Road trip! It's far afield, but anybody going "up north" this weekend should consider a stop in Traverse for that city's Summer Microbrew & Music festival, featuring more than 50 breweries, cideries, meaderies and wineries. It all happens Aug. 26-27; tickets are $30 in advance, $35 at the door Friday, $40 in advance, $45 at the door Saturday; 21 and older, please; for more info, see porterhouseproductions.com.
Kona 'revives' We've long been a fan of Troy's Kona Grill, Oakland County's home for Hawaiian (or, if you will, pan-Asian) cuisine. What's not to like? You'll find moderately priced fare, an attractive dining environment, and choices ranging from sushi, noodles and pizza to beef and seafood. What's more, with their new "Revive" menu, two guest favorites have been brought back to Kona Grill for a limited time. The tuna wasabi and the five-spice BBQ baby back ribs were winners in Kona's polls and guest requests on Facebook and Twitter, bringing them back to life. Diners will also find two new entrées (Korean tuna roll and grilled chicken and pear salad) and a new dessert (banana cream pie). Drop in for some old faves and some new contenders, at 30 E. Big Beaver Rd., Troy; 248-619-9060; konagrill.com.
The name game A few weeks ago, we mentioned Opus One's contest, asking the restaurant's guests to help brand its commodious bar to mark 24 years on the block. Winners will be announced this week, at 5:30-7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 24. Didn't participate? Drop in anytime to see the attractive lounge and its affordable drink specials and bar menu, at 565 E. Larned St., Detroit; 313-961-7766
New spot We take note that a new little spot opened downtown on Beaubien, next to the Detroiter. It's called LIV, and it's a small bar with a gallery space in the back. The management says they hope to hold events for sports, music and arts. Take a peek, at 641 Beaubien St., Detroit; livrestolounge.com.
Know of any upcoming food, drink or gardening events? Let us know! E-mail [email protected] or call 313-202-8043.
food/thought Patricia Wells is known for the several French cookbooks she has authored. Salad as a Meal: Healthy Main-Dish Salads for Every Season (William Morrow, $39.99) is a departure from the subject, though nonetheless an interesting approach to healthy eating. Wells explains, "... salad as a meal does not need to include lettuce or greens, it can simply be a light and refreshing salad-related entity." For some readers, this may indeed be food for thought, a rough outline for use in creating your own versions of lighter recipes with ingredients they love to use.
bottoms up If you're craving a proper cocktail, stop into Ferndale's new speakeasy-style cocktail lounge, the Oakland Art Novelty Company. Like an upscale restaurant that minds every fine detail that goes into a dish, the Oakland uses premium liquor, house-made bitters, syrups, sodas and freshly squeezed citrus to craft its drinks. We're particularly fond of "On the Night You Were Born" — their take on the Sazerac cocktail — which uses rye whiskey, absinthe bitters and sweet Pedro Ximénez sherry in lieu of simple syrup. Try the version aged for two months in a Hudson whiskey barrel.
the works Sure, there are scads of electronic kitchen devices that are useful, but they're expensive and not very energy efficient and not much fun to use. This Chop and Mash silicone-ridged multi-purpose tool will mash potatoes or bananas to a chunky or a smooth consistency, break apart ground meat in a hot skillet, scramble eggs and stir sauces. The silicone won't damage a nonstick skillet; it's heat-safe and it releases food with ease. Functional and cheap, you can pick one up for $9.95 at chefscatalog.com.