Sunday, November 06, 2011
Farmhouse Tap and Grill--Burlington, VT
Look, it's a post that's not about Portland! And, what is this? It's a work related trip to Burlington that I don't have to shell out a cent for? Stop. It. Now.
If I travel more than once a year for work, I feel like a shorter, rounder Samantha Brown. It's a bit sad but a reality of not having a job that necessitates much travel. So, the trip out 302 with a co-worker, taking the scenic route to Burlington through The White Mountains and Frogtown Hollow.. Uh.. Sorry, I was thinking about Emmet Otter there for a moment. But, yea, the ride out was great and I had forgotten how beautiful traveling out that way was. If you're not pressed for time and it's not the middle of January, I highly recommend this route through the Northeast Kingdom into western Vermont.
We headed straight into town when we arrived, as my co-worker had never been to Burlington, and spent an hour or so on Church Street, poking around at Urban Outfitters and grabbing a latte at Uncommon Grounds. Before we headed to our hotel, to meet up with the others in the group for dinner, we made a quick stop into The City Market/Onion River Co-Op to check it out. It gave me needs and feelings of jealousy. Why don't we have a Co-Op like this in Portland? Granted, I know we have more than enough markets but this was the best of everything in a surprisingly sizable space. It even puts to shame the Honest Weight Co-Op that I frequented back in Albany. After food trucks, can we make THIS happen, Portland?
But, enough of my pipe dreams. Let's talk about dinner. Imagine if you will that Novare Res and 50 Local, in Kennebunk, had a love child. Go ahead, picture it. That's The Farmhouse Tap and Grill in Burlington. They put as much thought and pride into their beer list as they do their food and they don't shy from letting you know what local farms supplied it.
Dotted around the room were chalkboards listing all of the farms that the restaurant used to compose its menu. I smiled at seeing familiar cheese makers like Lazy Lady, Jasper Hill and Spring Brook Farm on the boards. Call me a 'Locawhore', or whatever you may choose, but I respect restaurants that openly acknowledge the area farms that bring the food to the table. Just don't take it to Portlandia levels and I think you'll be alright.
To start the meal, the three carnivores at the table settled on a charcuterie board of Bresaola, Local Chicken Liver Pate and Duck Rillette.
The board was served with some whole grain mustard, grilled Red Hen bread and house pickles. It was a very lovely, well rounded board, but the true stand out for me was the pate. Pink hued, rich and slightly sweet, it made me miss the charcuterie that District offered when they first opened. I actually liked the recipe so much that I contacted the restaurant for it. Consider that a first.
The Bresaola, paper thin and barely salty, melted away in one bite and was topped with a fruity Arbequina olive oil. The rillette was a bit off for me, though. I found the texture a bit dry and the gaminess of the meat a little less enjoyable next to the other selections. Luckily there was enough of those to make me not feel so bad about passing on the rillette.
The entree, a pair of corn griddle cakes topped with roasted mushrooms, sauteed kale and buttermilk vinaigrette, seemed like vegetarian atonement for having the appetizer that I did.
Truthfully, it was ordered in haste and I did think about changing my order. I'm glad that I didn't, though, because the savory pancakes were delicious. The cakes were cornmeal based, with a bit of sweetness, that went really well with the earthiness, acidity and bitterness of the other components. I was in love on the first bite, though the generous portion did fill me up quickly, leaving a small pile of uneaten kale in my wake.
I, personally, can't speak on the cred of the beer list, but my co-workers seemed very happy at the endless choices. I did, however, have a very tasty root beer. But, let's just admit it, I did kind of feel like a kid pretending at a table of adults.
The Missus and I are planning our own trip for sometime next spring--maybe for my 35th--and I am definitely going to make another trip back.