Food Stuff 

Freebies & the beanAt Starbucks locations in the Detroit area, Starbucks-certified coffee experts will be sharing their java savvy through a free "Coffee Exploration" series every Saturday from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. until December. They'll discuss everything from coffee roasting, blending and brewing to how to pair coffee and food. At 24791 Southfield Rd., Southfield; 31105 N. Woodward Ave., Royal Oak; 333 E. Jefferson, Detroit; and 222 S. State St., Ann Arbor. Sessions include free coffee and food.

Seven is enough Volare Ristorante in Wixom is offering a variety of Italian specialties for only seven bucks as part of its supplemental lunch menu. More than a dozen luncheon entrées —tasty pastas, Italian sandwiches, salmon, chicken, calamari and more — will be available Monday through Friday, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. At 49115 Pontiac Trail, Wixom.

Dutch treatsAmsterdam Espresso, the little walk-down coffee shop in the Forest Arms apartments at Second and Forest in Detroit is now open for business all week long. The java stop under the bright blue awning bills itself as a "neighborhood coffee shop," with a friendly, community-oriented atmosphere. Beverages include locally roasted, fair-trade coffees, Lavazza espresso, and authentic coffee drinks with French syrups or Ghirardelli chocolates. Open 7 a.m.-7 p.m., Monday-Friday; 9 a.m.-9 p.m., Saturday and Sunday. At 4639 Second Ave., Detroit.


Eat the Page

The New American Chef (John Wiley and Sons Inc., $29.95) by Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page (winners of the James Beard Award for Best Writing on Food for Becoming a Chef) is the result of consulting with top chefs and cookbook authors, who reveal the essence of 10 popular cuisines, including Indian, Moroccan and Vietnamese. Not only a cookbook, this is a one-volume cooking school that delves into the techniques, sources, flavors and fundamentals for serious students of the philosophy of food and cooking.

A Tasty Beverage

We're not sure of the origin of "Goombay Smash," but we know that it has consumed by many of our friends for at least 20-some years. With summer approaching fast, now is the perfect time to find out if it will be suitable for you and yours this summer. It will, but don't take our word for it.

Goombay Smash

10 ounces fresh orange juice, 10 ounces pineapple juice, 5 ounces dark rum, 2 ounces 151-proof rum, 4 ounces coconut rum, 1-1/2 ounces apricot brandy (optional, but recommended)

Combine all ingredients. Serve over ice. Beware.

It Works

Unlike the charcoal briquettes that are America's favorite, Royal Oak charcoal is made from 100 percent natural hardwood. It has no additives or petroleum products. It lights easier, burns cleaner and hotter, and is available locally at GFS (Gordon Food Service) for less than $10 per 20-pound bag, an excellent price.

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