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Northampton, MA


Susan
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Going to Northampton for the foliage this year. Look for great places to go for dinner - even for lunch. Price is not important. Just looking for some really great food. Thanks for your help.

Susan

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Ice cream at Herrell's. Nothing else matters. :laugh:

"There is no sincerer love than the love of food."  -George Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman, Act 1

 

Gene Weingarten, writing in the Washington Post about online news stories and the accompanying readers' comments: "I basically like 'comments,' though they can seem a little jarring: spit-flecked rants that are appended to a product that at least tries for a measure of objectivity and dignity. It's as though when you order a sirloin steak, it comes with a side of maggots."

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If I may piggy-back onto this thread...

I'll be moving to the Valley this fall. Looking for any and all food recommendations folks may have including restaurants, markets (e.g., greengrocers, butcher, fishmonger, bakery), farms & farmstands, etc.

All I know about, so far, are Whole Foods and Trader Joes and one very good meal at Del Ray.

Point me in the right direction, please.

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Granted, I graduated years ago, but for good food try either of the two Indian restaurants in town. India House - on State st - spicier than India Palace, on Main St.

There's also Cha cha cha or Cha3 - and they have big fat ginormous spicy burritos - they're on 134 Main St.

Avoid East Side Grill - I had a really racist experience there once.

And for dessert - La Fiorentina - very reasonably priced Italian style desserts and drinks/coffees/teas. It's behind Thornes - 19 Armory St.

If you just want bar-style food then try Packards, right off of Main st on 14 Masonic St.

For upper-scale try Spoletos - I'm not sure what they have there, because when I was in college I could not afford it, but when the Clintons went college shopping for Chelsea they ate there.

DOwntown northampton is pretty small, and easy to navigate. And if you can't find what you're looking for, a local will always be happy to help you.

Good luck, let me know if you have any questions.

Believe me, I tied my shoes once, and it was an overrated experience - King Jaffe Joffer, ruler of Zamunda

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If I may piggy-back onto this thread...

I'll be moving to the Valley this fall. Looking for any and all food recommendations folks may have including restaurants, markets (e.g., greengrocers, butcher, fishmonger, bakery), farms & farmstands, etc.

All I know about, so far, are Whole Foods and Trader Joes and one very good meal at Del Ray.

Point me in the right direction, please.

Try Atkins farmer's market. They have the best cider donuts I've ever eaten. It was a farmy type store opened years ago by Hampshire college students as a school project and has been in business ever since, although I dont think it is affiliated with Hampshire college anymore.

Atkins Farms webpage

Believe me, I tied my shoes once, and it was an overrated experience - King Jaffe Joffer, ruler of Zamunda

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Ah, back to a familiar stomping ground.

Northapmton as quintessential New England breeds a wistful nostalgia(can there be any other? I suppose haunting, angst ridden, ghost laced, lurking......to the thread then, in retrospect from at the moment quinessential London, with thick skies, the incessant sweep of wet roads, agitated taxis, barren sidewalks-it's raining here, comfortable in it's consistence after screaming claps of thunder that rattled the streets, rickety or other...)

Northampton, MA just makes me smile, and then furrow my brow as I wander back in time to what on first impression is a little bit of everything big and small, earthen and chic............and then it really closes in. That can be a comfort......

Restaurants:

Green Street, on Green Street, hugging Smith College-uses local, elegant but absolutely down to (the respect for and indulgence in) the basics. They used to do a magnificent brunch on Sundays but I'm not sure if they still do.

Del Raye is a bit of its influence: Soho, sleek, great food, local, just a teeny bit of attitude that gives it flair, and I'm talking overall-not anyone thing in particular. Some staff have been there for a significant time and they are great. Nancy, Margaret, Pam. The bar is a good time. The owner owns Spoleto(upscale casual Italian just down-or up-Main St, Pizzaria Paradiso(casual pizza just off Main Street) and Spoleto Express off King St).

Cha3 is so utterly reliable, quick and such a staple. Asian-Mexican. The owner Unmi knows what she's doing. Delicious, casual, great take out and fantastic salsa.

Paul and Elizabeths (natural food, seafood, originally macrobiotic if not entirely, in theory), in Thornes Marketplace, great deal for lunch, Fish Lunch, their hummus is devine, their rolls are huge and delicious. Paul is a character.

East Side Grill-sorry to hear about the bad experience. It's high volume, professional owners, great couple, the food is a great deal and delicious but I do agree that it can be inconsistent when they are slammed: Saturday nights, ie...

There are a scattering of new restaurants, and it seems there is a percentage of consistent turnover so who knows what's about now(above are the long standing staples).

A great Japonese restaurant whose name I forget-right across from Paul and Elizabeths-window seat there will look you over at the Japanese rest. in the old La Cazuela space(which is now up the Main from Starbucks and across from The Academy of Music.

Ah, Casablanca, casual, on same side of Main St as Del Raye and Spo's, and Thorne's, but just on corner of Strong Ave. Great architectural design, simple fare, same owner as Cafe Amanoush(sp), just up the street, great Moroccan fare.

