Food Stuff 

ALPINE PLATES

On the last Wednesday of every month, Josephine Creperie & Bistro holds a special dinner featuring the flavors of different regional cuisines that have a distinct French influence. Each "Last Wednesday" features a five-course prix-fixe dinner (appetizer, soup or salad, entracte or cheese course, and a choice of four entrées, including a vegetarian option) complemented by an amuse bouche and fresh bread. Each month's menu includes an appetizer, a soup or salad, an entr'acte or cheese course, a choice of four entrées (including a vegetarian choice) and a choice of two desserts. On Jan. 31, the "Last Wednesday" menu will feature cuisine of the French Alps, the region that includes Savoy, Mont Blanc and Chamonix. Diners may expect such offerings as a cheese pâté with wild cherry reduction sauce, sautéed ham and winter vegetables, a winter salad with radish, apple and escarole in sage vinaigrette, strawberry cassis sorbet, and such entrées as braised beef short ribs in sauce chamonix, sole meuniere with brunoise of fruit and vegetables, and risotto verde with spinach, zucchini, peas, garlic and yogurt. At 241 W. Nine Mile Rd., Ferndale; 248-399-1366. Reservations encouraged; $28 per person.

EAT THE PAGE

If the sweeping selection at the cheese counter of your local gourmet market gets you all doe-eyed and sweaty, arm yourself with a copy of Steven Jenkins' Cheese Primer (Workman, $16.95). Though published more than a decade ago, it is still the authority on everything from cheddar to chèvre. If you only read the 16 cheese precepts presented at the start of the book, you will already know more than most people. Jenkins celebrates his strong opinions here, so if he skewers the production methods of your favorite snacking cheese don't be upset. He did it to ours too.

A TASTY BEVERAGE

While corporate-made Cabernet Sauvignons have been flying off wine shelves everywhere, we have been savoring a pure, old vines Carignan blend from the Languedoc region in the south of France. Château d'Oupia Minervois is a deep, ruby-red drink of dense fruit that works as well with pizza as with tenderloin of beef. It is so clean and balanced, we know folks who have sworn off red wine of any kind surprised when they empty their glasses. It sells for around $12. Purchase a bottle at Cloverleaf Fine Wines in Southfield or have your local wine retailer bring it in through Veritas Distributors.

IT WORKS

The Cheese Primer will insist that the flavors and textures of cheese are best when served at room temperature. If you're going to spend your coin on fancy fromage, you don't want it drying out before it's eaten. Chuck it in a cheese dome until your guests arrive or while the wine is breathing. Not only will you keep the cheese moist, you'll look like a pro. And let's face it — a dome will make even cubes of grocery store cheddar spiked with toothpicks seem elegant. Crate and Barrel sells a nice one.

Know of any new restaurants, special dinners or food-related events? Let us know. Send materials two weeks in advance to mjackman@metrotimes.com

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