Toasting success — Several members of the Michigan Brewers Guild came back from this year's Great American Beer Festival with honors, including some area brewers. Local medal winners included Birmingham's Big Rock Chop House & Brewery, Royal Oak's Bastone Brewery, Dexter's Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales, and Warren's Kuhnhenn Brewing Co. Congrats, folks. Here's to you.

Detroit Restaurant ... Month? — The recent restaurant week promotion in Detroit had thousands of diners lining up for great deals at Detroit's upscale eateries. It was such a success, in fact, that many of the restaurants have decided to extend the deals, in one form or another, for weeks and weeks. Coach Insignia, which served 900 guests on Friday and Saturday alone, will be offering a three-course menu with a glass of wine for $30. The inimitable Rattlesnake Club has extended its spin on the deal (Tuesday through Friday nightly) throughout October. And Opus One has extended the special offering through Oct. 16. This gives locals one less reservation about dining out — and hopefully lots of reservations for our local restaurateurs.


Is that candy jones gnawing at you day after day? Anita Chu's Field Guide to Candy: How to Identify and Make Virtually Every Candy Imaginable (Quirk Books, $15.95) can help you fix that problem. This pocket-sized reference is guaranteed to sweeten your life with descriptions, historical notes, recipes and photos of more than 100 confections from almond burfi, a fudge-like candy served at Indian and Pakistani special occasions, to white chocolate lemon truffles. 


Like olives and French new wave cinema, authentic Belgian lambic beer is an acquired taste. Start the acquisition with Cantillon's classic gueuze — a blend of progressively sour one-, two- and three-year-old lambics. Though aromas of cheese rinds, straw, wet wool and meadow flowers and flavors of dry, tart, green apples might initially freak you out, it won't be long before these same qualities haunt your very thoughts. It's a beer that can age and improve for decades.


Highly concentrated Amore Gourmet Pastes from Italy require only a squeeze of a toothpaste-like tube to render delicious, all-natural flavorings that will keep in the fridge for months. Tomato, sun-dried tomato, garlic, pesto, black olive and hot pepper flavors can be used in salad dressings, sauces, soups and marinades, even as spreads on sandwiches and bruschetta. The anchovy paste is perfect for a Caesar salad.

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