• Hotel Vermont & Farmers’ Dinner at Juniper

    February 3, 2014

    Mal and I spent the weekend in God’s country (also known as Vermont). We were invited by Hotel Vermont for their very first Farmers’ Dinner at Juniper Bar and Restaurant, so we drove up to Burlington on Saturday morning. (Both our stay at the hotel and dinner were complimentary.)

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    We arrived at the hotel around noon, bumped into a couple of pugs in the lobby (it’s a pet-friendly hotel), and checked in.

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    Hotel Vermont is locally-designed and owned/operated. It’s actually the first independent hotel in Burlington. (If you are familiar with the area, it’s located right next to the Courtyard Marriott.)

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    The décor inside the hotel is absolutely gorgeous—both rustic and modern at the same time.

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    Complimentary show shoes? Very cool. The hotel provides them to guests, so you can romp around the waterfront or explore the mountains. (They also offer bike rentals in the summer.)

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    Our hotel room was also beautiful—we even had a view of Lake Champlain!

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    All of the accessories were from local Vermont companies and available for purchase.

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    Even the custom-made (for the hotel) bath products from Lunaroma were made in Burlington and, wow, they smelled amazing!

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    Once we got settled in our room, Mal and I headed out to find lunch. We were starving after a long drive, so we made a beeline for Red Onion (obviously). FYI: Downtown Burlington and Church Street is just a 5-minute walk from the hotel.

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    The Red Onion Sandwich is truly the great sandwich on earth. Mal and I ordered two of them and pretty much housed them with big, goofy smiles on our faces.

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    We actually considered sharing a sandwich because they’re so huge, but then we came to our senses. Neither of us had eaten a Red Onion Sandwich in almost 4 years, so we wanted our own!

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    After lunch, we met up with one of Mal’s college buddies at American Flatbread. The guys ordered beers while I sipped on some hot tea. After a couple of hours, the three of us headed back to his condo to catch up with his wife and meet their three-year-old daughter for the very first time. It’s crazy how quickly time flies!

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    After a quick visit with them, we headed back to the hotel to get ready for the Farmers’ Dinner, which featured products and dishes from various members of the Vermont Fresh Network, a non-profit organization that connects farmers, chefs, and consumers to help advance relationships to grow markets and eat more locally grown food.

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    Before the dinner, there was a reception with appetizers and cocktails.

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    The appetizer spread included all sorts of delicious options: fried chicken bites, cheese, marinated veggies, housemade trout caviar, and spicy pork sausage—all of which were locally sourced.

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    The four-course meal was served family-style with optional beverage pairings (beer, wine, or spirits). All of the dishes included products from local partners, so between each course, the featured farmer would say a few words about his farm and what we were about to eat. Mal and I both really enjoyed this part of dinner.

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    The meal, of course, was incredible—so fresh, so flavorful, and so interesting!

    Pete’s Greens Root Vegetable Bisque with Pastured Pork Belly and Crispy Brussels Sprouts (my favorite course of the meal)

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    Starbird Fish Smoked Salmon Cake with Dill Rouille and Grilled Leaks

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    Maple Wind Farm Short Ribs with Red Wine Braised Cabbage and Horseradish Cheddar Polenta

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    Interesting tidbit: The animals at Maple Wind Farm are 100% grass-fed. But, in the winter, they eat hay (because there isn’t much grass), so the farmers only slaughter from June to November because they believe the quality of their product decreases when their animals eat hay.

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    Sweet Simone’s Coconut Cake with Little Sweets by Hen of the Wood Ice Cream and Fair Trade Chocolate Truffles

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    OMG, dessert was heavenly.

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    All in all, it was a fabulous dinner. Mal and I really had a nice time and agreed that we want to attend more events like this. It was so interesting learning about where our food comes from.

    One more weekend post to come!

