So last Saturday I found myself in one of Vermont’s outlying areas, in other words, I wasn’t in Portsmouth or Burlington. And I was hungry — OK I was slightly hungover, but the nights are long and cold in northern New England, and if there isn’t much going on during daylight hours, there’s even less of it after 8 pm and accessing it requires at least an hour’s drive, which makes slumping against the baseboard heater in your hotel room with a fifth of Jameson’s about the only game in town as far as I can tell.
So with an hour to kill and a grumbly gut, Mr. S and I made our way to West Lebanon’s signature eatery, Maplefield’s, which sounds like a quaint inn with a fireplace and a big floppy dog, but which is in reality a gas station, albeit of the gourmet variety with tables. It was with heavy hearts that, having located it, we slopped through the door prepared to make do with a hot dog or Twinkie for brunch. Instead, I at least, found myself at the pretzel gates of culinary heaven as I lurched ecstatically toward the counter of the Amato’s franchise, located just behind the display of motor oil and windshield wiper solvent. I am not exaggerating when I say I choked up and may even have shed a tear or two.