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395 posts categorized "Food and Drink" Feed

August 08, 2012

Community Rallies Around Destroyed Hot Tamale

HT Co. Fish TacoThings haven't been easy for Moana Dixon lately. Her mother, Hot Tamale's founder and executive chef Cheryl Kaheleilani  was in the hospital on Friday night, but Dixon kept the Johnson Mexican take-out eatery open late to cook for a number of orders, including a party of more than 10 people getting food for a regular customer's birthday.

"I was cooking chips," remembers Dixon. "I had a whole bunch of orders — we make everything fresh — I dropped in a batch  of chips and I turned away from the stove and thought, "Shoot! I have to turn it off really quickly.' Someone asked me a question and I got distracted and stepped away from the stove."

The grease fire quickly moved across the deck of the rental house at which Dixon and McCabe also live. Before long, Dixon heard the propane tank out back hissing. She grabbed her dog and purse from upstairs and fled just before the house became engulfed in flames. "I thought, 'Holy shit, that's a fire,'" she says. Indeed, firefighters from eight different departments battled the blaze for close to seven hours. The house next door also caught on fire.

Continue reading "Community Rallies Around Destroyed Hot Tamale" »

August 07, 2012

Alice Eats: Burger Barn

IMG_45144968 Route 15, Jeffersonville, 730-3441

There are few simple pleasures better than a great burger. But the enjoyment can be even more intense when the burger is anything but simple.

If you haven't already, meet Burger Barn.

When I first wrote about the green and cow-spotted burger shack in 2010, the menu was already large, including 15 different cheese choices — they've since added red Leicester, for a grand total of 16.

But the bill of fare has continued to grow. There are now 35 different burgers, ranging from a classic patty with just lettuce, tomato and red onion, to the Bleu Royale, topped with bacon, caramelized onions and cave-aged Roquefort.

Continue reading "Alice Eats: Burger Barn" »

August 04, 2012

Grazing: Surviving Tales of the Cocktail

TotcIt's not every night that you can walk into a museum and feel fake snow brushing your face. Or, a few seconds later, watch cocktail demigod Dale DeGroff flame an orange peel in front of you, drop it into a glass of sherry and Absolut, and push it forward. Or, a few steps away, realize that the guy presiding over a table of Cosmos is Toby Cecchini, the bartender who created the drink at New York's Odeon in the late 1980s. 

Such is the surreal quality of Tales of the Cocktail, a fête that has drawn thousands of mixologists, brand ambassadors, journalists and thirsty drinkers to New Orleans every steamy July for the past 10 years to sample new spirits, exchange ideas, schmooze and party. It's a heady, wild ride, from the moment you arrive in NOLA until that last, wistful cab ride to the airport — and you can't anticipate its scale, pace and ability to squash you like the lightweight you are. Especially if you're a "Virgin." (More on that in a moment).

Continue reading "Grazing: Surviving Tales of the Cocktail" »

July 31, 2012

Alice Eats: 99 Asian Market Eatery

IMG_4490242 N. Winooski Ave., Burlington, 865-0226

It's been almost two years since 99 Asian Market added "Eatery" to its name, set up some simple seating and expanded its menu beyond made-to-order banh mi and a hot bar.

I've eaten there plenty of times since, but for some reason, I've never shared the love on this blog. Perhaps I wanted to keep the secret to myself.

I usually order the same thing; the grilled pork bun (noodle salad) and an order of egg rolls are all I need. But while those are both excellent, they're not what make 99 special.

Continue reading "Alice Eats: 99 Asian Market Eatery" »

July 26, 2012

Green Mountain Compost to Dole Out Compensation for Contaminated Compost

TomriddleLast night the board of commissioners for the Chittenden Solid Waste District (CSWD) approved a customer-assistance package to provide refunds and some remediation for gardeners affected by trace herbicides discovered in CSWD's Green Mountain Compost. The boarded approved expenditures up to $934,992 to reimburse customers who purchased compost between January 1 and July 13. CSWD voluntarily stopped selling the compost in late June, after first suspecting the presence of persistent herbicides. 

The early suspicions of customers and CSWD staff about the contaminated compost were spot on: As Corin Hirsch reported earlier this month, further testing revealed the presence of two persistent herbicides — clopyralid and picloram — in Green Mountain Compost. CSWD marketing coordinator Clare Innes says that, so far, 470 gardeners have contacted the district to report possible damage from the contaminated soil, and that number is rising daily.

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July 24, 2012

WhistlePig Straight Rye Whiskey Breaks Bad

WhistlepigBBWho knew that a high-end whiskey crafted in Addison County was the drink of choice for DEA agents? It happened on last Sunday's episode of AMC's "Breaking Bad."

