In search of strawberry shortcake

by Gray Cargill on July 8, 2008

I was running errands the other day downtown in Burlington and had a couple of hours to kill while waiting to pick something up from a repair shop. I decided I was in the mood for some strawberry shortcake, so went in search of a restaurant that had it. And searched….and searched…and searched. I’m serious, I looked at the menus in front of every restaurant on Church Street, plus some on St. Paul Street, College Street and Battery Street, and inquired inside some other restaurants where I felt sure they must serve strawberry shortcake (they didn’t). I must have walked 3 miles in search of strawberry shortcake (and got a sunburn in the process!). Some restaurants don’t even post their dessert menus outside; others just didn’t have shortcake; one didn’t offer dessert at all.

The only place downtown that had traditional strawberry shortcake was Smokejacks, but it was $8, and I’m sorry, I’m not paying $8 for strawberry shortcake. $8 is what I’ll pay for a lunch entree, not a dessert. The next closest thing was a creative version of strawberry shortcake (featuring chocolate biscuits and liquor-soaked strawberries) at Leunigs for about $6, but I wasn’t in the mood for creative, I wanted traditional. You know, biscuits on the bottom, fresh strawberries and juice that soaks into the biscuits, with whipped cream on top? My third choice was a strawberry “shortcrepe” from the Skinny Pancake for about $6. I would have paid $6, but I wasn’t in the mood for a crepe. It’s just not the same, you know?

It’s summer in Vermont, and fresh strawberries abound. Why doesn’t anyone serve strawberry shortcake???? It’s a Vermont tradition! What’s wrong with all these restaurants? Do they just not know how to make it? That would be pretty sad, since even I know how to make it. I don’t make strawberry shortcake at home, because it’s hard to make for just one. I’m counting on finding it when I go out to eat. Needless to say, my craving went unfulfilled. I have said before that we are extraordinarily lucky in Burlington to have access to so many restaurants with delicious, creative, and ethnic cuisine, but I think I’d give up one or two of those places if it meant I could have a place that served strawberry shortcake.

If anyone knows where I can get some strawberry shortcake at a reasonable price in Burlington, please email me or leave a comment below. Thanks.

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