Avalon to move — It's been called "the worst-kept secret in Detroit," but the buzz has long been that Avalon International Breads (422 W. Willis St., Detroit; 313-832-0008) is set to move next summer to a new location in the same general neighborhood. The enormously successful bread stop's owners, Jackie Victor and Ann Perrault, have ended months of speculation by announcing plans to move into the 7,000-square-foot ground floor of 55 W. Canfield. The new retail and wholesale establishment will be larger and will have more parking space for those frustrated by the measly dozen spots at the present location. Expect energy-efficient designs, green systems, and built-in compost and recycling practices. The new location will be mixed-use, with loft-style residences and indoor heated parking. For more information about Avalon, please contact Jackie Victor at 313-806-1934. For information about 55 W. Canfield, call Tracy Koe Wick at 734-332-0100 or see 55westcanfield.com.
Beer, here —Ashley's Beer & Grill of Ann Arbor is opening two new area locations. The restaurant, a Tree Town fixture for almost a quarter of a century, features hand-cut steaks and fresh local ingredients. What's more, the eatery has a reputation for appreciating beer, with an ever-changing selection of more than 100 beers and ales, with more than 20 on tap. And Ashley's offers lots of choices for those with a taste for the Mitten State's craft brewers. Even though Michigan-made brews are growing more popular nationwide, we Michiganders should reward those places where we can choose a home-state beer at the bar. See their new locations in Westland (7525 Wayne Rd., 734-525-1667) and Woodhaven (23450 Allen Rd., 734-671-3066).
EAT THE PAGE
Bacon — for many lovers of well-seasoned, cured and smoked pork fat — is more than a welcome accompaniment to morning eggs. James Villas, an authority on Southern cooking (is bacon a Southern thing?), has compiled everything you need to know about it in The Bacon Cookbook: More than 150 Recipes from Around the World for Everyone's Favorite Food (Wiley, $35). The recipes include dishes from appetizers through desserts, such as "French cheese and bacon soufflé" to "bacon and peanut butter chocolate truffles." And what carnivore can resist a good BLT?
A TASTY BEVERAGE
Looking for a delicious soft drink that contains no caffeine, no refined sugar, no artificial anything? Try IZZE brand soda. It's a simple blend of natural fruit juices and sparkling water. With flavors like apple, blackberry, blueberry, clementine, grapefruit, lemon, pear and pomegranate, both children and adults can often be seen gulping down this healthy and refreshing drink. And if the price is a little too steep for you, make your own version by combining your favorite fruit juice with club soda in equal proportions.
Sure, you can use the back of a wooden spoon to mash the fruit and mint in a classic Mojito, but if you want to make a great drink, you should use a real muddler. And — if you're going to use a muddler — you might as well choose the most beautiful, most functional version we've seen. Bob Gilmour of Forest Treasures carves this one out of local Australian woods like ash and jarrah, creating a stylish accessory that will make short work of any cocktail requiring the process. It is $39.95 from gratefulpalate.com.