Quick Swim at Niquette Bay

– The cool thing about the day passes at Vermont parks is that they’re good for every park in the state. Since we were staying the week, and there wasn’t any swimming at Mt. Philo, we made our way over to Niquette Bay. There’s a little bit of a walk through the forest to get to the beach itself but it’s worth it. The perfect place to take the pooch for a swim since it’s relatively shallow pretty far out into the water. This reminded me a lot of Log Bay on lake George.

A few brews and a few hours of sun later and we were heading back to our campsite at Mt. Philo.

Marble Works District in Middlebury, VT

Within walking distance of Two Brother’s Tavern is the Marble Works, a historic district featuring some pretty amazing architecture, shops, restaurants and great views of the Middlebury falls. We walked through here after our dinner at Two Brother’s Tavern and it was well worth the trip over the historic footbridge.

Grub at Two Brothers Tavern

We met up with Joe and his girlfriend* at Two Brothers Tavern after dropping off our massive haul from Hill Farmstead at our camp site. Joe had been talking up the cheesesteak at Two Brothers for almost a week now so you know I had to give it a shot. I’m a cheesesteak fanatic and I’m willing to go quite out of my way for a good one, so to find a decent cheesesteak in the middle of Vermont was A-OK with me.

The cheesesteak at Two Brothers starts with a hollowed out baguette (I like this move, no need for all of the bread get in the way) filled with shaved steak, onions, peppers, and american cheese. The cheese is melted and mixed in with the steak, and it’s served with hand cut fries on the side. It was good, albeit about half the size of what I’m used to at Tony Luke’s (but TL doesn’t include fries, either). It’s a totally different animal than a Philly cheesesteak, but this is not too far from the way I prepare it at home so no problems there.

I sipped on a Long Trail Brewmaster Series Double White and their IPA while Elise enjoyed her Santa Fe Tortellini with tomatoes, onions, spicy salsa cream sauce and blackened Vermont grilled chicken breast.

I do have a couple gripes I have about this place, both minor, but they bug me enough to share: A) don’t take fucking awesomely delicious cheddar scallion mashed potatoes and plate them with an ice cream scoop. These were outstanding mashed potatoes that deserve better than to be served like it’s a middle school cafeteria. 2) Don’t assume just because it’s a wheat beer that a dude wants an orange slice in it. Long Trail Double White isn’t the same thing as Blue Moon, and there shouldn’t be an expectation that the drinker is going to want the orange (I didn’t). At most, it should be served on the side.

Other than these two minor things, the dinner was great. Tons of local brews, great food, and they even hooked us up with a table outside where we could tie up Kuma right next to us. I didn’t get a chance to check out their lounge while we were there, but you know next time we stop, I will.

*These are two of the most hospitable people I have ever met in my life. Between all of the recommendations, introducing us to new people, and taking us around town I can’t thank them enough. Cheers!

Ice Cream Sandwiches at Vermont Cookie Love

This topic is really heating up in the Capital District this week so I figured now would be a good time to post this.

We found this gem not too far away from Mt. Philo. This was, no lie, the best ice cream sandwich I’ve ever had. And that includes the ones I’ve made from scratch: cookie, ice cream and all. If featured their First Love Chocolate Chip Cookie and Wilcox Family Farm hard ice cream. The only thing I would have done differently was warm up the cookie just a smidge. Luckily for me, I can order these cookies online and make them at home, perhaps with some homemade Southern Tier Choklat or Creme Brulee ice cream.  <— (This is happening. ASAP.)

Quick Heady Topper Pit Stop

It wouldn’t be a Hill Farmstead trip without a stop for some fresh Heady on the way back. Good thing I picked it up then, too since they ran out on the day we planned on heading home from camping.

Snapped a couple of pics of their kickass delivery truck and the guys doin’ their damn thing. I some how resisted drinking some fresh from the tap, but I just had some the day before at our dinner at Prohibition Pig so I managed.