Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Food, Glorious Food

If anyone got that Oliver! reference, you are now my favorite reader. Not that I know who you are.

As you might have guessed from the title, most of this post will be about food, starting with last Wednesday. Saint Mike's hosted the first local food competition between eight colleges' chefs from Sodexo. Each chef (or team of them) had to make a dish from entirely locally-sourced ingredients. The event was meant to emphasize Sodexo's commitment (in Vermont) to buy Vermont ingredients before imported one, in keeping with Vermont First's Initiative. I (mistakenly) ate lunch first, so I was not able to try everything, but what I did eat was amazing. Fingers crossed some of it appears in Alliot on a regular basis! Saint Mike's won with maple bourbon ice cream... so good. I was impressed that Johnston State College had a vegan chef; I did not eat what she made, but my friend did and she said it was also really good. What I did try was amazing; even the elk sausage (courtesy of UVM), which I had never had before, and carrot cake (Norwich University), which I usually do not like.

My non-food related event was Thursday - Love Your Melon tabled at the Burlington Paint and Sip, where you can pay to get walked through creating a painting and imbibe various beverages (which may or may not be alcoholic, depending on your age). The overall vibe of the place was really cool. I definitely want to sign up for a painting session when I get a chance. We were able to get the word out about Love Your Melon, and did get some donations - I do not know the exact amount. I am very glad I went.
Our display at Paint and Sip
We did not have class Monday, which was also (conveniently) my birthday, so my parents came up with our dogs! I may have been slightly more excited to see the furry members of my family, and the non-furry members may or may not have noticed... but oh well. 

Friday night I had dinner at the always-wonderful Vermont Tap House, and got to sit near the wood-fires they bake the pizzas in, which was pretty cool. I like going there because the food is awesome, the prices are reasonable, the atmosphere is always friendly, and as far as I know, all of the pizza ingredients are local.
One of the two wood-fires they keep going at the Tap House
Saturday was shopping day! If you have not yet explored the paradise that is the Gardeners Supply Company store in Williston, you should definitely go. The entire place smells amazing because they have a cafe, there is a really cool conservatory, and (although it is too cold for anything to be growing yet) a massive irrigation set-up outside that I am curious to see what they are using it for. I bought one of the mysterious air plants, which supposedly just need to be sprayed with water and do not need anything else. We shall see - I have not named it yet as a precaution.

I also spent some time wandering Church Street with my mom, which (happily) included decadent dark hot chocolate from Lake Champlain Chocolates. They can be a little pricey, but everything is so delicious that doesn't even matter. Sunday's dinner was at Sweetwater's, one of the many restaurants on Church Street. If I have not talked about it before, Sweetwater's is a sweet spot (pun slightly intended) to get dinner if you're out with your friends or family. The service is great and the building is really cool - it used to be the Burlington Trust Company way back when and the owners have kept the original architecture. I also love that the food is always just out of my comfort zone; there's always one part of my dish that I haven't tried before or don't usually eat and Sweetwater's is a great place to try new things, because it's all good.

If you don't have time to devote a whole day to Church Street, definitely give it a shot just for dinner. Church Street at night is beautiful (see below), and really has the feel of what I consider "my Vermont," besides Saint Mike's of course!
Church Street
I'll be going to a concert at the Flynn with my Philosophy class on Sunday, so stay tuned!

PS: That pun was entirely intentional.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Snowshoes and Romcoms

After much delay (thank you, homework), your deepest desire to know how my weekend went can finally be satisfied! Just kidding - you should really aim higher than that.

Snowshoeing with the Wilderness Program was a roaring success; although it was cold, we warmed up as soon as we started moving, and the two students leading the trip were well-equipped to deal with our lack of knowledge. According to my phone, we hiked about 6.3 miles, round trip - not bad for a Saturday! We went to Mount Belvidere, which is near Lowell, Vermont, and is about an hour and a half northeast of Saint Mike's.

We wound up using microspikes on our overboots instead of the snowshoes, but that may have actually made it easier. The highlight of the trek for me was definitely seeing moose tracks! You don't realize how big an animal is until each footprint is the size of your hand and each print is a foot and a half apart. Whoa. I also thought it was cool to see the leaf-buds on the trees, courtesy of the previous week's warm weather, although they're at least a month ahead of schedule. 

On the drive back (and don't worry, you don't need a car to go on a wilderness trip - they drive you), I saw a house surrounded by maple trees that had been tapped for syrup! I have no idea if that is the correct terminology (never having made maple syrup myself), but I thought that was pretty cool. I also experienced the "purple mountains' majesty" in America, The Beautiful. I don't know which mountains the song actually refers to, but be it because of the weather or otherwise, the mountains actually looked tinged purple on the way back. Quirk of Vermont, I suppose.

In honor of the upcoming Valentine's Day, Her Campus SMC hosted its very first event with Galentine's Day on Thursday, as a sort of "holiday" for those of us who are single pringles. We hosted in McCarthy Recital Hall, and featured a cheesy movie, hot cocoa, popcorn, and Valentine's themed candy. Due to technical difficulties, we got off to a rough start, but once that was resolved, everything proceeded swimmingly! I saw a lot of people who are not active in Her Campus, so hopefully more people are finding out about us. 

Today's temperature has a high of ZERO, so I doubt I will be doing anything particularly exciting today, but that just provides an excuse to make hot chocolate, so things could be worse. Happy Valentine's Day to all my readers, single pringles or otherwise!

Thursday, February 4, 2016

International Crepe Day

     Hello, friends! This post is a little late, I know, but I found out about International Crepe Day (read: the awesome day you can get FREE CREPES) and decided to wait so you could hear all about it.
     As you might have guessed, International Crepe Day = free crepes, courtesy of The Skinny Pancake, which is fast becoming one of my favorite places. They gave customers a choice of the Pure and Simple (plain crepe with sugar), the Nutella (which speaks for itself), and the Pooh Bear. I had the Pooh Bear, and it was amazing!
     Contrary to how that may sound, I did not destroy the childhoods of people everywhere - no beloved yellow bears were involved. Rather, the Pooh Bear crepe comes topped with cinnamon sugar and honey: a combination I had not expected but will definitely be trying on other food. Of course, the taste is only improved by the fact that, as far as I know (and I believe I have referenced this in another post), The Skinny Pancake's ingredients are all Vermont-sourced - which includes awesome non-storemade honey!
     I am also excited to tell you that Her Campus is officially active at Saint Mike's! New articles will be published weekly; also check us out on FacebookTwitterPinterest, and Snapchat (hercampussmcvt)!
     Next week's post will be about my snowshowing adventure on Mount Belvidere; stay tuned!