Archive | Vermont RSS feed for this section

Gaku Ramen (Burlington, VT)

Since we live a little over an hour from Burlington, we tend not to do a lot of late night dining around town, since it’s often easier to grab something in Montpelier or the Upper Valley on the way home. But our recent trip had a staying a night in the very pleasant Hotel Vermont (which has a truly fine beer bar in the lobby), and between our earlier event with friends from the FOM and having a night cap at the Hotel Vermont bar, we decided to do a late evening stroll down Burlington’s Church Street, checking out the late night shopping and dining options. A lot of Church Street’s options close at 9, but a few places keep going for quite a while. While we almost got drawn into Ken’s Pizza (itself worthy of a review at some point), as we got to the south end of Church Street I remembered a place that’s been on our hit list for a while: Gaku Ramen.

Continue Reading ...

Bleu (Burlington, VT)

For our annual celebration of Carol’s birthday, we decided this year to head up to Burlington, VT for a weekend of hanging out with friends, exploring more of Burlington’s great scenery and dining options. Our usual go-to for Burlington is Asian food, since it’s the nearest metro area with a decent selection of Asian restaurants (and indeed, our previous night’s visit was to a ramen shop), but Carol was craving seafood, so we opted for a brunch at Bleu, located inside Burlington’s Courtyard by Marriott.

Continue Reading ...

Creek House Diner (Bethel, VT)

I really like wandering around the back roads of Vermont, and while a lot of the little towns in central Vermont (especially along Route 100) seem to have a lot of neat restaurants, I unfortunately don’t often seem to be driving through those parts of the state when we’re looking for food. But a recent trip to a beer festival in Killington, VT finally gave us a chance to check out one of the places that’s been on our hit list: Creek House Diner in Bethel, VT.

Continue Reading ...

Cornerstone Burger Co. (Northfield, VT)

Way back when we moved to Northern New England, the town of Northfield was one of those little Vermont towns that was easy to miss; the routing of Interstate 89 somewhat bypasses it, and at the time it didn’t have much other than Norwich University and the Cabot Hosiery Mill (now “Darn Tough”) annual sock sale that would draw people into town. Well, a lot has happened in Northfield; it’s still a “quaint New England college town”, but it’s started to become a good local center for food, beer, and coffee. Downtown Northfield has had some fits and starts, but several developments on East St now have lead to a trio of businesses all in a row: Carrier Coffee Roasting, Good Measure Brewing (shared owners with Carrier, and during most operating hours, sharing the seating area), and Cornerstone Burger Co (an offshoot of the larger Cornerstone Pub and Kitchen in nearby Barre, another perennial entry on my “hit list”). After a recent visit in which we stocked up on Guatemalan coffee beans at Carrier and then had a nice pint of cream ale at Good Measure, we decided to finally stop in and try Cornerstone.

Continue Reading ...

First Branch Coffee (South Royalton, VT)

This fall, a new coffee shop opened up on Chelsea Street (the west side of the South Royalton Square): First Branch Coffee. Focusing on small 30-pound batch roasted coffee, they’ve been focusing on quality coffee drinks and pastries, and have been a nice addition to the Royalton-area restaurant scene. Interestingly, I’m not going to be writing about their coffee or pastries, although I’ve actually had, and enjoyed, both. The real culinary attraction at First Branch is what’s going on in the back half of the house, since First Branch is also the home of the tasting room of Upper Pass Beer Company. From 4 to 9 pm on Tuesday and Friday, and noon to 4 on weekends, Upper Pass (owned by the same folks that run First Branch Coffee) runs a tasting room for their rather nice selection of beers brewed by Chris Perry and Andrew Puchalik, who I’ve known for several years through the local homebrewing community (and for years, Chris was one of the bartenders at nearby Worthy Burger, another of my Royalton favorites, and I particularly like their Cloud Drop and Modern Pants IPAs. But on most weeks, their weeknight openings are themed and have light food service; Tuesdays are Taco Tuesdays, and Fridays are Flatbread Fridays

Continue Reading ...

