Hotel Vermont & Farmers’ Dinner at Juniper

Mastermind Weekend 1/16

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I'm Tina

I’m the owner of Carrots ‘N’ Cake as well as a Certified Nutrition Coach and Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner (FDN-P). I use macros and functional nutrition to help women find balance within their diets while achieving their body composition goals.

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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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56 Comments

  1. 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!

  2. 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!

    1. @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!

  3. 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!

  4. 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.

  5. 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!

  6. 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!

  7. 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!!

  8. 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!

  9. 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!

    1. @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…

  10. 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.

  11. 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!!

  12. 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.

  13. 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!

  14. 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.

  15. 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!!!

  16. 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!

  17. 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!

  18. 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!

  19. 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!

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