On Wednesday Ben and I celebrated our third anniversary!
We decided it might be nice to get away on a mini-vacation to celebrate, but keep it to something minimal since we had just dropped some money for our trip in December. We figured neither of us had really spent extensive time in Vermont so why not check out Burlington? Also, the price was right which was key.
We departed at exactly 2pm on Friday afternoon to make it before closing time for the legendary Alchemist Brewery. Ben’s heart was set on picking up a large number of Heady Topper cans since you can’t purchase anywhere outside of the immediate area and restaurant offerings in Boston were slim to none.
Also important to note that typically the brewery sells out most weekends and does not have cans available again until Monday mornings. I was unaware, but learned that Ben had been tracking the brewery’s tweets and they had not sold out on a Friday evening during the summer yet, but always gone by Saturday morning. And wouldn’t you know it, arrival right around 6pm on Friday, SOLD OUT!
I neglected to take a picture of the sold out sign or the terrible look on Ben’s face, it was just too sad. He was so not happy, that we didn’t even go into the brewery for a taste. This ended up being a good choice given our next stop, but still upsetting.
A few days ago Ben was talking to our friend Tania and she mentioned her visit to an amazing restaurant in Waterbury, Hen of the Wood. After a brief review of the site I knew this place was right up my alley and perfect for our anniversary meal. Sadly Ben tried to make reservations for us on Friday or Saturday night and we ended up being “waitlisted” for cancellations.
We thought on the off-chance they kept a table or two open for walk ins that we should stop while in Waterbury. I was a little nervous that we would be disappointed yet again after the brewery stop, but tried to keep expectations low. Miraculously they had a 5:30pm cancellation, we were there at 5:50pm and just had to make sure we finished up by 7:30pm. Since we had just done a long car ride and wanted to check in to our hotel shortly anyway this was perfect.
Now, as if I need to tell you or remind you, but I am a terrible photographer. But I want to show you something for our weekend, just keep in mind my photos are in no way reflective of the quality of the food consumed (sometimes you think you can take pictures without flash and just add light and they will be awesome, they aren’t). Actually, if you want to see much higher quality photos of a visit to Hen of the Wood in particular, check out Tania’s visit here.
Hen of the Wood is in the beautiful basement of an old grist mill. The food prepared focuses on using resources from as close by as possible, celebrating all of what makes Vermont unique. As a result, the menu changes on a daily basis, making a visit to the restaurant special every time.
I started out with a delicious glass of rose and although Ben was still bitter, at least Hen of the Wood is one of the few (or only?) places to have Heady Topper available on draft.
We decided to save the one of many cheese plate choices for dessert and started with all three bites offered for that evening. Corn Fritters with Wildflower Honey, Chioggia Beets with Basil, Pine Nuts and Bonnieview Feta, and Cucumber, Blueberries, & Baby Fennel with Crème Fraiche.
For his entrée, Ben ordered the Local Grown Pork with Summer Beans, Sweet Corn & Blueberry Mustard Jus.
And I went with the Goat’s Milk Dumplings with Summer Squash, Pine Nuts, & Olive Oil Braised Tomato Puree.
We finished with a cheese plate, selecting the Cabot Creamery ‘Clothbound Cheddar and Champlain Valley Triple Crème, served with candied fennel, fig bread and hazelnuts. I also tried a glass of their Hen of the Wood Pinot Noir which was delicious!
This place make’s the absolute top of my list. All around amazing meal, cozy atmosphere, great wine and obviously Ben’s favorite beer. I’m still dreaming of those beets, corn fritters, cheeses, and Pinot Noir to name a few. We sadly departed to check in at our hotel and with fingers crossed check out a local retailer that “might” have Heady Topper in stock.
I wish I could have spent much more time in Healthy Living, but we were focused on one thing and look what we found!
We ended our evening with a drink at Church & Main and a slice of pizza at a place nearby. And the gluttony had only just begun…