JAVA JIVE — There's more than mere joe at Trixie's Coffeehouse; they also have readings and live music. Take this Saturday, April 11, when Trixie's will have an acoustic performance from Sh! The Octopus for an all-ages crowd. At 9 p.m., at 25925 Gratiot Ave., Roseville; 586-776-9002.

EAT LOCAL! — Chef Laura Stec, the author of Cool Cuisine: Taking the Bite Out of Global Warming, will be at Southfield Public Library to talk about how conscious decisions to eat local food benefit personal health, the environment and the local economy. She'll speak at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 14, at 26300 Evergreen Rd., Southfield.

GREAT GLASS — Dearborn's Furnace Design Studio has had a hand in the design of the new Uptown Grille and Stage 30. The multi-roomed Commerce Township restaurant and bar is decorated with glass art, fixtures and even chandeliers in warm shades, proving that you can handsomely decorate a restaurant and still go with local talent. What's more, it's Michigan Glass Month. (Who knew?) Have a look, at 3100 E. West Maple Rd., Commerce Township; 248-960-3344.


Could it be that we eat so much Italian that we don't consider it an ethnic food? It seems that there's at least one more book on the subject every week. Andrew Carmella's Urban Italian: Simple Recipes and True Stories from a Life in Food (Bloomsbury USA, $35) — a recent Gourmet Cookbook Club selection — gives us not only many regional classics from all over Italy, but frequently updates them with Carmella's personal spin. Meatballs with cherries is one example.


Picked only once a year during mid-March to mid-April when the leaves are at their peak, Pi Lo Chun (or "spring green snail") is one of China's famous rare teas. The best is grown in the acidic soil and damp conditions of Dongting Mountain and Lake Tai, among blooming peach, plum and apricot trees that are said to give the green tea its characteristic floral aroma and fruity flavor. The name was given by a 17th century emperor who felt the steeped tea looked like tiny green snails.


That guy Mario Batali is everywhere — from cooking shows to his many restaurants and cookbooks to his latest venture: a line of "cooking essentials." Slicing fresh mozzarella can be a bit tricky, but certainly not a daunting task. That notwithstanding, we dig his stylish slicer, accented with his signature color — orange. It makes uniform round slices, perfect for pizza or Caprese salad, its curved center holding the cheese ball in place. It's dishwasher-safe, and it looks cool just sitting on your kitchen counter.