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.
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*.
Drink 135 St Paul St Burlington VT
Ri Ra 123 Church St Burlington VT
*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.