Yes, Herrells for ice cream. Barts had just closed(that's a pang of nostalgia for those of us who have known the area for years), great ice cream, Amherst Barts still open.

Bakeries:

The Firehouse in the old firehouse, the absolute best. Great baked goods with weight, strongest coffee around aside from Starbucks but the beans are local. Sandwiches are awesome. Just off Main Street down the block from Packards(one of a few hip but beeresque bars/pubs)

Haymarket, used to be a bookstore and cafe, and now is a full blown veganesque cafe, two floors, two brothers run it and opened it in the early 90's, great coffee, juices, chai, baked goods, loud though and rough around the edges with the casual but everyone from professors to kids sing its praises-very 'Noho'.

The Hungry Ghost has been mentioned as great on egullet. It's in Noho, and I think off Center Street? Supposed to be marvelous.

There is plenty more. And around the area. And as soon as I sign off, I'll be inundated with added extras tantamount to an orchestra warming up before the gig. Don't know if that analogy(is it?) works, but the sound caught.

And yes on Atkins. Apples! And Sam's for wine, down King Street.

I'll be most curious to hear feedback on this bit. I've gone back in time, happily.

Cheers!

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And for dessert - La Fiorentina - very reasonably priced Italian style desserts and drinks/coffees/teas. It's behind Thornes - 19 Armory St.

I second that -- La Fiorentina's a great spot to while away an hour or two.

"There is no sincerer love than the love of food."  -George Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman, Act 1

 

Gene Weingarten, writing in the Washington Post about online news stories and the accompanying readers' comments: "I basically like 'comments,' though they can seem a little jarring: spit-flecked rants that are appended to a product that at least tries for a measure of objectivity and dignity. It's as though when you order a sirloin steak, it comes with a side of maggots."

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Yes, Herrells for ice cream. Barts had just closed(that's a pang of nostalgia for those of us who have known the area for years), great ice cream, Amherst Barts still open.

I was in Noho a couple of weeks ago and just stood in shock and stared at the empty space where Bart's used to be for a few minutes. Oh, woe! So we had to drive over to Amherst for our ice cream and the girl at the counter told us the owner of the shop in Northampton just "didn't want to run an ice cream shop any more."

Down the street a Cold Stone Creamery was being built. At least there's still Herrell's. Also, Bill's Chocolate Shop has ice cream, but I haven't tried it.

Recommend a stop in at the Coffee Gallery (on King St., next to the Friendly's) for all your upscale specialty food needs.

A good diner-type breakfast can be had a Jake's, also on King St.

The restaurant at Hotel Northampton, the Wiggins Tavern, is pretty good. I remember having a really excellent chicken pot pie there once (years ago they used to have great winter specials where you could get a night at the hotel and dinner for two at the restaurant for $50--but not any more).

"I think it's a matter of principle that one should always try to avoid eating one's friends."--Doctor Dolittle

blog: The Institute for Impure Science

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Tran's Asia/America Supermarket on Rt. 9 in Hadley, JUST across the bridge that is perpetually under contruction. On the left, in the same dingy strip-lot as the adult video store. Don't be put off. Small but amazing (and I do mean amazing) store, packed to the gills with Asian ingredients in cans, bottles, jars, vac-pacs. It's like a f***ing museum. Or a candy store, if you're into cooking Asian. Unbelievable selection of odd fruits and vegetables – everything from lemongrass, lime leaf and rau ram to pea eggplant and (yes!) durian. Don't miss it.

Table and Vine, way the heck out King Street behind the Big Y grocery, has a vast selection of wines from all over the world. Also has good specialty food products and probably the best cheese selection around.

And State Street Market, on State Street / corner of Centre St., has a small but well chosen wine selection, and usually has knowledgeable staff.

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GG Mora has it-I said Sam's when I meant Table and Vine.......thinking Chicago...., and so very true about the little asian market(hardly little when you look at the diversity of the offerings, but wow do they pack it in there.) Incredible. And right off the bike path! The State St store in Florence has a decent selection of wine too, and you can always get a hunk of cheese and some artisinal bread...........

Send your posts, Susan, after your trip and let us in on what has changed, or what remains (hopefully) true to the posts!

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Oh, the eats of Noho... I second many of the above contributions, especially those about Herrell's and Spoleto. I had a duck breast with butternut squash ravioli at Spoleto that I will remember always. A couple of additions:

-The Fresh Pasta Company, across from the Academy of Music on the main drag. Excellent homemade pasta, also available to take home, I believe.

-The Haymarket Cafe- already mentioned, but I had to mention it again. Great sandwiches and salads- try to the tempeh burger, even if the idea of a tempeh burger is frightening to you. It's a revelation. :)

Just down Rt. 9 in Amherst, try:

-The Black Sheep Deli- another good place for sandwiches, and much better than the Haymarket for pastries. I've been known to eat their cream puffs for breakfast, they're so good.

-Antonio's Pizza- by the slice. Delicious.

-Fresh Side (I believe that's the name of it; it's across the street from Newbury Comics): tiny little place that sells awesome hand-rolled kind of pan-asian tea rolls for cheap. Excellent selection of teas too.

