Surprisingly good Pub Food and Great Beer – Summer Fun

The Vermont Pub and Brewery has been around for over 25 years – so the question is – how come I never ate there before? Answer – I thought it was more bar than restaurant – and I thought wrong.

It was one of those priceless Vermont summer evenings – daylight seems to last forever, and when the sun finally does decide to go down, the air still has that soft summer feel to it. I asked advice of Roger – the guy trying to sell me a Prius (more on that later) – and he recommended the Pub. I figured – why not!

I scored an outside table, and settled in for an easy evening. The newspaper cum menu was a nice start – and listed on the board was a yummy sounding Cajun Catfish for just $11.95. Ok – I could seriously handle that.

According to the informative menu (Prohibition ended on April 7, 1933 among other brew based tidbits) – the VPB has won lots of awards for their home brewed beer – and for just $1.25 they will give you a sample of any one of their flavors. You can even order a flight of samples. I opted for just one- their award winning, and car salesman suggested, Burly Irish Ale. Described as rich and malty – it was a small yet delightfully filling way to end my day. For dinner I tried their fried oysters (skip those next time), and for my main course – choose the catfish. That was exactly the right decision. The catfish was perfectly cooked – white and flaky, rich and delicious, perfectly seasoned. The potion of sweet potato fries was way too large – but they were delicous too.

Service was perfect – fast when needed, and they ignored me completely when I wanted to be ignored.

A B+ (fried oysters were just too thickly breaded to rate an A, beer was way too delicious to just give them a B. So B+ it is!)

Hana – Sushi in Burlington, VT – bit of a hit and miss at a great price

We did our research, and the Hana – an oversized empty space located in a shopping mall just off the highway in Burlington – got decent comments. So we ventured out – looking for a relatively inexpensive late lunch.

The restaurant was completely empty – but given the crazy hour we were there – I can’t say I was completely surprised. We were greeted with a smile – and presented with what I suspect was the dinner menu. Oh well – we were late.

Rather than order 2 differnt maki’s – we ordered a combo platter to share. This was probably a mistake. I suspect that the maki’s were pre-made left overs from lunch time. My fault – I know to avoid that beginners mistake, but I was too tired to even fuss.

The good news – service was very nice and the miso soup was delicous. The bad news – the restaurant is cold and forbidding – too bad they haven’t thought of some way to make it feel more welcoming. And the best that can be said about our Combo Platter is that it was acceptable.

I might give them another try anyway – judging a restaurant on off hours is a bit tough, even for me.

A C – with hopes of doing better next time.

Bennington – and the Madison Brewing Company!

I’m supposed to be in Maine – on the beach – enjoying Lobstah. So why am I currently in back-woods Vermont? Excellent Question.

Turns out that my daughter let her driver’s license lapse – and that entailed a not so quick trip to a DMV. Problem – we’re in Maine! And Vermont is not the next state over – nope – that’s New Hampshire. So we drove, and drove, and drove… What I will do for my daughter!

The first DMV was an hour closer than Bennington – which is on the far side of the state from Maine – but they closed at 2:00 – and we didn’t quite make it. In fact – we never even found it, despite the very friendly advice and oh so convenient bathroom of Mr. Baker – of Baker’s Violin Shop. First bathroom I ever visited where the reading material was Music!

But driving on to Bennington was the only option – and we arrived there 15 minutes before their closing time! Adrienne rushed in to be sure to get a place in line, and Anais and Sophie and I prowled the Main Street. A few adorable shops, including a kid’s consignment store, and 5 ‘food’ establishments. The only one of which that had customers was the Madison Brewing Company. So despite the name – and despite our clearly underage for a drinking place group – we sauntered in, past the bar and into the, well, not quite so bar – restaurant area.

The menu was a surprise. Not only was there a fair sampling of traditional bar food (the nacho platter served to the table next to us looked awesome), there was fresh grouper! That’s what I had – and it was absolutely yummy.


Sophie chose a reasonably priced hot dog off the kids menu – it came with carbs (mashed potatoes or french fries) or apple sauce. She went for the apple sauce. My daughter enjoyed their Cajun Blacked but beautifully raw in the center sliced tuna, served on a lovely bed of fresh greens, and Anais had a Caprese Salad with a slightly too strong Balsamic Reduction. I suspect the use of a bottled product – overly enthusiastically applied. Except for that, we were well fed!

Not bad for randomly selected restaurant in a town we probably will never visit again.

Sometimes the sun does shine! Unfortunately, even with the sun shining, it was still a long 4 hours back to Maine. Oh well, at least we were full!

Madison Brewing Co. Brew Pub & Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Madison Brewery Co on Foodio54