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Huge 'Shroom at Smokejacks


Published August 29, 2008 at 3:48 p.m.

I got an unusual phone call this afternoon from Josh Robinette, head chef at Smokejacks. "We just got a 25-pound puffball mushroom from a forager," he explained excitedly. "Do you want to come see it."

Of course I did...I grabbed a camera and headed up the restaurant. The big bad fungus was sitting on a sheet pan in the walk-in, but Chef R. brought it upstairs  so I could snap a pic in better light. 

Can you believe that thing? It's as big as the table!

What's he going to do with it? Put it in risotto, for one thing. It'll also make an appearance in the resto's wild mushroom ravioli, which is apparently a big seller. If you want to try it for yourself, you should head there soon...They expect it to be gone in a few days.

While I was there I asked the staffers if anything else noteworthy was going on, and owner Susan Huling mentioned that she thinks the new menu is better than ever.

She gave me a copy, and here are some of the highlights:

~ Local potato soup with scallions, cheddar, bacon and sour cream

~ Duck confit quesadilla with black beans, queso blanco and jalapeno salsa

~ Hickory-smoked Vermont pork ribs with black strap molasses bbq sauce, maple baked beans and slaw

The cheese list, which is always excellent (but pricey), currently includes many of my local favorites, including Jasper Hill's stinky, silky, perfect "Winnemere," Thistle Hill's fruity and nutty "Tarentaise," and  Vermont Butter & Cheese company's goaty, ripened "Bonne Bouche."