroit; 313-963-0497; smallplates.com.

Raise your bar — Want to stock a good home bar for the holidays? The basics are rum, gin, vodka and red and white wine, as well as the right glasses (wine glasses, highballs and lowballs). Please your guests by stocking a full line of garnishes, and at least one full bottle of Champagne. You'll be glad you did.

Food/Thought�— Chef René Redzepi's Nordic restaurant, Noma, was named best in the world by the 2010 San Pelligrino Awards. A glance at Noma: Time and Place in Nordic Cuisine (Phaidon Press, $49.95) will give you a sense of why it won. The book is a feast for the eyes, worthy of the most passionate lover of any of the world's cuisines. Given the complexity of the recipes and the ingredients, many of which are difficult to source, it is more a visual journey than a cookbook.

Bottoms Up�— There is no more classic drink to warm you inside and out on a cold winter day than a hot toddy. Toddies can be prepared with basically any alcohol but we suggest using the good stuff — single-malt scotch, aged rum, or a quality rye or bourbon whiskey will all do the trick. The most basic one-serving recipe calls for 1 teaspoon of sugar or honey, 3 to 4 ounces of boiling water, and 2 ounces of hard liquor. After that, you can use the warm mixture to steep clove, cinnamon and lemon as you please.

The Works�— You may not need all of the tools in the Oxo Good Grips 15-Piece Kitchen Tool Set, but they'll sure make kitchen life easier. A space-efficient stainless steel utensil holder comes filled with a nylon flexible turner, 12-inch tongs with nylon heads, a grater, a swivel peeler and too many other objects to name them all. Oxo tools have comfortable, non-slip ergonomic handles, originally designed to accommodate folks with arthritic hands. The nylon tools are heat resistant up to 400 degrees and are safe for use on nonstick pots and pans.

Know of any upcoming food events, wine dinners, strolling buffets, restaurant deals, special markets, or anything else food- and drink-related? Let us know! Call 313-202-8043 or e-mail mjackman@metrotimes.com.

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