I left New York City for Vermont last Thursday with good blogging intentions. Camera, laptop, running shoes, favorite restaurants to visit; I arrived prepared. However, the convenience of living in a well-connected city must have altered my memory of just how un-connected Vermont can be. Due to the many valleys, hills, and mountains that make up my homeland, my parents are not able to have cable, and satellite is just too pricey. What they are left with is an old fashioned dial-up connection running at 28.5 kbps. Plan B was the parking lot of a Wi-Fi supplied gas station in my home town. Needless to say, I nixed the blog from Vermont idea, and took plenty of pictures to recap my adventures.
The healthy car snacks that I had prepared for the north-bound voyage proved to be successful. Chewy oatmeal bars were just the perfect amount sweet with the added chocolate chips, and they kept me feeling full well into the day.
The bulgur bread that I made tasted a lot better than I thought it would. Appearing to be a not fully risen, hard as a rock loaf, the slices were surprisingly soft and moist. Complementing the bread was a few scoops of hummus, lettuce, and smoked mozzarella cheese (freegan!). The combination of flavors was so perfect that I didn’t even feel a little bit bad about purchasing the cheese.
Just outside of Albany, we got stuck in a torrential downpour obscuring any visibility on busy I-87. We pulled off at a service station to wait out the storm. I was surprised to see this at the busy Travel Mart inside:
Healthy alternatives? At an interstate pit-stop? In a state of shock, I stumbled over to the small island in the middle of the store for a closer look. Beside the usual suspects of yogurt parfaits, non-vegetarian salads, cheeses, and fruit drinks, there were also cups with vegetables and dip.
And a treat that I found slightly comical:
After a few more hours of driving, we made it to our Vermont destination. That evening we had plans to meet the bride-to-be and her groom at the American Flatbread Company in Burlington. The wait for a table was 45 minutes, so while we were waiting we meandered across the street to the Vermont Pub and Brewery for a pre-dinner drink. I ordered the Spuyten Duyvil, described as a “Belgian-style sour red ale.” My love for Belgian-style beer persuaded me to try this; I’m sorry to say that I was disappointed. It was fruity with a dry cranberry flavor. Not at all what I was looking for. I normally love the beer at VPB, so I was not expecting this one to be so… well, bad. (no picture, I forgot!)
American Flatbread is my favorite restaurant. A strong statement, for which I make no apologies. The food, the drink, and the ambiance all line up to create the perfect dining experience. Flatbread style pizza is cooked in wood-fired ovens clearly visible from the tables. Here are some of the wall hangings (iPhone photos):
American Flatbread uses as many organic and locally-farmed products as possible. From the founder, George Schenk:
“Food is important.
What we eat and how it is grown
intimately affects us and
the well-being of the world.”
We started off with another round of beer. American Flatbread has their own Zero Gravity brewery, and some fantastic beer selections. I ordered a beer they named Grisette. It was aromatic and full flavored with a cloudy orange color.
Our table of six decided on three pizzas. The first was Revolution Flatbread–Organic tomato sauce, caramelized onions, mushrooms, cheeses, fresh herbs. It’s hard to spot many of the toppings, but trust me they were there.
The slices of pizza are thin and small, which is great for sampling each kind as well as going back for seconds and thirds. Next up, I tried Punctuated Equilibrium Flatbread–Kalamata olives, oven roasted sweet red peppers, handmade VT goat’s cheese, fresh rosemary, red onions, cheeses, fresh herbs.
Punctuated Equilibrium is my favorite flatbread. Notice how I had already engulfed half of my slice before remember to snap a picture. The third pizza the table ordered satisfied the meat lovers. I’m not quite sure what it was called, but here are a list of the ingredients: Salumeria Biellesse duck sausage, with whole grain mustard creme fraiche, cornichones, capers, baby arugula, & Shelburne Farms one year cheddar. Definitely an interesting combination. If only it was vegetarian. Despite four slices of pizza American Flatbread left me satisfied, but not overstuffed; the signs of a meal prepared with whole foods consumed in proper proportions.
Following dinner, the crew walked around Church street (a few blocks of brick pedestrian walkway lined by boutiques, restaurants, and bars) and stopped at Ake’s Place and Red Square. Needing to drive home later, I had seltzer water with cranberry juice and a lime at Ake’s followed by lots of water at Red Square. Despite being chilly for July, the rain had ceased for a while, and James and I had a great time catching up with the bride and groom before they were swept away by the craziness of a wedding.