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Posted on Thu, Jan 24, 2013 : 8:31 a.m.

Ann Arbor food & drink calendar for the week of Jan. 24-31

By AnnArbor.com Staff

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Today
Venison Variety . 6:30-9:30 p.m. Ann Arbor Cooks, 5060 Jackson Road, Ann Arbor. When deer season ends, it brings the challenge of a full freezer and endless nights of venison chili. In this class you will learn how to get so much more out of this delicious lean protein. We'll revisit traditional (yet somehow forgotten) cooking techniques that bring out venison's best, and time-honored side dishes that complete the meal. We will explore cuts and cooking techniques so you'll have the skills to grill, sear, saute or braise with fantastic results. Menu: Native American venison chops with roasted winter vegetables and wild rice; Austrian braised venison shank stew with fresh noodles; Yukon mixed grill with sauteed vegetables and cheesy grits. $80. www.annarborcooks.com .

Pot Stickers Cooking Demo. 7 p.m. Dexter District Library, 3255 Alpine, Dexter. Chef Ming Louie shows how to make authentic Chinese pot stickers. The session includes hands-on practice and a chance to taste the finished food. Free. Preregistration required at 734-426-4477.

Thursday Night Rush Hour Relief at the Wine Bar. 5-8:30 p.m. Cranbrook Whole Foods, 990 W. Eisenhower Parkway, Ann Arbor, at the wine bar. Each Thursday evening, experts lead an exploration of wine, cheese and appetizers. This week’s topic: Charles Smith wines. $17. 734-997-7500.

Thursday and Friday
Ann Arbor Restaurant Week. During regular business hours. Various locations in downtown Ann Arbor. Extraordinary three-course dinner menus and fixed price fare lunch menus from Ann Arbor’s best restaurants. Experience cuisine that delights your palate and defines the art of dining in Ann Arbor. Now is your chance to discover new restaurants and enjoy favorites at a discounted price. Make reservations early at participating restaurants. Tables fill fast during this gastronomically great event, so make your reservations now. $15, with some two-for-one specials. See http://annarborrestaurantweek.com for a list of participating restaurants.

Friday
Sloppy Joe and Boston Cooler Night. 5-8 p.m. American Legion Post #419, 9807 Whitewood Road, Pinckney. Boston Coolers are $1, Sloppy Joe plates are $2 with additional Sloppy Joes for $1. For more information call 734-878-9522 or 734-341-4249.

Chef's Table. 7-10 p.m. Ann Arbor Cooks, 5060 Jackson Road, Ann Arbor. Instead of making your usual weekend restaurant reservations, join us for a different experience — an interactive evening where we do the cooking right in front of you with the area's finest local ingredients, sourced from our local farms and markets. You get to relax, socialize with fellow foodies, and watch as we prepare and serve your entire meal. Throughout the evening you will be at arm’s length of the chef and interaction is highly encouraged. You will receive a recipe packet to take home with you detailing the evening's entire menu. So come yourself, with a friend, or a group for a great evening of food, conversation, and so much more. Menu: Roasted baby chiogga beet, seared diver scallop, Meyer lemon beurre blanc, crispy pancetta; duck confit, gingered-pear rutabaga puree, decadent creamed local greens; pear three ways with ginger-spice crumble, honey brittle, burnt honey cream. You are welcome to bring wine to enjoy with your meal. $55. 734-645-1030 or www.annarborcooks.com.

Saturday
Rat Fest 2013.. 2-5 p.m. Corner Brewery, 720 Norris St., Ypsilanti. Each year we invite multiple homebrewing clubs to come demonstrate their brewing creativity on our 10-gallon brewing system, affectionately known as The Rat Pad. Clubs are encouraged to brew the most outrageous beers they can think of, for your drinking pleasure. This year’s RatFest has a few changes from past competitions. Each club will brew one beer that uses the same grain and yeast, but allows the brewers to get creative with their choice of hops and additional ingredients. The clubs will also be brewing three other beers that they’ve selected from a predetermined list of styles. Rat Fest attendees will be able to vote for their favorite beer, favorite group of beers, along with several other categories. Tickets are available over the phone at 734-480-2739 or in person at Corner Brewery.

