Seven things you need to know about Detroit dining this week

Jan 14, 2015 at 1:00 am

Music to your Mouth — Supporting the Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra's efforts to bring together music and food just got a little easier. They've been picked by Whole Foods for the "One Dime at a Time" program. The deal is, you bring in a bag to use when shopping at Whole Foods, and you can choose to donate your 10-cent bag refund to the symphony's "Taste of Music" program, which brings local music and music education to area farmers markets. The program runs through the end of March.

Downtown dining — It's time for the North American International Auto Show, and that means downtown eateries will be making an extra-special bid for visiting journalists, business executives, and just plain old car-oglers. How important is the car show to downtown drinking and dining establishments? The good people at Firebird Tavern got in touch to point it out, telling us, "Traditionally, January is an especially hard month for everyone in the service industry, and sales are way down. In Detroit, we're blessed with the auto show, which gets many thousands of people downtown and into bars and restaurants during a time when they typically wouldn't even venture out of their house." In 2014, the Firebird crew says it saw a double-digit sales increase during the two weeks of the show. This year they expect an even bigger bump. That's because, like many Detroit restaurants, they're extending hours and firing up their kitchen at noon for their full-service menu Jan. 18-25. They'll also be offering free rides to the show from the tavern, with complimentary People Mover tokens. The Firebird Tavern is at 419 Monroe Ave., Detroit; 313-782-4189.

Help Detroit Go Green — Have you wanted to join Detroit's surging urban gardening movement but felt it wouldn't pay the bills? Well, we hear from the folks at Rising Pheasant Farms on Detroit's near east side that there's an opening for a farm assistant that pays $9 an hour. Rising Pheasant is a family-owned and -operated farm growing a variety of crops on 1/5th of an acre, along with greenhouse micro-green production. It's totally granola, embracing organic practices, bicycle transportation, and hand tools. Goals for the coming year include putting an additional quarter-acre under cultivation and building a passive solar hoop house to extend the growing season. Applications are being accepted through Feb. 1, unless a suitable hire is found first. Applicants need to be able to deal with customers, retail, some pretty heavy cycling, as well as experience with small-scale farming and an ability to work outdoors in all weather conditions within reason. Send your résumé and cover letter (via mail or email) to Rising Pheasant Farms, 5228 Moran St., Detroit, MI 48211-3032 or to Carolyn Leadley at [email protected].

More than Donuts — Have some New Year's resolutions about eating? The folks at Tim Hortons want to help, with the chain's new focus on healthier choices with comprehensive nutritional information. Those choices include fresh spinach at breakfast and lunch with their turkey sausage hot breakfast sandwiches and Greek yogurt smoothies. The new menu is also careful about allergens and additives. See to learn more about the changes at Tim Hortons. It's more than low-cal Timbits.

Out in the Open — Did you know there was such a group as "Picnic Club Detroit"? Given the profusion of other odd groups flourishing in our fair city, why not a club devoted to eating in the great outdoors? (There's certainly plenty of room for that.) Well, the group, self-described as "an adventure club that explores the world around us through inquiry, play, and picnics," is presenting its inaugural art exhibition, dubbed Picnics in the Polar Vortex. For the last year, the group has camped everywhere from the wilderness behind a corporate shopping center, the Belle Isle Aquarium, and the Detroit People Mover. The resulting art show is a survey of the group's first year, told through photos, club projects, artifacts, and more. The show opened last week at Hamtramck's Public Pool, but is open for viewing on Saturday afternoons 1-6 p.m. until Feb. 21, at 3309 Caniff, Hamtramck;

Heat up after work — Ann Arborites just got a new way to heat up those cold winter nights with a special deal from Lena, Treetown's newest Mexican joint. A special menu of chef David Burnell's tacos, with seasoned pinto beans and soft corn tortillas, are being offered with margaritas for just $15 a pairing. And these are no wimpy tacos. They include Cuban pork tacos, featuring savory braised pork cheek with cabbage slaw and roasted poblano pepper vinaigrette topped with pineapple marmalade, as well as duck confit tacos with carrot apple slaw and apple cider reduction. Vegetarians can enjoy a taco of roasted beets, fresh spinach, roasted fingerling potatoes, orange bits, and cherry tomatoes with a lemon-parsley vinaigrette. The seasonal creations come with the timeless margarita, the hot pepper-peach margarita, the Lena Sunrise, and the Bloody Maria Margarita. The deals run throughout January beginning at 4 p.m. daily, at Lena, 226 S. Main St., Ann Arbor; 734-994-2773.

One-Two Punch — What happened? We thought the opening of Punch Bowl Social was a huge hit. Our investigative reporter went and pronounced it a massive success! We wouldn't have believed reports of any problems unless they'd come from the Punch Bowl people themselves — which they did. Yes, apparently, the Punch Bowl is falling all over itself apologizing for letting us down. Say what, Jack? In their own words, they said, "Detroit is so special. The love and support you showed us the moment our doors opened was nothing short of amazing. It overwhelmed us. We stumbled, and stuttered, and we let you down. We're grateful that you let us know." They go on to promise to provide great service in a fun atmosphere with craft cocktails and excellent food. "We've changed our staff, upped our training, fixed the entertainment offerings and fine-tuned our bar and kitchen to ensure we're delivering the top-quality product we're known for. We hope it's not too late to make it up to you." That's how they offered their Punch Bowl Social Guest Appreciation Brunch, scheduled for noon to 2 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 25, at 1331 Broadway St., Detroit; 313-749-9738. Now that's enough to even make an argumentative local shake his head and smile.