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Food Stuff 

NICE PAIRS — Way out in the wilds of Keego Harbor, Modern Food and Spirits will host a civilized celebration of upscale food and such Sonoma County wines as Starry Night Chardonnay, Davis Bynum Pinot Noir, Frick Cinsault, Mazzocco Cabernet Sauvignon and Dashe Late Harvest Zinfindal. And the damage isn't too bad either, at $60 a pop, tax and tip included. It happens Tuesday, Dec. 16, so act fast. At the Modern, 1535 Cass Lake Rd., Keego Harbor. Call 248-681-4231 for info and reservations.

MIX IT UP — Inside Southfield's Beans & Cornbread is the Sidebar, a wine and martini bar aimed at young professionals. On the first Friday of every month, they host an after-work mixer, with live music, great food and drink specials to smooth your passage into the weekend. This month's installment is 5-10 p.m. Dec. 5, at 29508 Northwestern Hwy., Southfield; 248-208-1680.


Somehow, year after year, cuisine after cuisine, the cooking experts at Williams-Sonoma publish cookbooks that motivate gourmands to cook more and more. Despite the plethora of Italian cookbooks that precede it, Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Italian by Michele Scicolone (Oxmoor House, $34.95), makes us wonder how they manage to score so high nearly every time. The recipes are authentic, the photographs are tempting and this volume is Italian 101 and way beyond, aimed at novices and chefs alike.


Hiram Walker founded his distillery in Detroit 150 years ago. Soon after, he moved across the river into Canada and rocked the drinks world with an aged club whiskey. Today we know it as Canadian Club, and, to celebrate the firm's long history, it's offering a limited-edition blended whiskey aged 30 years and packaged with all the fineries due a commemorative bottle. On the nose is a fine golden toffee drizzled over cedar shavings, a bit of earth and hot, wet cement. It's remarkably smooth under ice and a must for any CC aficionado with spare coin.


Who can resist a rich, frothy hot chocolate crowned with creamy foam? Bialetti — the Italian cookware company that designed such attractive and functional products as the original stovetop espresso maker — offers this hot chocolate pot. Just put milk and some cocoa or other chocolate into the upper glass chamber and watch the brief process turn the ingredients into a drink that will help you slough off winter's chill, especially if you add a bit of liqueur. It's available exclusively at Williams-Sonoma for $99.95.

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