Side Dish: 9 things going on in metro Detroit dining this week 

In the raw — Raw milk, which became tightly regulated by the Food and Drug Administration in 1987, makes up a tiny part of the U.S. milk supply. But advocates of raw milk hope to change that. Claims that un-pasteurized, un-homogenized milk has health benefits worth the minimal risks of drinking it have driven a lively debate over the last decade. Among the most engaged lovers of food, it has prompted a re-examination of one of the few raw-milk products the FDA still allows: raw-milk cheese. Makers of such cheeses say their products have a mature and full flavor when compared with cheeses made from treated milk, and, certainly, they hold to the way cheese was made for millennia.

Those curious to taste for themselves have a treat this week: Zingerman's is hosting an inaugural Raw Milk Cheese Appreciation Week. From April 18 to 25, Zingerman's customers can expect specials, events, and classes. For instance, Zingerman's Deli will feature a raw-milk cheese each day of the week, and during the promotion, and will hold a "Cheese 101" class open to the public. Zingerman's Creamery produces a raw-milk cheese, Great Lakes Cheshire, and it will be on sale all week. Zingerman's Roadhouse will offer raw-milk cheese boards, among other specials during the week. For more information, see zingermanscommunity.com.

Driven to drink — Here's an interesting idea: A drive-yourself tour of Detroit's lost tiki havens. You get behind the wheel and examine Join host Rebecca Savage as you track down several of Detroit's Lost Tiki Restaurants, such as the Mauna Loa and Trader Vic's. The tour starts at the Chin Tiki site on Cass Avenue and ends at Detroit's newest tiki bar — Zenith in the Fisher Building. Tour begins at 2 p.m., April 18,; Chin Tiki is at 2121 Cass Ave., Detroit; free with registration at bit.ly/1EuaP2N.

Powering up — Gleaners Community Food Bank is hosting the 22nd annual Women's Power Breakfast. The event usually draws hundreds of women looking to network while raising funds for hungry children. It happens 7-9 a.m. Wednesday, April 22. Tickets are $85 and up; register at bit.ly/1ffDkRu.

Wonderful Spam! — The tinned meat product introduced by Hormel Foods in 1937 has come a long way. Introduced across the globe by the U.S. Army during World War II, Spam quickly became incorporated into a number of cuisines. Which makes for a weird disconnect: Though often considered a meat-of-last-resort at home, the American innovation is actually an unlikely gift to the world's culinary heritage. It's just that we don't often get to see the "Specially Processed American Meat" in a starring role. Well, we do have a chance to change that this week, with the "Spam Dinner" at Supino Pizzeria. The menu is four courses, including panko-crusted Spam with Stoli vodka crème fraîche, grilled Spam with turnip greens, quail egg, sriracha pea dust, and mustard drizzle, caramelized Spam with romesco, toasted pine nuts, fresh mint, chili yogurt sauce, and Better Made chips, and, for dessert, pineapple upside-down cake with Spam-flavored ice cream developed by Ferndale's Treat Dreams. The event is hosted by the Dinner Club Pop Up, and it takes place at 5 p.m. April 19, at Supino Pizzeria, 2457 Russell St., Detroit; for more info, see bit.ly/1CHEzU4.

Meatless treat — This week, VegMichigan, the state's largest vegan organization, presents VegFest2015, an annual festival showcasing the flavors, health benefits, and ecological sense of the vegan lifestyle. The event will sprawl over more than 64,000 square feet, with exhibits, product stalls, talks, cooking demonstrations, kids' activities, a food court, and much more. It takes place from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Suburban Collection Showplace, 4610 Grand River Ave., Novi; $8 prepaid, $10 at door, children under 6 free; tickets and more at vegmichigan.org.

Michigan Craft Beer 101 — Here's a good opportunity for Grosse Pointers to dive into the rich array of craft beers our state produces. It's a Michigan craft beer tasting at the Grosse Pointe War Memorial, and it will feature breweries big and small, from such established names as Bell's, Short's, and Founders to such upstarts as Oddside, Liberty Street, and Greenbush. The tasting will be led by Kimberly Bricker, a cicerone-trained craft beer expert. The two-hour event starts at 7 p.m. Friday, April 17, at 32 Lake Shore Dr., Grosse Pointe; tickets are $30 per person; call 313-332-4074 or see gpwarmemorial.org for more info.

Pouring it on — With all the attention given to Michigan craft beer, you might not realize that Michigan wine is exploding. This April is Michigan Wine Month, an excellent time to note that sales of Michigan wine have doubled since 2005, the fastest growing segment in the state, and that wines from the Great Lakes State now constitute 6.5 percent of all in-state sales. There's no better place to celebrate this good news than at this year's Sixth Annual Michigan Wines Showcase, which will take over the Rattlesnake Club this week. Guests will be able to sample more than 100 wines from 30 of the state's 117 wineries, with tasting stations that will feature pours paired with plates designed by Rattlesnake chef Chris Franz. Participating wineries will include Black Star Farms, Chateau Grand Traverse, Leelanau Cellars, Uncle John's Hard Cider, and more. The event takes place from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Monday, April 20, at 300 River Place Dr., Detroit; $38 in advance, $45 at the door, plus tax and tip; see michiganwines.com/showcase.

Prime quality — Michigan Wine Month or not, Ocean Prime continues with its series of visiting winemakers. This week, it's Michael Honig of Honig Winery, who'll be on hand to share stories about running the family business in Napa Valley, as well as bottles of their wine. Order a bottle and get an audience with the young man who's one of the leading advocates of "sustainability" in the wine business. It happens 5-10 p.m. Thursday, April 23, at 2915 Coolidge Hwy., Troy; call 248-458-0500 for reservations or see ocean-prime/reservations.

Spring scares — Arbor Brewing Co. hopes to entice drinkers with Tuesday's special offering, a screening of locally produced short horror films. The screening is put on by Three Corpse Circus, and it takes place from 9 p.m. to midnight, April 21, in the lounge at 720 Norris St., Ypsilanti; for more info, see arborbrewing.com or call 734-480-2739.

More by Michael Jackman

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