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Wednesday, May 27, 2020

New Indian-Himalayan Restaurant Opens in Burlington

Posted By on Wed, May 27, 2020 at 3:46 PM

GBG Indian Kitchen on Riverside Avenue - MELISSA PASANEN
  • Melissa Pasanen
  • GBG Indian Kitchen on Riverside Avenue
Three Vermonters originally from Nepal were finally able to open their Indian and Himalayan restaurant in Burlington last week.

Its name, GBG Indian Kitchen, combines the surname initials of co-owners Prashant Gharti, Dal B. Bhujel and Binod Gurung. The trio rented the building at 471 Riverside Avenue in Burlington on January 1, but the pandemic held up permits and renovation of the former Dunkin' Donuts, Gharti said.

The three owners, who are related, have all worked in the hospitality field.  "We are family together, and we have experience in the kitchen, in food and beverage management and in marketing," Gharti said.

"When we analyzed what was here, we saw that [the] Indian restaurants are outdated," he continued. The restaurateurs plan to distinguish themselves by preparing "every recipe we know well" fresh from scratch, Gharti said. 

The wide-ranging menu includes familiar Indian restaurant staples such as biryani, kebabs, curries and breads. Gharti noted that the biryani rice is steamed with a traditional technique, and the breads and kebabs are made in a clay tandoor oven. Himalayan offerings include momos, squat dumplings filled with vegetables, chicken or beef.

The restaurant will be open for lunch and dinner for takeout and delivery only, until regulations allow dining in. The building has no outdoor dining space.
Information: GBG Indian Kitchen, 448-3653.

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Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Burlington Street Becomes Food Distribution Site

Posted By on Tue, May 26, 2020 at 3:40 PM

A guardsman loading food into a pickup truck Tuesday in Burlington - JAMES BUCK
  • James Buck
  • A guardsman loading food into a pickup truck Tuesday in Burlington
A Burlington builder flashed a V sign out the window of his Ram 2500 as he steered his pickup under an overpass on the Beltline on Tuesday morning. His victory was being No. 1 in a long  line of cars at a food distribution site in Burlington’s New North End.

The man, who declined to give his name, arrived at 4:30 in the morning, before the sun came up. Three lanes of cars fanned out behind him, filled with Vermonters waiting in the sunshine to receive cases of government-supplied food.

“There’s uncertainty, and we don’t know how long this will go on,” said the man, a father of four, adding that his work is slow. “I’m here for basic needs.”
The food giveaway in Burlington, the first in Vermont’s largest city, was one of several such events that have been held around the state in the past month.

Organized by the Vermont Foodbank in collaboration with the Vermont National Guard and the state’s Emergency Operations Center, the distributions aim to address a steep rise in food insecurity due to job losses and the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Feeding America, a national hunger-relief group, estimates the number of food-insecure people in Vermont is up by 46 percent, and the number of food-insecure children is up 60 percent, according to the Vermont Foodbank.

In Burlington, roughly 550 cars moved through the line at a rate of about 120 cars an hour, according to organizers. Some people got food for themselves and family members. Others came to assist people who don’t have cars or were otherwise unable to access the food.

A Colchester woman who lost her job in the registration department at the University of Vermont Medical Center said it was the first time she has needed help getting food.

“I don’t get any other assistance,” the 56-year-old said. “So this helps.”

Patricia Mallette, 66, traveled from North Clarendon with her 16-week-old puppy, Molly. The 70-mile trip was minor compared with the 1,475 miles she drove each way, two weeks ago, to pick up her dog.

Patricia Mallette of North Clarendon and her puppy, Molly - SALLY POLLAK
  • Sally Pollak
  • Patricia Mallette of North Clarendon and her puppy, Molly
“We are food short,” Mallette said. “My stepdaughter hasn’t gotten unemployment [benefits] in eight weeks, and they are starving.”

A Shelburne mother of three, driving a Volvo station wagon, arrived at the thoroughfare at 5 a.m. Her family is in the construction business and is experiencing “lack of work and lack of income,” said the woman, who declined to give her name.

The help with food is "huge" and necessary, she said, but the time spent waiting in line could be used to look for work.

Samuel Dingba, 25, youth program coordinator for AALV, drove the New Farms for New Americans van to the Beltline site. Originally from Cameroon, Dingba said he was picking up food for 20 families that don’t have cars.

