Vermont road-trip

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Mr. Food and I packed up the cooler on Monday for our trip to Brattleboro, just a couple of hours northwest of here for a relaxing night in Vermont at the Meadowlark Inn. We didn’t bring much for the trip as it was a remarkably short one and also because there just wasn’t much in the fridge to bring– a holdover from our recent travels and our current inability to keep the larder stocked. So, we had one apple, some carrot sticks, a handful of walnuts, and a container of red grapes. I’m happy to say we survived the trip despite the paucity of the provisions… Though perhaps this had to do more with the lunch we enjoyed along the way at a place in Concord, Mass.

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Dinner choices in Brattleboro on Memorial Day were not so numerous. Many restaurants were closed but one of the innkeepers suggested Vermont Country Deli instead. Wow. I’m glad I shot this photo before we started eating, otherwise this meal would have been another of those I-got-so-wrapped-up-in-eating-I-forgot-my-camera-was-there events. There were green beans with garlic– and they were cooked just so, not too crunchy or too mushy, just right. Then beet salad with undertones of basil and… what was that, cinnamon? Something warming and reminiscent of the bakeshop. Whatever it was, it worked! For the main course, a gnocchi with wasabi-cucumber-tomato saucing. I was hesitant to embrace this flavor combination, but let me tell you, Mr. Food and I fought over the remnants of this dish. For dessert a lovely ricotta cannolo (for the record, the pastry-cream versions are not worth the effort) with orange-tinged filling.

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And the next morning we were greeted by Lucia –also a graduate of my cooking school though we weren’t there at the same time– and a procession of breakfast treats. First, the peach upside-down cake with fresh fruit (melons, grapes…) on the side. Then a palate cleanser of orange juice and a pot of hot tea. And onto the main course of a (perfectly cooked, I might add) eggs benedict. Very very nice. And the view of the green hills and fields was not so bad either!

We headed home soon after, but not before checking out another food shop in town, the Brattleboro Food Coop. They have a lot of interesting stuff there, including many dried herbs and berries that I just have never seen in this country… like hawthorne berries, they seem more of a Chinese thing to me. (Welcome, hawthornes!) Anyway, we picked up some fill-your-own-container maple syrup, some fruit, and some locally made naans (to fry at home).

But the BIG find of the day, the #2 reason why I wanted to go to Vermont (#1 being we won a night at Meadowlark) was for the most amazing sodas. Specifically, the Mint Lime variety– the others really are too weird even for me! We bought all they had which was about a half dozen and drove them home carefully to nestle in the back of our fridge until the time is right. One of those moments was over dinner last night– enjoyed with a side of chicken salad sandwich. Mmm. It’s really too bad they don’t sell these anywhere closer to Boston than Western Mass/Southern Vermont… But we do what we can.

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