9 things you need to know about dining in metro Detroit this week

Side Dish

May 20, 2015 at 1:00 am

Save us an elephant ear — Whether you love spinning, falling, twirling, whirling, or just eating, all of your favorite carnival attractions will be impossible to miss when they're set up in downtown Birmingham in the streets surrounding Shain Park for the 52nd Annual Birmingham Village Fair, a tradition since 1947. Bring the family for food, music, games, and rides for all ages, with proceeds benefiting several local nonprofits. Rediscover all the classic fair fun and find some new favorite rides from May 28 to 31. Hours are noon to 10 p.m. Thursday, noon to 11 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Saturday, and noon to 9 p.m. Sunday. Wristbands are $20 each and can be purchased on-site.

California love at HopCat — If you've already tasted everything on HopCat's menu and tried everything on its 160 taps (a Dionysian task, to be sure), come in on Tuesday for a special off-menu dinner the new hotspot is presenting in partnership with Green Flash Brewing Co. of San Diego. Included in the four-course meal are unique and flavorful Green Flash concoctions such as the brewery's East Village Pilsner and Silva Stout. It takes place from 7 to 9 p.m. May 26, at 4265 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-769-8828; $30.

A better brew — Perfect for coffee connoisseurs everywhere, Anthology Coffee continues to host its weekly brewing class, led by Detroit barista Derek Craig, throughout the summer. Registration for the weekly sessions can be found at Anthology's Facebook page (facebook.com.AnthologyCoffee), and attendees are encouraged to bring their favorite brewing devices and their questions. This week's class is 3-5 p.m. Wednesday, May 20, at 1401 Vermont St., Detroit; 313-355-4040; free, but limited to 20 persons, with pre-registration at bit.ly/1QPos0z.

What would Herman eat? — There may still be time this week to honor the late founder of Weber's Restaurant, Herman Weber. The namesake died just last year, after turning 100, but the restaurant lives on, and this week offers vintage lunch specials, a specially priced three-course menu of the founder's favorites, and live music Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from the U-M jazz band. The fixed-price lunch sounds like a great deal: For just $15, patrons can select from first course choices that include chef Jeremy's soup du jour, a hearts of palm salad, or Weber's house salad, and a choice of entrées that includes roadhouse-style frog legs, calf's liver and onions, Weber's London broil, or Scrod Chardonnay, before a sweet finish. Each food item will include a description of the dish and the year it first appeared on a Weber's menu. Lunch hours for Herman's special menu are 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 11:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, at 3050 Jackson Rd., Ann Arbor; promotion ends May 21; for more info, see webersinn.com.

Can your 'cue smoke the competition? — That's the operative question in an ongoing competition at the Bird & the Bread, Kristin Jonna's hot new restaurant in Birmingham. Here's how it works: Submit your barbecue recipe privately to [email protected] or via a special tab on the restaurant's Facebook page (facebook.com/thebirdandthebread). The restaurant will pick a winner as often as every month, as the contest continues through the summer. Those whose recipes win will be invited to join the kitchen staff and become a "celebrity chef" for a day, as the dish becomes a special for one night. The unusual contest is a part of the philosophy driving the restaurant; Jonna says, "Our kitchen is in a constant conversation with customers. We're all chefs at home and this is a great way to celebrate our inner foodie." The Bird & the Bread is at 210 S. Old Woodward Ave., Birmingham; 248-203-6600; thebirdandthebread.com.

Hard-touring burgers — The worldwide Hard Rock Café chain keeps things interesting by having each location cultivate a burger that showcases the local flavors of an area. In Detroit, that's expressed in the "313 Burger," which features such toppings as chili, homemade chips, and American cheese. But for the next few weeks, you can try some pretty exotic Hard Rock burgers, such as the Guatemalan "Marimba Burger," the Chinese "Sweet & Sour Burger," the British "Lancashire Hot Pot Burger," and, straight from Miami, the "Cuban Burger." Try something new at 45 Monroe St., Detroit; 313-964-7625.

Brush up on red — Every week, the wine bar at West Bloomfield's Plum Market offers an exploration of wine and beer. Part tasting, part teaching, they're fun and informative events that zoom in on a certain region, under the expert curation of certified sommeliers Patrick Peterson, Robin Westphal, and Madeline Triffon. This week, the focus is the Sangiovese grape, described in that glorious wine-speak as possessing "notes of dried cherry, black tea, dusty earth, citrus peel, Mediterranean herbs, and a unique tension between acidity and tannin." Christel Burks will be on hand to share her expertise. This event runs from 6:30 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, May 21, at the WineBar inside Plum Market West Bloomfield, 6565 Orchard Lake Rd., West Bloomfield; $20; tickets available online at bit.ly/1QPF34j. See bit.ly/1FiMH3k to find out about other upcoming events.

Showing off their summer mussels — Monk, the restaurant that honors the brewing history of Belgium's monasteries, naturally serves Belgian-influenced beer, frites, and pots of mussels. Not familiar with the Belgian delicacy? You can try them at Monk, where chef Robert Young is offering a special menu of Prince Edward Island mussels infused with unusual flavors. These include fennel and vermouth, smoked salmon and sweet corn with shallots, vodka and tomato, and Indian curry with garlic, onions, and peppers. Individual pots are $12.95, flights of three flavors are $13.95. Get a taste at 109 E. Fifth St., Royal Oak; 248-544-6250.

Getting your nails dirty — Interested in getting into the swing of spring gardening? There's still time. Residents of Detroit, Hamtramck, and Highland Park have a great education resource in the "Keep Growing Detroit" program, which holds a number of classes all summer. (Hunt around at detroitagriculture.net for a full listing.) But what if you're Downriver? Drop in for an hourlong class on basic vegetable gardening at Ray Hunter Florist & Garden in Southgate. It's free, and no registration is necessary. It begins at 11 a.m. at 16153 Eureka Rd., Southgate; 734-284-2500.

Know of any upcoming dining, drinking, or gardening events? Let us know! Email [email protected].