SYRAH SMILE — Royal Oak's Vinology will host an event highlighting the wines of South Africa. Called "Journey to the Cape," the event will show how Chenin Blanc, Bordeaux blends, and Syrah stack up against the global competition. Expect six to eight wines paired with appetizers. It all happens 7- 9 p.m. on Sept. 9, at 417 S. Main St., Royal Oak; 248-544-6256; vinologyrestaurant.com; $40 per person plus tax and tip; RSVP requested.
FRESH START — Johnny Pomodoro's Fresh Market has opened at the corner of Middlebelt and 14 Mile roads in Farmington Hills. Run by two seasoned food guys, all bases are covered from garden fresh produce, USDA choice meats, jet fresh seafood and gourmet groceries to a gourmet deli, an in-store bakery, a catering department and Gourmet 2 Go. They're open seven days a week, a welcome addition to the neighborhood. They are offering as many Michigan grown and locally made products as are available.
EAT THE PAGE
Brothers Max and Eli Sussman are not celebrity chefs, "but we do got skills." Combining their years of culinary experience, they have written Freshman in the Kitchen (Huron River Press, $17.95) aimed at rookie cooks. Beginning with simple noncooked dishes and progressing to more difficult recipes, they help guide the cook to success. The instructions simplify the processes, making cooking approachable and fun, as well as lending a measure of expertise to anyone willing to put the effort and time in.
A TASTY BEVERAGE
Kombucha is a sweet tea fermented using a solid mass of various microorganisms commonly referred to as a "mushroom." It is naturally effervescent, low in calories, seems to help the liver detoxify more efficiently and is rumored to be mildly intoxicating. Kombucha's tart, earthy flavors take some getting used to — but once you're hooked, make room in the fridge. Available in many health food stores, the brand GT's raw and organic kombucha offer a variety of flavors. Our favorite is a blend of 95 percent kombucha and 5 percent raspberry, lemon and fresh-pressed ginger.
OFF THE SHELF
As we experiment with an ever-growing array of ethnic recipes, we often find our pantries don't have the ingredients we need. Since 1960 [thanks, Donald! -ed.], Detroit's Rafal (pronounced raffle, as in ticket) Spice Company has been there to help, providing us with the herbs and spices needed, stocking everything from adobo to za'atar. Located in Detroit's gem, the Eastern Market, Rafal's aromas will draw you in, where you will find also a variety of coffees and teas in addition to the dozens of pepper sauces, barbecue sauces and other ingredients.
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