Alerted by this screenshot tweeted by Tom Fratamico of Stowe (@ElGuaposGhost), one obsessive local "Breaking Bad" fan (yours truly) decided to get to the bottom of WhistlePig's cameo on the kitchen-sink-noir drama.

Mild spoilers for the episode "Madrigal" (5.2) follow:

George Merkert, Asst. Special Agent in Charge at the Albuquerque office of the DEA, pours WhistlePig for Agents Hank Schrader and Steven Gomez as they discuss his taking the fall for the DEA's failure to bring down meth kingpin Gus Fring. They sip the rye (which lists at $79.99 a bottle) from coffee mugs as Merkert reminisces about socializing with Fring, who seemed like such a nice, mild-mannered fellow. The camera pushes significantly in on Hank.

But first, it offers a distinct shot of the WhistlePig label (pictured).

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Alice Eats: Wilaiwan's Kitchen

IMG_444134 State St., Montpelier, no phone

Some restaurateurs try to make an impact with the size of their menus. Others are confident enough to know that it's the motion in the kitchen that counts.

With only two items on its menu, Wilaiwan's Kitchen is one of the latter. When I visited the tiny Montpelier storefront last week, the line snaked out the door. With only a few tables inside and out, several diners brought plastic containers or plates from home to take some food and get out of the way.

Wilaiwan's had made a name for itself over the years as a street cart, and it was clear that Montpelierites liked it just as much as a bricks-and-mortar restaurant, even if the two choices didn't include a vegetarian option. Perhaps the restaurant's abbreviated hours also contributed to the rush I encountered. Wilaiwan's is open only from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Continue reading "Alice Eats: Wilaiwan's Kitchen" »

July 20, 2012

Grazing: Froyo In The 'Hood

Soyo_2For one of the healthiest cities in America, Burlington suffers from a curious lack of soft-serve frozen yogurt. There's Dakin Farm in Ferrisburgh, with its heavenly frozen maple yogurt, but I can't think of another place nearby to grab a swirl of the light stuff.

So the late June opening of SoYo on Pine Street is a big deal. The owners, Sabrina Gibson and Hans Manske, committed to using local cream, maple and berries for their suite of flavors, which they based on recipes purchased from GoBerry, the bustling, minimalist yogurt place in Northhampton, Mass. 

A yogurt-head, I've visited GoBerry a lot, though I initially walked out when told that vanilla yogurt doth not flow into my cup. What the hell was a frozen yogurt place without vanilla? That was archaic and rigid froyo thinking, it turns out. GoBerry is all about fresh, local and imaginative (think green tea and strawberry-basil yogurt) with a minimum of flavor choice but a surfeit of toppings. Now I hit GoBerry whenever I drive through the Pioneer Valley.

So on a muggy day early this week, I was eager to visit SoYo for a comparative taste. I slipped in through the back hallway (painted magenta) into a Euro-style space — both neon and spare — with cinder-block walls, polished cement floors, lime green counters and a corrugated metal ceiling. Giant photos of raspberries and kiwis adorn the back wall; an enormous mural of a blue cow fills another. Bubblegum electronica played over the speakers. A pair of high tables and a long metal counter were filled with others trying to cool down.

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July 19, 2012

Don Pedro's Taqueria Closes to Winooski to take the El Diablo Challenge? Better make other plans. It's been dark inside Don Pedro's Taqueria since Saturday.

A sign apparently dashed off in pencil warns potential guests, "Closed until further notice!"

But other signs indicate there will be no further notice. The restaurant's phone line has been disconnected, and owner Pierre Mesa has not answered phone calls or emails.

The restaurant survived just less than a year after its August 11, 2011 opening. At the time, Mesa reported that he served about 550 people a night in the quick-service Mexican eatery's first week.

In recent months, business appeared to have slowed drastically from the original mania, despite attempts at new gimmicks such as a weekly salsa dance night.

R.I.P. to the Don.


July 17, 2012

Alice Eats: Essex Bakery & Café

IMG_440021 Essex Way, Essex, 878-1100

When I moved here from Connecticut in 1998, baked goods from the Essex were a definitive part of my Vermont experience. The chocolate-banana-mousse birthday cakes, the raspberry Charlottes — they were key parts of the taste of my adopted state.

After the resort broke away from the New England Culinary Institute, desserts seemed to flounder. But this spring,  executive chef Arnd Sievers hired pastry chef Perrin Williams and announced that the Essex Resort & Spa would be opening a bakery — the Essex Bakery & Café — in the former Rustico's space in the Essex Shoppes & Cinema. It gave me hope for a brave, new dessert world.

Continue reading "Alice Eats: Essex Bakery & Café" »

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