A culinary online center dedicated to promoting the importance and the joy of American home cooking with an emphasis on local products and talent, celebrating the unique spirit and energy of the new food world ethos, especially in Vermont.

amuse bouche

I love quotes that add meaning to my life. Here are a few to live by:

Avoid food products containing ingredients that a third-grader cannot pronounce.
—Michael Pollan

Feeding nine billion people in a truly sustainable way will be one of the greatest challenges our civilization has had to confront. It will require the imagination, determination and hard work of countless people from all over the world. There is no time to lose.
—Jonathan A. Foley, director of the Institute on the Environment, U of MN

The surest way to capture the flavors, colors, and textures of a culture is by using authentic products.
—Lidia Bastianich, from Lidia’s Italian-American Kitchen

The most important habit you can develop is to taste as you are preparing something. Take a sample and taste it critically at different stages of the cooking, then correct the seasonings…
—Marion Cunningham, from Learning to Cook

Plant a vegetable garden if you have the space, a window box if you don’t.
—Michael Pollan

A Dinner at Salt Café after Tropical Storm Irene

The kitchen at Salt Cafe, Montpelier, VT

The kitchen at Salt Cafe in Montpelier, VT

Salt Café, a new addition to the Northern Vermont restaurant scene, opened in late 2010, has already become one of the favorite places for the local food world and anyone whose idea of heaven is a tiny, quirky “discovery” of a restaurant. You have to love it because it’s so small and so laid back with an openness of personality underscored by the kitchen, which is not only in full view of the diner, but almost a part of the dining room.

After The Storm
My first visit was four days after Tropical Storm Irene had ambled up the East Coast and saved Vermont for a last blast. My question to Suzanne Podhizer, restaurant owner and pastry chef of Salt Café  was, therefore, not unusual when I made my reservation. “Are you open this week?” I asked. “Yes, we were lucky”, she replied. “The river didn’t get up this far.

Avery Rifkin, the owner of the restaurant, Zabby & Elf’s Stone Soup, in Burlington, VT, and I, had been planning a visit to Suzanne’s new enterprise for several weeks. That it coincided with an historic moment in the agricultural history of Vermont, Tropical Storm Irene, hadn’t really registered when we sat down at the table nearest the kitchen, Suzanne welcoming us with a smile. And, it wasn’t evident as we looked at the chalkboard on the wall with that night’s all southern offerings. Corn bread and pulled pork, shrimp and grits and a selection of southern desserts spoke to us of the pleasures of the deep south, a region of American cooking not often featured on Vermont menus.

Why A Restaurant?
Suzanne was very hospitable but also very busy that night so I caught up with her days later to find out why a rising star in the food-writing world would decide to become a restaurant owner. Didn’t she know better, I thought? Hadn’t she learned the difficulties and dangers of restaurant ownership over the years of writing about them for Burlington’s alternative newspaper, Seven Days?

“I’m food obsessed” was Suzanne’s answer to my question. She admitted to having read cookbooks from a very early age and finding heroes in cookbook authors, especially Madhur Jaffrey  and her first book to describe Indian cuisine for a non-Indian audience, An Invitation To Indian Cooking. It was so important for her to learn how to cook and cook well that she emulated what she saw on television, developing her own cooking style by watching the greats perform for a mass audience.

In her high school days Suzanne had no intention of becoming a chef. She was happy enough to simply cook for friends and family. Her passion for food was not to be a star, herself, but to be able to enjoy the pleasures of cooking, as well as learn as much as she could about the world of food.

A Small Space
Writing about food for Seven Days, only whetted her appetite for the experience of running a restaurant. After creating her own undergraduate program in food studies at the University of Vermont, and going on to a Masters and PHD in Gastronomy at Boston University, she was ready for the next food adventure. She’d always wanted to run her own shop and had developed retail food skills at a number of culinary shops in the Burlington. When the small restaurant space on Barre St. in Montpelier became vacant in 2010, Suzanne jumped at it. She was determined to provide good local food from farmers she knew as well as those she’d get to know along the way.

