I Wish Lessons’ professionally guided classes convene in various venues throughout Chicago, Boston, DC, and Detroit, uniting and educating like-minded learners in vibrant social settings. The company’s hundreds of teachers have educated countless learners while introducing them to new friends and planning private events, including birthday parties and baby showers. Classes broach a multitude of engaging, lighthearted subjects, such as beer and bacon pairing, scotch tasting, cupcake decorating, and sushi rolling.
A brick oven imbues each of Luigi’s Restaurant’s pizzas with a distinct flavor and crispy crust. Chefs adorn these bubbling hot discs with 20 toppings that range from veggies such as jalapeños and mushrooms to meaty morsels of hamburger and pepperoni. They also handcraft their own spinach ravioli, meatballs, soups, lasagna, and abstract finger paintings. Servers deliver these lovingly prepared meals to tables, which populate an intimate dining room decorated with framed photographs.
When German immigrants founded the breweries that eventually became Frankenmuth Brewery in 1862, they knew one thing for sure about beer: “It’s good for you.” This motto still steers the brewery today, which operates out of a four-story, 28,000-square-foot building where brewmasters engineer pilsners, hefeweizens, and other beers. Exposed brick and ample brewing equipment dot Frankenmuth’s dining room, where hand-tossed pizzas join Bavarian-style bratwursts with caraway-seed sauerkraut on a menu of hearty pub food. On warm days, an outdoor patio seats up to 250 diners who can admire the Bavarian Belle riverboat as it barrels up the Cass River, then duck inside for a free brewery tour. Frankenmuth Brewery distributes its signature root beer and beers by the keg, bottle, and dewdrop throughout Michigan and across the country.
St. Julian is Michigan’s oldest, largest and most awarded winery. This family-owned winery, founded by Mariano Meconi in 1921, is nestled in the picturesque fruit-growing region along the southern shore of Lake Michigan. Today, grandson, David Braganini, has adopted the family tradition of wine making.
Named Best Neighborhood Bar in 2010 by Real Detroit Weekly, Muldoon’s whets whistles and stuffs bellies with a full bar and extensive menu. Flanked by celery and blue cheese, buffalo wings ($10.95 for 20 pieces) take flight over wide-open plate prairies. Served in warm pita stuffed with tomatoes, onions, and four pieces of succulent lamb, gyros come with a side of cucumber sauce ($5.95). Drink specials such as $5 Jager bombs on Friday and Saturday nights, and $2.75 Long Island iced teas all day on Wednesdays help wash meals down while live music and karaoke entertain ears. Under the soothing hum of a flock of HD televisions, quarrelling coworkers can settle lingering thermostat disputes over a game of pool or darts or prune their synapses with a round of video trivia.
Leaf, Barley & Vine specializes in facilitating locals with the tools they need to live the good life: fine food, rich wine, and high-end cigars. Explore the expansive wine menu, showcasing more than 75 vineyard vintages from around the world, sold by the glass ($5–$21) or the bottle ($16–$142). The epicurean hosts serve upscale spirits and mindfully mixed specialty cocktails, including the Ceasar Ritz, which combines gin, St. Germain elderflower liquor, cucumber, and mint ($8–$10). Build a food nest for wine to roost in with a seasonal snack from Leaf, Barley & Vine's bistro-style menu, featuring items such as lobster pot pie ($15), cheese plates ($11), and a delicate galette made with caramelized pears, brown butter, fresh thyme, and blackberry sake sauce ($7). Although this Groupon cannot be used to purchase cigars ($6–$17), this pleasure palace has a substantial collection of more than 60 smoking sticks, as well as a separate cigar lounge with its own ventilation system, a TV, and gaggle of stogie-fans desperate to end America's embargo against the island nation of Greenland.