Food Stuff

Farmers' markets, a book signing, Swiss knives and more

Edible roots Drop in at Leopold's Books this Saturday evening for a reading and book signing of A Tiger in the Kitchen, by author Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan. The book is about a year the author spent traveling to Singapore, the land of her birth, to rediscover her native culture by learning how to cook Singaporean dishes in her Brooklyn kitchen. Through food, the book tells the story of her developing appreciation for her Teochew and Hokkien backgrounds. The volume was featured recently on and It all happens at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 13, at Leopold's Books, inside the Park Shelton, 15 E. Kirby St. (enter on Woodard Avenue side), Detroit; 313-875-4677;

Extra mileage This week, St. Clair Shores will see the inaugural Nautical Mile Restaurant Week, a celebration of food and fun at lower prices than usual. Eight restaurants will participate, offering special fixed-price three-course lunch and dinner menus for $20 per person (plus drinks, tax and tip). Restaurants will include Beach Grill, Brownie's, Fishbone's, Pat O'Brien's Tavern, Rojo Mexican Bistro, Waves and more. No tickets or passes are necessary, and diners can dine out as often as they like over the nine-day period. Reservations are not required, but they're strongly encouraged. All restaurants are along the "Nautical Mile," on Jefferson Avenue between Nine Mile and 10-1/2 Mile roads. The promotion starts Friday, Aug. 12, and continues through Saturday, Aug. 21. For menus and more info, see Nautical Mile Restaurant Week's official website:

More than a bar Looking for a weekday spot around Wayne State or New Center to enjoy a lunch or an after-work meal? Though Northern Lights is so stylish you might just think of it as only a lounge, they serve lunch and dinner every weekday. The kitchen is open from 11 a.m. until 9 p.m. Monday-Tuesday, 11 p.m. Wednesday and Friday, and midnight Thursday. Taste it at 660 W. Baltimore Ave., Detroit; 313-873-1739.

Can-do spirit! Canning Across America, in association with the Ball brand of canning products, has announced National Can-It-Forward Day. On Saturday, Aug. 13 home canners will connect via a national circuit of canning parties and social media activities. Via webcast, you can watch online canning demos and have your questions answered in real time. It's all at Or tweet along using the hashtag #canitforward.

Markets up!  According to results of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's 2011 National Farmers Market Directory, more than 1,000 new farmers' markets have sprung up in the last year. That's 17 percent growth in one year. And in Michigan, growth was 30 percent, the 10th fastest growing. More cause for pride was that Michigan had the third largest number of farmers' markets behind California (729) and New York (520), with 349. Way to go!

food/thought  At least a few of Elizabeth David's numerous cookbooks grace the shelves of many accomplished chefs. At Elizabeth David's Table: Classic Recipes and Timeless Kitchen Wisdom (Ecco, $37.50) will be no exception. This is a compilation of her ruminations about the various foods, the markets where they are sourced, the way she creates a menu, giving thought to "simpler food, simply presented" and the straightforward recipes that reflect her culinary attitude. The photos evoke her passion for the ingredients and, most of all, the finished dishes.

bottoms up If you're going to drink vodka, why not drink local? Not only can you buy bottles of Ferndale-based Valentine Vodka at your favorite liquor store, you can try it mixed into a cocktail at their micro-distillery and bar. Looking something like a mix between an ultra-lounge and a pirate brothel, the dimly lit bar is a fine place to get your drink on. Sample their vodka and vodka infusions mixed with all sorts of fresh juices and house-made syrups. We recommend the signature cocktail made with Michigan cherry syrup.

the works Swiss manufacturer Kuhn Rikon continues to come up with high quality, functional kitchen tools that are stylish, colorful and, in this case, whimsical. This auto crank safety lid lifter is a whale of a can opener. The spout is the crank that easily cuts the edge of the can instead of the top, resulting in a smooth edged lid that doesn't fall into the can. The food does not come in contact with the opener or the lid, eliminating any chance of bacteria contaminating the contents. The pinchers on the side lift the lid off for disposal in your recycling bin.

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