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SideDishes: Leftover Food News

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When Katie Zezima of the The New York Times thinks of Burlington, she writes, images of Phish, “gleaming new hotels” and our socially conscious ice cream entrepreneurs come to mind. But while reporting a November 2 piece called “36 Hours in Burlington” — part of a regular feature in the paper’s Travel section — Zezima noticed something else. She waxes eloquent about “the city’s developing restaurant scene, where menus are now filled with heirloom tomatoes and grassfed beef . . . and you’re practically required to wash it all down with a local microbrew.”

For the sake of her stomach, let’s hope Zezima was allowed more than 36 hours for her research. She talks at length about seven different food sources: Lake Champlain Chocolates, L’Amante, Radio Bean, American Flatbread, Leunig’s Bistro, The Green Room and Magnolia Bistro.

The coverage is great, but some bits may raise a few eyebrows. For one thing, The Green Room is referred to as “Green Street,” and although I love L’Amante as much as the next squash-blossom fan, I wouldn’t say that the 5-year-old restaurant “led the charge” of upscale restaurants into town. Smokejacks, Trattoria Delia and Leunig’s were all here already. And shockingly, there was no mention of Penny Cluse.

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When life gives you out-of-state tomatoes . . . Bove’s Restaurant, famed for its recent Food Network match-up against Bobby Flay on “Throwdown,” was spanked by the Vermont Attorney General’s office last week for labeling its pasta sauce as a Vermont product. Why? The stuff is made in New York with non-Vermont products.

The penalty: A $5000 fine and an agreement to donate at least $50,000 worth of food to the Vermont Foodbank.

But the Bove family decided to up the ante. They doubled their donation to $100,000 worth of pasta sauce and SweetZas0 — a dessert flatbread.

It wasn’t exactly a ribbon cutting, but Governor Jim Douglas showed up at the restaurant last Friday to accept the fine — and for a photo op. You know finances are tight when the CEO starts doing collections.

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