-and for coffee, the best place in the valley (in my opinion) is Rao's. Roasted right in Amherst.

Let's keep this going! I'm returning to the Valley in the fall and would love a new list of places to try... How about brunch? What's out there?

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I second all comments ella!

There is so much to be discovered in the Valley........how about the diner on 91 at the Deerfield exit, can't remember the exit number but someone surely does. And fall is coming, tis the season.

More!

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There's so much more to the immediate 'Valley' in terms of cuisine, and certainly this has been covered..............but what about Brattelboro, VT, for example.

T. J. Buckley's, for another suggestion...................Dont' know if the same chef, Michael, is still on board..............

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GG Mora has lived in Noho/vicinity, I would gather. What else might thee offer?

I used to spend as much time there as possible, but outside of foraging trips to Costco, Tran's, TJ's and Table & Vine, I haven't spent any quality time there in about 4 years. I used to love breakfast at Jake's. One of my favorite dinner spots, The Ladybug Café, is (sadly) no longer. I always liked Green Street. I thought Spoleto was overrated. Sometimes for fun we'd go to a joint called Joe's – an Italian dive on Can't-Remember-The-Name Street. The food was definitely of a certain ilk, but good value for the money. And Siam Street for Thai isn't greatly authentic, but it's a good spot for lunch.

Brattleboro? Haven't been to TJ Buckley's in yonks. Max's in West Brattleboro I consider worth the 45-minute drive from home. There's a new Thai place smack in downtown that I haven't tried yet, bet is getting good WOM.

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I used to spend as much time there as possible, but outside of foraging trips to Costco, Tran's, TJ's and Table & Vine, I haven't spent any quality time there in about 4 years. I used to love breakfast at Jake's. One of my favorite dinner spots, The Ladybug Caf鬠is (sadly) no longer. I always liked Green Street. I thought Spoleto was overrated. Sometimes for fun we'd go to a joint called Joe's – an Italian dive on Can't-Remember-The-Name Street. The food was definitely of a certain ilk, but good value for the money. And Siam Street for Thai isn't greatly authentic, but it's a good spot for lunch.

Brattleboro? Haven't been to TJ Buckley's in yonks. Max's in West Brattleboro I consider worth the 45-minute drive from home. There's a new Thai place smack in downtown that I haven't tried yet, bet is getting good WOM.

Ladybug was super, Jakes still gets you the grease at the hour, Spoleto is young............all encompassed..................Joes! It's either Masonic or Market, and I think it's Market. Huge portions of faceless pasta, but hey, it tastes great and it's

so unpretentious. And have some of that watery sangria like wine? Grab a beer and enjoy.

I abhor, sorry GG, Costco and TJ's, and further, what the developers have done to rt. 9.

GO grab a flick at Pleasant St Theatre, I say.

Cheers from London

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I abhor, sorry GG, Costco and TJ's....

Don't apologize. So far I haven't quite gleaned the appeal of TJ's, other than that I can get Gerolsteiner by the case, at a cost of 85¢ a bottle, vs. $1.25 (:shock:) in my hood. And you might begin to understand the appeal of Costco if you had adolescent stepchildren eating you out of house and home.

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Say what you like, I get a big kick out of Judy's, on the main drag in Amherst. It's like an old hippie went to culinary school, loved everything, refused to take notes, then opened the restaurant from memory. You can't possibly imagine what they can put in a popover. Basically, they just keep piling up the cliches until you surrender. Pretty good prices too.

My daughter, a UMass sophomore, always says that Antonios has the best pizza in the world. I won't let her take me there; I don't want it to be true.

For a chain, the Bertucci's in Amherst is a good example of the genre.

There's a wierd German place on the outskirts of town that I always wanted to try; if anyone knows what the heck I'm talking about I'd appreciate hearing about it. It looks like the kind of place that's empty by 7:30 PM.

L. Rap

Blog and recipes at: Eating Away

Let the lamp affix its beam.

The only emperor is the emperor of ice-cream.

--Wallace Stevens

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Green Street Cafe serves both lunch and dinner and offers fresh food and good wines at reasonable prices. Herrell's has the best ice cream, although the desserts at Green Street are very good as well.

While in Northampton, you might want to do some shopping at the following:

Big Y Wines & Liquors/Table & Vine at 122 North King Street is a huge wine and liquor market and gourmet shop with an outstanding selection of products.

Culinary Specialties/Coffee Gallery at 65 King Street (closed Mondays) is a great gourmet specialty shop with very knowledgeable owners.

Bakery Konditorei Normand at 192 Main Street (closed Mondays) features German and European breads, pastries, and tortes.

"Some ladies smoke too much and some ladies drink too much and some ladies pray too much, but all ladies think that they weigh too much."

From a poem by Ogden Nash - Curl Up and Diet

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The Northampton Brewery has some seriously fine beer.

If you want to know where we came up with Turbodog at Abita, go into Northampton and order an Old Brown Dog. That was the source brew. It's really a fine beverage.

Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

There's a train everyday, leaving either way...

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