Fall is the perfect time to take a drive up to the Burlington area of Vermont. It's only four short hours away from Boston, and has an absolutely killer food scene. Every restaurant puts a ton of emphasis on local ingredients, most of which come from the Burlington area, and none of which is more important than the cheese, Vermont's favorite. The ride up is beautiful too, especially this time of year. The highway weaves through huge tree-covered mountains, you will be staring out the window taking pictures the whole drive up.
In my short 36 hour Burlington trip, I managed to fit in a breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and we stayed an adorable inn right outside Burlington. The way we did it, the agenda was so packed with food there wasn't time for much else, although there are tons of events going on the city at any given time. Church St. in Downtown Burlington was packed with people eating and drinking outside, it really puts you in a festive fall mood, and provides to perfect backdrop for the obligatory foliage photos.
Here is my weekend itinerary for anyone looking for a quick one-night getaway to VT:
Dinner: Caroline's Fine Dining, Jericho, VT
The real purpose of our trip was to check out Caroline's, Burlington was just an added bonus because it's so close. The new chef there, Jon Gilman, used to be the chef at Church, one of our favorite Boston restaurants. He recently moved back to his college town to pursue his passion project of creating a locally-focused fine dining menu, and there is no better place to do so. Jon is clearly in his comfort zone at Caroline's, everything was exquisite. The staff was raving about every dish as they took our order so it's easy to see that things are off to a great start. Jericho is only about 15 minutes away from the center of Burlington, and right on the road that takes you to Smuggler's Notch, which makes for a great winter road trip as well.
Appetizers at Caroline's are hard to choose from to say the least. On top we have Grassfed Beef Tartare with capers, herbs, quail egg and crispy root chips -- an amazingly well-executed beef tartare. Left is the Grilled Baby Romaine with Vermont Ayr, preserved lemon aoli, buttered sourdough crumble -- kind of a new take on caesar salad and grilled romaine is surprisingly addicting. On the right is Chef's Burrata dish: Warm Maplebrook Burrata with heirloom tomato, basil granola, baby lettuces. It's not Vermont without granola on the menu somewhere!
The entrees were just as impressive as the apps and there was certainly no shortage of cheese. The highlight for me was the Braised Rabbit with black peppercorn papparedelle, baby carrots, brussel leaves and cave aged cheddar. Half pasta dish, half stew, this dish's unique flavors are perfect for fall. The Risotto includes local Chicken of the Woods mushrooms (they actually taste like chicken), english peas, goat cheese and crispy kale. On the lighter side the Cocoa Butter Roasted Scallops made with beet carpaccio, cauliflower, kale and maple sherry vinaigrette was another highlight.
For dessert, Apple Crostada. The one absolutely necessary dish to make your fall complete.
Caroline's Fine Dining
30 Vermont Route 15
Jericho, Vermont 05465
Lunch: The Farmhouse Tap & Grill, Burlington, VT
We spent our first afternoon walking around Church St. and were lucky enough to stumble upon The Farmhouse. They have a great selection of local Vermont beers and tons of local farm-inspired dishes as well.
The Farmhouse serves simple dishes with super fresh ingredients, even something as simple as tomato soup was excellent, we also tried bleu cheese toast, a cheese board and the angus beef burger with bacon and local Landaff cheddar.
160 Bank St.
Burlington, VT 05401
Breakfast/Brunch: The Village Cup, Jericho, VT:
Since we stayed in Jericho to be close to Caroline's, we brunched at The Village Cup, which is right next door to and shares a kitchen with Caroline's. Jon Gilman also created the menu for The Village Cup, which he describes as "Church North." The patio, although a little chilly, had a great view of Vermont scenery, and the egg dishes were pretty unreal too.
Clockwise from the top left: Huevos Rancheros with grilled flour tortilla, chipotle black beans, cheddar, poached eggs, and avocado salsa, Hash and Eggs with corned beef, 2 eggs and homefries, Vermonter Omelette with apples, sausage, cheddar, homefries and toast, and Baked Eggs in a baguette with tomatoes and mozzarella.
The Village Cup
30 Vermont Route 15
Jericho, Vermont 05465
Lodging: The Whitcomb House, Essex Jct., VT
Even though the address here is Essex Junction, The Whitcomb house is located no more than a mile from the aforementioned Jericho restaurants. This quaint Inn has very comfortable rooms and gracious hosts. It sits right across the street from a farm and is perfect for foliage sight seeing or a ski weekend.
199 Jericho Rd
Essex Jct., Vermont 05452
A successful first trip to Burlington, does anyone have a weekend getaway planned this fall?
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About the authors
Michelle Zippelli is a Boston based hedonist who is committed to finding the best food that Boston has to offer. She has lived in Boston for 6 years and works in online marketing. Michelle loves meatballs, live music, exotic cheeses, Mexican food, spur of the moment dance parties, and all things pickled.
Jacki Morisi is a self-proclaimed bon vivant extraordinaire. A Boston native whose waking hours are exclusively focused on travel, music, food, and fare ... emphasis on food and fare. She's a firm believer that just because you're living on a young professional's budget doesn't mean you have to sacrifice taste, and carries this mantra into each and every dining endeavor.