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The Weathertop Blog

For area events & inn specials, as well as posts on our favorite topics - food, wine & travel...

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Recent blog posts

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Our Latest Asian Odyssey

Last night we served an Asian Culinary Odyssey for our guests, the Whites. We were given complete freedom to choose the menu with only one restriction - Laurie said no tofu. Fair enough...

This allowed us to mix & match countries & flavors, putting together some of our favorite dishes from Southeast Asia. The menu was as follows:

  • Soup: Vietnamese Tomato & Egg Drop
  • Salad: Indonesian Cucumber & Roasted Peanut
  • Main: Malaysian Beef Rendang
  • Main: Goan Squid & Spinach Curry
  • Main: Thai Cauliflower & Snake Bean Curry

Vietnamese Tomato & Egg Drop SoupIndonesian Cucumber & Roasted Peanut SaladGoan Squid & Spinach CurryMalaysian Beef RendangThai Cauliflower & Snake Bean CurryAsian Culinary Odyssey with The Whites

THANKS FOR JOINING US ON A TASTY TOUR OF ASIA!

 

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Cocktails & Travel Memories

Saw a bottle of Cachaça on the shelf at Mehuron's yesterday and decided to buy it. While common in metro areas & S. America, I haven't seen it much up here in the north country. It brought back memories of a trip to Iguazu Falls, Brazil 20 years ago. While pondering the wonders of nature from a barstool overlooking the falls, my favorite bartender (that's what we called mixologists back then...) plied me with his twist on the traditional Caipirinha. As best I can replicate, this was his recipe for a Kicked-Up Caipirinha:

  • 2-3 oz. Cachaça, to taste (white rum will do in a pinch...)
  • 1 Lime, cut into wedges
  • 1 TBSP granulated sugar (raw is better...)
  • Fresh mint, a handful of leaves
  • Hot sauce, a few dashes

Muddle the lime, sugar, mint & hot sauce in a shaker; add the Cachaça & two cubes of ice; shake well then transfer to a glass filled with ice; garnish with more mint & lime.

The falls are pretty awesome whenever you see them, even in a drought year as it was when I was there. Having a few of these Caipirinhas took the awesomeness factor to a completely different level!

Novo Fogo Organic Silver CachaçaIguazu FallsIguazu Falls - Drought Year?

SAÚDE!

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Great Night For Q

It was such a lovely afternoon that I decided to break out the old smoker & kick back on the garden patio while waiting for our peeps to check-in. In addition to a dry-rubbed pork loin, I threw some fresh-picked garden peppers in the smoker. Not having done this before, I wasn't sure what to expect, but was pleasantly surprised. After three hours time, they came out soft, juicy & lightly smoked. Served on crusty bread with Ploughgate Creamery cultured butter, they were a perfect complement to the pork.

Smoked Pork Loin & PeppersSmoked Carmen & Super-Hot Chili PeppersSmoked Garden Salsa Peppers

STILL SMOKIN' AFTER ALL THESE YEARS!

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What Does One Do?

After 24 years of marriage, what do a pair of innkeepers do on the anniversary of their wedding? This year is particularly special, since it falls on a Monday and we have no guests in house. Normally, we would be cooking for others, but not tonight...

So whaddup? Well, great food & wine!

Nothing fancy mind you. Just a flatbread...with wild mushroom, fresh truffles & fresh duck sausage. Add a great salad made with local greens and wash it down with a 22 year old Grand Cru Bordeaux. Simply elegant (if you love pizza & old Bordeaux...).

Anniversary Flatbread & Wine

As for love...well that's given...

Without intimate hope, faith & trust, a business like our's would NEVER be possible.

SO HERE'S TO LOVE, PIZZA, OLD BORDEAUX & 24 MORE GREAT YEARS!

 

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The Best Gift Of All

Today we received the best gift imaginable from a guest...

A great Trip Advisor review or a nice cash tip? Are you kidding...I could care less about such things. This gift was a family recipe. And these folks happen to be from Galilee, the northern region of Israel near Lebanon & Syria. The food in that region is an amalgam of all the regiosl cuisines & cultures. Their recipe is for Spinach Shakshuka. Any shakshuka I have ever tried was based upon tomato & pepper - not spinach. So I'm totally jazzed to try this one out. To be traditional, I need to get my hands on some goat milk, but I can't find any in the local markets (I did find goat butter though, which is also needed...). If anybody knows of a source, PLEASE let me know.

Once I get the goat milk thing sorted out, I'll try the recipe, take some photos and share it all.

HERE'S TO GOOD EATS!

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Fresh Herbs...Great Cocktails!

Here's a nifty little tip you can try out this afternoon (after 5 o'clock of course...).

