I will actually be taking a class (hopefully) at NECI. That's why I will be there. Primarily, I am looking for restaurants that are 'native specimens' as well as a few places I can take the kids.
Seriously. It's the best "family" restaurant I've ever been in. Especially for lunch and dinner. Not just for New England specialties like red flannel hash and salt pork with milk gravy, and maple cream pie. For the full package; warm yeasty rolls with every dinner, flaky house-made pies, native sides like fiddleheads. The locals swarm the place, and it's a real value.
It's on Rt. 302 (Referred to as the "Barre road," because ... you can guess) south of the city. You can also reach it off I-89 (exit 7, turn left on 302.)
If you go, have a piece of banana cream pie for me ... (*sob*)
If you get to Burlington, Five Spice had lovely pan-Asian offerings teh last time I was there, but it's been several years.
NECI's restaurants are a must!! Well, ok, I may be biased but they really do serve great food!!! Also La Brioche bakery, also run by NECI, is great. There Crossiants, plain, ham & cheese, & Pan au Choclat are awesome. If you are there over the weekend try to get out to American Flatbreads, in Warren or near-abouts there. Some of the best wood-fired pizzas in the world!!! But they only serve at the facility on the weekends. Of course, just 30 minutes away, in Waterbury, is Ben & Jerry's. Enough said, but also just north, in the actual town of Waterbury is Cold Hollow Cider Mill. Great cider and awesome Cide-Spice Donuts. Then, just 15minutes north of that is Stowe, ski resort exdorinare!! There are a million good places up the Mountain Road leading to Mt. Mansfield. One of my favorites there is the Partridge Inn. Kind of old school, but then again if you are looking for real Vermont, then old school is where it is at. Then down in Queechee is Simon Pierce, but Jim, you already know about those places. You must also stop at any roadside snack bar and pick up a Creemee (Vermont's version of soft serve), its an institution there. Well, that's a start. I am sure I will come up with a few others in the near future.
Well, Pete, now I am going to have to go wether or not I get into the NECI program for the summer. I am a big fan of Simon Pearce... at least the one that is a few miles from here. It would be a great experience to try both of them! And who can refuse a 'creemee'?! And Ben & Jerry's? I imagine there should be a thing or two for the kids to enjoy there.
Thanks for the input!
Friends of mine have recently opened a barbecue place in Montpelier, called Finkerman's Barbecue. Has gotten rave reviews, and I understand from a mutual friend that they've had to order an additional smoker because they've been running out of meat by 8 in the evening.
The same friends run Ariel, in Brookfield, VT, which has gotten excellent reviews also. They've had that for several years, whereas the barbecue place is a new venture.
Would love to hear your impressions when you return. By the way, both of these friends are graduates of NECI.
A few others to check out:
Vermont Pub & Brewery - good food and great beer, in Burlington
The Common Man - numerous NECI students would work here when I was in school, for some extra cash, in Warren
The Trapp Family Lodge - decent Austrian and German food, but the place has great views and a wonderful atomsphere, if you don't dine there but find yourself in Stowe stop by
Hemingway's Restaurant - another place where numerous NECI students used to work for extra cash, very highly regarded by NECI students when I was there
I meant to ask what road are you taking up there.
I'm in Danby, a bit too far south from Essex Junction. But if you were traveling up route 7 and you timed it around dinner time I'd recomend you stop in for dinner. If you are traveling up 91 you may want to time it to arrive in Woodstock around dinner time and visit the The Jackson House Inn. He's doing some good stuff there these days.