The director of Cakebread Cellars, the award-winning Napa Valley winery, will lead a vintner dinner at Detroit's upscale jazz supper club, Seldom Blues, on April 17. The four-course menu, specially prepared by Seldom Blues executive chef Jake Abraham will feature such delicacies as char-grilled colossal prawn and braised lamb osso buco. Wine reception at 5:30 p.m., dinner at 6 p.m. Dinner is $150 per person, excluding tax and gratuity. At Seldom Blues, Tower 400, the Renaissance Center, Detroit. For reservations, call 313-567-7301 ext. 112.
As the Pistons make their bid for another championship season, basketball fans will be interested to learn that Auburn Hills' Big Buck Brewery & Steakhouse (that restaurant with the huge beer bottle in front of it) has new management and a new menu. For fans headed to a Pistons' playoff game, Big Buck is also sponsoring a free shuttle, offering convenient, door-to-door service to and from the Palace. And while you come for the game, they're hoping you return for food again and again. At 2550 Takata Drive, Auburn Hills. Call 248-276-2337.
The Rugby Grille in Birmingham's Townsend Hotel has a new executive chef in James Barnett, who will oversee menu development and banquet menus. This should pique the interest of wine aficionados, as his old gig for the Matt Prentice Restaurant Group had him working out food and wine pairings under the guidance of Master Sommelier Madeline Triffon.
Eat the Page
Although Cajun and Creole food have been a part of our culinary heritage since the late 1600s with the French occupation of Louisiana, the public at large owes some thanks to Paul Prudhomme, whose celebrity status and his book, Chef Paul Prudhomme's Louisiana Kitchen (William Morrow and Company Inc., $28), taught us how to make blackened redfish. Not for the faint of heart, this dish and many others in his book use spice levels heretofore considered a joke by more traditional gourmands. Try the meat loaf and the succulent, slow-cooked roasted pork and open your taste buds to new explorations.
A Tasty Beverage
Everyone in New Orleans has a post-Katrina hangover. Tourists have returned to such legendary haunts as Commander's Palace for a Bloody Mary or two, or "the hair of the dog" that bit them last night, or just to sharpen their appetite for the ensuing feast. Here is another way to start or, perhaps, to end the day, a Café Nola. [From Cajun A Culinary Tour of Louisiana by Judith Bluysen, Rizzoli International Publications, $35]
1 teaspoon Kahlua, 1 teaspoon dark rum,
1 teaspoon Amaretto liqueur, 1 demitasse cup of hot espresso
Mix and serve topped with cinnamon sprinkled whipped cream
According to the manufacturer, "Julienne your way to restaurant-style presentations ... that look as if a professional spent hours in the kitchen" with the $6 plastic Juli Peeler from Kuhn Rikon (kuhnrikon.com) or the $13 stainless steel Julienne Peeler, both of which turn your vegetables into long, thin, colorful strips for uniform cooking and luscious-looking presentations. Kuhn Rikon has many high quality products useful to chefs at all levels. Some of them may even take you to the next level. You're welcome.Know of any new restaurants, special dinners or food-related events? Let us know. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org