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Crumbs

Side Dishes: Skinny Pancake, Ariel's Restaurant, Vermont Fresh Network

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Holy crêpe! This Thursday, from 2 to 6 p.m., staffers at Burlington's Skinny Pancake will dish up free crêpes in three flavors - cheesy pesto, hot apple crispy and Nutella - to celebrate the eatery's 1-year anniversary.

Greedy gobblers, take note: The gratuit versions will be a bit smaller than standard skinnies, with a limit of one per customer.

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You'll have to burn some fuel to get there, but Lee Duberman and Richard Fink of Ariel's Restaurant in Brookfield are aiming to help strapped diners save money with an ongoing series of reasonably priced "Sunday Farm Suppers."

The duo is charging a mere $20 per person for a three-course meal, with optional bottles of selected wines at $15 a pop. Each week, the menu will feature two appetizers and two entrées - diners get to select one of each - plus a sweet seasonal treat. Meat-free options are always on the list.

The main dishes at the inaugural supper last weekend were Misty Knoll chicken with mole poblano and braised greens; and fresh pasta with asparagus, three-herb pesto and house-made ricotta.

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Foodies who haven't picked up the recent special edition of Vermont Life may want to track down a copy. Titled "Our Food, Our Farmers," it boasts features about how to create a "perfect cheese board" with local cheeses; the role migrant workers play in Vermont agriculture; and how a group of visionaries, such as George Schenk of American Flatbread, Bill Suhr of Champlain Orchards and the folks at NECI, has helped transform the Green Mountain state into a "food mecca."

But the tasteful coverage doesn't stop there. The issue's web extras include a bunch of recipe demos from 2007's "Vermont Chef of the Year," Michael Kloeti of Michael's on the Hill.

Soon to come on Vermont Life's website is a sneak peek into Kloeti's kitchen on a bustling Friday night. The editors call it "Vermont's own Kitchen Confidential." Judging by Anthony Bourdain's gossipy, drug-addled tome, one can only hope the video is a little tamer than its tagline suggests.

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Kloeti and his wife Laura have plenty of other stuff on their plates, too. This Wednesday they host the first Vermont Fresh Network Farmers' Dinner of 2008, with a five-course menu inspired by the bounty of fresh local produce. On Thursday, they celebrate the resto's sixth anniversary with a 20 percent discount on food and bottles of wine, and free chocolate truffles for customers.

Somehow the Kloetis find time for gardening - their organic plot is bursting with herbs and cherry tomatoes destined for the restaurant. And they've created a spiffy new cocktail menu featuring refreshing quaffs such as cucumber martinis, rhubarb-mint mojitos and strawberry-lemongrass fizzes. Bartender, I'll have the garden in a glass . . .

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