Long a staple ware of street food vendors, the giant pretzel, with or without mustard, isn't the sort of thing you think about baking at home. But a visit to Frankenmuth's Bavarian Inn could change that. The inn offers a "Pretzel Rolling Experience," where participants can put on a baker's hat and learn how to roll out the dough, form the pretzel, bake it and enjoy it, all for $3.25 per person. At 713 S. Main St., Frankenmuth; 989-652-9941.
Patrons of Thunder Bay Brewing Company, Shiraz and Morels will be disappointed to learn that, on July 1, Matt Prentice Restaurant Group shuttered the three restaurants. CEO Matt Prentice explained that the closings were due to slow sales that were aggravated by road construction. Prentice noted in an e-mail that "Morels had a 16-year run. In our business, this is nothing short of incredible. I want to thank all of you for your patronage." The move comes a year after Morels was "reconceptualized" as an "American bistro." Prentice's group still operates several restaurants in the Detroit area, and promises that a new bistro is in the works.
Eat the Page
Giada De Laurentiis is fun to watch on the Food Network because she makes cooking Italian food look simple a little of this and a little of that. If fresh fettuccine with roasted chicken and broccoli raab, grilled chicken with basil dressing, and pot roast with porcini mushrooms sound good to you, see Giada's Family Dinners (Clarkson Potter Publishers $32.50) For dessert, try chocolate ricotta pudding with strawberry sauce. Mangia!
A Tasty Beverage
Campari is a fruity, bitter, Italian aperitif enjoyed by some of us with soda and a splash of lime. If you need to soften it, try a Negroni, equal parts of gin, sweet vermouth and Campari or an Americano, equal parts of Campari and vermouth with a splash of soda and perhaps a splash of orange juice. The bright red-orange color, which comes from an infusion of herbs and fruit, is as pleasing to the eye as the drink is to the palate. Campari's Web site campari.com is as much about style as it is about taste, featuring a clever calendar with Campari-styled models.
If you have ever attempted to open oysters with a screwdriver, you probably have a scar or two to prove it. We cannot guarantee that you will avoid injury with an oyster knife, but at least it will make you feel like a wounded professional. Consider a steel glove or an oyster holder to decrease your odds of injury. Try opening a few oysters, severing them from their shells, but leaving them on the half shell. Put on a dollop of garlic butter, a sprinkling of fresh parsley or other herb and a bit of Parmesan cheese. Put them on a hot grill until they are bubbly and the edges begin to curl. Your reputation as a chef will increase immediately.