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Thursday, November 19, 2020

Goodbye, Bite Club Blog

Posted By on Thu, Nov 19, 2020 at 8:59 PM

MAKSYM FESENKO | DREAMSTIME
  • Maksym Fesenko | Dreamstime
Hi there, food lovers! We've decided to '86' the Bite Club blog — R.I.P.

Since 2009, this blog has been the place where we've published our online-only food and drink stories. It's where we've shared our adventures in Dining on a Dime and the recipes we're cooking at Home on the Range. It's been the home of food news, posted on-the-fly as it happens. It's been fun (and delicious).

But it's time to streamline our mise en place.

Breaking food news, Dining on a Dime, Home on the Range, Drink Up and our other occasional online series aren't going away. They'll just live in a slightly different place.

Now you can head to the food section in between weekly issues for everything we write, whether or not it shows up in print. And don't worry: The Bite Club newsletter will still land in your inboxes every Tuesday around 4 p.m. with a feast's worth of our newest food stories. To never miss a post, subscribe to our newsletters here.

Thanks for reading — no matter where you find us!

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Waterworks Food + Drink Closes for Foreseeable Future

Posted By on Tue, Nov 17, 2020 at 2:44 PM

Waterworks Food + Drink - MATTHEW THORSEN ©️ SEVEN DAYS
  • Matthew Thorsen ©️ Seven Days
  • Waterworks Food + Drink
Waterworks Food + Drink in Winooski stopped in-house dining and takeout service on Tuesday and will remain closed for the foreseeable future, according to owner David Abdoo. He said the 285-seat restaurant on the Winooski River will reopen for business when it's viable to do so.

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Home on the Range: Harvest-Stuffed Squash

Posted By on Tue, Nov 17, 2020 at 11:21 AM

Harvest-Stuffed Squash packed up for a friend - MELISSA PASANEN ©️ SEVEN DAYS
  • Melissa Pasanen ©️ Seven Days
  • Harvest-Stuffed Squash packed up for a friend
When my now 23-year-old son was about half that age, he was obsessed with soccer. One day, he asked me if I loved cooking as much as he loved playing soccer.

I remember thinking about it for a minute and recognizing — somewhat belatedly, to be honest — that it wasn't so much the act of cooking I loved, but cooking for people.

There is something satisfying about taking raw ingredients and dicing and slicing and sautéing and simmering up something delicious. But it's seeing the faces of friends and family gathered around a table — or outdoor firepit —enjoying that food and each other that brings me the most joy.

As of recent days, our in-person circles have shrunk drastically. I'm grieving the loss of  serving up warm soups and stews to small groups of friends (safely distanced) outdoors, though I understand why it is necessary. It's really a minor hardship in the bigger picture.

But just because we can't be together in person, that doesn't mean I can't cook for others.

On Sunday afternoon, I simmered up a big pot of Mexican-style meatball soup for my book club and packaged containers of soup and garnishes. A friend made us all margaritas. Over Zoom and bowls of the same soup, we talked about the book but also about how we were all managing — and struggling, too.

A couple of weeks ago, I made a "welcome baby" meal for another friend. This, at least, is cooking I'm used to doing without being present when it is eaten — although I missed peeking at the newborn and hugging the new parents.

My kitchen was filled with the comforting smells of roasting squash and onions and garlic slowly caramelizing. It felt so good to package up the stuffed squash along with my own garden-grown broccoli and know that it was going to nourish the newly expanded family.

I have already decided that I will bake my normal big batch of our traditional Thanksgiving squash rolls even though I'm only cooking for three this year. I plan to make little care packages of the golden rolls and drop them off on the doorsteps of a few friends.

It seems kind of obvious, but when we feed others, we are also feeding ourselves in a different way.

Harvest-Stuffed Squash

Makes 6 servings
This recipe is completely flexible. For the version in the photograph, I used mild turkey sausage and added some cooked wild and brown rice because I had no mushrooms. I also subbed onion for the leek. I skipped the cheese because of lactose-intolerance in my friend's family. For a vegetarian version, I would substitute 2½ cups of cooked brown rice and some toasted almonds for the turkey.

