On a street normally traversed by purebred canines, a mangy mutt will be an original addition.
The Dirty Dog Jazz Café, under construction at 97 Kercheval, Grosse Pointe Farms, is the latest community cultural endeavor of Gretchen Carhartt-Valade. Granddaughter of the Carhartt Inc. founder, Valade is a longtime jazz and music lover. In the 1990s she founded Mack Avenue Records which has produced 35 CD releases. Two years ago, she endowed the endangered Detroit International Jazz Festival with $10 million for a production company to ensure its survival as a Labor Dayinstitution.
With the Dirty Dog — scheduled to open in February — she'll bring live music to a 65-seat upscale pub setting on The Hill, Grosse Pointe's most exclusive shopping district.
Plans are for a full bar, creative food, reserved seating, a suggested dress code and jazz musicians performing Wednesdays through Sundays. The billings will range from nationally known acts to new performers. With dark paneling, a bowed front window and quirky sign that's been up for weeks, the Dirty Dog is literally setting the stage for an original music venue and entertainment site in the Pointes.
"We're doing something entirely new," says Tom Robinson, owner of Black Star construction, Mack Avenue Records exec and the project's general manager.
The club's web site, www.dirtydogjazz.com, offers some construction photos and a mailing list sign up for progress reports and club announcements. Woof!
EAT THE PAGE
Cooking schools abound, offering choices from one- or two-hour demos through multi-year programs at the likes of Schoolcraft College, attracting not only cooks with professional aspirations, but also home cooks who want to duplicate the meals served at the finest restaurants. Cooking by culinary authority James Peterson (Ten Speed Press, $40) is a compendium of kitchen techniques and recipes. The 600 recipes and 1,500 color photos give the reader the tools to think like a chef, which is to say less reliant on recipes than on techniques.
A TASTY BEVERAGE
Mas Saint Joseph is a single-plot estate nestled into the west bank of the Rhône River in one of southern France's oldest vineyard areas. Once the site of ancient Greek colonies, it now grows Syrah, Grenache and Carignan grapes on vines — most of which are more than 30 years old. The result is Costières-de-Nîmes Les Cypres, a deep, floral red wine with flavors of reduced plum and cherry without the syrupy texture of similar drinks in its price range. Incredibly, this product of low yields and natural fermentation will only set you back a measly $12.
There's no substitute for the taste and aroma of fresh bread, and the same goes for the pleasures of fresh tortillas. For less than 20 bucks, you can invest in a tortilla press and a bag of corn flour masa. Mix the masa — Maseca brand is popular — with water and form the mixture into balls. Put them on the open press — preferably lined with plastic wrap — and close the press to flatten out round tortillas. Then cook them briefly on a comal — a flat cast-iron pan. All the gear, like the ingredientes mexicanos, is available at Honeybee Market La Colmena at 2443 Bagley St. (at 18th Street) in Detroit.