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Bite Club: Vermont's Food & Drink Blog


November 30, 2012

Grazing: Washing Down Cupcakes With Wine (at My Little Cupcake)

As a dedicated wine drinker, I can be reluctant to admit that beer pairs stunningly well with food. Yet it can be the naked truth, and one encountered in the unlikeliest of places — such as at my little cupcake in Burlington.

For the past few weeks, the bakers at my little cupcake have been hosting a Friday night fête called 3 Sweet Treats, offering guests the chance to pair three petite desserts with wines chosen by Brad Kelley of the Burlington Wine Shop — for a 10-spot.

You can also drop in at the College Street bakery whenever it's open (till 8 p.m. during the week, 10 p.m. on weekends) to approximate the experience; on the counter is a standing beer and wine menu, including a "free mini cupcake or cake pop" with each drink.

The alcohol menu is static — the choices include Prosecco, red wine, local beer and even ChocoVine — but the paired treats rotate based on what's been baked that day. On the dreary afternoon I visited, I sampled three pairings that sounded promising: Prosecco with a sesame-ginger cupcake; Cabernet Sauvignon with a red-velvet cupcake; and a bottle of Harpoon Octoberfest with a salted-caramel cupcake. 

Continue reading "Grazing: Washing Down Cupcakes With Wine (at My Little Cupcake)" »

September 14, 2012

Grazing: Fried Padron Peppers at Pistou, a New Favorite Thing

Pistou is just down the street from the Seven Days office, but I don't go there nearly enough. With so many places to hit up for work, and home more than an hour away, it's hard to return to favorites with any regularity. 

The other day,  though, I learned that Jason Zuliani of Dedalus Wine had a hand in the recent retooling of Pistou's wine list, and I was curious to check it out before heading to dinner elsewhere. (A glass of wine with a quick snack is my favorite pre-prandial sport.)

The list has an Old World focus, mingled with some new biodynamic and organic wines. Both are well suited to the fare here, which can be earthy and light, classic and eclectic at once. It was a warm night, so I picked out a 2011 Terres Dorees Beaujolais Blanc and turned to the menu. Fried padron peppers? I'd heard of them — were they like pimientos? The peppers came with an eggplant-garlic puree and "chickpeas." Trust in chef Max MacKinnon was called for.

What arrived was an almost sculptural arrangement of tiny, green, papery-looking things. Singed slightly on their edges and curled in on themselves, the padrons glistened with a touch of oil. They came from Intervale's Half Pint Farm, where Mara and Spencer Welton raise a mélange of heirloom and eclectic things most of us might not ever grow at home.

Each bite-sized pepper broke and burst in the mouth with smoky sweetness — but occasionally, one released a dose of heat. "I'm told maybe one in 10 are hot," said co-owner Maji Chien, who runs the front of the house. Alongside the earthy eggplant puree and topped with a nutty crumble from what looked like a chickpea fritter, each bite had percussive, jangling flavors. The crisp Beaujalois Blanc — a citrusy, steel-aged Chardonnay with deeper notes of hazelnuts and pear — was luscious on its own, but also stood up well to all the personalities on the plate.

Chien didn't know how much longer the peppers would last on Pistou's constantly changing menu. They'd been on two days, she reported, but who knows?

Padrons are as fleeting as this spectacular weather, so get them while you can. 


September 12, 2012

Bite Into Our New Blog!

CevicheThe Seven Days food writers live to eat, not the other way around. That means that at any given moment, we're probably tasting something we want to recommend — or warn you about. And it's our job to know about new restaurants, dishes, chefs. Through Bite Club, you can get that info as soon as we track it down. In other words, you can get it while it's hot. 

Alice and I are excited to collect all of our food content here on the brand-new Bite Club blog. Our staff blog, Blurt, came to be a rather serious place for pithy posts about food news we've stumbled across, a photo of something amazing we've eaten, a lament for some axed menu item, or a trailer for a new food film. 

On the Bite Club blog, we can roam free. Check in each weekday not only for Alice Eats and Grazing but for Vermont restaurant, foodie entrepreneur and ag news, recipes, and links to the sometimes-strange, sometimes-vital food and drink content we find both locally and on the interwebs. Come and get it!

August 31, 2012

Grazing: The Waning Summer of Rosé

RoseIt’s less than 12 hours until August turns a corner. For me, it signals a sad close to a season that begins in early June and wends its way through three glorious, salmon-colored months: the season of sipping rosé, almost to the exclusion of other colors.

When I went to pick up another bottle of the pink stuff this week, the usually teeming display of rosé had disappeared; the remaining bottles had been relegated to a mid-shelf rosé ghetto. With heavy heart, I grabbed a bottle of pale Blaufrankisch and resolved not to let the moment die. So that you might consider joining the crusade, here are some wines you can (and should) keep drinking until the rain starts lashing your window — or until they become stranded behind an autumn display of Syrah or Cabernet Franc.

What makes rosé so ridiculously perfect, besides being the anathema to sticky, hot days, is that it pairs like a glove with almost any kind of food. It's cheap, too, or at least can be found for a song. Sparkling rosé can help you wash down anything from fries to oysters to acorns and seeds (why not indoctrinate squirrels, too?). 'Still' rosé loves on BBQ pork, salads, tarts, burgers, or even any iteration of tomatoes you’ve dreamt up in the last few, red-stained weeks. The wisps of acid in a dry rosé deftly meet those in food, punch for punch; their inevitable fruitiness makes for satisfying patio pounding.

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