Food Stuff 

Cheese whiz — Zingerman's co-founder Ari Weinzweig will host a tasting of artisanal American cheeses 7-9 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 7, with samples from small cheesemakers from Wisconsin to Vermont, from out in California to right here in Michigan. Upstairs at "The Next Door" coffee shop, 422 Detroit St., Ann Arbor; 734-663-3354; $20 per person; reservations recommended.

Capital gains — The Somerset Collection's Capital Grille is announcing the grand opening of three new private dining spaces, the State Room, the Board Room and the President's Room. These "luxurious dining facilities" are being inaugurated with two wine pairing dinners. At 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 16, 2006, they will host a winemaker's dinner with Fred Fisher, celebrated winemaker and owner of Fred Fisher Vineyards. It will be a five-course wine-paired dinner featuring Fisher's Coach Insignia and Fisher Fay Cabernet. Cost is $150 per person, all-inclusive. Then at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 20, 2006 will be "The Louis XIII Experience" a five-course Champagne and cognac-paired dinner; $190 per person, all-inclusive. At the Capital Grille, Somerset Collection North, 2800 W. Big Beaver Rd., Troy; 248-649-5300; reservations required.

 

Eat the Page

If you know all you need to about cooking a turkey, you'll be inclined to ignore November's cooking mags, all of which have exquisitely bronzed birds on the cover. But the November issue of Saveur is a mini cookbook, a steal for $5. "Brunch on the Bayou" features eggs Hussarde, poached eggs with tasso and hollandaise. "Shanghai Surprise" includes a food-focused guide to "China's most delicious city" and a recipe for hot and sour soup. Texas nachos and gambas al ajillo are sure to tempt you. The recipe for Lindy's famous New York cheesecake alone is worth the fin.

A Tasty Beverage

As early November snowfall takes us by surprise, we respond by pulling out the heavy coats and gloves and such, drudgery for many. On the bright side there is a pleasant aspect of keeping warm; that is Mexican hot chocolate. When prepared properly, it is a hot, frothy, delicious beverage that helps shake off the chill. Start with hot milk. Add the chocolate — Ibarra is a popular brand. Ignore the instructions on the package that call for using an electric blender. The heat can blow the lid off. Stir with a molinillo, a whisk designed for this purpose. Consider a splash of Kahlua.

It Works

Speaking of hot chocolate, the molinillo, that Mexican chocolate whisk, is designed to produce the appropriate froth on the surface. Rotate the handle back and forth with both hands flattened against it. Besides its pleasant sound, you'll also get a wonderfully frothy chocolate drink. We cannot tell you that it works better than a wire whisk, but we like the way it looks and, in our constant search for authenticity, we're willing to shell out $3 or $4 to see for ourselves. They can be found online or locally at Honeybee La Colmena at Bagley and 18th streets in Detroit.

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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