If you have some herbs in your garden going to flower, there's an alternate use for those lovely little blossoms. Instead of making an aromatic bouquet or simply tossing them out, use them in your favorite cocktail! Muddled, shaken or stirred they provide a burst of aroma & flavor more intense than the herb's leaves. Mint & basil blossoms go particularly well with gin, vodka & white rum. So go ahead & experiment with your favorites. End the work week on a pleasant note...

ENJOY THE WEEKEND & CHEERS!

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New Appy This Week!

Wanted to do something special with the nice batch of black beans we received in a recent Muddy Boots CSA basket. Found the inspiration on page 20 of Jacques' "Essential Pépin" - Black Bean & Pancetta Soup topped with bananas & cilantro. I'm sure you can find the full recipe online, but consider buying the book if you don't already have it. For cookbook junkies, it's a kitchen essential...

Black Beans from Muddy Boots CSABlack Bean Soup à la Pepin

The only change I made was to add some sweet & some hot peppers from our garden for extra "lift". Sweet, spicy, tangy & fragrant - reminiscent of traditional Puerto Rican cuisine. While Jacques doesn't mention it, I'm sure his wife's ethnicity influenced this dish. We like it so much, it will be on the menu at The Shameless Carnivore this week.

And what to enjoy while the black beans are cooking?

Refreshing Mojito

Why a mojito of course! If you want a good, traditional recipe go straight to the Bacardi website (they oughta know how to make it right...). Refreshing & not too sweet. I didn't fool around with the crushed ice thing - just used cubes. A quick trip to Old San Juan...

ENJOY!

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What Am I Doing Right?

While our melon plants may not be doing very well in the container gardens, all of our pepper plants are doing extremely well. They need some serious staking, as their numbers are skyrocketing. Some are getting as big as the plant! Obviously much happier than the melons. Check these out:

Carmen Sweets & Super ChiliesGarden Salsa Hots & Long Red Cayennes

Why are they doing so well?

GOT NO IDEA, BUT I'LL TAKE 'EM!

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What Am I Doing Wrong?

The farmers of Muddy Boots CSA must have that magic touch...

Here's a photo of the beautiful cantaloupe we received in our basket this week:

Muddy Boots CSA Cantaloupe

Now here are some photos of the melon plants in our container garden:

Our Melon PlantsWill We Ever See Melons?

WHADDUP WITH THAT?

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Dead Arm Shiraz - Very Much Alive

With last night's pleasantly cool weather, I decided to make a comforting stew of lamb shanks & white beans. This dish called for a big red wine, so my choice was:

  • d'Arenberg "The Dead Arm" Shiraz, McLaren Vale GI, Australia, 2005

"The Dead Arm" is a super-concentrated Shiraz. If you would like more info on why, and how it got named, click here. This is a full-bodied wine, deep purple in color, with a nose & palate chock-full of blackberry, licorice & spice. After 8 years in bottle, it's throwing some sediment, so I recommend decanting. Just be careful - if enjoyed too quickly, at 14.5% alcohol, it will rapidly start to boogie-woogie 'round your brain...

"The Dead Arm" is a special wine, and priced accordingly, but d'Arenberg makes a wide range of exceptional wines to suit any budget. Give any of them a try and you shouldn't be disappointed. But if opportunity knocks, go for "The Dead Arm"!

The Dead ArmA Lovely d'Arenberg Shiraz

CHEERS!

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Our Newest Local Supplier

Welcome Mountain Home Farm of Tunbridge, VT! I purchased some of their buttermilk on a recent trip to Mehuron's, and the product is awesome. This is TRUE buttermilk straight from the butter churn, and the milk comes from 100% grass-fed Guernsey cows. This product is the real deal and makes a wicked good panna cotta...

lemon panna cotta

Last night's batch was lemon-flavored. I have also made a strawberry panna cotta which was equally delicious. Now I can't decide which I like better.

WHICH WOULD YOU CHOOSE?

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Waste Not...Want Not...

I try to use EVERYTHING that comes in our Muddy Boots CSA basket, every week. The latest challenge was carrot tops, which I had always thought looked nice, but were promptly cut off and tossed on the compost pile - WRONG...

Chef Ed Kenney of Town Restaurant, Honolulu, HI turns them into a wonderful pesto. Here is my "tweaked" version of his recipe:

  • Carrot Greens - 2 cups
  • Basil - ¼ cup (lime basil is even better if your CSA has it...)
  • Macadamia Nuts - ¼ cup
  • Parmigiano-Reggiano - ¼ cup
  • Garlic - 2-4 cloves (depends upon how much you like garlic...)
  • EVOO - as needed to texture

Put in a food processor and add the EVOO until a creamy texture develops. This pesto can last quite some time in the fridge in a sealed, glass container. I suppose it would freeze nicely, but I haven't tried that yet.