Buying Local
Buying local has its challenges but they are the challenges that a creative cook enjoys. If the pork hocks ordered turn into pork shoulders on the afternoon of delivery, Suzanne prides herself on her flexibility working with what is delivered. Staples like house-made bread and VT Butter and Cheese Creamery butter are always part of every evening’s meal, as are house specialties like crème fraiche.

Suzanne talks to her suppliers when considering the new menu themes. What is seasonal and available determines what becomes the next three week’s dishes, as well as Suzanne’s curiosity to tackle a new cuisine or regional variation. This summer under Suzanne’s watchful eye, a mini-farm will help to make the sourcing more dependable. You’ll find the latest update on what will be featured on the menu that week on the website.

Check It Out
Reading Salt Café’s website you’ll see that the restaurant is thriving, post Tropical Storm Irene. A list of recipes accompany Suzanne’s blog; most recently these include pastry cream, handmade ravioli, how to roast grapes, a roster of gelatin desserts and a series of pesto sauces. The website also includes note of the sources for produce: Whole Systems Design and Research Farm, Tangletown Farm, Wood Mountain Fish Company, Food Works at Two Rivers Center, Butterworks Farm, Calibant, Vermont Creamery, King Arthur Flour, Provisions, International, Black River Produce, all local purveyors of the best ingredients that Vermont has to offer.

Stop for a meal at Salt Cafe the next time you’re hurtling past Montpelier’s bright gold-domed state house toward Burlington, or on an excursion to the Northeast Kingdom. Its charms are many in spite of its small size, not least of which is the owner herself, Suzanne Podhaizer, a young woman who made her culinary dream come true.  A bientot!

Salt Café  •  207 Barre Street, Montpelier, VT  •  802 229-6678

 

Posted: 4-10-2012

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[caption id="attachment_360" align="alignleft" width="252" caption="The kitchen at Salt Cafe in Montpelier, VT"]The kitchen at Salt Cafe, Montpelier, VT[/caption]

Salt Café, a new addition to the Northern Vermont restaurant scene, opened in late 2010, has already become one of the favorite places for the local food world and anyone whose idea of heaven is a tiny, quirky “discovery” of a restaurant. You have to love it because it’s so small and so laid back with an openness of personality underscored by the kitchen, which is not only in full view of the diner, but almost a part of the dining room.

After The Storm
My first visit was four days after Tropical Storm Irene had ambled up the East Coast and saved Vermont for a last blast. My question to Suzanne Podhizer, restaurant owner and pastry chef of Salt Café  was, therefore, not unusual when I made my reservation. “Are you open this week?” I asked. “Yes, we were lucky”, she replied. “The river didn’t get up this far.

Avery Rifkin, the owner of the restaurant, Zabby & Elf’s Stone Soup, in Burlington, VT, and I, had been planning a visit to Suzanne’s new enterprise for several weeks. That it coincided with an historic moment in the agricultural history of Vermont, Tropical Storm Irene, hadn’t really registered when we sat down at the table nearest the kitchen, Suzanne welcoming us with a smile. And, it wasn’t evident as we looked at the chalkboard on the wall with that night’s all southern offerings. Corn bread and pulled pork, shrimp and grits and a selection of southern desserts spoke to us of the pleasures of the deep south, a region of American cooking not often featured on Vermont menus.

Why A Restaurant?
Suzanne was very hospitable but also very busy that night so I caught up with her days later to find out why a rising star in the food-writing world would decide to become a restaurant owner. Didn’t she know better, I thought? Hadn’t she learned the difficulties and dangers of restaurant ownership over the years of writing about them for Burlington’s alternative newspaper, Seven Days?

“I’m food obsessed” was Suzanne’s answer to my question. She admitted to having read cookbooks from a very early age and finding heroes in cookbook authors, especially Madhur Jaffrey  and her first book to describe Indian cuisine for a non-Indian audience, An Invitation To Indian Cooking. It was so important for her to learn how to cook and cook well that she emulated what she saw on television, developing her own cooking style by watching the greats perform for a mass audience.

