Fire plug The Boys and Girls Club and the Anton Art Center are having a fundraiser for "The Hydrant Project," a June 16 show at the Anton Art Center in downtown Mt. Clemens. The project consists of 110 fire hydrants that will be painted by artists from the Boys and Girls Club. Join them for dinner at 6 p.m. June 14 at B.D.'s Mongolian Grill, 430 S. Main St., Royal Oak.
Mug the media Amsterdam Espresso will hold a silent art auction to benefit the Allied Media Conference in Detroit later this month. Art from 20 to 30 local Detroit artists will be auctioned off in the early evening. Also, patrons can get the usual quality coffee and snacks. At Second and Forest in Detroit; 313-887-1286.
Shore thing The 2nd Annual Lake Michigan Shore Wine Festival is coming June 23 to Weko Beach in Bridgman, offering a chance to enjoy picturesque beaches, live jazz music and great local wines. Enjoy the chance to sample local varietals and wines by the taste or by the glass, with live music until the sun goes down. Located off Exit 16 of I-94, then north on Red Arrow Highway and west on Lake Street in Bridgman; tickets $5 per person, kids under 12 free; parking and shuttle buses available in Bridgman; no coolers; rain or shine; for more information, see miwinetrail.com or call 1-888-871-5482.
Pot of gold Dooley's Irish Tavern in Sterling Heights is helping the fight against muscular dystrophy with a bartending competition to benefit the Muscular Dystrophy Association. The competitions will be staged Tuesday, June 19. Skilled bartenders from across the state of Michigan and even as far as Canada are invited to compete between 9 p.m. and 2 a.m. At 12414 Hall Rd., Sterling Heights; 586-323-3501.
Eat the Page
The Culinary Institute of America (CIA for short) is considered the finest cooking school in the country. The institute's cookbooks are among our favorites. Their latest tome, Vegetables (Lebhar-Friedman Books, $40), arrives a few weeks ahead of Michigan's summer crops, giving us time to figure out how to use nature's bounty most deliciously. The photos in this volume are attractive, and may inspire you to try some new vegetables or help you find new recipes for those you already like.
A Tasty Beverage
Angostura Bitters were developed in Venezuela in 1824 as treatment for fatigue and stomach ailments by a surgeon general in Simón Bolívar's army. It didn't take the troops long to figure out that they could also be used to make a nice cocktail. As with all good snake oil tonics throughout history it is now a key ingredient in the bar. The proprietary blend of tropical herbs, plant extracts and spices adds zing to a long list of classic drinks. Use a couple dashes with whiskey and sweet vermouth to create a Manhattan or to add the pink to a "Pink Gin."
We recently tasted Smuckers Natural Peanut Butter and found it to be delicious. Made from just peanuts and salt, how bad could it be? The problem with natural nut butters is that they separate, and when you stir them with a knife, the oil at the top usually oozes out of the jar. The R.N. Witmer Company (witmerproducts.com) has solved this sticky problem with its "Natural Peanut Butter Hand Mixer." This clever device stirs the butter in the original container without the mess. Simple to use and easy to clean, and the $12 price includes shipping.
Know of any new restaurants, special dinners or food-related events? Let us know. Send materials two weeks in advance to firstname.lastname@example.org.