Double your pleasure — Two Ferndale-based companies have teamed up to create a new beverage. We've written about Brad Dahlhofer's B. Nektar Meadery, and their popular honey wines; they joined up with Ferndale's Chazzano Coffee Roasters to create a new mead made with local Michigan wildflower honey and fine Ethiopian Harrar coffee beans roasted at Chazzano: Ethiopian Harrar Mead. The initial test batch sold out in less than a month, and it's already getting rave reviews. It retails for about $12.99 in stores, and is available at fine wine and craft beer retailers in metro Detroit, including Holiday Market in Royal Oak and Canton, and Merchants in Dearborn.
A day for pie — Did you know there's a National Pie Day? There is: Jan. 23 was given that designation by the American Pie Council. (Didn't you know there was one of those?) And the good people at Chesterfield's Achatz Handmade Pie Co. want to remind you that it's "the perfect opportunity to pass on the love and enjoyment of pie." On Jan. 23, all seven Achatz locations will offer its entire line of 10" pies for $3 off regular prices from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, see achatzpies.com.
Beer and coneys — The crew at Detroit's American Coney Island know that all of our budgets are stretched thin these days, so they've come up with a special promotion called "Beat the Winter Blahs." It's a happy hour of sorts: Between 5 and 7 p.m. every Tuesday night, you get a buy-one-get-one-free coney dog with your first Bad Ass Beer purchase. Take them up on it this Tuesday after work, at 115 Michigan Ave., Detroit; 313-961-7758.
New brunch — BRAVO! Cucina Italiana has rolled out a new bar bites menu this week. The casual, white-tablecloth restaurant's "bites" are actually portions of their appetizers that go for as little as $2.95 weekdays 3-7 p.m. and 9 p.m. on in the bar area of their metro Detroit locations. They also have introduced a $7.95 lunch features menu. Lunches will include such classics as pasta Yandolino and the eggplant Parmesan sandwich. See locations in Rochester Hills (286 N. Adams Rd.; 248-375-9644), Dearborn (inside Fairlane Mall, 18900 Michigan Ave; 313-271-2363) and Livonia (17700 Haggerty Rd.; 734-591-5600).
Food/Thought — If food trivia is your thing, Steven Gilbar's Chicken a La King & the Buffalo Wing: Food Names and the People and Places That Inspired Them (Writer's Digest Books, $16.99) will arm you with facts to bandy about with authority. The Cuba Libre — rum and Coke — is said to have originated in a bar in Havana when a U.S. soldier of the Spanish-American War proclaimed, "Por Cuba Libre!" in celebration of the liberation of Cuba. Fettuccine Alfredo was created by Alfredo di Lelio to tempt his pregnant wife, who had become weak from loss of appetite. Recipes for many of these classics are included.
Bottoms Up — Typically the realm of ultra-cheap wine product, box wine is getting a new life. With more drinkers appropriately considering the environmental impact of their lifestyle, boxed wine helps reduce the amount of packaging while allowing the wine inside to last for as long as a month in the refrigerator once opened. "From the Tank" is a medium-bodied and drinkable Côtes du Rhône blend of Grenache, Syrah, and Carignan grapes from Jenny & François Selections, an importer specializing in "natural wines." Priced the equivalent of $10 a bottle, it's a fair deal for a decent wine.
The Works — Organize your kitchen with these sleek wire baskets that are as functional as they are good looking. However, their most salient feature is providing circulating air to the contents. Potatoes, onions, bananas, tomatoes and other non-refrigerated produce tends to spoil when left in a bag, and few can afford that at today's prices. Clutter on a counter top interferes with the tasks at hand. They're worth the price for both sizes, running less than $30. See chefscatalog.com.