Food Stuff 

Winter warmers — At Royal Oak's Bastone, chef Robert Young has dreamed up a new winter menu to help shake off winter's chills. Enjoy steaming-hot pasta paired with a favorite award-winning craft brew. Still hedging? Everything on the menu costs less than $15. Drop in at 419 S. Main St., Royal Oak; 248-544-6250.

Fat Tuesdays — At Dylan's Raw Bar and Grill, Chef Derrick A. Collins is pleased to present New Orleans-inspired small bites and entrées on Mardi Gras Tuesdays — in January and early February. Offerings will include crawfish etouffée, gumbo, snapper beaujolais, pecan sole, New Orleans pasta and more. Dylan's sushi chefs will offer Mardi Gras-inspired sushi rolls too. At 15402 Mack Ave., Grosse Pointe Park; 313-884-6030.

Vodka sweethearts — Michigan-made Valentine Vodka has released an elegant 750ml bottle with an individually wrapped piece of artisan chocolate just in time for Valentine's Day. It's going for just $29.99 at retail outlets around the state of Michigan. Shop local, drink local — and love local!


Searching for authenticity in Mexican food, we sometimes omit Tex-Mex as the stepchild of the real thing, but it's not. Foods and Flavors of San Antonio (Pelican Publishing, $19.95), written by Gloria Chadwick, validates Tex-Mex as a cuisine unto itself, and San Antonio is recognized as its capital. This book is filled with relatively simple, straightforward recipes made with easy-to-find ingredients that, when combined, produce the famously aromatic and flavorful dishes. 


We don't normally recommend beer that smells even a little bit like a horse stall or bile but 2000 Hanssens Oudbeitje strawberry lambic is so intensely sour and funky and good that we had to give it a mention. Real beer geeks know what we're talking about. Fermented a decade ago with airborne yeasts native to Brussels and 330 pounds of Belgian strawberries per 156 gallons it is better than a romp in the cider house with a mouth full of Lemonheads candy.


Is peanut butter and jelly still the No. 1 sandwich in the land, filling most kids' lunch bags day after day? Here's an innovative tool that scoops like a spoon, spreads like a knife, and is long enough to reach the bottom and corners of a jar to scrape out every last morsel while keeping the messy ingredients off your hands. The Van Vacter PBJ Bagel Knife has an ergonomic handle, a rigid blade that will handle the hardest peanut butter and is perfect for cream cheese. The serrated edge will even cut the bread.

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