By now you may have heard that Hotel Vermont is serving “roadkill” during our Wild About Vermont Game Dinner on Saturday, November 7. While the term conjures gruesome images of highway accidents, Vermont, and more specifically Vermonters, have found a way to be sure those animals don’t go to waste.
Vermont is one of a handful of states that maintains an on-call program. When an animal is hit by a vehicle, the driver of the vehicle is offered first choice of the animal. If the driver declines, the game warden will begin calling those who have signed up and deliver the animal. Many use the program as food assistance, while others wish to stay connected to traditions and this land.
We have received some inquires as to whether the meat is safe to eat. All meat served for human consumption is highly regulated, and though some of the animals being served met their fate in an unconventional manner, any resulting meat is held to that same high standard. Roadside tests, butchery regulations and proper storage are all a part of the process used to deem meat safe for our tables and kitchens. And that’s not to say all of the dishes prepared will come from “roadkill”: poached animals are confiscated by game wardens and where possible, harvested to provide food for the community. Still more is donated by hunters.
So why the Wild Game Dinner? For one, game dinners are a treasured Vermont tradition. Community centers and churches have used game dinners as a way to feed their friends and neighbors while capitalizing on the generosity of local hunters. We also want to work to expand our palates and those of our guests; you can’t just walk into a butcher shop and order moose or beaver or bear. By working with Vermont Fish and Wildlife and Lake Champlain International, we get to sample the resources they work so hard to protect, and enjoy an adventurous meal in the meantime.
The dinner is $75, which may seem steep to some, however all of the proceeds benefit kids camps through Vermont Fish and Wildlife and LCI. Both organizations are helping to educate the next generation about sustainable food practices, outdoor education and sportsmanship.
For further reading, look here: An interactive map of the USA, explaining each state’s approach to roadkill consumption, Edible Geography’s explanation of road kill regulations, Vermont Fish and Wildlife, Lake Champlain International
Thank you to everyone who came out to our Viva Tequila event last night! A very special thank you to Mike and Tracy Stolese of the Burlington Wine & Food Festival for their efforts in bringing renowned tequila expert Lucinda Hutson from New Mexico to Hotel Vermont for an unparalleled night of all things tequila.
We learned about the roots of this warm weather spirit with a visual presentation by Lucinda, author of Viva Tequila Cocktails, Cooking, and Other Agave Adventures, as she presented an insider’s perspective into the rich heritage of Mexico and her beloved agave spirits. She brought agave country to Vermont through captivating documentary photography and personal travel tales, peppered with festive recipes to inspire entertaining in true Mexican style.
With fresh juice blends and tequila cocktails from Juniper Restaurant Manager Cam Keitel at our tequila bar, we enjoyed tasting the spirits in a traditional way with a chase of sangria, bringing out every note and nuance of these incredible tequilas. Chef Doug Paine out did himself with his interpretations of Southwestern-inspired cuisine, created with locally sourced ingredients to pair with the tequilas hand selected for this unique event. Dished including Queso Flameado (Vermont cheeses melted and flambéed with tequila), Salpicon Norteno (shredded beef, chipotle, lime juice, and cheddar), and Chicharrones (crispy, spiced pork skins).
The Burlington Wine & Food Festival will be holding their Grand Tasting Event this Saturday in two sessions at noon and 5pm. Hundreds of wine makers from around the world as well as live music and food from local restaurants will be featured down at the Burlington Waterfront. Visit their website for more information here.
This coming Monday 4/20 Montreal based chef Jean Michel Leblond, aka. John Mike of Tripes and Caviar is teaming up with our good friends from Hen of the Wood, Jordan Ware, John David Palmer, and Andrew LeStourgeon, to bring a cocktail paired multi coursed extravaganza to Hen of the Wood in Waterbury. The secret menu promises to wow all who attend. Tripes and Caviar has a unique and daring philosophy on food…
“ Tripes & Caviar is a Club open to all where members are encouraged to exchange with each other but also has a very specific educative purpose, directly related with food transformation/consumption each day. Honestly, we like to transform parts of the animal that are most of the time frowned upon and even thrown away. We cook them our way. With passion, tender love and care.”
