For all you vegans considering a move to Sioux City, here's a reason to stay: Seattle was voted the second most vegetarian-friendly city in America by PETA. San Francisco holds the top spot, it's true, but the Emerald City's array of vegetarian restaurants, omnivorous restaurants with vegetarian options, and high veggie product sales earned it the No. 2 rankthat's higher than New York, Portland, Atlanta, and Houston. The most vegetarian-unfriendly cities? Green Bay, Wis.; Wichita, Kan.; Birmingham, Ala.; Jackson, Miss.; and Sioux City, Iowa. PETA cites Café Flora, Carmelita, Bamboo Garden, and Café Ambrosia as institutions where vegetarians can take refuge when summer barbecue season takes holdjust try finding Carmelita's celeriac "ravioli" stuffed with truffled parsnips and black mission fig compote (vegan!) in Green Bay. WINE FOR DUMMIES
Andrea Immer has no faith in the wine-consuming public. First she published 2000's Great Wine Made Simple, a sort of idiot's guide to the bottle. Then there was 2002's Wine Buying for Everyonemore of the same. Now the celebrity chef and master sommelier is really driving the point home with a new CD-rom set, Entertaining Made Simple. The four-CD set, to be released in July by BMG Classics/RCA Red Seal, will finally banish any remaining excuse for buying bad wine. Ill-prepared hosts can simply pop in one of Immer's CDs (such as Pinot, Pasta, & Puccini) for instant recipes and primers on wines, wine pairings, glassware, party planning, and even decorating. Then, when company arrives, the CD doubles as soft music to dine by. Give the woman points for persistence. DRINK FOR PEACE
Is nothing sacred? Even water's political now. Okanogan Highlands Bottling Company's Political Action Water aims to "encourage folks to drink water, think peace, and take action." Their Web site (www.purewater.org) claims to support peace and watershed protection. And when the bottle's empty, it can become a political message: Pop a stamp on it and mail it to Dubya, as the company suggests. What political magic does this Eastern Washington H2O hold? One may never know, but one's pocketbook could get somewhat thin trying to find out. A half-liter of peace water is priced at five bucks. COPPER RIVER SALMON IS HERE!
If your local fishmonger hasn't got his hands on the year's first Copper River yet (and you can't wait for a taste of the most delectable salmon on earth), someone with omega-3 fatty acids on their mind would be wise to start scouting the menus of sea-focused restaurants. At Ponti Seafood Grill, recently named executive chef Jake Reagan will ply diners with the aforementioned salmon with baby red potatoes and spring vegetablesas he did last Friday at Ponti's spring "Villa Party." And once the three-week season has ended and you're tired of hearing about Copper River, turn your attention to Ponti's other fishy offerings, such as sturgeon, tuna, king salmon, scallops, prawns, and halibut. Theseand a patio with a killer view of the watermight be enough to keep you happy all summer. firstname.lastname@example.org