The fright stuff — A fun event tonight mixes fundraiser and hair-raiser, scaring up money for five good local charities. It happens at the spacious digs of Rosie O'Grady's in Ferndale. The joint, dubbed "Scaring for Caring," asks patrons to drop donations into buckets in front of more than a dozen scarecrows, all artfully created, depicting everything from the Addams Family to the headless horseman. The bucket with the most money at the end of the evening will be crowned the winner, but all monies received will be divided evenly among the Pink Fund, the Michigan AIDS Coalition, Waggs and Wishes Animal Rescue, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and Ferncare. The fun starts at 5 p.m. Oct. 27, at 279 W. Nine Mile Rd., Ferndale; 248-591-9163.
Table to stage — Downtown Detroit's Opus One has some undeniable deals for those looking to enjoy a show at area theaters. All packages include a ticket for one (good seats) and a four-course meal (soup, salad, entrée and dessert), plus shuttle service to and from the performance, with free, guarded parking. Shows for the next few months will include Rock of Ages, Mary Poppins, In the Heights, Grease, Dreamgirls, La Bohème and The Nutcracker. Packages go for between $140 and $170, so it's kind of a splurge, but perhaps worth it to know your whole evening is taken care of.
Spooky castle — Is the Whitney creepy? Normally, we'd say the 19th century architecture and classic interiors stun us instead of scaring us (rumors of ghosts notwithstanding). But for one night, the restaurant will be filled with cool ghouls filling the manse for the third year in a row. It all happens on Devil's Night, Saturday, Oct. 30, at 4421 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-832-5700; costumes mandatory; tickets are $30 and up; for reservations call 248-660-6890.
Open kitchen — If you have an idea for a food startup but don't want to be saddled with the high costs of opening a state-of-the-art kitchen, Southfield's Culinary Studio can help. They offer fully equipped kitchens for hourly rental, catering to food entrepreneurs and those holding special cooking events. Take a peek, at the Applegate Shopping Center on Northwestern Highway between Franklin and Inkster roads, Southfield, or call 248-353-2500 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Birthday suite — Remember our cover story, written five years ago, looking back at Detroit's burlesque stars of the past? One of the entertainers featured in that article, Lottie "the Body" Graves, is having her birthday party this Nov. 5. If you ever wanted to meet the lovely lady, you can catch her that night at Bert's Marketplace in Eastern Market. Happy birthday, Lottie!
Chef, restaurateur and grape grower Michael Chiarello has defined Napa cuisine. Bottega: Bold Italian Flavors from the Heart of California's Wine Country (Chronicle Books, $40) showcases his spin on Italian fare, with recipes of many of the dishes served at his eponymous restaurant. In addition to mouthwatering photographs, he shares cooking tips and the origins of his creations. Potato gnocchi ravioli with egg yolk and sage brown butter, stuffed with Swiss chard and ricotta, is worth the effort. Properly cooked, the yolk will ooze from within when you cut out your first bite.
Perhaps due to the fact that it' s 44 percent alcohol, back in 1846, when Underberg bitters were first introduced in Germany, people thought they had certain magical qualities. Purported to aid digestion, natural herbs from 43 countries are combined to create a drink that tastes something like distilled root beer with a dry and floral finish. Apparently, folks in Europe are slamming thousands of these tiny, paper-wrapped bottles of booze daily and often refer to Underberg as the world's smallest hot water bottle. We call it a tasty shot of hard liquor.
Yeah, we'd rather make s'mores over a campfire or in a fireplace, but if neither is a viable option, you might want to try this contraption that lets you make them in a microwave. Put the ingredients on the base. Add a little water and nuke it. It may be cute and it could work — we haven't tested it — but what about fire-toasted, charred marshmallows? Do we call these "winter s'mores," not to be confused with the real thing? We found this one at coated.com for a mere $8.