Monday, January 30, 2012

Gilding the Chicken

Local Food: Even if schnitzel is the frugal adaptation of a gold plated dish preferred by 7th century Byzantine Emperor Basileios I - where the color of the toasty bread crumbs resembles gilding - it is delicious. Our gold comes as cornmeal from Butterworks Farm.  Steven takes chicken breasts from Sunshine Acres in Hardwick, which he pounds until thin but still succulent. After lightly frying the cornmeal coated schnitzel to a golden crunch, he serves it with a jus of Riverside farm onions, Champlain Orchards apples, Flag Hill Farm apple brandy, and mustard.  The plate is served with the traditional roasted fingerling potatoes and mustard, as well as sauerkraut with bacon, offset by sweet sprouts and pickled cauliflower salad.

At the Bar: Remember our Sunday and Monday drink specials. Sunday, February 5 we offer a $2.50 pint of Rock Art, a $4 glass of Boyden Valley Seyval Blanc or Riverbend Red.  Try our Ginger Lemon Spritzer, with Green Mountain Organic Vodka, Ginger liquor, ginger beer and lemon juice, offered for $5.

Around the Galaxy:  DJ Lesson One will be warming up at Galaxy before he moves over to Claire's for the Heartthrob Dance Party. Come downtown with your dancing shoes and step into the Galaxy for a bookstore warming party from 6 until midnight. There is still a lot to do in the new space, but the new books have started arriving so stop by and check out the progress. Blood Bones & Butter is finally out in paperback and Galaxy has a good stack, as well as the eBook for sale.

Music Notes: Chickweed make their debut performance this Thursday, February 2 at 7:00.  Support our neighbors Fran Forim, Linda Warner and Abby Maier Johnson!

Local Events: Our Heartthrob Dance Party is this Friday, February 3 from 10-2! DJ Lesson One will be playing your favorites so bring your dancing shoes and your ID- 18 and over. Creative attire encouraged. $5 suggested donation at the door for music. Designated drivers who pledge to be alcohol free for the night can enjoy free non-alcoholic beverages and a $10 gift certificate.

Valentine's Day approaches, so plan to woo your sweatheart or celebrate your friends and family by making dinner reservations now.  Tell us why you love Hardwick on the Claire's Facebook page, and you will be entered to win Valentine's dinner for two! Thank you to the many folks who have already participated- we love hearing what you have to say!

Reminders: We are open daily after 2:30 for coffee, bar service, and baked goods, and free WiFi, with dinner reservations available from 5-9, Sundays from 5-8. We serve our special Blunch menu Sundays from 11-2. Claire's is closed every Wednesday.

We appreciate it when you use cash or a check - credit card companies charge us a fee that really adds up. Thanks to many of you we have been able to significantly reduced those fees.

Click on the image above to get a closer look!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Feelin' Ducky?

Local Food: Muscovy duck, raised at Applecheek Farm, is among the most tender and flavorful.  Steven slowly saut√©es the breast to attain the much desired crispy skin and to release some of the luscious flavor from the fat. The duck is finished in the oven, roasted to your desired doneness. Crunchy purple cabbage is marinated in red wine from Shelburne Vineyard, honey, maple syrup from Caledonia Farm, raspberries and apple cider vinegar, along with apples and onions - a sweet and sour zing on the plate.  Also served with the duck is spaetzle, translated from German as "little sparrow," which is a tiny, rustic pasta, so called because of its handmade shape.  Made with eggs from Sunshine Acres, whole grain mustard and whole wheat flour from Butterworks Farm, the spaetzle is the perfect accompaniment to the moist and rich duck breast.

At the Bar: Remember our Sunday and Monday drink specials. Sunday, January 29th we offer a $2.50 pint of Rock Art, a $4 glass of East Shore Vineyard Traminette or Cabernet Franc.  Try our Cranberry Hot Buttered Rum, made with spiced rum, ginger liqueur and Steven's cranberry butter blend, offered for $5.

Around the Galaxy: Galaxy Loves You - Share the love at the Galaxy's Bookstore Warming Party on Friday, February 3rd, from 6 until midnight. Come check out the new space, browse the shelves, then dance on over right next door to Claire's for the Heartthrob party. The Galaxy is open for business! Shelves are still being restocked and a grand reopening awaits many other features of the new space - come in now and check back often to see the progress.

Music Notes: Spider Roulette joins us this Thursday, January 26 at 7:00. Check out the trio playing acoustic blues, roots and Americana.

