Monday, September 14, 2015

My Trip To Vermont!

For Labor Day weekend my husband Lewin, my dog Fargo and I went to go visit our good friends Jay, Mimi and Owen, in Randolph, Vermont.



We love going up there in the summer time: it's a quiet, small mountain town, the weather in early September is just beautiful, never too hot, never too cold, and it's the end of their summer harvest, which was one of the things that interested me the most.

THURSDAY


We left around 8pm on Thursday night, drove four hours and decided to stop at a Hilton in Upstate New York. I would give you more informations but it's not worth it. Not the cleanest and everything in the room was wet from the humidity. I was also extremely tired from the drive, we got there around midnight. The only memory I have of that hotel is this, the morning after.
 That's Fargo. It was his first night in a hotel and he was super freaked out. He growled and shivered all night. I let you imagine how well we slept in the wet room with the growling dog.




























FRIDAY


The breakfast at the hotel was surprisingly decent. Yogurt with probiotics, a plate of fresh local strawberries and blueberries, that I ate plain, under the surprised stare of the waitress, who had never had a piece of fruit without whipped cream on it in her life (her words, not mine).

Back in the van, back on the road, four more hours to go.
The scenery, once you get out of the urban area, is really breathtaking. The lakes, the green hills, the drivers peeing on the side of the road.

We get in Randolph mid afternoon, after driving by I don't know how many garage sales and antiques stores. If that's one of your passions you should definitely check that area out.

After exchanging gifts, hugs and resting a bit, Mimi takes me to pick the vegetables we were going to eat for the weekend. YES! I hadn't been on a farm since the bees attacked me in 1995. Yeah, long story, let's just say I like bees from a safe distance.

The Farm is Pebble Brook Farm, also linked to the Black Krim Tavern, where my friend works at.
The restaurant features a different menu every week, if not every day, depending on what's available at Pebble Brook and surrounding farms. A truly amazing farm-to-table that should definitely be on your "I want to go there" list.

Mimi gave me the tour: we were greeted by chickens, we got to pet the three lovely goats, one of the dogs barked at me and I dropped the chicken eggs I was carrying on the ground (and broke one). Here are some pictures of the farm!
It doesn't get more free-range then this
Goats, with your weird rectangular pupils, I love you! 


Red Kuri Squash

This is what a fennel looks like

This is what happens to Zucchini if you don't pick it

After picking the potatoes they let them season in the sun

Organic vegetables are beautifully imperfect

This is what happens to lettuce if you don't pick it

Kale


The trip to Pebble Brook ended with me smelling a bouquet of kale. This last picture shows you the beautiful setting of one of their fields.

For dinner we made Aperitivo and we drank a full bodied red (14.5%) that we had brought from Italy. Needless to say it gave us a nice buzz and made us feel grateful to be sharing it with our friends.

SATURDAY


Breakfast: goat milk yogurt with pine nuts, dried fruit, and fresh fruit. No chia seeds for once.

Our friends were at work so Lewin and I ventured out to the farmer's market, where we got some red and yellow watermelon (the yellow one is much sweeter) and some organic ground beef to make Bolognese Sauce. I can't just go visit friends and not cook. It wouldn't be nice.

Lunch: barbecue ribs and coleslaw from a stand at the farmer's market. To die for.

On our way back we stopped at someone's house because the sign on the mailbox said "MAPLE SYRUP".
"Yay!!!" I said, jumping from my car seat as if I was possessed.

That's how we met the family from Woods Syrup. We didn't get a chance to meet Albee Wood, who runs the family company now, but his parents gave us a tour of the sugary and a tasting of all their amazing syrup flavors: Bourbon Barrel Aged Syrup, Smoked Syrup (that gets literally smoked with a smoker system Albee invented), Rum Barrel and Ghosted Syrup, which we ended buying, along with some of their Traditional Maple Cream.
"How do you eat the Maple Cream?" I asked, silly me.
"By itself!" answered Mrs. Wood. Laughters followed, because duh and why not.

Dinner: I made Ragout (Meat Sauce, also called Bolognese) with the ground beef from the market and the carrots, celery, onion and tomatoes from Pebble Brook. It was particularly rustic (I chopped everything by hand, no food processor), but definitely tasty, it pleased my hosts.

SUNDAY


Breakfast: Gluten free waffles (from Whole Foods' frozen section, really good) with the Rum Barrel Maple Syrup. Mmmm.

Lunch: Jay and Mimi treated us to this absolutely secret spot. Not so secret though, it's Ariel's Restaurant, in Brookfield, here's the view from our table:

Other cool fact about this place is that it's in someone's house. The wife cooks, the son waits the tables, the father makes the drinks. It reminds me of something... wait... oh yeah! That's how I grew up!
We had the luck of catching one of the last days of their "Cantina", we got to taste some amazingly authentic Mexican food!

We spent the rest of the afternoon swimming in the pond at Floating Bridge, kayaking and playing fetch with Fargo. Can you see him there, swimming under my paddle?


In the evening Mimi and I made Polpette (Meatballs), a salad, and roasted eggplants with Spicy Tomato Spread. We dressed up all pretty and drank Cocktail Champagne.

We stayed up late looking at the stars. What an amazing spectacle they are in places with no light pollution. I saw so many shooting stars, and the constellations were so easy to spot.

MONDAY - LABOR DAY

Our visit in Randolph came to an end but first...

Breakfast: duck eggs, free range chicken eggs, sunny side up, with grass fed steak, roasted delicata squash with Ghost Syrup, toasted gluten free bread by Simply Trudy  with local butter and the berry jam.

Lunch on the road: some of the salad left over from the night before that Mimi kindly packed for me.

We decided to break the trip up again and spent the night at the Hyatt House in Fishkill. What a great hotel. Because of the renovations we got a suite at the price of a room, no extra fees for Fargo, super clean and most importantly the room wasn't damp.

Dinner: everything was closing early so we had to settle for a chain restaurant. We went to Ruby Tuesday. I had a grilled salmon with broccoli and green beans. I have to say that it was not bad at all, their menu is filled with healthy choices and they also have a separate gluten free menu if you need it.

TUESDAY


Our last stop was for my husband's amusement: we went to go see Orange County Choppers, a planned twenty minute car ride from the hotel. I have to say, I don't usually care too much about motors, but you have to appreciate the craftsmanship that goes into creating those metal beasts.

We got home a little before two, got ourselves a Chipotle order to go. I changed my clothes and was back on the road to go teach my piano lessons by three.

I close my article with a long term exposure photo Lewin took of the sky. Yes, that line is a shooting star!


You should visit Randolph, it has a lot to offer.

Valentina
RealItalianKitchen



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