New bottles — Tonight, Wednesday, July 29, the owners of the brand-new MotorCity Wine will publicize their business with a special pre-opening wine tasting at Grand Trunk (formerly Foran's) Pub. Taste 15 different wines for $15 and get to know your newest wine retailers. It all happens 6-9 p.m., July 29 at 612 Woodward Ave., Detroit.
Garden paths — Want to see how Detroit's urban gardens are shaping up? For the 12th year in a row, the Detroit Agriculture Network is offering a tour of urban gardens and farms. It happens on Wednesday, Aug. 5, with registration at 5 p.m. and bike and bus tours leaving promptly at 6 p.m. from Catherine Ferguson Academy (2750 Selden St., Detroit). A reception featuring locally grown food caps the tours at 8 p.m. RSVP by calling 313-237-8736 or e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org; sliding scale of $1 to $20.
Vegan meatballs? — Southfield's Bacco Ristorante has a new twist on Italian fare, offering a new vegan menu. That's right: You can get a meatless, dairy-free three-course meal for $38 per person plus tip. And it ain't all tomato sauce. At 29410 Northwestern Hwy., Southfield; 248-356-6600.
Though it's a cookbook, Cooking from the Heart: The Hmong Kitchen in America (University of Minnesota Press, $29.95) is much more. In addition to recipes, the book comments on the cultural significance of Hmong cuisine, a little known fare from Southeast Asia, particularly Laos, where the food is fresh, simple and often fiery. The authors — Sami Scripter, an American, and Sheng Yang, a Laos-born Hmong — have created an ode to a kind of cooking that deserves to be known better.
Fortified with brandy and aged with a unique strain of yeast known as flor, the benchmark for pale, dry fino sherry is Tio Pepe (Gonzalez Byass). It's produced using Palomino grapes in the Jerez district of Spain and tastes something like a mixture of roasted nuts, mushrooms and green apples, with a bright, balanced acidity and notes of the soul of the earth itself. Served chilled, as an aperitif, it pairs monumentally well with almonds, cheese, olives and seafood, particularly oysters.
OXO does it again with this ergonomic GOOD GRIPS ice cream scoop. Dishing up ice cream becomes a simple task. The soft, non-slip handle relieves pressure on your hand while the sturdy stainless steel head cuts through the frosty treats you crave. The convenient pop-up lever pops ice cream, gelato or sorbet out into a cone or on top of a fresh fruit cobbler or pie, among summer's favorite luscious desserts.