Sunday, September 20, 2015

Eating Local

This past weekend was Family Weekend, so my parents were here! Since they have a car it was nice to venture out beyond the limits of the public busing system. This is a long post, so hang in there.

Friday night we made the token Walmart run, and went to dinner at the Vermont Tap House in Williston, which makes really awesome wood-fired pizza. There are three sizes of pizza you can order, and in addition to the pizzas on the menu you can make your own. I had a cheese pizza with grilled chicken and artichoke hearts - it was surprisingly good! They also have a ton of brews on tap - not that I've tried any, of course. They also have a house root beer, if I remember correctly.

Saturday we did some of the Family Weekend activities; there was a student - alumni softball game that we went to go see. A girl on my floor is one of the pitchers. I used to keep the book for my high school team; it is really weird to watch from the sidelines and not the dugout. We also went to tour the new health center in Bergeron. It apparently used to house media classes; now it's a really classy health place. There's the usual medical and counseling services, but they also have a host of programs that they'll be starting soon. My friend Lorrie and I are excited to try their introductory yoga classes.

That night my parents and I went to check out the Eat X NE food festival, which is all about local Vermont food. Everything was SO GOOD. The festival was sponsored by The Skinny Pancake (aka my favorite place) and Higher Ground (which as near as I can tell is some sort of venue). I don't know the names of all of the vendors, but there was a wide variety of cuisine. There was a beer and cider tasting setup towards the back of the park, and live music. According to the schedule, during the day they had presentations about healthy and local eating. 

The entry sign to the festival

A crazy hay sculpture
The Farmhouse Tap and Grill had a food stand; we had their local beef burger, which is topped with cheddar, arugula, and pickled red onions. Apparently I like pickled red onions and arugula. Our burgers also came with mixed green salads with a maple vinaigrette dressing. It was only $11, although according to their online menu, the price is usually $16.95. Regardless of the price, you can definitely taste the difference between fresh and store-bought beef!
My awesome burger - that I ate on a hay bale!
Lake Champlain Chocolates had an ice cream stand, where I got Belgian chocolate ice cream with salted caramel sauce made from actual caramel and not the processed goop. If you haven't heard of Lake Champlain Chocolates - they have a store on Church Street. The prices are a little high, but everything is amazing so it's worth it. For the colder weather, I recommend their dark hot chocolate. I would live off of it if I could!

We also tried maple kettle corn, which is much better than regular kettle corn. My small excitement of the day was the fact that everything left after my burger including my fork was compostable! I did not know that compostable forks existed. Apparently they're made of corn.

Just a few more pictures:

All around the festival were signs of various shapes with cool quotes, including the infamous line from When Harry Met Sally. This was my favorite.

The music tent - complete with dance floor
My favorite fact posted at the festival
Overall, the festival was definitely the highlight of my weekend - aside from my parents, of course!

Stay tuned for more Vermont fun!

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Pancakes and Ice Cream

Warning: tonight's post will make you hungry! Or at least it should.

Last night I went with a few girls from my floor into Burlington. You have to take the bus there, which at first seemed really complicated. But it has since been explained to me and so now it's pretty easy. There's only one route that goes past Saint Mike's, so it's nearly impossible to take the wrong bus. Oh, and that is the most important thing: with your KnightCard - that's the SMC ID card - all public busing is free! So if anyone tells you we're really cut off from Burlington... they are lying.

Anyway, we went into Burlington for dinner. There are a lot of places to eat that are definitely college-budget affordable: I've yet to have a dinner that cost more than $10 and it's all really nice food. Church Street, the pedestrian shopping area, has a lot of restaurants, but we went back to The Skinny Pancake, which we'd tried last weekend. They're not on Church Street, but it's only a ten minute walk from the bus and they do have a food stand on Church Street if you really don't want to go far.

The Skinny Pancake is a creperie, and they must have at least 20 different types of crepes, both savory and sweet. They also have salads and other dishes for your pickier eaters. So far I've had the Crepadilla, which has cheese and pico de gallo filling, and a spinach and feta filled crepe. Both were delicious and I have plans to go back and try more kinds!

My favorite part about the restaurant (besides the food of course) is the fact that everything is (somewhat) local, so it's all really fresh. They even have a foodshed map, which shows where everything they use is from.

The Foodshed Map
After dinner, we went to Ben and Jerry's, which is on Church Street. Ben and Jerry's is a frequent stop for any Vermont college student; the line can be long but if you are with fun people it doesn't seem like it. In case you didn't know, Ben and Jerry's is an ice cream shop. Everything is amazing, and they have a huge list of flavors.
The Ben and Jerry's Menu
The people there are really nice; I've also been told they like hiring college students but since I didn't apply I can't confirm that. But in general, if you come to Saint Mike's you have to have Ben and Jerry's; we even sell pints in the bookstore!

That's all I have for today; stay tuned!


Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Welcome to the 802

Welcome to My Oyster!
My name is Laura and I am a first-year (first-year, not a freshman, because first-years are infinitely cooler than freshmen) at Saint Michael's College in the always awesome Vermont. We're so awesome that we even have our own area code (that would be the 802). 

Why a Mason Jar?
My dorm building is Joyce Hall, whose only flaw is that I am right in the middle of everything, so I always see a ton of people. Just kidding - that's one of the best things about my building. But I digress. My floor's theme is mason jars, and I live in a single room, so technically, my room is my mason jar. 

What Are You Talking About?
This is the first time that I've ever written a blog with a purpose, although there will probably be some healthy rambling going on here, too. But in connection to the name, I will be blogging about different things I do around campus and in Burlington (otherwise known as Burly), both so I remember and to explain why SMC is so amazing. There might even be some ventures into Montreal, once I figure out the bus system. Most of my non-ramblings will probably be food-oriented, because that is the most important part of college life and one of my biggest social activities.

Do You Know What You're Talking About?
Of course! I am writing about my life, and my experiences as a Vermont newbie from New Jersey who will hopefully provide a fresh breath of mid-Atlantic air.

Keep your eyes peeled for anecdotes and adventures from yours truly,