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Friday, July 12, 2019

Drink Up: The Beach House

Posted By on Fri, Jul 12, 2019 at 9:32 AM

Painkiller cocktail and patrons at the Beach House at North Beach - SALLY POLLAK
  • Sally Pollak
  • Painkiller cocktail and patrons at the Beach House at North Beach
The bartender at the Beach House studies data analytics at the University of Vermont. She put her expertise to work the other day at her summer job at the North Beach bar, where she mixes and serves drinks for barefoot customers.

Christina McLaughlin, 21, didn’t need a spreadsheet or business intelligence  software to assess the drinking preferences of the Beach House crowd. “Definitely the Painkiller,” McLaughlin told me, naming a $10 cocktail on the house list.

This was interesting to learn, because it pegged me as a conformist when it comes to Beach House booze. Before McLaughlin revealed the bar's analytics to me, I had ordered a Painkiller.

I’m not sure if I made the choice because it’s the first drink on the menu or because I’ve had my share of Tequila Sunrises. The day was moving toward dusk, and a Painkiller called to me.

The bar’s setting itself is likely to kill any pain you might have. I parked on the street by Burlington High School and walked downhill along North Beach Campground, passing through the culvert under the bike path. (Any time you can walk through a culvert to a bar, do it!)

The fenced-off  space that forms the Beach House — a little tiki bar and a collection of tables — is about 30 paces from the water. The bar offers a view of the beach and all that comes with it: sunbathers, speedboaters, kids playing in the sand, grown-ups getting their analytics tracked by smartphones.

The people at the table next to mine had Rollerbladed to the Beach House on the bike path from south of downtown. They were barefoot, their Rollerblades set on the pebble-covered ground beside them.

Chris Butch, an ICU nurse and one of the bladers, was shirtless and color-coordinated.  His towel, bathing suit and JammyPack all bore the stars and stripes. He was welcome at the Beach House without the usual restaurant attire and without spending a penny: He drank ice water.

“I don’t like to wear a shirt or shoes,” Butch said, “which is why I like coming here.”

His friends, who drank spiked seltzer, said they enjoyed having a drink option on the bike path, at the beach, in a casual and welcoming setting.

Back at my table, McLaughlin had delivered my cocktail and these words: “I hope you enjoy your Painkiller.” (I enjoyed it so much, I suggested Butch offer it at the ICU.)

The Painkiller at the Beach House at North Beach - SALLY POLLAK
  • Sally Pollak
  • The Painkiller at the Beach House at North Beach

The rum-based drink, a spiked fruit punch, is the color of a hazy sunset. It’s foamed up with a coconut cream and spiced with  nutmeg. Served with an umbrella and a slice of orange, it's a hometown vacation in a plastic cup.

The owner of the Beach House, Sani Pasagic, pulled up a chair and talked with me for a bit about running a seasonal business, the rigors of being a restaurant cook and his son’s Church Street cheesesteak cart.

“People are finally finding out about this place,” Pasagic said of his beach business.

Maybe more people would find the Beach House if parking were permitted in the BHS parking lots. But signs warn that cars will be towed from the lots. My vote: Let people park in them for free. School’s out, and the parking lots are mostly empty. Shouldn’t people be encouraged to walk five or 10 minutes and through a culvert to a city beach?

Saturday, June 22, 2019

A Vegan Guide to the Burlington Farmers Market

Posted By on Sat, Jun 22, 2019 at 7:30 AM

Black bean and corn tamale from Gracie's - SABINE POUX
  • Sabine Poux
  • Black bean and corn tamale from Gracie's
The Burlington Farmers Market is a haven for vegan grocery shoppers. Among the myriad butchers and creameries that post up each Saturday morning are vendors selling farm-fresh produce, from leafy greens to mushrooms to aromatic fruits, all suitable for chefs who want to cook sans animal.

But there are fewer options for plant-based foodies hankering for snacks to have and to hold as they browse the market’s many stalls. Most of the ready-to-eat offerings contain some kind of meat, dairy or egg, from the carnivorous sandwiches at Pigasus to all the tantalizing baked goods. Even some of the spirit samples are off limits to those who don’t eat or drink honey.

Last month, Seven Days sent a reporter to the market to get the 411 on all things ready to eat. But one commenter wasn’t completely satisfied. “Aside from Green Mountain's Wing Chun potstickers,” the comment read, “did any of the Ready-to-Eat vendors offer vegan options?”

So I embarked on a market run to scope out the vegan scene. Here were some of the highlights.

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Friday, May 31, 2019

Dining on a Dime: Bluebird Barbecue

Posted By on Fri, May 31, 2019 at 4:07 PM

Brisket BBQ Banh Mi at Bluebird Barbecue - SOPHIE X. POLLAK
  • Sophie X. Pollak
  • Brisket BBQ Banh Mi at Bluebird Barbecue
Earlier this spring, Bluebird Barbecue expanded its hours to include lunch six days a week. Now the restaurant on Riverside Avenue in Burlington is offering a lunch special: $10 for a BBQ Banh Mi sandwich stuffed with smoked meat, chicken liver pâté, pickled veggies, pickles and cilantro.

The timing of this midday deal coincides with weather that’s just right for dining on the restaurant’s screened-in porch. The indoor-outdoor setting offers a lovely view of woods in the foreground and the Winooski River beyond.

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Tuesday, May 7, 2019

New Food Market Coming to Burlington's Old North End

Posted By on Tue, May 7, 2019 at 4:49 PM

Site of food market scheduled to open in the fall - SALLY POLLAK
  • Sally Pollak
  • Site of food market scheduled to open in the fall
Construction will begin in the next month to transform a former auto parts shop into a grocery store in Burlington's Old North End. The business at 242 North Winooski Avenue will be called Jake’s ONE Market, according to its owner.

