Heaven On a Plate
~Monday, October 18, 2021~
Boy, what a chilly morning with the highs today in the 40’s. The temps are plummeting, and the leaves are reaching their peak of glory, as many are falling. It’s amazing just how fast the color changes here.
We got a few things done around here today before heading to the Stowe/Waterbury area. We had a 5:45 dinner reservation in Waterbury (I know, early for us), a 1-½ hour drive from our campsite. You’re probably asking, why didn’t they dine in Waterbury while they were staying in Waterbury a week ago? More on that in a minute.
We had about an hour before our dinner and thought it would be fun to either check more out of downtown Stowe or head up the hill to the Stowe Mountain Ski Resort to watch the gondolas take tourists up and down the mountain. In either case, it just wasn’t in the cards with the weather so crummy. As we headed north, the weather grew increasingly worse which wasn’t what was forecasted. But we did drive to the resort, nonetheless and it appears Spruce Peak is getting a major facelift. After poking around up there, we headed to the Alchemist Stowe Brewery before our dinner reservation. Again, not in the cards. They were having some private event. I think we’re just meant to go to the restaurant, so we just hung out until our table was ready and what a lovely place. Kind of reminded us of the Bella Vista Restaurant in Woodside, California which has permanently closed.
The restaurant…..Michael’s on the Hill. What a beautiful location and yes, it’s on a hill.
What a cozy “homey” feel as we walked into the parlor and led to our table at the indoor porch area with windows all around, though we didn’t have much daylight left to warrant that sort of request. They evidently have additional dining areas like the “Barn”, and the “Clock Room”. Now who is Michael? Well, we found out that the restaurant is chef owned, passionately led by Michael Kloeti and his wife Laura who started out in the same Swiss kitchen years ago. His early career took him to New York City’s 4-star Lespinasse, the St. Regis Hotel in Manhattan and Hawaii’s Lodge at Koele. But he was drawn to Vermont, choosing to raise their family there and open their eventual restaurant “on the hill” in 2002. And it seems to be a winner!
Our waiter was very nice. Born in Massachusetts, he moved to San Francisco in his early 20’s (he looks in his early 40’s though hard to tell with a mask) before settling in the Vermont area to raise his family.There seemed to be a common ingredient in most of the dishes, though subtle….truffle oil. The chef obviously likes the stuff. There were also microgreens on a lot of the dishes. On the menu, you had a choice of ordering separately on items but they also had 2 options of prix fixe. I chose one of the prix fixe menus called the Gold Menu which included Roasted Fall Squash Soup for starters, then Truffled Mushroom Gnocchi with Fall Vegetables for the entree.
Jeff ordered the Wild Mushroom Tartine (a sauteed mushroom delight presented on the airiest, lightest crostini we’ve ever seen), and a Smoked Maple Syrup Glazed Pork Shank with Cheddar Polenta and Braised Greens. Is your mouth watering yet? They also brought out a little surprise appetizer which was a breaded/fried/seasoned cheddar ball with basil/pine nut sauce…..a little treat that was delicious! We also ordered a bottle of Big Table Farm Pinot Noir from Willamette Valley, Oregon. For dessert it was coffee for me and Chocolate Truffle Torte with Espresso Ice Cream, which we split. So yummy! By the time our indulgence was over, we were basically hobbling out of the place. Thank goodness we ate earlier, though we felt like we needed a 10-mile hike afterwards. On the way out to the car, Jeff checked the temperature…..a chilly 42 degrees which really hadn’t changed much from the day temperatures. Thankfully the drive home didn’t include rain, but I always have the concern of moose on those backroads when driving at night. 😳