Pie on 3/14 Everything goes with pie — especially rock 'n' roll. Just ask Rodney "Ramblin' Pie Man" Henry, owner of Dangerously Delicious Pies. Henry started the business a decade ago, while touring with his band the Glenmont Popes, as a side business to help keep him out playing music. And the pies are really something else. He's conjured up such oddities as the "Steak Chili Pie," "Bacon Onion Gruyère Quiche" and, for those who don't want to venture into new territory, "Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie." Henry has been seen on Food Network's Chopped and answered a quiche-off challenge from celebrity chef Bobby Flay on his Throwdown, creating a "Cowboy Quiche." Henry is in town for some pie fun this week, on "Pie Day" (March 14 — geddit?) at the Comet Bar (128 Henry St., Detroit; 313-963-6763), and with his band on March 17 at the Lager House (1254 Michigan Ave., Detroit; 313-961-4668) at 9 p.m., 21 and older.
Refreshed & ready Ann Arborites might have fretted when second-floor music venue Live at PJ's — and its downstairs cocktail bar Goodnight Gracie — closed Jan. 1. The good news is that the folks behind BTB Burrito, Good Time Charley's and the Alley Bar have reopened the spaces — with a little update. Upstairs, Live, the venue that bills itself as "Ann Arbor's most refined nightclub," will test its finesse with a weekly live music showcase on Wednesdays, grad night Thursdays, and DJ sets on the weekend. It held its grand opening the first weekend in February. On the first floor, you'll find the Last Word, a 1920s-style craft cocktail bar on the order of Detroit's Sugar House and Ferndale's Oakland Art Novelty Company. Having opened a few weeks ago, the Last Word seats 96 and offers pre-Prohibition-style quaffs for $7 to $14. It's at 102 S. First St., Ann Arbor; 734-623-1443.
Good burger The long-awaited rebirth of the Mercury Bar in Corktown happened just in time for Sunday's St. Patrick's Day Parade. It's the Mercury Burger Bar, across the street from Slows Bar-BQ, featuring freshly ground burgers made with all-natural beef, 16 beers on draft and a full breakfast menu. Inside, a Jerome Ferretti mural adorning the wall adds a splash of color to the polished black-and-white interior. An open-air patio paved with reclaimed bricks sits beside the restaurant and promises to be a great spot to enjoy a drink once the weather gets warmer. Mercury Burger Bar is at 2163 Michigan Ave., Detroit; 313-964-5000; mercuryburgerbar.com.
Green shoots Are you a resident of Detroit, Hamtramck or Highland Park who wants to start a garden? Get in touch with the Garden Resource Program. They can provide seeds and other resources, and they offer classes most of the year on everything from composting to beekeeping. They're at 1418 Michigan Ave., Detroit; 313-285-2300; or follow the link at detroitagriculture.net.
Know of any upcoming food or drink events? New establishments? Let us know! Call 313-202-8043 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Molto Batali: Simple Family Meals from My Home to Yours
Here's a book that will complement any cookbook shelf: Molto Batali: Simple Family Meals from My Home to Yours. Once again, the charismatic chef, who is never seen without his signature orange clogs, has put together a collection of recipes that reflect his Italian heritage and the depth of his culinary knowledge and expertise. The recipes and their accompanying pictures, all geared toward home cooks, are rustic yet often out of the ordinary, some requiring ingredients that are available, but not necessarily at your corner grocery.
the works Some liquids, such as delicate sauces, suffer from too much heat, burning on the bottom, giving them a sharp or burnt taste. The solution used to be a double boiler that allowed you to keep the liquid at a slow simmer. Most newer stovetops can be set to do just that. Another solution is this simmer mat, which disperses the heat while eliminating hot spots that can scorch the ingredients. It cooks rice and other foods that require a gentle, slow boil, functioning as a slow cooker. We found this one at chefscatalog.com for $16.99.