Stranded in Amherst!!!
Well I finally did it... I extricated myself from the city.
I am a NYC foodie in desperate need of a little direction in the Pioneer Valley. The short of it is I am homesick for my dives and finds.
This is what I am looking for, maybe you can help...
1. Decent Pizza (I'm not looking for a miracle, but so far I have been reduced to making my own. The problem... I grew up eating at Difara's)
2. Decent Thai
5. GOOD COFFEE in Bean and in a Cup(I have tried Rao's and the Black Sheep... yuchh... burned burned burned, tart acidic... no thank you. I love Moko D'oro, D'amico, and La Colombe. If anyone would like to go in on splitting shipping costs maybe we could start a little club)
I really want to like it up here, and patronize local business. I know there has to be great stuff, I just need a little help. Thanks
Oh, yeah... Any other suggestions, (Burgers, Mexi, Senagalese, Falafel, etc...) would be greatly appreciated
Not too familiar with Amherst. Know more about Northampton.
1. Pizza - Tough call in NoHo. New Haven snob here. However, I find that Paradiso does the Cali style pizzas pretty well and Luna Pizza is a fair facsimile of NH pizza. But, if you want really good pizza, Modern, Sally's and Pepe's are only 1.25 hrs away.
2. Thai Garden in NoHo is o.k.. Not great.
3. Osaka in NoHo is good
4. India House in NoHo produces really flavorful dishes. I'm usually eating w/ "medium" eaters so I haven't tried their hot stuff but I think that it has good flavor.
5. Coffee is really individual. My favorite is Shelburne Falls but others seem to prefer Woodstar and Haymarket. (I don't like Rao's either).
Korean place on Rte 9 in Hadley is pretty good. At least for a bi bim bap fix. Haven't tried much else.
Cafe Amanouz (NoHo) for a falafel.
Veracruzana for decent Mex.
I'm sure that there's a decent burger somewhere in Amherst but Packard's in NoHo has good burgers.
Also in NoHo I like:
Woodstar cafe for a cool space and really good sandwiches.
Cha cha cha for interesting Indian-influenced Mex. Some don't like the owners but they've always been good to me.
Just a start of a list.
Be sure to drive south from Amherst and hit Atkins Farms for good produce, baked goods and meat/seafood.
One place you might try for pizza in Northampton is Joe's Cafe. I grew up in Amherst and now live in New Haven -- Joe's isn't Pepe's or Modern, but it's my favorite pizza in the Amherst/Northampton area.
One other local suggestion if you like BBQ is Bub's -- it's on Rt. 116 just over the Amherst/Sunderland line.
Just came back from a daytrip to Western Mass....a revisiting from my younger days. Stopped into Joe's for a quick pie and was not disappointed. The best!!! Thin crust with charred edges. Perfectly seasoned sauce. It brought me back a good 20 years....stands up to any NY pizza...you MUST GO.
I live in Amherst and have spent most of my life living here, except for 5 years recently in Boston. Amherst and the Pioneer Valley has great food, but it's definitely different than NYC. I can understand that if you are used to NYC, adjusting to Amherst might be difficult. However, even though it's different (and much less varied, for obvious reasons), there's a lot to like. Here are some suggestions, some of these you might end up liking more than others:
Try the spicy chicken tea rolls at Fresh Side Cafe, or other tea rolls, but if you like chicken salad you should definitely get the spicy chicken.
I like Rao's coffee, but I'm not that big a coffee drinker, so I can't help too much there. Loose Goose Cafe is another possibility for coffee, and my mom says that they have great sandwiches and baked goods, but I haven't been there in about 5 years.
Give Thai Corner a try...they can make some excellent Thai food. This is the type of place where it might be worth it to present a chowhound passport to convince them you want authentic Thai food. Out of all the Thai places in Amherst/Northampton, this is still my favorite.
Antonio's pizza is great but is obviously nothing like Difara's. Try the blackbean avocado feta....once again I realize this is hardly a replacement, more like a brand new food.
The Souper Bowl makes good bubble tea.
Head to the Moan and Dove in S. Amherst for beer.
Atkins in South Amherst for produce, apples, groceries, cheeses, etc.
There is now only one Indian place in Amherst. It's fine but nothing too special in my opinion. La Veracruzana (in both Northampton and Amherst) has good Mexican food, try the fresh squeezed juices too.
There is no Senegalese per se but there's a west african place opening up (or maybe it just did) where the crepe place used to be.
Near Amherst: Up in Sunderland, try to get to Smiarowki's farmstand before they close for the season. EXCELLENT soft ice cream, it's on Rt. 47, 1-2 miles south of Sunderland center. I think they are only open till 7 on weekdays this month, possibly shorter hours in October.
For ice cream this area beats out NYC in my opinion: Herrell's, Flayvors, Smiarowski's are all excellent, homemade ice cream. Give them a try.
In Northampton (besides Herrell's): Amanouz Cafe is AWESOME. I was there last week and had the vegetable couscous (which sounds so basic and possibly even bland) but is really just the opposite. Very flavorful couscous, lots of vegetables (carrots, squash, zucchini, tomato, onions, chickpeas) all topped with a generous dollop of babagonoush and plenty of parsley.
I ate at the Korean place in Hadley the other day too, I really liked it, very small and friendly, generous servings. In addition to bibimbap we had a scallion pancake which was huge.
I could probably list more but that's enough for now.....good luck, there's lots of great food to discover here too, it's just more spread out. And remember, it's not like you're in Siberia. NYC is only 3.5 hours away.
A while back, we lived just north of Amherst for 2 years (back in NYC now) and though my specifics are dated, I have a little help. There was a pizza place right on the green in Amherst that had lines every day and the pizza was very good. Not an Italian brick-oven type place, but a decent Italo-American by-the-slice joint.
There was no Thai food that I recall, but the little Korean place on Rt 9 (GOHYANG KOREAN RESTAURANT)was surprisingly excellent and authentic. I would go there even now, and I live 5 blocks from "Koreatown" in NYC. Sometimes you have to shift your expectations. It's not that far to Boston for Thai or Vietnamese...
India House (?) in N'hampton was OK.
We recently went to the Night Kitchen at the Bookmill in Montague and it was very good. Upscale, American food, great setting. We loved the bookmill long before it had a restaurant, anyway.
I think Amber Waves closed, but they had great Asian noodle dishes...
That's actually all I can recall for now. Ya gotta search long and hard, but you'll find a few gems out there! Just give up on the idea of great sushi and save it for special occasions when you travel somewhere else...
I'm from NYC also, living in Northampton, have never found good pizza no matter what anyone says! (No bagels, for that matter). Joe's is the closest pizza to good pizza.
Thai Garden - just ok
Packard's does have a good burger.
No sushi - Osaka is ok but there is no really good sushi here.
India House is skimpy on portions and expensive for what it is. The owners also own Cha Cha Cha, and yes, they are bordering on nasty.
Indigo for coffee. They have it at some deli's I don't know if you can get the beans, but I think I remember them selling beans at Cooper's Corner in Florence.
Every time I go to New York, pizza, a pastrami sandwich, a bagel and some Thai food are musts for me.