Food Stuff 

A short list of restaurant chow for the ritual observance of Valentine's Day:

Josephine, the Ferndale creperie, will serve a five-course menu with selections from four appetizers, 12 entrées and five desserts — price determined by your choices. Among them, cheese pâté with date syrup, herb-poached salmon pistou, Nutella and banana crepe. Feb. 14. 241 W. Nine Mile Rd.; 248-399-1366.

Morels: An American Bistro, the flagship restaurant of Matt Prentice's empire, will stage a six-course fixed-price Valentine Feast starting with "dueling foie gras sliders," hitting its stride with Maine lobster risotto and roast tenderloin, closing with raspberry heart tart. $50 per mouth. Feb. 10 and 11. 30100 Telegraph Rd., Bingham Farms; 248-642-1094.

The Majestic Café will plate a "fantastic dinner for two," including but not limited to seafood quesadilla, smoked chicken salad, prime rib or pan roasted salmon, and "chocolate obsession" (you have to show up to find out what their version is $80 for boda youse. 4120 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-833-9700.

The Eurasian Grill will host a four-course food and wine dinner following a tasting of fine Italian olive oils and balsamic vinegars, including a cookbook signing by Dawn Bause, local author of Romance Begins in the Kitchen: Romantic Italian Recipes and their Complementary Wines. $85 a head. 4771 Haggerty Rd., just north of Pontiac Trail, W. Bloomfield; 248-624-6109.


Eat The Page

There's no one definition for "American food," but U-M alumna Joan Nathan offers the best we've seen in The New American Cooking (Knopf, $35). Seeking out those "who were responsible for the new openness in our tastes," she defines today's American tastes as "a new receptivity to exploring the old and the new and melding the two." So she offers 280 recipes for the likes of stir-fried collards or tamale pie, along with baklava ice cream cake or porcupine shrimp.

A Tasty Beverage

If you want to stay ahead of the curve in a cocktail lounge — and burn your eyeballs blood red — ask for a Porteño, which could become this year's mojito. Big in San Francisco and credited to a Seattle barman, it combines bourbon, cherry brandy, lime juice, sugar syrup and Fernet Branca, the Italian herbal liqueur. Named for Argentine party culture in Buenos Aires, if sipped in moderation, it might help you digest that platter of wings. Chug, and it's your funeral.

It Works

Even fanatics for smoked food can stay right in their kitchen on crummy days and get very acceptable results with the simple smoker bag. Made of two-ply, heavy aluminum foil with fine sawdust tucked in somewhere, just unfold it, lay in fish, meat, poultry, game — whatever — reseal and stick in the oven. You'll get only a slight whiff of the smoke as it works, don't have to worry about a cloud in the kitchen, and damn, it makes some fine smoked grub.

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