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Northville's Emily's Restaurant will be holding its 12th annual spring wine dinner at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, March 29. Roger Ivy from Peirano Estate vineyards of Lodi, Calif., will be in attendance with wines from one of the oldest family-owned vineyards in California, a 300-acre estate with what may be the largest single block of old, head-trained, natural-rooted Zinfandel left in California. $100 inclusive. Call for reservations. At 505 N. Center, Northville; 248-349-0505.


On the last Wednesday of every month, the owners of Ferndale's Josephine Creperie & Bistro offer fixed-price five-course dinners sampling regional cuisines that have a discernible French influence. On March 29, the tradition continues with a menu from Italy's Piedmont region, which borders France. $28 per person ($34 for veal ossobuco) not including tax, tip or beverage. Various seatings. Call for reservations. At 241 W. Nine Mile Rd., Ferndale; 248-399-1366.


For those who like to soak up art while they eat, Cass Cafe offers a new take on "dinner and a show." They're in the middle of an exhibition called Detroit All Stars of Art, featuring art from such local artists as Lowell Boileau, Jerome Ferretti, Bob Sestok, Gilda Snowden and Maurice Greenia Jr. The show, which opened March 11, will be up until May 13, so there's still plenty of time. Mosey on over to 4620 Cass Ave., Detroit; 313-831-1400.


Eat the Page

According to Texas food writer Robb Walsh, in his introduction to The Tex-Mex Cookbook ($17.95 Broadway Books), "Tex-Mex is the ugly duckling of American regional cuisines." In simple terms, it combines the foods of Mexico and Texas. Despite some purists' disdain for it as a distinct cuisine, Rick Bayless, author of six Mexican cookbooks, says, "When people cook from the heart, there isn't a right or wrong way to do it." From chiles rellenos to huevos rancheros to barbacoa — which requires a skinned and cleaned cow's head — you need spend only a few hours in the kitchen with these recipes to know that Tex-Mex is alive and well.

A Tasty Beverage

Tequila hasn't always gone down the old throat as smoothly as it does now, with the profusion of designer potions occupying more shelf space at our local beverage outlet. Purists today won't adulterate anejos and reposadas with salt and lemon. Sangrita — no, not sangria — has been the chaser of choice for the less mellow blends.

Try 2 cups tomato juice, 2 or 3 ounces of fresh orange juice, 3 or 4 ounces of fresh lime juice, 2 tablespoons of finely grated onion, 1 teaspoon of finely chopped jalapeño or Serrano chile and 1-1/2 teaspoons of salt, mix well and enjoy on the side, even with the good stuff.

It Works

The only way to mince that tough, fibrous lemongrass is with a microplane zester. This handy gadget also works on ginger, hard cheese, chocolate — almost any tough-to-shred seasoning you can think of. It's worth every penny of the $10-$12 that you'll spend. The only caution is that the finished product will be so finely grated and puffy that it is difficult to measure for a recipe. But the time saved in shredding makes it all worth it, and you'll soon wonder how you survived without one. This little guy is so tough, if you get tired of cooking, you can use it to plane wood.

Know of any new restaurants, special dinners or food-related events? Send materials two weeks in advance to Food Stuff, Metro Times, 733 St. Antoine, Detroit, MI 48226 or e-mail [email protected]
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