Seating at the intimate dining room at Hen of the Wood Waterbury is extremely limited but there are plans for future Tripes and Caviar events in Vermont, and perhaps NYC. Also it is worth a drive north of the border to check them out.
With the most cheese makers and brewers per capita, a farm-to-table restaurant standard, and a growing population of foodies, the food and drink scene in Burlington has been gaining momentum for a while. Popular restaurants are often crowded every night of the week with extra long lines on the weekend, and everyone’s favorite meal, brunch!, is no exception. At the usual breakfast hotspots you can wait up to two hours for a table.
Don’t get us wrong, we love the classics of Penny Cluse, Magnolia’s, and Leunigs. But in case you don’t have the time to wait, we have put together a list of delicious brunch spots that are off the beaten path and where the wait is typically shorter.
Bleu Northeast Seafood: Located in the Courtyard Burlington Harbor on the corner of Cherry and Battery, Bleu just started serving brunch on Sundays from 10am – 1pm a few months ago. They offer an extensive eggs benedict menu including a cured salmon benedict, a fried oyster benedict and more as well as a full bar with killer Bloody Mary infusions. Check out the full menu here. We recommend giving them a call to make a reservation if you have a party larger than six, but otherwise you can usually get seated immediately.
Juniper Bar & Restaurant: We aren’t just saying this – we hear it from guests and locals that Juniper has one of the best brunches around. Served on Saturday and Sunday from 7am – 1pm, you can usually grab a seat at the bar fairly quickly. Get your buzz on with a full coffee bar and you can create your own perfect brunch drink at the Bloody Mary and Mimosa Bar. Juniper is ideal for meal with friends or a nice brunch sit by yourself.
Pearl Street Diner: Nothing fancy here, just breakfast all day. Pearl Street Diner is the place to grab a stack of pancakes or eggs and bacon for under $5. With more of the classic diner feel, the crowd is an unpretentious mix of life-long Burlingtonians and hungover college students. Depending on the time, you may have to wait a half an hour or so, but seats at the counter are usually the quickest option.
American Flatbread: Pizza and beer for breakfast?! Yup, that’s right and not much is better than a brunch pizza. American Flatbread on Saint Paul Street opens at 11:30am on Saturdays and Sundays and offer unique brunch flatbreads including an eggs benedict and Vermont egg white flatbread. If you need a little hair of the dog, they also serve their craft beer, Zero Gravity, at all meals.
Skinny Pancake: Located on Lake Street just steps away from the Burlington the Waterfront, the Skinny Pancake is expert in sweet and savory crepes with specialty brunch crepes on the weekends. Offering both gluten free and vegan crepes, this is a good place for those with dietary restrictions. They open daily at 8am and there can be a wait depending on what time you go. We recommend stopping in the on earlier side. If it’s nice outside you can enjoy an al fresco breakfast on their patio.
These are just a few of our favorite hidden gems; there are many more offerings in Burlington and we encourage you to get out there a brunch!
Over the last two months, Juniper has been proud to feature the Valor Ale from the St. Albans based 14th Star Brewing. Conceived while deployed overseas in Afghanistan, 14th Star has joined the growing ranks of Vermont breweries. The Valor Ale, a hoppy amber ale, is quickly becoming a staple of the Vermont craft brewing culture. A portion of sales from the Valor Ale goes to the Purple Hearts Reunited Foundation, a non-profit foundation dedicated to returning lost or stolen Purple Hearts. So think about that as you take your first and last sips of this delicious brew. Stop by Juniper at Hotel Vermont and taste it for yourself, you won’t be disappointed, we promise.
