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Cheers: Bees are a sweet addition to Big Rock Chophouse

Melody Baetens
The Detroit News

Many local chefs take the farm-to-table movement seriously and form strong relationships with local farmers. Some chefs even grow their own vegetables, herbs, etc. At Big Rock Chophouse in Birmingham, Chef Matt Fitchett is taking it even further with his own crop of honey bees.

The hive started out around 8,000 strong and has grown to around 20,000, he says. The bees are being used to pollinate the Big Rock’s garden, which has asparagus, strawberries, herbs, lavender and buckwheat. In turn, the bees’ honey will take on flavors of the garden.

It’ll be several weeks before the honey is harvested, but Fitchett says the plan is to have 30 pounds at the end of the summer season. He’ll jar some of it and the rest will be used to cook at the restaurant.

“We’re going to roast vegetables with it, glaze carrots,” says Fitchett. “Eric Voigt, our top notch pastry chef, he’s going to be making breads and all types of pastry glazes with it. We could also present honey in the raw with the comb as part of a cheese plate.”

An end-of-season harvest dinner is being planned, but on Tuesday Big Rock Chophouse is hosting a patio pollination party and wine tasting. The 6-8 p.m. event includes wine and hors d’oeuvres, and costs $25 (all inclusive). Tasters will also get 20 percent off their bill at Big Rock if they dine there after the event.

Big Rock Chophouse is at 245 S. Eaton in Birmingham. Call (248) 647-7774 for reservations.

Conde Nast: “Go to Detroit”

Conde Nast Traveler magazine recently listed Detroit on its list of 50 things to do in America and cited the city’s food scene. The blurb mentioned restaurants from fancy to casual, including Wright & Co. and Lafayette Coney Island. The magazine also gave props to Cafe d’Mongo’s, Dutch Girl Donuts, and Corktown businesses Gold Cash Gold and Rubbed.



Food & beverage events

Second Anniversary Celebration at Griffin Claw Brewing Company: Get your Griffin Claw growler filled for half price today through Sunday, plus other daily beer and spirit specials. Today-Sun. 575 S. Eton, Birmingham. (248) 712-4050.

Brew and the Burgh at Burgh Historical Park: A dozen craft beers, barbeque and live music from the Sun Messengers. 6-8:30 p.m. Tues. $20 in advance, $30 at the door (includes six 4-ounce samples). Civic Center Drive and Berg Road, Southfield. (248) 769-4620.

Essential Cooking with Ann Delisi and Chef Michael Metevia at Great Lakes Culinary Center: WDET personality Ann Delisi and edibleWOW magazine host a meaty four -course meal from Slow’s Bar BQ chef Michael Metevia. 6:30-9 p.m. Tues. $35. 24101 W. Nine Mile, Southfield. Buy tickets at wdet.com.

Summer Cointreau Cocktail Blues at Community House: The first of a summer series that pairs liquor with live jazz. On July 23 munch appetizers while learning about summer cocktails with Cointreau. On July 30 the star of the show is rum and Scotch and Aug. 6 it’s Cognac. 6-8 p.m. July 23, 30 and Aug. 6. $49 per event or $139 for the series. 380 South Bates, Birmingham. (248) 644-5832.

Big Grill Burger Bash at Royal Oak Farmers Market: Sample burgers from local restaurants and caterers and vote for your favorite. Tickets include samples of craft beer. 6:30-11 p.m. July 23. $55, $75 VIP. 316 E. 11 Mile, Royal Oak. thebiggrillburgerbash.com.

Michigan Brewers Guild’s 2015 Summer Beer Festival at Riverside Park: Sample from 800 products from 80 Michigan breweries at this popular annual beer fest. 5-9 p.m. July 24, 1-6 p.m. July 25. $35-$40 in advance, $40-$45 at the gate. W. Cross and N. Huron, Ypsilanti. michiganbrewersguild.org.

Ramen Battle at Slurping Turtle: Chef Takashi Yagihashi is celebrating the one-year anniversary of Slurping Turtle in Ann Arbor by challenging some of the most applauded chefs in the area to a ramen battle. Luciano Del Signore (Bacco), Andy Hollyday (Selden Standard), James Rigato (the Root), Eve Aronoff (Frita Batidos) and Slurping Turtle’s own Tadashi Nagura will try to win the favor of the guests by making the best ramen dish. The winning chef gets $2,000 to donate to a charity of his or her choice. The event also features hors d’oeuvres and an open bar. 5 p.m. July 26. $70. 608 E. Liberty, Ann Arbor. Buy tickets at http://conta.cc/1KHc9D2.

Hockeytown BrewHaHa Fowling and Feasting at Joe Louis Arena: Local and regional craft beer tasting paired with seasonal dishes, plus fowling with members of Detroit’s Fowling Warehouse. 6-10 p.m. July 31. $47.50. 19 Steve Yzerman Drive, Detroit. detroitredwings.com/brewhaha.

Ypsi-Arbor Beer Week: Some events in this week-long celebration include a Short’s rooftop garden party, pub crawl and brewery vs. brewery events. July 31-Aug. 7. Ypsilanti and Ann Arbor. visitypsinow.com/yabw.

Dine out for Hunger at Trattoria da Luigi: Dining profits will be donated to Gleaners Community Food Bank’s 2015 Hunger Free Summer, and Citizens Bank will double the fundraising effort. It’s also the restaurant’s two-year anniversary. 4-8 p.m. Aug. 3. 415 S. Washington, Royal Oak. (248) 542-4444.

Cider Dayze Festival at Blake’s Orchard and Cider Mill: This first festival features some of Michigan’s best hard cider makers, plus craft beer, bands and games like barrel races, apple bobbling, beer stein hold and more. Aug. 29 and 30. $30 one day, $45 both days (price goes up $5-$10 after June 29). $5 shuttle from Ferndale available. 17985 Armada Center Road, Armada. ciderdayze.com.

Melody Baetens