Food Stuff 

Mixed plates — Those with a taste for music will enjoy the offbeat offerings at Cass Cafe this Fourth of July weekend. The cafe will host two cover-free nights of "emotionally driven raucous rhythms topped with eerily melodic, yet placid, harmonic grooves." Live acts will include Punisher, Detroit Techno Militia, Colin Zyskowski, Andy Toth, Rob Barrett and Vox Pop. Saturday, July 1, beginning at 9 p.m. and Monday, July 3, beginning at 8 p.m. Have some hummous and hum along at 4620 Cass Ave., Detroit; 313-831-1400.

Special specials — Tutto Bene is Italian for "It's all good." In an effort to prove how good things really are, the eatery that has taken that name is offering daily specials for the curious epicure. For instance, on Wednesday and Thursday, pizza-lovers get their second pie at half-price. Or, on Monday, rice lovers can enjoy a special risotto night. On Saturday night, there's a brief window between 8:30 and 10 p.m. when those with a sweet tooth can have a full dessert at half price. At 29429 Orchard Lake Rd., Farmington Hills; 248-84-6000.

 

Eat the Page

Bill Niman began a career in sustainable farming in the early 1970s, when a neighbor gave him six orphan calves. Today the Niman Ranch is supported by more than 500 independent family farmers who raise pigs, cattle and sheep according to Niman's strict protocols, which, as we understand, are in line with the principles of the Slow Food movement. The Niman Ranch Cookbook by Bill Niman and Janet Fletcher (Ten Speed Press, $35) chronicles the evolution of the ranch and contains recipes from many of the chefs who use the Niman Ranch meats.

A Tasty Beverage

Mango lassi is the classic drink served at all Indian restaurants. It is usually made with buttermilk, mango and sugar. As with all recipes, the proportions vary according to the cook's taste. A delicious, refreshing drink, it is rich and filling, like a fruit smoothie. Try blending the fruit of a peeled mango, one and a half cups of buttermilk or a mixture of milk and yogurt and two tablespoons of sugar — or a lesser amount of honey. Blend until smooth. If you like it thinner, add a couple of ice cubes. Delicious.

Going Bananas

Although we are not aware of their use in local restaurants — tip us off if you do — banana leaves are used in Latin American, Asian and African cooking. Recipes abound on the Internet for steaming, roasting and grilling foods that are seasoned and wrapped in the leaves, which seal in the flavor and moisture. The leaves are available locally at Honey Bee La Colmena market at 2443 Bagley St. in southwest Detroit and probably at other Latin and Asian markets in the area.

Know of any new restaurants, special dinners or food-related events? Let us know. Send materials to mjackman@metrotimes.com.

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