Special Thai-in — Detroit's newest food truck, Katoi, which operates out of the building next to Corktown's Two James Distillery and specializes in Thai food, is the project of Courtney Smith and Brad Greenhill. They've also started a series of chef's table dinners at Two James — private, five-course dining with cocktail pairings. There's one this week, and, as of press time, it wasn't sold out. It will feature Thai charcuterie, shaved roots, kabocha bisque, and more. There will be two seatings held Saturday, Dec. 13, at Two James Distillery, 2445 Michigan Ave., Detroit; $55 for food, $30 for drink pairings, plus tax and tip; learn more at katoidetroit.com.
A taste for social media — When it comes to tools to market the latest craft food idea, whether it's food trucks, pop-ups, or shelf-stable goods, online media are the shiz. But how's an up-and-coming food entrepreneur to use it most wisely? The folks behind FoodLab Detroit can help with that digital savvy. They're hosting a social media workshop this coming week, called "Get Serious about Social Media," and aims to answer questions and help attendees chart a course for integrating digital into their homegrown marketing plans. It takes place from 5 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 17, at the Repair the World Building, 2701 Bagley Ave., Detroit; $20 in advance for each of the four workgroups, $25 at the door; click on the "events" link at foodlabdetroit.com for workgroups and more info, or call 313-799-3468.
Gyritos? — The good people at the Firebird Tavern in Greektown have introduced a "featured lunch menu," which aims to provide dishes that can be rushed to the business lunchers quickly, without being so heavy it leaves them drowsy when they head back to work. As such, they are small plates good for sharing. One of the more interesting menu items is the fried gyro, which fits the menu's requirements and also offers a little tip of the hat to Greektown's ethnic heritage. This light bite is great for sharing, featuring five mini-gyros, a blend of lamb meat, spices, and onion, wrapped in these little wontons and lightly fried, served with a side of tzatziki sauce. So you get all the flavor of a gyro without it dripping down your shirtfront. Other innovations also include spreads, one pimento-cheese and another sausage-and-ricotta, both served with toast point crostini on the side. Drop in for lunch and see what's new, at 419 Monroe St., Detroit; 313-782-4189; firebirdtavern.com.
Complimenti! — Next month, the good people at Café Cortina mark 40 years since they broke ground for their Farmington Hills restaurant on what had recently been a bucolic apple orchard. It isn't easy to sustain the success of a restaurant for just a few years, let alone a few decades. And in a market that has been especially unkind to some of the area's more upscale eateries, the way Café Cortina has continued to thrive — and earn plaudits from Metro Times readers in our annual Best of Detroit competition — is a testament to the restaurant's quality. Best wishes for many more years to the Tonon family. Café Cortina is at 30715 W. 10 Mile Rd., Farmington Hills; 248-474-3033; cafecortina.com.
Square deal — Part of the winter magic around downtown Detroit's Campus Martius is a huge tent on Cadillac Square. For the next two weekends, it's still the site of Showcase D'Holidays, which is serving up five consecutive weekends of unique food presentations and live music. Guests get to sample food from four restaurants each weekend from 4 to 10 p.m. and enjoy performances from four bands per night on Fridays and Saturdays from 4 p.m. to midnight. This weekend, Friday-Saturday Dec. 12-13, features tastings from Fountain Bistro, Slows Bar-B-Q, and the Whitney. Next weekend, Friday-Saturday, Dec. 19-20, features food from Andiamo Italia, Joe Muer's Seafood, and the Whitney. Proceeds from beverage sales will benefit a different nonprofit each weekend. For more Winter Magic information, see campusmartiuspark.org.
Corktown's wine lists swell — A decade ago, if we were talking about what wine to find along a then-dilapidated stretch of Michigan Avenue, it would have likely been Boone's Farm. But with such establishments as Ottava Via and Motor City Wine, things are looking decidedly up for lovers of the vine. Latest is Gold Cash Gold, which opened last week. One of our talented local wine-lovers, Putnam Weekley, had a hand in helping select them. What can those perusing the wine list expect? Weekley tells us: "Terroir, for sure, authenticity, no gimmicks. There's a good five or six solid California wines on there. Probably one of the most interesting wines on there is an Oregon Pinot Noir, Bernard-Machato, from the 2007 vintage, which is kind of unusual, since it's seven years old and a new release. Normally you think Oregon Pinot Noir you're getting something that was fermented last year and tastes like grape juice. This has had time to evolve into something more complex, with orange peel, tea flavors, earthiness. It's pretty cool." Drop in for a taste, at 2100 Michigan Ave., Detroit.
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