Saturday, June 17, 2017

Dining At Cloudland Farm

Dining at Cloudland Farm in Woodstock, Vermont is true farm-to-table dining set in a pristine country atmosphere.  Half the fun of getting there are the pastoral, scenic views.  It's a short drive out of the center of town and you'll want to bring your cameras and probably pull the car over a few times, as we did, to capture the views as you drive up.

It's a real, 1,000 acre working farm with an outpost store for buying extremely fresh meats and a small restaurant with limited hours for dinner service.  Rustic and beautiful, it is a dining experience you will not soon forget.

Dinners are served on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights with a simple menu of truly fresh, local food.  It's also a BYOB restaurant which actually makes the dining here very affordable and absolutely worth the trip.  We selected a Bearboat Pinot Noir 2009 from our home wine stock knowing that we would probably be enjoying some red meat as beef is their specialty.  If you don't bring your own wine then stop in and meet wine purveyor Eric Wegner at the F. H. Gillingham And Sons General Store in Woodstock.  He receives the Cloudland Farm menus each week and will pair a great selection of wine for you.

We were seated at a window table.  It was close to sunset and as we looked out at the spectacular mountain view there was a slight mist in the air making us feel like we were actually dining in the clouds. We began with Asparagus Soup served with fresh Sourdough Bread and fresh country butter.  It's amazing how much different really fresh, local food tastes.  Just fantastic.

Next up was the Potato Gnocchi tossed with Country Bacon. Accompanied by an Arugula Salad with a light vinaigrette, this was a simple yet impressively good dish.  The puffy bits of gnocchi had a toothy crunch and soft, creamy center.  Beautiful.

Next up was a plate of bright green Fiddleheads with fresh goat cheese and berry sauce. Another terrific blend of layers of flavor and beautiful to look at on the plate.

Then, of course, there was the Beef.  Perfectly done, as you can see, tender and flavorful. Local carrots and beets, sauteed onions and a drizzle of aged balsamic was, again, a simple presentation but just perfect, great whole food.

From the moment we saw the menu for the evening we were very intrigued by the sound of a Beet Sherbet.  It did not disappoint in any way.  Served with a Chocolate Crumble and small Flourless Chocolate Cake and a splash of Olive Oil and dribbles of Chocolate Gel it was a fitting end to an unforgettable dining experience.

Our view.  If you arrive a bit early for your seating you are welcome to open your wine and sit out on the wraparound porch and just enjoy the verdant, green landscape as far as the eye can see.  Just gorgeous.

So, would we recommend the place?  Of course!  In fact, we cannot recommend it enough. As much as we love Boston there just is not any overall dining experience that can compare to farm dining in such a bucolic, setting.  Where else do you actually drive into a barn to park your car for dinner?  Even if the food could be matched it would literally cost hundreds of dollars more for the dinner.  Great spot. Great dining.  Great people.  Don't miss it.

Cloudland Farm
1101 Cloudland Road
Woodstock, VT  05091
Telephone:  802.457.2599

Helpful hint:  Cellular coverage is spotty in these here parts, including GPS.  The roads are not all clearly marked.  We printed out directions in advance and had no problem at all,  We suggest you do the same.

Our dinner was provided by the restaurant and arranged by the @GoWoodstockVT promotion site with no promise of any editorial consideration.  We call 'em as wee see 'em, folks.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Celebrate The Future: Chefs In Shorts 2017

Future Chefs:  Look at all those happy faces.

As many of you know, I was a member of the Advisory Board for Future Chefs, a great organization, for many years and still serve as an Ambassador for them and a mentor for the kids, including alumni.  What they do is give a leg up to urban, often disadvantaged, youth with jobs, guidance, apprenticeships, skills workshops, mentoring and much, much more.  It has been an honor to work with these grateful kids and I have made many lifelong friends here.  Especially in these stressful, uncertain times today it always gives me a lift when I am with them and reassures me that if this is the future then it is bright, indeed.  You can watch the video on the website from their feature on WGBH to really see what happens.

Chefs In Shorts is the event that donates all proceeds to Future Chefs and it is always the highlight of my early summer.  It's taking place at the Seaport Hotel in Boston on Friday, June 23rd and is an excellent way to officially kick off the summer grilling and barbecuing season.  All of the Chefs In Shorts from many of the top restaurants in Boston will be serving up a delicious plate of food for you to sample.  

