We Zagat taste! — The 2011 edition of Zagat's America's Top Restaurants hit bookstores last week, and the folks at Zagat were nice enough to send up a copy. The section for Detroit has 20 restaurants, including some standard-bearers (The Lark, the Rattlesnake Club, the Earle), some newcomers from the last decade (Roast, Logan, SaltWater) and a few selections that surprised us a bit (West End Grill, Eve, Hong Hua). Also of note: It's a pretty representative spread of restaurants, geographically, with nine in Oakland County, five in Detroit, and a grouping of six out in Washtenaw County.
Somerset, get ready, go! — Here's a fun jaunt that will run on both sides of Eight Mile Road: Meet up at the Detroit Shoppe — a celebration of all things Detroit in the 20th century — at Troy's Somerset Collection. At 1 p.m., a shuttle departs for downtown Detroit's Cliff Bell's for a special brunch with live entertainment from the Cliff Bell's All-Stars. Hungry? The meal will include a salad, a choice of entrée (including steak and eggs, shrimp and grits, and omelet du jour) and dessert. Thirsty? A special brunch package will offer bottomless mimosas and "Motor City Marys," Bloody Marys made using Valentine Vodka and McClure's Pickles. The shuttle will return to the Somerset Collection between 4 and 4:30 p.m. Sound like a fun Sunday shopping trip? Reserve your spot today. It all starts just before 1 p.m. on Nov. 7, at the Detroit Shoppe, Somerset Collection, Troy; for reservations call Cliff Bell's at 313-961-2543; tickets are $18 (no alcohol) or $25 (alcohol included).
Growing together — Just a reminder to any of the participants in the 1,200-odd inner-city gardens assisted every year by the Garden Resource Program: An annual planning meeting and potluck dinner is this coming Tuesday, a great chance to encounter gardeners and organizers from all over the city — and grab some tasty chow too. It all happens 5:30-8 p.m. Nov. 9, at the offices of Focus Hope, 1400 Oakman Blvd., (between Linwood & 14th), Detroit; for more info or assistance with transportation, call Lindsay at 313-285-1249.
Mass meal — Perhaps you saw Detroitblogger John's recent feature on St. Albertus, the oldest Polish Catholic church in Detroit ("Poletown saints," Oct. 6). Well, whether you're religious or not, here's your chance to see the church and to help. They're hosting their annual harvest dinner this week, and you can join them for an affordable meal of turkey, stuffing, golabki, and dessert. The meal begins right after the 11 a.m. celebration of Mass, around noon, on Nov. 7, at the rectory, just south of the church, which is at 4231 St. Aubin, Detroit; For more information, call Terry at 313-527-9321 or Jean at 313-664-0257; $10.
For decades, Jane and Michael Stern of Roadfood.com fame have ferreted out obscure restaurants on their coast-to-coast journeys, often discovering the best dishes in small towns and on rural highways. Now they have put together the consummate guide to pizza. If you want to make it, there are recipes for crusts and sauces and suggestions for toppings you've likely never thought of. All this can be found in a magazine simply titled Pizza. Included is their list of 100 of the country's best pies with photos that will surely make pizza your next meal. On magazine racks everywhere.
Rarely do we extol the splendor of drinks that aren't available in Michigan, but St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram is a bottle you ought to be pestering your local liquor store to stock. Traditionally known as pimento dram (pimento is the West Indies term for allspice), this liqueur made from Jamaican pot-still rum and allspice berries is cherished for its extraordinary flavors of clove, cinnamon and nutmeg. Not only does it add deep island flavor to Caribbean cocktails and tiki drinks, it works well in a wide variety of holiday desserts.
In need of a holiday gift for your favorite chef? Look no further than Bob Kramer's Damascus knives. They sell for as much as $300 per inch. The Damascus blades are made by layering steel, sometimes as many as 1,000 layers. The process is illustrated on a video segment that was shown on CBS at bit.ly/6jRCvR, which will help you understand the stratospheric price. These are not knives as we know them: They are sculpture, the blades textured by the process and the handles made of rare woods. Start saving now.