Category Archives: Wine

Shakeup at Bastone in Royal Oak

Bastone-Brewery-logo

By Jeffrey Buck

Bastone has always been known for their craft beer but they will be taking it to new heights this spring as they revamp their cluster of restaurants. Two city favorites, Commune Lounge and Café Habana will be closing their doors to make way for new comers Monk, a Belgian Beer Abbey, and Craft. Bastone Brewery will also be expanding to two levels.

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Monk will occupy the space formerly home to Café Habana for the past nine years. But don’t be to sad though as Union Brewery, LLC, the owners who have invested $300,000 to make the new spaces possible, have future plans for a new, bigger space elsewhere in Royal Oak for Café Habana.

“It wasn’t without hesitation that we closed Café Habana,” said David Ritchie, operating partner, Union Brewery, LLC. “Café Habana has always had very solid sales, but we decided to move forward with our plan to strengthen the Belgian theme that Bastone Brewery was built on.”

An expanded kitchen, new doorways, a new sit-down counter and flat screen TV’s will revamp the new space for Monk. The layout will feel similar but will feature new banquettes and tables flanked with lantern style lighting and wood reaching 10 feet high along its walls. Patrons will notice the largest change come nicer weather as Monk will feature a new outdoor patio along Fifth Street with 36 new seats.

The dinner only establishment will open at 4 p.m. daily. The beer list will include Bastone’s craft beers along with an extensive selection of bottled Belgian beer and french wines. The menu will focus on chef-created burgers, mussels, frites, and waffle sandwiches.

CRAFT-final

The lower level of the building, formerly Commune Lounge, will be a step back in time as it captures the look and feel of the 1970s. The new concept, Craft, will create a space with inspiration from vintage record players, bicycles, Edison bulbs, wood panels and will feature a wall of old speakers behind the bar. A new stage will offer live music on Wednesday and Thursdays. Both Friday and Saturday nights will continue to welcome a DJ.

“We want it to embody the craft of musicians as well as the craft of beer, spirits and unique cocktails,” said David Ritchie.

Bastone beer will still flow from the taps along with an array of other craft beer cocktails, craft spirits and absinthe.

The expansion of Bastone will see six tables added to the main floor and a second level that will overlook the bar and have a capacity of 20. Vinoteeca Wine Bar will not see any changes except to its menu which will be new sometime this year.

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Royal Oak Restaurant Week returns for its third year

March 1 – 10, 2013

By Jeffrey Buck

Tomorrow is the start of Royal Oak’s Restaurant Week featuring several of its well known food and drink landmarks. The 10-day long celebration kicks off its third year with an expanded list of 25 Royal Oak establishments representing all kinds of styles. This years group will be offering three-course dinner menus with tier-level pricing; $15, $25 and $35 per guest (excluding tax and gratuity). A select number of participating restaurants will also be offering a lunch option as well. This years group includes:

  • 526 Main
  • Andiamo
  • Bastone
  • Blackfinn American Saloon
  • Café Habana
  • Cafe Muse
  • Cantina Diablos
  • D’Amatos Restaurant
  • Fifth Avenue
  • Gemmayze Lebanese
  • Lily’s Seafood Grill & Brewery
  • Lockhart’s BBQ
  • Oak City Grille
  • O’Tooles
  • Oxford Inn
  • Pizzeria Biga
  • Pronto!
  • The Rock on 3rd
  • The Royal Oak Brewery
  • Star Lanes Restaurant & Sports Bar at Emagine Royal Oak
  • Tom’s Oyster Bar
  • Town Tavern
  • Vinotecca
  • Woody’s Diner
  • Zumba

For more information on the week as a whole or any of the participating restaurants, visit royaloakrestaurantweek.com. A map of the locations of participating restaurants can be found by clicking here. Reservations are not required but highly recommended.

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40th Annual Noel Night

NoelNight2012_2c

By Jeffery Buck

Hoping the rain holds off, Saturday is sure to be a fun night in Detroit. Midtown Detroit’s Cultural Center Area will play host to the 40th Annual Noel Night. The one night event will be open free to the public from 5:00 pm to 9:30 pm in numerous venues including the newly renovated Detroit Historic Museum, the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Detroit Public Library, only to name a few. With plenty of music, dancing, shopping and food; there will be plenty to enjoy with family and friends.

The main footprint of activities that will take place can be found between Cass Avenue & John R Street (run north and south) and Kirby Street & Willis Avenue (run east and west). There will be free shuttles available for transportation between venues and parking can be found in area lots. Noel Night will feature over 120 acts performing music, theatre and dance. The night will feature special performances by:

The Ahn Trio
Irma Thomas
The Good Lovelies
The Wiyos
Thronetta Davis
and many more

With so much to do and see please find below links to a Noel Night schedule and map to help prepare you for Saturday’s festivities!

Noel Night Schedule
Noel Night Map

Noel Night is produced by Midtown Detroit, Inc., a nonprofit community development organization that supports economic growth in Detroit’s Midtown district. For additional information visit their website by clicking here.

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The Ahn Trio | 40th Annual Noel Night

The Ahn Trio | 40th Annual Noel Night

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Irma Thomas | 40th Annual Noel Night

Irma Thomas | 40th Annual Noel Night

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The Good Lovelies | 40th Annual Noel Night

The Good Lovelies | 40th Annual Noel Night

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Labor Day Weekend Fun

By Jeffrey Buck

Looking for something fun to do this Labor Day Weekend? Look no further, here is a handful of ideas to get you outside and enjoying the long weekend! Leave a comment below if you have any other suggestions for readers looking for some fun.

