The Accidental Locavore hadn’t been to Vermont since sometime in the last century, and aside from six weeks of intensive French at Middlebury College, I’ve never been there in the summer. So it was a nice break from the hustle of New York, to spend a couple of days there, in the Burlington area. My friend Betty and I were up there for the Cheesemaker’s Festival, but since there comes a limit to how much cheese even I can consume, we ventured out to explore some of the area’s restaurants. First up, a Single Pebble, a Chinese place that Ilene of Edible Boston said was the best Chinese she’d ever had. We shared some great pork pot-stickers, and that night’s duck special: chunks of duck, lightly battered and fried. It might sound greasy, but it wasn’t and went beautifully with the sautéed watercress and hoisin sauce.
For breakfast both mornings we went to the local favorite, Mirabelle’s Cafe. Even the woman at the front desk of the Hilton admitted that their breakfasts were far superior to the hotel’s. The first morning I had an eggs Benedict version with a chile Hollandaise over corn cakes; delicious! Great coffee and big pots of tea were an added bonus.
Dinner after the cheese festival (yes, amazingly we were in search of food once again) was an Iranian place that was recommend to us by Alice, the food editor of 7 Nights (a local restaurant guide). While Farah’s Place wasn’t much in the looks department, the food was freshly prepared by Farah herself, tasty and inexpensive, with the emphasis on featuring local ingredients. We split the meat-stuffed grape leaves, the adas polo, a basmati rice dish topped with ground beef and fragrant with spices and a lamb koobideh, a ground lamb kebab that we managed to finish even though we were pretty full by that point.
Before heading off to Farah’s we decided to walk off the remaining cheese and check out downtown Burlington. It’s a very walkable city, with parks and a big pedestrian mall. It was there that we decided a pre-dinner cocktail was in order so we stopped at Leunig’s, a bistro in the heart of the mall, and had a great house special drink of vodka muddled with herbs and mixed with lemonade and seltzer. Perfect for a warm evening and the handsome, attentive bartender made us think about lingering or returning for a nightcap. Instead, since the evening was so pleasant, we walked down to the boardwalk, watched the sunset and had yet more food…delicious local ice cream!
Throughout our stay in Burlington, we were really impressed by the level of service from everyone we met! Maybe I’ve just spent too much time in New York, but the people we met were friendly, eager to share local knowledge and make sure we were enjoying ourselves. This was most apparent at the Burlington Hilton, where everyone was someone you’d want on your team!
Thanks to a Single Pebble and Mirabelle’s for the great photos!