Vermont Camping: July 2013 Edition

Vermont Balloon and Craft Festival

Just a short couple of days in Vermont on our last trip but we made the most of it while we could. We stayed at Elise’s favorite state park, Mount Philo, again and lucked out with the weather the whole weekend.

We stayed in at the campsite on Friday night and were treated with a nice little display from the Vermont Balloon and Craft Festival.  The trees blocked most of the shots but I was able to capture the one seen above, and about a dozen or so made it overhead that evening.

Of course no camping trip is complete without a nice cup of fresh (Aero)-pressed coffee before showering up and heading out for a few stops throughout the day.
AeroPress Coffee

Breakfast was the first priority so we made a short trip up to Burlington and headed to Myer’s Bagel Bakery. I’ve never had a Montreal-style bagel before and the wood-fired oven was too intriguing not to stop.

The bagels contain malt, egg, and no salt — a surprisingly stark contrast to the New York bagel we’re accustomed to. They are then hand rolled and boiled in honey-sweetened water which allows a lot more seeds to stick to the bagel prior to baking.

The seeded bagels are loaded up on a plank and inserted into the oven, with each individually being removed just when they reach the perfect crunchy exterior — no automated oven or baking times here.

The bagels are tossed over into the baskets to be sorted by type afterwards.
Myer's Bagel Bakery

Myer's Bagel Bakery

The resulting bagel is one that is a thinner, denser bagel with a large hole in the center and a chewier texture and crackly crust. The sweetness however (and lack of saltiness) of the bagel was completely foreign, especially for Elise. Mine was loaded up with “everything” seeds and a bacon and herb cream cheese so where us New Yorkers would typically find salt, it still packed plenty of flavor. My bagel was accompanied with their hash topped with a piece of brisket and a sunny side up egg. The whole operation was really something to see and should you find yourself in Burlington for breakfast something definitely worth checking out.
Myer's Bagel Bakery

After running around the Waterfront Dog Park and a very quick dip in Lake Champlain for Kuma we headed back to the campsite to enjoy the park a bit more, a nap for the pooch and a few beers before dinner.

Kuma the Shiba Inu

For dinner we headed to Folino’s, a wood-fired pizza joint not too far away from Mount Philo, adjacent to Fiddlehead Brewing we visited on our Biere De Norma trip. Surprisingly I’ve had great experiences with VT pizza in the past from American Flatbread and Parker Pie, so I was excited to see how Folino’s stacked up.

That night was the first night they were attempting to do seated service, and it was a bit of a mix up. They assigned multiple groups to the same tables when there wasn’t enough seating to do so, and at our table they sat three different groups of two to a 6 person picnic table. I can see that being an issue for those who aren’t the extroverted types we all were, especially if a shy couple is seated in the center of two other couples. Luckily our impromptu dining companions were fun, sharing stories, dining and drink recommendations with each other and even the occasional slice of pie.

Speaking of pies, the ones at Folino’s are top notch. If you’ve followed the blog here at all you know I’m a bit obsessed with pizza (and I’ll have some successful KettlePizza/Baking Steel pictures up soon) and at this point I rarely eat pizza when not making it at home, unless it’s a woodfired pizza done right.

The oven at Folino’s is running at 800 degrees or hotter, and pizzas roll out in just minutes, exactly as it should be.

Folino's Word-Fired Pizza

Folino's Word-Fired Pizza

While waiting for our pizzas to finish I walked over to Fiddlehead as I had heard that Second Fiddle was on tap and was worth snagging a growler. Unfortunately it had kicked just before I walked in and their IPA was on instead. I’ve had that at my last stop there, and it’s alright but with as much great beer as I had at the campsite I decided to wait until we started the fire to crack open a few beers.
Fiddlehead Brewing

Fiddlehead Brewing

Elise prefers her pizza light on the cheese, while I prefer mine loaded up and topped with cured meats which usually leads to us ordering two smaller pies and that night was no different. Elise got the The Original Tomato Pie which is a simple pie covered in tomato sauce and sprinkled with parm, with added garlic per the recommendation of the menu.
Folino's Wood-Fired Pizza

My pizza was of the pepperoni and shredded mozz variety, with large deli size slices of pep located under the cheese. This worked fine and provided ample coverage of pepperoni per slice but these days I prefer my Vermont Smoke and Cure pepperoni sliced thick cut and forming little oil cups under the intense heat.
Folino's Wood-Fired Pizza

The tomato pie came out just a tad less done than the pepperoni which worked out perfect since that’s exactly the way each of of us prefer our pizzas.
Folino's Wood-Fired Pizza

This… this is a thing of beauty. Even with the Baking Steel in the oven or the KettlePizza/Baking Steel combo I cannot get this kind of patchy char on the undercarriage of my pizza. Just flawlessly executed. I actually preferred this to American Flatbread and I can’t recommend Folino’s enough. Go there now.
Folino's Wood-Fired Pizza

After Folino’s we stopped at Vermont Cookie Love to get the beggar pooch some vanilla ice cream. Here he is, begging from someone who doesn’t even have food. Shameful, but cute.
Kuma the Shiba Inu

And here he is with Elise enjoying his vanilla doggy dish. :)
Vermont Cookie Love

Of course, the humans enjoyed some ice cream as well and I stuck with my usual sundae. I just recently learned that Vermont Cookie Love cookies are available at the Honest Weight Coop so I’m definitely going to have to check this out and make sundaes at Chez Fuj with some homemade ice cream.
Vermont Cookie Love Sundae

Before the sun went down we headed back to Mount Philo and headed to a new outlook that the folks from the campground have carved a path to not far from the campsites. It provides an incredible 180 degree view of the Adirondacks and Green Mountains and is now one of our new favorite spots on the mountain, plus there’s plenty of tall grass for Kuma to leap around in like a crazy man. Unfortunately the clouds that day blocked the sunset behind the Adirondacks but it was beautiful nevertheless.
Mount Philo State Park

We headed back to the campsite to have a few beers by the fire. Maybe I’ve just had too many mouth puckering Night Shift Berliner weiss’s but this was underwhelming. Drinkable as all hell, but it was moderately carbonated for the style, not as tart as the “Americanized” Berliners this been tends to be compared to, and lacked in flavor compared to those beers as well. The hype is strong with this one, but I’m keeping my second one in the cellar to see how it develops in the bottle.
Evil Twin Justin Blabaer

Bitter Valentine was exactly as the name described: bitter as hell. At first sip I wasn’t a huge fan of this West Coast take on the style, but as my palate acclimated I warmed up to the beer.
Williamsburg Alewerks Bitter Valentine

The last beer of the night was one of Elise and my favorite’s: Ever Weisse. Perfect carbonation, intense flavor, tons of tartness while being extremely drinkable. This beer is without a doubt in “desert island beer” territory. Night Shift is absolutely killing it with Berliners right now, and I’m definitely hoarding a bit of Ever Weisse in the cellar. For now, we’ll break one out for special occasions such as this or when we want to share it with a friend who hasn’t tried it but would really appreciate the beer. I’m very much looking forward to doing a horizontal of all four Night Shift berliners some time over the winter.
Night Shift Brewing Ever Weisse

Our camping weekend ended with a proper fire before turning in and getting on the road in the morning. We’re already looking forward to our next relaxing trip back up there.
Campfire Long Exposure

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