PARIS RETURNS — Due to the enthusiastic response they received for their last "Spring in Paris" dinner, Ferndale's Josephine Creperie & Bistro has revived a Parisian menu for this month's "Last Wednesdays" feast. The five-course prix fixe dinner will include an amuse bouche, fresh bread, an appetizer, either a soup or salad, an entr'acte or cheese course, a choice of four entrees (including a vegetarian choice), and a choice of two dessert options. Reservations required; May 28, 2008; $30 plus tax and tip; various seating times. At 241 W. Nine Mile Rd. Ferndale, MI 48220 248-399-1366.
UP MARKET — The empty storefront at Russell and the Chrysler service drive has window signs heralding the arrival of a new Taste of Ethiopia. Scheduled to open in mid-June, it will be an outpost of the well-reviewed Southfield establishment. Eastern Market will have one more vegetarian option.
SPRING FARE — At D'Amato's Restaurant, they've devised a spring dinner that sounds sumptuous, aiming to highlight the season's freshest (and priciest!) ingredients. Starts at 6 p.m., May 31; $90 (plus $45 for an optional wine package); reservations required; call 248 584-7400. At 222-224 S. Sherman Dr., Royal Oak.
EAT THE PAGE
Pizza is nearly as popular as hamburgers — and usually healthier, depending on the toppings. And, hey, even if you love your local pizzeria, it's often even better made at home, especially when it comes hot off your very own grill. In Elisabeth Karmel's Pizza on the Grill: 100 Feisty Fire-Roasted Recipes for Pizza & More (Taunton Press, $16), there are 100 recipes for innovative, scrumptious "'za." The recipes include suggested appetizers and salads to round out the meal, even recommending drinks and musical selections.
A TASTY BEVERAGE
Leland is a place of spirits. From the shore of Lake Michigan you gaze westward upon the drowned cubs of Sleeping Bear, better known as the Manitou Islands. This eerie beauty helped inspire this traditional white ale, spiced with coriander and orange peel, aged in French oak, and brewed in the land of large water. Leelanau Brewing Company's Whaleback White pours hazy golden underneath aromas of lemon curd on wheat toast and straw. It drinks effortlessly, tart and refreshing with a complex finish of wood and grass.
Hardwood lump charcoal is gaining popularity. It burns hotter and cleaner than briquettes and doesn't contain the fillers and additives used to keep them intact. We recently found the Original Charcoal Company's hardwood lump charcoal at Costco. It's 20 pounds for less than $9, priced comparably to briquettes. When adding lump charcoal to an existing fire, you won't get the harsh flavor that is often produced by briquettes. The company's website (originalcharcoal.com) mentions an Instant Light lump that we couldn't find locally.