Blast off

Through a new program called "Dine in the D," top Detroit restaurants are offering metro Detroiters more bang for their dining buck during Winter Blast weekend. Diners may receive a discount of up to 30 percent at more than 60 restaurants in Detroit. Also, diners have the chance to win dinner in Detroit for a year. And we're not just talking about a cornucopia of coneys: Participating restaurants range from the upscale (Coach Insignia, Opus One) to the down-to-earth (Niki's Pizza, Coach's Corner), from newer favorites (Slows Bar BQ, Lola's) to old reliables (Elwood Bar & Grill, Roma Cafe). See the full list online. The deal lasts only during the Winter Blast, Feb. 8-11, but the program is free, and all you need to do is obtain a coupon at for participating restaurants and make an advance reservation.

Feed the arts

Want to help young thespians break a leg? So do the proprietors of the new Potbelly Sandwich Works in Farmington Hills. Make a donation to the Farmington Hills Youth Theatre, and Potbelly will give you a free sandwich — a $3.79 value. For more information about this promotion, call the Farmington Hills Cultural Arts Division at 248-473-1857 or 248-473-1859. The Potbelly Sandwich Works in Farmington Hills is at 31373 Orchard Lake Rd.

Eat the Page

America's Test Kitchen is a real 2,500-square-foot kitchen dedicated to developing the best recipes for our favorite foods. Though the kitchen's Saturday television series on PBS is fun to watch, it's the show's magazine, Cook's Illustrated, that we can really sink our teeth into. Besides all the toothsome recipes inside, there are product reviews, equipment tests and loads of cooking tips. This is no checkout aisle glossy full of pretty pictures and hollow food concoctions. Cook's Illustrated is all about food science and we are sharper in the kitchen for using it.

A Tasty Beverage

Never mind the pedestrian packaging of Tito's Handmade Vodka. Mix a hearty portion into your Bloody Mary and you'll wonder how vodka so inexpensive can taste so damn good. Then you'll pour some straight into a tall glass and call it a martini. When you wake up you'll tell all your friends about it. In the noisy world of premium vodka, Tito's relies on word-of-mouth advertising and small-batch distillation to keep prices low and quality high. What else would you expect from booze made by a guy named Tito Beveridge?

It Works

On our list of most important kitchen utensils, the wire mesh skimmer ranks right up there with the coffee grinder and cocktail shaker. When it comes to removing food from boiling liquid, this tool does it all. It easily removes bones from stock and takes your pasta from pot to plate. Blanching veggies? Scoop a bunch into an ice water bath with the confidence of a celebrity chef. And do we even need explain its importance when deep-frying? Our favorite is Chinese-style, with a brass basket and a long bamboo handle. Wontons anyone?

Know of any new spots, special dinners or food-related events? Let us know. Send materials two weeks in advance to [email protected].
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