Dining on a Dime | Bite Club | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

Dining on a Dime

Friday, May 11, 2018

Dining on a Dime: Pioneer Food Truck

Posted By on Fri, May 11, 2018 at 2:31 PM

Fries and a chicken sandwich from Pioneer Food Truck & Catering Co. - HANNAH PALMER EGAN
  • Hannah Palmer Egan
  • Fries and a chicken sandwich from Pioneer Food Truck & Catering Co.
In March, Seven Days previewed the Pioneer Food Truck & Catering Co. With acclaimed chef Jean-Luc Matecat and his partner, restaurant veteran Lindsay Taylor, behind the wheel, it promised to be one of this spring's more exciting mobile openings.

Last Friday, May 4, Matecat and Taylor made their Burlington debut outside the Maltex Building on Pine Street. On Wednesday, May 9, I wandered over for a taste.

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Monday, April 30, 2018

Dining on a Dime: Papa Frank's

Posted By on Mon, Apr 30, 2018 at 9:42 AM

Eggplant rollatini at Papa Frank's - SALLY POLLAK
  • Sally Pollak
  • Eggplant rollatini at Papa Frank's
Before the rotary or the brewery or the hip restaurants came to town, there was Papa Frank’s. The Italian restaurant and pizzeria opened in 1984 on West Center Street in Winooski.

The casual eatery, with sloped wooden floors and a side-street view, serves generous portions of pasta with housemade marinara and meatballs, antipasto salads and Italian specialties including lasagna, chicken Parmesan and manicotti.

Moe Paquette, the owner, has worked at Papa Frank's for 28 of its 34 years. He knows his crowd.  “You can come in with your kids and not worry if they make a mess,” Paquette said. “Or come in with your college friends and still have a couple of bucks to go downtown.”

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Friday, April 6, 2018

Dining on a Dime: Soupie Sales in Shelburne

Posted By on Fri, Apr 6, 2018 at 12:41 PM

Minestrone soup from Soupie Sales in Shelburne - SALLY POLLAK
  • Sally Pollak
  • Minestrone soup from Soupie Sales in Shelburne
In her first year of retirement from her career as an art teacher, Kathleen Grant had an idea for one more creative project. This one wasn’t designed for children at Shelburne Community School, where Kathleen taught for 27 years. Instead, the project was conceived for her husband, Doug Grant. All she had to do was convince him it was a good idea.

Kathleen’s plan was for her chef-husband to start a little soup business out of their Shelburne home. She is a devoted fan of his cooking who turned on a new crowd to his soup last year when she brought Doug's corn chowder to a school function.

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Monday, March 26, 2018

Dining on a Dime: Iconic Chicago Sandwich at Farmers & Foragers

Posted By on Mon, Mar 26, 2018 at 7:04 AM

The new Bacon Loretta sandwich offered by Farmers & Foragers food truck - MELISSA PASANEN
  • Melissa Pasanen
  • The new Bacon Loretta sandwich offered by Farmers & Foragers food truck
Who could ignore an email promising "other level bacon deliciousness"? I already had plans to be at the University of Vermont around lunchtime last Thursday, so I made my way to the Farmers & Foragers food truck parked, with several others, on University Place above the green. I had to try the Bacon Loretta, F&F's brand-new sandwich offering.

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Sunday, March 18, 2018

Dining on a Dime: A Taste of the Middle East at Mr. Shawarma

Posted By on Sun, Mar 18, 2018 at 12:16 PM

Falafel plate at Mr. Shawarma - MELISSA PASANEN
  • Melissa Pasanen
  • Falafel plate at Mr. Shawarma
More than 10 years ago, Vietnam Restaurant at 137 Pearl Street in Essex Junction became the area's first go-to destination for pho, the aromatic Southeast Asian noodle soup. Last December, the same no-frills, strip-mall location became home to a restaurant serving another favorite from far away: shawarma, the marinated, spit-roasted, thinly shaved meat served all over the Middle East.

Mr. Shawarma, as it is aptly (and not too originally) named, also offers other classics from the region, including chickpea falafel, freshly made hummus, tabbouleh and stuffed grape leaves.

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Friday, March 9, 2018

Dining on a Dime: Pizzeria Verità

Posted By on Fri, Mar 9, 2018 at 8:37 PM

Margherita pizza and margarita drink at Pizzeria Verità - SALLY POLLAK
  • Sally Pollak
  • Margherita pizza and margarita drink at Pizzeria Verità
If you can't get to Florida for spring break, catch a mini wave of the Sunshine State in Burlington at Pizzeria Verità. The downtown eatery is offering a little in-house Margaritaville — two Margherita pizzas for the price of one ($13) on Mondays in the winter.

