by Corin Hirsch
Where can one find venison stew meat, Austrian wine, yams, short ribs, white bread, tomme and Rodenbach all in one place — as well as report a deer?
That'd be Singletons' General Store, whose kaleidoscopic retailing ways used to be limited to Proctorsville (where customers can also purchase alpaca, whiskey and ammo) but since this summer, has been showering Quechee with its eclectic goodness from a second location.
Singleton's is sort of like a general store on steroids, one which aims to serve the indefinable and shifting interests of Vermonters by stocking items sought by both rod-toting fishermen or weekenders hoping to construct the perfect beer cocktail (bitters, Fever Tree mixers and syrups are sold in abundance here). Besides serving as a big game reporting station, Singleton's has a cooler full of smoked meat, an ambitious wine section, an entire department of women's outdoor clothing, and is an excellent lunch spot to boot — though the only place to eat is on an outside bench, or in your car.
Recently, I went home with some paper-thin duck breast prosciutto, a few links of the store's famous bratwurst, and a tray of award-winning mac-and-cheese topped with house-smoked cheddar and ham. This week, I loaded up on sandwiches from a handwritten list of specials that the staff semi-derisively calls 'Fancy Shmancy' sandwiches — versions laced with arugula, prosciutto, tapenade and other non-red-blooded fare.
Despite their nouveau natures, each sandwiches' heft befits a hungry hunter: An oily number 33 (on rosemary-studded foccacia) is so stuffed with fresh mozzarella, prosciutto and blood-red tomatoes that one half will sate. The number 29, a sort of veggie Muffuletta of smoked Gouda, wilted spinach, caramelized onions, and chunky tapenade, is aggressively pressed between two slices of ridged ciabatta so that its ingredients melt together into a savory, salty, gooey mess.
Traditionalists who want to stick to tried-and-true sandwiches can pick from 28 other versions, from a Reuben to liverwurst, Swiss cheese and banana peppers on rye toast. Just approach gingerly: These are two-handed sandwiches.