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Vermont? White River Junction/Lebanon(NH) to Stowe

Re query #3, next time you're in the area, consider a 20-minute drive in to Montpelier for breakfast at The Coffee Corner (corner of State and Main Streets right downtown). It's the greasiest of historic greasy spoons, and a great small-town anthropological experience. Ownership has actually changed hands several times in the past 10 years (it is currently proudly owned by at least one former employee and his partner), but the corned beef hash is still the most delicious my husband has ever tasted. I always get the Manghi's maple walnut bread French toast with bananas and (of course) real Vermont maple syrup. For the complete experience, sit on a stool at the low counter or grab a seat at the community table in the front window.

Coffee Corner
83 Main St, Montpelier, VT 05602

Main Street Cafe
888 Main St, Westbrook, ME 04092

Healthy/good food options near Ludlow, VT?

In Belmont you will be within two miles or so of the historic Crowley Cheese Factory, where they have been making cheese since the mid-19th Century. Great family activity (the doors open and cheese-making starts at 8 a.m. weekdays) with delicious benefits!

Both Belmont and Ludlow have fledgling (new since last year) farmers' markets. Ludlow's is Fridays from 4 - 7 p.m. (And you may have noted Ludlow hosted the annual Zucchini Festival on August 14.) Londonderry on Saturday is well worth the drive, however.

Our foodie favorite restaurant closer to Belmont/Mount Holly about 9 miles north of Ludlow is Harry's Mount Holly Cafe on Route 103. Never been with toddlers, but the vibe is definitely family friendly and food is excellent year after year. Closed Mondays.

If you give "healthy" a break, try a maple creamee from the Green Mountain Sugar Shack on Route 100.

[Formentera/Ibiza] Looking for Balearic lodging and food recs in early May

Mortz - The guest house recommended to us was Casa Serena:

We ended up at the wonderful but more upscale Gecko Beach Club, which opened that first weekend in May for its 3rd season. Also on the southern Platja Migjorn. Ate great meals with sunset views at Blue Bar and the Hotel Real Playa and a great fresh lunch at a beach restaurant west of the hotel -- all within walking distance along the boardwalk.

[Formentera/Ibiza] Looking for Balearic lodging and food recs in early May

Traveled to Palma de Mallorca, Ibiza, and Formentera with my husband and a good friend in late May 2009 and loved it so much I decided to take my dad to the Islas Baleares this year. I am beginning to fear that I chose the wrong timeframe, however. We're flying from Madrid to Ibiza the weekend of April 30 - May 3. Was looking forward to a wonderful, recommended hippy guest house on Formentera -- only to find it is closed for renovations until May 20. Now I am scraping the bottom of the barrel as even the largest of the resort hotels catering to Northern Europeans don't all appear to be open/available in our time frame.

As Harters has noted elsewhere, the Baleares are not well represented here on Chow. Would welcome any thoughts both about feasibility of staying on Formentera and for one excellent meal in Ibiza Town if possible.

Thanks in advance!

Great cheese shop in Madrid

If you haven't already discovered it, I recommend the newly renovated (May 2009) Mercado de San Miguel just off the Plaza Mayor. The cheese shop near the center tables, across from the olive bar, is always hopping with long queues. Take your number there before you get the first glass of wine from across the way! They have many French cheeses but also do a good business in a Spanish cheese sampler for on-site consumption and are very knowledgeable about regional specialties. The market prices are no higher here than at neighborhood markets, either!

Also echo recommendation for La Paz in Barrio Salamanca.

What would you choose in a "one knife challenge?" [moved from Home Cooking]

Okay, now I have major knife envy! I was going to say my 8" Wusthof Ikon cook's knife. But I also lust after the huge fish trimming/scaling and leg-of-lamb de-boning knives at my neighborhood market.

30 eggs in the fridge

Not a fun injury (healing to your mama), but what a fun discussion! I know your eggs are long gone, and I have appropriated some of the recipes folks shared with you -- as well as bushwickgirl's great reference for using separated eggs after freezing. At the risk of repeating, my go-to high-egg-count recipes include stradas, flan, Spanish tortilla, and a very easy, low-brow family fave we call "jalapeño pie":

Layer a 9 x13 pyrex dish with sliced jalapeño peppers.
Cover with extra sharp grated cheddar cheese (you will need at least 2 pounds).
Beat 6-10 eggs well and pour over the cheese and peppers.
Bake at 325 degrees Fahrenheit until bubbly and browning on top and "done" (firm to touch).
Remove from oven and allow to "set" and cool at least 5-10 minutes before cutting into squares like brownies.

A real crowd pleaser!

[Edinburgh] Romantic Valentine's dinner?

Many thanks to all of you for your excellent advice! We were very fortunate that we got to both 21212 and Martin Wishart on, as mr_gimlet implied, very short notice! The trip was complicated, too, by record snows in Washington -- for a while, I wasn't sure I would have a dinner date at all.

Katie, et al, at 21212 were very understanding and held our table for us until we were certain we could make it. Paul did indeed do a special Valentine's menu, which was delicious, if a little more foamy -- at least 4 out of 6 courses involved it -- than I would have liked. I'm sorry to say the service, once we made it, left a lot to be desired. Little things that really should not be an issue at that level, like having to ask twice and finally crane to make eye contact with staff in order to refill our water glasses. The restaurant's decor also seemed to clash with Kitching's personal style. While the restaurant's website and promotional materials imply bright primary colors, wood surfaces, geometric shapes . . . the dining room itself is all very upscale, rich browns and light blues, luxurious fabrics, traditional. All of which made the service of our after-dinner coffee in paper cups (reportedly Kitching's preference) the more jarring.