Ingredients

  • 3 small whole winter squash
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 8 ounces farmed or foraged mushrooms
  • 1½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and finely diced
  • 1 large leek, white and light green parts only, chopped and washed well (sub: onion)
  • 1 pound ground turkey (sub: any ground meat, vegetarian "meat," or 2½ cups cooked rice or quinoa)
  • 1 large apple, cored and diced (no need to peel)
  • 1½ tablespoons minced garlic (about 5 cloves)
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika, optional
  • ½ cup grated hard cheese (about 2 ounces), such as cave-aged Orb Weaver or Tarentaise from Thistle Hill Farm or Spring Brook Farm

Directions

  1. Heat the oven to 400ºF.  Cut each squash in half across the middle and remove the seeds and stringy bits. Cut a small slice off the stem and the blossom ends of pumpkins or acorn squash so the halves can sit flat on their bottoms.
  2. Lightly oil a large rimmed baking sheet with 1 tablespoon of the oil and place the squash on it flesh side down. Roast until tender and cooked all the way through but not collapsed, 25 to 40 minutes. (This can vary widely depending on variety and size of squash.) Remove from the oven and set aside on the baking sheet, but leave the oven on.
  3. Slice or tear the mushrooms into bite-size pieces and toss them in a baking dish with 1 tablespoon of the oil, ½ teaspoon of the salt and a few grinds of the black pepper. Roast at the same time as the squash until golden and a little crisp at the edges, 15 to 25 minutes depending on the mushroom variety (button mushrooms will take the longest).
  4. While the squash and mushrooms are roasting, warm the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat until it shimmers. Add the carrot and leek and cook, stirring occasionally, until the leek has softened and turns golden, 6 to 8 minutes.
  5. Add the turkey, the apple, the garlic, the remaining 1 teaspoon of the salt, and the smoked paprika, if using. Mix well and cook, stirring occasionally to break up the meat, until the turkey is cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the mushrooms. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired.
  6. Turn the roasted squash halves onto their bottoms on the rimmed baking sheet. Fill each half generously with the turkey mixture and top each with a sprinkle of the cheese. Return to the oven to melt the cheese and warm through, about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve immediately.

Source: The Little Local Vermont Cookbook: Recipes for Classic Dishes by Melissa Pasanen
Got cooking questions? Email pasanen@sevendaysvt.com.

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Monday, November 16, 2020

CO Cellars, ZAFA Wines Face Licensing Investigation

Posted By on Mon, Nov 16, 2020 at 8:38 PM

A glass of natural wine at CO Cellars - SALLY POLLAK/FILE ©️ SEVEN DAYS
  • Sally Pollak/FIle ©️ Seven Days
  • A glass of natural wine at CO Cellars

The Vermont Division of Liquor Control executed two search warrants last Friday during a licensing investigation of CO Cellars, a Burlington fermentory and tasting room, and ZAFA Wines, a winery that shares CO Cellars' location in the Soda Plant building in the South End.

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Monday, November 9, 2020

Scale Poké Bar Adds Essex Junction Location

Posted By on Mon, Nov 9, 2020 at 6:51 PM

Scale Poké Bar owners Perry and Neil Farr - FILE OLIVER PARINI ©️ SEVEN DAYS
  • File Oliver Parini ©️ Seven Days
  • Scale Poké Bar owners Perry and Neil Farr
Neil and Perry  Farr opened Scale Poké Bar in Williston in March of 2018. Fewer than three years later, in the middle of a pandemic, they are opening a second location in Essex Junction at 137 Pearl Street.

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Friday, November 6, 2020

Dining on a Dime: The Spot

Posted By on Fri, Nov 6, 2020 at 3:00 PM

Cheesesteak at the Spot - SALLY POLLAK ©️ SEVEN DAYS
  • Sally Pollak ©️ Seven Days
  • Cheesesteak at the Spot

On the nicest November day in the history of democracy, I tore myself away from the television to eat a cheesesteak.

I was bingeing on Day 4 of “Election Day in America Continued,” and coverage was focused on Philly. So I did what any ex-pat from the City of Bro Lo would do and headed to the nearest cheesesteak place.  In my case, a most fortunate one, that happens to be the Spot on Shelburne Road.

For my impromptu trip, I overlooked the required reservation. This was easily remedied on the spot at the Spot, where I popped out my phone and reserved an outdoor seat for that moment. A few tables in an enclosed outdoor dining area had lunch customers, but I was alone on the open-air patio.

I ordered a small cheesesteak with chips and a pickle ($9) and a seltzer with cranberry juice.

“Cheers!” the server said when she set down my drink.

She nailed the vibe: I was cheered to be outdoors, removed from CNN’s electronic election map, and on the verge of eating a sandwich that’s hard to replicate in any worthy fashion on the east side of Philadelphia’s Benjamin Franklin Bridge.

But in Burlington's South End, happily, the sandwich had the requisite squish to the bread, the beef was a cut above the versions I favored in Philly (maybe 'cause in that city they’re whipping out sandwiches faster than they’re counting votes), and the grilled red peppers added zing.

