Dining recs Fairlee, Vermont?
I'm looking for some dining recommendations near Fairlee, Vermont. We'll be staying at the Lake Morey resort which apparently has their own restaurant, but are interested in trying whatever the area has to offer. I know, I know- it's Valentine's weekend- with that in mind, we aren't looking for anything romantic or fancy- we're the type of people who never eat out on Valentine's. So, diners, burgers, any local favorites for dinner Saturday and breakfast, lunch or brunch Sunday. We eat everything, but always like local/fresh ingredients. Thanks!
I vacation in Fairlee and here are my recommendations:
Isabella's Cafe -- casual atmosphere with farm fresh products -- breakfast/lunch
East Thetford on Rt. 5
In Bradford on Main Street -- The Perfect Pear Cafe - lunch/dinner overlooking the river, casual atmosphere with very good fish entrees and specials,
Colatina Exit - (dinner) Italian fare in a charming old world atmosphere, casual dining.
Lyme, NH - Stella's Italian Kitchen (Main Street) lunch/dinner.
Norwich - The Tavern at Carpenter and Main - dinner from tavern menu (across from the Norwich Inn) on Main Street.
Sandwiches at Allechante Bakery - Main Street.
King Arthur Flour Co. - Rt. 5 - sandwiches on their home made bread plus other divine pastry items.
Reporting back- we had a really nice dinner at the Perfect Pear in Bradford. I called as soon as I read hdb's post and they were able to give us 8:30 pm reservations (on Valentine's Day, day of). We got there nearly an hour early (had thought there would be something-- anything-- open in Bradford to do or windowshop. Not so much. They were able to sit us at the bar where we had beers and a really delicious cod cake appetizer. The sauces on the plates throughout our meal were really nice- a beet puree drizzled with reduced balsamic, an orange puree (maybe butternut squash?) and green olive oil for a beautifully colorful palette. The beer menu focuses on local- I had a Trout River ale and my DC had another Vermont beer, which is escaping me right now. Both were excellent.
They were able to seat us a little earlier than our reservation, which was a nice surprise. I had linguini with oven roasted tomatoes and a pesto cream and my DC had the house-smoked pork loin with polenta and asparagus. The pork had really good smoke flavor. I would have prefered it a little more on the medium rare side- it was basically medium-well, but I understand a lot of people are still not comfortable eating pork that way. My linguini was a generous portion, nice flavors, and at 13.99 a good value. I did not add in shrimp, which would have been an additional $5.
We were too full for dessert, so our bill for one app, 2 entrees, and 2 beers and coffee came to a mere $44. The restaurant is in an old mill building with exposed stone walls, old wooden rafters and nice pear-themed decor throughout. It was a very romantic atmosphere and beautiful setting. My only complaint, which I feel obliged to mention although it in no way "ruined" the evening as I frequently hear people hyperbolizing, is that our waitress was really pretty lacking. I think it was an individual problem and would not judge the restaurant on the whole for this, but we were given our appetizer (she served us at the bar as well) with no silverware and sat looking at it til we could flag someone else down; water was never refilled and both glasses were empty by the end of the meal; I asked for a coffee refill which I never received; we had to ask for the bread basket; I had to physically hand her our empty, dirty plates to get her to clear them from the table after bringing us coffee. I would definitely eat here again, but I would consider requesting a different waitress.
The next morning, we each had a quick egg, bacon and cheddar on English muffin and split an order of homefries at the Fairlee Diner on rte 5. Nice small-town diner atmosphere, good cheap diner eats- $8 for all of the food.
For lunch on Sunday, we ended up on a bit of a wild goose chase. We went to King Arthur flour in Norwich, but it was 2 by the time we got there and apparently all the sandwiches are pre-made in the morning and there was only some egg salad left, which didn't appeal to us. Incidentally, King Arthur Flour is really just more like a nice kitchen store and bakery. I had thought they would have factory tours or that we would be able to see their professional bakers or test kitchen, but that's not possible. I guess I've been on too many brewery tours and was expecting a similar experience. I did buy a bunch of flour ($4.25 at their store for 5 lb bags vs $4.79 at Market Basket for a small savings). So, we went searching for Allechante Bakery as recommended above-- NOT easy to find. Once we found it, it turned out to be closed Sundays. So we tried Carpenter and Main but they were only serving brunch for $18 a plate- a little more than we wanted to spend. So, we headed over to Hanover NH to try Lou's on the recommendation of a waitress at Carpenter and Main. It looked great, but there was a line around the dining room and we didn't feel like waiting so we ended up finally at the Canoe Club across Main St in Hanover. We got a turkey sandwich and a pastrami on rye, both of which were good. The fries they came with were excellent- battered and really crispy. I commented that they might be my all-time favorite fries. The sandwiches were 9 and 10 dollars.
All in all, a fun weekend with some good food. Thanks for the recs!
Last summer, we finally tried the "black Bear" (I think that's the name; it does have "bear" in the name somewhere) in Bradford, at the intersection south of town where you can get back on I-91 from Route 5.
It was very, VERY good.