Diners can travel the country without leaving Ferndale as Chef Rick Halberg brings flavors from each state to the tables at his Local Kitchen and Bar.
About six months ago, he started featuring one state each month by offering an a la carte menu boasting food that comes from and is inspired by one of the states. He's visited New England already and he's about to finish up the West Coast.
Halberg says he landed on this idea of showcasing different states because he wanted to show what "local" tasted like in other areas of the country.
"One main reason was to help define our restaurant not so much as a local Michigan, Detroit, Ferndale spot, but more of what's homey and local anywhere," he says. "That same feeling can be felt all over the world."
For March, Halberg is featuring Washington state with savory dishes from Seattle restaurants like smoked onion rings with jalapeno tartar sauce from Maritime Pacific Brewing Company ($8), roasted five-spice duck from Tom Douglas' Dahlia Lounge ($30), drunken chicken baguette from the Baguette Box ($12) and a salad with mint, oregano, lemon, tomato, chive, romaine and bacon from fine dining restaurant Canlis ($10). Dessert — sour cream apple cake ($7) — is the same recipe as Grand Central Baking, which has locations in Seattle and Portland.
Halberg — who says he's not sure which state he'll visit in April — also throws in a fixed-price four-course dinner. This month he takes diners to Oregon with a "Portlandia" dinner inspired by the comedy series of the same name.
The dining event, 7 p.m. March 24, starts off with pickled giardiniera and duck liver, followed by celery root ravioli, fried chicken with an herbed waffle and kimchee, and for dessert, cocoa cake. The "Portlandia" dinner is $48 per person.
To make reservations for the March 24 dinner or any other evening, call Local Kitchen and Bar at (248) 291-5650.
Jolly Pumpkin Pizzeria and Brewery will open with a casual, family-friendly atmosphere in Midtown next month. The Dexter-based company will have 32 taps and bottled beer, plus a wood-fired pizza menu and other locally-sourced, seasonal food.
Also opening soon, Chartreuse Kitchen and Cocktails will debut at 15 E. Kirby with farm-to-table dining and craft cocktails. As the name suggests, Chartreuse will serve vintage Chartreuse liqueur and many plant-based cocktails. Owner Sandy Levine (who also helms an Oakland craft cocktail lounge in Ferndale) has hired executive chef Doug Hewitt to oversee the menu of hot and cold plates that will include lamb, quail, octopus, walleye and local vegetables.
■Casual bar and restaurant chain Twin Peaks will open its first Michigan location at 1111 W. 14 Mile in Madison Heights next week. The schtick here is a sports lodge setting with hearty comfort food, extremely cold beer and young female servers who wear revealing outfits (kind of like Hooters, but the outfits here are even skimpier).
■Stuffed dough restaurant bozii has added a new location in the Renaissance Center food court, its fourth Metro Detroit location. It's open 6:30 a.m.-7 p.m. Mon.-Fri. and serves quiches, desserts and savory bozii-like Mediterranean quinoa, Maryland crab cake, and turkey and brie.
Food and beverage events
Anniversary Wine Dinner at the Whitney: A three-course meal with a glass of wine and champagne toast for $50, available Sun.-Thurs. throughout March. Start with either the Whitney salad or soup, followed by your choice of tenderloin, whitefish, potato encrusted chicken breast or grilled eggplant. Dessert is pastry accompanied by Frostbitten eiswein. 4421 Woodward, Detroit. (313) 832-5700.
Troy Restaurant Week: Look for lunch and dinner specials at 21 participating restaurants in Troy, including Bahama Breeze, Bonefish Grill, Kona Grill, Mon Jin Lau, Morton's Steakhouse, Shield's Restaurant Bar Pizzeria, the Melting Pot and more. Promotions run Sunday through March 20. Visit troyrestaurantweek.com to view menus.
St. Patrick's Day dinner at MGM Grand Detroit's Palette Dining Studio: Celebrate this Irish holiday with corned beef, a Reuben station, shepherd's pie, fish and chips, lamb stew and more. 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Tues. $23 until 4 p.m., then $28. 1777 Third, Detroit. (877) 888-2121.
Women's Power Happy Hour at Zenith in the Fisher Building: Mix and mingle with female business owners and other community leaders at this second annual event that includes cocktails, food and a silent auction at this hip Mexican restaurant. Proceeds go toward Gleaners Community Food Bank's goal of raising one million meals for children. (On April 22, Gleaners will also host the Women's Power Breakfast at Gleaners' Detroit Headquarters, 2131 Beaufait in Detroit.) 5:30 p.m. March 31. $85 and up. 3011 W. Grand Blvd., Detroit. womenspowerbreakfast.org.
Easter Dinner at MGM Grand Detroit's Palette Dining Studio: Easter dinner all day with carved ham, braised short ribs, Cobb salad, salmon and spinach risotto, eggs Benedict and more. 9 a.m.-10 p.m. April 5. $32. 1777 Third, Detroit. (877) 888-2121.
Savor Detroit at Great Lakes Culinary Center: Each night for five nights, two area chefs will team up for a unique four-course dinner with wine pairings. The upscale event presented by Hour Detroit kicks off April 27 with chefs David Seals Jr. of Due Venti and Guillaume Hazaël-Massieux of Bistro FouFou (Traverse City). On April 28 Marias' David Gilbert will join forces with La Feria's Pilar Barón-Hidalgo (this dinner is already sold out, but you can get on the wait list). April 29 is Paul Grosz of Cuisine and the Stand and Cafe Cortina's Ernesto Antopia, followed by Chris Franz of Rattlesnake Club and Justin Vaiciunas of Top of the Ponch on April 30 and Zack Sklar (Mex, Social Kitchen) and RJ Scherer (London Chop House) on May 1. Tickets, $125, can be purchased at savordetroit.com. 214101 W. Nine Mile, Southfield.