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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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Monday, January 6, 2020

Mirabelles Is Moving to South Burlington

Posted By on Mon, Jan 6, 2020 at 6:56 PM

Diners at Mirabelles Café & Bakery - FILE: OLIVER PARINI
  • File: Oliver Parini
  • Diners at Mirabelles Café & Bakery
After 29 years of business on Main Street in Burlington, Mirabelles Café & Bakery is moving to South Burlington, the restaurant announced Monday.

The café will close its downtown location on January 25 and open the week of February 10 at 3060 Williston Road in South Burlington, according to a press release and a Facebook post.

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Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Last Call at Uncommon Grounds Coffee and Tea

Posted By on Tue, Dec 17, 2019 at 3:10 PM

House-roasted coffee beans at Uncommon Grounds Coffee and Tea - COURTESY OF UNCOMMON GROUNDS COFFEE AND TEA
  • Courtesy of Uncommon Grounds Coffee and Tea
  • House-roasted coffee beans at Uncommon Grounds Coffee and Tea
Coffee will be free on Monday, Dec. 23, at Uncommon Grounds Coffee and Tea, when the well-loved Church Street Marketplace coffee shop serves customers for a final day after 25 years in business.

Owner Brenda Nadeau is retiring and closing the café and roastery that was founded by her parents, Skip and Beverly Blakely, in May 1994. Drip coffee will be free on Monday as a thank-you to her regulars, she said.

“We’re doing heavy discounts on everything, and giving away drip coffee,” Nadeau said. “We’re just trying to give back to our people.”

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Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Dining on a Dime: Drifters

Posted By on Tue, Nov 19, 2019 at 4:20 PM


Chickpea patties at Drifters - SALLY POLLAK
  • Sally Pollak
  • Chickpea patties at Drifters
Andrew Ryan wore his baseball cap backward the other night at Drifters, his restaurant in Burlington's Old North End. From a dining table that Ryan built from driftwood, I could read the writing on the bill: BUTTER.

But there was none in my meal, nor in many others Ryan cooked that night. I dined happily on the vegan chickpea patties ($12), which were offered last week for a Seven Days Burger Week special.

The slider-size fritters came with lettuce and tomato, and were served with cabbage slaw and a mound of tangy sliced pickles. I drank a beer and ate Oreos for dessert. The cookies, filled with holiday-hued red creme, were set in a bowl on the bar, free for the taking. (In spite of “cross-contact” with milk, according to an Oreo's FAQ, the cookie is vegan enough for me.)

Ryan is chef-owner at Drifters, which he opened three and a half years ago. His menu has several vegan options and routine vegan specials, meals that server/bartender Maddy McKenna told me are more popular by the day.

“Everyone deserves to be able to eat out,” McKenna said. “You can get creative with vegan food and you can make it delicious, [with] an appreciation for plants.”

I count seven vegan items on Drifters’ menu, including the house salad with kimchi and toasted pistachios ($6), root vegetable fries ($6), seitan tacos ($8) and veggie sliders ($8).

The chickpea patties I ate for Burger Week were dressed with chile aioli and pickles. I added a little crunch between the buns with a spoonful of cabbage, and enjoyed the meal and the cafe's easygoing vibe.

Before I left, I took a look at the beef burger that Drifters also served for Burger Week. The plate was full and beautiful, but it was the crispy fried shallots — not the meat — that tempted me. Drifters is a good place to drift toward non-meat eats.
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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