BEST SIGN OF SPRING Minneapolis 2005 -
As the snow banks recede and the T-shirts and shorts start to come out, most Minnesotans begin the yearly trek to the nursery to get their recently thawed hands on a vanful of colorful annuals. But it's often too early to plant those little suckers, since even the hardiest of plants will shrivel up at the first sign of frost. (On average, the last-frost date in the Twin Cities is May 9.) But we're not always ones to rely on the Farmer's Almanac or our local meteorologists to tell us the weather. It's often better to rely on the senses, and the nose always knows when spring has finally sprung: All of 38th Street East smells like it's been slathered in Ted Cook's BBQ sauce. The effluvia of dead fish and thawing goose poop hangs over the city streets like a storm cloud. Grand Avenue in St. Paul is like an open curry market, while the wafting smoke of grilled steak along Nicollet Avenue makes even a vegan's stomach rumble. Finally, after devouring the foods of the Twin Cities (minus a stinky dead fish or two), it's time to stock up on combination planters and coleus.