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Watch out for flying bagels. Bruegger's, the Burlington-based biz that claims responsibility for moving bagels out of the "ethnic food" sphere and into the mainstream, is expanding to meet the needs of a new market: bored and famished travelers. In other words, the company is opening up eateries in airports.

There's already a location in the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport, and two more will open in 2008: one at Boston's Logan Airport and the other at Raleigh/Durham International. Will BTV ever get a Bruegger's? Stay tuned.

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Maybe it's our "buy local" ethic, or our tendency to cling to small-town tradition, but it seems Vermonters don't crave fast food as much as other Americans. In a Houston Chronicle article about Dairy Queen's Mint Oreo Blizzards - a St. Paddy's Day special - author Ken Hoffman notes that Vermont is the only place in the nation where you can't get your hands on the refreshing treat. (The former DQ in Burlington's Old North End dropped the trade name after the corporation made dictates with which owner Kathryn Goguen didn't want to comply - for instance, that she stop making sandwiches to order. Her dairy bar is now called QTees.)

Hoffman seems to have spotted a trend. "Often a national chain will boast restaurants in '49 states' and invariably the missing link comes up Vermont," he writes. "You know you've got a weird state on your hands when IHOP . . . doesn't have a restaurant in the maple syrup capital." (Maybe Hoffman failed to consider that people who know and love the taste of real maple might not cotton to the "butter pecan"-flavored syrup the International House of Pancakes serves up.)

After further analysis, Hoffman learned another interesting piece of Green Mountain trivia: "It turns out that the average Vermont family spends less money annually on fast food than [the average family in] any other state."

Maybe it's no wonder we're also rated one of the five fittest states in the nation.

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Want some songs with your sirloin? Middlebury institution Fire & Ice is adding a little entertainment to its lineup of thick steaks and copious salad-bar fixings. "Thursday night will be live music night from here on out," says General Manager Heidi Lacey. Although entertainment used to be reserved for the winter months, Lacey thinks there's value in serenading hungry patrons year 'round. "There's not a lot going on in Middlebury . . . We find that people need it," she suggests.

The live performers, who will range from a cabaret chanteuse to a singer dubbed "Vermont's Johnny Cash," are all part of putting a new face on an old fave. "We're stepping out of the old Fire & Ice and creating a new Fire & Ice," Lacey explains. "We're offering more chef's specials. And the chef tries very hard to include vegetarian dishes." The restaurant recently added another nine items to its "salad boat," bringing the total number of offerings to 56.

Occasional "gourmet" wine and food pairings also come with the new deal. "We're trying to do two more before the summer," says Lacey.

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Suzanne Podhaizer

Suzanne Podhaizer

Bio:
Former contributor Suzanne Podhaizer is an award-winning food writer (and the first Seven Days food editor) as well as a chef, farmer, and food-systems consultant. She has given talks at the Stone Barns Center for Agriculture's "Poultry School" and its flagship "Young Farmers' Conference." She can slaughter a... more

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