Rock City Rocks 

Local restaurants, new recipes, and kitchen

FOOD THOUGHT

Dining with the Washingtons

The University of North Carolina Press,

$35 hardcover, 224 pp.

Your election-year cookbook, Dining with the Washingtons explores the menus, diet and styles of entertaining that characterized the home of the nation’s founding father. Featuring a foreword by former White House executive chef Walter Scheib and more than 90 historic recipes adapted for today’s kitchens by renowned culinary historian Nancy Carter Crump, this book is ideal for veteran and novice cooks alike, as well as for those wishing to learn about both formal and everyday dining at Mount Vernon.

THE WORKS

Five-Piece Election

Cookie Cutter Set

$4.40; americantraditioncookiecutters.com.

A 3-inch elephant, 3.75-inch donkey, 4.5-inch U.S. map, 2-inch star and 3.5-inch liberty Bell round out this cookie cutter collection, which is perfect for your election night returns party. Whether or not you are a partisan, these stainless-steel cutouts will please guests across the political spectrum.

SIDE DISH

Rock City Rocks — At Metro Times, we don’t get out as much as other food writers do. In fact, we probably eat more hot dogs and wrapped sandwiches per year than all other metro Detroit food writers combined. So it’s a real treat when we do get out there and try something. For this, we have a benefactor to thank, Joe Nader, who fights hunger through the Cooking Matters program. He fought our hunger by picking up the lion’s share of the check after ordering one of almost everything on Rock City’s menu. Thanks, Joe!

Rock City’s Nikita Santches has done a good job of chasing away the trappings of cost, even if the menu gets a bit pricey. It’s a coffeehouse atmosphere, with tables, chairs and plates that don’t match, particle-board wall treatments, even a few couches. It’s as homey and down-dressed as the bearded hipster clientele. And it’s rocking, alright. There are pictures of Patti Smith and Iggy Pop, and the sound system cranks up the Ramones and the Clash, which we enjoyed, even if it did get loud enough to intrude on our conversation a bit.

The menu is small plates fare, with some really creative choices. Perhaps best was a bread-butter-and-radish sampler, consisting of toasted baguette slices, icicle radishes and a variety of butters whipped with such flavors as sea salt, smoked bone marrow and cod. It reminded us of a cheese plate more than anything, a homey bread-and-butter plate elevated to something much more interesting. It’s $7, but the way our party marveled over it, the price seemed worth it. There are quirky little touches to keep things fun, such as the fish escabeche conserva being served in a quirky little sardine tin, or the mac and cheese coming in a bowl made of crisped cheese. The other small plates were also good, and there is a menu of cocktails, including such classics as the Manhattan, the Aviator and the Negroni, to wash them down. And, of course, for dessert, there’s pie.

Rock City Eatery is at 11411 Joseph Campau, Hamtramck; 248-633-3072.

Know of any upcoming food or drink events? Let us know! Call 313-202-8043 or email mjackman@metrotimes.com.

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