886 Route 7, Middlebury, 802-388-7052
On one of my recent appearances on Charlie + Ernie + Lisa in the Morning! (I'm on every Wednesday), I had the opportunity to try caramel-covered monkey bread from Rosie's Restaurant. After that, I was determined to sample more of the Middlebury restaurant's food.
I loved the place at first sight. The high-beamed ceilings recalled a barn, except much cleaner. Paintings of ultra-close-up chicken faces decorated the walls, as did locally made quilts for sale. We were the youngest people there by a good 30 years — at 8:30 p.m. The specials menu listed not only dishes available that day but also a dozen or so regulars who were celebrating their birthdays.
It was hard to choose between the cuddly homestyle menu items — chicken and "bakin' powder" biscuits? Pork chops with applesauce and "apple stuffin'?" Ultimately, I couldn't pass up the pulled roast turkey platter.
Food arrived with alarming speed, but if it had been microwaved, it didn't seem to affect the tastes or textures one whit. The novel approach to a turkey dinner was truly fun to eat. The shreds of meat, mixed with salty, slightly tangy gravy, reminded me of a cross between pulled pork and turkey à la king.
The sides were good, too. Nicely spiced mashed squash, smooth potatoes and vinegary slaw. I suspect the orange-flavored cranberry sauce might not have been homemade, but it was still a nice counterpoint to the otherwise rich flavors. The only loser was the peas. Though nicely cooked and fresh tasting, they were completely unseasoned.
I liked the meatloaf, too. The peas, slaw and potatoes were the same on that plate, but beefy gravy came on the side and atop the loaf.
Did you love microwave Salisbury steaks growing up? I did, and this tasted hauntingly similar to me. However, the mix of bread and meat was clearly homemade, and had a touch of love in its taste and texture that Swanson's could never reproduce. Applesauce lent a sweet counterpoint to the comforting meal.
Having so enjoyed the monkey bread, I knew one of the main reasons to hit Rosie's was dessert. I was tempted by the specials — butterscotch and coconut puddings — but instead went for a pair of pies.
Described on the menu with the words "Another high creamy favorite," the coconut cream pie was definitely high and creamy. The coconut flavor was intense, but there were too many shreds of the fruit for my taste. The crunchy coconut overpowered the smooth, welcoming texture of the pie itself.
I guess there's no way to ruin Toll House pie as long as you follow the directions on the package, but I enjoyed the warm, buttery dessert all the same. The hot pie was as it should be, a chocolaty, greasy gem. Just like I wish Mom had made.
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