MOREL VALUES — Ready to put the "fun" in fungi, this year's 48th Annual Morel Mushroom Festival takes place May 15-18 up in Boyne City, on beautiful Lake Charlevoix. There, you'll be able to join the guided "practice hunt" on May 16, before the big championship mushroom hunt May 17. Whether you join the hunt or not, you'll have many chances to sample the tasty delicacies, and attend mushroom seminars, share recipes and hit some carnival rides. For more information call the Boyne Area Chamber of Commerce at 231-582-6222 or see morelfest.com.
VINO PINOT — Assaggi Bistro will host a Pinot Noir Festival at 6-9 p.m., Monday, May 5, giving wine-lovers a Monday night pick-me-up with "some of the best Burgundy-Boutiques from Producers around the world." For reservations, call 248-584-3499 or e-mail [email protected]; $40 per person; at 330 W. Nine Mile Rd., Ferndale.
KID'S STUFF — Join Benihana in makring Japan's Children's Day Sunday to Wednesday, May 4-7, at participating locations. Kids get a free kid's drink and edamame along with Samurai helmets made of newspaper. There's even a pamphlet to educate kids about the tradition of Children's Day. To learn more, see benihana.com.
EAT THE PAGE
From what we hear, everything that Mario Batali touches turns to gold — certainly in the kitchens of his ten restaurants, which are legend. His latest book, Italian Grill (Ecco, $29.95), co-authored with Judith Sutton, contains straightforward, simple recipes to help you dazzle your guests with the essence of Italian cookery. Featured are appetizers, pizza (check the pic of the Pizza Margherita), focaccia, seafood, meat, poultry and vegetables. Mario shows you how to do them just right. Mangia.
A TASTY BEVERAGE
A brisk aperitif, the "perfect" martini is a mixture of (mostly) gin and both dry and sweet vermouths. For something slightly softer and sweeter, add a splash of orange juice and a cherry garnish for a Bronx cocktail. As is usual with pre-Prohibition cocktails, there are several stories on how the Bronx came to be. One story places its creation all the way down in Philly, another at Manhattan's Waldorf-Astoria, where the bartender named it after the Bronx Zoo because he was reminded of all the strange animals that patrons reported seeing after one too many mixed drinks.
Talk about a conversation piece for your kitchen! Kwame's mug from his mug shot — on your coffee mug. This will likely become a catalyst for increased caffeine consumption despite the rise in bean prices throughout the Western world. Love him or hate him — there's no in between — this is bound to wake you up in the morning. Cure for a hangover? Doubtful. Put in a bit of the hair of the horse that bit you. You'll want to hang on to this bad boy — the mug, that is. Find it at kwamemug.com for $9.99 apiece or $99.99 by the dozen.
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