The Black Lantern – A Taste of Civilization

by Staff

I can only imagine what traveling in Vermont was like two hundred years ago. However, after spending an hour waiting on a dusty back road in the late June sun for AAA to come repair a flat tire, then traveling about 10 miles on a dirt road with a “spare” tire that had so many caution labels on it I wondered if we’d be better off walking, I know how relieved I was to be able to stop for the night. So much for shortcuts. Back to civilization and the little town of Montgomery, home of The Black Lantern Inn for the past two hundred years.

We sat in the air conditioned bar and chatted a bit with the owners, Deb and Bob Winders, as Deb prepared our drinks. Just what we needed to wash the dust of the road away. After we placed our order we were seated in the dining room, a lovely, intimate room with exposed brick and wooden beams, wide pine floors, stained glass, beautiful white table linens, and fresh flowers from the garden on each table.

Chase Vanderveer, the chef, changes the menu daily, but rest assured there’s something for everyone, including a vegetarian option. We began with Vichyssoise and Grilled Shrimp Quesadillas, followed by the house salad, with a choice of dressings including, Maple Walnut, Parmesan Garlic, and Blue Cheese Dill. For entrees we chose, Tofu Triangles with Hoisin Sauce, Black Angus Filet Mignon, and Grilled Salmon. Desserts, lovingly prepared by Deb, included a Lemon Sorbet with Fresh Blueberries, Strawberries Amaretto, Rhubarb and Orange Tart, and a classic Hot Fudge Sundae. Everything was superb; the food, the service, the atmosphere all designed to please the senses and melt away the worries of the day.

If you have the good fortune of staying at The Black Lantern Inn your day will begin with a very hearty breakfast. Deb gets up at 5:00 am to prep for breakfast, and the effort shows. We began with a plate of fresh baked Blueberry Orange Muffins with Fresh Melon Slices, Oranges, Blueberries, and Grapes generously adorning the plate. In addition, there are cold cereals and granola, eggs, omelets the size of Texas, pancakes, oatmeal with warm maple syrup, and potatoes roasted in olive oil with shallots and rosemary fresh from the garden.

The dining room is now open seven days a week from 6:00 to 9:00pm. Reservations are encouraged and can be made by calling 800-255-8661 or 802-326-4507. In celebration of their 200th Birthday The Black Lantern Inn is planning many special events and accommodation specials. Please call them and/or watch their web site for more details. 7/11/2003 11:58 NULL The-Black-Lantern–A-Taste-of-Civilization vermont Default TRUE 0 897 TRUE TRUE
14 C6CDB775-8025-4819-801C620682EA7514 Green Mountain Inn – The Whip Bar and Grill The Whip Bar and Grill, located in The Green Mountain Inn in Stowe, will appeal to just about every member of your party. We visited recently on such an exquisite summer evening that we by-passed the dining room, with its gentlemen’s club ambiance and open kitchen, and dined on the patio by the heated pool which is open year round. There we saw couples, young and older, groups of four and six people, and a family with three young sons celebrating a birthday. The menu is large enough to offer something for everyone without being overwhelming.

We began with Bar Harbor Crabcakes, Oven Roasted Garlic with Crostini, Chicken Satay, the Chef’s Caesar Salad with Grilled Shrimp, and Romaine and Gorgonzola Fruit Salad. Any one of the appetizers, along with the basket of freshly baked, thickly sliced honey oat bread that accompanies your meal, could serve as a light meal. Vegetarian items are noted on the menu and we chose two: Pesto Penne Primavera and Roasted Red Pepper Polenta. In addition, we chose Barbeque Pork Ribs and Wild Pacific King Salmon. The entrees, like the appetizers, were generously sized and served with appropriate accompaniments. Of special note, the Roasted Tomato Coulis that came with the Polenta was so good I regret not asking if I could buy a quart to take home, and the sauteed spinach and mushrooms were so perfectly prepared that they could have been the star of the plate and not just the supporting cast. For dessert, we chose the signature dish, Sac de Bon Bon (for two), which is literally, a sack made out of chocolate filled with chocolate mousse and surrounded by fresh fruit, chocolate sauce and whipped cream. Pure chocolate decadence. We also tried one of the dessert specials, a White Chocolate and Strawberry Trifle, and Maple Creme Brule served with a Maple Leaf shaped lemon cookie warming on top. Delicious!

