What’s popping — We dropped in at MOCAD last week for a meal from a pop-up restaurant called Detroit Vegan Soul. Amid quiet conversation, we enjoyed some pretty darn good vegan food, including smoky collard greens, creamy mac ’n’ cheese, sliced yams, corn muffins and barbecue tofu. We bring it up because the Vegan Soul folks announced that they plan to open Detroit Vegan Soul Café by April in Detroit’s West Village neighborhood. (Specifically, the address will be 8027 Agnes.) It started an interesting discussion about pop-ups and their place in the dining world. Certainly, the phenomenon is new here, and some observers have raised questions about licensing and legality that perhaps aren’t unwarranted. But as we’ve observed with food carts that have taken the plunge and become brick-and-mortar establishments (see last week’s announcement that the Lunch Room cart is set to become the Lunch Room, the restaurant), pop-ups are now following suit. And it makes sense: Pop-ups are great ways to test out niche cuisines (such as vegan soul food, for instance), develop a following for them and, if it pays off, make the transition to a full-service restaurant. We’ve come a long way since Jess Daniels first jump-started the pop-up craze in 2010 by starting Neighborhood Noodle (which was promptly shut down). In the end, anything that gives us more dining choices certainly can’t be wrong.
Vegan blogger — A former MT intern notified us that she has been blogging about vegan and gluten-free food in Michigan. It’s early days, but it’s off to a promising start. Have a look at “V 8 Mile” at v8mile.wordpress.com.
Winter fatigue — Well, it hasn’t been a terrible winter, but, frankly, after several months of snow and dark and cold weather, it’s only normal to feel you’ve had your fill of the white stuff. No problem. Take a trip to a sunnier clime … sort of, anyway: Drop in for Camp Ticonderoga’s 2013 Beach Bash. For two days, the restaurant will be decked out tiki-style. Think bamboo trim, flower leis, beaded necklaces and more. Yeah, it’s a pale imitation of an actual trip to the Bahamas or Hawaii, but after a few frosty drinks, you might not care all that much. Takes place March 1-2, at 5725 Rochester Rd., Troy; 248-828-2825; campticonderoga.com.
More than pie — Known mostly for their signature pizzas, Buddy’s Pizza, is now calling your attention toward their Italian and American comfort foods: Items such as hand-rolled, marinara-drenched mozzarella topped meatballs, hearty, oven-baked spaghetti and the same minestrone soup that’s been warming stomachs for 67 years. And if you’re hankering for an American-style fare, Buddy’s has baked mac ’n’ cheese, buttermilk hand-dipped chicken tenders and oven-baked cheese and bacon fries. You can find all these winter-warming treats at nine different Buddy’s Pizza locations across metro Detroit. See buddyspizza.com.
Know of any upcoming food or drink events? Let us know! Call 313-202-8043 or email email@example.com.
Fire in My Belly:
by Kevin Gillespie
Andrews McMeel, $40
Chef Kevin Gillespie’s remark, “Cooking is figuring out the great qualities of any food and making those qualities shine,” is the essence of his book, Fire in My Belly: Real Cooking. High quality ingredients, well-described techniques and tools, and creative recipes encourage you to give thought to the art of cooking. With each dish, Gillespie offers discussion of the flavors, as well as the ideas from which they originated. The last chapter, Nuts and Bolts, contains recipes for the sauces and condiments that take these dishes to another level.
In the kitchen, we sometimes find ourselves needing to boil more than one item for the same meal, pouring the first — with the boiling water — into a colander, then boiling more water before cooking the second. In many cases, particularly when cooking pasta, the water could be reused, eliminating the wait. We found a stainless-steel large scoop colander at chefscatalog.com that has a 4-cup capacity, enabling one to quickly free up the boiling water for the next task. The mesh design will capture grains as small as rice. Should you deep-fry at home, it’s also the perfect tool for removing fried food from the hot oil.