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Side Dishes: Leftover Food News

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Last Sunday, Williston Road got, er, reduction surgery. Vermont’s first and only Hooters closed its doors after a three-and-a-half-year run.

Staffers aren’t talking to the press, so the reason for the closing remains a mystery. Other area restaurants may want to take note: The spot’s 383 Facebook fans will need a new place to nosh on burgers, hot wings and oddly enough, raw oysters. Also, a bunch of busty young ladies are in the job market.

There’s nothing like free food to ease economic pain, and this week, Burlington’s Boloco is dishing some. This Thursday is “free burrito” day, with complimentary wraps available all day long.

Want to put the bucks you’ve saved toward a good cause? The resto, part of a Boston chain, has invited COTS in to collect donations.

Green Mountain eats have scored a few new accolades of late.

Last Monday, at New York City’s Summer Fancy Food Show, Bove’s of Vermont won a “sofi” (specialty outstanding food innovation) award in the “pasta, rice, grain” category for its all-natural frozen lasagna. The winning dish, which incorporates the resto’s famous meatballs, is a version of the casserole Mark Bove made when he appeared on “Throwdown with Bobby Flay.” More recently, he whipped one up on “The Today Show.”

Over in Massachussets at “The Big E” agricultural-fair wine competition, judges gulped swigs of 300 vintages in search of their favorites. This year, five Green Mountain vineyards scored a total of 16 medals. The honorees were Shelburne Vineyards, Putney Mountain Winery, Boyden Valley Winery in Cambridge, Honora Winery in West Halifax and Neshobe River Winery of Brandon.

The last-named was the biggest winner of all. Neshobe River’s 2006 Cabernet Franc was pronounced “Best in Show” as well as “Best Vermont Wine” and “Best Grape Wine.” Bottoms up!

Want some cheese with that? Two of the top three winners at the North American Jersey Cheese Awards Contest were Vermont natives. Of the 77 entries, Cobb Hill‘s Ascutney Mountain cheese was “best in show.” Tarentaise from Spring Brook Farm in Reading got “second runner-up.”

A heads up to farmers and gardeners: Do the spots on the leaves of your tomato or potato plants look water-logged, even when the weather’s dry? If so, they may be infected with Late Blight, the same fungus that caused Ireland’s great potato famine.

According to specialist Vern Grubinger at the University of Vermont Extension, ’09 is shaping up to be a bad year for the nightshade family. With big-box stores selling infected seedlings imported from outside the state, it may be too late to stop the Late Blight spread. The results could be nasty for gardeners, but tragic for farmers who rely on income from such plants.

Plants that show symptoms should be uprooted and disposed of in plastic bags — not on compost piles, where the spores will spread.

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