Being that I was in charge of our Valentine’s weekend trip, I was also responsible for planning all meals. After limiting my search only to Stowe, I opened it up to the surrounding cities and discovered ‘Hen of the Wood’ in Waterbury, Vermont.*
*Literally on the outskirts of Stowe. In fact, we drove through Waterbury before reaching our resort.
I wish I could share visually with you everything we experienced once we entered the restaurant, but as you will see from the grainy quality of the few pictures taken, it was set with mood lighting…meaning, it was dark.
What I loved about Hen of the Wood, and pretty much what I loved about most of our stops during this trip, was that they are successful at sticking to their goal of creating ‘food cooked from as close to the source as possible’. Their menu changes daily, as can be noted by the date stamped in the top corner of the menu. In addition to their small and large starter plates is a page filled with cheese samplings, arranged on the page from soft to hard cheeses, all made in Vermont.
Come to think of it, nowhere in Stowe or Waterbury did I see any chain restaurants. Perhaps that is why, despite bitter cold temperatures, I loved Stowe so much.
Hen of the Wood was located in the bottom level of a colonial style building reminiscent of several homes I drive by daily at home. Though the building is rather large, the restaurant itself is smaller, creating a cozy atmosphere. The open air kitchen, tea lights arranged on a stony wall, and warm lighting made this the perfect escape after a day spent in and around the cold.
Open five days a week (Tuesday-Saturday) and only four hours a night (5 pm-9 pm), Hen of the Wood is preparing the kind of menu that makes my heart flutter. I haven’t experienced flavor combinations like this since last year’s Valentine’s dinner.
Two things that particularly stood out to me, other than the extraordinary cheese offerings, were the Brussels sprouts we ordered as a side and the sunflower spaetzle that came with my entree.
I don’t know if I possess the proper English skills to explain to you what dessert was like. I ordered the brown butter cake which came with peanut butter ice cream and apple granita. If you are unfamiliar with granita, it is basically a fancy version of slushie meets Italian water ice…and something you would never expect to have served with cake.
It was a sweet meets salty explosion of flavor, one that I wish I could experience on a daily basis.
While I certainly wanted to share with you the elegant and tasteful meal we enjoyed, it wouldn’t be fair to leave things there.*
*Especially since this post is lacking so many picture explanations.
As we started to leave, I wanted to snag some pictures so that this wouldn’t be an entirely text based post. Though I had my DSLR in my purse, I paparatzi’d the mess out of their upstairs sitting area with my cell phone. Yet, as we started to enter back into the bitter cold of the night, I decided to pull out my camera for a shot of the building.
Everything was going great. I was balancing my purse and lens cap while adjusting the zoom for the perfect shot of this piece of history when I realized I was too close. I wouldn’t be able to capture the entire building from where I stood and this was a shot you needed to experience.
I was thinking of you, dear reader.
One small step at a time, I inched backwards, waiting for the moment I had the entire building in my sights. I was just about there. If they replayed the slow motion video, you would see my right hand pointer finger gradually pressing down to capture the picture. However, you would also see my left foot seeking out two more inches of distance…and banging into a lining of rocks.
Leaving me with this:
It’s so nice that I was able to capture a blurred version of the building before flying into the air and landing straight down on my butt in the ice cold snow.
Friends, this wasn’t Jersey snow. This wasn’t snow that was slightly cold, starting to melt, with an almost warm air about it.
No. It was rock hard, crunchy snow; snow that instantly froze my bottom and made my hands feel like ice daggers were poking from all directions.
I sat in the snow for longer than necessary, contemplating what had just occurred and seeking a way to regain my pride. Unless they have outside security cameras, Lance was the only witness, but that was enough.
As I gathered my dignity from the snow covered rocks I sat in, I turned towards a wide-eyed husband whose suppressed laughter was aching to be let loose. I endured it, knowing I deserved it. And while I attempted then and there to train my mind to look before I step, I feel this may have only been a rehearsal of future less-than-graceful falls as my one track mind concentrates on capturing a picture perfect moment in time.