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Restaurants & Bars 2

VT road trip report

Joanie | May 6, 2008 07:17 AM

Took a couple days off and drove to Burlington from Boston. Started with the Common Man in Concord NH for a nice lunch. I like the rustic look of that place. Split their take on the BLT which had fried green tomatoes, cheese, served on ciabatta bread and was very good. Came with a side of chips and their "copper pennies" which are picked carrots and those were tasty as anything, about $6. The lobster and corn chowder was more lobster bisque which is fine but not what I expected. It needed a little salt, the corn wasn't so plentiful, a fair sized chunk of lobster. Good but wouldn't order it again. We took a detour to Montpelier and got good iced coffee at Capitol Grounds but the peanut butter cookie at La Brioche was dry as anything.

That nite in Burlington we started at the Vermont Pub & Brewery where my friend tried their IPA and seemed to enjoy it. We then split a couple apps at the bar of the Daily Planet, a place we really liked. One was advertised as a duck pancake but was more crabcake style but w/ duck. The fried green beans were super lightly fried with a tasty dipping sauce, prices in the $9 range. Dark and stormy was good, they had a good beer list for A. Had we known every place was going to close, we might have gotten more food there. Too late for American Flatbread and thought about the famous gravy fries at Nectar's but they weren't what we envisioned at all. Frozen fries w/ thin light gravy? I had thought handcut fries with dark gravy, so we passed and I ended up with an oatmeal/white choc/cranberry cookie at Muddy Waters which was decent.

Finally made it to Penny Cluse for breakfast and again, the legend didn't live up to the hype. We got biscuits w/ herb gravy but the gravy was lukewarm. Gingerbread pancakes had good flavor, a bit of that soggy in the middle problem. It's a cute place but I wasn't blown away and wished I'd gone to one of the diners on Bank St. After walking around, we went back to American Flatbread and split the new VT sausage pizza w/ fennel, caramelized onion/mushroom pizza, could taste the maple in the sausage and good flavors overall (and more interesting beer for A). For dessert, we hit the Skinny Pancake cart on Church St. and went basic for the sugar/butter crepe ($4). There could have been more butter but it had good flavor. That nite they had the artwalk which we were kind of late getting to (had delicious apple chips at one studio that I need to track down). Got a drink at Drink and on top of choosing wrong (too sweet "martini" w/ pineapple and other juices), the bartender had no personality and for some reason, we were the only ones to not get a napkin under our glass. We went to Ice House, thinking it was going to be a little nicer there with the water views. But the place was brightly lit and even tho they said they close at 10, they stopped seating at 9:00 and since it was 8:55, we walked down to Shanty on the Shore which was very quiet even tho it was Fri. (rainy tho). Split oysters rockefeller and mussels. Probably not mussel season, they were the size of a dime. And the bowl was too small to get the broth around to mussels on top. Lots of garlic, good enough flavor but not the kind you swoon over. So we went back to the Daily Planet and split a grilled berber chicken sandwich w/ a few fries. Apple crisp for dessert was okay. Even tho the bar area was much more crowded and it wasn't quite as fun as the previous nite, it was a good place overall. I sound so tough on everything but wasn't getting my socks knocked off.

Sat. morning we stopped at the Parkway Diner where we split pancakes and an order of home fries, typical diner fare. It was fun watching the guys at the grill, they were working up a sweat. Made our way into West Lebanon NH so my friend could try an IPA at the 7 Barrel Brewery which I used to go to with my parents. I even got a maple beer but the maple was nowhere to be tasted or smelled. I sadly passed on their special Red Velvet cake thinking I was going to be eating at a cafe in Springfield VT but both places were closed so we were relegated to a soda at the pizza shop while chatting to an old friend. But the best part of the trip was in nearby Bellows Falls: Fat Franks. That burger was a thing of beauty. The hot dog was fine altho it seemed grilled on one of those rollers which I don't like. And he refused to butter and grill a bun, would only grill it. He was funny and we were giving each other a hard time, he says I'm the only one who's ever asked to have it buttered (couldl that reall be?). Whatever, the quality of the meat was excellent and the chorizo burger was very tasty w/ jalapeno peppers, monterey jack cheese, nice and juicy, a really good sized burger. I never expected such a massive burger from that style place. We then went to the Hravenwood (sp?) Cafe for a coffee and pastry. Very cute place overlooking the river, I hope they can make it cuz BF is not the most cafe oriented place.

So a fun trip and quite a change from the previous long weekend in NYC.

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