Food Stuff

Wine, 'skinny' cocktails and triple chocolate wonders

Fruit of the vine The folks at Capital Grille have come up with a summer promotion that should appeal to oenophiles: It's called "The Generous Pour" and it begins July 12 and continues all summer long, until Sept. 4. For only $25 per person (with dinner), you'll get the chance to sample a robust collection of nine highly rated wines from around the world, each selected by the Capital Grille's master sommelier. These are generous samples, and you can enjoy as many wines from the list as they like, as well as the Capital Grille's relaxed, elegant atmosphere, personalized, attentive service and signature dishes, including dry-aged steaks, fresh seafood and house-made desserts. Newcomers to wine, fear not: Your server will guide you through the experience, suggesting pairings for each course ordered and providing each person with a summary of tasting notes. Wines include Tarima Hill Monastrell, Chalk Hill Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, 2006, Marquis de la Tour, NV and Conte Brandolini Vistorta Merlot, 2006. Drop in at 2800 W. Big Beaver Rd., Troy; 248-649-5300;

Lean on the bar Have you heard that cocktails can be heavy on the calories? Some drinks, such as a Long Island iced tea, can have as many calories as a fast-food hamburger. The good people at Morton's Steakhouse knows you want to stay slim this summer, and have come up with a roster of low-calorie "Spa-Tinis," each weighing in at less that 200 calories each without compromising taste. Creations include the "Skinny Blood Orange Cosmo," the "Skinny Rita," the "Lean and Green" and "Red Velvet." Drop in for a taste, at 888 W. Big Beaver Rd., No. 111, Troy; 248-404-9845;

Chocolate city For those who'd throw calorie cares to the wind, however, Dairy Queen has come up with something that sounds deliberately decadent. Their new Triple Chocoholic Blizzard Treat, made with truffles, choco chunks and dark, decadent fudge blended with creamy vanilla soft serve, the new ice cream creation is now on offer at Dairy Queens nationwide.

Downtown decompression Opus One, with almost a quarter-century of fine-dining in downtown Detroit, wants to remind folks that it's not just for grand, full-service dinners. Weekdays from 4 to 7 p.m. they have daily drink features, a raw bar with fresh king crab legs, oysters and jumbo shrimp, as well as a bar bites menu. Relax after work at 565 E. Larned St., Detroit; 313-961-7766.

Food/Thought Think Spain. Think paella, the country's national rice-based dish cooked with nearly anything from seafood to poultry to rabbit to vegetables and myriad combinations of them all. Author Alberto Herraiz, considered the best paella chef in the world, shares his expertise in Paella (Phaidon Press, $39.95). There are tips on selecting and sourcing the proper pan and the essential ingredients. No details are omitted. It's both a primer for the novice and a guide for experienced chefs seeking the next level. Learn to cook paella over an open fire, the traditional Spanish method, an alternative to American barbecue.

Bottoms Up After hours of spanking a tiny ball around, many a golfer will retreat to the "19th Hole" to cool down with an Arnold Palmer — a mixture of half iced tea and half lemonade invented by the legendary golfer himself. If you're too lazy to make this simple and refreshing drink on your own, the Fly Trap in Ferndale will serve you a bottomless glass. Add a measure of vodka to turn the beverage into a John Daly. Hardcore boozers can add 151 proof Everclear to create a ridiculous drink named Happy Gilmore.

The Works The best paella requires the best equipment and the proper ingredients. La Tienda is the ultimate source for everything you need: Bomba and Calasparra rice, Spanish saffron — both plain and smoked — fire-roasted piquillo peppers and chorizo sausages, even recipes. Expensive burners are shown, but we've cooked paella on a kettle grill. The charcoal and a few fruitwood chunks add a smoky flavor to the dish. Buy a larger pan than you think you'll need. Once you get the hang of it, you'll want to exhibit your skills to more and more friends. See

Know of any upcoming food, wine or gardening events? Let us know! Send an e-mail to [email protected] or call 313-202-8043.

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