Nine times out of 10, I’m ordering gin or whiskey — especially if there are Angostura bitters somewhere in the mix. Angostura bitters have been nestled behind bar tops since the 19th century; a Berlin-born army doctor named Johann Gottlieb Benjamin Siegert developed the herby, botanical bitter in 1824 while based in the Venezuelan town currently called Ciudad Bolívar, formerly known as Angostura.
Angostura bitters take a temperate hand; the stuff is strong and easily overdone. But the cocktail dubbed the Trinidad Sour at Waterworks Food + Drink is a case of pristine balance: Old Overholt rye, housemade almond orgeat, fresh lemon and an aromatic backdrop of Angostura (both the “sour” and the “Trinidad” component of the drink; the noted House of Angostura is located on a 20-acre complex in Trinidad and Tobago).
Apple cinnamon piroshki and Anjou-Amaretto polenta cake
I usually say that I don't have a sweet tooth, but last Saturday, sitting on the ledge of the fountain at Burlington City Hall Park, I ate an apple-cinnamon piroshki from the Nomadic Oven stand. With the farmers market buzzing around me, I even closed my eyes, savoring the unfurling pastry curl by curl.
The insides of the Russian-style sticky bun were bloated with apples. Its hard-baked edges were laced with coffee cream. When I got to the core, I ate it in one slow bite — a ceremonious process akin to uncovering an artichoke heart.
I returned to the Nomadic Oven to chat with its baker-owner, Meghan Brickner. When I left her, it was with another piroshki and a slice of Amaretto-polenta cake dressed with Anjou pears.
I've eaten at Penny Cluse Café, the wildly popular early morning eatery on Burlington's Cherry Street, countless times. I'm in good company — yesterday morning, Vice President Joe Biden stopped by to try the blueberry pancakes. But until this week, I'd never had a chance to visit sister business Lucky Next Door.
When I did, there were so many things I wanted to sample that it was hard to narrow it down. Since tacos ($4) are a specialty, and the spelt tortillas are homemade, I got one filled with caramelized onions, peppers and crumbly, Mexican-style chorizo. A side of avocado salsa ($2), plus splashes of (free) housemade tomatillo sauce, made for a hearty and flavorful main course.
Raw honey kombucha, aka Jun, from APIS Honey Kombucha
At the season's last Farm to Pizza night at Golden Well Farm & Apiaries in New Haven, farm cofounders Ryan Miller and Nicole Burke turned a couple of pizzas in the belly of a domed clay oven. A pie emerged from the wood-fired furnace, the charred edges peeking out behind layers of heirloom tomato sauce, leeks, apples, butternut squash and spiced merguez from Shakeyground Farm.
Miller was pulling drafts from two chilled kegs by the pizza oven, but the taps weren’t filled with Vermont craft beer. Instead, they brimmed with a fermented drink known as “Jun,” made and sold by the Golden Well farmers under the name APIS Honey Kombucha.
Black River Produce founders Steve Birge and Mark Curran with President Sean Buchanan
In the words of company president Sean Buchanan, Springfield's Black River Produce "started with a handful of cash and a dream." The food distributor was founded 38 years ago by Steve Birge and Mark Curran, who described themselves as "ski bums."
Since then, BRP has operated as an independent entity — until now. On October 24, the company will be purchased by Illinois- and Wisconsin-based Reinhart Foodservice, the fourth largest food-service distributor in the country. Staff was informed of the change on Friday.
In October, the Lincoln Gap is lit with fuchsias and oranges and all those shades of yellow that make Vermont a destination for leaf-peeping. Sedans and pick-ups crowd the entrance to Mount Abraham, a hiking destination sitting smack in the middle of the gap’s serpentine pathway from Bristol to Lincoln to Warren. Visitors and locals alike pull off to the intermittent roadside rest stops to snap photos of the changing foliage.
Over the mountain, the gap drops you off near the Warren Store, a building that housed a stagecoach inn and boarding house when it set up shop in 1839. After stints as a post office, a hardware store and a library, the space expanded its role as a jack-of-all-trades and became the town’s general store and deli. It’s a good idea to arrive ravenous.
Well, kind of. Although the full tasting room is still under construction, the cider guys began hosting a pop-up version dubbed the Loading Dock Lounge. On Fridays and Saturdays from 2 to 6 p.m., the bar is open for specialty drafts, flights and cans of Shacksbury Dry and Semi-Dry. Bowls of salty, herbed popcorn are available for snacking at the wide hardwood bar top.
Few Sunday pleasures are more sublime than a great breakfast buffet. But what, exactly, defines great?
In West Topsham, Limlaw Family Maple Farm opens its sunny post-and-beam sugarhouse for a Sunday breakfast series twice a year. In the spring, when the sap is flowing, and again in October, when Vermont's sugarbushes shift from green to splashy yellow, orange and red.
This year's fall breakfast series began last weekend and runs each Sunday through October 30. Priced at $13.99 ($6.50 for kids under 6), it's cheaper than your average hangover brunch — and it's busy, so make reservations.
Which returns us to the question: What defines a great breakfast buffet?
In Chittenden County, food truck season really begins and ends with ArtsRiot's Friday night Truck Stops.Since convening its first mobile meet-up on Pine Street in 2013, ArtsRiot has expanded the series to Montpelier and Winooski. This summer, the Onion City has hosted trucks including Dolce VT, Taco Gordo, Southern Smoke and MaMa Dogs Catering on Saturdays since mid-July. But — just as October summons leaves to the ground — this week marks the end of this tasty summertime squeeze. Catch 2016's final truck-rally kicks at ArtsRiot in Burlington this Friday, October 14, and in Winooski, the following night.