Local Events: Valentine's Day will be here before we know it, so make your dinner reservation now.  Tell us why you love Hardwick on the Claire's Facebook page, and you will be entered to win Valentine's dinner for two! Thank you to the many folks who have already participated- we love hearing what you have to say!

With six miles of groomed trails open, now is the perfect time to visit the Hardwick Trails.  On Saturday, January 29 from 9:00am to noon, you can borrow cross country skis and snowshoes for free. Just stop by the log cabin behind Hazen Union.  If you'd like to borrow equipment on a different day, call 472-6517.

Mark your calendars for our next Heartthrob Dance Party Friday, February 3 from 10-2! DJ Lesson One will be spinning your favorites so bring your dancing shoes and your ID- 18 and over. Creative attire encouraged. $5 suggested donation at the door for music.

Reminders: This year, we will be open throughout January - daily after 2:30 for coffee, bar service, and baked goods, and free WiFi, with dinner reservations available from 5-9, Sundays from 5-8. We serve our special Blunch menu Sundays from 11-2. Claire's is closed every Wednesday.

We appreciate it when you use cash or a check - credit card companies charge us a fee that really adds up. Thanks to many of you we have been able to significantly reduced those fees.

Click on the image above to get a closer look!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Cozy Comfort

Local Food: In Medieval days, meat often was served on a thick slice of bread - a kind of edible plate called a "trencher" that soaked up the gravy - and this was the precursor to a popular American comfort food.  Steven introduces an open face meatloaf sandwich to the menu to provide you with some cozy comfort on these cold nights.  A mix of meats and flavors go into the loaf, including beef from Sweetgrass Farm in Hardwick, pork from Sterling College, duck from Applecheek Farm, bacon from Winding Brook Farm, and turkey from Agape Hill Farm.  The meatloaf is served open face on rosemary bread from Bohemian Bakery, topped with house made aioli.  Steven makes gravy with Vermont's own Whistlepig Whiskey as well as onions, and tops it with a salad of claytonia and sprouts.

At the Bar: Remember our Sunday and Monday drink specials. This Sunday, January 22nd we offer a $2.50 pint of Rock Art, a $4 glass of Boyden Valley Seyval Blanc or Riverbend Red.  Try our Maple Manhattan, made with whiskey, Urban Moonshine Maple Bitters and Sweet Stone Maple Farm maple syrup, offered for $5.

Around the Galaxy: Thanks to everyone who helped make the move to Main Street on Monday! Check out our Facebook page for photos  - you don't need to be a Facebook user to check it out. Galaxy is now open next to Claire's. Watch for new books arriving, hours changing so that you can stop in before dinner, and lots of exciting things coming soon. Right now Galaxy is open 9-5:30 during the week, and 10-5 on Saturdays.

Music Notes: Bluegrass trio Freddy & The Weeds join us this Thursday, January 19 at 7:00.  Support local music and check out their non-traditional jams mixed with old favorites.

Local Events: The 2012 Hardwick Wellness Expo is this Saturday, January 21 from 2-5 at the Hardwick Inn.  This is your opportunity to meet local wellness practitioners: yoga teachers, fitness instructors, massage therapists, aroma therapists, reiki practitioners, acupuncturists and more.  There will be an on-going raffle of goods and services- proceeds benefit Open Space, a non-profit movement collective.  Contact Kelly Fairchild at kfairchild@vtlink.net.

Mark your calendars for our next Heartthrob Dance Party Friday, February 3 from 10-2! DJ Lesson One will be spinning your favorites so bring your dancing shoes and your ID- 18 and over. Creative attire encouraged. $5 suggested donation at the door for music.

Reminders: This year, we will be open throughout January - daily after 2:30 for coffee, bar service, and baked goods, and free WiFi, with dinner reservations available from 5-9, Sundays from 5-8. We serve our special Blunch menu Sundays from 11-2. Claire's is closed every Wednesday.

We appreciate it when you use cash or a check - credit card companies charge us a fee that really adds up. Thanks to many of you we have been able to significantly reduced those fees.

Click on the image above to get a closer look!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Shrub - To Drink!


Local Libations: As far back as colonial days, a "shrub" was a popular beverage made using vinegar for the preservation of fruit. The odd name, though, has no relation to nature - it was more likely derived from the Arabic word sharab, which is translated as "to drink." With both tart and sweet notes, shrubs today can be a versatile staple at any bar.  We make our cranberry shrub with berries from Vermont Cranberry Company, and mash them with raw sugar until they turn into a thick syrup.  After a few days, we add raw apple cider vinegar, and the magic begins, as the cranberries bring the sweet and pungent flavors together.  When mixed with Green Mountain Organic Vodka and topped with soda water, the refreshing cocktail with its mellowing flavors is slightly reminiscent of Kombucha, but with a kick.

