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Thursday, September 20, 2012

Tidbits from Vermont!

I am so sorry that it's been SO SO SO long since I've posted!  what can I say - applying for a new job and planning a beautiful wedding just became all consuming!  Now that the wedding planning is over, and the job is now in transitional, I have a moment to write.   Please forgive the lack of pictures, which we were really excited about tasting and experiencing some amazing food, we were on our mini-moon, and blogging wasn't really back on my radar yet!

We stayed at the Inn at Shelburne Farms (The Inn), which I have always wanted to stay at!  This is the main house at Shelburne Farms, which used to the the Webb estate, in Shelburne VT.  Dr. Webb married a Vanderbilt daughter in the late 1800's and the house was built around 1890.  Now that Shelburne Farms has been a non-profit organization for 40 years, focusing on agricultural stewardship and education, they Inn helps support the educational focus of the organization.  Every effort to maintain the integrity of the house has resulted in a beautiful place to stay and be transported back in time.  There is no air conditioning or heating (the furnace was donated for scrap metal during WWII), and none of the rooms have TV's - which was really nice on a mini-moon.  Don't fret though, they have free wifi!  Every afternoon, the Inn serves afternoon tea with small sandwiches and sweets.  This is the perfect place to just get away from real life for awhile.  It also helps that I worked at the dairy farm on the property in college, so I have friends just down the road!  we're the only couple who helps load some cows during their mini-moon.

The benefit of staying at Shelburne Farms, is that you have the option to stay on the property exclusively - there is a restaurant attached to the Inn which focus on local and seasonal food!  Over 50% of the food they cook with comes from the farm itself, and the rest is local to the area.  We had our first night's dinner there, which just seemed the easiest after a morning of saying goodbye to all of our wedding guests, driving to VT and just remembering all those small details from the night before.  The last thing I thought I wanted to do would be to leave the property.  Turned out we were a bit stir-crazy though and hit up Church Street for 2 hours since we had a late seating for dinner.

We were seating right after 8:15 which was our reservation time, after a quick munch on some Shelburne Farms cheddar which they have right at the hostess area!  We're fans of the tractor cheddar they have, but that might not be for everyone as it is not always consistent.  We started with the corn chowder and butcher board.  The soup was heart warming and creamy, the butcher board an interesting combination of ingredients (different meats, bread, mustard and pickled veggies) which we had fun mixing and matching.  For dinner I got the lamb and my other half got the pork.  I got the lamb because 1 - I always LOVE lamb, and 2 - it came with some interesting sides.  It came with a eggplant puree and a salad of tomatoes and fresh greens.  I was very impressed.  The lamb was fork tender.  The pork was also great, tender and juicy.  Slightly pink, just the way we like it.  The potato and broccoli gratin it came with was not overcooked with a little bite left in it.

To finish, we had the pumpkin panna cotta with a raspberry caramel and shortbread cookie.  Words do not even describe it.  The panna cotta was flavorful and smooth in texture, creamy and dreamy.  I would just dive right in.  In fact, I am desperate for the recipe.
Inn at Shelburne Farms on Urbanspoon

Breakfast at the bearded frog
The next morning, we wanted to venture into Shelburne.  After much research, I found that a local restaurant which got great reviews also had a small cafe which served breakfast.  After ordering at the counter and drooling over the pasteries, I got the challah french toast with fresh fruit and a citrus marscarpone.  My other half got the breakfast sandwich with egg, potatoes and I think sausage.  He loved it and ate every bite.  Great balance of flavors.  I loved the frnech toast - not too dry, but the marscarpone did melt a little bit and that creaminess was lost.  We would definitely go back!  We did take a few treats for the road - the Guinness and kalua opera cake was very yummy, but the strawberry, basil and cracked black pepper cheesecake bite was bit over my head.
Bearded Frog on Urbanspoon

Dinner and Leunig's
To be honest, I first went to Leunig's with an old boyfriend in college.  But we were poor college students, and while we pretended to know what we were talking about, we weren't really knowledgeable about food. It was so different going as an "adult."  We got the tasting meal - $100 for a feast for two.  A great deal for us since generally we'll both get an appetizer, entree and dessert, which can easily top $50 per person.  This allowed us to taste a ton of different things and be surprised with each plate coming out.  I'm not going to go through each dish since there were so many, but the highlight was the fried duck.  I've never heard of fried duck before and I was a little dubious as I am much more used to the classic pan seared duck breast, and this was amazing!  Crispy on the outside, tender and juicy on the inside with a slightly tangy and spicy asian inspired dipping sauce, we fought over the last few pieces.  We were too full for the final cheese plate, although it looked so good, we took it back to our room for late night snacking!
Leunig's Bistro on Urbanspoon

Please see my full review of the wonderful place that is Sneakers.  we actually ended up with 3 breakfasts this time since we couldn't make a decision.  We got the crab cakes benedict - always a good choice (I've had it before) as the crab cakes are moist with larger chunks of crab.  I do also very much like the the California benedict with the mushrooms and avocado - creamy and earthy - but that wasn't in the cards today.  We also got the basic waffle with the side of fruit.  The waffle was slightly crisp on the outside and fluffy inside, but the fruit always elevates the dish.  Gone are the days of macerated strawberries making soggy waffles...  each piece of fruit was ripe and flavorful.  And this is not just a sign of summer, this is something that is consistent at Sneakers year round.  Last, but not least, was a calamari omelet special with spicy sausage.  Unfortunately, this was not a home run for us.  The calamari were breaded and the egg made them a bit soggy.  I was concerned that they would be rubbery, but fortunately, the double cooking did not make them overcooked.  I have to admit that the fact that this omelet didn't sing for me might be that it also contained more ingredients that I am not a huge fan of - including red onions and tomatoes - but my other half was not too impressed either.  I do think that one miss out of a history of great meals is acceptable, as I am just pleased that the chef there has enough creative freedom to try new things.  I've had some spectacular specials there (get the carrot cake waffles with cream cheese frosting if you see them), but new and interesting flavor combinations are not always for everyone.
Sneakers Bistro & Cafe on Urbanspoon

All in all, a great weekend with some great food.  We can't wait to do it again.

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