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    { 52 comments… read them below or add one }

    Ashley @ Snow Cream and Syrup February 3, 2014 at 1:19 pm

    <3 VERMONT

    Wow, that hotel looks beautiful. Sounds like you had a great time, and I'm looking forward to reading more about it. Gotta love VT and our "local food-ism!"

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    Laura L February 3, 2014 at 1:20 pm

    Yum, all the food looks great!! Also LOVE your necklace in the last picture! Gorg!

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    amrapCindy February 3, 2014 at 1:22 pm

    Your dinner looks amazing!! We’ve been working hard to become more informed about our food and purchase local farm-raised meat, but actually hearing from the farmer at dinner would be a great experience. The hotel is beautiful!

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    Cate February 3, 2014 at 1:26 pm

    I am hungry for lunch, and that sandwich is making me drool. Love everything about it.

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    Katie February 3, 2014 at 1:51 pm

    Did Mal do the beverage pairing? If I could drink, I would have been all over the wine pairing!

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    Tina February 3, 2014 at 2:00 pm

    @Katie: Yep, he did! :)

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    Alison @ Daily Moves and Grooves February 3, 2014 at 2:09 pm

    Your hotel is absolutely beautiful! I love that they offer complimentary snow shoes too.
    That Red Onion Sandwich looks and sounds incredible! Even though I’m not a huge fan of raw onions, all the other flavors sound like they go together so well. The farmers’ dinner also looks delicious!

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    Stephanie @ Whole Health Dork February 3, 2014 at 2:14 pm

    What a beautiful place! I love the mix of modern and log cabin, plus the complementary snowshoes! The food looks delicious! You’re making me want to take a trip up there stat!

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    Lauren February 3, 2014 at 2:15 pm

    Um yes I would too. That looks amazing.

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    christina February 3, 2014 at 2:16 pm

    Murph probably would have had a blast…did you think of taking him since it was a pet friendly hotel? :)

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    Tina February 3, 2014 at 2:22 pm

    @christina: We knew it was a quick trip and we didn’t want to leave him in our hotel room the whole time, so we left him with our friend for the night. He had a lot more fun with her dogs!

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    Sim @ The Micro Harvest February 3, 2014 at 2:20 pm

    What a perfect weekend! The food looks incredible.

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    Britters February 3, 2014 at 2:21 pm

    I love me a hotel with shower doors!

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    Chelsea @ Designs on Dinner February 3, 2014 at 2:34 pm

    I love the idea of the farm-to-table dinner. I’d love to do an outdoor one when it’s nice and warm out!

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    Livi February 3, 2014 at 2:40 pm

    that looks amazing! I love VT, such a beautiful state!a

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    Jackie February 3, 2014 at 2:53 pm

    Wow what a beautiful hotel!

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    Sara @ LovingOnTheRun February 3, 2014 at 3:05 pm

    Wow not only does the hotel look BEAUTIFUL but that food looks amazing! I look forward to reading about the rest of your weekend :)

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    Jen February 3, 2014 at 3:14 pm

    I read your blog all the time and I live in Burlington, so it was especially exciting to see this. I’m fortunate to live here; it’s so easy to find local, organic, pasture-raised, earth friendly ingredients to cook with. Glad you guys had fun!

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    Megan @ The Skinny-Life February 3, 2014 at 3:22 pm

    What a gorgeous hotel! How did you become acquainted with Farmers Fresh Network? I’m interested in getting involved with organizations like this in Arizona. I’m curious on your thoughts about how I might initiate that.

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    Shel@PeachyPalate February 3, 2014 at 3:22 pm

    Gorgeous hotel!! Love the balance of the decor…modern but individual and rustic. The real red onion sambo looks twice the size of your recreation – had to check out the link!

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    Cristin February 3, 2014 at 3:24 pm

    I went to school in Burlington, I miss it so much! My roommate used to work for the Red Onion so I got so much leftover bread and sweet treats from there! It’s definitely on our super long list of restaurants to eat at when we are in town. Next time you are there stop at Penny Cluse if the line isn’t too long, it is the best breakfast place!