Local Art:  Welcome David Smith for an exhibit of his work at Claire's, and explore his interest in the representation of light.  The opening reception is Monday, January 16, 4-6 pm.  Talk with the artist and enjoy our bar specials as well as a bite.

At the Bar: Remember our Sunday and Monday drink specials. This Sunday, January 15th we offer a $2.50 pint of Rock Art Ridge Runner, a $4 glass of Boyden Valley Seyval Blanc or Riverbend Red.  Try our Cranberry Shrub, made with Green Mountain Organic Vodka, Vermont Cranberry Company juice and cranberries, offered for $5.

Around the Galaxy: The Galaxy Bookshop is on the move! This week you will find the bookstore in the back rooms of the Granite Trust building on Mill Street. The Center for an Agricultural Economy is moving to Mill Street on Monday and Andrew and his crew at Vermont Natural Coatings will be working on the floors on Main Street to get the space next to Claire's ready for The Galaxy. Stay tuned to the move and browse at http://www.galaxybookshop.com/ - or come by to visit - we are still open for business. 

Music Notes: Singer/Songwriter Paul Cataldo joins us this Thursday, January 13th at 7:30.  Stop by and enjoy a cocktail and what musemuse.com calls "good ol' backwoods hippy-esque Country/Folk!"

Local Events: Our friends at Citizen Cider in Essex are attempting the world's first Community Supported Cidery!  When you join you can enjoy delicious cider throughout the year at a discounted rate.  Learn more about them here.

Reminders: This year, we will be open throughout January - daily after 2:30 for coffee, bar service, and baked goods, and free WiFi, with dinner reservations available from 5-9, Sundays from 5-8. We serve our special Blunch menu Sundays from 11-2. Claire's is closed every Wednesday.

We appreciate it when you use cash or a check - credit card companies charge us a fee that really adds up. Thanks to many of you we have been able to significantly reduced those fees.

Click on the image above to get a closer look!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Something to Prize

Local Food: Do you remember ripping through the caramel corn to find the trinket hidden inside the box?  With maple instead of sugar, Steven makes caramel corn the prize itself. White Lightning Organic Popcorn comes via Pete's Greens (also available in their CSA share) and is a hybrid variety grown by Loraine and Steve Lalonde just across the border in Quebec.  White Lightning has a delicate, crispy and slightly nutty flavor that complements the maple syrup sauce that coats it. The sauce is made by heating syrup from Sweet Stone Maple Farm in Hardwick to a high temperature.  The popcorn complements a rich chocolate ganache - made with maple liqueur - and our famous house made maple fluff, though for this plate the fluff is toasted and brings to mind smores around the campfire.  The final touch is a salted walnut caramel sauce, creating a landscape of treats for your mouth.

At the Bar: Remember our Sunday and Monday drink specials. This Sunday, January 8th we offer a $2.50 pint of Trout River, a $4 glass of Boyden Valley Seyval Blanc or Big Barn Red. The French 75, made with Caledonia Spirits Barr Hill Gin, is offered for $5.

Around the Galaxy: Galaxy is making the move to Main Street this month, in stages. This week you will find Galaxy in the bank building on Mill Street, and while the bookstore is starting to look different in preparation for the move, there are still new books arriving. Beginning on Saturday, Galaxy will be operating from the back of the bank building to make way for the move. Come visit, and remember you can always visit us virtually.

Music Notes: Blue Fox joins us this Thursday, January 5th at 7:00.  Check out what Pamela Polston of Seven Days calls his "deep-lazy-growly-sexy" vocals and "ultra-strength" guitar playing. 

Local Events: Celebrate the Grand Opening of the Vermont Food Venture Center this Friday, January 6 from 12:00-5:00.  The opening is hosted by the Center for an Agricultural Economy and Northern Enterprises, with guided tours, invited guest speakers and a ribbon cutting ceremony at 1:00 with Senator Patrick Leahy.

Reminders: This year, we will be open for all of January.  We open daily after 2:30 for coffee, bar service, and baked goods, and free WiFi, with dinner reservations available from 5-9, Sundays from 5-8. We serve our special Blunch menu Sundays from 11-2. Claire's is closed every Wednesday.

We appreciate it when you use cash or a check - credit card companies charge us a fee that really adds up. Thanks to many of you we have significantly reduced those fees this year.

Click on the image above to get a closer look!