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summer | 2012 issue #6

creemees btv hey. sweet bike the spot 10% of proceeds from this issue go to the intervale center

pizzeria verita finders keepers tj donovan

thread magazine | summer 2012 | threadvt.com


During the colonial era, hard cider was the most popular alcoholic beverage in america. The average family in the late 1700’s had seven children.

Coincidence?


9 6 C h u rc h St B u r l i n g to n V T 0 5 4 01 phone 802 864 2800 fax 802 864 3602 Stella-Mae.com

/StellaMaeVT

@StellaMaeVT

thread magazine | summer 2012 | threadvt.com


4


Together, Better Choices

…like partnerships with local farmers.

Photo by J.Silverman n

Digger’s Mirth, Burlingto

City Market is dedicated to strengthening the local food system. We’re grateful for our local farmers who provide our Co-op’s members and customers with nourishing food all year long!

82 S. Winooski Ave. Burlington, VT 05401 Open 7 days a week, 7 a.m. - 11 p.m. (802) 861-9700 www.citymarket.coop thread magazine | summer 2012 | threadvt.com


10. the scale of summer patrick law 12. finders keepers john flanagan

contents

thread magazine | summer 2012 | issue #6

18. the spot lettie stratton 22. hey. sweet bike. raychel severance 34. pizzeria verita j.d. landry 38. tj donovan zach despart

“ Untitled.� by Nissa Kauppila nissakauppila.com

42. dairy diary john flanagan


masthead publisher / editor

ben sarle editor@threadvt.com

copy editors

david scherr lorenne gavish

contributing writers

john flanagan zach despart j.d. landry patrick law lettie stratton madeleine liebman

contributing artists / photographers

raychel severance hailey schofield frances cannon nissa kaupila zelde grimm

design contributors

raychel severance

on the cover: raychel severance p. ben sarle

pen & ink illustration by Hailey Schofield haileyschofield.wordpress.com

thread magazine | summer 2012 | threadvt.com


This is Thread Magazine issue #6. Read it outside.

Summer in Burlington. Enjoy.

Ben Sarle, Editor & Publisher and The Thread Magazine Syndicate

look: threadvt.com like: facebook.com/threadvt follow: @threadvt


“Puppet� Silkscreen Print Frances Cannon | honeyhogart.posterous.com

thread magazine | summer 2012 | threadvt.com


the scale of summer by patrick law

10

gouache & silkscreen print by Hailey Schofield | haileyschofield.wordpress.com


In mid-June, the young saplings stand about two feet high. Stick your head between their small, sturdy stems and notice the scale of the world you’ve just entered. Watch the insects scatter as you pull another weed from the chalky soil. Look at how the pencil-thin limbs reach for the sun and how the dirt cakes when your sweat drips like a leaky faucet.

sionists like Manet, who said, “there are no lines in nature, only areas of color, one against each other.”

All of which is to say, if you want to exprience summer in Burlington, the Intervale is a pretty good place to begin. But while it’s easy to get lost in reverie, summer is more than green landscapes and natural communities, though an understanding of If you look up, you may notice the wall of ecology is useful when observing the diftall trees that stand sentry over the young ferent species that populate our city. Ecolsaplings. The wind forces them to wave ogy is all about relationships; how organand bow like Broadway showmen. Each isms relate to each other and to the place individual leaf is lost in the sway, just as in which they reside. Each time I ride my the song of each individual bird is lost in bike home from the Intervale in the sumthe symphony of late afternoon sound. mer, I have the opportunity to witness the As the light changes, it causes colors to swirling dance of people and place. bleed. It’s the same soft summer light that captured the imagination of impres- It begins in the next field over, where a West African woman is tilling the soil with hand tools. Two men chat near the edge of the field and one of them waves as I steer my bike into an empty lot. Still tractors slumber like lazy cows in the sun. As I roll past the gate, I think back to last year when this road was another braid of the Winooski River. But now the farmers are back, Irene be damned. When I reach the hardtop I can feel the sun bounce of the asphalt like heat from a cast iron pan. The traffic is thick, but it thins after the intersection of North Winooski and Riverside Drive. At a little league game in Roosevelt Park, the kids play while their parent peck at smartphones, looking up long enough to see each pitch. The smell of charcoal hangs in the air, its origin indeterminable. In backyards and down driveways people lounge with a beer in their hand, perhaps a horseshoe in the other. Porches become second living rooms and it’s easy to get pulled into a casual meal or an impromptu party that continues long after the last kabob. My bike weaves and wanders through the Old North End, past Rose Street and the Shopping Bag, where people live publicly, everything on display. At North Winooski, I take a right and then ride up through the College Ghetto. Pizza boxes and empty beer cans roll down the street like tumbleweeds. In June, when the students shuck their belongings, the sidewalk is scattered

with cheap plastic and faux wood. But it doesn’t take long before people swoop in to process the carrion of this overconsumption. Just as the student body dissipates, the tourists arrive. They amble down Church Street in white sneakers and khaki shorts, looking for ways to spend money. The Quebecois, in their designer jeans and sci-fi sneakers, bring a euro vibe that adds a cosmopolitan hue to our provincial outpost. When the sun begins to set, the tables on Church Street act like flowers, a source of nectar for those hoping to spread their pollen. Beers and cocktails condensate, while the possibility of sex lingers in the air. It billows like a loose skirt through bars and restaurants, and stops on the street corner where a couple deliberates, as if the night could lead anywhere but the one place they both want to go. In the winter, you find a partner and have practical sex to brace against the cold. But in the summer, sex is a way of celebrating the elements. You have it in the heat, with soil between your toes and sweaty skin that peels apart like wet leaves. Momentum carries me down Main Street and towards the setting sun. I needle my way onto the bike path, past pedestrians and cyclists. Fresh patches of black asphalt cover the scars of last year’s floods. Through the chainlink fence that hedges the narrow path, I catch a glimpse of someone walking the train tracks, perhaps a transient hoping to enter the city unseen. Picking up speed, I wheel past couples capturing memories and loners pondering their loneliness. Passing the park in Lakeside, there are kids playing on the corner playground. I take a right onto Central Avenue, then a quick left down my driveway. With my bike in the garage, I settle onto the back stoop and feel a cool breeze coming from the West. A streak of late day sun reflects off the water as if someone took a dandelion and smeared it across the skin of Lake Champlain. The day is over, but there are more to come.

thread magazine | summer 2012 | threadvt.com


FINDERS KEEPERS: TAKING WAKING WINDOWS II 12


WORDS // JOHN FLANAGAN PHOTOS // BEN SARLE

Last year, Angioplasty Media’s Waking Windows festival hung its hat at the Monkey House in Winooski for a marathon eleven days, from June 2nd-12th. Nick Mavodones and Paddy Reagan, the taste-making minds behind Angio, picked up the idea after Peter Negroponte’s Other Music Festival, an alternative to the Burlington Discover Jazz Fest. “It was sort of a protest,” Reagan said of the OMF. “After one year I think Pete just wanted to move on.” Reagan and Mavodones redubbed the OMF as Waking Windows when they adopted the festival. The name is based loosely off of a lyric in an In Tall Buildings song. At WWI, Future Islands played to a bursting, sweat soaked room, Kath Bloom recovered expertly from an awkward moment where a musician she’d invited on stage yelled at Bill Mullins for walking in the door with a guitar, and amongst a titanic list of other incredible shows, Jason Cooley played a DJ Schoolbus set, Ryan Power warped minds, and modest guitar genie Glenn Jones summoned myriad spirits. Last year’s festival focused on giving different musicians specific nights to curate. NNA Tapes, Greg Davis, and DJ Disco Phantom were among some of the contributors. “It kind of worked out,” says Reagan, “but it was exhausting as hell.” This year, the ado was expanded to new locales and corralled into three evenings and one day, May 10th-12th. Angio booked the entire event, though Matt Rogers of MSR Presents slotted the Blow and Mitten to finish off the festival on Saturday Night. An artist market and comedy show joined the previously all-musical line-up as well. thread magazine | summer 2012 | threadvt.com


