Can I just say, I’ve been spending the last few days wishing that I could order El Cortijo online & have it delivered to my door?
The first event I participated in at the national Farm to Cafeteria conference I attended last week was a guided tour to four different locally-minded foodie spots in Burlington.
- City Market, a brilliant co-op that became the downtown grocery. It manages to bring all kinds of shoppers together, from the crunchy granola type to the super-budget-conscious. (And I’m not talking, “Oh, I need my wine to be on sale.” I’m talking, “We need to choose between breakfast & paying the water bill.”) They’re an incredible example of a welcoming co-op: well-labeled produce (from local to organic to conventional); reasonable prices; options, options, options.
- El Cortijo is puts a Vermont twist on traditional Mexican. Clear, pure flavors. Local ingredients. Simple recipes. All this leads to explosions of flavor in your mouth. The ingredients of the raw salsa they served us were grown in the state, & my tastebuds weren’t sure what to do with all that fresh pepper & juicy tomato. (And it didn’t hurt that our tour was 100% ladies, & the gentleman talking about the restaurant was more talked about after the visit than the all-local salsa they provided?)
- The Farm House Tap & Grill, which shares ownership with El Cortijo & served up the best gazpacho I’ve ever tasted.The restaurant was opened with a unique mission: to serve as a market for farmers. That’s right. The goal of local purchasing came before the restaurant. The menu changes seasonally, & people are loving it. Many restaurants are convinced they can’t buy local, because they need constant supply year-round. False. Customers are welcoming the change with open arms & hungry bellies. The change keeps people coming, ready to try what’s new, and introduces them to foods they may not even know exist in their region.
- City Hall, for a chat about what policy-minded folks are doing to improve the town’s access to local food.
Feast on the cuteness of El Cortijo, a trendy spot that put a clean new twist on their diner location while maintaining its historical integrity. It’s too much. Seriously too much. Add them to the list of reasons I’m dying to live in Burlington.