J. J. Hapgood General Store and Eatery (Peru, VT)

There are a lot of little corners of Vermont that I haven’t done much culinary exploration in, simply due to the fact that I seem to pass through those parts during the wrong time of day. Peru, VT is one of those little towns that I’ve driven through probably a hundred times (it’s on Route 11, one of my preferred east-west routes through Vermont), but it wasn’t until I had my parents visiting in September that I finally had a reason to stop and check out downtown Peru, which is just off of Route 11 (the highway diverts about a 1/10th of a mile around the downtown), and, arriving right before noon, we found ourselves at J.J. Hapgood General Store and Eatery in downtown Peru.

Continue Reading ...

Two Brothers Tavern (Middlebury, VT)

After a splendid four day weekend in Lake George, we ended up taking a slightly roundabout route home in order to do a bit of tourism. Normally we’d head back east on Route 4 through Rutland, but this time we ended up going north to the very north end of Lake George to check out Fort Ticonderoga, and then meander our way back home by crossing the scenic Lake Champlain Bridge and heading home through mid-Vermont, stopping off in Middlebury for dinner. Middlebury has always been a pretty good food town, with options like a location of American Flatbread, or even one of the few remaining A&W Root Beer drive-ins (with Lake George being one of the others), but while we smelled some rather splendid smells coming from Taste of India, we were in a bit of a burger mood, and decided to check out Two Brothers Tavern.

Continue Reading ...

Rickie’s Indian Restaurant (South Barre, VT)

One of the whole reasons I started this blog is that, living in Northern New England, we don’t have a lot of options when it comes to ethnic food. Indeed, for some options like “Vietnamese”, “Indian”, and “Cuban” being the most notable, there can literally be hundreds of miles from one restaurant of that ethnicity to the next. This is particularly the case with Indian food; over the entirety of VT, I can count the entire population of Indian restaurants on one hand (and NH, with twice the population, doesn’t have that many more). So, when I actually hear of an Indian restaurant that I haven’t been to before, it’s notable. In this case, it was about a year ago I first heard of Rickie’s Indian Restaurant in South Barre, so when some recent travels ended up with my passing through Barre around dinner time on a Saturday, it was worth my time to stop by the Citgo station in South Barre on Route 14 to try out their Indian food.

Continue Reading ...

Samurai Soul Food (Fairlee, VT)

A little over a year ago, the small town of Fairlee, Vermont had a noticeable shift in the dining scene. The little restaurant right next to the town’s Whippi Dip creamee stand, which has been one of those restaurant locations that’s chronically failing (having at least 4 different restaurants in my years living here) had again re-opened, this time with rave reviews from most of the people I know living over Vermont. Furthermore, this time, the newcomer was definitely run by some good talent, the owners both came from the kitchen at Worthy Burger. So for a good chunk of the last year, Samurai Soul Food has been on my hit list, and a bit over a week ago I was finally able to work in a visit on my way home from Hill Farmstead.

Continue Reading ...

Lost Nation Brewing (Morrisville, VT)

In the years since I moved to Northern New England, the area has really embraced the craft beer revolution, moving from a relatively small handful of breweries (Long Trail, Harpoon, Magic Hat, Smuttynose, and a few others) to having literally dozens of high-quality smaller breweries throughout the area. One that has gotten more than a little bit of following since they opened in 2013 is Lost Nation Brewing in Morrisville, VT. Located in a fairly quiet industrial park on the west side of town (not far from Rock Art, another well-regarded brewery), Lost Nation has primarily focused on European-style, lower-alcohol beers to differentiate themselves from the rest of the “Cloudy Hop-bomb Vermont IPA” style (which I like as well). And while I like their beer (especially their Gose), there’s another secret to Lost Nation: they’ve got some really good food.

Continue Reading ...