Locavore Movement

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The New Café Shelburne Is Serving BYOB Dinners

Posted By on Tue, Nov 5, 2013 at 4:45 PM

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A cute rabbit standing back-to-back with a giant chef's knife. The new logo makes it clear that this is not your grandmother's Café Shelburne.

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And you can get a taste of the locally focused French fare now. New chef-owners Bill Iliff and Weston Nicoll (right) began their soft opening last weekend. The restaurant is now welcoming diners, as long as they bring their own wine. Café Shelburne will open officially, complete with wine list by Lauren Taratoot, by November 15.

The wines will focus on bottles from the Loire Valley, which the chefs compare to Vermont, but with a warmer summer that allows the grapes to grow more delicious. The wines are predominantly biodynamic, but Nicoll says this is because "the small producers we want to get, that's just how they're doing it. That's how their grandfathers did it — there's just a word for it now."

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The New Café Shelburne Is Serving BYOB Dinners

Posted By on Tue, Nov 5, 2013 at 4:45 PM

IMG_6573.jpg


A cute rabbit standing back-to-back with a giant chef's knife. The new logo makes it clear that this is not your grandmother's Café Shelburne.

IMG_6572.jpg

And you can get a taste of the locally focused French fare now. New chef-owners Bill Iliff and Weston Nicoll (right) began their soft opening last weekend. The restaurant is now welcoming diners, as long as they bring their own wine. Café Shelburne will open officially, complete with wine list by Lauren Taratoot, by November 15.

The wines will focus on bottles from the Loire Valley, which the chefs compare to Vermont, but with a warmer summer that allows the grapes to grow more delicious. The wines are predominantly biodynamic, but Nicoll says this is because "the small producers we want to get, that's just how they're doing it. That's how their grandfathers did it — there's just a word for it now."

Continue reading »

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Slow Food Vermont Awards its First 'Snails of Approval'

Posted By on Wed, Oct 16, 2013 at 3:58 PM

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Slow Food Vermont's membership drive just ended with tiny Vermont among the top four chapters in Slow Food USA to attract the most new members. But that's not the organization's only big news. Local restaurants are going slow with a new designation and a series of dinners.

Last year, just before the biennial international food conference Terra Madre, in Turin, Italy, Slow Food Vermont announced it would introduce the "Snail of Approval" to award to Vermont restaurants. The first two have finally been chosen.

The symbol at right is used worldwide to denote restaurants that adhere to Slow Food's ethic of "quality, authenticity and sustainability." The first two restaurants in Vermont to gain the honor are Mary's Restaurant at The Inn at Baldwin Creek and Hen of the Wood—Waterbury.

According to Mara Welton, Slow Food Vermont leader and Slow Food USA regional governor for New England, the restaurants were selected using an extremely exacting process. "That’s the point," says Welton. "We’re not just handing these out willy-nilly. We spent an enormous amount of time vetting."

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Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Alice Eats: Guild Fine Meats

Posted By on Tue, Oct 15, 2013 at 12:21 PM

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111 St. Paul St., Burlington, 497-1645

It's called the Bad Idea, but that's a misnomer. It's actually a very, very good idea.

I've met my share of breakfast sandwiches and burgers served on doughnuts. Usually they're overkill that require a nap for dessert. Guild Fine Meats' Bad Idea is different. Like everything from the Farmhouse Group, the offerings at the brand-new deli and butcher shop have a sheen of sophistication and great taste.

After visiting the Guild Commissary for this week's feature, I was eager to try as much as I could this weekend.

The soon-to-be-legendary sandwich starts with a very special doughnut. Neither doughnuts nor maple are ordinarily my thing, but pastry chef Samantha Noakes has combined the two to create one of my new favorite desserts. She told me it was loosely modeled on the pastries from Krispy Kreme, and Noakes captured the airy, cloudlike quality of those doughnuts. But these are far more subtle, with just enough sweetness.

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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Alice Eats: Rí Rá Irish Pub

Posted By on Tue, Sep 17, 2013 at 12:04 PM

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123 Church St., Burlington, 860-9401

Thursday's Trivia Mania has made Nectar's my regular haunt for eight years now. But before the locally grown pub quiz sprouted up, my Tuesdays belonged to trivia at Rí Rá Irish Pub.

Back in the day, I had to hurry and eat before or get stuck having chicken nachos for dinner (pretty good), an Irish boxty (unpredictable) or burger (blah and overpriced).

But last May, the game changed when Rí Rá's menu underwent a major overhaul, complete with membership to the Vermont Fresh Network.

Now, the options are both more authentically Irish (see the photo at right) and more authentically Vermont. I recently passed by the restaurant and was drawn to the new bill of fare. Would the reality match up to the descriptions? I braved a Sunday night football crowd to find out.

I was hidden in a front corner away from the game, which was evocative of an Irish bar filled with nooks and crannies, but very dark to photograph.

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A range of creative salads and mini sausage rolls would have to wait. I needed some belly for my belly.

Pork belly, that is. And the potato cakes had it. This Jewish girl was envisioning shredded potato like latkes, but these were like meatballs made of creamy mashed potato, with a panko crust to hold them together.

Cheddar-mustard sauce, in pools below the cakes and blobbed on top, sounded like potential overkill, but added a tangy edge of sharp flavor without too much extra glop.