Cake Decorating 101. 1-5 p.m. Ann Arbor Cooks, 5060 Jackson Road, Ann Arbor. In this hands-on class you will learn all the basics to cake decorating and you'll be able to create your own masterpiece at home! Class topics covered: Italian meringue buttercream, decorator's buttercream, cake slicing and layering, crumb-coating, filling/damming, smoothing/texturizing, borders, basket weaving, detail-piping, simple flowers and foliage. $75. www.annarborcooks.com.

Hot Chocolate. 10 a.m.-noon University of Michigan's Matthaei Botanical Gardens, 1800 N. Dixboro Road, Ann Arbor. Children and their parents are invited to explore the rich history of chocolate, learn about why we need to protect the ecology of the cacoa tree, and create chocolate treats. $8 per child includes materials and activities. 734-647-7600.

Home Espresso Workshop. 1-3 p.m. Zingerman’s Coffee Co., 3723 Plaza Drive, Ann Arbor. Get the most out of your home espresso machine. Learn more about what goes into making a cafe-quality espresso. We will start with an overview of the “4 Ms” of making espresso, followed by tasting, demonstrations and some hands-on practice. We will also cover some machine maintenance basics as time allows. This is a very interactive workshop and seating is limited to six people. $30. Register at 734-945-4711.

Power to the Pepper! 2-3 p.m. Cranbrook Whole Foods, 990 W. Eisenhower Parkway, Ann Arbor. Whole Foods Market introduces the Whole Trade Peppers. To celebrate, join us this afternoon and sample ready-to-eat foods featuring Whole Trade bell peppers and learn how these products improve lives. Free. 734-997-7500.

Paella Party! 6:30-10 p.m. Ann Arbor Cooks, 5060 Jackson Road, Ann Arbor. Grab a friend, a date, a group of friends, or just come yourself for a super fun evening as we travel to Spain. We will roll up our sleeves, tie on an apron, and start our journey with an assortment of tapas, make a mixed paella, and finish with marinated fruit on traditional flao - a Spanish olive oil crust pie. $75. www.annarborcooks.com.

Get in the Game Tasting. 1-5 p.m. Ann Arbor Whole Foods, 3135 Washtenaw Ave., Ann Arbor. Stop at our tasting station to sample some simply tasty ideas for the big game party next weekend. Free. 734-975-4500.

Saturday Farmers Market. 7 a.m.-3 p.m. Ann Arbor Farmers Market, 315 Detroit St., Ann Arbor. Find local produce and food from some of your favorite farmers as well as educational food demos and more. Free admission. Visit www.a2gov.org/market for more information.

Sunday
Country Breakfast. 8-11:30 a.m. American Legion Post #419, 9807 Whitewood Road, Pinckney. $6 for adults, $5 for seniorsm $3 for children 9 and under. 734-878-9522 or 734-341-4249.

Monday
Pastry Bootcamp I. 6-10 p.m. Ann Arbor Cooks, 5060 Jackson Road, Ann Arbor. The key to great bakingcomes down to solid technique and great ingredients. Join us for this intensive journey through the basics. Each class will feature a collection of techniques working with the very best ingredients from local purveyors. This class meets on consecutive Monday evenings. Class 1 (Jan. 28): Pastry fundamentals, tart dough, cake mixing and baking. Class 2 (Feb. 4): Custards, creams, mousse, ganache, and filling techniques. Class 3 (Feb. 11): Meringues, buttercreams, and finishing techniques. Class 4 (Feb. 18): Sugar work, chocolate decorations, sweet sauces. $325. www.annarborcooks.com.

Small Plates with Misty Callies. 6:30-9 p.m. Ann Arbor Whole Foods, 3135 Washtenaw Ave., Ann Arbor. Small plates from around the Mediterranean offer exciting flavors for little effort. Misty will create tortillitas con camarones (chick pea flour and shrimp pancakes), Greek-style giant beans with roasted peppers and olive oil, chard frittata, marinated mussels with Spanish chorizo, and Middle Eastern herbed potato patties with a garlicky yogurt sauce. This class is held in the Cooking and Lifestyles Classroom. $45. Register with Ann Arbor Community Education & Recreation at 734-994-2300 ext. 53203 or www.aareced.com.

Cocktail Class: Amaro Amore. 7:30 p.m. Live/The Last Word, 102 S. First St., Ann Arbor. Amaros are Italian bittersweet herbal liqueurs, and they're really intriguing, both on their own and in cocktails. We'll be exploring several different kinds, including Campari, Averna and Fernet Branca. This class, taught by Tammy's Tastings, is hands on, with lots of tasting opportunities. $35 in advance, $45 at the door. http://www.tammystastings.com/shop or 734-276-3215.

