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Side Dishes: Cliff House Restaurant, Dinky Dounts, Clover

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Hail and high winds can be romantic if you're at home in front of the fireplace with a bottle of wine. But if you're suspended in a tiny, swaying gondola high above Mount Mansfield, the experience can be harrowing.

That's why ominous weather reports persuaded Brian Clark of Stowe's Cliff House Restaurant to make a tough call: He postponed the restaurant's Vermont Fresh Network "Farmers' Dinner" last Friday.

"It's disappointing," Clark admits. Luckily, it looks like the dinner will be rescheduled for Saturday, July 12, so patrons won't miss out on fried green tomatoes with balsamic-tomato coulis and Cobb Hill cheese; Vermont trout with wild mushroom ragout; and an ice-cream float made with citrus-hibiscus Pop Soda and rhubarb ice cream.

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The only thing better than sweet, tender doughnuts? Crisp, salty bacon. The two foods have long been separated by conventional notions about sweet and savory.

But, the pastry purveyors at Burlington's Dinky Donuts have combined them into a mouth-watering treat maple-caramel-glazed donuts topped with Vermont bacon crumbles. The decadent combo is available at the company's Burlington Farmers' Market stand, where other special "Dinkys" include a strawberry-rhubarb jelly-filled doughnut and a chocolate one topped with peanut brittle. Dinky delivers 'em, too.

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Although the competitors were apparently flank and flank, Clover edged out two other floral titles to become the new name of Vermont's bovine dairy mascot. Move over, Buttercup and Daisy!

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