I'm pretty sure the cheese on my cheesesteak was melted American, and I'm a provolone person.  Yet melted American is the winning choice, the poetic choice, for Election Week in the USA.

I watched cars pull up for window service in a scene that harked back to the Spot’s previous incarnation as a gas station.  Reinforcing the reminiscences, a tow truck arrived to rescue a busted Land Rover whose owner had eaten lunch at the restaurant.

As I finished my meal, an acquaintance showed up for lunch.  From across the parking lot, she inquired about the food, and I gave her the scoop: “Cheesesteak. In honor of the vote count in Philly.”

A man waiting for his to-go order heard me and started to clap. He said that he, too, had ordered a cheesesteak. I asked him if it was for Election Day in Philadelphia.

“No,” he said. “But that’s the best reason I’ve heard.”

I couldn't argue with his own reason.  Barry, who told me only his first name, is a Philly native and eats cheesesteaks regularly at the Spot because they're so good, he said.

We bemoaned the state of Italian hoagies in Vermont, and then I walked home to check the vote. Biden had a 0.2 percent lead in Pennsylvania; the electoral vote tally hadn’t budged.

Still, the narrative was advancing. According to a "breaking news" alert on CNN, Biden will address the nation tonight.
Dining on a Dime is a 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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Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Burlington's Mawuhi African Market to Vacate Old North End Space

Posted By on Wed, Nov 4, 2020 at 8:24 PM

Pat Bannerman - SALLY POLLAK ©️ SEVEN DAYS
  • Sally Pollak ©️ Seven Days
  • Pat Bannerman
After 13 years operating Mawuhi African Market in a corner building in the Old North End, Pat Bannerman will leave the space at the end of the year, she said.

Jason Lin of Burlington purchased the building at 160 North Winooski Ave. a year ago. He told Seven Days on Tuesday that he plans to renovate and upgrade the structure, and perhaps open his own business at the site of the market.

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Monday, November 2, 2020

Home on the Range: Garlicky Chicken, Potatoes and Kale

Posted By on Mon, Nov 2, 2020 at 5:43 PM

Garlicky chicken, potatoes and kale - MELISSA PASANEN ©️ SEVEN DAYS
  • Melissa Pasanen ©️ Seven Days
  • Garlicky chicken, potatoes and kale
The arrival of colder, shorter days always heralds comfort-food season. This year, I'd wager many of us are craving comfort like never before.

For me, comfort means warming, one-pot meals that are often centered around the vegetable share from our longtime community-supported agriculture membership. I mostly supplement with ingredients from other local farmers, though I am not a purist and happily welcome citrus, spices, olive oil, chickpeas, coconut milk, seafood and other faraway items, too.

At my last Intervale Community Farm pick-up, I selected small, golden-fleshed potatoes and a slender bunch of dark green lacinato kale. I also had on hand a fat head of Last Resort Farm garlic grown in Monkton; loads of fresh thyme from my garden; and some bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs from Maple Wind Farm in Richmond.

Often, I spread potatoes and sturdy vegetables on a sheet pan with chicken pieces to roast everything up together at 400 degrees or higher until they're all deeply caramelized.

But this time, I wanted the garlic to soften and mellow like it does in the classic chicken with 40 cloves of garlic. Roasting everything at high heat without any liquid would have risked bitter garlic.

Mixing the vegetables by hand - MELISSA PASANEN ©️ SEVEN DAYS
  • Melissa Pasanen ©️ Seven Days
  • Mixing the vegetables by hand
Instead, I picked a shallow baking dish and added some chicken broth in which the garlic, potatoes and kale could do more of a braising thing, while the chicken pieces roasted on top.

Every mouthful warmed me to the core. As the meal delivered deep nourishment, it also provided a grounding connection to farmers who are doing their best to raise food in ways that support the land and the community. It won't fix everything, but I'll take every little bit of comfort I can cook up.

