During a blustery winter day, I rationalized it’s OK to feed my chocolate jones if I eat a salad first.

Wussow’s Concert Cafe, known for its music and community offerings, has a big menu with an even more enticing dessert display. So, I opted for their Smoked Trout Wild Rice Salad and Becca’s Favorite Brownie.

The salad was as pleasing to the eye as it was to the taste buds.

The marinated carrots and onion slivers a zingy complement to large shredded shards of Northern Waters Smokehaus trout. Its freshness hit a longing for warmer climes on a sun-soaked Duluth deck.

The Melby wild rice is curly, earthy and cool to the tongue. And a small pile of soaked kale with dried cranberries was delicious enough to convert this former kale outcrier.

The Cranberry Vinaigrette is rich and warming with a subtle and slow nip. The Maple Mustard thick, seed-speckled and perfectly savory. Both have their own charms, and I left nothing in the dressing tins.

Becca’s Favorite Brownie, named after a cafe barista, is flakey goodness on the outside and moist richness on the inside, without the bells and whistles of frosting.

On this menu, you’ll find a mix of veggie, vegan and meaty. Also, gluten-free pizza crust and bread to boot. Prices run $5-$15, with apps, drinks and a kids' menu.

Local art lines the walls of the cafe along with a chalkboard of the week’s entertainment and a stage with a mural backdrop of artists like Jimi Hendrix and Patsy Cline.

Snuggled into a front booth, I had a perfect wintry view of Gannucci's Italian Market and the West Theatre. Passersby and cars trudged through the snowy street, as pillowy chunks zig-zagged from the sky.

Nearby, a couple shared a muffin with their curly-haired granddaughter. They all ended up in my booth, chatting about the Boundary Waters. While warmer days may lie ahead, there’s plenty of sunshine inside this local spot.

Wussow’s Concert Cafe

324 N. Central Ave.

218-624-5957

wussows.com