Food stuff 

HOT CARL — If you've seen the gloom-chasing robots and monkeys from local artist Carl Oxley III, you know why he's a hot property these days. His adorable cartoon creations will for sale for a month at Ferndale's Pinwheel Bakery. Not only will Oxley's work adorn the walls, he's designed a line of cuddly cookies for your consumption. Opening reception is 5-9 p.m. July 17. Experience "the cutening" at 220 W. Nine Mile Rd., Ferndale; 248-398-8018.

NICE CREAM — Slow Food Detroit and Guernsey Farms Dairy will mark "National Ice Cream Month" with a special behind-the-scenes tour and ice cream social at the dairy plant of the 68-year-old Michigan institution. Guests will get a guided tour, tastes of new flavors, and a meal at the Guernsey Restaurant, where 48 flavors of ice cream will be available in the adjacent ice cream parlor. Starts at 11 a.m. on Saturday, July 26. Reservations required; limited capacity; $5 donation payable to Slow Food Detroit; send check by July 21 to 3070 Portman, Keego Harbor, MI 48320. For more information, e-mail rsvp@slowfooddetroit.org.

EAT THE PAGE

Something about the title suggests that the buyer has low self-esteem, but we took a look nonetheless, and we're glad that we did. The Complete Idiot's Guide to Snack Cakes by master baker Leslie Bilderback (Alpha Books, $16.95) is an informative compilation of simple, mouthwatering recipes for all manner of cakes, brownies, cupcakes, doughnuts and many more sweet indulgences. From apple fritters to chocolate mint brownies, there's something for every sweet tooth, with all recipes presented in straightforward, easy-to-follow fashion.

A TASTY BEVERAGE

For years, the Spanish region of Campo de Borja has produced ripe, fruity and drinkable red wines for a trifle. Take the Monte Oton garnacha. Seven dollars will get you several glasses that smell and taste like they're filled with something dark red and juicy that recently dropped from a tree. Apparently, the dry air and sun that caress the high slopes of Moncayo Mountain, just south of the Pyrenees, make it so. When wine geeks talk about good QPR, or quality-price ratio of a bottle of wine, this is what they mean.

IT WORKS

Though serious cooks for the most part, we'll never pass up an opportunity for a shortcut, especially one that would defy the most sophisticated palate to identify something as not cooked from scratch. Patak's makes a line of Indian masalas, sauces and relishes that not only taste authentic, they are authentic. (Allegedly, some Indian restaurants rely on these products.) We can vouch for the biryani paste, having begged an Indian friend for her recipe, which turned out to be Patak-based. Visit pataks.co.uk for more information.

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