We don’t get out much. I mean, we do, separately, and with our three kids, but not so much alone, together. So when the chance came up to visit the Farmhouse we jumped, and got a babysitter. It’s freezing up here in Burlington, and sharing some soup (and beer) sounded like just the thing for a Sunday afternoon date.
The Farmhouse is a hip-but-cozy spot smack in the middle of downtown Burlington, just off of the Church St. Marketplace. It looks and feels cool even with highchairs discreetly stacked in the corner. A chalkboard near the entrance lists the local partners supplying ingredients for current dishes, and this is serious business. The Farmhouse doesn’t just talk the localvore talk. They source both produce and meat for dishes locally, the charcuterie is house made using Vermont heritage breeds, even the beans in the black bean burgers come from a Vermont supplier (VT Bean Crafters).
Brunch was winding down, but there were still plenty of folks enjoying the weekend offerings and super extensive beer list. There were babies present. Happy babies. They must have tried the soup. On the menu for brunch/lunch were Organic Tomato, Adam’s Farm Chicken and Rice, and Vermont Cheddar Ale. We ordered up all three and dug in. Obviously, they were all amazing, but let me break down the key points of each for you.
Organic Tomato: Ridiculous, a beautiful texture with just-the-right-size pieces of sweet tomato, perfect blend of acidity and buttery smoothness. It was delicious alone, but it comes topped with tarragon cream (it’s as perfect as it sounds) and garlic croutons, which naturally put the whole thing right over the top. Achieved the neat trick of warming the heart on a frigid winter day, while making me see and taste summer somewhere on the horizon. I wish I had some in front of me right now, as I stare out the window at my porch furniture covered in ice and snow. Was incredible paired with the Local BLT which features bacon, arugula, and tomatoes all from Vermont.
Adam’s Farm Chicken and Rice: One word – scallions. Seems simple, but they took this bowl of humble chicken soup to a completely different place, a good, happy, soothing place. The chicken is local, fresh, and tastes like it just fell off the bone, which it probably did. There was a lot of it too, perfectly salty broth. Basic, delicious, and likely holds the power to cure any ailment. It’s that kind of thing.
Vermont Cheddar Ale: If I could have licked the cup without horrifying my husband, I would have. And then ordered another. Obviously a cheese lover’s affair, this is like a warm bowl of liquid gold. It also comes topped with garlic croutons, but for once in my life I ignored a bread product and just started scooping. I’m pretty sure at one point Sam and I were sort of struggling to get the bowl away from each other. There are many versions of this soup around, in this town. They’re all good. This one is the best. Thick enough to coat your spoon and then some, this soup is a mellow, gorgeous, filling meal on its own.
But wait, here’s the best part. Somewhere in between spoonfuls, our server stopped and leaned over our table on her way by. “Listen” she lowered her voice conspiratorially, “the staff trick is to mix the tomato and the cheddar. Get a little of both on your spoon, you’ll see what I mean.”
There was more, too. The Kale and Arugula salad with candied pecans almost made me cry. The bacon on my BLT was cooked to crispy perfection. The fries were hot and crunchy and weren’t bad at all dipped in the cheddar soup either – another pro tip for you to remember when you come to Burlington, visit the Farmhouse, and order some soup. A cup of tomato and a cup of cheddar ale. Just wink at your server, they’ll think you’re a local.