Food Stuff 

Slows to go, Yoxi's climax, brunch with Santa and more

Slows gets faster — Anybody who has dropped in to Slows Bar-B-Q for one of their famous slow-cooked barbecue dishes knows it can be hard to find a table. Or a seat at the bar. Or even a place to stand, sometimes! Well, things may soon change with the opening this week of Slows to Go, where 'cue-hungry devotees of Slows can get their orders to go between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. They're at 4107 Cass Ave., Detroit, 877-569-7246.

Beet the competition — What is Yoxi? It's pronounced YO-see, and it's part big-sky thinking, part Kickstarter and part competition, all with the goal of conceiving socially beneficial principles and ideas. Winners can walk away with thousands of dollars to implement their ideas, high stakes, indeed, but also quite a carrot for reformers and progressives. Yoxi's first social design throwdown has been about "reinventing fast food." It's down to the wire this week for two teams, one from San Francisco, the Udon Project, and one with members from Birmingham and Royal Oak, The Beet Squad. Check yoxi.com this week to see what ideas they came up with. The winner is to be announced today, Dec. 15.

Miracle on Canfield Street — Christmas is lighting up Detroit's magnificent Whitney restaurant, with thousands of lights, a towering Christmas tree, boughs and wreaths, and a roaring fireplace. And not only is there live musical entertainment almost every night from now until Christmas, but there will be a special appearance from none other than Santa Claus himself this weekend. During a special Saturday buffet, Saint Nick and his reindeer will stop at the famed mansion to meet with tots who want to hand off last-minute Christmas wish lists. It happens 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 18, at 4421 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-832-5700; brunch is $32 per person plus tax and tip, but including bottomless mimosas; reservations required.

Meat feat — Don't want the hassle of cooking Christmas dinner from start to finish? Lazybones Smokehouse has the answer. You can get an entire "Christmas BBQ Feast" — including a brown sugar-smoked half spiral ham, cornbread stuffing, pulled pork and pit-smoked beans, mac and cheese, and more — cold and ready for oven reheating, all for $99.99. Lazybones is at 27475 Groesbeck Hwy., Roseville; 586-775-7427.

Spirit of the season — Sure, the holidays have become a time of crass commercialism and profit-seeking balderdash. But you can buck up against it by remembering the real spirit of the season and donating money, food or simply your time to such worthy local groups as Gleaners Community Food Bank (2131 Beaufait St., Detroit; 313-923-3535) or the Capuchin Soup Kitchen (4390 Conner Ave., Detroit; 313-822-8606, ext. 10).

Food/Thought — Molly O'Neill is a culinary anthropologist. Her latest cookbook, One Big Table: 600 Recipes from the Nation's Best Home Cooks, Farmers, Fishermen, Pit-masters and Chefs (Simon & Schuster, $50), is the result of 10 years of research, combing back roads and highways from coast to coast, chronicling recipes and backstories celebrating the diversity of American cuisine. From tomatillo salsa prepared on the El Tonayense taco trucks in San Francisco, to Lillie Louviere Delphin's overnight-cooked roast, here are 600 tales to treasure.

Bottoms Up — While you're overindulging this season, finish with an inappropriate amount of locally produced and processed Calder Dairy eggnog (booze optional). The stuff is so sweet and thick and rich that it all but oozes out of the container into your cup. Top it off with vanilla ice cream, meringue, whipped cream, chocolate curls or the most traditional, and best, garnish — fresh, grated nutmeg. We suspect you could even pour the stuff directly into an ice cream maker for an easy frozen holiday dessert.

The Works — Where are you going to put all those new pots and pans that fans of your cooking gave you for Christmas this year? You usually need the pan on the bottom of the stack in your cluttered cupboards. The solution lies in a pot rack, suspended from the ceiling, which will not only hold, but also display the handsome gifts that are intended to elevate your skill level. Check them at potracksgalore.com.

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