True lobster — Weber's Restaurant is hosting a six-course lobster dinner, with lobster bisque, lobster Maryland, lobster egg roll and even a "lobster martini." All these creations to be paired with wines from Cakebread Cellars of Napa, Calif. On Tuesday, Feb. 26, at 3050 Jackson Rd., Ann Arbor; call 734-665-3636 for reservations; $85 plus tax and tip.
New brunch — Livonia's BRAVO! Cucina Italiana has announced a new Sunday brunch starting this week, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. The casual, white-tablecloth restaurant will serve such hearty dishes as bistecca Benedict, frittata al forno, herb foccacia panini and ricotta-stuffed French toast. After noon, expect bellinis, mimosas and Bloody Marys. At 17700 Haggerty Rd., Livonia; 734-591-5600.
Wine on Nine — Ferndale's Assaggi Bistro will host an Italian Wine Dinner featuring winemaker Sebastiano De Corato of Puglia, Italy, who will pair the restaurant's five-course dinner with his estate's wines. Reception at 6:30 p.m., dinner at 7 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 28, at 330 W. Nine Mile Rd., Ferndale; for reservations call 248-584-3499; $75 per person plus tax and tip.
Leap for joy — Being born on Leap Day is fun. When all your peers are turning 36, you're technically only celebrating your ninth birthday. Helping to add to the fun, Morton's steakhouse is celebrating Leap Day by offering a free steak and seafood dinner to anyone born on Leap Year Day: Friday, Feb. 29. Call for details and advance reservations. To make reservations, please call Morton's in Southfield at 248-354-6006 or in Troy at 248-404-9845. Morton's The Steakhouse is located at 1 Towne Square, Southfield, and 888 W. Big Beaver Rd., Troy. Dinner 5:30-11 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 5-10 p.m. Sundays.
EAT THE PAGE
The March 2008 issue of Esquire is a worthy substitute for our weekly cookbook. Don't be dissuaded by the cover photo of Arnold. Go directly to the "Encyclopedia of Sandwiches," a compendium of the best sandwiches from coast to coast with several recipes and the recommended ingredients and their sources. No burgers allowed here — just lip-smacking stuff like the hickory-smoked suckling pig cochon de lait po'boy and the legendary ham and cheese at Primanti Bros. in Pittsburgh, with hot meat, bacon, tomato, provolone, pickles, slaw, an egg or two, and a pile of fries — yes, on the sandwich!
A TASTY BEVERAGE
At one time rye was the prevalent whiskey in the northeastern states. Then came Prohibition and rye whiskey all but vanished — another victim of that dark era. But thanks to the Bourbon makers down south rye is making a comeback. Try a $30 bottle of Buffalo Trace distillery's six-year-old version of Sazerac Rye. Compared to Bourbon it is drier and lighter-bodied, with hints of black pepper. Many classic cocktails that call for a whiskey base were originally mixed with rye, for good reason. Drink a few historically accurate Manhattans and we think you'll understand.
Speaking of sandwiches, we used to think that a panini press was nothing more than an expensive replacement for a skillet when it comes to grilling a sandwich. At a recent party, a table full of fixings — prosciutto, Genoa salami, various cheeses, mustards, flavored olive oils, pickles and peppers, caponota, etc. — were laid out next to a few artisan breads and the sturdy Breville Ikon Panini Press. Guests put their preferences together and started pressing. In about two minutes, we were treated to hot, crispy, gooey concoctions that made us all want to head to Williams Sonoma for this $100 exclusive. See williams-sonoma.com.