Side Dishes: Plaudits from a NYT writer
Mark Bittman, a New York Times food writer and author of How to Cook Everything, recently came out in support of the Vermont dining scene on his NYT Bitten  blog.
Though Bittman implies he was previously none too impressed with our restaurants, a recent visit apparently convinced him that Vermonters, just like Manhattanites, can eat well. Which eateries made him change his tune? Hen of the Wood at the Grist Mill  in Waterbury and Ariel’s Restaurant  in Brookfield.
At HOTW, Bittman dug the pork cheeks, hanger steak and gnocchi. At Ariel’s, he took advantage of Lee Duberman and Richard Fink’s Sunday specials: a $20 prix fixe meal with $15 bottles of wine. “The three-course prix fixe thing seems to suit Lee, and her pork belly, chicken (especially fine), tagliatelle with vegetables . . . and strawberry semifreddo were all sensational,” he enthuses.
As for the state as a whole: “Clearly people are taking food very, very seriously here, and it’s a beautiful thing,” Bittman declares. Nice to hear it!