Venues for WWII included completely unheard of spaces, such as the Winooski Welcome Center and the StopLight Gallery, as well as local haunts not used to having High Life-buzzed hipsters crowding through their doors, such as the Block Gallery and the Methodist Episcopal Church, on East and West Allen Streets respectively. The fourth floor of the Winooski parking garage was to host a Saturday daytime rock show, but due to scheduling conflicts and time restrictions, bands were moved indoors. DAY ONE Festivities began on Thursday in a rain-threatening twilight. Reagan and Lendway guitarist/Metal Monday promoter Matt Hagen were setting up the Welcome Center, while Waylon Speed loaded into the Monkey across the street. A representative from Long Trail, a sponsor of the event, chatted up the Monkey bartender who was drinking Red Bulls in anticipation of a long night ahead. Despite the absence of a crowd, Reagan and Hagen, joined by Henry Webb, played a slow and improvised soundscape guitar set under the name Sir Round Sound. The trio drifted

“I think this is the longest I’ve ever been in Winooski.” Linc Holloran / Hello Shark

into dark recesses that culminated with Ha- Meanwhile, Brett Hughes began his set to a gen’s signature use of an amplified electric half-packed Monkey. drill. Eight framed photographs hung behind them, illuminated by bright washes of blue “Lowell, you want to come up?” he asked of the lights, and a few scattered strands of hang- impressively mustachioed Lowell Thompson, ing bulbs punctuated the mood. Jason “Liggy” about to enjoy his dinner. “I know you got your Liggett, also a sponsor, designed and provided pizza n’ all.” Kelly Ravin, of Waylon Speed, mothe lighting. As Sir Round Sound’s gentle noise seyed up instead, joining Hughes for “Maybe I gasped slowly into silence, the musicians sat Will,” a staple at Hughes’ Honky Tonk Tuesdays contemplatively for a moment. at the Radio Bean in Burlington. Thompson came up next. As the flannel crowd ushered “That was a really good thing for me to do first closer to the stage, it became clear that WWII thing,” Reagan said. was already prompting an unintentional cate gorization of Burlington’s diverse scene. Those Hagen elaborated: “Yeah, it got light, it got drawn more to the subtleties of tradition stood dark…” in reverence of the Telecaster barks and wails at the Monkey, while at the Welcome Center, “And I think I bit my lip,” Reagan finished. those attracted to the think-piece noise of elec tronic deconstruction stood still and watched Reagan then switched modes to become SnakeFoot and Principal Dean wage a techy soundman for Missy Bly, who kicked off her set assault. Of course, there were plenty drawn towith her wonderfully breathy “Songbird Road.” wards both sides of the street; $25 earned this type the all-access chance to dawn a WWII pin Below: Parmaga performing at the Winooski Welcome Center. Right: The Blow at the Monkey House. // Ben Sarle


and dodge Winooski traffic in a venue-hopping, schizophrenic blur. After missing the Smittens accidentally, it was a pleasure to watch SnakeFoot (Ross Travis) and Principal Dean (Miles Dean Ewell) team up for a mostly slow, dreamy synth set that took advantage of the spaces between their sound as much as it carved out somehow melodic, postcatchy riffs. It could have been rapped over, but it’s best it was not. The duo’s sound that night landed someplace between Hello Nasty and what the Well-Tempered Clavier might have sounded like had Bach smoked DMT. After a set of smoky harmonies from the very catchy, and very good, Shelly Shredder, Waylon Speed closed out the evening over at the Monkey. The band was fresh from the road and from recording their latest disc of alt-country/ metal tunes, Valance. Well past midnight, the Speed crew let loose in an atmosphere more congenial to their sound than the spartan blackness of the Higher Ground’s Showcase Lounge, where their sold-out CD release party was held a week earlier. One particular audience member in a green hat screamed along to every word of their hit, “I Heard the Shot.” The night ran smoothly, though a resident living above the Welcome Center did ask Reagan to turn the music down before any of it started. DAY TWO “Friday was just awesome in general,” Reagan said in an interview after the festival was over. The evening did in fact offer some of the most revered names in town alongside unheard of talent from afar. The most impressive outof-towner, perhaps, was North America. The duo was supposed to play last year, but broke down in White Hall and couldn’t make it. North America’s set at the StopLight began to a nearly empty room, though a sizable crowd gathered as tweets and texts championed their notto-miss, mad scientist instrumentals. Their simple guitar/drum instrumentation revealed complex extremes and spot-on orchestration. “Yeah they reached out to me for a chance to play again,” Reagan said at the show. “I was like, ‘Hell yeah, mofos.’” Before North America played another notable band of outsiders, Jaw Gems. And though the StopLight certainly earned the “worst smelling room of the evening” award, it also offered the thread magazine | summer 2012 | threadvt.com


most worthy alternatives to bands that play in town frequently. Jaw Gems, featuring members of Portland, Maine-based Brenda, punned on their city of origin by playing a spot-on cover of Washed Out’s “Feel It All Around,” better known as the theme song to IFC’s Portlandia. Locals in the StopLight that night included Spacemen Saturday Night, who fostered a somewhat awkward vibe, though the maladjusted mood was not altogether unwelcome – and perhaps even sought out. The band earned paltry snickers for off-target jokes about selling out to Johnson & Johnson, a quip somehow tied to Time magazine’s then-popular breastfeeding fandango. The scattered, younger crowd – more of a gang, really – then head banged along to Gloaming, also from Burlington. Despite the band’s “I don’t give a fuck that my amp isn’t any bigger than a laser printer” approach, their sound was full, thoughtful, and very, very driving. They packed in tremolo picking, thick bass chugs, and a mid-set primal scream from their drummer, whose bass drum kept trying to escape her. All in all, it was good music to bury a body to. Flashing behind the band was a potpourri of video clips mashed together by the multitalented Rebecca Kopyinski, AKA Nuda Veritas, who performed immediately after Gloaming. Next door, the picture frames were noticeably more crooked than they were the night before. On stage, Lendway was reminding the crowd

