There's the totally bipolar weather. There are the little pointy green spears poking through the dirt in my front yard. There are sneezes all around wherever I go.  But there are other ways to tell it's spring in Utah.


1. Hell's Backbone Grill is open.

The deliciously revolutionary restaurant in Boulder, Utah opened for the season this week and for the first time owners Blake and Jen will be serving three meals a day. In spring a Utahn's fancy lightly turns to thoughts of red rock, as Alfred, Lord Tennyson sort of said, and that means, despite a few tardy snow showers in the forecast, most of us will be planning a trip southwards soon. There's no better destination than Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument (thank you, Bill Clinton) and no better food than at the Grill which perches right on the edge of it. Time for a road trip.

2. A craving for rosé wine

Will Bucklin, owner of Bucklin Old Ranch in Sonoma and maker of mighty and magical zinfandel, released a rosé last year that was like sunshine and chèvre and flowers in a bottle. At a recent Bucklin tasting at Pallet–a fabulous family style meal that included coq au vin, braised rabbit, mussels and frites–Will offered a sneak preview of this year's rosé (that's it in Francis Fecteau's hand, emitting a heavenly glow) and it was just as happy a wine as I remembered. Can't wait for it to hit the DABC shelves.

3. Ham time

Okay, this shot makes it look a little lonely, but imagine this with crusty bread, baby vegetables, fresh mozzarella...I know a lot of people eat ham for the holidays, but for me a perfect pink ham smells like spring and Creminelli Prosciutto Cotto from heritage hogs is the best. Order it here.