The din of mirth Spring is in swing! You can tell by the return of the birds: the robins, blue jays, cardinals — and chickens. Chickens? Weirder still, chicken hats? What's going on? It's Maifest, a crazy old fun time at Detroit's Dakota Inn. Celebrated this year on May 5 and May 12, reservations are a must for this crowded festival of spring madness. Bring $10 cash money for those chicken hats, which can be procured at the door, then let the good times roll. On Saturday, May 5, Tommy Schober & the Sorgenbrecher Band performs from 8 p.m. until midnight. The Jagerettes will stop by at 9 p.m. to entertain the crowd with fabulous giveaways until 10:30 p.m. Or come May 12 for Dick Wagner & Die Rhinelanders, also performing from 8 p.m. to midnight. Admission both nights is $3, doors at 6 p.m. Call 313-867-9722 for reservations. The Dakota Inn is at 17324 John R St., Detroit.
More than wine Some big changes are afoot at Royal Oak's Vinotecca. The casual ambience has given way to a more sophisticated interior with high-backed booths affording parties a bit more privacy. What's more, they've joined the growing handcrafted cocktail movement, offering infused liquors made in-house. In a nod to the popularity of craft beer, they now have an expanded menu of Belgian beers. We all love vino, but now you and your friends can have the best of everything. Vinotecca is at 417 S. Main St., Royal Oak; 248-544-6256; vinotecca.com.
Just for Mom A number of local eateries are presenting a thoughtful offering: special fixed-price meals that let Mom leave the apron at home and dine out with the family on May 13. Among the wittiest is the pitch from Camp Ticonderoga: "She can't make you eat your vegetables. We don't have any." Their meaty offerings include filet mignon, prime rib, a turkey dinner, and more than a dozen other entrées, as well as a complimentary rose for Mom. Brunch runs 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m., and dinner goes until 7:30 p.m., and prices range from $10.99 to $24.99. Camp Ticonderoga is at 5725 Rochester Rd., Troy; 248-828-2825 for reservations.
At Ferndale's Assaggi Bistro, they're offering an a la carte brunch and a fixed-price dinner. The brunch, which runs 11 a.m.-2 p.m., is inspired by the cuisine of Tuscany, the South of France, and California. Expect lemon-ricotta pancakes with blueberry compote, brioche French toast with seasonal fruit, eggs Benedict with baked ham, asparagus and zucchini frittatas, and more. The prix-fixe, which runs 4-8 p.m., is a multiple-course meal featuring such entrées as sautéed chicken Francese, twice-cooked Moroccan duck legs, almond-crusted salmon and more. The meal is $30 per person; call 248-584-3499 for reservations.
Finally, Claddagh Irish Pub is having a Mother's Day brunch, 9 a.m.-3 p.m., with made-to-order omelets, a roast beef carving station, assorted breads and pastries, Irish eggs with diced rasher bacon, traditional corned beef hash, banger sausages and more, including desserts. It's $22.95 for adults and $9.95 for children 10 and younger. At 17800 Haggerty Rd., Livonia; 734-542-8141.
Know of any upcoming food events? Let us know! Call 313-202-8043 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
New Orleans Classic Brunches
Pelican Publishing, $16.95
It's hard get a bad meal in the Big Easy. Cajun and Creole, gumbo and jambalaya, po' boys, muffaletas, café au lait and beignets, seafood — fried, blackened or broiled — and bananas Foster are all part of the local culture. Kit Wohl has written a series on NOLA classics, including books on appetizers, seafood, gumbos and desserts. Her latest, New Orleans Classic Brunches, reveals mouthwatering recipes, all exquisitely photographed, that bring tourists and locals out for the likes of grillades and grits, eggs and crabmeat hash, gumbo ya-ya and praline bacon. Laissez les bons temps rouler!
Are avocados fruits or vegetables? The jury is out, depending on the source of the answer. Either way, when you hear mention of them, typically guacamole comes to mind, but they're great sliced into salads or for turning a mere club sandwich into that "California club." The trick is removing the skin while keeping the flesh in uniform slices. The Chef'n Flexicado Avocado Slicer makes quick work of the task. First, cut one in half. Remove the pit, and in this case, scoop out the flesh with this handy tool. Simple enough. We found one at Macy's for $6.
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