A Vermont Roadtrip Dinner

Though it would get bumped off the itinerary of our recent Northeast vacation due to logistic issues, we would have our chance to see Vermont after all, on the drive between the Adirondacks and Boston.

Vermont

Vermont

Our pal Jon’s brother, Charlie — who went to college in Vermont and has a cabin there — gave us his recommendations for two different routes. The first was slightly more direct and passed through Middlebury, which was supposedly quaint and scenic; the second wound around a bit more and featured some nice waterfalls and a swimming hole. Both passed through the beautiful Green Mountains. Having gotten a late start from the Buck Summerhill Camp and it being well after lunch time when we crossed Lake Champlain into Vermont, we opted for the first.

After 30 so miles of country road, old barns and cows, we rolled into Middlebury. The quaintness readings were off the chart, with the old stone buildings of founded-in-1800 Middlebury College, white steepled churches, old mills, brick buildings, statues of notable people and a waterfall right in the middle of town.

Flynn overlooking Otter Creek

Flynn overlooking Otter Creek

Charlie had suggested we eat at a place called the Otter Creek Bakery. We parked the car near a couple of old churches and walked through a park down onto the main street, where we found the requisite antique shops and “general stores” selling maple syrup and other Vermont paraphernalia. Crossing over the bridge above the creek we saw the Otter Creek Bakery in the distance, with crunchy Vermonters eating sprouty-looking sandwiches at tables out front. But something happened between the bridge and the bakery — a tavern.

I have a hard time passing a tavern under the best of circumstances — in other words, when it’s not 2 p.m. and I haven’t had lunch and could use a beer. The Otter Creek Bakery was not to be. The Two Brothers Tavern had some twenty-plus beers and ciders on tap, including many local selections, and a chalkboard listing the nearby farms and purveyors who provide produce for the tavern. Just my kind of place.

At the Two Brothers Tavern

At the Two Brothers Tavern

I ordered an Otter Creek Brewing Co. Fresh Slice White IPA — the localest of the local beers offered — while Leslie got a lager from another nearby brewery. I didn’t like mine, which tasted like the bastard lovechild of an IPA and a Trappist ale, but downed it anyway and then moved on to the much better Wolaver’s IPA from Burlington. There were many interesting options on the menu, including salads with local cheese and greens, our beloved Quebecois favorite poutine, and a Vermont grass-fed beef burger. I opted for the best sounding thing on the menu — a Vermont cheddar bacon apple flatbread.

Our food came and it was all superb — from the deliciously spiced, unusually sophisticated chicken tenders from the children’s menu to the wonderful beet and blue cheese salad. The best of all was the flatbread — an inspired convergence of tastes and textures that I was eager to reproduce (along with Maine’s lobster rolls and the aforementioned poutine) when I got home.

Two Brothers Tavern's Vermont cheddar bacon apple flatbread with

Two Brothers Tavern’s Vermont cheddar bacon apple flatbread with Wolaver’s IPA

Here, then, is my version of the flatbread — a quick and easy light dinner that even the kids will love. Try it with California cheddar, I bet it will be just as good!

Enjoy!

*    *    *

Vermont cheddar bacon apple flatbread
serves 4

4 flatbreads (I used Trader Joe’s flatbread, you could also make your own)
1 cup grated sharp cheddar
4 slices bacon, chopped
2 crisp sweet tart apples, such as honey crisp or fuji
2 cups fresh arugula

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Sprinkle cheese evenly over four flatbreads, and then arrange one chopped slice of bacon over the top of each.

Bake in the oven for 5-10 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly and bacon cooked. Remove from oven.

Arrange apple slices on top of each flatbread, and cut each into sixths. Place a half cup handful of arugula atop each flatbread and serve.

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10 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Cheryl "Cheffie Cooks" Wiser
    Aug 07, 2015 @ 00:49:29

    Hi Sean, glad you did get to Vermont-love it there! Fridays are homemade pizza night at our home so guess what its a go with this one! Have a great night. Cheryl

    Reply

  2. Mom
    Aug 07, 2015 @ 02:39:35

    Alaine wishes you had stopped but the Berkshires to visit her on this trip.

    Reply

  3. thejameskitchen
    Aug 07, 2015 @ 10:10:14

    Sean, the mouth-watering recipe readings are now off chart! Love the apple-cheddar-bacon combo, could there possibly be something more perfect than this flatbread with an ale?
    Nicole

    Reply

  4. Bruce
    Aug 07, 2015 @ 15:49:55

    Berkshires are in western Massachusetts just south of Vermont. One of the features is Tanglewood, known as the summer home of the Boston Pops Orchestra.

    Reply

    • scolgin
      Aug 07, 2015 @ 15:51:16

      Oh, nice! I’ll look on a map. Guess we could’ve visited Alaine, except I had no idea she was there. And we were a little tight on time.

      Reply

  5. Michelle
    Aug 09, 2015 @ 00:07:05

    One should never pass up a good tavern. 🙂

    Reply

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