- Sally Pollak
- Early autumn lunch at Nomad Coffee in Burlington
I visited the little café on Flynn Avenue last week — a time span in which the temperature dropped from the 90s to sweatshirt weather. Hoping to nudge summer along, I ordered Podhaizer’s autumn creation: roasted squash, caramelized onions, greens, cider sauce and toasted pecans. I chose lentils over chicken, and these were served hot in a mug on the side. I spooned the lentils onto my veggies bite by bite, forming a kind of mini-stew on my plate and delighting in a flavorful and healthy, all-local $10 lunch.
Podhaizer, a former food writer at Seven Days, was chef-owner of Salt Café in Montpelier for five years. At Nomad, she is collaborating with owners Andrew Sepic and Nicole Grinstead to bring food to their second coffee/espresso/tea business — the first one opened in Essex Junction two years ago.
The new café, open weekdays from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., is at the end of a hallway in the Flynndog building. It occupies the space that formerly housed the South End outpost of Chef’s Corner. Customers order at the counter and food is delivered to your table. The restaurant opens onto an outdoor deck that has several picnic tables, quiet and lovely in late summer and early autumn.
Podhaizer continues her seasonal theme this week but she presents a new menu, offering spiced beef or black beans with mashed potatoes, roasted bell peppers, cherry tomatoes and summer squash (late summer) and chicken or lentils with winter squash, goat cheese, toasted walnuts and brown butter cider sauce (early autumn).
She told me she plans to expand the menu slowly but will continue to make weekly veggie and meat specials to eat with greens, grains or a combination of the two.
On my way home from Nomad, I stopped to talk to a man who I’d seen eating lunch there. Kim Hubbard, a program manager at the Howard Center, told me he discovered Nomad in place of Chef’s Corner, where he used to eat.
“I just like the food over here,” Hubbard said of Nomad. “I like it plated and served. It’s quiet and the people are really friendly.” He ate last week's late summer lunch, meat version ($12): spiced beef with roasted tomatoes, corn, summer squash and red pepper-parsley sauce.
“It was quite wonderful,” Hubbard said. “They have a niche there, and I hope people find it.”