POPPED IN FROM CHICAGO — Earlier this year we wrote about the Detroit Popcorn Company, founded in 1923 on 24th near McGraw, which recently moved to Redford. But there is a "coming to the city" story to balance this departure: Native Chicagoan Tara N. Bell, pulled our coat the other day to her Popcorn Royalty shop on Beaubien. A Detroiter for the past 13 years, Bell always brought back a bag of Chicago-style popcorn whenever she visited home.
A little more than two years ago, she and her husband opened the downtown shop offering the likes of kettlecorn, Chancellor's Cheddar, Queen's Caramel and Caramel Decadence (cheese and caramel combined). At 633 Beaubien; 313-964-4100.
JAZZY IVANHOE SPECIAL — Also known as the Polish Yacht Club, the Ivanhoe Café, known for its tasty, inexpensive seafood, is usually open for a long Friday, a few hours a day the rest of the week and closed weekends. But this Sunday (May 18), starting at 5 p.m., the Idlewild Foundation (of Idlewild Jazz Fest fame) presents a special concert at the Ecumenical Theological Seminary (2930 Woodward, about three miles from Ivanhoe). On the bill for $20: harpist Onita Sanders, pianist Johnny O'Neal, guitarist Ron English and organist Lyman Woodard. To make it a two-stop event with dinner, the Ivanhoe will be open Sunday from noon until 5 p.m. Call 313-965-0505.
EAT THE PAGE
We're so health-conscious today that we don't even want to think about how much butter we consume. But from grilled cheese sandwiches to pastries and cakes and gravies and sauces, butter adds flavor and texture. It has been called "the chef's secret." The Great Big Butter Cookbook: Because Everything is Better With Butter (Running Press Book Publishers, $19.95), compiled by Diana C. von Glabn, celebrates butter in every form with 300 recipes, plus kitchen tips and notes on the history of butter.
A TASTY BEVERAGE
Many sauvignon Blancs in the $15 price range are one-dimensional grapefruit grenades. Not Clos Roche Blanche. Pull the cork on a bottle of 2006 at your next dinner party and listen to the diverse descriptions: marsh grass, apple, sugar cookie, cantaloupe ... just about any pleasant taste memory one might imagine. From the AOC Touraine, the certified organic Clos Roche Blanche vineyards are advocates of noninterventionist winemaking. This means hand-harvesting and no filtering. Instead of adding sulfur at bottling, they blanket with CO2. This wine is the antithesis of industrial product. Snag a bottle at the new Cloverleaf in Royal Oak.
The British know how to picnic in style, and Picnic at Astor brought that elegance to these shores over a decade ago. Astor's equipment is as stylish as it is functional, transforming a bottle of wine, a bit of cheese and a loaf of bread into an alfresco event. In addition to their good looks and quality construction, Astor's picnic coolers are filled with coordinated napkin and plate designs, spill-proof salt and pepper shakers, and more. The backpack makes it easy to transport hands-free and carry more in the cooler.