Lunch 10/29/21

BBQ rib and brisket combo with BBQ beans, mac & cheese, cornbread, and flatbread

On our trip to Vermont back in October, we stopped for lunch at Big Fatty’s in White River Junction. I had the ribs and brisket combo. As I mentioned previously, this meal left me so full that I had absolutely zero interest in dinner when we got to our hotel in Burlington that evening. I think you can see why.

Barbecue is still a bit niche in New England, but there are some very good ones here and there. And some bad ones. This place was one of the good ones. Brisket is probably my favorite barbecue meat. I prefer the leaner flat cut, which this was. I know most people tend to like the point cut because it stays juicier, but for me it’s just too fatty. I also prefer flat cut brisket for braising at home. Braising brisket keeps it a lot more moist and tender than smoking, but good barbecue brisket is a joy to eat.

My usual go-to sides at a BBQ resturant are mac & cheese and collard greens, but Big Fatty’s doesn’t have collards on the menu. The greens and the vinegary pot liquor are a nice contrast to heavy, fatty meat, making them the perfect side in my opinion. The M&C was really good, as was the cornbread. The beans were just okay. We didn’t set out to find this place on purpose, it just happened to show up online as we were trying to find a place for lunch along the way, but it was worth the stop.

Breakfast 10/31/21

Grilled biscuit with homemade raspberry jam

August First is a great little coffee and baked goods place for breakfast in downtown Burlington, Vermont. We enjoyed it so much the first morning, that we went back for a second round the next day.

I would rather have a biscuit with my coffee for breakfast than toast. I make decent biscuits myself, but nothing amazing. This biscuit was AMAZING. You can see that it wasn’t the light and flaky platonic ideal biscuit. Sturdy, with a dark color and delicious crusty edges, then grilled with butter and served with an unreasonably large amount of raspberry jam. It was soothing and satisfying on a cold, wet morning.

The next day, we walked back over for a third time, but they are closed on Mondays, more’s the pity.

From The Bar 10/29/21

Maple glazed nuts, marinated olives with pickled red onion, Vermont cheeses, Märzen-style beer

I mentioned our October trip to Vermont yesterday. We stayed at the Hotel Vermont in downtown Burlington for the weekend. Maybe the most Spartan hotel room I have ever stayed in – white walls with no decor, an uncarpeted floor, very little lighting. At least the bed was comfortable and not just a stone slab. Anyway, we weren’t terribly hungry for dinner the first night because we’d stopped for lunch at a barbecue joint on the way, and barbecue sticks with you. So we wandered down to the bar, which clearly wants to be A Scene and got drinks and nibbles to take back to the room.

This turned out to be a much better choice than I expected. The maple-glazed nuts were absolutely delicious. They gave us enough olives and pickled onions that we nibbled on them all weekend, and actually ended up having to throw away some at the end of our stay. The cheese came with some crispy toasts. All in all, it was an excellent meal, when all I had expected was a little nosh.

Cocktail 11/26/21

Rye Manhattan

Most Fridy evenings, I like to have a drink to end the week. What I have will vary quite a bit – a beer, a glass of wine, a glass of whiskey, or a mixed drink. I don’t get too ambitious with cocktails, I mostly stick to a few standards that can be made without having to have a lot of speciality items on hand. So, Manhattans, martinis, G&Ts, the occasional Negroni, and so on.

I typically use rye whiskey for a Manhattan, though I will sometimes make one with bourbon. My rye whiskey of choice is WhistlePig, which is distilled in Vermont. I normally buy the 10-year, which is not hard to find in the liquor stores around here, but this particular evening’s drink was made with the 12-year bottle that my wife gave me for my birthday.

Over Halloween weekend, we took a little mini-vacation to Vermont. We stopped in Queechee, just over the New Hampshire border near White River Junction to visit the Simon Pearce glass factory. The glassware is gorgeous, and is made right on location – you can walk downstairs from the shop into the glassworks and watch the glassblowers at work.

As we were pulling into the parking lot, we noticed a sign on the house next door that said “WhistlePig Tasting Room”. So, after we finished shopping in the glassware shop, we crossed over and found ourselves in a quiet set of rooms, sipping sample flights of various WhistlePig ryes. Rye is not quite as sweet as bourbon, and usually has a little spicyness from the higher proportion of rye grain in the mash bill. I’ve come to enjoy it just as much as bourbon as a straight pour on its own. With my wife’s blessing, of course, I splurged on a bottle of the 15-year. But I won’t be using that to make Manhattans.

In addition to the 12-year WhistlePig, this particular Manhattan has black Vermouth (though usually I use Dolin red), orange bitters, and a Luxardo cherry