how good they are. Their set expanded upon While PooLoop razzled and dazzled with their Mike Clifford and Matt Hagen’s intricate gui- Keytar prowess, Monkey soundman Ben tar riffing found on their latest release, Giant Mayock downed a 5-hour Energy drink. Places. “I think I’m going to need someone to drive me “Anyone know a joke?” Clifford asked at one home tonight,” he said. Then he clapped his point as he tuned. One audience member hands together and shook his head. missed the implied rhetorical delivery and told some long-winded groaner about a bear Dino Bravo followed PooLoop with a heavy doing drugs at a bar, or something. The band set of tunes that sported enough muscle and pretended to kick him out and then teased Led showmanship to vindicate the band’s WWF Zeppelin’s “No Quarter.” namesake. Following their set, hoards ambled over to catch Hello Shark at the Welcome CenDespite more unfamiliar bands elsewhere, I ter. couldn’t justify missing Swale. Their cover of Guided By Voices’ “Smothered in Hugs” vin- “I think this is the longest I’ve ever been in Windicated my decision. Singer and guitarist Eric ooski,” said HS front man Linc Holloran to a Ford withdrew expertly extracted feedback to mostly-seated crowd. The melancholy, yet elpile upon the bands dissonant drone. Crouched egant, set toured through Holloran’s quivering, inches from his amplifier, he played berserk sardonic delivery of lyrics that sound like every riffs reminiscent of Lennon’s work on “The band English majors especially love, and yet End,” or Jeff Tweedy’s SG tempests on Kicking Hello Shark sounds like no other band at all: Television. I was so mesmerized that I showed “Hamlet, you’re an idiot / I can’t believe you fell up too late to see any of the comedians per- for it.” forming at the Block Gallery, and had to help The Shark folks ended with their Roy Ayersinspired “My Life.” Back at the MoHo, DJ Disco rearrange furniture instead. Phantom played “Spirit In the Sky” and Hol The Monkey’s bands for the evening were loran showed up to cut a rug. equally outstanding. I’m sorry to have missed DAY THREE Teleport, but Vedora, a trio from Burlington clad in all-white garb, dished out the pure heavy. Surely their upcoming debut album, By Saturday morning, the sun was out and funded by their Kickstarter campaign, will find nobody had yet been hit by a car. Brunchers ambled the sidewalks of Winooski, a squadron a welcoming crowd. of leather-clad bikers drove revving through


the rotary, and the Waking Windows Artist standing of scope for next year,” he continued. trums was a special tribute to Adam Yauch via Market was being put-up. I knew it would be “We now know what works, what doesn’t.” Rea- a “So What’cha Want” cover the fallen Beastie a day of pleasant incongruity when a woman gan’s observation speaks to the sheer impos- probably would have loved. handed me a bucket of bricks and a chain- sibility of catching so many good shows on saw. The bricks went to stabilize the artists’ Saturday that were happening all at once. The As the hectic day wound into a hectic evening, tables; the chainsaw I hid. Jaw Gems returned overwhelming deluge of decisions left many the Monkey was brimming with a crowd exto offer their mellow meters for shoppers and festivalgoers resigned to sitting restfully and cited to see the Blow perform. The Blow, AKA passersby. Among the artists were PooLoop’s drinking at the Monkey. Amongst this crowd Mikhaela Yvonne Maricich, used to feature James Belizia, also of Blue Button and Heloise was Trapper Keeper, whose brief show at the Jona Bechtolt, now of the super famous elec& the Savior Faire, Frances Cannon, Genese StopLight attracted a fervent group of young- tro-cult band, Yacht. As a solo artist, Maricich Grill, and Amy Wild, AKA Where Clothing. Dre sters perhaps to young to know what a Trapper combines experimental songwriting with difIdle helped organize the event. Keeper is. They liked the music though. ficult performance art not easily accessible to most audiences…i.e. not everybody loved her The anticipated show of the day, for many, was 10K Volt Ghost played the Stoplight as well, led set. A highlight of the show was when Mayock Ben Mayock’s solo set at the Block Gallery. by singer/guitarist Jeff Foran’s dynamic song- sang along to a boom box he found outside. Mayock, an unbelievably talented and profes- writing that refuses to be anything close to sionally trained musician, currently has a re- catchy. Spirit Animal, whom I’ve been a fan of As the wave of the festival swept back into cording project underway that will add to his for years, played their goddamn hearts out. the recessed beach of Sunday morning, Winalready impressive arsenal of work – though ooski felt not unlike the aftermath of exerhis modesty leaves many who might be inter- By late afternoon, the block gallery was full and cise. Alongside the exhaustion was a sense of ested out of the loop. Mayock was ready to play. His wry lyrics sung achievement, perhaps pride, brought about via sternly alongside his acoustic guitar playing our often-dispersed local bands’ collective flex. In the meantime, a bombardment of bands on quickly hushed the murmuring crowd, and like Angio and MSR’s healthy roster of upcoming the heavier side drew moderate, though fanatic anything truly great, it was over far too soon. shows signifies no risk of atrophy. Stay tuned crowds at the StopLight. The originally slotted for Hess is More and Jeffery Jerusalem at the lineup had changed significantly due to drop- While I regret being unable to watch Death Ves- Monkey on June 27th, Futurebirds on July 6th, outs, which turned out for the best. sel, Wren and Mary, Parmaga, and Best (now also at the Monkey, and perhaps even a little Great) Western, I was fortunate enough to Mount Eerie and Zamuto. No need to wait for “The thing that helped us most was bands catch Blue Button, who headlined at the Stop- these shows to hear cutting-edge music, howcancelling,” said Reagan, whose band, Paper Light. Alongside Jason Cooley’s frenetic tan- ever. That you can get at just by sticking your Castles, canceled. “We have a better underhead out the window. Below: Spirit Animal at the StopLight. Left: One of DJ Disco Phantom’s many turntables.

thread magazine | summer 2012 | threadvt.com


the spot Above: Archie’s Italian herb-marinated portobello burger. Right: The famous salmon burger.

words // margo callaghan photos // elliot dodge debruyn

40 18


words // lettie stratton images // ben sarle

Surfboards, palm trees, and tropical fish aren’t usually the first things that come to mind when you picture land-locked Vermont, but upon entering The Spot restaurant, I found myself transported into what could easily be a post-surf, beachside food-stop. It’s the kind of place you could walk into with your shoes leaving a trail of sand behind you and no one would say a thing. Hell, you might not even be wearing shoes in the first place.

Above: Chef Leu’s unbelievable pad thai.

In the 1950’s, 210 Shelburne Road served as a Phillips 66 gas station. In 2008 Russ Scully was given the opportunity to bring his passions for surfing and food to the site and reinvented the building as The Spot. Evidence of Scully’s Jersey shore surfing days hang all around the restaurant, as our Waitress, Laura, would later tell us “Many of the photos on the walls are of Russ and his friends surfing… They’re pretty extreme!” The Spot has received its share of local press last year surrounding the addition of a wind turbine on its blue and white striped batwing roof, a move which city planners felt took away from the structure’s status as one of Burlington’s historic landmarks. The objections were really about the “fins” attached to the turbine, which are there to help the turbine reach its maximum potential for energy-production…and make it look a bit like a space-exploring droid.

Turbine drama aside, The Spot presents a carefree, laid back atmosphere conducive to family dining or a casual night out. Thread Editor, Ben Sarle and I were seated at a table next to a garage-style door that let in just the right amount of evening light. I spotted several California license plates, a painting of two red parrots, and various tribal masks as I sat down. The ample outdoor patio seating would certainly be more of a draw if it weren’t overlooking the very un-beach-like traffic on Route 7.

