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Aug 3, 2012 03:23 PM

Long weekend in Burlington report

Went to Burlington last weekend for the Wilco show. But of course, there is so much to do in that area, that we could have stayed all week. Staying at Howard Street Guest House was great!

Friday: Got in too late for dinner. We had already stopped at Seven Barrel Brewery in Lebanon (great homey place with decent pub food and nice beers). Our first time there, hopefully not our last. We did walk around downtown and popped into Bluebird Tavern for a night cap. Had a brilliant sauvignon blanc from Domain du Salvard.

Saturday morning: We're usually not big breakfast eaters (although see down below, at Monday!). Had August First granola and cereal provided by the guest house. Lunch: El Cortijo. I had the special veggie taco plate of the day (rats! I can't recall the ingredients) with rice and salad. B had the pollo and carne plate and declared the pollo better. The carne was on the dry side for him. Beans and salad which he liked. Drinks were really good - I had a lime rickey-ish tequila drink that was refreshing but B really picked well. His was basically a mojito with cilantro in it. That was such a hit with both of us! Next time we have cilantro on its way out, we're gonna add it to a drink! Dinner was a takeout pizza from Bite Me, which was a 2 min walk from our place. We got the "Homage to Goats" (from the menu: rosemary roasted fingerling potatoes, chevre, baby arugula, roasted garlic, asiago & mozzarella cheese finished with a balsamic oil glaze). Wow! Really good, very luscious. We were afraid of so many ingredients causing sogginess and I asked for it "well-done," which I don't think is a term used often in VT. When we picked up the pizza, I explained that well-done pizza is a common thing in Boston and we laughed - she was like, "Hell yeah, it'll be well-done!" Sure enough, the crust held up to the toppings. Accompanied by some red wine we picked up at Dedalus wine shop near the lakefront. Leftovers were great the next day.

Sunday morning: Same as Saturday breakfast. We had a late lunch at Farmhouse. I had a truly delicious crispy portabella mushroom burger. I gotta say - this is one of the most memorable veggie burgers I've ever had. The mushroom had the promised crispy thin crust of panko and tangy feta. Bun was nicely griddled, too. I usually end up leaving one half of the bun (the half that gets soggy) but I ate the whole bun - no sogginess here. B loved his grass-fed VT burger and his fries were good, too. Had we known that El Cortijo and Farmhouse are owned by the same group, though, we probably would have gone elsewhere - we like to spread our money around. Really good lunch, though. And we needed sustenance for the Wilco show at Champlain Expo that night so it fit the bill. The beer at the show was awful - all Bud products, but at least they had Goose Island. Fries from Al's was a good match for the beer. The leftover pizza from Bite Me made a tasty midnight snack!

Monday morning: We went out for breakfast at The Spot, which was right down the street from us. We loved this place and only wished we had checked it out for dinner! I made my own breakfast wheat wrap out of spinach, avocado, wonderful tomato slices, and yummy house-made veggie sausage. Believe me, it sounds too wholesome to be good, but it was. I loved that the burrito was grilled just right. B had the Ole, I believe, with eggs, cheese, potatoes, salsa, guac. It was HUGE and he ate every bite. Home fries were good, too. Crispy, but tender inside. We ate outside, at the little bar, overlooking the busy street, yes, but it was quite lovely, with a nice breeze. We loved the whole surfer vibe of this place.

Thanks for a great trip, Burlington!

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  1. Hey Digga, stopped in that Lebanon brewery on my way back from Burl like 5 years or so ago. We used to stop in there with our parents after a day of shopping at the malls in the "big city" (compared to little Springfield VT).
    I remember seeing the Spot but we opted for Penny Cluse for breakfast which was fine but not as great as I thought it was gonna be. Sounds like a good weekend.

    9 Replies
    1. re: Joanie

      we are staying in Essex .whats
      'locavore' restaurants around? tt

      1. re: tiaotse

        It's fairly hard to find a local place that isn't serving local food unless it's a lower-end diner, and even those tend to have one or two things they make that are local. The localvore movement is very strong in Vermont. :)

        1. re: Morganna

          do you have any faves? that u care to recommend.

          we r coming from mass. TT

          1. re: tiaotse

            I know less about the Essex area specifically. I was so sad that Don Pedro's closed 'cos I'd suggest them in a heart beat. There are several ethnic places just off the round about in Winooski in the various buildings, though fewer of them are localvore.

            In Burlington there's Skinny Pancake, and lots of places on Church Street. American Flatbread actually uses local stuff and is from what I hear really good and better than you'd expect from a "chain". Bluebird Tavern just opened a BBQ place that is getting good reviews. There's a new steakhouse that's opened up on Church Street, too. Can't remember its name. There's a number of places down near Battery street and the park (close the the Echo Museum/Aquarium), too. I'm sorry I'm mush brained and nothings popping right into my brain. There's something new in Essex Cinemas, too. A bakery? Man I'm wiped today. Sorry!

            1. re: tiaotse

              I have heard that the new Istambul Kebab House in Essex is quite good, combining local ingredients into Turkish food. Consider it a sit down restaurant, not a cheap falafel joint. They make their own apple-maple baklava, and the lavash comes out of the oven puffed up.

              1. re: thinks too much

                thanx Morganna u have been helpful TT

          2. re: tiaotse

            I greatly enjoy the Belted Cow in Essex Junction. Tuesdays are BBQ nights, the chef/owner has won national awards in that category.

            1. re: matt7631

              thanx Matt. looks great for an xpensive night out $$$

              anything more reasonable.?
              you know where u dont need to mortgage your dog, if you get my drift. anytime entrees run into $20+ u r getting into serious spending.
              what about someplace where the menu is simpler and not so elaborate. TT

              1. re: matt7631

                I've never been to the Belted Cow, and although I have heard good things, I'm dragging my feet. Perhaps it is petty, but me reluctance is due to f the way they participated in Restaurant Week. Like all the other high-end places they offered the 3-course dinner for $35. BUT they offered what was obviously the 2 most inexpensive and dull entrees. They then proceeded to offer 4-6 offerings for a $15-$25 dollar supplement.

                The dominance of supplemental entrees annoyed me. If you don't want to take part in Restaurant Week, then don't do it. Don't make it clear that you can't afford to offer options at the announced price point.

          3. I tried the portobello burger at the Farmhouse restaurant this week in Burlington while visiting based on your recommendation. It was so good - as you said, a very unique veggie burger. Deliciously crispy with lots of mushroom flavor, I ordered extra mushrooms on top as well. Sorry for the crappy flash photo, but here it is!