Big bar night — It's here: The big bar night before Thanksgiving, when you have a much better chance of running into former Detroiters returning home for a tryptophan high. We had an exhaustive list of spots last week, but somebody pointed out a few nightspots we missed, including Northern Lights Lounge (660 W. Baltimore St., Detroit; 313-873-1739). It's a terrific bar with perhaps the best ladies' room in town. What's more, Wednesday nights mean performances from the one and only Dennis Coffey Trio, led by none other than the Motown guitar master plumbing his repertoire of classics 8 p.m. to midnight. Or check out CK Diggs (2010 W. Auburn Rd., Rochester Hills; 248-853-6600), where they'll have tunes, food, drink specials and an astounding selection of beers — more than 130 brews in all, including 41 on tap. Tell 'em Metro Times sent you.
Basque in glory — Josephine Crêperie and Bistro continues its "Last Wednesdays" series of dinners, this time focusing on the cuisine of French Basque country. The five-course meal includes an appetizer, a soup or salad, a cheese course, your choice of four entrées (including a vegetarian choice) and two dessert options. It all happens Dec. 1, at 241 W. Nine Mile Rd., Ferndale; 248-399-1366; $30 plus tax, tip and drinks; reservations encouraged.
Pictures at Lily's — The fourth episode of the local TV show Dining in the D will screen at Lily's Seafood. In this installment, host and chef Tom Keshishian will guide viewers through Lily's, Berkley Bistro & Café, Harper Woods' Royal Eagle, and Detroit's Woodbridge Pub. It happens 7-9 p.m. Nov. 30, at 410 S. Washington Ave., Royal Oak; 248-591-5459.
Take it black — With "Black Friday" in the offing, Dunkin' Donuts wants to help keep you perked. Visit Twelve Oaks Mall, and they'll have free Dunkin' Donuts coffee samples and a chance to have a photo snapped with the Dunkin' Donuts mascot, Cuppy. It happens 6 a.m.-6 p.m. Friday, Nov. 26, and 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 27. at 27500 Novi Rd., near the food court entrance.
Uncorked — Pleasant Ridge has a bar? Well, not just any bar. This sliver-sized community of a few thousand residents is now home to Cork Wine Pub, a restaurant, bakery and gift shop that will feature 150 wines and appeal to upscale diners. It was scheduled to open as we went to press, so drop in for a look-see, at 23810 Woodward Ave., Pleasant Ridge; 248-544-2675.
For anyone who loves cooking Indian food there is India: The Cookbook (Phaidon Books, $49.95). Pushpesh Pant has written a veritable encyclopedia — 816 pages — with 1,000 straightforward recipes from every region of India. This book dispels the myth that Indian food is difficult to prepare. Pant covers the basics of the cuisine beginning with the masalas — spice mixtures that lend Indian cuisine its exquisite flavors. The chapter on pulses, high-protein lentils and beans, offers substitutes for non-varmint eaters.
Designed to allow drinkers to pound several pints without getting wasted, "session beer" is low in alcohol and high in flavor. Bell's Oarsman Ale is a prime example of this rare breed. At 4 percent alcohol by volume, it has less alcohol than most "light" beer on the market — but that's the only thing it has in common with limp diet beers. Herbal and citrus aromas from light hopping precede a malted cereal flavor that finishes with a palate-cleansing tang that fairly urges you to take another drink.
The rage in knives is ceramic. Odd as it may seem, ceramic blades are said to retain their sharp edge 10 times as long than steel knives. Unfortunately, we haven't had one long enough to confirm that, but we do know that they are sharp — razor sharp — and lightweight, without the heft of a steel-bladed knife. They won't discolor fruits and vegetables, nor will they absorb food odors. Blades are totally impervious to acids, juices, oils, salts or other elements, and they never rust. If they require sharpening, use a Kyocera electric sharpener with diamond wheels or mail them to Kyocera for free sharpening.