There’s a lot to look at in The Spot. Near the bamboo-paneled checkout counter, a large surfboard draped with Hawaiian leis displays a chalk listing of the day’s specials. Blue waves painted along the lower portion of the walls snake their way around the entirety of the restaurant. I looked past the Encyclopedia of Surfing on a table in front of me and saw a small boy peering through the glass of The Spot’s 150-gallon saltwater fish tank, gazing keenly at its finned blue and yellow residents. I wondered

thread magazine | summer 2012 | threadvt.com


Above: The Cloudbreak Salad

briefly if those same fish were on the menu, and then thought better of it. After emerging from the kitchen to tell us that the chef would like to bring us three dishes as long as we liked seafood (we did) and didn’t mind being full (we didn’t), Restaurant Manager Jacob Smith told us that The Spot’s location makes it easily accessible for people who live and work in the area. “Our core customer base is Shelburne’s local population,” he said. “Route 7 is not usually a hub for food, but we get a lot of lunch traffic. A lot of people in suits!” Smith

Don’t miss The Spot at: 210 Shelburne Rd. Burlington, VT 05401 802.540.1778 thespotvt.com

continued to explain that parking is a huge draw for The Spot’s customers as well. “It’s hard to get to a place like The Farmhouse and park on a busy night,” he said. “It’s all about convenience.” While waiting for the food, I sat back and took in The Spot’s island-style décor. The interior is plastered floor to ceiling with surfing photos. Most of the once-bare surfaces are now covered with Dakine, Roxy, Gravis, and Quiksilver stickers, conjuring images of seaside gear shacks, wetsuit rentals, and sun-streaked hair. These furnishings, coupled with the ease and

breeze of a no-stress environment, made me feel as though I were on a mini tropical vacation. Before I could get too lost in the tropics though, the Cloudbreak Salad arrived, served with house balsamic vinaigrette atop a bed of fresh greens. The combination of grilled chicken, hard-boiled egg, bleu cheese crumbles, diced tomato, bacon, and fanned avocado slices made for the perfect appetizer on a 90+ degree day. Had we not been sharing, I would have immediately had plate envy when our server,


Laura, put the Front Loop dish down in front of Ben. The crab enchiladas were served with rice, refried beans, salsa, guacamole, and sour cream, and were especially good with a dab of The Spot’s homemade pineapple habanera hot sauce (once I got up the nerve to try it, that is). Our final (and my favorite) dish was the Peahi— two fish tacos topped with mango salsa, lettuce, red cabbage and chipotle sauce. Ben and I agreed that they’re definitely the biggest fish tacos in town, and the mango salsa paired nicely with the more muted flavor of the fish.

to order online and do a drive-through pickup. Get your fish tacos to go, en route to your favorite wave-riding location! Russ Scully’s interest in and dedication to water sports has successfully transformed this formerly forgettable gas-stop to a seriously memorable, true to its name “Spot”. Scully and his staff have created this engaging environment

in which to enjoy a low-key, tasty meal. After eagerly eating enough food to satisfy even the most famished of surfers, Ben and I had no room for dessert. As we left, I felt relaxed and even thought I might like to try surfing at some point in life. For now though, I think I’ll stick to one or two of The Spot’s delicious fish tacos and call it a night. Surf’s up!

The rest of The Spot’s cuisine is what you would expect—plenty more options (shrimp and snapper) for the seafood lover as well as choices for the more vegetable-inclined and those who enjoy the taste of a good landlubbing animal. The menu itself is printed over a quintessentially Hawaiian image, complete with bright pink hibiscus flowers and palm trees. Many of the dishes are named after famous surf spots or tricks—did you know that “Cloudbreak” is the go-to location in Fiji? Or that the waves at “Peahi” can be so big, the location is also known as “Jaws”? You’d be well on your way to becoming a surf spot expert after doing a little research on the menu. There’s even the option

plans for dinner tonight? Archie’s Grill 4109 Shelburne Rd Shelburne, VT 05482 802.985.4912 archiesgrill.com

Shanty on the Shore 181 Battery Street Burlington, VT 05401 802.864.0238 shantyontheshore.com

Pistou Restaurant 61 Main Street Burlington, VT 05401 802.540.1783 pistou-vt.com

Chef Leu’s House 5761 Shelburne Rd Shelburne, VT 05482 802.985.5258 chefleu.com

thread magazine | summer 2012 | threadvt.com


HEY.

sweet bike.

WORDS & PHOTOS: Raychel Severance. INTRO PHOTO: Ben Sarle. Fooled you! Maybe you thought this was another magazine feature on folks with pimped out fixies and bikes that cost more than the camera used to photograph them. But what about the rest of us? We can’t all afford aero spokes, Campagnolo wheel sets, or sometimes even a decent derailleur that’s not on the verge of breaking into a billion pieces every time we ride to the corner store for a pouch of rolling tobacco. What about those of us whose bikes aren’t beautiful because of cosmetics, but character? Some of the bikes I see around town are so rich with personality that it doesn’t matter that this tall bike has welds that’ve been haphazardly fixed three times or that cruiser has a seat that looks like it was eaten by a rabid dog when it fell over one night. No, your bike won’t sell for $1000 on Craigslist, and is kind of a piece of shit, but it’s beautiful because you made it that way. We recognize our bikes as an extension of ourselves; our connection to a lifestyle we live, and we wear it on our sleeves and in our spokes. This, folks, is a tribute and an homage to those bikes and their riders who don’t apologize for the bumps and bruises their rides have acquired along the way, reminding us that what really makes a good bike is one that is simply ridden.

22 40


BEN ALESHIRE

Breed of bike: A two-wheeler Bike Recycle bike. Bike’s name: Nameless, like Clint Eastwood. If you read your bike a bedtime story, what would you read it?: The Goose That Laid the Golden Egg. Or Goldilocks.

thread magazine | summer 2012 | threadvt.com


SHANNON DARBY

Breed of bike: 1930s Elgin Pope. Bike’s name: Buster. If your bike was a blues musician, what would its name be?: Sweet Crank Johnson.


BEN BUCKLEY

Breed of bike: A Kludge McBike. Bike’s name: The Protest Warrior One word: Why?: Because I love seeing the look on tractor trailer drivers’ faces.

thread magazine | summer 2012 | threadvt.com


RICHARD SIDAY

Breed of bike: 1970s Raleigh Capri. Bike’s name: The Black Rider. If your bike could speak, what would it tell you?: “Ching Ching!”


COLE VanZANDT

Breed of bike: 1970s Viscount frame with Shimino parts. Bike’s name: Stripes 2.0. What’s the most awesome thing about your bike?: Coaster brake and suicide brake.

thread magazine | summer 2012 | threadvt.com


EVAN MARCHMAN

Breed of bike: Alpha. Bike’s name: Light Infantry. Tell us something about your bike: *spits on my recorder.* Free on gas.


JEFF McEACHERN

Breed of bike: Fuji Feather. Bike’s name: Nameless, but I always refer to her as a female. If your bike was an action hero, which one would it be?: Spiderman; gets me up and around and from here to there real quick.

thread magazine | summer 2012 | threadvt.com


BEN SARLE

Breed of bike: Peugeot Marseille converted fixie. Bike’s name: Doesn’t have one. When your bike goes to the bar, what does it order?: A shot of Maker’s and a PBR.


TRAV FRYER

Breed of bike: Robin Hood Cruiser. Bike’s name: Dilly. If your bike was reincarnated as an animal, what would it be?: A sea otter.

thread magazine | summer 2012 | threadvt.com


ren.

Breed of bike: Dumpstered Raleigh. Bike’s name: Matilda. If you could add anything to your bike, what would you add?: A flame thrower.


