Post Christmas Brunch at Simon Pearce

I hope you all had a lovely holiday weekend! I spent Noche Buena and Christmas in Vermont with some of my dearest friends. I didn’t go skiing but I did go drinking; lots of wine and cheese were consumed. I had a wonderful time!

Yesterday we decided to have brunch at Simon Pearce in Quechee (I really like saying that town’s name) before heading back to Boston and the snowstorm. It was the perfect way to cap off our Christmas mini-vacation. Simon Pearce is very serene and relaxing, with warm lighting all over and smiling employees. This is the flagship restaurant and they offer a menu of seasonal cuisine, with local ingredients from nearby farms.

We arrived before the restaurant opened so we went around the store first:

lots of pretty hand-blown glass and ceramics

we also checked out the actual glass blowing area in the basement

I embraced the warmth emanating from the glass oven. And it reminded me of my trip to Murano, Italy!

Eventually the restaurant opened and we started lining up (we weren’t the only ones who arrived before 11 am). I’m not sure if Simon Pearce is always this full, or if it’s just the post-Christmas crowd, but after tasting their food, I would venture to say that it must be very popular all year round, holiday or not.

there was a nice little display of olive oil, salad dressing, relish and apricot tea to tempt the people in line to do some shopping before eating

we were welcomed with soft, tiny rolls and slices of warm brown bread

I started with a small cup of Vermont cheddar soup, which was a special for the day.

soup for brunch? When you're in Vermont and it's freezing outside, it seems natural to start any meal with cheddar soup

The soup had the sharp tang of cheddar cheese and some soft veggies in it. I really liked it; it wasn’t as heavy as I thought it would be, which was great considering the fact that it was brunch after all. However, it was still pretty creamy and I only ate a few spoonfuls before I gave up.

for my main meal, I ordered the Grand Marnier French Toast with cranberry orange compote and Vermont maple syrup

I hardly get french toast for brunch (usually I prefer something more filling, like eggs) but yesterday I couldn’t resist – I mean, we were in Vermont, I had to have something soaked in Grand Marnier with maple syrup right?? This was PERFECT. The thick, soft bread was nicely complimented by the tart and sweet cranberry-orange compote. There was almost no need for maple syrup (I said, almost). I asked for the toppings on the side and no whipped cream, so I was the one who “plated” this; I suspect if I ordered it as is, it would have been much prettier. But who needs a pretty plate when your mouth is already salivating just thinking of Grand Marnier?

My ever-supportive friends let me take pictures of their food too (and offered bites when I longingly kept looking):

House Made Granola with strawberry sauce and vanilla yogurt

Exotic Mushroom, Caramelized Onion and Spinach Frittata

House Made Spicy Sausage Gravy, fried eggs, cheddar biscuit, field greens

Provencal Fish Stew, which was also a special for the day

And then, we ordered dessert! Dessert for brunch? Why, yes please. Especially because this is our last “holiday” meal, and also because we wanted to fuel up for the long ride back to Boston (oh who am I kidding, I jump at any chance to have dessert).

Walnut Meringue with strawberry sauce

I usually go for the most chocolate-y dessert, but after the soup and two slices of thick French toast, I was already pretty full (but not too full for dessert), so I got the meringue. One bite of the light and airy meringue, with the fresh whipped cream and sweet strawberry sauce, and I was instantly transported to warm, summery days. Remember that scene in Ratatouille where the restaurant critic Anton Ego remembered his childhood after tasting one bite of the ratatouille dish? This dessert reminded me of blue skies and flowers and lazy afternoons. It tasted fresh and light, and brought a little sunshine to the snowy landscape surrounding us.

My friends also ordered a couple of other desserts:

Chocolate Duo of bittersweet flourless cake and hazelnut mousse

Bananas Foster Bread Pudding with organic vanilla ice cream and rum butter sauce

my wonderful friends who became my family this Christmas: Mark, Louie, Val, Sabs and Din

We had a great time at Simon Pearce and I’d like to go back next time I’m in Quechee. I’m glad I ventured out of my usual food choices – I loved the french toast and the non-chocolate dessert. But more than that, I’m glad my friends and I were able to extend our little Christmas get-away for a couple more hours in Vermont and enjoy some really good food.

On another note, Santa was very good to me this year: I finally got an iPhone! I downloaded a bunch of apps already and have been obsessed with the Hipstamatic app, so I just wanted to share a couple of snowy pics from this weekend:

This was our home for four days, the Holiday Inn Ascutney Mountain Resort. And for fellow Hipstamatic fans, this was taken with the John S lens, Ina’s 1969 film, without flash.

When I arrived home at Harvard Square, the snowstorm was already starting! Everything was blanketed in white, and my whole neighborhood looked so peaceful yet festive, as all the holiday decors were still up.

I felt like I came from one winter wonderland to the next :) This was taken with the John S lens, Kodot XGrizzled film, without flash. I am digging the raw edges in the frame.

Before I sign off, I also wanted to share that I was the Friday Foodie Feature last Friday at Travel Wine Dine! Meghan writes a fantastic food, wine, and travel blog, and I’m honored to be one of her weekly foodies.

The holidays came and went so fast this year, but I hope every single one of you had a love-filled celebration. Whatever you celebrate, wherever you are, whoever you’re with, I hope your holidays kept you warm, full, and happy!


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