Barbecuing at 14 degrees — Yeah, Michiganders are tough. We barbecue as soon as it warms up enough to wear just one layer of longjohns. Want proof? Come by the Two-Way Inn on Friday, where host Dan Pantalleresco will probably be manning the grill. If you haven't had Pantalleresco's barbecue, you've been missing out. And, hey, if you haven't been to the Two-Way Inn, you're missing a piece of genuine Detroit history, the oldest establishment that has regularly poured beer, since 1876. Just come to the door and prepare to be buzzed in. The fun starts at 5 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 20, the food will probably be done at 8 p.m. and drinks are served until 2 a.m. The Two-Way is at 17897 Mt. Elliott St., Detroit; 313-891-4925.
Chinese secret — Need an occasion to drop by the most impressive buffet in town this week? Some people don't, but if you do, were you aware it's Chinese New Year? That's reason enough for the folks at MGM Grand Detroit's Palette Dining Studio to throw a special buffet. Ring in the Year of the Goat (or, some say Sheep) with ... well, with such Chinese specialties as beef short rib in garlic black pepper sauce, Peking duck, steak kow with asparagus, five-spice chicken, and stir-fried chicken with Shanghai noodles. (No word on any goat or sheep, though.) The special buffet runs 11 a.m.-4 p.m. for lunch, and 4-11 p.m. for dinner, Thursday, Feb. 19, at 1777 Third St., Detroit; $22 for lunch and $32 for dinner; no reservations necessary.
Chinese not-so-secret — Then again, if you are aware of Chinese New Year, chances are you're going to either hit one of the traditional Chinese restaurants, or you might hit one of the more stylish Chinese eateries, Troy's Mon Jin Lau. If you're born in the year of the Goat (or Sheep), then Chinese astrology says you are gentle, mild-mannered, shy, stable, sympathetic, and amicable. In other words, you sound like a regular party animal. Join the fun, which includes a special live performance from Dan Tillery from 8 to 10:30 p.m., followed by DJ sets. It all starts at 6:30 p.m. and runs until 2 a.m. on the night of Wednesday, Feb. 18, at 1515 E. Maple Rd., Troy; dinner reservations highly recommended at 248-689-2332.
Popping with pasta — If there's a reason we keep talking about Steven Reaume these last few weeks, it's because he's one of the prime movers connecting the pop-up scene with places to, well, pop up. It's also because he's knows how to tap fresh talent and foster collaboration resulting in fresh, seasonal meals. Take his next pasta-themed pop-up, "Pesto." Officially, it's a "NOODL" presentation, but it's Reaume's sensibility you see in the six-course celebration, with pasta made by hand by Reaume himself, dessert and breads by upstart chef Megan Barsotti, and live music from a string trio consisting of members of folk-rock ensemble Eleanora, along with ambient DJ sets. The menu features gnocci and gnocci-like pastas especially well-suited for this time of year, drawing on the cuisines of Croatia, France, Germany, and, of course, Italy, featuring such delicacies as strangolapretti, krautspäetzle, and merda dé can, as well as homemade bratwurst. Even the drinks aren't an afterthought, with a special drink menu created by Shane Bang of the Oakland and Toni Lemaux of Grand Trunk Pub. It starts at 8 p.m., Feb. 28, at a downtown location yet to be determined. For more information, see noodl.me, or facebook.com/noodlme.
Waugh's up — Next week, a Napa Valley winery owner will touch down in metro Detroit for a special evening. The winemaker is Ryan Waugh, owner and operator of Waugh Cellars, which Waugh founded 14 years ago at the age of 22. Now it churns out 3,000 cases a year. He'll drop by Ocean Prime in Troy to drop by any table that orders any one of the six wines Ocean Prime carries, answer any questions, even autograph bottles. It takes place 5-10 p.m. Feb. 26, at 2915 Coolidge Hwy., Troy; reservations at 248-458-0500 or bit.ly/WaughCellars.
Cook with beer — A cooking class that teaches the fundamentals of beer as it pertains to dining, pairing dishes with it, tasting a few different brews, and finally cooking with it. The class is called "Cooking with Slow Ride," dedicated to beers from New Belgium Brewing Co., in partnership with the Mirepoix Cooking School. It all happens 6-8 p.m. Feb. 26, at Mirepoix Cooking School, 1203 S. Main St., Royal Oak; tickets are $69.99; RSVP at bit.ly/1Av8V1p.
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