The wonderful, unanticipated contrast to our planned Valentine's dinner was a last-minute table due to a cancellation at Martin Wishart. I had all but forgotten I made a stand-by request, so was pleased to be offered Thursday our choice of table on Friday evening, again held until my husband's arrival was confirmed. The tasting menu was exquisite, and we were surrounded by staff who were extremely attentive without fawning. Nothing out of place, every detail just so. My only minor complaint is that their signature ceviche with mango (in February, in Edinburgh) belied all claims of emphasis on locally grown and Scottish products.

Will definitely look into The Grain Store for future trips, of which we hope there will be several!

In terms of wee drams, very much enjoyed local company at The Oxford Bar on Young Street, and learned a lot from the seemingly over-hyped, well worth it Scotch Whiskey Experience. Also enjoyed Bow Bar on Victoria Street, and Blazer Bar on Spittal Street, but wouldn't necessarily repeat the long trek to The Sheep Heid Inn (east side of Mount Holyrood Park).

Most memorable menu item? Haggis nachos at the Drop Inn. ;)

Fresh oysters in DC?

Agree with Flavrmeistr on Old Ebbit! Not sure whether they still have half-price oyster happy hour, but it was a great thing when I was doing shift work circa 2003-2004. Fresh raw bar items discounted between midnight and 1 a.m. Good times.

Fresh oysters in DC?

Get thee to Hank's! Tom Sietsema reviewed Hank's (just east of 17th and Q Streets, NW) in the Washington Post's best new listings a couple years back and it has been one of our favorites ever since. It's a fantastic place that we feel privileged to call a neighborhood restaurant. It's also a great location if you are headed to or from The Studio Theater. The oysters alone are worth it -- even though they are not all local. The daily oyster MENU will include some Chesapeake Bay oysters as well as very fresh varieties from New England and the Pacific Northwest. I like having the wait staff describe all the oysters with as much care as they would recommend a fine wine. Creamy finishes, cucumber finishes, more or less brine, mineral finishes -- Hank's offers them all and will serve you as many or as few as you like of each. Sunday brunch includes a delectable fried oyster frittata with parmesan shavings and garlicky pesto. Yum! Their Bloody Mary's aren't bad, and Hank's always has 4-5 micro-brews on tap. I haven't tried Jamie's second location in Old Town Alexandria, but have no reason to think the oysters there wouldn't be first rate, too.

Hank's Oyster Bar - Dupont Circle
1624 Q St NW Ste Lowr, Washington, DC 20009

[Edinburgh] Romantic Valentine's dinner?

My husband and I will be in Scotland for 5 days and 4 nights in mid-February (yes, we know it will be cold). We plan to stay in Edinburgh but might make one day trip and would definitely travel further afield for the right food. Have spotted a few interesting pubs on these boards (too bad we're not going to London this time) to try and will comb the 2008-2009 threads for finer dining, but would appreciate more current recommendations for at least one memorable meal in a romantic setting. I'm looking for someplace that Isabel Dalhousie would like, even if Inspector Rebus might find it overpriced.

We do love pubs and would welcome insider tips for those, too.

Finally, any general advice (including tips on how late most places stay open) to newcomers to Edinburgh would be most appreciated!

Dublin next week- Restaurants and Pubs?

Lucky you! I'm afraid you have nearly finished your trip, but I hope it was wonderful. My husband and I spent a too-short long weekend in Dublin in mid-January 2009. For your sakes, I hope you got to enjoy the very cozy Brazen Head (we stumbled into it without any idea of its history) of a cold afternoon. I still smile at the memories of an impromptu late and wonderful lunch at The Winding Stair and a much-anticipated if poorly planned (on our part) dinner at Chapter One. Our whole visit to Dublin seemed "charmed," and the gracious welcome -- despite our lack of a reservation -- we received at Chapter One was no exception. The management, seeing how disappointed we were, accommodated us on a very busy weekend evening, warning us that we might not be able to linger and yet making us feel more than at home. The food was incredible and the service was impeccable, the more so for our unannounced arrival.

But the best meal we had in Dublin was also the simplest and one of the most economical. After an extended literary pub crawl (fantastic program) with plenty of pints and poetry but not so much as a peanut to nosh on, we found ourselves hungry and pretty much out of Irish luck after the sidewalks seemed to roll up after 10 p.m. There was still Guinness to be had, but no restaurant fare. In pub after pub we were told the kitchen had closed. Finally, in one pub called the Lanigan's Plough (on the tram line and right by two theaters) close to our guest house, we asked whether the kitchen was still open. (It wasn't.) In our American accents we appealed to the very apologetic bartender, asking him if he knew of ANYTHING that might still be serving food at that hour. He seemed embarrassed but sympathetic when he indicated a major thoroughfare lined with fast food restaurants. We thanked him and headed reluctantly in that direction, vowing to plan our Irish meals better the next day.

Not a block and a half from the pub, I felt someone touch my left shoulder and assumed the worst. Not to worry. The sympathetic barman had rushed after us to offer, again apologetically, to fix us some hot sandwiches and soup. It wasn't much, he said, because the kitchen staff had all gone, but he felt bad and he would be pleased to fix us whatever he could. Reheated potato soup and carvery sandwiches never tasted so good, or made us feel luckier to be in Ireland!