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Praise for pie — Props to Achatz Handmade Pie Co. of Chesterfield, for being recognized by a Michigan Senate Tribute as one of Michigan's best small businesses. Despite tough times, the company is growing, giving Michigan a slice of relief from the economic doldrums. Learn more at

Spirit raiser — Mind Body & Spirits, the Rochester eatery that serves sustainable, organic food in an eco-friendly setting, has more reasons for you to drop in. The rooftop garden is now open, plus, this Saturday, Alan Scheurman will perform in the Higher Spirits Lounge June 27, 8-11 p.m. At 301 S. Main St., Rochester; 248-651-3663.

Bronx cheer — The standing joke about the Bronx being Detroit's darkest bar? During the Northeast Blackout of 2003, they filled the bar with candlelight, and one patron described it as "the brightest he'd ever seen the place." But with the bar's new facade work, light is simply pouring into the place, making it a much brighter bar by day, especially during their weekend Bloody Mary bar. Get some sun, at 4476 Second Ave., Detroit; 313-832-8464.


Jane and Michael Stern spend their lives traveling the USA, ferreting out the best off-the-beaten-path diners, barbecue joints, grocery stores and state fairs. Their latest discoveries are cited in 500 Things To Eat Before It's Too Late (Houghton Mifflin, $19.95), which includes memorable fare served at one-of-a-kind spots that often disappear when the owners retire. There are even some recipes that accompany the photos, as well as all the contact information you need to put your own trip together.


Despite several evictions from their home country, the determined monks of Grand Chartreuse have kept bottling their pungent brew of distilled wine alcohol flavored with more than 130 herbal extracts. It started centuries ago with a recipe for an elixir of everlasting life.  Now it flavors finer cocktails, such as "The Last Word," a simple but alluring Prohibition concoction invented at the Detroit Athletic Club, forgotten for ages, found again, and now an internationally celebrated classic cocktail.


Summer means burgers, potato salad and barbecue sauce, all of which mean onions, sliced and diced, which means teary, burning eyes for the cook. Suffer no more. A $20 pair of "Onion Goggles" will solve the problem. They have a comfortable foam seal that keeps the onion vapors out of your eyes, anti-fog lenses that let you see what you're cutting, and they come in a variety of colors — even a summery hot pink. You can get them on Amazon, but, in a pinch, swimming goggles would work too.

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