Who says all the news is lousy? Starting Thursday, the Hotel Ivy (201 S. 11th St., Minneapolis, starwoodhotels.com) is offering what downtown Minneapolis has been sorely missing: a daily afternoon tea service. Fifteen dollars buys a pot of loose-leaf tea and an array of snacks and sweets from the hotel's Porter & Frye restaurant; for $22, the bar will add a glass of sparkling wine or sherry. Hours are 3 to 5 p.m., in the hotel's subdued street-level lobby.A blast from the past
Adrienne Odom is back in town. The pastry chef, who made dining at the former Aquavit such a memorable experience -- and then did equally fine work at Solera and La Belle Vie -- has returned to the Twin Cities after a stint with her former Aquavit employers in New York City. Odom is celebrating her Minnesota homecoming with a one-night-only (March 22 at 7:30 p.m.) five-course dessert tasting menu at Cafe Maude's Armatage Room (5416 Penn Av. S., Minneapolis, thearmatageroom.com) that will start with a passionfruit curd-ricotta sorbet-tropical fruit carpaccio and end with a chocolate-caramel tart with an Earl Grey parfait; expect similarly elaborate deliciousness in between. Cost is $45 per person (with wine pairings); call 612-822-5411 for reservations.Spanish food and wine
At Solera (900 Hennepin Av. S., Minneapolis, solera-restaurant.com), chefs J.P. Samuelson and Tim McKee are kicking off a series of monthly wine dinners next Thursday with an evening showcasing flavors from Spain's Castilla y Leôn. Cost for the eight-course dinner (with wine pairings) is $55 per person; call 612-338-0062 for reservations.Deal of the week
Happy days are literally here again, as the happy hour is enjoying a resurgence in this down economy. One favorite is the early-bird rollicker at the Blue Door Pub (1811 Selby Av., St. Paul, thebluedoorpubmn.com). Every day from 2:30 to 5:30 p.m., the kitchen cranks out $2 baskets of fabulous salt-flecked fries or Tater Tots, and the bar pulls down $2 tap beers from the likes of Surly, Rush River, Lift Bridge and Summit breweries. Don't leave without indulging in a Juicy Blucy, the BDP's superb take on the iconic cheese-stuffed burger.