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    Tara February 3, 2014 at 3:47 pm

    LOVE Vermont! We are heading to Stowe this weekend and hope to get to Hen of the Wood (we didnt make reservations, so hoping we can get in!)

    This hotel looks so nice. I love Burlington, we have camped there as well as stayed at a great B&B. I will have to add this to the list of VT places to stay!

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    Tara February 3, 2014 at 3:50 pm

    Also, have you ever trid teh Apple Street Farm(in Essex, MA) Summer dinner series? Its family style dinners outdoors on the farm. Sooo amazing!!! I went in mid September and loved everything about it!!

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    Maureen February 3, 2014 at 3:52 pm

    I’ve always wanted to do this type of meal, where I get to hear from the people who raise the animals and grow all the food. What an amazing experience!

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    Marilyn February 3, 2014 at 3:56 pm

    Is roasted turkey ok to eat when pregnant?! I miss turkey sandwiches SO much I can barely stand it. Maybe it’s just the pre-packaged processed kind I need to stay away from? If you say roasted turkey is fine to eat you might just save me from the lunch boredom that has plagued the last 7 months for me. I need my sandwiches back!

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    Jennifer February 3, 2014 at 4:37 pm

    @Marilyn:

    I was just going to ask the same thing! I miss deli meat sooo much.

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    Laura February 3, 2014 at 5:31 pm

    @Marilyn: While deli meats are recommended to be heated bc of listeria me and my OBGYN take more of a “consider the source” approach. For instance I eat packaged deli meats from companies I trust but don’t buy it from the deli counter bc I’m not sure how long its been out. Same with restaurants. I also love sandwiches and was pretty discourage at first reading the listeria handout I got. I also think it really depends on how risk averse you are personally. For me, I’ve never had a miscarriage and have had a very healthy pregnancy so I drink coffee, eat deli meats and have an occasional sip of beer, but it really depends on the person and I think if I had had a couple miscarriages my POV might be very different…

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    Katie @ Peace Love & Oats February 3, 2014 at 4:16 pm

    What a gorgeous hotel, and I love the complimentary snow shoe idea!

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    Ashley @ Saving Money in your Twenties February 3, 2014 at 4:35 pm

    That looks like so much fun! I have heard so many good things about Burlington… I really want to visit!!

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    Brittney @ Sweets 'N' Greens February 3, 2014 at 4:52 pm

    That’s awesome that they have snowshoes you can use! I’ve always wanted to try snowshoeing out :)

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    Rhiannon @ Bound to be a Buckeye February 3, 2014 at 4:56 pm

    OMG, I might drive to Vermont just to eat a Red Onion sandwich!! Those look amazing.

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    Fiona February 3, 2014 at 5:08 pm

    I am from Montpelier and have family in Cambridge, Mass so not only do you have the most entertaining and useful blog but you cover my two favorite places!! Other recommendations are Ri Ra, Sakura and the Asiana House (they make amazing tempura stir-fry!), all on Church St.

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    Breanna February 3, 2014 at 5:13 pm

    I love reading your posts about the hotels and meals you get to explore. What a fun part of your job. Pretty soon you’ll have to get a crib delivered to your room! Just so you know most hotels will do that for you :)

    I wrote a post recently about travelling with my 6 month old to Mexico – super fun!
    http://brearunningmama.blogspot.com/2014/01/january-vacation.html

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    sarah @makingitmyhome.blogspot.com February 3, 2014 at 6:52 pm

    those chocolate truffles look amazing!

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    Elizabeth @ Positive Change February 3, 2014 at 7:29 pm

    This post is making me love Vermont! The food looked fabulous!

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    Allie February 3, 2014 at 7:52 pm

    Ya Vermont! I’m from Barre (Montpelier area) and went to school in Burlington so this post was exciting to read :) Vermont has some incredible restaurants, and there is more heart and soul that goes into the food here in general. You can almost taste the love. (At least compared to Florida) There’s no place like Vermont. Glad you had a good time!!

