Nice legs — Downtown Detroit's new wine business, MotorCity Wine, will hold its second holiday tasting, with 20 wines for $20, as well as hors d'oeuvres, artisan cheeses and charcuterie. It happens 6-9 p.m. Friday, Dec. 18, at MotorCity Wine, 608 Woodward Ave., second floor, Detroit; 313-483-7283; motorcitywine.com.
Buon Natale! — Cafe Cortina will celebrate the holidays with two events. On Christmas Eve, their Vigilia Di Natale event is a five-course tasting with reservations at 5, 6 and 7 p.m., $68 per person (plus tax & tip). On New Year's Eve, their Capodanno dinner is open-menu, with reservations 4-10 p.m. Call 248-474-3033 to reserve your spot. At 30715 W. 10 Mile Rd., Farmington Hills.
Simply Majestic — Speaking of New Year's, the Majestic Café will have a special four-course meal for $65 per couple ($35 for singles). An extra Hamilton gets you a wristband for all shows that night. At 4124 Woodward Ave., Detroit; call 313-833-9700 for details and reservations.
Bread basket — We hear Avalon International Breads has holiday gift baskets for sale. Learn more at 422 W. Willis, Detroit; 313-832-0008.
What's the damage for a fast-food dinner for two these days? Probably more than the $10 Ken Costick's The $10 Gourmet (Whitecap, $19.95) says that it takes to make a restaurant-quality meal for two. Let Ken convince you: Mushroom risotto tips the scales at $7.55; grilled salmon with herbs comes in at $9.96. You'll find three dinners for six for less than $30. The steak and lobster penne with white wine sounds good, but you don't have to use the suggested cooking wine. ("If you won't drink it, don't cook with it.")
Egghead beer geeks can occasionally obsess over how "true-to-style" any particular beer is brewed, and nothing twists their panties more than a category without rules. Christmas beers, for instance, can be made with everything from spices that invoke the aromas of a holiday meal to spruce essence to whatever else tickles a brewer's fancy. But Bell's Christmas Ale is just a simple, medium-bodied, balanced and malt-driven brew ideal for toting to those holiday gatherings where you know you're going to toss back a few.
Anyone who's baking cookies and cakes for the holidays will love the SideSwipe Spatula Blade. It eliminates the need to continually wipe down the side of a KitchenAid mixer to incorporate the ingredients that regular paddle misses. It works well for mashed potatoes and baked goods like cookies and quick breads, but not for dense bread dough. Beware overbeating ingredients, as it works faster than the standard paddle. The wiper fins on the blade are made from ultra-flexible, tear-resistant silicone, for easy, dishwasher-safe cleaning. See sideswipeblade.com.