PHINN SONIN

Breed of bike: Penny Farthing high wheel made by the wheel man in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Bike’s name: The Ordinary or Junkman’s Brother! Who rode your bike in its previous life?: Henry David Thoreau.

thread magazine | summer 2012 | threadvt.com


Pizzeria Verita

words // J.D. Landry images // Ben Sarle

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Above: The Spitfire Sour Right: David Abdoo serves up the Cherry Amore pie Below: Kat Clear’s custom designed firewood rack

Upon entering Pizzeria Verita, I was first greeted by John Rao, who along with his business partner, Leslie Wells, started the restaurant with the intention of bringing authentic Neopolitan pizza to Burlington. John could not conceal his excitement for his new project and jumped right into telling me that he has traveled all over Italy and the east coast of the United States sampling different pizzas and returning home to Vermont to test out newfound ideas in his backyard clay oven. I was then introduced to the mustache-wearing, and perpetually smiling general manager David Abdoo who wasted no time in making sure that I had a Magic Hat Pilsner in my hand immediately and offering me appetizers before I had even been seated. Although the sign outside reads Pizzeria Verita, once you step inside you’ve been welcomed into John’s and Leslie’s and David’s dinner party. And they want you to have it all: the sweet with the savory, the rustic with the metropolitan, the service of a five star restaurant with the comfort of eating at your best friends’s house. And in the true fashion of a dinner party, the buzz about Pizzeria Verita has been spread by word of mouth and social media as opposed to traditional advertising. thread magazine | summer 2012 | threadvt.com


One of the first things you will see upon entering the restaurant is a supply of firewood stacked neatly and held together by a rack created by Kat Clear, whose handiwork you may recognize as the city’s most crowded bike rack located outside of a local Bean slinger. If you raise your gaze just a bit, you’ll see the oven that was brought over from Italy where the firewood meets its end at 900 degrees Fahrenheit. And in between the oven and where you stand, you are bound to see a room full of laughing and chewing and smiling faces. Lots of them, especially considering it was a Tuesday night and it was pouring rain outside. The spacious main room has four pillars constructed from wood that was taken from the Thurston Sugar Maple House in Charlotte and dates to circa 1802. Affixed to each of the four pillars is a sconce with perforated metal again crafted by Clear. Observant folk may notice where Clear’s inspiration for the shape and

design of the lights come from if they look carefully at the Pizzeria Verita emblem on the front of the menu. Other lights, notably those hanging above the tables by the windows at the North side of the restaurant, which cast a soft yellow glow above the diners, were designed by Conant Lights of Burlington. The interior was done by JDK Design, who used metal on many surface tops, but decided to keep with an overall rustic feel using wooden floors and barrels to achieve this. One thing that struck me about the space was how open it seemed. This is amazing considering that the restaurant was full for most of the time I was there. The tables were very well placed; it seemed like the waitstaff had no trouble maneuvering around them and no customer appeared to be lacking in personal space. The windows that had been dry-walled over by a previous owner have been re-exposed and restored to let in more of the dusky Vermont summer sun.

After my dining partner and I were seated, David began our night with a salad comprised of a sunrise of yellow, pink and red beets, with avocado wedges surrounding a delicate bed of microgreens. He also arranged a cheese and meat plate featuring the house-made mozzarella which perfectly offset the saltiness of speck and marinated olives. The bartender then brought over a drink called the “Spitfire Sour”, which perfectly combines the tart of citrus, the spice of red pepper and a creaminess provided by egg white. After hearing of our decision to order the Salsiccia e Rapini pie, David insisted that we try one of the night’s specials and put in an additional order for a pizza called the “Cherry Amore”. Owner John Rao’s daughter Grace takes credit for this masterpiece’s inclusion on the menu; she had discovered this concoction on a trip to New York City where she and her father were looking for pizza inspiration. The Amore features dried cherries, arugula, and hot honey drizzle. Its sweetness acted as the perfect foil to the relative spiciness of the Salsiccia pie. One of the nice features of Verita pizzas is that they are cut into four large slices. When folded up, the “Cherry Amore” was more sandwich than pizza, with its generous portion of greens and meat. The owners of Pizzeria Verita try to source as many ingredients from Vermont as possible. The creamy burrata cheese comes from Vermont Maplebrook farms; the mozzarella is house-made. In addition, the arugula and both the fennel and hot Italian sausages are Vermont-sourced. However, to stay true to the Neapolitan recipe, San Marzano tomatoes and Antimo Caputo flour are both imported from Italy. John Rao has spent years perfecting his recipe for pizza dough before opening Verita. He claims he’s been working on it for four years; his daughter Grace will tell you it’s been seven. John’s drive for the perfect dough has paid off. It tastes light and airy which allows the flavors of the toppings to be fully realized. The menu also features three gluten-free options while at least half of the pizzas on the menu are vegetarian-friendly. The beer list is extensive, with a total of 18 beers to choose from, with nine on tap and nine in bottles. Both the house red and white wines are tapped from the barrel, and can be purchased by the glass,


Above: Pizza alla Nutella Left: A salad comprised of a sunrise of yellow, pink and red beets, with avocado wedges surrounding a delicate bed of microgreens

“It’s only a matter of time before they change the name of this street to San Paulo!” DAVID ABDOO

half carafe or full carafe. The wine list also boasts of seven white wines, nine reds, one rose and one prosecco. While American Flatbread looks to push the boundaries of the traditional American pizza with their progressive pies, Pizzeria Verita wants to offer you a taste of country you may have never been to, or if you have, then to satisfy a taste you have longed for since leaving Italy. Together with their neighbors Trattoria Delia, Burlington now offers a nice slice of Europe on St. Paul Street. David Abdoo jokes “It’s only a matter of time before they change the name of this street to San Paulo!” When asked if he was worried that past restaurants located at 156 St. Paul had had trouble, Abdoo says he is not concerned. “It’s what you do with a place,” he adds. If his logic is cor-

rect, then it is true that he has nothing to worry about. He and his colleagues have not only created a space that is as comfortable in Burlington as it is unique to it, but they have assembled a waitstaff who provide top-notch service and are more than eager to help you get the most out of your dining experience. Watching David and John bustle around the room all night answering questions, listening to feedback, shaking hands and making recommendations, it’s hard to imagine them ever falling out of touch with their clientele. After our feast, we had little room left for dessert, but Abdoo would hear none of it. “You’re here, you gotta taste!” he assured us after telling one of his servers to put in an order for one of their specialties - the Pizza alla Nutella. Yes, it is a pizza shell, that is as crispy as fennel cake but a little more substantial, that

has been drizzled with chocolate sauce and caramelized sugar. And yes, it is even more delicious than it sounds. To cap off the night, I ordered the Green Mountain Mojito, which features rum, cinnamon, maple, lime, and of course, mint and makes for another terrific melange of spicy, sweet and tart. A restaurant run by people with so much passion for serving up delicious, healthy food and enthusiasm for constant refinement of their craft seems built to last. Pizzeria Verita is poised to carve out a niche in a city that up until now has never had anything like it. With its reverence for the culinary traditions of Italy, and its love and appreciation of Vermont’s agriculture, it looks as if Pizzeria Verita is well on its way to becoming a Burlington institution.

thread magazine | summer 2012 | threadvt.com


tj

donovan

words // zach despart image // ben sarle

On a rainy Saturday evening in Burlington’s South End, Chittenden County State’s Attorney TJ Donovan stands in a living room in front of about twenty friends, family, and supporters. Donovan is vying to be Vermont’s next attorney general — the top law enforcement officer in the state.