In her high school days Suzanne had no intention of becoming a chef. She was happy enough to simply cook for friends and family. Her passion for food was not to be a star, herself, but to be able to enjoy the pleasures of cooking, as well as learn as much as she could about the world of food.

A Small Space
Writing about food for Seven Days, only whetted her appetite for the experience of running a restaurant. After creating her own undergraduate program in food studies at the University of Vermont, and going on to a Masters and PHD in Gastronomy at Boston University, she was ready for the next food adventure. She’d always wanted to run her own shop and had developed retail food skills at a number of culinary shops in the Burlington. When the small restaurant space on Barre St. in Montpelier became vacant in 2010, Suzanne jumped at it. She was determined to provide good local food from farmers she knew as well as those she’d get to know along the way.

Buying Local
Buying local has its challenges but they are the challenges that a creative cook enjoys. If the pork hocks ordered turn into pork shoulders on the afternoon of delivery, Suzanne prides herself on her flexibility working with what is delivered. Staples like house-made bread and VT Butter and Cheese Creamery butter are always part of every evening’s meal, as are house specialties like crème fraiche.

Suzanne talks to her suppliers when considering the new menu themes. What is seasonal and available determines what becomes the next three week’s dishes, as well as Suzanne’s curiosity to tackle a new cuisine or regional variation. This summer under Suzanne’s watchful eye, a mini-farm will help to make the sourcing more dependable. You’ll find the latest update on what will be featured on the menu that week on the website.

Check It Out
Reading Salt Café’s website you’ll see that the restaurant is thriving, post Tropical Storm Irene. A list of recipes accompany Suzanne’s blog; most recently these include pastry cream, handmade ravioli, how to roast grapes, a roster of gelatin desserts and a series of pesto sauces. The website also includes note of the sources for produce: Whole Systems Design and Research Farm, Tangletown Farm, Wood Mountain Fish Company, Food Works at Two Rivers Center, Butterworks Farm, Calibant, Vermont Creamery, King Arthur Flour, Provisions, International, Black River Produce, all local purveyors of the best ingredients that Vermont has to offer.

Stop for a meal at Salt Cafe the next time you’re hurtling past Montpelier’s bright gold-domed state house toward Burlington, or on an excursion to the Northeast Kingdom. Its charms are many in spite of its small size, not least of which is the owner herself, Suzanne Podhaizer, a young woman who made her culinary dream come true.  A bientot!

Salt Café  •  207 Barre Street, Montpelier, VT  •  802 229-6678

 

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[caption id="attachment_360" align="alignleft" width="252" caption="The kitchen at Salt Cafe in Montpelier, VT"]The kitchen at Salt Cafe, Montpelier, VT[/caption]

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After The Storm
My first visit was four days after Tropical Storm Irene had ambled up the East Coast and saved Vermont for a last blast. My question to Suzanne Podhizer, restaurant owner and pastry chef of Salt Café  was, therefore, not unusual when I made my reservation. “Are you open this week?” I asked. “Yes, we were lucky”, she replied. “The river didn’t get up this far.

Avery Rifkin, the owner of the restaurant, Zabby & Elf’s Stone Soup, in Burlington, VT, and I, had been planning a visit to Suzanne’s new enterprise for several weeks. That it coincided with an historic moment in the agricultural history of Vermont, Tropical Storm Irene, hadn’t really registered when we sat down at the table nearest the kitchen, Suzanne welcoming us with a smile. And, it wasn’t evident as we looked at the chalkboard on the wall with that night’s all southern offerings. Corn bread and pulled pork, shrimp and grits and a selection of southern desserts spoke to us of the pleasures of the deep south, a region of American cooking not often featured on Vermont menus.

