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A Little Bit About a Lot of Things

A lifestyle blog with a focus on my food adventures

There was a lot of confusion about the Cliff House restaurant. You take the gondola up to the summit (3,625 feet) from the base of the mountain. There are signs when you drive up the mountain-pull into the parking lot on the left hand side. There is a gondola from the Stowe Mountain Lodge, but that is not the one you want to go to (and you don’t park in the hotel). You go into the red barn, and buy tickets for $25 per person-round trip. So you’ve spent $50 for two and you haven’t even had a bite to eat yet. The gondola ride is about 5 minutes to the top. The gondola is pretty cool-they even have windows, although that doesn’t do you much good in the winter. The other restaurant at the top of Mt. Mansfield is called the Octagon Cafe, but you have to ride up a different gondola to get there. The Octagon is 3,615 feet up. It seems to have a more casual menu.

The Cliff House doesn’t take reservations, but we got there and realized that you wouldn’t really have needed one. We were able to sit at a table by the window where you could watch all the skiiers head down the mountain, pretty cool! It was cloudy when we went up there, but I can imagine just how cool it would be if we went during the fall season. Most of the other people that were in the restaurant were skiing all day, there were only a few other people who were up there just for the view.

We thought it was a little weird that you had to pay extra for the bread ($3) but we figured we didn’t need it anyhow. We ordered the cheese plate to start ($14). They were 3 hard cheeses, one cheddar, one from the local Shelburne Farms and one that was an Alpine style cheese-a little softer and on the airy side. All three were wonderful. They came with a wonderful cranberry chutney that was more like just chunks of cranberries than a chutney. It was still good, wonderfully sweet and tangy but not overly so-the cranberries were still able to shine in the chutney. It also came with this great lavash made in long thing triangular peices-sort of like a flat bread stick.

Then we moved on to the Vermont Highland Cattle Company Burger with Winding Brook Farm bacon, Grafton smoked cheddar, sauteed mushrooms, caramelized onions ($16) and the special soup of the day: Lobster Bisque ($12). The bisque was amazing. I usually don’t like just soup for lunch, I usually want something a little more substantive-but this was fantastic. But then again, boy do I love lobster bisque. It was smooth, light, silky and creamy…and had some small pieces of lobster in it. The overall taste was delicious. The burger was great, it was so juicy it leaked when you took a bite out of it. The bread was perfectly toasted and was like a focaccia roll. There were so many layers of flavors, the fresh meat, the onions, the smokey cheese, the bacon…one of the best burgers I’ve had. The fries were made fresh from yukon gold potatoes-you can really taste the difference between fresh and frozen!

And just as a note: the waiter was telling us that some of the beverages that they have at the Cliff House can only be found there-like their mulled red wine.

So lunch all in all cost about $125. Was it worth it? Maybe. We went once, I don’t think we have to go back again, but it was good to go and say we went. The food was good, but $50 for soup, cheese and a burger seems a little steep. The service was good but not great-a little slow, but maybe that’s just the Vermont way…

The Cliff House

Mount Mansfield, Stowe, VT

(The Stowe Mountain Resort is 5781 Mountain Road, in case you need to put it in your navigation)

800-253-4754

http://www.stowe.com/activities/dining/

Full menu available 11am-2:30pm Monday-Thursday

Cliff House on Urbanspoon

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