Garlicky Chicken, Potatoes and Kale

Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients
  • 6 to 8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (about 2½ to 3 pounds)
  • 2 teaspoons coarse salt, divided
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon smoked or sweet paprika
  • 2 pounds all-purpose potatoes, scrubbed, not peeled, cut into one-inch cubes (sub: sweet potatoes or cubed winter squash)
  • 1 large bulb garlic, cloves peeled and halved if very large
  • 1 bunch kale, thick stems removed, leaves sliced into ribbons (sub: chard or collards)
  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme (sub: rosemary or sage)
  • ¼ cup olive oil, divided
  • 1½ cups chicken stock
  • ½ lemon, or 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
Directions
  1. Heat the oven to 425 degrees. Pat the chicken thighs dry with paper towel and trim any excess fat or skin if desired. (Kitchen shears are my MVP for this task.) Sprinkle the chicken pieces with about 1 teaspoon salt and several grinds of black pepper. Dust them with the paprika and set aside on a plate while prepping the vegetables.
  2. In a 9-by-13 baking dish, toss together the potatoes, garlic cloves, kale ribbons, and thyme with 3 tablespoons of the olive oil and the remaining teaspoon of salt plus more grinds of pepper. (I like to use my hands.)
  3. Pour the chicken stock over the vegetables. Nestle the chicken thighs into the vegetables making sure the skin is exposed. Drizzle the chicken skin with the final tablespoon of olive oil.
  4. Cook for 45-50 minutes until the potatoes are tender and the chicken skin is dark golden brown. (If the pan dries out and vegetables start to stick, add a splash more chicken stock.) Squeeze the lemon juice over everything right before serving garnished with more fresh thyme as desired.
Got cooking questions? Email pasanen@sevendaysvt.com.

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Thursday, October 29, 2020

Healthy Living Market & Café Opens in Williston

Posted By on Thu, Oct 29, 2020 at 7:00 AM

Healthy Living Market & Cafe in Williston - COURTESY OF HEALTHY LIVING
  • Courtesy of Healthy Living
  • Healthy Living Market & Cafe in Williston
Healthy Living Market & Café opens its second location in Chittenden County on Thursday, October 29, with a branch at 129 Market Street in Williston.

The new store is about half the size of the South Burlington location, or 18,000 square feet, according to Nina Lesser-Goldsmith, who owns the business with her mother, founder Katy Lesser, and brother, Eli Lesser-Goldsmith.  The Williston store offers the same product categories and departments as the original outlet, Nina Lesser-Goldsmith explained, but with a smaller selection of  items within the departments. The new store employs 65 people.

“We’ve always wanted to expand our footprint in our home community,” she said. “For a long time, we didn’t think we could make people happy with a store that was smaller than our first [one]. But smaller stores that support smaller communities are what people want.”

The café in the Williston store is the most beautiful and prominent aspect of the site, Lesser-Goldsmith noted.

Café service has been modified for COVID-19, with adaptations that include salads made-to-order by a staffer rather than as a self-service food bar. Seating will be available inside and outside when the mask mandate is no longer in effect, according to Lesser-Goldsmith.

“We can’t in good conscience allow people to unmask in the store and consume food” at a business that provides an essential service, she said.

Healthy Living is launching a prepared foods/deli/café program, HL Fresh, under the direction of chef Matt Jennings. Offerings will include meals that are ready to be cooked at home, meals ready to eat (without cooking), and rotating daily specials, Lesser-Goldsmith said.
From left: Nina Lesser-Goldsmith, Katy Lesser, Eli Lesser-Goldsmith at October 28 ribbon cutting - COURTESY OF HEALTHY LIVING
  • Courtesy of Healthy Living
  • From left: Nina Lesser-Goldsmith, Katy Lesser, Eli Lesser-Goldsmith at October 28 ribbon cutting
The opening of the Williston store comes after months of an "extremely busy” spell at the flagship South Burlington location, Lesser-Goldsmith said.

“People are really relying on grocery stores [during the pandemic], and we’re happy and proud to be able to serve so many people so well,” she added.

“It’s the hardest success I’ve ever had,” Lesser-Goldsmith continued. “My staff are absolutely heroes. They come to work every day. They’re brave. They face all kinds of people. They do it with a smile, and I could not be more grateful to them.”

Healthy Living in Williston is open daily from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. In addition to the two Vermont locations, the business that Lesser started in 1986 has a branch in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

"Vermont is our home and we love it here," Lesser-Goldsmith said.  "And we're so proud to create 65 new jobs in this community and serve a wider audience of customer."

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Thursday, October 22, 2020

Vivid Coffee to Open Café and Roastery in New Moon Space in Burlington

Posted By on Thu, Oct 22, 2020 at 4:36 PM

A mock-up of the future Vivid Coffee window at 150 Cherry St. - COURTESY OF VIVID COFFEE
  • Courtesy of Vivid Coffee
  • A mock-up of the future Vivid Coffee window at 150 Cherry St.
New Moon Café is moving into its next phase, and the café at 150 Cherry Street in Burlington will be buzzing as the new home of Vivid Coffee next month.

Vivid will take over the airy, street-level space that has housed New Moon for the past 13 years, opening its own café and moving its roasting operations from Scout & Co. in Winooski.

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