Why A Restaurant?
Suzanne was very hospitable but also very busy that night so I caught up with her days later to find out why a rising star in the food-writing world would decide to become a restaurant owner. Didn’t she know better, I thought? Hadn’t she learned the difficulties and dangers of restaurant ownership over the years of writing about them for Burlington’s alternative newspaper, Seven Days?

“I’m food obsessed” was Suzanne’s answer to my question. She admitted to having read cookbooks from a very early age and finding heroes in cookbook authors, especially Madhur Jaffrey  and her first book to describe Indian cuisine for a non-Indian audience, An Invitation To Indian Cooking. It was so important for her to learn how to cook and cook well that she emulated what she saw on television, developing her own cooking style by watching the greats perform for a mass audience.

In her high school days Suzanne had no intention of becoming a chef. She was happy enough to simply cook for friends and family. Her passion for food was not to be a star, herself, but to be able to enjoy the pleasures of cooking, as well as learn as much as she could about the world of food.

A Small Space
Writing about food for Seven Days, only whetted her appetite for the experience of running a restaurant. After creating her own undergraduate program in food studies at the University of Vermont, and going on to a Masters and PHD in Gastronomy at Boston University, she was ready for the next food adventure. She’d always wanted to run her own shop and had developed retail food skills at a number of culinary shops in the Burlington. When the small restaurant space on Barre St. in Montpelier became vacant in 2010, Suzanne jumped at it. She was determined to provide good local food from farmers she knew as well as those she’d get to know along the way.

Buying Local
Buying local has its challenges but they are the challenges that a creative cook enjoys. If the pork hocks ordered turn into pork shoulders on the afternoon of delivery, Suzanne prides herself on her flexibility working with what is delivered. Staples like house-made bread and VT Butter and Cheese Creamery butter are always part of every evening’s meal, as are house specialties like crème fraiche.

Suzanne talks to her suppliers when considering the new menu themes. What is seasonal and available determines what becomes the next three week’s dishes, as well as Suzanne’s curiosity to tackle a new cuisine or regional variation. This summer under Suzanne’s watchful eye, a mini-farm will help to make the sourcing more dependable. You’ll find the latest update on what will be featured on the menu that week on the website.

Check It Out
Reading Salt Café’s website you’ll see that the restaurant is thriving, post Tropical Storm Irene. A list of recipes accompany Suzanne’s blog; most recently these include pastry cream, handmade ravioli, how to roast grapes, a roster of gelatin desserts and a series of pesto sauces. The website also includes note of the sources for produce: Whole Systems Design and Research Farm, Tangletown Farm, Wood Mountain Fish Company, Food Works at Two Rivers Center, Butterworks Farm, Calibant, Vermont Creamery, King Arthur Flour, Provisions, International, Black River Produce, all local purveyors of the best ingredients that Vermont has to offer.

Stop for a meal at Salt Cafe the next time you’re hurtling past Montpelier’s bright gold-domed state house toward Burlington, or on an excursion to the Northeast Kingdom. Its charms are many in spite of its small size, not least of which is the owner herself, Suzanne Podhaizer, a young woman who made her culinary dream come true.  A bientot!

Salt Café  •  207 Barre Street, Montpelier, VT  •  802 229-6678

 

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[caption id="attachment_360" align="alignleft" width="252" caption="The kitchen at Salt Cafe in Montpelier, VT"]The kitchen at Salt Cafe, Montpelier, VT[/caption]

Salt Café, a new addition to the Northern Vermont restaurant scene, opened in late 2010, has already become one of the favorite places for the local food world and anyone whose idea of heaven is a tiny, quirky “discovery” of a restaurant. You have to love it because it’s so small and so laid back with an openness of personality underscored by the kitchen, which is not only in full view of the diner, but almost a part of the dining room.

After The Storm
My first visit was four days after Tropical Storm Irene had ambled up the East Coast and saved Vermont for a last blast. My question to Suzanne Podhizer, restaurant owner and pastry chef of Salt Café  was, therefore, not unusual when I made my reservation. “Are you open this week?” I asked. “Yes, we were lucky”, she replied. “The river didn’t get up this far.