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decided. Rich Carlson, the polling director at the Castleton Institute, noted that many of those polled didn’t know who Donovan was.

Donovan, 38, faces an uphill battle in his bid to unseat seven-term incumbent William Sorrell in the Democratic primary The event is informal and relaxed (Dono- Aug. 28. Sorrell has served as attorney years ago in connection with a drunken van’s two-year-old son, Jack, strikes keys general since being appointed by Gov. fight on Church Street. Donovan plead to and random on the piano behind him until Howard Dean in 1997. a lesser charge and the incident was exbeing scooped up by Donovan’s wife, Jess), punged from his record, Seven Days rebut the candidate pays no mind. Despite While being separated in age by a quarter ported. Sorrell denied any involvement the loose setting, Donovan’s tone is seri- century, the two men have had curiously with the leak. ous. He speaks for about fifteen minutes. similar careers. Both are natives of BurlHe sounds prepared — rehearsed but not ington born into political families. Both re- The candidates have refrained thus far stale; brief but cogent. After all, this isn’t turned to the Queen City after law school from criticizing each other publicly, but his first foray into politics; he’s twice been and rose through the ranks of the Chit- it appears the gloves will come off as the elected to his current office. tenden County State’s Attorney’s office to race heads into the summer. There are become its chief prosecutor. less than 90 days until the primary. His remarks are well-received, but these aren’t the folks he has to persuade — it’s While other statewide incumbents are Thread Magazine sat down with TJ DonoVermonters across the state who need facing only token opposition (Secretary of van to talk politics, family, basketball and convincing, many of whom have never State Jim Condos is running unopposed), beer. heard of Donovan, much less know any- the AG’s contest is shaping up to be the thing about him. In the only major poll must-watch race of the summer. If the Why are you running for attorney general? of the race thus far, a sampling done in last few weeks are any indication, neither May by the Castleton Institute for WCAX- candidate will emerge from the campaign I think it’s time for a change. I think it’s TV, 49 percent of respondents said they unscathed. Shortly before this issue went time for a debate about the attorney genwould vote for Sorrell in the Democratic to print, an anonymous source leaked eral’s office; without debate there’s no Primary. Donovan polled at 23 percent, to Seven Days that Donovan had been democracy. Vermont is facing new chalwhile a quarter of respondents were un- charged with aggravated assault twenty lenges and with that we need new energy. I


think there are a lot of good things we can do. This is going to be a tough race, and I’ll go anywhere and do anything it takes to win. I’m gonna work the shoe leather and knock on doors and talk to people. I drove down to Rutland at 5:30 this morning to speak at the Rotary Club so I could make it back to Burlington for work. That’s what it’s going to take.

Could you talk about the significance of clear power expert, but the oldest nuclear the endorsement by the Vermont Sher- power plant in the world is 44 years old. Vermont Yankee is 40. It’s not going to run iff’s Association? for another 20 years. We have to look at It’s an honor to be endorsed by the Ver- the end game and protect Vermont’s semont sheriffs’ and troopers’ unions. curity. It’s important to ensure that EnterThey’re looking to build a strong relation- gy Louisiana, the company that owns the ship with the state’s top cop, and I’m proud plant, fully funds the decommissioning fund, which is only partially funded now. to have their support.

What do you think of the WCAX poll that put you down 25 points to Bill Sorrell?

I’ve also been endorsed by Dick Sears, the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, as well as the mayors of Rutland, Barre and Winooski and 160 attorneys across the state.

I think it’s significant that Bill Sorrell, the seven term incumbent, polled at less than 50 percent. That means this race is winnable. There are a lot of undecided voters Do you think that Bill Sorrell has done a in this race. poor job fighting to close Vermont Yankee? Do you the results would be different if that poll were held today? I’m not going to second-guess what Bill did. It’s a legal case and right now it’s on Absolutely. It’d be a lot closer if it were appeal. What I will say is that I will fight to held today. protect the Vermont taxpayer. I’m no nu-

How does your experience prepare you to be the attorney general? As the head of the Chittenden County state’s attorney’s office, we’ve won every major case we’ve brought to trial — the conviction of Brian Rooney for the murder of Michelle Gardner-Quinn, Timothy Dowd for the DUI murder of Kaye Borneman, Michael Lewis on two counts of manslaughter.

thread magazine | summer 2012 | threadvt.com


Could you talk about the rapid intervention community court program, which you helped implement? We have to take a public health model — holding people accountable, but giving them the opportunity to re-do. The recidivism rate is 40-50 percent, and a lot of these issues are drug-related. The program diverts non-violent offenders to mental health or substance abuse counseling, and eases the burden on the corrections system. We’ve had success with it here in Chittenden County, and Governor Shumlin wants to implement it statewide.

“You could be walking around lucky and not even know it.”

LET IT RIDE / 1989

all these different state boards, county vs. county. Why is Bennington doing it one way? Why is Chittenden doing it one way? How do we develop a consistent approach? And we were spinning our tires. There’s only one person in this state that can utilize that statewide jurisdiction and build that consensus and implement the best practices, and that’s the attorney general.

We need to identify people for screening; we need to create care and accountability. We’ve had success with the program — an 80 percent compliance rate in the first 18 months. It’s also an issue of fairness — unlike poverty, substance abuse and men- And this was really a time when it was tal illness don’t discriminate. county vs. county. This is really about leadership. It’s about utilizing technolCrime and corrections reform were big ogy, it is about having those partnerships issues in the 2010 gubernatorial race. Do so we share resources. It is really about you think they will be again this election? coming up with new ideas to address new challenges in the 21st century. When I They’re important issues. This recession was in these meetings it was clear to me brings new challenges. We must change – the top cop/chief law enforcement officer how we operate, and produce outcomes in needs to be involved and needs to be leada more efficient way. ing on these issues. Do you think that’s a third rail issue? Crime? Absolutely. I give Governor Shumlin tons of credit - most politicians are afraid of looking soft on crime. We have to build infrastructure on the front end. I want to be a partner to the governor on that issue. It’s time to be tough on crime but also smart on crime — we can’t arrest our way out of the problem. We have to find the best practices for enforcement. We need to bring in the medical community, bring in social services, discuss treatment options, open methadone clinics. It’s about intervention and prevention — we need to get to the root of the problem. We have to reform the criminal justice system. We have 14 different counties with 14 different ways of approaching crime. That’s something I would address as attorney general. The last couple years with the economic recession I was in these meetings with

dent loans. How do we attract new jobs to Vermont? This is about the future — safety, infrastructure. Public safety equals economic development. It’s as simple as that. We have to do more with less. The traditional method isn’t working. Safety keeps people in Vermont. You’re 27 years younger than your opponent. Do you think the young vote will be critical for you? Obviously, we want a high turnout in the primary. I need young people to vote; it’s always important for young people to participate. A lot of our efforts will be getting out the vote.