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    sarahf February 3, 2014 at 8:01 pm

    This looks like the perfect weekend! All the food looks amazing, and the room looks so comfortable. I would definitely take advantage of the free show shoes, I love it but don’t get to do it here.

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    lauren@golaurengo February 3, 2014 at 8:12 pm

    Locally sourced food is the best. I can only imagine how amazing that meal was!

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    Angela @ Happy Fit Mama February 3, 2014 at 9:07 pm

    I haven’t had Red Onion in almost a year. Must go now!

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    Anel February 3, 2014 at 9:18 pm

    That hotel is so pretty! So chic! It’s so nice that it is also pet friendly. It’s hard to find nice hotels that are pet friendly. What a neat trip; all the food looks so good!!I’ve never heard of the red onion sandwich but now I would love to try it! Love the farm to table idea. I love learning about the food I eat. Call me crazy, but it makes food more delicious!

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    Sabrina @ Nutritiously Sweet February 3, 2014 at 9:26 pm

    Oh man you visited my ALMA mater :) I loVermont! It’s beautiful :)

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    Annette@FitnessPerks February 3, 2014 at 10:24 pm

    That sounds like such a wonderful & delicious dinner!! How awesome :)

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    Megan February 3, 2014 at 11:58 pm

    I signed up for stitch fix as well as liked you both on FB.
    I’ve been following you through blog for awhile and look forward to your posting every night before bed. You are an inspiration and encouragement.

    Reply

    Runner Girl Eats February 4, 2014 at 6:24 am

    This looks like a dream weekend. If I am ever anywhere near Vermont, I will be at this hotel! So gorgeous.

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    Jenn@ Mark My Miles! February 4, 2014 at 7:34 am

    This place looks amazing. That sandwhich is killer. You and Mal are so cute together.

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    Ellen February 4, 2014 at 9:35 am

    OMG I have to comment because the Red Onion Sandwich is literally the BEST sandwich I have ever eaten. My friends did a road trip a few years ago and stopped in Burlington on our way to Canada and ate that sandwich…ever since then I have been trying to recreate it. Yummm!!!

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    Kelsey at The Primal Yogi February 4, 2014 at 12:47 pm

    I just returned from Vermont this weekend too. It’s such a beautiful place, peaceful and simple. Hotel Vermont looks like my absolute dream winter getaway!!

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    Beth February 4, 2014 at 3:20 pm

    What a nice write up on your trip to Vermont! We were honored to be one of the farmers at the dinner (our Maple Wind Farm chicken, beef and pork were all served that night). Im so glad you enjoyed it. Chef Doug did an amazing job! Come back and visit our farm! We are hoping our pastured poultry can be available this summer down in Boston area … let’s create some buzz for VT farm fresh food down your way!

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    re'lynne February 4, 2014 at 5:07 pm

    how do you get involved in events like this? I wonder Everytime I see your post about a food event. It looks like a lot of fun!

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    Terra February 4, 2014 at 10:18 pm

    All signed up for StitchFix! My favorite post is the one where you shared the recipe for Salted Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies – it is seriously the best cookie on earth!

    Reply

    Linh Vo February 5, 2014 at 9:40 am

    OH MY GOD. The food alone would make me want to go! This looks like a fantastic mini vacation. Pretty neat about the snow shoes at your hotel.
    Linh
    http://abeautifulrawr.com

    Reply

    Caitlin February 5, 2014 at 6:49 pm

    The hotel looks so beautiful and rustic, right down to the bathrobes (love that touch). I’m so glad you got to enjoy that special sandwich. There’s nothing like housing an awesome food item that you rarely get to have. I adore my Chick Fil A, Too Jay’s, and Quizno’s when I visit Florida. All three offer amazing sandwiches!
    The meal looks incredible and the fact about the farmers not slaughtering the animals when their diet consists of hay is really interesting. Also cool that the drinkers got to choose from wine, spirits, or beer!

    Reply

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