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Bite Club: Vermont's Food & Drink Blog

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May 2013

May 15, 2013

Burlington's Downtown Skinny Pancake To Double In Size

Skinny_downtownIt's been a few short months since the crew behind The Skinny Pancake opened a third location (as well as another Chubby Muffin) at Burlington Airport. So are owners Benjy and Jonathan Adler taking a breather? Decidedly not.

They've leased the space next door to their Lake Street location in Burlington and plan to double the Skinny Pancake's current size — adding a bar, expanding the kitchen and dining room, and tripling the size of their porch by early July.

"We're already very busy behind the walls," says Benjy Adler, who hopes the expansion will ease congestion and lines at the door and allow the kitchen to "get more creative." 

Inside, the dining room will grow from 63 to 90 seats, with "a jewel box on display front and center so that people can watch crêpe artists work their magic," says Adler. They'll also build a full bar with nine seats, "a pretty substantial liquor menu" and eight taps, three more than they have now.

An expanded kitchen will give rise to an expanded menu, with both panini and a burger making debuts — as well as "a few more things for people who don't necessarily want a crêpe," says Adler.

Out front, the patio will grow from 500 to 1500 square feet, with a larger stage in the corner that will allow for "more complex acts and a full sound booth," says Adler. The Skinny Pancake hosts live music at least four nights a week during the summer.

The downside: The main dining room will be closed during the month of June, when the bulk of construction will be going on — but they'll continue to serve food on the patio. "It's going to be a long four weeks for us," says Adler. We hope they follow it up with a day or two of rest.

May 10, 2013

Grazing: Sautéed Nettles With Butter and Garlic

I live in a 1790s farmhouse that's been converted into condos, and my neighbors and I are surrounded by the verdant remnants of a working farm. Around this time of year, the disturbed patches in our fields and around the barn burst into a riot of weeds, with stinging nettles among the first to rear their deep-green leaves.

Nettles_groundFor years, I cursed and spat as I accidentally brushed my legs against these invisibly prickly shrubs or absentmindedly tried to pull one out with my bare hands. During a party a few years ago, the host handed me a bowl of wilted, spindly greens. "Nettles. Try them," he said. Dubious, I picked one up with my fingers and studied it before taking a nibble. Sautéed with garlic and olive oil, these enemies of countless gardening sessions had been transformed into something velvety and almost luscious, their sting magically gone. 

The fields looked different after that. If you've never hunted nettles before (actually, they're not hard to find), these clusters of deep-green leaves have serrated edges and veiny tops, and grow from calf-high shrubs. They're best when they're young and tender, still less than an inch long. You can either don garden gloves to pick them or (as I eventually learned) pluck them directly from above; something about that angle prevents their leaves from gittin' ya with their stinging hairs.

Continue reading "Grazing: Sautéed Nettles With Butter and Garlic" »

Haters of Large Quantities of Beer, Unite

A lot of people and organizations leave posts on the Seven Days Facebook wall, and most of them are crap that no one wants to read. But every now and then there's a weird little gem. Last week we spotted this post, which, WTF:

Screen shot 2013-05-09 at 4.17.29 PM
Beerpitcher_dreamstime_12676280A little background: In most parts of America, you can get a nice big jug of beer that can fill many pint glasses with beer, thus fostering a communal atmosphere around your pub table filled with merriment, joy, German drinking songs and maybe a few drops of brew spilled.

But you're out of luck here in the Green Mountains — the buzzkills that control liquor sales here prohibit bars from serving you beer in anything that holds more than 32 ounces, aka two pints. From item #37 of the Department of Liquor Control's General Regulations:

Continue reading "Haters of Large Quantities of Beer, Unite" »

May 7, 2013

Vermont's Judiciary Committee Passes GMO Labeling Bill

Food-gmoThis morning, Vermont's House Judiciary Committee approved the GMO labeling bill, H.112, by a vote of 7-4. The bill will now pass to the House floor, but that vote faces a race against time, as this legislative session is due to wrap up by Friday.

"If we can get this through to the floor, Vermont will have taken the ball further than any other state so far," says Rural Vermont director Andrea Stander, adding that a handful of states are simultaneously considering other measures. She sounds hopeful. "I think this will make it to the floor Thursday or Friday," she says.

Late last week, a widely circulated Associated Press article reported that Sen. David Zuckerman (P/D-Chittenden) thought "there was no chance his panel would be able to review the GMO labeling bill and bring it to the full Senate for debate before the end of the 2013 session."

While the bill is likely to pass the House — a third of state legislators are co-sponsors — it isn't likely to make it to the Senate, though that body can chose to take up the bill upon their return next year.

Continue reading "Vermont's Judiciary Committee Passes GMO Labeling Bill" »

Penny Cluse Owners to Open New Café Next Door; Mule Bar Opens Thursday

05-pennycluseThis week brings happy news for lovers of the drink, both hot and cold. Penny Cluse Café co-owner Charles Reeves has announced that he and his wife, Holly Reeves, are purchasing the building next door, at 163 Cherry St., to build out a new 25-seat café devoted to "espresso, smoothies, beer and wine, with limited food service," writes Reeves.

The new spot will be called Lucky Next Door and should be open by September, adds Reeves. Though plans are still taking shape, "It seems like word has started to spread," he says — which is why he let the cat out of the bag. It's the first expansion in Penny Cluse's 15-year history. 

Up the road a piece, Winooski's restaurant row will welcome Mule Bar, which opens at 38 Main St., this Thursday at 11 a.m.

Co-owner Joey Nagy says he and his partners are keeping mum on exactly what beers will flow from the bar's 15 taps. “We want to surprise everyone,” he says. However there will be ginger beer from Dave Rooke of Rookie’s Root Beer.

Continue reading "Penny Cluse Owners to Open New Café Next Door; Mule Bar Opens Thursday" »

May 1, 2013

Food TruckStop and New Gallery/Café Coming to Burlington's South End

Food-burgerbarnThey've spread from Austin to LA to Montréal, and now food trucks have reached a critical mass in Burlington. In a few weeks, Pine Street will gain its own semipermanent mobile food lot: the South End Food TruckStop.

Every Friday night beginning May 24, the parking lot behind Speeder & Earl's will morph into a bazaar of trucks and carts peddling barbecue, tacos, ice cream, fresh juices, beer and even maté. Live music and a few late-opening galleries will add to the festivities.

"There's enough food vendors around to constitute a rally, and we said, 'Hey, other places do it and it's a lot of fun,'" says Felix Wai of ArtsRiot, who organized the event with his partner, PJ McHenry. He says they will put out tables and chairs, provide access to bathrooms, and carve out "a little stage for music." 

Nine vendors have signed on so far, says Wai, each with its own niche. There will be tacos from Muchacho Taco; burgers from the Burger Barn; ethnic street food from ¡Duino! (Duende); sandwiches and hot dogs from Cloud 9 Catering ("Either the Hindquarter or the [Local] Grind [will take part]," says Wai); barbecue from Southern Smoke Foods; fresh juices from Tomgirl Juice Co.; maté from Mocean Maté; ice cream from Lake Champlain Chocolates; and beer from Fiddlehead Brewing, which is one of the event's sponsors.

"We're at max capacity now," says Wai. He and McHenry will see how the space shakes out before changing the balance of vendors. 

The event will run from 4 to 9 p.m. every Friday until November 1. ArtsRiot plans to donate a portion of each week's proceeds to the Chittenden Emergency Food Shelf. "That's what we hope to do," Wai says. "Our mission is to destroy apathy through art, food and music."

Continue reading "Food TruckStop and New Gallery/Café Coming to Burlington's South End" »

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