Side Dish: Nine things you need to know about metro Detroit dining this week

Food truck rally — Some Novi office workers will have plenty to choose from this Thursday, when a half-dozen food trucks show up at Haggerty Corridor Corporate Park. The lunchtime rally is hosted by Northern Equities Group, and will feature such food trucks as Hero or Villain, Norma G's, the Rolling Stoves, Smoke Ring BBQ, Stockyard, and Treat Dreams. They'll park up 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. June 25, in the parking lot of the Art Institute of Michigan, 28125 Cabot Dr., Novi. Can't make it? There are more to come, scheduled for Aug. 14 and Sept. 29.

Tasting the unseen — The senses of taste and smell are deeply intertwined, but what happens when they don't get an assist from our sense of sight? That's the idea behind an unusual dinner being held in Pontiac this week. It's called "Dining in the Dark Detroit," and it's a three-hour, four-course candlelit dinner prepared by chef Travis Waynick of the Rochester Tap Room. Masked guests will enjoy the gourmet meal without seeing it, and discuss the experience afterward at a cash bar featuring Tito's Handmade Vodka. It certainly sounds extraordinary, the only dinner where the bill of fare comes with a blindfold. Dinner is 7-10 p.m. on Thursday, June 25, at Menagerie Kitchen, 31 N. Saginaw St., Pontiac; $69; seating is limited to 50; see for reservations.

Wine down after work — The After 5 Social club is hosting a wine and beer tasting at Crane's on Broadway this week. Guests can expect cheese and fruit trays, live music, board games, and, of course, wine and beer. It happens 5-7 p.m. Wednesday, June 24, at 1555 Broadway, Detroit; 313-373-8779; $5.

A brunch, a bus, Bloody Marys, and beer — This weekend offers a great way to hit the road and responsibly enjoy adult beverages: "Brunch, Bloodys & Breweries." You arrive at 12:30 p.m. to check in at M-Brew, where you'll enjoy a Michigan-sourced brunch and a 16-ounce Michigan Mary. The brunch will feature a build-your-own eggs Benedict bar, poached eggs, breakfast potatoes, mini-cinnamon rolls, choice of sliced baguette, house-made biscuit, or a bed of sautéed kale, choice of house-smoked ham, smoked salmon, or chorizo patty, and more. After this spread, at 1:30 p.m., the group will board a bus bound for two Detroit breweries: Atwater Brewery, where guests will get a full tour, and Brew Detroit, where several craft brewers are using the 68,000-square-foot facility to expand their capacity. At 4:30, guests will be bused back to M-Brew, where there will be specials on Atwater beer. Your whole day, the whole drive, all planned for you. It all happens 12:30-5 p.m. Saturday, June 27; $85 plus fee; must be 21 or older to attend; for tickets, see

Cornucopia of words — It's really a literary event, but there is food: It's the Good-Tyme Writer's Buffet. It's a reading disguised as a neighborhood potluck, with several of the writers bringing dishes along with their manuscripts. The readings max out at about 10 minutes, and almost any donation will get you a cold glass of beer. It's probably the best literary event in town, with the occasional wonderful dish as well. Special guest will be Andy Mozina of Kalamazoo. The event starts around 7 p.m. (but usually later) Saturday, June 27, at 3309 Caniff Ave., Hamtramck; 313-405-7665;

Vodka and tonic — The Tonic & Juice pop-up for June takes place this week, and the theme is a fitting one for summertime: the sun. Menu consists of a sweet and a savory waffle, and herbal teas. Wear an all-white outfit with gold for $1 off a waffle of your choice, and the wearer of the "most beamin fashion of the day" gets a free meal. There will also be a design-your-own Bloody Mary bar. It takes place 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, June 27, at Our/Detroit, 2545 Bagley Ave., Detroit;

Steampunk café — One of our MT restaurant reviewers, Aaron Egan, isn't just a writer; he's a chef. And this week offers a chance to sit down to a meal of his making. He's part of the POP series of pop-ups above Checker Bar in downtown Detroit, and he'll be serving an a la carte menu featuring a variety of creative meatballs (barbecue, lamb, and turkey), Saratoga potato chips with cheddar sauce, chicken, lamb, and vegetable curries, roasted garlic risotto, and more. It's 7-11 p.m. Thursday, June 25, on the second floor at 124 Cadillac Square, Detroit. Also at the venue this week is a co-production of 2100 Catering and the Abreact Theatre: a three-course meal accompanied by monologues by Eric Bogosian, read by such talented Detroit actors as Joel Mitchell, Mike McGettigan, and Adam Barnowski. That starts at 7 p.m. Saturday, June 27. See for details for both events.

Foretaste of Gray — One of the most anticipated restaurants slated to open this year is Mabel Gray, the place chef James Rigato and partner Ed Mamou are opening in the old Liza's Place at 23825 John R Rd. The space is still being gutted for new construction, but there's a chance to sample what's cooking: Hamtramck's Revolver space has announced a Mabel Gray dinner cooked by Rigato. It's scheduled for Thursday, July 30, and reservations should be on sale soon. See for upcoming dinners.

Most poppingest pop-up — Most pop-up spaces have an event or two each week, but we might have to change our ideas of what's normal after seeing the lineup at Yemans Street this week. Within the space of one week, they're having four events, Local Kitchen and Bar's Jared Bobkin on June 25, Reva Constantine and Elijah Smith on June 26, Big Rock Chophouse's pastry chef Eric Voigt on June 27, and chef Eric Sanderson on June 30. That's a heady schedule for any space, and kudos to Matt and Corrie Tinker for setting the pace. For more information and reservations, see

Know of any upcoming dining, drinking, or gardening events? Let us know! Email [email protected].

About The Author

Michael Jackman

Born in 1969 at Mount Carmel hospital in Detroit, Jackman grew up just 100 yards from the Detroit city line in east Dearborn. Jackman has attended New York University, the School of Visual Arts, Northwestern University and Wayne State University, though he never got a degree. He has worked as a bar back, busboy,...
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