We got a chance to ask 14th Star owner/head brewer a few questions about the brewery and Vermont.
Your flagship beer, the Valor Ale, is a hoppy amber ale with a portion of proceeds benefitting the Purple Hearts Reunited Foundation. How did you decide on this recipe to become your flagship?
It started as a recipe we were brewing for years that was always a hit with our family and friends. It just became hoppier and hoppier with each iteration. It finally reached a point where we decided that we didn’t want it any hoppier as it balanced the caramel and chocolate of the malts nicely. Presto, we had the recipe for Valor. It originally wasn’t named Valor, simply our Hoppy Amber Ale, but after hearing about Zac Fike’s personal efforts with Purple Hearts Reunited we decided to brand that beer and support Zac’s cause.
Why is philanthropy such an integral aspect in the 14th Star mission?
I personally believe that philanthropy — whether it’s in the form of monetary donations or physical acts of charity and community — are inherent responsibilities of a company/corporation/institution as a “corporate citizen” in their communities. Supporting Purple Hearts Reunited was an easy choice for us as the military community is as much home to us as St. Albans is. We’ve also recently reached out to the recreation department here to see if we can assist with their youth athletic programs. Athletics were a huge part of our young lives and they gave us something constructive and healthy to do, instead of finding trouble. Our goal is to get other businesses in St. Albans to sponsor a team, sport, or activity to help strengthen the youth programs in town.
How does 14th Star embody the spirit of Vermont?
Defining the “spirit of Vermont” is a difficult thing to do. Our residents are as diverse as they could possibly be: from a pharmaceutical executive at Mylan Technologies to a Dairy Farmer in Highgate. One thing that unites us, however, is our resilience in the face of adversity and our independence. When we were building the brewery in St. Albans, we had several people tell us that Franklin County would never support a brewery and that it wasn’t “craft beer country.” 20 months after opening, we’ve increased production by 4000% and we’re undergoing another massive expansion and moving up to Main St. It reminds me of Ethan Allen’s response when he was told the Vermont Militia couldn’t defeat the British: “The gods of the valleys are not the gods of the hills.”
What values does 14th Star hold that are unique in comparison to the greater craft brewing culture?
Craft brewers, by and large, share the same values across the industry: Craftsmanship over consumerism, sustainability, local support, and a relentless pursuit of excellence. The real nexus of the brewery, however, was not the creation of something to do after the Army, but the desire, the need, to create something that brings people together. In the words of Jonathan Larson, “The opposite of war isn’t peace, it’s creation.” The ultimate reward at the end of this journey isn’t measured in dollars, but in the experiences people have over a pint of our beer and knowing that we shared in those experiences while helping revitalize our local economy and society.
14th Star Brewing is in the midst of an expansion in St. Albans. There is more beer on the way, and not just the Valor Ale. The brewery is just a few short weeks away from a new release. But not only will there be more beer, there will be a spacious taproom for all to enjoy. We’re excited.
We have been getting a ton of calls lately inquiring about Hen of the Wood Burlington, so we thought we would do a Hen Burlington FAQ.
1) When will Hen of the Wood be open?
Anticipated Opening: Last week of September/first week of October. Subject to change.
2) Is Hen of the Wood part of Hotel Vermont?
While we have partnered with Hen of the Wood on location, they are a separate entity from Hotel Vermont. Additionally, Hen of the Wood and Hotel Vermont are not physically connected, meaning that you have to enter Hen through the entrance on Cherry Street. Our restaurant, Juniper, is located in the hotel and is currently open for breakfast, dinner and late night drinks.
3) Is Hen serving breakfast/brunch?
Right now they will just be serving dinner and drinks, opening at 5pm daily.
Hen is not currently taking reservations for the Burlington location. If you would like to make a reservation for their Waterbury location, you can contact them directly at 802-244-7300.
5) Will hotel guests get priority reservations?
Unfortunately at this time we can’t promise priority reservations to any guests.