Spice is nice The Spice and Tea Exchange in Birmingham has an interesting event planned. It's called "Spice Up Your Winter Nights," guests can expect herbal lectures from Jim McDonald, intuitive tarot readings from Gail Schmidt and individual yoga mini-sessions with Anton Simper. Or just enjoy browsing among the selection of herbs, spices, teas and fair-trade, organic coffees. It happens 6-9 p.m. on Thursday, March 8, at 175 W. Maple Rd., Birmingham, RSVP at 248-455-1500; blog.spiceandtea.com.
Downtown deal There's a special offer at downtown Detroit's 1515 Broadway Cafe: For just $2, get a combo of coffee (or tea) and a bagel (or muffin). That's a $4 value! Drop in at 1515 Broadway; 313-965-1515; cash only.
New spot Ferndale has had several new spots open in the past year, including the Oakland cocktail lounge, the Red Hook coffee house, One-Eyed Betty's beer bar, and now, in Club Bart's former spot, John D. Bistro. Executive chef Adis Celic is expected to draw up a menu of comfort food — in a pan-fusion manner — that will set John D Bistro apart from its contemporaries. It opens to the public March 10, at 22726 Woodward Ave., Ferndale; 248-398-4070. Bar hours will be 4 p.m.-2 a.m. daily, with the kitchen closing at 10 p.m. Sunday-Wednesday and at 11 p.m. Thursday-Saturday.
Truckin' Food trucks have yet to make huge inroads downtown, but with the arrival of El Guapo Grill last year, things are starting to change. Another truck intends to cater to downtown lunchers this year: Dago Joe's Gourmet Italian Food Truck. Street diners will be able to choose from a number of Italian plates and a variety of flavorful, fresh sauces. The bright green and purple food truck will appear between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. (or later) at 11 Cadillac Square (at Bates), one block east of Campus Martius. For the full menu, online ordering and lunch truck specials, see dagojoes.com. The first day of business is scheduled for Thursday, March 8.
Nice at noon Food trucks aren't the only players making a bid for your downtown lunch dollar. Over at Opus One, they have specialty weekday lunch features. For instance, come in Thursday and you can order braised brisket of beef with a sweet potato mash and collard greens with smoked turkey for $12, or drop in Friday for a bowl of seafood chowder and grilled three-cheese bacon panini for $12 too. Opus One is at 565 E. Larned St., Detroit; 313- 961-7766; opus-one.com.
Know of any upcoming food, drink or gardening events? Let us know! Call 313-202-8043 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Great American Ale Trail: The Craft Beer Lover's Guide to the Best Watering Holes in the Nation
Running Press, $20
Beer lovers, rejoice. Get out of the kitchen and hit the road in search of some great brews. You'll find 400 microbreweries, bars, restaurants and festivals worthy of exploration in Christian DeBenedetti's The Great American Ale Trail: The Craft Beer Lover's Guide to the Best Watering Holes in the Nation. He's done a lot of the legwork for you, though leaving many stones unturned. One that caught our eye is the funky El Bait Shop in Des Moines Iowa, home of 105 taps and 115 bottles from 30 countries. Locally, Ann Arbor's Jolly Pumpkin gets a worthy nod.
the works Rare is the baker or barbecue chef who hasn't reached in the pantry for a bag of brown sugar to find that it's hard as a rock, thus useless. One simple solution is a Progressive Brown Sugar Keeper, DKS-200. Store as much as 2 pounds in the clear plastic, BPA-free, dishwasher-safe, airtight container that comes with a terra-cotta disc that helps retain moisture. The wide opening lets you measure in the container, keeping the sugar off the counter. Other uses are preserving the moisture of raisins and other dried fruits, marshmallows, coconut flakes and soft cookies. It's yours for $12.95 at chefscatalog.com.