With a population of less than 10,000, Montpelier, Vermont, is by far the smallest U.S. capital city, tinier by half than even the second-smallest capital, Pierre, South Dakota. Despite its (lack of) size, the city’s pleasant downtown is dotted with numerous shops, old churches, and historic colonial and Queen Anne homes. Quite a few restaurants all looked like great options for lunch, but my decision on which to choose was simplified when I walked by the campus of the New England Culinary Institute and discovered that it had a restaurant on Main Street.
For 34 years, NECI has been turning out talented chefs from a tiny student body of only 300. Eager to sample the current class’ skills, I nabbed an outdoor table at NECI on Main and soaked in the classic New England atmosphere. The tree shading my table was in the throes of a glorious foliage season, and the white steeples of churches around the downtown gleamed against a perfectly blue sky. With just the tiniest nip in the air, the ideal atmosphere served as the perfect entrée to a flawless dining experience.
Try This: Parallel a fine fall day with a fine fall meal. Begin with an autumn salad of honey crisp apples, candied bacon lardon, greens, Middlebury blue cheese, and an apple cider vinaigrette—a terrific start made exclusively with locally produced ingredients. If you’re a little chilly in the October air, go for the carrot ginger soup. Follow that with a pumpkin risotto with Brussels sprout petals, roasted red peppers, and sautéed goat cheese medallion in a cider reduction. For dessert, enjoy a chocolate-hazelnut-almond pot de crème with powdered sugar.
Pingback: Students Create Culinary Art at Montpelier’s NECI on Main | Stephen Travels