Have you always seen yourself working in public service? You were in private Do you think that the winner of this race practice and then you left to work in the will be determined in the Democratic pri- state’s attorney’s office six years ago. mary? Do you think any Republican candidate would be inconsequential? I love being a prosecutor. It’s a really rewarding job because you can help a lot of This primary is the race, for all intents and people. There’s a lot of interaction with purposes. No Republican has filed to be a people from all walks of life, policy issues, candidate yet. obviously legal issues. Some of the stories you deal with truly are stranger than fic(Editor’s note: since this interview was tion. There’s never been a dull moment — conducted, Republican Jack McMullen de- it’s been a great lesson in crisis manageclared his candidacy.) ment. Usually you have a crisis by 8:30 every day. You learn how to lead and you Does that make the campaign tougher for learn how to manage and delegate, and you, since it effectively shortens the race you learn how to get things done. by two months? That, coupled with lower turnout in the primary compared to the You learn to set priorities. When you talk general? about a vision, you gotta say “well, this is important.” We can do these ten things in It definitely informs our strategy — you a day, but what’s the one thing we have have to be skillful in getting out the vote. to be committed to over the course of the This is a changing world — I don’t think our next six months to a year to really make a generation will accept the way things have difference? That all goes back to the comalways been done. We struggle with who munity court thing. I’ve seen people in and can afford a starter home, if that even ex- out of the criminal justice system time and ists anymore, and how to pay to back stu- time again. Some of these people I grew


up with here in Burlington. And the demographic was kind of poor, uneducated, lacking jobs. We need to work to address these issues, like substance abuse and mental illness.

want to follow in your father’s footsteps?

mean, how old are you guys?

My father was a lawyer, other family Ben Sarle: 28 members were lawyers. I love history and Zach Despart: 22 have always been interested in politics. If I wasn’t a lawyer I’d be teaching high Jesus. So my time was in the early nineties I’ll be clear — I didn’t come up with these school history and coaching basketball. – it was a great time for music. It was Pearl ideas myself. This was a lot of different (Chuckling) I sometimes say to myself Jam, Soundgarden, Alice In Chains. I still people at the table talking and looking at “Why didn’t I do that?” love that music. what other national organizations and jurisdictions do. But it’s being able to look to My father was a lawyer who represented What’s your favorite bar downtown? Do the future and say, “this is what we want it regular folks. He represented people who you go out a lot? to look like.” Change is easy to talk about; didn’t have a lot of money but needed help. implementation is damn hard. He never made a lot of money, but there I’m getting too old. After work, we’ll either was great honor in that work. I want to be go to Finnegan’s or… what’s that wine bar? Do you think that Bill Sorrell hasn’t done the people’s lawyer. I want to represent Drink. an adequate job setting priorities? the middle class and I want to represent the working class, and I want to help the Favorite Ben & Jerry’s flavor? I can’t speak to what Bill has or hasn’t poor in this state. done. I’m running for the office, I’m not Coffee Heath Bar Crunch. running against Bill. I was always drawn to the aspect of public service, of what you can do with a law de- Beer? Can you talk about your family and how gree. You can do a lot of good — I saw my they helped make the decision to run for father help a lot of people. And that really Switchback. attorney general? resonated with me. Plus, I was no good at math or science. So it was kind of a path of Big basketball fan? My wife, Jess, works at the Howard Cen- least resistance! ter. She’s a mental health counselor/ cliHuge. NBA and college. Go Celts. [Rajon] nician. We have a son, Jack, and another What does TJ Donovan do when he’s not Rondo — best point guard in the league. child on the way. The challenge that a lot in a suit somewhere downtown? of young people in the state are facing, Which do you prefer to watch, college or we’re facing too. I worry about my mort- I spend time with my wife and son. I spend NBA? gage, I worry about taxes, I worry about a lot of time at the park. If I do have a free daycare costs and student loan payments. minute I love to read history. I love to golf, Regular season, definitely college. I like But I’m also committed to public service. but haven’t been in quite some time. I love March Madness, but I love the NBA playAnd so there’s a tension there sometimes to run — I’ve done two marathons. offs. because nobody’s gonna get rich in this business. Did you do the Vermont City Marathon I can’t stand the NBA regular season. last month? Jess has been a great partner and was Ugh. It’s unbearable. very supportive of my candidacy. And our Nope. No time to train. I’ll tell you, I’m revalues are the same and she believes in ally kind of a boring person. I work, I go What’s the last concert you’ve been to? what I’m doing, and knows that I’m do- home and I spend time with my family. If I ing it for the right reasons. She’s been get a chance to golf or run or play basket- Avett Brothers, out in Essex Junction. I my greatest partner and my greatest ad- ball, I’ll do it. I love to walk to work — a think it was last year. vocate. She’s been a tremendous help on great way to start and end the day. I wish I the campaign and in my life. I wouldn’t be was more exciting! Favorite movie? doing this without her. One of the movies that I love, and you What’s on your iPod? Are you worried about not being able to probably haven’t heard of it, is Let It Ride. have a full-time campaigning schedule Johnny Cash. Willy Nelson. What I’m into Richard Dreyfuss. It’s about horse racing, with a young child and another on the right now, been checking them out on Pan- and that’s why my dad loved it. We would way? go to Saratoga every year. There’s a redora… English band… “Little Lion Man.” ally famous line from that movie — “you I’m middle class. I’ve gotta work. I mean, Mumford & Sons. can be walking around lucky and not even there’s just no other way around it. My know it.” family is always going to come first. It goes Yeah. And just to show my generation… family, work, campaign. Pearl Jam. Love Pearl Jam. Love Eddie Does that describe yourself? [Vedder]. That documentary — Pearl Jam: Why did you want to be a lawyer? Did you 20. It’s unbelievable. Gets you fired up. I (Laughs) We’ll find out August 28. thread magazine | summer 2012 | threadvt.com


DAIRY DIARY A BURLINGTON CREEMEE TOUR

Ice Cream Bob’s Snack Shack

words // john flanagan photos // ben sarle

Creemee, cree-mee, or creamee, soft serve it is not. Perhaps nothing gets the collective goat of some Vermonters as does misidentifying the beloved dairy snack (usually vanilla, unless they have maple) swirled from a stainless steel machine into a sugar cone and smattered with a mantle of sprinkles (usually rainbow). “Isn’t that soft serve?” you ask in your foreign tongue. “Nope,” says Vermont. “That’s a creemee. Whatever it’s called, a dispute circles the creemee origin. Both Carvel and Dairy Queen claim to have invented the ice creamlite formula. Per the former, founder Tom Carvel realized in 1945 that customers actually liked goopy ice cream, after his truck broke down in Hartsdale, New York. DQ claims founders J.F. McCullough and his son, Alex, sold 1,600 soft servings in the two hours after they invented “the queen of dairy products” formula in Moline, Illinois – four years after Carvel’s happy accident. 42

“Creemee,” the almost gross bumpkinism reminiscent of simpler times, is alleged to connote a product with higher butterfat content, hence, a creamier swirl. Not so these days, however. Those who grew up eating creemees in Vermont have most likely been eating the same formula as the kids who ate soft serve in Massachusetts. The generic recipe includes soft serve mix (usually Hood) refrigerated at -3 degrees Celsius (almost ten degrees lower than ice cream) and blasted with air before curling out from the machine (usually a Taylor). “The creemee is like a weird, mythological concept,” said Vermont-born Johanna Parkers, who now lives in Denver with her husband, Travis – also from Vermont. “People in Denver don’t believe anyone would call it that.” The Parkers, who rarely eat soft serve in Denver, added they enjoy a novelty creemee indulgence whenever they visit their parents back home. The Parkers stood outside Al’s French Frys’ ice cream stand on a recent rainy day.


“The creemee is not really something we look forward to,” Mr. Parker said.

