More Detroit shopping For years, commentators have bemoaned Detroit's lack of chain groceries. Those of us in the know, however, have realized that just because the city lacks a Kroger's doesn't mean there aren't great places to shop for food, such as Eastern Market, or such stores as Honeybee la Colmena or Joe Randazzo's Produce Market. And now those vendors are joined by Ye Olde Butcher Shoppe, open two weeks now. The family-owned, high-quality city market is actually a reincarnation of an earlier store owned by the Solaka family. Brothers Michael and Peter Solaka, sons of the original Butcher Shoppe owner, have installed themselves in the former Zaccaro's market. The store not only sells fresh product and a broad mix of products, including gizmos and gadgets, but offers an olive bar, full coffee service, and patio seating for casual dining. Drop in and see what's on offer, at 3100 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-974-7356; yeoldebutchershoppedetroit.com.
Rebounding Puck Wolfgang Puck Grille at MGM Grand Detroit may have closed, but that doesn't mean the restaurateur who helped popularize seasonal cuisine has left Detroit. In fact, diners can now visit his new Detroit entry, Wolfgang Puck Pizzeria and Cucina, offering rustic Italian favorites in a comfortable setting. Heading up the kitchen is executive chef Marc Djozlija, who'll oversee a menu of pastas, wood-oven baked pizzas, specialty dishes and entrées featuring meats and fish. Expect a second Wolfgang Puck effort, Wolfgang Puck Steak, to open at the hotel this December. The pizzeria and cucina is open for dinner only, 5-10 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday, and 5-11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, closed Monday-Tuesday, at 1777 Third St., Detroit; to make reservations, please call 877-888-2121.
Milford fanfare It's one thing to set up a window display. It's quite another when all the stores downtown do it, cover them in gift wrapping, and then let people — mostly kids — rip them open all at once. That's what's happening in downtown Milford this week, as area shops and restaurants all join in Christmas' "big reveal." What's more, on the day of the unwrapping and every Thursday until Dec. 27, downtown merchants will say thanks to Milford diners by dropping in at area restaurants and helping to pay the tab of random parties. That's right: They'll pay as much as $100, and have picked up hundreds of bills, on everything from a cup of coffee to an entire meal for family of four. How's that for the spirit of giving? The wrapping paper starts flying at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 15, on Main Street in downtown Milford. For more information, see meetmeinmilford.com.
Go French Enjoy a French wine tasting of more than 20 wines, including the 2012 Beaujolais Nouveau, as well as bottles from Bordeaux, Burgundy, Languedoc, Rhone and Alsace. It happens 6-7:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 15, at Champane's Wine Cellars, 7007 Chicago Rd., Warren; $20 per person, two for $30 with advanced R. S. V. P. at 586-978-9463; includes light snacks.
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Frontera: Margaritas, Guacamoles, and Snacks
by Rick and Deann Groen Bayless
W.W. Norton & Company, $24.95
Since 1996, chef and author Rick Bayless, an acknowledged authority on the subject, has written several cookbooks on the cuisines of Mexico. In his latest, Frontera: Margaritas, Guacamoles, and Snacks, Rick and his wife Deann Groen Bayless share the cocktails and starters popularized at the Frontera Grill, the flagship of his Chicago restaurants, where locals and tourists enjoy regional Mexican foods beyond the standard tacos, burritos and enchiladas. There are 35 margaritas, 12 seasonal guacamoles, one for each month and a variety of snacks that are perfect companions to the delectable beverages.
One of the goals of all pie makers is a flaky crust. An experienced baker will tell you that, when blending the fat — be it butter, lard or shortening — with the flour, it is important to cut in pea-sized pieces that melt, leaving small holes that enable the crust to flake. An additional solution is a "pie bird" that provides a vent that enables the steam created by the boiling of the fruit filling to escape rather than steam the crust. Merely perch this ceramic crow in the center of the pie and savor the aromas and enjoy a perfect dessert. Only $4.95 at Williams-Sonoma.