The Whip Bar and Grill is open daily for lunch and dinner. Summer hours are Lunch: 11:30 – 2:00 pm. Dinner: 5:30 – 9:30 pm Sunday – Thursday and 5:30 – 10:00 pm on Friday and Saturdays. Lite fare is available between lunch and dinner. For reservations or information call The Green Mountain Inn at 800-253-7302 or 802-253-7301. 7/13/2003 11:58 NULL Green-Mountain-Inn–The-Whip-Bar-and-Grill vermont Default TRUE 0 1025 TRUE TRUE
15 C6CB3AED-8025-4819-853B41CC58A5191E Inn at Weston – Fine Dining Living in Vermont, contrary to popular belief, does not make one immune to being rushed. In the past year, I have driven past the Inn at Weston, probably 100 times, and thought, “The new owners have put up a green house. I should stop there some time.” Last week, as we were rushing around trying to think of a place to eat before going to The Weston Playhouse, the Inn at Weston popped into my head and I called and asked if we could make a reservation. What I failed to mention, was that we were planning to go to the theatre afterwards. As soon as we got there, we realized that the Inn at Weston puts an emphasis on “dining”, not just eating. It was obvious we needed to make a choice that night, dinner OR the theatre. We called and canceled our theatre tickets, without regret. If you want to do both, make a 5:30 dinner reservation and let them know that you’ll be attending the theatre. That said and done, we enjoyed one of the most relaxed and interesting evenings at a restaurant that you can imagine.

The Inn itself is a visual feast. Pine floors, white wainscoting contrasting nicely with the dark red floral wallpaper above. There are photos of Vermont, and other subjects, taken by Bob Aldrich, who, with his wife Linda, own the Inn. There are prints, and paintings, and sculptures of whales from galleries in Weston. Between courses you can take a stroll in the gardens or wander out to the Gazebo. If you get a chance, ask Bob for a tour of the greenhouse full of orchids. Play the baby grand piano if you are so inclined (though someone may already be playing for you on weekends and “concert” nights). There’s a cozy library with a fireplace. Even the table linens and water goblets are sensory treats. Of course, then there’s the food.

The chef, Max Turner, offers nightly specials and changes the menu at least seasonally, when he can get away with it. He explained that once last year, he had a couple complain because they had stayed at the inn three nights, they had eaten crab cakes three nights in a row, and wanted to know why there weren’t crab cakes on the menu on their second visit. Needless to say, they’re back.

We began with a Platter of Grilled and Chilled Garden Vegetables with Fresh Vermont Chevre, a Terrine of Moulard Foie Gras with Fresh Buffalo Mozzarella, Sushi Maki Roll of Avocado and Daikon Radish with Tobikko Caviar, and a Fresh Garden Salad of Organic Mesclun Greens with Roasted Heirloom Tomatoes. Each dish had so many special components that we were literally picking them apart to try and distinguish the different flavors and ingredients. After a palate cleansing Grapefruit and Blood Orange Sorbet we enjoyed the Rosemary and Pinot Noir Braised Veal Osso Buco with Oven Roasted Zucchini and Baby Bliss Potatoes, the Baked Seafood and Garden Vegetable Puttanesca, and the Fire Grilled Misty Knoll Chicken Breast with a Saute of Locally Foraged Morels and Leeks in a Lightly Truffled Cream with Wild Porcini Mushroom and Pecorino Romano Ravioli. Everything was just as good as it sounds. The menu says “Please save room for dessert, you’ll be glad you did.” We did and we were. We had a Red Bosch Pear Poached in Vermont Bacco Noir with a Turbinado Caramel and Glog Reduction, Vanilla Cheesecake with Calvados Caramelized Granny Smith and Puree of the Same, and last but not least, Double Chocolate Brownie Sundae in a Callebaut Tulip with Bailey’s Mudslide Sauce. They were all wonderful but the Brownie Sundae was a real work of art. Often, when Brownie Sundae is on the menu quantity greatly out weighs quality and a large amount of mediocre brownie is hidden under an even larger amount of mediocre ice cream. This, on the other hand, was a delicious morsel of brownie in a beautiful, delicate edible tulip. Our “oohs and ahs” convinced the table next to ours to order two.

A full bar, the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence, and after dinner drinks and coffees rounded out the meal.

The restaurant is open to the public nightly from 5:30pm. Please call ahead for reservations and to inquire about the many special dinners and events offered throughout the year. 802-824-6789

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