Dining on a Dime: Many Options at Firebird Café | Bite Club
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Sunday, October 9, 2016

Dining on a Dime: Many Options at Firebird Café

Posted By on Sun, Oct 9, 2016 at 7:30 AM

click to enlarge The Firebird at the Firebird Café - SUZANNE PODHAIZER
  • Suzanne Podhaizer
  • The Firebird at the Firebird Café
At the Firebird Café, on Pearl Street in Essex Junction, both breakfast and lunch are served all day. That  means you can have a pork burrito laced with tomatillo sauce at 8 a.m., or snuggle up with a maple-slathered stack of buttermilk pancakes and a cup of Vermont Coffee Company brew in the afternoon. 

I arrived on a Friday morning to find the place packed. Nevertheless, the friendly staffers seemed relaxed as they diced a mountain of tomatoes into salsa-sized bits, cooked omelettes and cheerfully delivered plates piled with hearty portions of food.

For Dining on a Dime, the rule is to find meals — not merely treats or snacks — that cost less than $12.  At FC, nothing on the menu costs more than that. The fish tacos and smoked salmon Benedict, each ringing up at $10.95, are the priciest things on offer.

And so, with 40 items from which to choose, I went with the restaurant's eponymous sandwich: the Firebird.  It arrived quickly — a mass of spiced, shredded beef mixed with poblano chile and onion, piled on a darkened grinder roll and topped with gooey melted cheese. (The best part, aside from the affordability, was the presence of those crispy, crunchy bits of broiled cheese around the very edges of the sandwich.) 

Slathered with the smoky chipotle sauce that sits on all the tables, this sandwich was a flavorful, nearly overwhelming meal. After eating all I could, I still brought two-thirds of it home with me. 

Dining on a Dime is a weekly series featuring well-made, filling bites (something substantial enough to qualify as a small meal or better) for $12 or less. Know of a tasty dish we should feature? Drop us a line: food@sevendaysvt.com.

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Suzanne Podhaizer

Suzanne Podhaizer

Contributor Suzanne Podhaizer is an award-winning food writer (and the former Seven Days food editor) as well as a chef, farmer, and food-systems consultant. She has given talks at the Stone Barns Center for Agriculture's "Poultry School" and its flagship "Young Farmers' Conference." She can slaughter a goose,... more

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