Clipboard Dateline: Burlington, Vt. August 13, 1999 Share 1 -- Dining out in BurlingtonNECI CommonsNECI (aka the New England Culinary Institute) at 25 Church St. offers visitors tasty fare at reasonable prices. The menu features a range of diverse entrees, including pizza, honey-glazed ham, "uncommon" meatloaf, osso bucco and coq au vin as well as sides such as Vermont cheddar mashed potatoes and "wilted" spinach. (Entre prices range from $7.50 to $19.95, most are less than $14).Reservations are recommended on the weekends. Dinner for five, including tip, drinks, coffee and appetizers cost $140. Phone (802) 862-6324Vermont Pub and BreweryA fun menu, cold beer and brewpub favorites are the standard at the Vermont Pub and Brewery at 144 College St.Besides sandwiches, burgers and appetizers, there are tavern treats like toad-in-the-hole, shepherd's pie, bangers 'n mash and fish and chipsPrices for lunch range from $1.95 for a basket of beer-battered brewhouse fries to $8.95 for fish and chips.Home-made brews such as Burly Irish Ale, Dogbite Bitter and the Vermont Smoked Porter are worth sampling as well as Josh's Root Beer. A pint costs $3.50; samplers are available. Brewery tours are conducted every Wednesday and Saturday; phone (802) 865-0500. Lunch for two, including tip and drinks, cost $24.The local sceneNancy Garrand, manager of Child Travel Services in Burlington, recommended the following for visitors:For outdoor enthusiasts, there is a bike path in downtown Burlington that runs along the coast of Lake Champlain to the mouth of the Winooski. "You can walk, bike and roller blade along it."For families, the Lake Champlain Basin Science Center offers hands-on exhibits.The first Friday of every month, some local galleries stay open late for evening tours and serve wine and hors d'ouevres.There are plenty of good local beaches, including North Beach, where the water is clean and warm. It can be reached via the bike path, by car or by bus.The place to eat is Daily Planet, a locally-owned and -operated bistro. "It has reasonable prices and a diverse menu that changes with the season," according to Garrand. Located on 15 Center St.; phone (802) 862-9647.Born To Shop: Some of Burlington's best findsChurch Street Marketplace boasts more than 130 stores, eateries and outdoor vendors as well colorful street performers in the summer. Parking is free on Sundays. Mixed among familiar stores like Eddie Bauer, Borders, Pier 1 and Laura Ashley are second-hand bookstores, specialty shops, boutiques and home furnishing showrooms.The Crow at 14 Church St. has a good selection of second-hand books. Recent finds include Underworld by Don DeLillo (hardcover, $6.98) and Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells ($6.98, softcover).Tradewinds, in the Burlington Square Mall, offers an eclectic mix of jewelry and handicraft items from Southeast Asia.Other venues worth perusing include Apple Mountain Vermont Gifts & Specialty Foods (local goods), the Peace & Justice Store (socially responsible books, magazines and clothing), Lake Champlain Chocolates (delicious fudge) and Bone Appetit (gourmet treats for pets).If you head out of the confines of the marketplace, Mesa International, on 131 Battery St., offers home and garden products, including dishes, rugs, candles and pottery at discounted prices. For example a throw rug on sale cost $5. Church Street Marketplace.Did you know?In the pop culture world, Burlington is famous for two things: the birthplace of Ben & Jerry's and the band Phish.Ben & Jerry's operates a scoop shop at 36 Church St. According to Ben & Jerry's, the top-selling ice-cream there (depending on the week) is (choclate-chip cookie dough or Phish food). The phone number is (802) 862-9620.Nectar's, a bar/cafeteria at 188 Main St., is where Phish got their start (back when they were students at the University of Burlington, Vermont). Pictures of the band hang on the wall, and bartenders serve up Phish stories along with the drinks. Every night there is live music with no cover charge; phone (802) 658-4771.Hidden ArizonaThis guide takes visitors off-the-beaten-path parts of the state, away from the popular resort areas and cities. It also features information on where to buy Native American crafts and highlights restaurants that serve authentic Mexican cuisine.The guide, published by Ulysses Press, is priced at $14.95 and is available in bookstores.DatebookThe Caribbean island of Curacao will host its first Gospel Music Festival Sept. 9 to 13. Scheduled to appear are Vickie Winans, Beverly Crawford, the Williams Brothers, Tri-N-Tee 5:7, A-1 Swift as well as local groups.Contact Virtuous Heritage & Co. at (877) 428-7222.