Avery Rifkin, the owner of the restaurant, Zabby & Elf’s Stone Soup, in Burlington, VT, and I, had been planning a visit to Suzanne’s new enterprise for several weeks. That it coincided with an historic moment in the agricultural history of Vermont, Tropical Storm Irene, hadn’t really registered when we sat down at the table nearest the kitchen, Suzanne welcoming us with a smile. And, it wasn’t evident as we looked at the chalkboard on the wall with that night’s all southern offerings. Corn bread and pulled pork, shrimp and grits and a selection of southern desserts spoke to us of the pleasures of the deep south, a region of American cooking not often featured on Vermont menus.

Why A Restaurant?
Suzanne was very hospitable but also very busy that night so I caught up with her days later to find out why a rising star in the food-writing world would decide to become a restaurant owner. Didn’t she know better, I thought? Hadn’t she learned the difficulties and dangers of restaurant ownership over the years of writing about them for Burlington’s alternative newspaper, Seven Days?

“I’m food obsessed” was Suzanne’s answer to my question. She admitted to having read cookbooks from a very early age and finding heroes in cookbook authors, especially Madhur Jaffrey  and her first book to describe Indian cuisine for a non-Indian audience, An Invitation To Indian Cooking. It was so important for her to learn how to cook and cook well that she emulated what she saw on television, developing her own cooking style by watching the greats perform for a mass audience.

In her high school days Suzanne had no intention of becoming a chef. She was happy enough to simply cook for friends and family. Her passion for food was not to be a star, herself, but to be able to enjoy the pleasures of cooking, as well as learn as much as she could about the world of food.

A Small Space
Writing about food for Seven Days, only whetted her appetite for the experience of running a restaurant. After creating her own undergraduate program in food studies at the University of Vermont, and going on to a Masters and PHD in Gastronomy at Boston University, she was ready for the next food adventure. She’d always wanted to run her own shop and had developed retail food skills at a number of culinary shops in the Burlington. When the small restaurant space on Barre St. in Montpelier became vacant in 2010, Suzanne jumped at it. She was determined to provide good local food from farmers she knew as well as those she’d get to know along the way.

Buying Local
Buying local has its challenges but they are the challenges that a creative cook enjoys. If the pork hocks ordered turn into pork shoulders on the afternoon of delivery, Suzanne prides herself on her flexibility working with what is delivered. Staples like house-made bread and VT Butter and Cheese Creamery butter are always part of every evening’s meal, as are house specialties like crème fraiche.

Suzanne talks to her suppliers when considering the new menu themes. What is seasonal and available determines what becomes the next three week’s dishes, as well as Suzanne’s curiosity to tackle a new cuisine or regional variation. This summer under Suzanne’s watchful eye, a mini-farm will help to make the sourcing more dependable. You’ll find the latest update on what will be featured on the menu that week on the website.

Check It Out
Reading Salt Café’s website you’ll see that the restaurant is thriving, post Tropical Storm Irene. A list of recipes accompany Suzanne’s blog; most recently these include pastry cream, handmade ravioli, how to roast grapes, a roster of gelatin desserts and a series of pesto sauces. The website also includes note of the sources for produce: Whole Systems Design and Research Farm, Tangletown Farm, Wood Mountain Fish Company, Food Works at Two Rivers Center, Butterworks Farm, Calibant, Vermont Creamery, King Arthur Flour, Provisions, International, Black River Produce, all local purveyors of the best ingredients that Vermont has to offer.

Stop for a meal at Salt Cafe the next time you’re hurtling past Montpelier’s bright gold-domed state house toward Burlington, or on an excursion to the Northeast Kingdom. Its charms are many in spite of its small size, not least of which is the owner herself, Suzanne Podhaizer, a young woman who made her culinary dream come true.  A bientot!

Salt Café  •  207 Barre Street, Montpelier, VT  •  802 229-6678

 

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3 Responses to “A Dinner at Salt Café after Tropical Storm Irene”

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