Side Dishes: News from the food front
For a town of its size, Winooski is chock-full of eateries, including a handful of popular Eastern options: Tiny Thai , Pho Dang  and Peking Duck House . Now Asian-food aficionados in the square-mile city can look forward to another entrée. In March, the owners of Williston's Asian Bistro  will bring their "creaky chicken" and "prawns with honeyed walnuts" to Spinner Place . The restaurant's dishes hail from Malaysia, Japan, China and Thailand.
Why Winooski? Bistro Manager Jerry Jiang says the recent development makes the town a prime location. "There are lots of new, nice buildings. Winooski is growing pretty fast right now," he suggests. Into "Little Asia"? Construction of the new restaurant will begin next week.
If you're a gringo who can't digest gluten, Roque's , Burlington's only remaining sit-down Mexican restaurant, has got your back. Since November, the waterfront eatery has been printing a special menu for those suffering from celiac disease. "It seems more and more people are requiring that particular diet. We have four employees in that situation," explains Jeannette Wood, who owns the restaurant with husband Jim.
Currently, about two or three customers per week request the special menu, which is also available on the restaurant's website. It includes dishes such as ceviche, chicken taquitos and shrimp a la diabla, to name a few. The flan is flour free, too.
At the end of last year, we published a handful of customer comments from our online dining guide, 7 Nights. Among them was a glowing review of Gusanoz Mexican Restaurant  in Woodstock. Unfortunately, the place closed in mid-October. Ay caramba!
"We had a nice following there, a nice regular crowd," explains co-owner Nick Yager, who owned the restaurant with wife Maria Limon, a native of Mexico's Durango region. "But it was too big of a space for us. We just couldn't afford the cost of the facility between rent and utilities." Those who can't live without a taste of tender carnitas or the occasional evening of salsa dancing can still find 'em at Gusanoz's original location  in Lebanon, New Hampshire.
It's a good time for lovers of Italian cuisine. For the fifth year in a row, the well-traveled folks at L'Amante  will help diners survive the coldest weeks of winter by offering them samples of food from sunnier climes. Each week, from January 14 through February 21, Chef Kevin Cleary will create a three-course menu to showcase the specialties of a particular Italian region. This year he's featuring Calabria, Trentino, Emilia-Romagna, Piedmont and Tuscany. Dinners are $35 a person, with optional wine pairing, and are only available on week nights. Valentine's Day week is an exception: L'Amante will revert to its regular menu for the occasion.
The vino is flowing on Church Street, too. On January 17, Three Tomatoes Trattoria  will host a wine-pairing dinner featuring a trio of Tuscan wine makers, Marco and Moreno Bruni and Marco Castagnani. The wines will be matched with a four-course Tuscan menu.