Apple-eyed Tradi-tionally, harvest season means it's time to load up the family car and take the brood out into the sticks to pick apples for a fair price. But the temptation to gussy up the "traditional" into the "ultimate" has finally proved irresistible. And so a new kind of tour promises to turn families on to the "ultimate orchard experience," in which motorists are invited to drive farther than the county line, all the way to the "money" side of the state. At michiganappletours.com, you'll find turn-by-turn directions to find western Michigan's most outstanding orchards.
Take off, eh? Though the townies up north are settling down after the summer rush, there are still plenty of reasons to speed up this fall and, for a shopping trip, you won't even have to tow the four-wheeler. On the morning of Saturday, Oct. 6, shoppers will gather at Crooked Tree Arts Center in Petoskey for breakfast, then head out for a golf-themed shopping spree in Petoskey and Bay Harbor, with stops for lunch and a fashion show. The day ends with more food and prizes. Registration is $40 per person; deadline Oct. 5; for more information call 231-347-4337.
Stay home Who needs to leave town for R&R? With Detroit's brunch options expanding, you'll get more for your gas dollar by staying in the city. Perhaps taking its cue from the popular brunch at the Bronx Bar (4476 Second Ave., Detroit; 313-832-8464), Union Street is hyping its own Sunday brunch, with such offerings as lobster Benedict, pumpkin pancakes and five different Frittata-style omelets. And hair of the dog plays a starring role, with special champagne drinks, including the pamosa and bellini, and bottomless mimosa. Brunch is 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Sundays, at 4145 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-831-3965.
Eat the Page
In Talking with My Mouth Full: Crab Cakes, Bundt Cakes, and Other Kitchen Stories (St. Martin's Press, $24.95, hardcover; $13.95, paperback), Bonny Wolf, food commentator for NPR's Weekend Edition, delights us with a series of essays that discuss the regional foods that are part of our heritage, exploring the comfort foods that have been handed down through generations of families, with recipes rooted in various ethnicities. The creations could hardly be more homespun, with recipes for Aunt Esther's antipasto, Ruth's sweet potatoes, and "Gas Company Candy" which a gas company actually included with its bills!
A Tasty Beverage
For centuries, ginseng root has been prized as a natural restorative and stress inhibitor that will increase your "yang" energy, improve your circulation and even make you horny. One tasty delivery system for this far-out herb is Ginseng Up soda. Since the early 1980s, Ginseng Up has been producing all-natural beverages in a variety of flavors. We dig the earthy vibe of the original, but with apple, orange, grape, lemon lime, ginger, cola, kola champagne and pineapple to choose from, everyone should find a favorite.
Just in time for the abundant crop of apples, we have found a simple, $10 apple corer. With its innovative plunger design, the core of the apple is removed with one push. The second push removes the core from the tool. You can even use it to core Bartlett, Comice and Asian pears. This handy tool is dishwasher-safe and comes with a lifetime warranty. Epicurious.com has a recipe (from Gourmet magazine) for brown-sugar spice cake with cream and caramelized apples that calls for several cored apples. So put it to good use right out of the box.