Best Bets of July


Can it be a treat if it’s fat free, 29 calories per ounce, gluten-free, and probiotic (good for the gut)? Swirlberry, the Michigan-based soft-swirl frozen yogurt company, says yes. The real, dairy-made, artisan-crafted dessert is sold at six metro locations, plus Lansing and Ann Arbor. Choose from among 11 flavors, including acai energy, pink lemonade sorbet, mango sorbet, peanut butter, and latte. (We sampled the deep chocolate, and thought it tasted like a fudgesicle.) Visit for locations.




As a product name, Fire Wire has macho appeal. As a cooking tool, it’s all about convenience. Stainless-steel Fire Wires are the new generation of kebab skewers. Unlike rigid sticks, the wire bends, meaning that once it’s loaded with meat and vegetables, it can be coiled into a Ziploc bag or dish for marinating. Flexibility also allows it to be positioned on a round barbecue grill in an arc shape, making better use of space. It’s also dishwasher safe. $9.99, at This Is It Shop, West Bloomfield; 248-737-2377,




It’s the centenary of the birth of Gypsy jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt, so it’s fitting that Hot Club of Detroit, Reinhardt’s strongest local disciples, should release a new CD, It’s About That Time, on Mack Avenue Records. Reinhardt’s bouncy “Duke and Dukie” is infectious and impeccably performed. But the band is expanding its scope by including tunes by Charles Mingus, Miles Davis, and several penned by the group, the most fetching being the leisurely “Papillon.”
At music stores or




Warman’s Shoes Field Guide, by Birmingham native and professional art appraiser Caroline Ashleigh, is a chock-full little resource detailing the history and price of shoes — from collectible to celebrity to contemporary. Look for ’70s platforms, ’60s mod- print pumps, and embroidered shoes from the 1940s with heels as chunky as this book. $14.99, at booksellers


To coincide with the exhibit Through African Eyes: The European in African Art, 1500-Present, the Detroit Institute of Arts’ gift shop is offering several handmade items by African artists. This “animal drinking bowl” from Kenya is carved out of mahogany and hand-painted by Kamba craftsmen, and can be used for candy, nuts, coins, keys, or other items. The exhibit runs through Aug. 8. $60 at the DIA, 5200 Woodward, Detroit; 313-833-7900,





The cloudy-white liquid in the clear bottle looks like milk, but just don’t mistakenly pour UV Coconut Vodka over your Wheaties. The latest in the line of Minneapolis-based Phillips Distilling Co.’s UV flavored vodkas, the coconut version can   replace rum for a fresh take on the piña colada, or sipped on the rocks. UV Coconut Vodka is distilled four times (many vodkas settle for three), resulting in more purity, and there’s no cloying corn syrup in it, only cane sugar from Florida. And it’s only 30-percent alcohol. About $12.99/750-ml bottle at spirits retailers.



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