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Omnivore Food Blog By Suzanne Podhaizer

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October 2008

October 16, 2008

Small "All Fired Up" Update

As you may already know, it seems that the more-than-100-year-old building that housed All Fired Up Tavern in Barre was a total loss, and has been torn down.

As far as I've seen, the best guess as to the cause of the fire is that it started in or around one of the wood-fired pizza ovens, but that hasn't yet been confirmed by the fire department.

I'll let you know if I learn more.

Here's a Times Argus article with lots of details about the process of fighting the fire.

October 15, 2008

"All Fired Up Tavern" on Fire, literally

I was dismayed to learn that All Fired Up Tavern in Barre, which got a snazzy face-lift and an updated menu just one year ago, caught on fire this morning. Apparently, firefighters throughout the region are working together to battle the blaze. The good news, if that is possible, is that so far, they believe nobody has been hurt.

So far, October has been a crazy restaurant month, what with Smokejacks closing, a marijuana bust at Chez Claudine, and now this.

Now, here's something strange to chew on...Many of the local restaurants that have caught fire in the recent past have had a flame-related word in the name, or a picture of fire in their logo. Case in point:

All Fired Up Tavern
The Rotisserie (fire in the logo)
Five Spice Cafe (fire-breathing dragon in the logo)


October 13, 2008

In Case You Missed It...Hardwick in the NY Times

When a  Vermont restaurant or farm makes its way into the Dining & Wine section of the New York Times, it's cause for celebration. Last week, a bunch of businesses in the Hardwick area made the grade. In her article "Uniting Around Food to Save an Ailing Town," part-time Vermont resident Marian Burros tells the story of the Center For an Agricultural Economy, and how it is working to create a model of viable agriculture centering around high quality products and good business practices. 

Want to read more? Interestingly enough, I wrote about a similar topic in early September, after spending an exhilarating few days visiting a slew of businesses in Hardwick, Greensboro and Craftsbury, including Vermont Soy, Claire's Restaurant and Bar, Jasper Hill Farm and Pete's Greens.

Here are links to my articles: Hungry Hardwick and a review of Claire's.

October 01, 2008

RIP Smokejacks

When I arrived at the office this morning, I was greeted by my phone's blinking message light and a pair of emails informing me that Smokejacks (on the corner of Church and Main in Burlington), had closed, presumably for good, last night.

Political columnist Shay Totten saw some of the crew "drowning their sorrows" at the OP, and Seven Days staffer Colby Roberts reported that there's a big "for rent" sign on the restaurant's window. On Facebook, at least one employee has changed her status to indicate that she is now unemployed.

I'm working on getting the scoop, but for now, thought I should let people know.

I've got a personal connection to Smokejacks because it was where my husband and I had our first dinner date (pan-seared tuna with cucumber "noodles" and a pepper cracker, duck, a smoked pork chop, and lots of fun). Needless to say, the closing makes me pretty sad. I don't know what went wrong, but it's one of the few times in recent memory that Burlington has lost a real restaurant institution; one that was localvore before there was a word for it.

I hadn't eaten there since the new owner took over, so I can't say what the food has been like for the past few months, but my experiences at Smokejacks over the last few years were a (mostly positive) mixed bag. I occasionally tried something that seemed a bit too busy or was oversalted, but I also had some wonderful, unforgettable food. It was the first place a tried Humboldt Fog cheese, and that experience was a revelation. I will certainly miss the homemade sodas -- particularly the litchi and ginger varieties -- and the great brunch food, as well as the flavorful entrees.

I was also planning to use a fictionalized version of the restaurant in my culinary murder mystery novel...but that's another story.

As soon as I find out more, I'll let you know.

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