I’ve been up since 3:45 this morning and am currently getting ready to board a Delta flight to Cincinnati. I’ll be there until late Thursday spending the week in our General Offices moderating one of our training programs, College 1, for the week. I’m thrilled to have the opportunity but know it means that this week will be a bit of a wild ride between trying to keep up with work back in NYC, focusing on the students in College 1, catching up with Cincinnati friends, and early morning runs.
While I’m still half asleep right now, having a relaxing weekend in Vermont was exactly what I needed before this crazy week. While we spent the vast majority of our weekend in the fresh air reading, hiking, bike riding, and chatting the rest of our time was spent dining our way around town.
While we normally eat all our meals at the house when Bo and I bring our friends up in the winter for the annual Ski Weekend, since this weekend was a vacation of sorts for both my parents, aunt and uncle, and me we decided to enjoy some delicious meals dining al fresco in Manchester Center. Some of these spots were go to favorites where I’ve been dining for over 10 years while others were new to us. Below is a round up of Manchester Center restaurants we enjoyed this weekend in addition to our dinner at Graze on Thursday night.
Brasserie L’Oustau: A new addition to the Manchester dining scene, this is an authentic French brasserie found unexpectedly situated on Depot Street right outside town. The restaurant includes a large outdoor patio complete with large umbrellas during the day and a fire pit dining area in the evening which pairs perfectly with the bright stars and a nice glass of wine. The service was very attentive and helpful in making our lunch decisions as we navigated through their large menu. The owner, Michel Boyer, was visible the entire time, greeting guests and keeping an eye on the tables. They were more than happy to allow our group to split a few entrees as we didn’t want too large a meal since many options were quite rich. My dad’s croque-madame was one of the better ones I’ve tried, their pomme frites were perfectly salted and crisp, and the nicoise salad my mom and I shared was HUGE and piled high with olives, hard boiled eggs, pears, green beans, and mixed greens. We will definitely return here when we’re back in September!
The Dorset Inn: Dorset is an adorable, historic town minutes away from Manchester Center and is therefore often somewhere we visit when we’re in town. During the summer months my family often enjoys a show at the Dorset Playhouse during the Dorset Theatre Festival and in the fall and winter months the roaring fire places in the Dorset Inn are the perfect backdrop for a hearty, game filled dinner. The Inn, which is the oldest running hotel in Vermont, has been serving delicious meals for more than 215 years! The service is always wonderful, their wine list is one of the most extensive in the area, and the menu features New England favorites along with some unique New American dishes. My meal this time was one of the highlights of the trip! My dad and I enjoyed the fresh, poached lobster as our entrée and per my mom and aunt’s recommendation I started with their roasted beet salad which was paired perfectly with local Vermont goat cheese and a balsamic reduction. Whether you’re looking for a casual evening in their bar area or a romantic evening in one of their intimate dining rooms, The Dorset Inn is always a great choice.
Gourmet Deli & Café: While Up for Breakfast remains our favorite local breakfast spot, sometime their wait is just plain annoying. We chose to dine outside next door at the new Gourmet Deli & Café versus spend 45 minutes in line Saturday morning. While our experience started off on a great note due to the outdoor patio seating, our waitress’ attitude quickly ruined the experience. Her service and personality was not conducive for her job as a waitress and she left us wanting to leave before we even received our order. I was starving after a challenging bike ride and therefore decided to enjoy something a bit richer than my regular egg white omelet and fruit. They offered a breakfast egg sandwich on your choice of bread with your choice of meat. I figured that a toasty English muffin paired with Vermont cheddar cheese, eggs cooked over medium, and a vegetarian sausage patty would be delicious but when I received it the cheese wasn’t melted and the sandwich was very dry. While the prices made the taste a bit more palatable, we wish we’d just dined at home on cereal and fruit versus giving Gourmet Deli & Café a chance. This was our first and last time at the restaurant due to lackluster food and horrific service.
Sherrie’s Café: Located at 709 Depot St in Manchester Center, Sherrie’s is an easy breakfast or lunch spot for people who are hitting the outlets in search of a deal, ski bunnies in the winter, and locals year round. They offer outside dining and inside alike and since the restaurant is larger than the famed Manchester Center breakfast location, Up for Breakfast, their wait is far less than their nearby competitor. Their menu includes local and traditional favorites ranging from homemade corn beef and hash, crab cake benedicts, pancakes and French toast paired with Vermont maple syrup, fruit smoothies, and a number of different omelet combinations. Most dishes are under $10.95 and are large enough to share between two people, depending on hunger. I enjoyed the vegetable omelet, served egg white style and was impressed with the amount of spinach, tomatoes, and mushrooms filling the fluffy egg white omelet. In addition, their bread options range included English muffins which always makes a breakfast better! Overall, I would suggest this for anyone looking for a reliable and inexpensive breakfast in the area.