Starting just after 5 a.m. daily — except on Tuesdays, when the restaurant is closed — early birds and locals shuffle in to the Parson's Corner in Barton. Some perch on the round stools at an L-shaped counter and banter with the cook. Others head to booths in the restaurant's sunny dining room, which was once the parlor of a minister in service to the Congregational Church just across the way.
Diners come for breakfast — homey updates on chrome classics such as eggs with bacon or steak or corned beef hash, melty three-egg omelets or flapjacks as big as your face and glazed with maple syrup.
Beignets and hot chocolate at Leunig's Petit Bijou
Leunig's Petit Bijou opened New Year’s weekend in the petit kiosk on the corner of Church and College streets. Formerly home to Bluebird Coffee Stop, the spot now belongs to nearby Leunig’s Bistro & Café, helmed by co-owners Bob Conlon and executive chef Donnell Collins.
On December 1, Jessica and Ryan Bunce, the owners of Burlington's Barrio Bakery, launched their second business. The breakfast and lunch spot, One Radish, is located in Richmond, in the building that used to house Parkside Kitchen, and, before that, On the Rise Bakery. There, the Bunces serve typical, comforting fare made simply with great ingredients.
I love a good winter soup. Last summer, my garden gave abundant storage squash and a boatload of carrots, which we harvested just before December's first major deep freeze. These are so candy-sweet I've been digging (get it?) eating them raw, but they're also fabulous roasted or — in this case — in soups or stews.
Last weekend, I threw together this easy little blender soup, which is basically just squash and carrots and coconut milk — heart-healthy and vegan in a season during which I tend to lean on cheeses, meats and potatoes for calories.
On Sunday, December 18, the long-awaited Winooski branch of Commodities Natural Market opened in Keen's Crossing. The 3,300-square-foot store is the third in the CNM family. The original store opened in New York's East Village in 1993. A Stowe location followed in 2015. Owner Michael Hughes was drawn to the 'Noosk because of its diversity, and its residents' need for a place to purchase healthy, affordable food.
Lamb and cabbage sarma with sweet potato purée and crispy hen-of-the-woods mushrooms
Honey flows freely from the heart of Eastern Mediterranean cuisine. It’s revered as much for its nuanced sweetness as it is for cultural indications such as happiness and health, vitality and divinity. It’s fitting, then, that Honey Road — one of Vermont’s first major restaurant openings in 2017 — is setting up in a small state with some 2,000 beekeepers and 11,000 hives.
The restaurant aims to open in downtown Burlington by late winter or early spring (the exact location will be revealed once permits are secured). The story of Honey Road starts with the powerful partnership of two restaurant stalwarts: chef Cara Chigazola-Tobin, former chef de cuisine of Boston’s James Beard Award-winning restaurant Oleana, and Allison Gibson, the operations director and drink expert behind Vermont’s Hen of the Wood and Doc Ponds, and former dining room manager at Shelburne Farms Inn.
While 2016 felt like a holding-pattern year for brewing in Vermont — no major upsets or unexpected trends, no big surprises or innovations — local brewers produced a generous profusion of quality, creative beers that continued to blur lines between styles or throw out the rule book completely. This year, I drank IPAs flavored with hibiscus, lavender-scented saisons and sours tinged with cranberries and sage, à la Thanksgiving stuffing. And so many of them were excellent.
Past years have given us an abundance of new production breweries and expansions at established ones. But 2016 was more about small batches and big flavors, with new breweries looking to their local communities (rather than to statewide markets) for support.
The recent release of the first-ever Oxford Companion to Cheese — edited by University of Vermont nutrition and food science professor Catherine Donnelly — inspired me to spend a chunk of my paycheck on Vermont-made cheddar, goat’s milk tomme, Camembert aged in its bloomy rind, and a gorgeous wedge of blue that my next-door neighbors can probably smell.
Usually, the only accoutrement I like with a cheese plate is a good knife and a box of crackers (Patchwork Farm & Bakery’s “Everyday Matzoh” crackers, here’s to you). But it’s the holiday season and I’m feeling fancy.
To accompany your decked-out holiday cheeseboard, here are four minimal-effort trappings to complement that great Vermont dairy.
Good Measure Brewing moved into its Northfield home base in January 2016. By September, the brewers had begun distributing kegs of their distinct, expertly balanced beer to restaurants and suppliers across the state. A tasting room has been in the works ever since, with extensive renovations and restructuring of the 1920s-era building — formerly home to a series of grocery stores — and bringing everything up to code. At last, Good Measure’s tasting room opened its doors on Friday.
“Our idea is that the tasting room is a meeting place,” says co-owner Scott Kerner (who helped open Montpelier’s Three Penny Taproom in 2009, as well). “It’s a place to fill up your growler, have a pint, have a snack. Food will be simple, but well attended — just like our beer.”
One of the most fun meals I ate in 2016 was at Stowe's Picnic Social, which is located inside of Field Guide, a boutique hotel on the Mountain Road. In between bites of nearly everything on the menu, my guest and I played cornhole and tabletop shuffleboard. We joked around with the staff. Best of all, the food and drinks tasted great.
So, when I found out that the spot would be adding brunch on December 10, I couldn't wait to try it out. Just an hour after brunch service debuted, I showed up with a friend to sample the wares. Only one other party preceded us, but, as we ate, more and more folks trickled in.