Food Stuff 

Thrifty & kind — The virtues of scouting include thrift and kindness. In that spirit, Cub Scout Pack 1477 will be the beneficiary at the Third Annual Taste of Michigan Wine Tasting fundraiser at Champane's Wine Cellars pub. Come for a taste of the state's creative ferment, from Baroda's Round Barn Winery up to Suttons Bay's Black Star Farms, even including Michigan-produced sparking wines. The ticketed event costs $15 and begins at 6 p.m. April 10, at Champane's Wine Cellars, 7007 Chicago Rd., Warren; 586-268-4900; www.champanes.com.

Thumb ride — Need a good spring road trip? Up in Lexington, around the "knuckle" in our state's "thumb," some business-builders in Lexington have opened what they call "the Smackwater Block." A dining, entertainment and shopping destination, it includes the Vintage Fine Dining restaurant, Brewmaster's Pub, Lexington Music Theatre, Gallery 7318 Home Furnishings, the Tasting Room Wine & Fondue Bar, Smackwater Jack's Gourmet Restaurant, Huron Avenue Gourmet Marketplace, Smackwater Jack's Next Door Deli and Aroma's Coffeehouse, all in downtown Lexington. For information and reservations, call 810-359-2791 or e-mail info@smackwaterblock.com. The grand opening takes place 3-7 p.m. Saturday, April 12.

Menu makeover — Bravo! Cucina Italiana, with locations in Rochester Hills and Livonia, has a new menu, featuring creations dreamed up after a chefs' trip to the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy. To learn more, visit the chain's Web site at bravoitalian.com.


EAT THE PAGE

In 1961, Cecilia Chiang opened San Francisco's Mandarin restaurant, offering alternatives to the chicken chow mein and egg foo yung (ugh!) that had been the mainstays of our Westernized Cantonese-style Chinese food. In The Seventh Daughter: My Culinary Journey From Beijing to San Francisco, Chiang chronicles her odyssey from Chinese child to American entrepreneur, amid many delectable recipes. The eggplant in garlic sauce steams the vegetable rather than frying it, eliminating much of the oil found in similar dishes.


A TASTY BEVERAGE

Anyone who's been up to Sutton's Bay for a wine tour is familiar with the Black Star Farms tasting room and retail store. The regularly crowded space offers everything you might expect from fruit country: wine, various brandies and even a sparkling hard cider made from a blend of eight different cider apples. Perfumed with fresh and baked apples, it begins crisp. An earthy center rides a wave of medium carbonation to finish long and dry with an agreeably balanced acidity. Snag a bottle at Holiday Market in Royal Oak next time you're frying pork chops.


IT WORKS

A piece of buttered toast can be deceiving, whether in the kitchen or on your desk. Toast deceiving, you say? Toasted Notes appears to be a slice of toast with a pat of butter. In fact, it is a facsimile of a slice of whole wheat toast that holds a pad of sticky notes. It could easily have been mashed potatoes or a stack of flapjacks, but you'd be hungry all day and overeat at lunch. Seven bucks will get you a "slice of toast" and five pads of notes.


Know of any new restaurants, special dinners or food-related events? Let us know. Send materials two weeks in advance to Food Stuff, Metro Times, 733 St. Antoine, Detroit, MI 48226 or e-mail mjackman@metrotimes.com.

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