MORE BLOGS: Off Message (News & Politics) | Live Culture (Arts) | Stuck in Vermont (Videos)

Bite Club: Vermont's Food & Drink Blog

« November 2012 | Main | January 2013 »

December 2012

December 28, 2012

Alice Levitt's Best New Restaurant Dishes of 2012

In revealing my picks for best new restaurant of 2012, I already expounded on my unholy affection for the salsa-verde-drenched tocino taco at El Cortijo Taqueria Y Cantina and, well, pretty much everything at Bluebird Barbecue.

Clearly, those are a couple of the best things I ate this year. But in an exceptionally good 12 months of restaurant openings, plenty of other dishes are worthy of mention. Here are 10 of my favorites.

IMG_4759Next Door Bakery & Café

A muffin? Huh?

No, seriously, a muffin was one of the best things I ate all year. The very first day that Next Door Bakery  Café opened its doors in Shelburne, I was smitten.

The honeysuckle-blueberry muffin has a silky texture unlike anything I've ever experienced in a muffin before, and I'll never be satisfied with most versions again. But among the wonderful firsts of the streusel-topped pastry, my first (and second and third...) honeysuckle aftertaste was definitely the coolest.

IMG_4826Grünhaus Nordic Street Eats

If the muffins at Next Door Bakery made me rethink the breakfast pastry, the hot chocolate at Montpelier's newest food cart did the same for hot drinks.

More like thick, rich European drinking chocolates than Swiss Miss, texture was just one thing that separated Grünhaus' chocolate from the pack. A dark, complex flavor, courtesy of a mix of Swedish and Belgian chocolates, is another. But best of all is the opportunity to pair it with a lefse, a sandwich wrapped in ultra-thin potato bread. I recommend the Elvis, composed of chocolate-almond butter, cinnamon, blueberries and bananas.

Stacks Sandwiches

My colleague Corin Hirsch pines for an Italian market in Burlington. We might not have that yet, but those of us craving a great Italian sub have finally found one at Stacks. Sharp Genoa salami, intense soppressata and mild, sweet ham combine with Provolone to create New Jersey in sandwich form. Ask for extra vinegar, and a trip south is rendered (mostly) unnecessary. Best of all, the sturdy, sesame-crusted rolls stand up to refrigeration, so get a large sandwich and have lunch the next day, too.

Continue reading "Alice Levitt's Best New Restaurant Dishes of 2012" »

December 20, 2012

Panamanian Food Comes to Burlington

Carimañola meat stuffed fried yucca root
Feast your eyes on this. It doesn't look like anything available anywhere in Burlington, that's because it won't be until next week.

20121218_122447That's when Mayllet Paz of La Fondita Latina (formerly known as Peace & Love Catering) will have all the Latin ingredients she needs to begin cooking a varied menu of her native cuisine at Cool Runnings at 78 North Street in Burlington.

Paz will cook dishes from her native Panama, as well as specialties from surrounding Latin American countries, seven days a week. They join the jerk chicken and stewed goat already prepared at the Jamaican eatery by owner Leroy Hedley.

A selection of South and Central American groceries will also soon fill the shelves. The store currently has 12 seats, not including a summer-only picnic table, but Paz says another table is also expected to arrive next week.

Hojaldre carimañola fried meatPaz says that her Panamian stewed chicken won so many fans at this summer's Burlington Farmers Market that it will make the menu every day. Otherwise, items will change daily, including lime-marinated steak cooked on the grill outside.

But Paz is perhaps most excited about the fare she'll begin serving next Sunday. That's when she'll kick off a weekly tradition of sharing Panamanian breakfasts with the Queen City.

At right is a plate typical of what she expects to prepare. Fried beef is accompanied by an hojaldre, a sweet fried-dough pancake. The Twinkie-like pastry at the bottom of the plate is a carimañola, a meat pie with a crust of ground yucca. A cross-section can be seen at the top of this post.

Of course, no breakfast menu would be complete without both savory and sweet items. So we leave you with an image of the sugary ecstasy to come, in the form of brown-sugar-bathed plantains.