Al’s French Fries

“Doesn’t that make it a soft serve machine?” Thread asked. “No,” Adler said.

Al’s was stop five on Thread’s two-day taste test of Burlington’s most notorious creemees. From the three Taylor machines sitting side-by-side behind the counter at Al’s, Thread chose the mint with chocolate sprinkles. The Al’s creemee is a creamier creemee than others. It’s our guess that a milk fat higher than the 5% norm has something to do with it, though a young, red-shirted and black-smocked ice cream purveyor there could not confirm our suspicions. Thread’s creemee tour began with a classic chocolate and vanilla mix bedaubed with rainbow sprinkles from the Chubby Muffin, on 88 Oak Street. A girl named Tashina, who had been working the counter, called over a tired looking cook from the kitchen to execute a photo-worthy swirl. “I usually just make ‘em huge,” Tashina said as she watched her indifferent coworker fill an Eat-It-All cone with careless perfection. Benjy Adler, the Chubby Muffin’s owner, boasts his are some of the finest creemees in town. Adler cites his not-so-secret weapon as the local, all natural creemee mix he uses, provided by the St. Albans Cooperative Creamery.

Our next stop was Burlington Bay, whose maple “cree-mee” machine was broken. Ericka, a BB staffer, recommended the black raspberry with chocolate sprinkles (“A very popular combination”). Thread asked which flavor was most popular and Ericka fired off “maple” before the question was finished. She handed out our medium purchase, made from a Garelick Farms mixture, and snapped closed the window so as not to let in the rain. “Did Burlington Bay tell you they use real Vermont maple syrup?” asked Gabby, who was selling “creamees” from Ice Cream Bob’s snack shack near the waterfront. Gabby, wearing an oversized Wild Life shirt, was more than happy to dish on her geographically closest competitor. Ice Cream Bob’s displays a gallon of all-natural maple syrup from Sheldon, VT on their trackside counter. “People complain because our maple creemees don’t look like they have maple syrup in them,” Gabby said. “But that’s because Chubby Muffin

“Do you see the chocolate specks in there?” Adler asked of Thread’s first creemee. Thread saw them, and they were good. “Most people just use Hood,” Adler continued, “and if it isn’t Hood, it’s even worse.” Uniquely, the Chubby Muffin creemee-making process doesn’t involve a Taylor creemee machine, though the brand name of Adler’s machine is missing. “Most creemee machines are between 25,000 and 30,000 dollars,” Adler said, “I got this one at a reasonable price from a guy in Massachusetts.”

thread magazine | summer 2012 | threadvt.com


unlike some places, we don’t use dye.” Gabby said Bob’s recipe calls for 18 ounces of maple syrup mixed into a vanilla base. “The hard part is affording the maple,” she said. “It’s like, sixty bucks a gallon. By the end of the summer they say it could be seventy five.” Thread ordered the maple and Gabby offered samples of Bob’s raspberry, which is also made from local, all-natural ingredients. Both were good, though the rich maple left a stomach already busy digesting two creemees feeling less than stupendous. The too-sugary rainbow sprinkles were no help.

chocolate, and by sprucing his vanilla bean with vanilla paste, “Just to up the ante and get a little of that sparkle in there.” Van Liew handed Thread two cups of the pseudo-Italian dessert. “Voilà, Afogati!” he said, “That’s our plural.” As we shoveled down the goods, Van Liew told us about a recent bike trip he took with some friends to Charlotte. “We had some raw milk from a mother who had just had a cow two days prior. The milk still had the colostrum in it. It was yellow and custardy. I don’t do dairy, really, but I was being po-

...the zenith of creemee holiness... Tyler Van Liew, Bluebird Tavern Coffee Stop’s creemee expert, dished out the zenith of creemee holiness before the close of day one.

lite. I drank a pint of it. Then I biked home in 80-degree weather and it turned into butter. It was wild.” Thread called it a day after that and switched to Switchback, instead.

Any Venetian who prefers the traditional gelato spoonful beneath her short espresso may scoff at the Bluebird afogato (Italian for “drowned”), but the creemee substitute is fair enough. Van Liew, whose parents once ran a Ben & Jerry’s Scoop Shop, uses 10% milk fat for his signature creemees, which classifies them, technically, as ice cream. He doctors his Hood mix base by adding cream and chocolate flakes to the

After Al’s, round two took us to Beansie’s Bus, known to any New North End resident as the slow canary yellow school bus you get stuck behind at quitting time, famous for their Michigans. Owner Jay LaShombe, who inherited the bus, said Beansie’s has been around since 1944, though they’ve served creemees for only thirteen or fourteen years. Burlington Bay




Beansie’s

Bluebird Kiosk

thread magazine | summer 2012 | threadvt.com


QTee’s

The creemee is the Marlboro man of the dairy kingdom. The Beansie’s creemee is the most straightforward, gimmickless creemee in town. Chocolate. Vanilla. No sprinkles. “It’s not an issue that we don’t have sprinkles,” LaShombe said. When asked about the popularity between chocolate and vanilla, LaShombe said it’s an easy win: “Vanilla, 5:1.” Like Bluebird, Beansie’s bulks up the milk fat, though unlike Van Liew, LaShombe keeps his around eight or nine percent. To Thread, Beansie’s creemee tasted colder, though the torrential rain thundering beyond the bus’s canopy may have influenced our analysis. Thread’s creemee safari ended with the locale considered a “must” for any worthy creemee tour. Under QTEE’s blue awning, on N. Winooski, ice cream wiz Rachel, a Communications major at Stonehill College in

Massachusetts, dipped our final creemee into a vat of toasted coconut. The mixture beneath burst through the edible shellac and had to be eaten quickly. The cone, wrapped in American flag paper, was somewhat stale. As the Parkers pointed out at Al’s, creemees exist more as a cherished quirk than as a product of quality. Like the greasy burgers, dogs, and fries they’re often served subsequent to, creemees represent an American diet held dear by some for its resistance to change, its obstinacy against – or ignorance of – good health. The creemee is the Marlboro man of the dairy kingdom. Unless evolved à la Benjy Adler’s all-natural approach, or whipped into style as in Bluebird’s way, judging a better creemee is like judging which McDonald’s franchise makes a better Big Mac. The psychological cravings outweigh the nutritional ones, and loving creemees means nothing in the realm of nuance. Our conclusion? Unless it’s drowned in espresso, a creemee is a cree-mee is a creamee.


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thread magazine | summer 2012 | threadvt.com


barista’s grind coffee grind open sign ring up rhymes morning time peach scone singing tones counter zone ringing phone egg and cheese mouths to feed smile please moving feet hurried voices many choices pizza slices pay in prices milk soy skim or whole service role doughnut hole business plan biggest fan workers ban menu grand order taker pleasant faker smoke break bussin plates latte make workin late more to do soup to stew coffee brew make it thru tired hungry making money fill the honey weather sunny paycheck floor swept toddler mess do my best find my flow workers glow kiddos know April snow ketchup clean up order up ring me up soup to stew coffee brew shift is thru! coffee brew! brew, brew, brew

Madeleine Liebman illustration by zelde grimm


thread magazine | summer 2012 | threadvt.com


thread magazine | summer 2012 | threadvt.com


threadmagazine issue #2 early fall 2011

thread magazine | summer 2012 | threadvt.com

Thread Magazine issue #6  

Burlington's arts & culture magazine.

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