Milan Senior Nutrition Program. 11:45 a.m. Milan Senior & Community Activity Center, 45 Neckel Court, Milan. In partnership with the Washtenaw County Senior Nutrition Program, they offer a nutritionally balanced meal three afternoons a week: Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. There is a suggested donation of $2.50 for anyone who is 60 years or older and a fee of $5 for anyone under the age of 60. They do ask for 48 hour advanced reservations. Call or stop by the office.

Tuesday
Vino Value Wine Tasting. 7 p.m. Vinology Wine Bar & Restaurant, 110 S. Main St., Ann Arbor. This fun and exciting walk-around tasting is one of our most popular events of the year. Enjoy the atmosphere of the Bubble Room. $25. Events.vinology@gmail.com.

Wednesday
Cafe Japon Croissants with Miyoko Honma. 6-10 p.m. Ann Arbor Cooks, 5060 Jackson Road, Ann Arbor. Join Miyoko Honma, owner of Cafe Japon, as she teaches you in a hands-on format, her most amazing flaky, buttery pastries. She will show you the croissant-making process developed at Cafe Japon. You will leave knowing her methods for making the butter-layered dough to produce flaky and buttery croissants. Menu: Plain croissant; ham & brie croissant; pain au chocolat; apricot croissant; fruit croissant; almond croissant. $85. www.annarborcooks.com.

Potato Pancakes for the Gluten-Free Gourmet with Wendy Watson. 6:30-8:30 p.m. Ann Arbor Whole Foods, 3135 Washtenaw Ave., Ann Arbor. Enjoy tasting several batches of potato pancakes with different fillings. This is a simple dish but can be made into a variety of dishes by just adding different ingredients. They will contain eggs. A green salad with a homemade vinaigrette and a blueberry clafouti, adapted from a Julia Child recipe using gluten-free grains, help round out your meal. This class is held in the Cooking and Lifestyles Classroom. $45. Register with Ann Arbor Community Education & Recreation at 734-994-2300 ext. 53203 or www.aareced.com.

Wednesday Wine Tasting. 6 p.m. Paesano's Italian Restaurant, 3411 Washtenaw Ave., Ann Arbor. This informal wine tasting allows patrons to sample five up and coming wines from Italy. Joined by one of Paesano's knowledgeable wine purveyors, the staff creates tasty appetizers to accompany the bold flavors. $25. www.paesanosannarbor.com.

Thursday, Jan. 24
Comfort Foods Makeover. 6:30-9:30 p.m. Ann Arbor Cooks, 5060 Jackson Road, Ann Arbor. Enjoy the same nostalgic dishes mom used to make without packing on the pounds. Our recipes include nutritious and delicious alternatives to everyone's old-school favorites! Menu: Maple pecan and banana waffles; healthy macaroni and cheese; crispy oven-fried chicken; baked sweet potato fries with garlic & herbs; individual apple pies. $75. www.annarborcooks.com.

Right Brain Brewery Release Tasting with Owner Russel Springsteen. 7:30-8:30 p.m. Live/The Last Word, 102 S. First St., Ann Arbor. An epic evening tasting of tastes and talks with Right Brain Brewery owner Russel Springsteen. This tasting will celebrate the bottle release of Right Brain Brewery, an amazing brewery with a culinary focus in Traverse City, Michigan. Russel will lead us through a discussion of what Right Brain is all about, and then he will provide a discussion of each of the four beers in a course format. The tasting lineup will include mangalitsa pig porter - Right Brain's Great American Beer Festival gold medal winner. Guests will be treated to six-ounce samples of four beers and conversations with Russel Springsteen. $15. Purchase Tickets at The Produce Station or at http://www.localwineevents.com/events/detail/458674.

Thursday Night Rush Hour Relief at the Wine Bar. 5-8:30 p.m. Cranbrook Whole Foods, 990 W. Eisenhower Parkway, Ann Arbor, at the wine bar. Each Thursday evening, experts lead an exploration of wine, cheese and appetizers. This week’s topic: Michigan wines. $17. 734-997-7500.

To submit events for this calendar, e-mail calendar@annarbor.com.