Scrumptious scrimmages | Football fans may notice that the offerings at Ford Field are ... kicked up a notch? It's true: The culinary choices available in the luxury suites and dining establishments at the home of the Detroit Lions are not your grandfather's hot dog and Coke. You can thank Joe Nader, the executive chef, who appears to have combed metro Detroit for partnerships with restaurants that serve stimulating, dramatic, and often local and organic fare. Such local restaurants as Zingerman's, Russell Street Deli, and Slows Bar-B-Q will be represented in stands around the stadium. And there will be comfort food too: Fans will find new dishes, including baked potato fries topped with bacon, cheddar, and chive dip; a Detroit-style chili-cheese-fry coney dog; and "Poppin' Nachos," layered tortilla chips with melted cheese and deep-fried jalapenos. Hometown suite packages include a comfort-food-oriented "Taste of Detroit" package, with coney dogs, kielbasa, pierogies, and more, a Slows to Go package, with smoked drumsticks, pit-smoked beans, and mac and cheese; and even a rotating chef's table, with signature menus from local guest chefs.
Ford Field's partnerships even embrace the culinary boom overtaking Corktown, with such partners as Mercury Burger Bar (with its burgers and "tater tachos," tater tots presented in nacho form) and the Sugar House (with some of its craft creations being served in the field's Huntington Club). Perhaps the most attractive item is the plate of meatballs from Bigalora, the local pizza and pasta powerhouse. The three balls swim in a sea of red sauce, dusted with melting Parmesan and decorated with shredded parsley. This at a football game? The beverage options are also expanded, with craft beer stands featuring brews from Bell's, Atwater, Rochester Mills, Kuhnhenn, Dragonmead, and the Detroit Beer Company. There's also an "Ultimate Bloody Mary," jammed with pickle spear, pepper jack cheese, pepperoncini, blue cheese-stuffed olive, celery stick, cherry tomato, and lime wedge, along with a beef-stick straw. Chef Nader, who oversees every aspect of food service at the stadium, really made the difference here. He should be up for some kind of MVP award toward the end of the season.
Exurban bliss | For three years, Frank Memcaj has had a hand in the stylish Square Lake Diner in Troy. Now, with football season starting up, he's getting into the sports bar game with Eagles Sports Bar & Grill, which he hopes will draw not just sports fans, but burger enthusiasts and even fans of the craft cocktail. As those familiar with the Troy diner know, Memcaj is serious about spirits. In fact, Eagles has a 20-handle tap system, dozens of craft beers, and a small but growing menu of bourbons. To soak it all up, the menu at Eagles offers custom-blend burgers from Fairway Packing in Detroit, featuring a blend of short-rib brisket and chuck served 15 ways (including an "Opa!" burger), with loaded fries or tater tots. And there are, of course, a zillion televisions to watch the big game on. The bar and grill is near Waterside Market, off 23 Mile Road between I-94 and Gratiot Avenue, at 50640 Waterside Dr., Chesterfield; 586-949-9600.
Give the Gift of Michigan | There's a new gift box in town. The people at Glenwood Garden have put together some of the coolest craft brands in Michigan for a peerless present. The gift box includes Beau products form Bien Fine Foods, Spice Miser, Ethel's Edibles, Great Lakes Coffee Roasting, Slow Jam Jams, and more. A portion of profits from each food box sale will be donated to the Greening of Detroit or Gleaners, and shoppers can designate which participating nonprofit they'd like to support. Want to learn more? See glenwoodgarden.com or meet them when they table and raffle off Michigan artisanal food at Detroit's Eastern Market Sept. 20.
Make Time for Detroit | Save the dates, because Detroit Restaurant Week is cranking up the dining deals again, allowing diners to enjoy specially priced three-course dinners for only $30 per person. The list of participants for the fall of 2014 includes 21 eateries in all, including a concentration of downtown restaurants, from Andiamo Detroit Riverfront to Wolfgang Puck Cucina & Pizzeria, but also a few outliers, such as the Grille Midtown and the Whitney a bit more up Woodward, Cuisine in New Center, Craft Work in West Village, Ottava Via in Corktown, Roma Café in Eastern Market, and even La Dolce Vita up past McNichols. This year's event is presented by Shinola, Quicken Loans, and Opportunity Detroit, and takes place Sept. 19-28. See detroitrestaurantweek.com for more information.
Know of any upcoming food or dining events? Let us know! Email [email protected].