The thing about the North is that the minute we hit full bloom, the race begins. As of this weekend, you have now entered battle mode for every second of gorgeous dappled sunlight and lilac-scented breeze. It is your gift and your curse that you will now try to cram every bit of outdoor living and loving into any spare second you can grab. Here, allow me to facilitate with a giant sausage fest, a beer for roller coasters, and a foodist 4-mile run that ends with full-sized chocolate bars. And that's besides the rosé tastings and parking lot parties. I'll keep saying it: I love this tribe.
>> There's a whole new way to get cheezy at the MOA, The Cheese Brothers (Eric Ludy and Gene Graf are brothers not by birth, but by cheese) have opened a retail shop selling cheese treasures from the our neighboring Great Dairy State. Their cheeses are all natural, hand crafted in small batches, and come with a bit of sass: check out Uncle Ched which is a medium cheddar that's been grilled on a wood fire.
>> The most important thing you should know about today's opening of Hub City Cafe in the former Cupcake on University, is that I will now be able to get a cuppa coffee with a ginormous face-sized T-Rex cookie every Saturday morning on my way to radio. And you can too.
>> Cook St. Paul is opening for Sunday dinner and it's not gonna be mashers and fish stix, chums. Eddie Wu and his chef Taelyn Lang are finally committing one night a week to Korean cooking, and it starts this Sunday. The menu will consist of Korean small plates that are meant to go well with drinks, and will run from 5-10pm.
>> St. Paul's Lee & Dee's BBQ Express has closed, which is sad. But there are rumors afoot that the ladies are looking to relocate and reopen, so there's a bit of barbecue chicken dinner dreams still floating above us.
>> Up-Down arcade bar should open in June in LynLake, in the former Eye of Horus location next to Szechuan Spice. Sporting some 50 retro arcade vids (yes fellow oldsters, our glorious high scores on Caterpillar now qualifies us as retro) the spot will likely draw a good-time crowd for the gaming and loads of craft beer and drinks. Sounds like a good yin to Volstead's yang.
>> Stewart Woodman is back in town and helming the kitchen at Lela in Bloomington.
>> Guy Fieri was filming Diners Drive-Ins and Dives in town this week, and I got to sit in on the session at Prairie Dogs in LynLake. Also, he was topless. #clickbait
>> World Cocktail Day is today at The Unofficial (and every day at my house). All day, specialty cocktails such as the blackberry daiquiri and the Tomatermelon (Fresh-pressed watermelon, tomato water, basil syrup, lime juice and Hendrick's) are only $5!
>> Today is the 40th season opener for Valley Fair, and THIS is the year you're going to master your fear over Steel Venom. Know why? Because Shakopee brewery Badger Hill has brewed a special beer, High Roller Extra Park Ale, now available at the park. You'll find this easy drinking liquid courage at a few locations around the park, with tap handles made from reclaimed High Roller coaster parts.
>> Think of it as your pre-Art-a-Whirl-gaming, Stanley's Beer and Bacon Fest kicks off this Saturday at the popular craft beer bar in NE. There will be bacon, there will be beer, there will be live music and a mechanical hog and drum lessons. What could go wrong?
>> There's not much wrong with a four mile run in the name of food. You can still sign up for Saturdays Foodie 4Mile to support the opening day of the NE Farmers Market and support the Food Groups Harvest for the Hungry program. Celebrate your finish with one of the highest quality spreads on the race circuit: cold press coffee, muesli parfait, and full-sized chocolate bars.
>> It's a sausage party, but one I'm going to support. Best of the Wurst is happening at Sociable Ciderwerks on Sunday and there will be wiener chefs of all genders competing for the top prize. Live music, tons of cider and beer, and all the little jimmy samples you can spear with a toothpick for $35.
>> Rosé is the THING right now, yeah? We've already hyped Solo Vino's big rosé tasting under the tent on Sunday, but there's also a smaller tasting out at Wine Republic in Excelsior on Saturday. And if you hit up Henry & Son's wine shop after the Mpls. Farmers Market on Saturday, you might get a sip of some special pink.
>> Don't forget to gear up and get tickets for the Tastemakers event on May 25 with all the New Classics winemakers coming to town. We'll have sampling from all these cutting-edge California winemakers with a panel discussion about where wine is going. A very appropriate pregame would be to also book tickets to a special winemakers barbecue at Corner Table on May 23.