chic or geek

a mildly aspirational blog of my life, times, and taste

places to drink on a Wednesday night

food, lifestyleAnna KellerComment

I'll admit it: I've had trouble getting acquainted with the city in which I live.  I don't love it. I know that this is partly because I don't know it too well.  it's a very different place than it was 10 years ago, when I used to roam Church St as a window shopping pre-teen.  Burlington is a college town, a place where people will pay a premium for local beers and mediocre Mexican food.  it's a place where pretty much anything goes, but at the same time, very little seems to be happening.  this is especially the case when it is 5* outside and hibernation seems like a very appealing option.  I've been extremely busy, too, working around 60 hours a week and spending too much time keeping an eye on my dwindling bank account.  plus my cat demands to be fed on a fairly regular basis, and once I'm home it's so hard to convince myself to go try and not face-plant on an icy sidewalk.

last Wednesday, I decided to stop making excuses and get a little local culture in my life.  my coworkers rave about 2 Wednesday night activities: Wednesday Wine Down at Drink and 1/2 Priced Burger Night at Ri Ra.  

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at Drink, $12 got you 4 solid wine pours, each paired with a cheese, bread, olive oil, or dessert.  I may not be a wine connoisseur (yet, at least), but I can definitely appreciate the wonderful combination of prosecco and Lake Champlain chocolate.  Wednesday is also $4 mojito night at Drink, but we decided to finish our night somewhere we could eat more than a few pieces of cheese as our meal.

our second stop for the night was at Ri Ra, an Irish pub on Church St.  after spending a few days in Dublin, I was very interested to compare this American take on an traditional Irish restaurant.  most importantly, I wanted to test the claim that Guinness tastes horrible this side of the pond.  to conduct this study, I ordered a flight of 4 5 oz. Irish beer samples ($6): 1 Guinness, 1 Southwicks, 1 Harp, and 1 1/2 Southwicks, 1/2 Harp.  I will say that the Guinness did not have quite the smoothness or chocolaty flavor it possessed when I drank plenty of it in Ireland, but it was still quite good.  the Half & Half mix was my next favorite.  the Irish know good beer, and at Ri Ra they also know a good burger.  normally priced between $9 and $11, the half-priced offerings seemed like a steal with their brioche buns and hand cut fries.  I normally avoid red meat, but this meal was worth ingesting a little extra cholesterol for.  my sister had their white bean veggie burger, which she said was delicious as well.

I went home that night feeling extra sleepy but also a little more satisfied with the fact that I call this city my home.  there is a lot to eat and do, and it does not all involve eating $1 pizza slices or forking out an Andrew Jackson every time you want a good burger*.

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Drink 135 St Paul St Burlington VT

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Ri Ra 123 Church St Burlington VT

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*on that note, I had an even more amazing burger at The Shopping Bag, a small & seemingly sketchy convenience store in the Old North End here in Burlington.  for just over $5, you can get their classic Sizzler (or mini Sizzler, as I did) which will keep you full for approximately 3 days.  as a former vegan, I can safely say that this burger will rock your world in every possible way as it made me wonder why I had sworn off meat and cheese for so many years.