The Unpretentious Gourmet

How to make spring rolls

By pchendler | June 6, 2014 |

From the very start of The Paddle, when Chef Phoebe created her very first menu, she wanted to offer a little something for everyone. She believed that in order to be successful, especially these days and particularly in a “destination” location such as South Hero in the Champlain Islands, she had to make her menu…

The story of Caesar salad

By pchendler | May 23, 2014 |

In most restaurants you can find Caesar salad on the menu. People love the crisp freshness of the romaine lettuce, the crunchiness of the croutons and the savoriness of the grated Parmesan. And, of course, that creaminess of that hate-to-love Caesar dressing. I say “hate to love” because while it is a salad and seemingly…

How to make risotto

By pchendler | May 9, 2014 |

“Want to write about risotto this week, Mandy?” Sure, I said, and immediately started an impromptu interview with Chef Phoebe about her risotto. Questions and more questions. Our little tete-a-tete became more like an interrogation, I’m afraid. (I’m the front-of-the-house gal for a reason.) So, just as quick as our talk about this dish began,…

Friends and soup

By pchendler | April 25, 2014 |

One of our Paddle Crew pulled me aside the other night and let me know that a couple of dinner guests were inquiring, once again, about our beautiful hand-made paddle hanging in our bar area. “Would you go talk to the two people standing by your paddle, Mandy? They want one,” she said. I could…

The Mary Powell special

By pchendler | April 11, 2014 |

Sunday bunch used to be a staple meal at The Blue Paddle. Dinner and our brunch comprised the core of our humble beginnings when we first opened our Paddle Blue doors here in downtown South Hero. But our real start, our infancy if you, will took place a couple of miles east on U.S. 2.…

A simple recipe for crab cakes

By pchendler | March 27, 2014 |

Over the course of our past nine years, the most frequently asked question that I have been asked, hands down, is: “Why did you call your restaurant the Blue Paddle Bistro?” I mean, literally, hundreds of folks have inquired, and always — I suspect — hoping for a clever or sexy reason. And, truth be…

Learning to make lunch out of leftovers

By pchendler | March 14, 2014 |

“Thanks for a wonderful first-time experience,” I was told by a nice woman as her husband was helping her put on her winter coat, “Do you think you could point out your chef?” Of course, I replied and walked her (as I do with so many of our guests) behind the photo display case of…

Our journey began with soup

By pchendler | February 28, 2014 |

Following the initial jubilation that folks liked our “Hello” (First column, Feb. 14), I immediately began to fret about what to write about next. Expressing that concern with Chef Phoebe, she looked at me — with literally a wink in her eye — and said: “You’ve been honest so far, Mandy. Tell them that two…