“It makes me happy to be able to help other families,” Dingba said.
Samuel Dingba - SALLY POLLAK
  • Sally Pollak
  • Samuel Dingba
Also collecting on behalf of other people was Steve Hamlin, president of the board of North Avenue Co-op. Hamlin, 62, said he hoped to get food for nine families but wasn’t certain he’d be allotted that much.

“There’s a lot of people in there that are struggling to make their bills, including lot rent,” Hamlin said of residents at the mobile home park.  “As the president, I go out and do everything I can to help them."

He’s a security guard who’d been working 60 to 80 hours a week, but, with events canceled, his work is down to about 30 hours a week, Hamlin said.

Cars lined up for food Tuesday on the Beltline in Burlington - JAMES BUCK
  • James Buck
  • Cars lined up for food Tuesday on the Beltline in Burlington
The food distributed Tuesday included 1,000 Farmers to Families kits, according to Nicole Whalen, spokesperson for the Vermont Foodbank. Paid for by the USDA and put together by the Abbey Group of Enosburg  Falls, each box contains 15 to 25 pounds of produce, 20 pounds of chicken and 7.5 pounds of dairy products, according to Whalen.

In addition, 1,930 boxes of nonperishable food, supplied by FEMA and totaling about 28,800 meals, were distributed.

One man who came for food, Fred Jackson of Burlington, rode in a pickup truck with a U.S. flag sticking up from the hood.  A onetime airplane mechanic, Jackson said he sometimes gets groceries at Feeding Chittenden in Burlington.

“I heard about this, and I’m needy for food,” Jackson, 62, said. “I think they’re doing the best they can do.”

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Thursday, May 7, 2020

King's Corner Deli Owner Plans Pop-Up Breakfast Event

Posted By on Thu, May 7, 2020 at 11:31 AM

Kat Donahue (left) and Erin Malone - COURTESY OF KAT DONAHUE
  • Courtesy of Kat Donahue
  • Kat Donahue (left) and Erin Malone
King’s Corner Deli is back — for one day only.

Kat Donahue, the owner of the beloved, now-closed Queen City corner store, will be dishing out her famous breakfast sandwiches from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, May 9, at Momo’s Market on North Willard Street in Burlington's Old North End.

Donahue came up with the idea for a pop-up event after spotting a homemade sign that said “Things will get better, we’re in this together,” in front of a house near her old shop, which closed in December 2018.

“I just wanted to do something that might make people feel a little more hopeful, inspired and comforted,” Donahue said.

Now working as an autism interventionist in the Howard Center’s Autism Spectrum Program, Donahue contacted Momo’s owner Erin Malone last month to float the idea about a pop-up event. The two women opened their stores within months of each other (Donahue in 2014, Malone in 2015), quickly connected and instantly clicked.

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Tuesday, April 14, 2020

An Early Morning Grocery Store Routine, and Still No TP

Posted By on Tue, Apr 14, 2020 at 10:27 AM


Kris Nine at City Market - SALLY POLLAK
  • Sally Pollak
  • Kris Nine at City Market
We needed garlic, lettuce and beer, and the cats and dogs were running low on kibble. Also, we had to re-up our supply of household essentials: ginger ale and vanilla ice cream. In other words, it was time for a trip to City Market.

The store opens at 7 a.m., with the first hour designated for people 60 and older and “those who identify as at-risk.” I don’t identify as 61, but I am 61. So I set out for the South End store at 6:55 on a recent morning.

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Thursday, April 9, 2020

Feeding Chittenden Makes Daily Meals by the Hundreds for Those in Need

Posted By on Thu, Apr 9, 2020 at 10:09 AM


Feeding Chittenden chef Jim Logan - JAMES BUCK
  • James Buck
  • Feeding Chittenden chef Jim Logan
A few weeks ago, Jim Logan was working as a chef-instructor at the Community Kitchen Academy, a culinary jobs program based at Feeding Chittenden in Burlington’s Old North End. He taught aspiring cooks and, with his students, made meals for people who get food at the nonprofit on North Winooski Avenue.

That building is now closed to the public. Food-shelf clients — and it’s a growing population — not long ago selected their own groceries. Now they receive a pre-packed box of food.  The breakfast program, formerly sit-down, is takeout.

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Thursday, April 2, 2020

UVM Survey Explores the Coronavirus and Food Insecurity

Posted By on Thu, Apr 2, 2020 at 4:42 PM


Food in a gorcery store - FILE: ALICE LEVITT
  • File: Alice Levitt
  • Food in a gorcery store
Researchers at the University of Vermont, working with colleagues at Johns Hopkins University, have developed and distributed a survey to learn how the coronavirus might impact food insecurity.

