Food Stuff 

UPPER CRUST — Patrons at Crust Pizza & Wine Bar may now choose to have gluten-free crust. More than 2 million Americans suffer from intolerance to gluten, a protein common in wheat, rye and barley, and the gourmet pizza restaurant's two locations are happy to accommodate them. Try a nice slice, at 2595 Rochester Rd., Rochester Hills; 248-844-8899; and at 6622 Telegraph Rd., Ste. A, Bloomfield Twp.; 248-855-5855; crustpizza.net.

SINDBAD'S VOYAGE — It has been a long and eventful journey for Sindbad's Restaurant & Marina, which now enters its seventh decade on the Detroit riverfront. The spot opened Feb. 23, 1949, as a humble burger joint on the water. Decades of expansion have enlarged Sindbad's, but it retains the casual atmosphere, with a full menu of great dinner entrées and lunchtime sandwiches with jaunty sea names. To help mark 60 years in the business, they'll have drink specials all year during their "customer appreciation hour," discounts on drinks and appetizers, 3-6 p.m., Monday-Friday. Sail on in, at 100 St. Clair, Detroit; 313-822-7817; sindbadsdetroit.com.


EAT THE PAGE

Gumbo is the defining dish of New Orleans cuisine, home to a combination of many diverse ethnicities of folks who settled in the region long ago. Kit Wohl, in New Orleans Classic Gumbos and Soups (Pelican Publishing Company, $15.95), explores gumbos, bisques and soups, fine examples of these indigenous delights, contributed by chefs from many of the Big Easy's finest restaurants. Each recipe is beautifully photographed, defying you to resist trying them at home. This is the best of New Orleans.


A TASTY BEVERAGE

Read any wine periodical today and you're bound to see cassis used as a descriptor for dark, sweet fruitiness in a cabernet sauvignon. They're referring to crème de cassis, a syrupy, typically French liqueur flavored with black currant. This versatile booze is used for everything from aperitif to dessert ingredient. Try a splash mixed with white wine for a Kir cocktail. With Champagne it becomes a Kir Royale. Add it to gin and dry vermouth and you have a Parisian cocktail. Or simply enjoy it on ice combined with sparkling water.


IT WORKS

Plenty of people think of filé as a flavorless ingredient used to thicken gumbo, giving it the texture that's sometimes achieved with the use of a roux or okra. Uncle Bill's Filé dispels that myth. Bill's nephew, Lionel Key, grows his own sassafras, grinds it by hand in a hollowed-out tree stump with a heavy wooden maul, producing a powder, pale green in color and slightly sweet green in flavor. Added to a gumbo just before serving — some say that boiling it results in stringiness — it instantly adds favorably to the texture and the flavor. See unclebillspices.com.

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