Our kind of garden New-fooder Suzanne Vier, owner of her homegrown Simply Suzanne granola company, has helped found a new Detroit institution: a beer garden. They've taken a vacant parcel of land in Detroit's West Village and, for the next four Sundays, will turn it into a European-style venue for enjoying Michigan craft beer. It's called the Tashmoo Biergarten, and will feature a changing menu of beer, local food vendors and board games. The inaugural fest was last week, but it will continue each Sunday until Oct. 23. Drop in at 1416 Van Dyke, between Agnes and Coe streets, in Detroit. For more information, see tashmoodetroit.com.
Camp beer Those thirsting for a taste of autumn beer have plenty of celebrations to consider this fall. Another joint helping beer-lovers hoist a round is Camp Ticonderoga, with its Oktoberfest 2011. Expect beer, and plenty of hearty German fare to help soak it up, including brats, knockwurst, schnitzel, pretzels, sauerkraut, German potato salad, apple strudel. And, yes, more beer to wash it down. It runs daily through Oct. 1, at 5725 Rochester Rd., Troy; 248-828-2825; campticonderoga.com.
Local haunt With the advent of fall, Detroit's Whitney restaurant is closing its outdoor garden for the year, but it's reopening its third-floor Ghost Bar. Named for reported sightings of apparitions in the venerable manse, the elegant bar is anything but ethereal, with good food, strong drink and live entertainment on Fridays and Saturdays. Catch the spirit, at 4421 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-832-5700; thewhitney.com.
Fall's bounty The well-respected Matt Prentice Restaurant Group is hosting a Michigan Harvest Feast. Chef Jeremy Kalmus' menu includes butter-poached lobster tail, seared Maple Leaf Farms duck, house-made pancetta, braised shortrib pierogi and more. A supplemental wine package will feature pours from Wyncroft winery, whose owner Jim Lester will be on hand to offer insight and answer questions. It all happens at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 30, at NoVI Chophouse, 27790 Novi Rd., Novi; 248-305-5210; $49 per person, with Wyncroft wine package add $46 per person; seating limited, call for reservations.
In a stir You know the deal: You select items from a cold buffet, take them to a stir-fry station, and a cook expertly flash-fries them into a delectable dish. With the opening this week of Flat Top Stir-Fry Grill in Rochester Hills, there's one more place to enjoy this winning formula. Have a taste at 176 N. Adams Rd., Rochester Hills; flattopgrill.com.
Royal feasts The autumn installment of Royal Oak Restaurant Week returns! For seven days, diners will have deals at two dozen restaurants. Expect fixed-price three-course lunch and dinner menus for $15 and $25, respectively. To view menus and for additional information please visit Royal Oak Restaurant Week's official web site dineroyaloak.com. It all happens Oct. 3-9, 2011.
Know of any upcoming food or wine events? Let us know! Call 313-202-8043 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
food/thought If you thought that Jell-O shots were just red Jell-O and a cup of vodka, think again. With Jiggle Shots: 75 Recipes to Get the Party Started (Abrams Publishing, $12.95), Rachel Federman has created a slew of simple recipes to break the ice at any event. Patriots will love the three-layered "Twilight's Last Gleaming." Everyone loves "Sex on the Beach" and will likely enjoy the jiggle shot of the same name. Consider pudding shots such as the banana split that are ready to eat — um, drink — a few minutes after combining the ingredients. Careful now.
bottoms up Made in the style of a Belgian Biere Blanche and aged in large oak casks, Jolly Pumpkin Calabaza Blanca is certainly one of the finest craft beers brewed in Michigan. Flavors of nutty cereal, citrus fruit, wood and a scraping of wet blanket funk are completely integrated into a well-carbonated, light-bodied sip that finishes tart and dry. Though lower in alcohol than most standard ales, orange peel, coriander and refermentation in the bottle add a depth of flavor to this local take on a classic Old World brew.
the works There are all kinds of functional graters: plastic, metal, box graters and flat micro-plane type, but none as handsome and finely crafted as the Enrico cheese grater. The grained bamboo box comes with two stainless steel cutting surfaces; one for use grating hard cheese such as Grana Padano, the other for shredding softer cheeses. Either can be used for making fresh breadcrumbs. A "foot" feature on the bottom fits against the edge of a counter or tabletop to create a stable cutting surface. The removable drawer allows easy transfer of cheese to your dining table or a favorite serving bowl.