Thanks to all the 'hounds who helped me plan our New Year's trip to Stowe, we managed to have a couple of soild meals. The two best meals we had in Vermont, hands down and by a mile, were at Simon Pearce in Quechee and The Alchemist in Waterbury. Off the top of my head and with a kooky toddler running amok here goes:
In Stowe we had a very good breakfast at McCarthy's, nothing amazing by any means, but a solid meal that we'd repeat. Corned beef hash, although touted as homemade, was not good at all- a smooth, silky paste that my toddler dubbed "dogfood." Cinnamon buns were delicious as were all the omlettes, pancakes etc. There was also a Pancake place at an Inn that had an excellent looking menu that I would have tried if we had gotten up early enough for a proper breakfast on any other day. After a snowy sleigh ride at the Trapp Family Lodge on Saturday morning and a nice conversation with a von Trapp grandchild ( I LOVE THE SOUND OF MUSIC!!!!) we went to the Austrian Tea Room and although we had heard (and believed) that the food was beyond sub par, decided that if we ordered judiciously enough, we'd fare well. The wursts and the sauerkraut and potato salad were excellent as was the cheddar soup. My son INSISTED on spaghetti and meatballs and we knew it would be atrocious and well guess what....it was :) A roast beef sandwich on oatmeal bread with horseradish dressing was pretty uninspiring but did the trick. Best bet is to stick with the wursts. The saurkraut, by the way, was actually excellent. A dinner at Pie in the Sky that evening was very good. Although every local we spoke with including our massage therapist who was a self-professed "pizza freak" said that newcomer Pie-Casso was better, we eneded up at Pie in the Sky because it was right across from our hotel and our tot was exhausted from hours of sledding at the hill behind the school. The Vermonter pizza (cheddar, apples, ham) was great after a long snowshoeing expedition and the cannelini bean and fennel soup was also excellent. The spinach salad was also very fresh and large and totally welcome what with all the fatty stuff we'd been consuming. Takeout salads from the Shed after the movies the following night were fresh and excellent (sorry we didn't get to try their Shed Burger) New Year's Day lunch at The Whip was GROSS (it was highly reccomended by young locals we met in our hotel pool- they had had their wedding there- they also highly reccomended Harrsions's, Foxfire for Italian, and the Malt Shop for ice cream, we chose the wrong place from their list I guess...) Service SUCKED - sorry there was no better word- the chili was GARGANTUAN gobs of greasy meat with nary a scallion or cilanto to brighten the insipid mess up, the pheasant flatbread was muddled with gobs of oily cheese and even the beverages were lukewarm with no ice. All that, and our server brought our bill to us with our entrees....Guess there was no dessert!?? We LOVED the donuts and cider at the Cold Hollow Mill and appreciated all the samples at both the Cabot Annex and Ben and Jerry's. We had a super dark hot choclate at Lake Champlain Choclates and a decadent pink peppercorn raspberry dark chocolate that is worth noting. We toyed with the idea of dinner and music at the Rusty Nail on New Year's Eve but a disco theme seemd so wrong, not to mention it seemed a bit chain-like in an Applebees kind of way and so... we ventured into Burlington for dinner. Fireworks over Lake Chmaplain were lovely and we managed to snag an early table at Smokejacks without a rezzo which was great as places like American Flatbread had two hour waits what with all the FirstNight crowds. Our Meal at Smokejacks was very good but unbelievable- steaks were cooked well, my chicken and maple grits and garlicky greens were well executed, bread basket was hysterical with one pat of artfully presented butter for about twenty pieces of bread, dessert was majorly lacking- an all style no substance peanutbutter/ chocolate concoction that was presented beautifully but had no taste or richness. A "tying to hard" debacle. Excellent Kettle Popcorn bought from a vendor on Church street more than satisfied our after dinner sweets hankering.
Our dinner at Alchemist deserves some mention b/c I just glazed over it at the beginning- excellent pub fare in a rustic setting, very fresh produce, hearty soups, solicitous service, insane waits (we ended up snagging seats at the bar and eating our meal there) I think The Alchemist was the best menu I had seen and the food was really better than average. I coveted huge platters of wursts and saurkraut as they passed as well as pot roast dinners. Our burgers and seasoned fries were delicious and we really enjoyed our cheddar beer dip with soft pretzel nuggets.
Simon Pearce was ***outstanding*** and deserves a post of its own which I will try to accomplish if my Chowpup cooperates later on.
In all, I really enjoyed our long weekend in Vermont and look forward to returning for some foiliage this Autumn.
Sorry if this didn't come out too polished- no time to edit :(
Again, thanks for all the suggestions,