“We hope to open in the fall of 2019,” said James Kerrigan, owner-operator of the market. He and his family own a related business in Quechee, Jake’s Quechee Market.

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Friday, April 12, 2019

Hissho Sushi Arrives at City Market's Two Stores

Posted By on Fri, Apr 12, 2019 at 2:28 PM

Ryan Kang (left) and Phong Shin of Hissho Sushi - SALLY POLLAK
  • Sally Pollak
  • Ryan Kang (left) and Phong Shin of Hissho Sushi
A new sushi concession will open at City Market, Onion River Co-op on Saturday, when Hissho Sushi launches its business at both locations of the Burlington food co-op.

Hissho Sushi, based in Charlotte, N.C., operates 1,400 locations nationwide,
according to Ryan Kang, the regional manager. The City Market locations are
the company's first sites in Vermont, he said.

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Tuesday, April 9, 2019

It Was Raining Cones at Ben & Jerry's in Burlington

Posted By on Tue, Apr 9, 2019 at 7:00 PM

Left to right: Alivia Roth, Lissy Sumner, Lucy McLaughlin, Camryn Muzzy, Tess Barker at Free Cone Day - SALLY POLLAK
  • Sally Pollak
  • Left to right: Alivia Roth, Lissy Sumner, Lucy McLaughlin, Camryn Muzzy, Tess Barker at Free Cone Day
Freezing rain was the topping du jour at Free Cone Day, the annual global event when Ben & Jerry's gives away ice cream cones to celebrate another anniversary.

The crowd that gathered Tuesday at about 2 p.m. at the scoop shop on Burlington’s Church Street seemed happy to overlook the weather — 31 degrees and a steady rain — in favor of what awaited at the front of the line.

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Sunday, April 7, 2019

Vietnamese Street Food Coming to Downtown Burlington

Posted By on Sun, Apr 7, 2019 at 5:54 PM

  • Courtesy of Pho Son
  • Pho
A Vietnamese restaurant will open in downtown Burlington next month, when Pho Son takes over the space at 213 College Street. The location was vacated last January by Bueno Y Sano.

Owners Son Le and Jennie Yee, a husband-and-wife team who live in South Burlington, will run the 40-seat restaurant together. Pho Son will specialize in authentic Vietnamese street food, said Le,  the chef.  Dishes will include pho, the traditional Vietnamese soup known for its rich and aromatic broth, banh mi, vermicelli with char-grilled meat, and stir fries with rice and seasonal vegetables.

“All the best recipes are from the family,” said Le, whose previous restaurant experience was in Montréal.

“For Vietnamese people, food is our life,” he wrote in an email to Seven Days. “We are forever eating, cooking and talking about food. Food is communication — food is culture.”

Beverages will include bubble tea, beer and wine. A full-service restaurant, Pho Son will be open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

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Friday, March 1, 2019

School Daze: A Throwback Dinner at Butch + Babe's

Posted By on Fri, Mar 1, 2019 at 5:10 PM

Cafeteria-style dinner at Butch + Babe's - SALLY POLLAK
  • Sally Pollak
  • Cafeteria-style dinner at Butch + Babe's
Preschoolers, school kids and grown-ups who thought their school-lunch days were a thing of the past dined on chicken nuggets, veggie tots and butterscotch pudding on Wednesday at Butch + Babe’s in Burlington.

The Old North End restaurant hosted a cafeteria-style dinner to benefit the Burlington School Food Project. The event raised $150 for the district’s food program, but its primary purpose was to raise awareness, according to Butch + Babe's owner Kortnee Bush, who is a former Burlington School District cook.

“Hunger is what this is about,” Bush said. “People don’t realize how hunger is a real problem in the state and locally.”

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Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Wet Kitty! El Gato Cleans Up From Sprinkler Deluge

Posted By on Wed, Feb 13, 2019 at 4:53 PM

Tree Bertram cleans up at El Gato Cantina in Burlington - COURTESY OF EL GATO CANTINA
  • Courtesy of El Gato Cantina
  • Tree Bertram cleans up at El Gato Cantina in Burlington
It's raining cats and ... cactus?

Last week, Burlington's El Gato Cantina took an unexpected bath when a sprinkler upstairs from the restaurant  broke, sending water pouring through the lower floors at 169 Church Street.  "It was literally raining inside the restaurant," El Gato owner Theresa "Tree" Bertram  told Seven Days, recalling the surprise Tuesday afternoon shower.

Since the deluge occurred during the afternoon lull between lunch and dinner, few customers or employees were on the premises.  "We’re lucky it’s the slow season, and that this didn’t happen during a Friday night rush," Bertram said.

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Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Burlington's ArtsRiot to Expand in the New Year

Posted By on Tue, Dec 18, 2018 at 6:07 PM

ArtsRiot entrance - SALLY POLLAK
  • Sally Pollak
  • ArtsRiot entrance
ArtsRiot, a creative and culinary force on Pine Street in Burlington, will expand in 2019.  The restaurant and music/event space has leased the neighboring  building at 404 Pine Street, according to chef/co-owner George Lambertson. That space most recently housed the South End Arts and Business Association office and gallery.

In the spring, ArtsRiot will throw an opening bash to welcome the public to its new 2,300-square-foot digs and reveal what the space will hold, Lambertson said. "We're excited to bring Burlington more programming," he added cryptically.

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