Tentation plantains cooked w cinamon brown sugar - people lv it

December 18, 2012

Alice Eats: Logan's of Vermont

Logans30 Main Street, Burlington, 489-5935

Spoiler alert: Logan's of Vermont was one of our team's favorites in this week's taste test of Burlington soups. Since it opened last autumn, the spot has also become an office favorite for panini, salads and boxes full of tiny, mixed cookies.

However, I still hadn't tried the eatery's bread and butter — gourmet take-home meals. Yesterday, I ate two meals from Logan's in order to share my non-soup experience.

For lunch, I had one of the menu's quirkier panini. Far from your average turkey sandwich, the medium-thick slices of fowl at Logan's are complemented by crumbly, cranberry-flecked Wensleydale cheese. The sharp, cheddar-like fromage is balanced by fine slices of Asian pear.

Continue reading "Alice Eats: Logan's of Vermont" »

December 13, 2012

Latin-Influenced Food Returns to Stowe

LatinaStowe diners may still miss Santos Cocina Latina, but yucca, plantains and spice will reappear in town next week when Café Latina opens in the space where Thompson's Flour Shop used to be.

The breakfast-and-lunch spot is the brainchild of Karen Nielsen, who lived in Costa Rica for close to 20 years before returning to the States to raise her teenage daughter. There, Nielsen worked as a tropical biologist before seguing into the culinary life  — she ran three eateries in the Monteverde Cloud Forest area, a mountainous center she likens to a tropical version of the Green Mountains.

Nielsen calls the fare she served there Nuevo Latino, or modernized Latin-American food, and it's resurrected on Café Latina's menu. The breakfast lineup includes huevos rancheros, tortilla espanola, eggs Benedict layered with pork carnitas, omelettes with local goat cheese and chorizo, and breakfast burritos; a baked-goods case will offer a North-South mélange of savory muffins, coconut macaroons, croissants, fig-almond bread and gluten-free chocolate muffins — plus hearts of palm beignets. At lunchtime, the kitchen will churn out fish tacos, rice and beans, mojito shrimp, chimichangas, and smoked chicken quesadillas.

Continue reading "Latin-Influenced Food Returns to Stowe" »

December 11, 2012

Alice Eats: Country Pantry Diner

IMG_5030951 Main Street, Fairfax, 849-0599

When I first visited the Burlington area in 1996, the first place I ate was Alfredo's on Church Street. My second Vermont meal was lunch at the Country Pantry.

Since then, I've always had a special place in my heart for the rural diner.

I've stuck with it through multiple owners, the latest of whom, Ermin Jukic and Nihad Basic, took over the restaurant at the end of September.

Continue reading "Alice Eats: Country Pantry Diner" »

December 6, 2012

Grazing: Last Chance to Sip a Williston Beer at a Williston Pub

Alert: It's the waning hours for McAllister Irish Red Ale. If you're near Williston and are curious about very local beer, you might want to track down a pint.

Williston resident Marty Bonneau, a member of the Green Mountain Mashers home-brewing club, first brewed McAllister in his basement for one of the group's periodic contests, this one to turn out a red ale style.

Bonneau's malty, balanced brew won. As part of the reward, Fiddlehead Brewing's Matt Cohen offered to brew a batch to be tapped both at his own establishment and a local pub —  fittingly, McGillicuddy's Irish Ale House in Williston.

Continue reading "Grazing: Last Chance to Sip a Williston Beer at a Williston Pub" »

December 4, 2012

Alice Eats: Sofia's Pizzeria

IMG_5007205 St. Paul St., Burlington, 865-2888

With just the Adriatic Sea separating Italy and Bosnia, it's actually surprising that Omer Alicic is the first Bosnian to open a pizzeria in Vermont.

Sofia's Pizzeria has only a few tables and a long counter for seating, but warm orange walls and a flatscreen TV showing the Cartoon Network made it a comforting, homey destination after a long day of work last night.

The bread and, er, mozzarella of the the eatery is 99-cent slices of cheese pizza, but last night there were none. We settled for a pair of more ambitious pieces of pie that cost $1.79 and $2.29.

Continue reading "Alice Eats: Sofia's Pizzeria" »

Email Newsletter

Fill out my online form.
All Rights Reserved © Da Capo Publishing Inc. 1995-2012 | PO Box 1164, Burlington, VT 05402-1164 | 802-864-5684