A word of caution - only attempt this pesto with fresh, young carrots straight from the farm. Generally, supermarket carrot greens will be old, tough & bitter.

Chef Kenney then completes the package with a great carrot recipe. Take the carrots that came with those greens and slice them in half. Mix with EVOO, sea salt & freshly cracked peppercorns and toss in a 350° F. oven for 10-20 minutes (depends upon the size of the carrots) until they start to develop a golden color. Remove from the oven, toss with a dollop of your freshly-made carrot top pesto and enjoy...

Carrot Top PestoRoasted Carrots With Carrot Top Pesto

DELICIOUS & NO WASTE!

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Peak Lily Season 2015

Yes, it's here! The lilies in our gardens are at their peak, just about two months ahead of Vermont's more famous peak season (when exactly is peak foliage???).

If you're a glass half-full kind of person, we still have half of summer left to go...

Weathertop's Lilies

GET OUTSIDE AND ENJOY IT!

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VT Music Fest - You In?

Don't forget! This coming Saturday is Vermont Music Fest - a day filled with great music, delicious food & fun activities for the entire family. Will we see you there?

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Walla Walla? Wow!

Call me a culinary infidel, but I had never heard of a Walla Walla onion until these beauties arrived in our weekly basket from Muddy Boots CSA. It's a sweet onion, similar to Vidalia & Maui, but these are even better because they're fresh and straight from the farm.

Just slice in half and top with sea salt, cracked peppercorns & a nice dollop of really good butter. I happened to use a cultured butter from Ploughgate Creamery that contained nasturtium flowers (also in our CSA basket...). Tent in foil and bake at 350° F. for one hour. The longer you bake, the creamier they get. Finish with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar.

Simple & delicious, these onions are great as a side dish or spread on good, crusty bread. They're the bomb-diggity!

Baked Walla Walla OnionBaked Walla Walla Onion

ENJOY!

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Cocktail Time!

Had a slow night at The Shameless Carnivore since all of our guests either attended or performed at Tweed River Music Festival. After completing a big project, I decided to treat myself to a cocktail, but wanted something a little different. What I ended up with was this refreshing twist on a Negroni:

  • 1 ounce Gin
  • 1 ounce Elderflower liqueur
  • 1 ounce Campari
  • 2 ounces Mango juice

For the elderflower, St. Germain would have been great, but I had cheaper stuff on hand which worked just fine. Also used Newman's Own Mango-Orange juice since that was in the fridge. Chilled in a shaker and served with an ice cube in a martini glass. The end product was pleasantly bitter, floral, herbal & tropical fruity all at the same time. At least I liked it...

Mikey's Tropical Negroni

CHEERS! 

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Lantern Lodge North...Remember When?

Just in time for Throwback Thursday, we found this set of keys squirreled away on a shelf in our garage.

Lantern Lodge North was the original name given to what is now Weathertop Mountain Inn, back in the mid to late 70s. Info going back to those days is pretty fuzzy. We don't even have any photos from that time period, other than these keys.

Lantern Lodge North, aka Weathertop Mountain Inn

If anyone has stories or photos of the inn from those days to share, we would love to hear or see them!

HELP US UNLOCK THE PAST...

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Elk In The Kitchen!

Just received our first shipment of 24 BEAUTIFUL pounds of elk tenderloin from Vermont Heritage Elk, LLC, our newest supplier of locally-raised game, located in Fairfax, VT. They're so new, we can't even direct you to their website or FB page!

We've been anxiously awaiting their first slaughter, and this first shipment, since March.

Vermont Heritage Elk Tenderloin

Guess we'll just have to do a quality control check and fire some up on the grill tonight. Anybody care to join us?

EATIN'S BEST WHEN YOU'VE GOT FOUR FEET IN THE TROUGH!

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Night Landings Now Possible

OK, admit it. How many of you have passed by our driveway at night and had to turn around? Yeah, Route 17 is very dark at night...

That should no longer be a problem with our new driveway lights! Better yet, they are energy efficient (LED) and Dark Sky Friendly™. When I started this project, I hadn't a clue that this group existed. But they do and we did. If you're interested in learning what they're all about...click here...

driveway lighting inndriveway lighting roadway

So if you ever miss our driveway again...

YA SHOULDN'T BE DRIVIN'...just sayin'...

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Naughty Or Nice?

We recently had a guest who looked very familiar, but hadn't stayed with us before. Just yesterday, we received a nice letter from him which included his business card:

Business Card © W. A. Bizon, 2015

SWEET...

Perhaps it was the extra slice of bacon we gave him at breakfast? Now we just have to wait 5 months to see what it all means.

CAN'T WAIT TO FIND OUT!

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