If there’s anything better than living in the food center of the known world, it’s got to be having new food-lovers to introduce. So I jumped at the chance to give food blogger Jenn Campus and her husband Roberto a foodie tour of the area after their recent move to Vermont.
Deciding where to go was a delightful distraction for a few days. A walking tour in town was tempting, but I wanted to give them a broader view. We could have done a strictly grazing tour, eating here and there, but that was going to get too expensive and fattening in a hurry. And since what’s really awesome about our food world is how close we are to where the food comes from, I went for a mix of farm and store and table.
From here it was north across town for a stop at Sugarsnap. Fabulous always, and where else are you going to get take-out food grown right in their own backyard at the gateway to Burlington’s new Food Hub, cooked so creatively, and served to you by a not-quite-able-to-retire Spanish professor?
I had a piece of quiche (huge, delicious, $4.50), Jenn had half a chicken-salad sandwich, and Roberto had a “Dark and Stormy.” It was a good kick-off.
We drove through the Intervale, waving at Gardener’s, at the amazing piles of compost, at the Intervale Community Farm, Half Pint Farm, Arethusa, and Adam’s. Next time we’ll park and walk, but we had more stops to get to.
From here it was off to City Market. I love that we have a locally owned store with such a commitment to selling local products as our downtown market. While Jenn and I poked around and looked at bulk stuff, and veggies, and cheeses, crankyGreg and Roberto geeked out over having comic art in common.
Then, with purchases in a cooler we had packed, we ate the outrageously delicious Nepali takeout potato salad I had bought to share, and we zipped over to August First for a cup of coffee. Before we knew it, a scone and a baguette had found their way to our table and we mellowed out on their patio.
Greg had to go home to draw, and we headed over to Red Wagon Plants (a client and a fabulous, fabulous source of food plants).
On the other side of their Hinesburg farm is the Family Cow Farmstand, with their beautiful valley pasture, and the most adorable calves.
I had wanted to head to Shelburne Vineyards to show them the beautiful tasting room and had crazily hoped for a quick visit to Village Wine & Coffee but we had run out of time. So it was straight to our last stop, meeting Lara for dinner at Bistro Sauce on the final night of Vermont Restaurant Week.
We all ordered permutations of their Restaurant Week menu. I had a Bibb lettuce salad with white anchovies, a somewhat deconstructed take on the Caesar. I liked the touch of using a dusting of bread crumbs instead of croutons.
Here’s a picture of Roberto taking a picture of his olives and grilled bread. I was so, so impressed when our waitress individually identified each olive for us. Mmm … cerignola.
Jenn got the brandade fritters. And what is that on top of the impossibly crispy, light and creamy fritter? Why that would be a tempura ramp.
The buzz was that the local pork was the right thing to get, and so we all did. Instead of the pork loin on the menu, the cut they were offering was shoulder, and it was grilled. More fiddleheads, pepita romesco, mashed potatoes, tastes of root vegetables accompanied. It was fab.
We all tried a scoop of a different flavor of homemade ice cream or sorbet for dessert. I had the coconut sorbet.
Jenn tried bay leaf ice cream, and Lara had cucumber sorbet. It was a beautiful green but really tasted like cucumber, which for me is not a good thing.
And then we had to leave, so we took a long-arm picture and went home, feeling smug and full of good food and conversation and Vermont.
Now I’m pondering what the next tour should include. CSA pick-up, sure. Thursdays at the Intervale. The Burlington Farmer’s Market. And where else?