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Three Things to Eat: April 24–May1

It's spring, gosh darn it, and we're going to eat like it's sunny


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All the shades of pink on display at Solo Vino

Photo Courtesy of Solo Vino

Current state of mind: Oh my gosh! It's finally spring! This is amazing! Look at the grass growing! Trees are blooming! I see a dandelion! Hello, my sunny little yellow friend. Allow me to appreciate you before the sneezing comes. Oh, and there are patios! Let us live outside all of the days and dance like the noodle in a Grateful Dead/Shannon Hoon lullaby kind of way!

And then I looked at the forecast. Is that snow?! For the love of all that is sunny, why are we getting snow? What is this? Duluth?

OK, so ignore the dire predictions and join me by shoving our heads into the newly softened ground and declare that it is finally warm and spring, and no one is taking that away from us! These are the bites and sips to help us force open that stubborn bloom of spring and ignore the cold rain clouds. We will be warm and there will be sun and food and pink wine!

Sandcastle's Nokomis Dog at Lake Nokomis: One of the first few signs of spring are the new waterside restaurant openings: Seafood eatery Sea Salt opened recently and City House at Red River Kitchen is coming next week! For now, though, allow me to luxuriate in my favorite hot dog. Squishy bun, snappy meat tube, and a divinely creamy topping of coleslaw and teeny pickled red peppers shaped like the devil's teardrops. I adore Sandcastle's view, the water, the fun vibe—but most of all, this delicious hot dog.

Hola Arepa's classic breakfast arepa: Like the hearty Minnesota boys who have insisted on wearing cargo pants and Birkenstocks for a solid month now, I am baring my Elmer's Glue-colored legs and heading outside. I just need a restaurant patio brave enough to put out the chairs and serve me something tasty. Lucky for me, not only is Hola Arepa operated by two of my favorite badasses (who don't back down from any kind of challenge—including buying a strip club and turning it into an Asian street-food eatery), but it was also among the first to open its patio. Go check it out and see why theirs is one of the best places to dine outside in the metro area and why their brunch is second to none. The weather this Saturday looks tolerable, and nothing warms the heart better than great food.

Solo Vino's Rose Tasting: And if that isn't spring enough for you, tickets are now on sale for my absolute favorite annual warm-weather kick off, Solo Vino's Rose Tent Tasting. My sweet neighborhood liquor stop (that's right; it's MORE than solo vino—there's booze, too) also hosts a glorious one-day event where they pour hundreds of bottles of blush-colored wine. Not only is it the place to see and be seen by all the fooderatti; it's also an exquisite opportunity to find new favorite summer wines. This year, the party will be even bigger and even better (if that's possible. Honestly, every year I've laughed until my face ached). The event will be on Sunday, May 21, in the parking lot of the nearby St. Paul College. Erik Sather of Lowry Hill Meats will be on hand with a few other friends serving up tasty snacks. Tickets are $40 and available here.

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Minnesota Monthly's Taste Blog answers your restaurant and dining questions, dishes on latest discoveries, reflects on breaking news, and generally brings the plate to the page with a skilled crew of experts: Learn more about the Taste bloggers.

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