So, it's not just a way to support this worthy cause.  It is also a very fun night out.  It's a social event where you will make new friends. It's an evening to enjoy some incredible food and drink from many creative, top chefs.  It's a win, win, win for everyone.  Won't you please join me?  This is the 20th Anniversary of the event so it is bound to be a very special night.  You can purchase your tickets here.  It typically sells out so don't wait.  Help us celebrate the future and meet these terrific kids!

As I always like to say:  "You're not living unless you're giving." Please give yourself a great night out while building the next generation and the future food community in Boston.

Monday, June 12, 2017

The Charleston House, Vermont

Woodstock, Vermont is a beautiful, quiet little town where we recently spent the weekend in search of great food and wine.  We were lucky enough to stay at a Bed & Breakfast right in town called The Charleston House.

Strolling the town in the quiet of the early morning hours, as I am apt to do, the sunlight really showed off just how picturesque it is.  Classic New England and steeped in history. 


The small town shops with their retro feel, the friendly people who actually stop and smile and say hello, the stunning vistas surprising you around each corner.  It was all so quiet and relaxing and comforting.

The B&B itself is like arriving at a long-missed relative's home.  We were shown to our room and told that there are no locks on the doors here.  It's that safe.  Our room was comfy and quiet, too.  There's no TV but the wifi signal is strong.

Fresh coffee was set out for the early-risers like myself, a nice way to relax in the quiet morning and read a bit in the downstairs living room.  Then I peeked in the kitchen to find the couple who are proprietors, Dieter, who goes by his Viennese nickname Dixi, and Willa.

The table setting was beautiful and the spread they put out for breakfast was bountiful.  There was a great frittata, local sausage, cheese and fresh fruits and a still-warm blueberry muffin with all of the coffee and juice one wanted.

We had an hour long stay at the table discussing world travel with the other guests, two of whom dined at the same restaurant as us the previous evening.  No rush.  No worries.

I've lived in New England all of my life but have only been to Vermont, as an adult, several times over the past few years.  It's been fantastic rediscovering the beauty of the countryside and mountains.  It's a great weekend, or anytime, getaway and the perfect antidote for the all the stress and strain of city living.

The Charleston House
21 Pleasant Street
Woodstock, VT  05091
Telephone:  802.457.3843

Our stay was provided courtesy of  @GoWoodstockVT tourism with no promise of any editorial consideration.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

King Arthur Flour Campus

On our recent trip to Vermont we took a little side tour to the King Arthur Flour Campus in Norwich.  What a fun place!

First of all, the campus is beautiful.  It features a café, bakery and store with loads of events and cooking classes taking place year round.  If you love the fine craft of home baking it is an absolute must, including having your photo taken in the regal throne.

We picked up a number of freshly-baked goodies at the bakery and shopped in the store for a while.

The Valrhona Chocolate disks were on sale at half price.  This excellent quality chocolate, not available everywhere, is used by the top pastry chefs in the world.  We snagged two bags.

If the weather is as stunning as it was on the day that we visited you can grab an Adirondack chair to relax in or throw down a blanket and have a picnic right there on the rolling, green lawn.  There is plenty of space and some picnic tables, too.

All in all, certainly worth the visit if you are ever in the area.

King Arthur Flour Campus
135 US Route 5 South
Norwich, Vermont 05055

Telephone:  802.649.3361


Thursday, June 1, 2017

Worthy Kitchen

Our seasonal tour of eating and sipping in New England has begun. We kicked off the tour in Woodstock, Vermont at Worthy Kitchen, a worthy relative of Worthy Burger, a craft beer and burger spot in South Royalton.  The Kitchen is a farm diner featuring comfort foods with a new twist and, yes, all of those tempting craft brews.

Diners are heartily encouraged to sample the brews so soon after arriving that's exactly what we did.  I went right for the Oxbow, a farm house pale saison.  Excellent.  The brews are rotated out and we were just in time for the lighter, seasonal sips.  Virtually everything we tried was, well, worthy.  There is absolutely no doubt anyone will find something to like, if not love.

It's a relaxing, casual atmosphere, no rush at all.  As we enjoyed our beers a gaggle of frat boys from nearby Dartmouth College arrived. They must have been regulars, already knowing exactly what they wanted to order.  Couples and locals rounded out the crowd.

The menu, at first glance, can be overwhelming.  Everything looks so good I have to admit we felt bewildered.  We opted for The Worthy Bomb, a farm burger with a nice hunk of buttermilk fried chicken on a delectable bun and served with truffle fries.  

The portions are ample.  Both the beef patty and fried chicken were delicious.  

