by Alice Levitt
30 Main Street, Burlington, 489-5935
Spoiler alert: Logan's of Vermont was one of our team's favorites in this week's taste test of Burlington soups. Since it opened last autumn, the spot has also become an office favorite for panini, salads and boxes full of tiny, mixed cookies.
However, I still hadn't tried the eatery's bread and butter — gourmet take-home meals. Yesterday, I ate two meals from Logan's in order to share my non-soup experience.
For lunch, I had one of the menu's quirkier panini. Far from your average turkey sandwich, the medium-thick slices of fowl at Logan's are complemented by crumbly, cranberry-flecked Wensleydale cheese. The sharp, cheddar-like fromage is balanced by fine slices of Asian pear.
The whole thing is griddled between caraway-speckled rye bread. It's a grown-up sandwich for sure.
Yesterday's specimen was among the best prepared, too. My early complaint about the panini at Logan's was the ratio of bread to filling. But the overwhelmingly bread-y sandwiches seem to be a thing of the past.
And it's one of the best lunch deals in Burlington. A filling half sandwich with a fresh, diverse salad in a nicely balanced, sweet-and-sour vinaigrette rings up at $4.99.
That's not much more than a banh mi, the only lunch I can think of that costs me even less.
Fast-forward about six hours. I selected two dishes from the day's take-away meals, as well as a side, and assembled myself a perfect dinner for a busy night.
Risotto cakes were bright yellow with saffron and ideally crunchy outside, though slightly drier than I'd hoped within. The aromatic flavors were enhanced by lightly crisped chunks of butternut squash, spiked with just a hint of lush vanilla.
When I saw how thinly the pork loin had been sliced, I was concerned reheating would dry it out. Somehow, there was just enough fat in the flesh to keep it sufficiently moist, even after a brief stay in the oven. A sage rub gave the well-seasoned meat a kick, but it was sweet-tart cranberry-apple chutney that defined its personality.
Green beans were cooked to perfection — crunchy with just a bit of give. Their lemon sauce smelled intense but gave them just a hint of citrus flavor. Slivered almonds were a nice touch, though they would have been even better if they'd been lightly toasted.
I didn't notice until I arrived home that someone had forgotten my order of chocolate mousse, though I also wasn't charged for it. Still, I was sad. I've enjoyed it at Logan's before. The rich, intensely chocolaty dessert is Julia Child's recipe and worth a trip on its own. Ah well, I guess I'll be making one soon.
Alice Eats is a weekly blog feature devoted to reviewing restaurants where diners can get a meal for two for less than $35. Got a restaurant you'd love to see featured? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.