Get crafty — D'Amato's and its in-house cocktail bar, Goodnite Gracie, have put together a Craft Brew Dinner that should send beer-heads into a swoon: They'll serve five courses of food paired with specific beers, including Leffe Blonde Belgian Ale, Siren Amber Ale from North Peak Brewery in Traverse City, High Seas I.P.A. from Michigan Brewing Co. in Webberville, HEX from Magic Hat Brewing Co. in Vermont, and Post Road Pumpkin Ale from Brooklyn Brewing Co. in New York. It all happens at 7 p.m., Oct. 14, at 222 S. Sherman St., Royal Oak; 248-584-7400; $55 plus tax and tip; reservations at 248-584-7400.
Veg out — October is "Vegetarian Awareness Month." To help celebrate, the folks at nonprofit VegMichigan have cooked up a raw vegan potluck at 7 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 7, at Unity of Livonia, 28660 Five Mile Rd., Livonia; $7.50 or bring a raw vegan dish. They're also reminding people to join their monthly dinner club, in which they explore vegan cuisine at area restaurants the second Saturday of each month. This month's outing is at 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 9, at Jade Palace, 13351 W. 10 Mile Rd., Oak Park; $15; e-mail email@example.com by Oct. 7 for details.
Chill-out room — Above Royal Oak's Sangria, inside the Sky Club, you'll find the state's first "ice bar." It's called Fire and Ice, and guests get to bundle up and enjoy a freezing-cold room where everything, from the walls and bar to the furniture and drink glasses, is exquisitely crafted from ice. The novel spot, which opened last week, is sure to get a warm reception. Cold chill in effect 8 p.m.-1:30 a.m. Wednesday through Saturday at 401 S. Lafayette Ave., Royal Oak; call 248-543-1964 for reservations.
Green for market — We've been waiting for good news from Washington when it comes to local food systems. U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow hasn't disappointed us. This week, she announced a USDA grant for Detroit's Eastern Market in the amount of $100,000. The market intends to use the money to move larger volumes of healthy food into underserved Detroit-area neighborhoods known as "food deserts." There's something we can all get behind. Congrats, Eastern Market!
Dorie Greenspan has been called a "culinary guru" by no less than the New York Times; in her new book, Around My French Table: More Than 300 Recipes from My Home to Yours (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $40), she doesn't just do classics (gougères, veal Marengo, pommes Dauphinoís), but such novelties as fresh tuna, mozzarella and basil pizza, and pumpkin stuffed with bread, cheese cream, garlic and thyme. The beautifully photographed presentations are accompanied by serving suggestions and storing methods — assuming there are leftovers.
From the mountains of Qimen County in the Anhui province of eastern China comes a black tea comparable to the famous Darjeeling. Keemun (the English spelling of Qimen during the colonial era) is the name. Hao Ya A (Downy Buds Grade A) is the highest grade possible, and the tea you want in your cup. The tiny black leaves with golden buds produce aromas and flavors that have been described as floral, port wine, pine smoke, biscuits and orchard fruits — in other words, complex. It makes a kick-ass iced tea too.
In the throes of football season, abundant snacks are a must for couch potatoes. If you're a serious snacker, there's Detroit Popcorn, a Mecca for not only popcorn, but all kinds of other snacks food. From plain yellow or white popcorn seeds to pouch packs that have pre-measured ingredients - popcorn, butter flavor salt and coconut oil - for perfect theater-quality popcorn. Rent an old-fashioned popper when you expect a big crowd to make it festive and fun. Look like a serious partier! See detroitpopcorn.com.
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