We also tried the Brisket Melt, a beef brisket cooked in a root beer and sriracha BBQ sauce with Plymouth smoked cheddar and fire-roasted onions served on a pretzel roll.  Messy, yes. Also terrific. The side here was an odd-looking potato salad made with fingerlings and more German style, a vinaigrette/mayo dressing more than the typical just mayo.t BBQ sauc cheddar, and fire-roasted onions on a pretzel roll

How could we resist a side of Mac 'N Cheese?  Again with Plymouth Cheddar, a local cheese, and topped with herbed bread crumbs.  No truffle or lobster here, the simple version was still good.  One of the great things about Worthy Kitchen is the access to all of the great artisan food products being made in the area, something Vermont has really become famous for.  So, the meats, cheeses, and produce is all local.  Even the rolls and breads are made at the nearby King Arthur Flour campus, which we'll visit later.

And, of course, there are always the best food photos.

The namesake dessert is the Worthy Doughnut, a beignet-like cinnamon puff served with an excellent vanilla bean creme anglaise.   A total fave, worth the visit alone.

Don't forget to browse the local art work on display when there, a good representative of the experience one gets here.  Local artisans, a knowledgeable, attentive staff and a classic yet comfortable, upscale farm stand feeling.  

Worthy Kitchen
442 E Woodstock Road
Woodstock, VT  05091
Telephone:  802.457.7281


We were invited to dine as guests of Worthy Kitchen and  the Go Woodstock tourism organization with no promise of any editorial consideration.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Shop, Sip And Sail

We joined a pack of fashion and lifestyle bloggers recently for a night of festivities and fun at the invite of Cambridgeside Galleria, which is undergoing a major multimillion dollar overhaul.

It began with a scavenger hunt throughout the mall.  We tasted and sipped and stopped by some of our fave retail shops.

Then, it was onto the makeup chair.  This was, after all, about fashion so we all knew that there would be lots of photos.  Sephora hosted this part of the event and we were lucky enough to get makeup artist Arturo Draper of Rue LaLa for our touch-ups before the cameras came out.

After that it was onto a sail on the Charles River with the Charles Riverboat Company.  It was a gorgeous night after what seemed like weeks of rain and cold.  We sipped wine and craft beers and noshed on sushi. 

And there were, of course, lots and LOTS of photos taken.  The cruise, which we absolutely loved, was the sunset cruise.  Not only was it the magic hour, well-known to photographers, especially fashion photographers, for the optimal natural lighting but it also provided the perfect backdrop of the Boston city skyline with hundreds of people strolling and relaxing on the Esplanade on a sultry evening.

It's hard to believe but as we sailed off into the sunset I couldn't help but wonder why I had never taken a cruise on the Charles River before!  So, next time you are planning a trip to Cambridgeside Galleria for an afternoon of shopping you can board the cruise right outside the Food Court.  And to make your day even easier, we'll throw in some free parking passes!  Like us on Twitter and Instagram with the hashtag #shopsipsail and on June 1st we'll announce three winners.  Each will get a free parking pass for Cambridgeside Galleria.



This media event was hosted by Cambridgeside Galleria and Charles Riverboat Company with no consideration or any editorial coverage promised.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Taste Of The Back Bay 2017

Half the fun of social media is the social part and the social season is in full swing in Boston this time of year.  There are events everywhere, almost every night of the week and tons more on the weekends.  There is often more to do than one has time for.

We made time, however, this week for the Taste Of The Back Bay, on of our favorite annual events organized by the Neighborhood Association Of Back Bay.  Held high atop the city with sweeping views found only at the Prudential Skywalk, it's a chance to taste and sip samples from dozens of the best Back Bay restaurants.  

There is even live music provided by the students of Berklee College Of Music.

One of our favorite dishes was the Lobster Macaroni And Cheese from Capital Grille, heavy on the lobster and sprinkled with toasted bread crumbs.

I brought along my friend Joao of The Glam Life Diary who is from Portugal.  Needless to say, he knows his sangria and we both agreed that this sangria from Joe's American Bar And Grill on Newbury.  Very refreshing!

Despite the overcast skies the view, as always, is breathtaking.  It's always fun to see what Boston neighborhoods look like from above.

Another fave dish was the Chicken Masala from Kashmir, tender chicken and that delicious sauce.

Stay tuned for upcoming events and follow us on Twitter and Instagram: @TheBostonFoodie.

Taste Of Back Bay is a charity event that we were happy to promote and attend.