Meredith Niles, lead investigator and assistant professor in UVM’s Department of Nutrition and Food Sciences, said in a press release that the pandemic has “highlighted a number of instabilities in the food system.”

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Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Trippy and Drippy: Music by Phish, Dinner by Hen of the Wood

Posted By on Tue, Mar 31, 2020 at 2:56 PM

Hen of the Wood mushroom toast - COURTESY OF HEN OF THE WOOD
  • Courtesy of Hen of the Wood
  • Hen of the Wood mushroom toast
If your last pint of Phish Food disappeared at midnight and you’ve had one too many grilled cheese sandwiches, here’s to hoping you’ve got some mushrooms lying around.

If so, grab some bread, crack an egg and crank up your computer: It’s time to pair trippy Phish with a drippy egg for this week's  installment of “Dinner and a Movie.” The weekly online event, which airs Tuesdays at 8:30 p.m., pairs a live show from the Phish archives with a recipe shared by the band that fans can make themselves — surely, a suitable form of entertainment in the stay-at-home age.

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Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Restaurants Rescued Me When I Was Down

Posted By on Wed, Mar 18, 2020 at 8:07 PM


Sally Pollak drinking a beer at Zero Gravity in the winter of 2017 - GLENN RUSSELL
  • Glenn Russell
  • Sally Pollak drinking a beer at Zero Gravity in the winter of 2017
A week ago, I texted a relative who’s a student at Middlebury College: “When all else fails, we can eat!” Lucy texted back a heart.

We made plans to meet at the Arcadian, an Italian restaurant alongside Otter Creek, with four of her college friends and another cousin — seven people in all. The students had been told to leave school in a matter of days because of the threat of COVID-19. We wanted one more hangout.

By text, we called the last-minute meal — where we drank Negronis on tap and shared plates of pasta — a “midd blowout.”

Forty-eight hours later, on Friday, March 13, we wouldn’t have made such a plan or eaten together.

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Monday, February 17, 2020

Burlington Food Businesses Take a Hit with Weekend Water Issues

Posted By and on Mon, Feb 17, 2020 at 4:06 PM

Customers filling water jugs at City Market, Onion River Co-Op's South End location on Monday - SALLY POLLAK
  • Sally Pollak
  • Customers filling water jugs at City Market, Onion River Co-Op's South End location on Monday

On Saturday, February 15, the City of Burlington issued a precautionary boil-water advisory due to a water main break. Starting in the South End and eventually including most of Burlington and a small part of South Burlington, the advisory disrupted one of the busiest weekends of the winter for the city’s restaurants, with Valentine’s Day coinciding with the President’s Day long weekend.

Residents were advised to boil water for one minute before using it for drinking, cooking or washing dishes. Food establishments had to make the tough decision whether to close and lose business or to navigate the challenges of safely feeding a packed house without their usual water supply.

At the Great Northern on Pine Street, the first sign of trouble came at the end of Saturday brunch. “The pressure got funky around 3 o’clock,” chef and co-owner Frank Pace said. Thirty minutes later, Pace received the alert from the city’s emergency system. The restaurant’s next door partner, Zero Gravity Craft Brewery, closed right away. Pace and his wife and co-owner, Marnie Long, went fact finding with the brewery’s general manager, Margaret Leddy.

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Thursday, January 23, 2020

Local Chef Purchases the Daily Planet

Posted By on Thu, Jan 23, 2020 at 11:23 AM

New owners of the Daily Planet, from left; Neil Solis, Rachel Solis (with 3-month-old Lyle) and Nicole Elithorpe. - COURTESY OF MIKAYLA ROBINSON
  • Courtesy of Mikayla Robinson
  • New owners of the Daily Planet, from left; Neil Solis, Rachel Solis (with 3-month-old Lyle) and Nicole Elithorpe.
Neil Solis, a 33-year-old chef who’s worked at numerous area restaurants, bought the Daily Planet on Wednesday from Copey Houghton, according to both Solis and Houghton. Solis purchased the downtown restaurant and bar with three business partners, including his wife, Rachel.

The Daily Planet opened in 1982 on Center Street in Burlington. Houghton, who has owned the restaurant for 28 years, called the sale “bittersweet,” but said the new ownership would be a positive step for the business and Burlington.

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