Good Food in Pioneer Valley -long, but worth reading
Just recently left the valley after being there for five years. There are a few things to eat in the amherst/northampton and surrounding area that i wish i could take with me, even back to New York. If you are there now, or ever passing through, might want to check out:
Atkins Friut Bowl- corner of Bay Road and Rt. 116
-their apple cider donuts (in the bakery section, but you cant miss them by the cash registers)
-old fashioned chocolate donuts (bakery section, in the glass case)
-cowboy cookies are pretty good too, big soft oatmeal, nut, chocolate chip cookies that usually sell out by late in the day (saran wrapped in big white bowls by the bakery case)
Black Sheep Deli- Main St in Amherst
-very great chocolate chip cookies, (by the register) stick to the regular chocolate chip
-this is the only thing worth getting at the Black Sheep, lame deli, bad salads, and un-sparkling desserts
-they do get smoked fish and bagels from NY, that might be interesting, but I never tried
Amherst Chinese- on Main Street in Amherst, across from the Black Sheep
-I can't even say how much I love this place,owned by Mr. Chang the most interesting guy in the world, chinese immigrant, farmer, scholar.... read about him and his farm in Whately, articles are on the walls when you walk in
-sandra berry juice from berries that Chang grows and presses (kind of like cranberry juice)
-most recent obsessions: shrimp ho-fen (stir fry not the soup), wonton soup, moo shi chicken, string beans
-any of his farm grown (organic, btw) vegatables stir fried, mustard greens, chinese cabbage, fiddleheads, shitake mushrooms, when in season
-this is not your average chinese restaurant; clean, spacious and pretty with kind host and waitstaff who seat people in the next-best-available seat. This is honest, healthful, hot, REAL food. go there.
-save room for a chocolate chip cookie across the street
Veracruzana -on Pleasant Street in Amherst and in Northampton too
-fish tacos, inconsistant but when they are good they are good
Herrel's Ice Cream - in Thornes Market Place, Northampton, also another entrance, on street whose name I cant remember
-top ice cream flavor encountered to date: Mudpie (lightly coffee-d icecream with generous amounts of smooshed oreo cookie that are practically like brownie crumbs, and a ripple of fudge throughout)
-they have a long list of flavors that always looks interesting and that I trust are good, they also have the Smoosh-In (folding in toppings of your choice into flavor of your choice, on a frozen marble slab) I was never able to get anything other than mudpie in a cone
Hunan Gourmet- King Street in Northampton
-I'd skip everything at this place in favor of Amherst Chinese (even though the two places are completely different) *EXCEPT FOR*, beef stew with wide flat rice noodles, this was on a tip from a very nice waiter
-find it on the newer section of the menu, 'Sushi and Noodle Bar', order the beef stew with the chow fun noodles, you will be very happy
The Creamery- I think this is what its called - on Rt. 47 (River Road) in Sunderland
-just a shack on the road that serves probably bad fried food, ice cream, and stuff like that. I once had a chocolate malted milk shake (Ice Cream shake) that was so good, it made a lasting impression. The woman in front of me on line ordered the Polish plate and a maple milk shake. Maple milk shake sounds good.
Tuna melts of note:
-not quite in the valley but nearby, two good tuna melts....Dot's in West Dover VT, or maybe it is Wilmington, Im not sure, whichever is on Rt 9 there. You cant really miss it. Tuna melt with chedder is good, they make their own fries, have good milkshakes, burgers, bake there own bread for french toast, the Mc Dot egg sandwich is good. I like this place. Diner food but you wont feel poisened after.....and Bottle of Bread in Shelburn Falls, MA. This is a cool place that i highly recommend. Very good bread on which they make very good cold and grilled sandwiches, especially tuna melt, good local beers on tap. salads, soups, bread and cheese board. General quality and generousity, in all aspects. classy cozy community atmosphere. same menu for lunch and dinner, but i dont know their hours off hand.
so....i hope this is helpful to anyone interested. I am prepared to defend my recommendations, if there are any out there who disagree.
I grew up in Northampton and went to UMASS. There are few thiings I still remember fondly (but I wonder how much the years have placed a golden shine on eateries that might not have been that good).
Places I miss:
1) Late night subs and The Sub in Amherst. I remember drunkenly asking for "All the spices, that's right all the spchices .. hiccup"
2) Bub's - loved the all you can part of the meal with the soup and big loaf of french bread
3) The Soup Kitchen - downtown Northampton (its gone now), great soups that changed daily, and fresh sandwiches
4) Pinoccio's Pizza (Noho and Amherst) - simply the most variety of toppings, I remember a garlic and clam pizza slice!
5) Harvard Pizza (Northampton, its long gone now) - They served Greek Style pizza, very thick crust, very greasy, very good.
6) Myer's Eatery - Noho - Also long gone, great late night drunken breakfasts. I saw a fight in there that was so violent, I got blood spattered on me. But I still finished my omelette, it was that good.