Saturday, April 16, 2011

Pó - Italian restaurant in the West Village

One of my favorite Italian restaurants is Pó. I tend to order only pasta at Italian restaurants because that's what they do best! Po' has a few staples, such as white bean ravioli and orecchiette with sweet sausage ragu and broccoli rabe, that stay on the menu year-round. Otherwise, the menu changes by season. Currently for Spring, they are serving seasonal pastas including the two I tried this week: pappardelle with green peas, red onion and mint and gnocchi with rabbit ragu (pictured below). Simply divine! The pappardelle especially could be the best pasta I've had in the city. Fresh spring peas are my favorite vegetable! I simply couldn't get enough. 

Pó was originally opened by Mario Batali. It's a wonderful place -- small, bustling, a great place for a date with great ambience.

31 Cornelia Street between Bleecker St and 6th Avenue
New York, NY 10014

Pappardelle with green peas, red onion and mint

Gnocchi (made fresh daily) with rabbit ragu

Sunday, April 10, 2011

What to do in Vermont

A typical Vermont landscape during the Fall is simple yet breathtaking: a tall white steeple, rising up from a small quaint town set against the backdrop of rolling hills vibrant with deep red, orange and yellow foliage. It's the perfect time of year for long drives through the countryside, visiting local farmer's markets, picking apples, going on scenic mountain hikes.

In winter, snow blankets those same gently rolling hills and Vermont turns into a white wonderland. Whether you like to downhill ski or cross-country ski, there are plenty of trails and  resorts for every type of skier. 

And when the weather warms, the river levels rise, the pastures and trees turn green but no matter which season you visit, there is always plenty to do and the state is home to some of the country's best farm-to-table restaurants. Vermont is within driving distance of New York (4-6 hours) and Boston (3-4 hours) and biggest city to fly into is the capital of Burlington. If you fly, rent a car as everything in Vermont is relatively far apart in between towns. Thankfully, it's one of the more beautiful places in America with gorgeous scenic routes (even the highways!), hardly a billboard in the entire state, and fast food joints are far and few. 

Here are my top recommendations. Stowe as you will notice is by far my favorite!!

In or around Stowe
Stowe Ski Resort Great for families but with enough challenging runs for the more advanced skiers/boarders. The new (opened in 2008) luxury Stowe Mountain Lodge is very on par with ski lodges out West. Year round outdoor pool, top notch spa, gorgeous lobby, spacious rooms, great restaurants. Located at the new Spruce Peak base area. 
  • Check out the Spruce Base Lodge for lunch -- not your ordinary cafeteria with gourmet pub food, pasta, salad, sandwich stations. 
  • Apres-ski MUST: Grab a beer around 3-4 pm at the old Mansfield Lodge (old school lodge with old fireplace) at the Mansfield base that hosts live music and fun giveaways. 
  • Great fall hike: Sterling Lake -- trail starts at the base of Smuggler's Notch
Stowe Mountain Resort 
781 Mountain Road, Stowe, VT
(802) 253-3000

Stowe Mountain Lodge
7412 Mountain Road

Harvest Market In my opinion, by far, the best fresh bread I've had!! You can watch the bakers make it right there in front of you, pulling the bread straight out of these old ovens and onto the cooling rack. Great place to stop by for coffee and bread before your day out in the outdoors. Also, stocked full of gourmet foods such as crackers, jams, pastas, sauces, etc.

1031 Mountain Road
(802) 253-3800

Hen of the Wood Located at the 19th century Grist Mill about a 20 minute drive from the ski resort, right near the exit onto 1-89. Extensive wine list, wonderful artisan cheese menu and of course, part of the Fresh Network serving local, seasonal dishes. Ambiance is wonderful, the food the best in Stowe area by far, and the restaurant is very interesting with much of the old mill in tact including the larger party seating that's sunken into the floor where it used to hold feed for animals.

92 Stowe Street
Waterbury, VT 
(802) 244-7300

Michael's on the Hill Another amazing restaurant located about 15 minutes from the ski resort.

4182 Waterbury-Stowe Road; Route 100 N
Waterbury Center, VT
(802) 244-7476

Trapp Family Lodge For those of you that love the movie Sound of Music, this is the story of the Trapp family after their escape from Austria. After several years of traveling around the world as a singing troupe, they settled down in Stowe - of all places. Maria and Captain Von Trapp's grandchildren now run the resort. There is an extensive 60-mile network of cross-country ski and snowshoe trails. They also organize back country skiing, have tons of family activities and feature an Austrian cuisine restaurant. My favorite activity is a relatively challenging trail to Slayton Pasture Cabin, a small cabin in the woods that you can only get to by skis or snowshoes. The cabin serves hot drinks, soups, and sandwiches that you can eat inside near the huge historic fireplace or outside on the deck overlooking the woods. 

700 Trapp Hill Road
(802) 253-8511


Twin Farms An exclusive, all-inclusive private inn set on the former land of the ski hill Sonnenburg.  Meals are made with top-quality, fresh, local, seasonal ingredients, beautifully presented, and paired with exquisite wines from their cellar. There is no menu, you let the staff know ahead of time of food allergies and dislikes and the chefs bring out the day's dishes. The property is gorgeous. There are hiking and walking trails. The inn also has a no-kids policy, which actually forces parents to enjoy a real getaway.

(800) 894-6327

The Old Tavern

92 Main Street
(802) 843-2231


Four Columns Inn

21 West Street
(802) 365-7713


Simon Pearce Simon Pearce is world renown for his beautiful handmade glass and pottery and it's here in Quechee where he opened up his first glass-blowing workshop in the United States. Simon was born and trained in Ireland and opened up his first workshop in Kilkenny, Ireland. In 1981, he came to Vermont and restored a historic mill which is now the location for the workshop, gallery and restaurant (part of the Vermont Fresh Network). It's a great place to stop in for an early dinner on your drive back to Boston/NYC. The glass and pottery is for the most part very expensive, but make for wonderfully one-of-a-kind gifts.

1760 Quechee Main Street
(802) 295-1470


Kitchen Table Bistro Yet another delectable member of the Fresh Network and less than 20 minutes west of Burlington directly off I-89. 

1840 West Main Street
(802) 434-8686

In and around Warren

Sugarbush Ski Resort Another very family-friendly ski resort with plenty of great trails for intermediate and advanced skiers. It's more isolated than Stowe in that it only has a small mountain base with a few restaurants/pubs and shops but not located in a village

1840 Sugarbush Access Road
(800) 53-SUGAR

Pitcher Inn - Great stop on the scenic Route 100.

275 Main Street
(802) 496-6350

Woodstock, VT

One of the most charming Vermont towns full of antique shops. Stay at the famous Woodstock Inn & Resort.

Fourteen The Green
(802) 457-1100

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