Monday, February 19, 2007

The Weekend of Food

We had quite a weekend of eating up here in Northampton. Ant called dibs on his Sparky's dinner Friday night and Herrell's afterward; I think I get the lovely lunch and snack we had in Brattleboro; and I think we should split our lunch at Lil's BBQ. That sounds like a plan to me. As such:

Brattleboro, VT
Ant and I have a good history with Vermont, what with the self-serve maple syrup and all that. So, finding ourselves bored and plan-less on Saturday morning, we set off north, taking the scenic route and ooh-ing and ahh-ing over every tiny diner we saw. We wound up in Brattleboro and immediately began planning lunch. I was drawn to the well-located Riverview Cafe, right down on the water at the end of town. We trudged through the slush to the front door (Vermont is not big on plowing, it seems), checked out the menu, and were led to our seats, right by a big picture window which looked out over a small wooden deck and on to the ice-covered river. (I'm not sure what river it is. Please don't ask.) The Cafe is nicely decorated, lots of white and blue and pretty river pictures and whatnot. The menu is what we might call 'upscale diner,' or 'classy American'-- lots of salads and sandwiches and burgers, all proudly made of local ingredients. I had the soup'n'sandwich combo, with a cup of the clam chowder and a tuna sandwich. The chowder was fine, although it was a little light on the clams and distinctly heavier on the potatoes, and somewhat lacking in the advertised cherry-smoked bacon. It was warm and creamy though, with a nice light kick, and so I was satisfied. The sandwich, also, was relatively unremarkable. Nice tuna, white toast, lettuce and out-of-season tomato. Ant had a locally grown, grass-fed burger, with amazing onion rings which I'm sure he'll want to do his own tribute to. The bite I had was, like the rest of this lunch, fine, satisfying, and tasty, but unremarkable. For the $25 we paid, I expected more.

Summary: The view was great. I'm sure its even more beautiful in the summer. And I do like Brattleboro, for its funky VT vibe and its crosswalks that make noises like phasers set to kill. I wish lunch had been equally unique.

Riverview Cafe
36 Bridge Street
Brattleboro, Vermont 05301
Riverview Cafe

Where we should have gone to lunch, if I'd had my druthers, is Cafe Lotus, up the hill from the main drag, located kind of behind a funky hippie knick-knack store. Since I can no longer eat lunch without having dessert, I needed a post-Riverview sweet treat, and decided to try this little spot. Decorated with colorful art and lots of food-related magazines, Lotus offers coffee, desserts, salads, and sandwhiches, all in a nicely open room with WiFi access. I had a very nice (strong, not-too-sweet) chai, and we split a sugar donut. Theres something about Vermont donuts that just cant be beat-- sweet, light, not greasy, coated in amazingly grainy sugar. And next time I'll be trying their panini or pad thai.

Cafe Lotus
29 High St. Brattleboro VT 05301

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