Officially, this deal comes to a close March 19 with the season's end (according to the calendar). But Pizzeria Verità co-owner John Rao says that if diners show interest in Margherita Mondays, the restaurant will likely keep the special running.

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Friday, February 23, 2018

Dining on a Dime: Berda's Restaurant

Posted By on Fri, Feb 23, 2018 at 8:13 AM

Mac-and-cheese balls at Berda's Restaurant - HANNAH PALMER EGAN
  • Hannah Palmer Egan
  • Mac-and-cheese balls at Berda's Restaurant
I like to pooh-pooh comfort food. "It's overdone," I'll often say. Or, "If I have to find a way to write about another plate of poutine or mac and cheese, I'm going to vomit all over my keyboard." Yes, poor me, I know.

Food-writer fatigue notwithstanding, comfort food is comforting for a reason. And since I'm a good, flag-waving American, I do keep a special place in my heart for well-done burgers and mac.

Case in point: Co-owners and cooks Shaun Trepanier and Cory Charles opened Berda's Restaurant in a storefront at the Essex Shoppes & Cinema in late December. The spot is an outgrowth of Berda's Roadside Eatery, where Charles slung local-beef burgers, dogs and duck-fat fries from a food truck in Essex Junction for the past three summers.

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Saturday, February 17, 2018

Dining on a Dime: Four Corners of the Earth

Posted By on Sat, Feb 17, 2018 at 5:23 PM

Ladislav Pancisin - SALLY POLLAK
  • Sally Pollak
  • Ladislav Pancisin
Ladislav Pancisin said he's made about 395,000 sandwiches at Four Corners of the Earth, his restaurant on Pine Street in Burlington.

"I was going to make one sandwich for every Vermonter and then be done with it," he said the other day. "But then the population keeps growing."

The population of Vermont has risen by about 14,000 people since Pancisin opened his small, subterranean sandwich shop in 2000. He'd be roasting salmon, chopping cabbage and mixing spice blends — all sandwich ingredients — until eternity if he kept pace with the people.  I recommend getting to Four Corners in the here and now, and adding a sandwich or two to Pancisin's tally.

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Friday, February 9, 2018

Dining on a Dime: American Flatbread

Posted By on Fri, Feb 9, 2018 at 9:30 AM

Lunch pizzas at American Flatbread in Burlington - SALLY POLLAK
  • Sally Pollak
  • Lunch pizzas at American Flatbread in Burlington
We've been regulars at American Flatbread Burlington Hearth since it opened almost 14 years ago on St. Paul Street. The restaurant arrived in Burlington with an enviable pedigree: offspring of the mother ship at a farm in Waitsfield, where we ate before Flatbread hit the city.

Many things draw us to American Flatbread:  the pizza, of course; a table by the wood-fired oven where a meal can pass in silence as we gaze at the flames; the beer and the salad dressing; the warm brownie sundae.

The hitch in our ritual appeared several years ago, when my daughter ditched our mutual devotion to favorites — Revolution flatbread with pepperoni, or olive and onion flatbread — in favor of Power to the People (chicken, Buffalo sauce, red onions, carrots, blue cheese, etc).  We worked around this wrinkle in various ways but only recently discovered the solution: lunch.

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Thursday, February 1, 2018

Dining on a Dime: Free Crepe Day at the Skinny Pancake

Posted By on Thu, Feb 1, 2018 at 10:41 AM

Cheesy-pesto crepe - SALLY POLLAK
  • Sally Pollak
  • Cheesy-pesto crepe
Wednesday was a slow night at the Skinny Pancake on the waterfront, where outside the wind dominated the action. By the time I arrived, at around 6:30 p.m., the restaurant was offering a limited menu.

I chose the cheesy-pesto crepe, $7.95, and ate a quick supper — sorry that a few of my favorite things, including salad with goat cheese and apples, spinach-artichoke dip, and the Jonny crepe, were off-limits. (I still haven't recovered from the loss, years ago, of cheese fondue from the menu.)

Although it was a quiet night at the restaurant, the crew was anticipating big things. General manager Mike Kennedy was busy at a chalkboard, teasing  new menu items (due March 1) in fuchsia block letters.  Kitchen manager Curtis Garrow was looking ahead, too. To today — Thursday, February 1.

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