  1. Detroit Jazz Festival– Several downtown Detroit blocks will be taken over this weekend for the 33rd annual Detroit Jazz Festival. 100 acts will perform on five stages over the four day jam session. Music is not the only thing visitors will enjoy with offerings such as educational activities for both children & adults and fireworks.
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    Dates: Friday, Aug. 31 through Monday, Sept. 3. Hours: Fri. 4-11 p.m. | Sat. & Sun. 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. | Mon. Noon to 8:30 p.m. Admission: FREE
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  2. Ford Arts, Beats & Eats – Downtown Royal Oak will once again be rocking as Ford Arts, Beats & Eats celebrates its 15th year. Visitors this year have choices to make as more than 200 artists perform on ten stages and several local restaurants dish out some fantastic cuisine. Oh and don’t forget to stoll around and taken in all of the art!
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    Dates: Friday, Aug. 31 through Monday, Sept. 3. Hours: Fri. to Sun. 11:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. | Mon. 11:00 a.m. to 9 p.m. Admission: Fri: Free until 5 p.m., $5 after | Sat. to Mon. $3 until 5 p.m., $5 after
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  3. Tigers Home Stand – In what could be one of the most important series of the entire season, the division leading Chicago White Sox travel to Comerica Park this weekend to take on the Detroit Tigers. Sunday’s day game time was recently changed to 8:06 p.m. because it was selected as ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball game.
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    Dates & Times: Friday, August 31 @ 7:05 p.m. | Saturday, Sept 1 @ 7:05 p.m. | Sunday, Sept. 2 @ 8:06 p.m. Admission: Varies, visit tigers.com
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  4. Michigan Renaissance Festival – It’s that time of the year again! You can go as you are or you can dress up in your best Renaissance outfit. Throw tomatoes, watch full contact jousting or bite into a big juicy turkey leg. There are games, food and music for all ages!
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    Dates: Open Weekends & Labor Day, Plus Friday Sept. 14 Hours: 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. | Rain or shine Admission: Varies, Adults: $20.95 | Child: $11.95
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  5. Great Lakes State Fair -The Suburban Collection Showplace plays host to a tradition that’s been absent from the state. Moving north and taking on a different name Michigan agriculture will be the center of attention once again at this weekends Great Lakes State Fair. There will be Michigan made products on display, livestock & agriculture areas, beer gardens and much more.
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    Dates: Friday, August, 31 through Monday, September 3. Hours: Varies, Fri. – Sun. 8 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.| Mon. 8:00 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission: Varies, Adults $6-$25 | Children $5-$20
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Mario Batali dishes on Pure Michigan

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By Jeffrey Buck

World-famous chef Mario Batali is a part-time Michigander and loves to cook with ingredients and produce grown in our great state. He shared his tips and recipes with Pure Michigan this year and gave a list of his top must-see destinations in the state this summer. Take advantage of his vast knowledge this Labor Day with one of his three recommendations!

  1. Piadina with Michigan Cherries, Bologna & Raclette – A piadina is a type of traditional flatbread found in Italy that is stuffed with every conceivable filling. The dough is easy to make and once lightly grilled is layered with raclette, bologna and topped with fresh Pure Michigan cherries. Quick and delicious!
  2. Michigan Walleye in Prosciutto with Pesto Fregola – So delicious, with crisp, salty, porky prosciutto enveloping the fresh Michigan Walleye. Refrigerating the fish before cooking it helps make its “shirt” of prosciutto adhere. Nutty, flavorful fregola tossed with pesto adds another dimension to this flavorful Walleye recipe.
  3. Beef Braciole “Pinwheel-style” – All the lusty flavors of braciole wrapped up in a butterflied tenderloin with Italian Caciocavallo, Bella Fortuna Restaurant’s sliced Artisanal salami and Michigan dried cherries–the results are spectacular. This dish is so good it’s sure to become a family-favorite recipe.

And be sure to visit Mario’s must-see destinations in northern Michigan!

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After Hours Summer Zoomance

Detroit Zoo

By Jeffrey Buck

Those of you 21-and-older who missed the first Summer Zoomance shouldn’t be upset. You have a second chance! The Detroit Zoo’s second Summer Zoomance is scheduled for Thursday, August 23rd from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., rain or shine.

Guests will enjoy a twilight stroll of their favorite award-winning animal habitats while enjoying food and adult beverages, which can be purchased at Zoo concessions. The event will feature free tram tours, music from the Sun Messsengers, animal enrichment and zookeeper talks. Admission for all guests is $10 in advance and $12 at the gate. As always, Detroit Zoological members will be offered free parking. Parking for non-members will be $5. Tickets can be purchased online in advance at www.detroitzoo.org.

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Go French After Four

By Mike Fossano


Cuisine restaurant is preparing to serve up an all-new, weekday cocktail hour that includes small plates, appetizers and drink specials.

Go French After Four commences Friday at the French-American restaurant and will feature several highlighted items, including tuna tartare on risotto cakes, lobster crab croquette, cheddar and brie Mac and Cheese drizzled with truffle oil along with a selection of artisanal cheese trays, mini salads and the soup du jour. Hors d’oeuvres are priced from $3 to $8.

© Chrystal Johnson, Berg Muirhead and Associates

The French Kiss martini, the bistro’s calling card beverage, will be featured during the new cocktail hour. The New Center restaurant counts numerous wines from vineyards around the world in its repertoire, along with a full bar.  Beers will run between $2 and $3, and mixed drinks and wine will be between $5 and $6. Continue reading

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