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Thursday, September 12, 2013

UVM Drops Rookie's Root Beer as Not 'Real' Enough for Real Food Challenge

Posted By on Thu, Sep 12, 2013 at 8:55 PM

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Sometimes, locavorism can almost seem like hysteria. And sometimes, it's just plain confusing — as in the case of the recent drop of Rookie's Root Beer from the University of Vermont's dining options.

Burlington-brewed Rookie's is no longer on tap at Brennan's, UVM's "local and organic dining destination," where a wall map lists the various farms and producers that populate the menu. Why? 

"Rookie's Root Beer is a local, Vermont company, but to be considered local by Real Food Challenge standards, products must include at least 50 percent local ingredients," writes Caylin McKee, UVM's dining sustainability and social media coordinator, in an email.

In March 2012, UVM became one of the first schools to commit to the Real Food Challenge, a national campaign to shift $1 billion in higher-ed food expenditures to local, "real" options by 2020 — that means foods that are "local, ecologically sound, humane and/or fair," as McKee writes. 

"Because of the nature of Rookie's product, the main ingredient being sugar, they do not meet the 50 percent requirement," she adds.

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Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The Inn at Weathersfield Launches a Cooking School

Posted By on Tue, Sep 3, 2013 at 3:39 PM

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Are cooking schools the wave of the future, or at least the future of food tourism? Marilee and Richard Spanjian, owners of the Inn at Weathersfield, think they might be. As the couple prepared to make a career change a few years ago, they scoured the country for a cooking school to purchase — until they realized that the hands-on, atmospheric space they sought didn’t exist. Instead, the Tennessee residents purchased the Inn at Weathersfield last winter, then renovated the loft over its barn to create their own school, the Hidden Kitchen. It opened at the end of July.

Each class centers around a food from a local Vermont farm, which Inn chef Jason Tostrup uses to guide students in creating dishes. During one of the earliest classes, “Vermont Veal Revival,” Lisa Kaiman from Jersey Girls Farm dropped in to chat as students transformed the meat she had raised into a veal tartar topped with a farm egg, and veal cutlets with andouille sausage and cheese.

“More and more people are becoming cognizant of where their food comes from, and are taking control of what they’re eating. They want to take the time to invest in creating a meal for themselves and they don’t necessarily know how to do it,” says Marilee Spanjian of the classes.

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Alice Eats: Hyde Away Inn and Restaurant

Posted By on Tue, Sep 3, 2013 at 11:42 AM

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1428 Millbrook Road/Route 17, Fayston, 496-2322

The Mad River Valley has more than its fair share of dining destinations. Venues such as the Mad Taco, the Common Man, the Sweet Spot, Bridge Street Butchery and even Maynard's Snack Bar have all earned places in my rotation — driving the better part of an hour be damned.

With a fusty reputation, the Hyde Away Inn and Restaurant was never on that list. Until now.

Earlier this summer, Bruce Hyde Jr., a graduate of Cornell University's hotel school, came on board and remade the comfort food served at the restaurant and tavern to showcase local ingredients. Really local — most of the food comes from within a mile or two.

The crowd was mostly of the blue-haired variety when we arrived in the dark dining room on Saturday evening. I overheard several recalling the room's previous tenant, Zach's Tavern, part of the Snuggery Inn, which closed in 1987. Its logo graces the background of the current menu.

The antique-filled room recalls an even earlier time. With its petite table lamps and padded leather chairs, it reminded me of visiting my great-grandmother's house.

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Thursday, August 29, 2013

Meet the Cuke-O-Melon

Posted By on Thu, Aug 29, 2013 at 2:01 PM

Earlier this week, I was speeding through the aisles just before Healthy Living Market closed for the night, when I spied these:

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As a great appreciator of cute food, I found this a must-purchase. I had my first bite in the car on the way home. With a slightly thicker skin than your average gherkin, the berry-sized "Cuke-O-Melon" really did offer a suggestion of eating a tiny watermelon. But the flavor was that of a cucumber with a hint of sour bite.

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So what the heck are Cuke-O-Melons? I called Tangleroot Farm's Adam Reed to find out. His vegetable farm is in Gansevoort, N.Y., not far from the Healthy Living market in Saratoga Springs.

It turns out, the little melons aren't bonsais, but a species of their own called Melothria scabra. They're more commonly known as Mexican sour gherkins, cucamelons and, most adorable of all, "mouse melons."

Reed says he found out about them this past spring through a friend who was planning to plant them. "There was very little research that went into them," he says.

He says that many customers claim they've been popping the mini-cukes "like M&Ms." I've done some of that, but have also halved them and thrown them in with cherry tomatoes and chopped local mini-peaches in a salad.

And, lucky for me, Reed says he just harvested three more cases to send to Vermont today.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Locavore Korean Cuisine Comes to Cabot

Posted By on Fri, Aug 23, 2013 at 3:20 PM

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You know that a restaurant is intensely anticipated when it gains more than 100 followers in its first 24 hours on Facebook. But not every restaurant is the brainchild of Elena Gustavson, the program director at the Center for an Agricultural Economy in Hardwick.

Gustavson's social-media presence may be blowing up, but she doesn't plan to open DownStreet Eats at 3075 Main Street in Cabot until mid-September.

Gustavson's locavore pedigree is enough to get many diners excited, but the chef-owner admits that she hasn't yet reached out to many of her farmer friends in the Cabot and Marshfield area to source the new restaurant — though she plans to.

Locally focused restaurants are a dime a dozen in Vermont these days. But Korean food is not.

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