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Seeking farm to table/local meals in the Berkshires generally b/w Williamstown and Lenox/Lee area

i_eat_a_lot_of_ice_cream Aug 18, 2010 06:09 PM

I'm visiting the Berkshires soon and while we will have a full kitchen I'd like to have some meals out. Can anyone comment on the following restaurants or add more suggestions on places featuring local produce/meats/etc.? Berkshire Grown is a nice resource but many of the restaurants they have listed do not make any note on their website of local ingredients so I have a very short list so far.

Great Barrington-- this is an hour trip for us, since as I noted, we're between Wmstown/Lenox, but if either of these are stupendous, we do and will travel for food.
-Allium- brunch, most likely
-Route 7 Grill

Williamstown-
-Mezze- like the casual options

Lenox-
-Nudel

Pittsfield-
-Dottie's

Thanks in advance!!

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  1. r
    rudysmom RE: i_eat_a_lot_of_ice_cream Aug 19, 2010 04:24 AM

    have you seen this already?

    http://travel.nytimes.com/2010/08/22/...

    6 Replies
    1. re: rudysmom
      i_eat_a_lot_of_ice_cream RE: rudysmom Aug 19, 2010 04:43 AM

      NO!! Thank you!!!!!!!!!

      1. re: rudysmom
        m
        mjoyous RE: rudysmom Aug 19, 2010 07:47 AM

        Just read the times article; thanks for the link. Guido's does not sell any all pasture raised beef. Their "grass-raised" (from Oregon, and good) is grain finished. Try farmer's markets for true grass raised meats. Had some great beef from a Berlin, NY farm at the New Lebanon Farmer's Market on Rt. 20, Sunday from 10-2?
        Someone at the Sat. Lanesboro (at the Mall) market sells Ioka meats, but they're grain finished too. She has lamb and pork of her own.
        Good luck with only grass-raised meats from restaurants. I think it's hit or miss, even with the finest establishments.

        1. re: mjoyous
          i_eat_a_lot_of_ice_cream RE: mjoyous Aug 19, 2010 08:32 AM

          Thanks for the info re: grass-finished beef. Here in Westchester county, NY, there are only a handful of restaurants that serve grass-finished beef. I even have trouble finding places in NYC that do. I avoid eating beef out unless I know the provenance and it is grass-finished, for various reasons. We are lucky enough to have a few excellent grass-finished beef vendors at our local farmers' markets, so based on your comments, I think we will bring our own. We're also bringing our week's CSA share to munch on, but I always check out local farmers' markets, so any suggestions on those would be welcome too. We're near Jiminy Peak.

          Any local dairies with awesome ice cream?

          1. re: i_eat_a_lot_of_ice_cream
            m
            mjoyous RE: i_eat_a_lot_of_ice_cream Aug 19, 2010 01:34 PM

            Interesting, I adore ice cream too. There's not a lot of real, intense ice cream experiences around the Berkshires. I actually think Janes ice cream, from Kingston- NY-used to be available in Valatie, and maybe still is in Chatham, NY--is the finest.
            But do try Chocolate Springs on the Pittsfield-Lenox Rd (RT. 20). Josh's chocolates are wonderful, and his ice cream is very nice too. He's been making gelato this summer; I fell in love with his hazelnut (which I had with a scoop of serious chocolate ice cream). Am hooked on the little chocolate pearls. If you're there on a weekend and he has his chocolate cupcakes, don't miss them. Real buttercream, nice cake. Yum!
            http://www.chocolatesprings.com
            Hope someone else has a suggestion for really excellent ice cream, as I haven't found any in my travels around the county.

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            Chocolate Springs Cafe
            55 Pittsfield Rd Ste 3, Lenox, MA 01240

            1. re: mjoyous
              i_eat_a_lot_of_ice_cream RE: mjoyous Aug 20, 2010 08:44 AM

              I love Jane's and would be thrilled if I found it anywhere in the Berkshires. Chocolate Springs is already on my list, can't wait. Are you a local? If so, can I pick your brain on the best bakeries as well? Thanks. :) Also, any fun night spots for us (we're in our mid/late 20s)? Mission Tapas in Pittsfield looks cute....

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              Chocolate Springs Cafe
              55 Pittsfield Rd Ste 3, Lenox, MA 01240

              1. re: i_eat_a_lot_of_ice_cream
                m
                mjoyous RE: i_eat_a_lot_of_ice_cream Aug 21, 2010 04:07 PM

                I'm pretty local, live right over the border in NYS. I stop by Mission at least twice a month and love it. Fun place, great food, decent wine, pleasant service. I'm a bit older than you (ummmm) and not as up on the night life, so can't help there.
                As to bakeries, can't think of any in Pittsfield that are worthwhile. There's Cakewalk in Lee, on the main street. I've only had their Cinnamon Rose, which I adore. Have been known to travel the 40 minutes just to get one. Learned about it from a hound, too.
                My bakery requirements are real butter, no fluff. There's a good pastry chef that works for Berkshire Mountain Bakery (their breads are great--try the sourdough bread & chocolate.) His full selection is at the bakery on Rt. 183 heading into Great Barrington, but they sell the croissants at the Saturday morning Lanesborough market and the Friday afternoon one in Lenox.
                Enjoy you trip,
                PS--no Jane's in the Berkshires that I know of--if only!!!
                http://www.berkshiremountainbakery.com
                http://www.cakewalkbakery.com/

      2. o
        otisman RE: i_eat_a_lot_of_ice_cream Aug 19, 2010 11:31 AM

        I would recommend Elizabeth's in Pittsfield. I am uncertain just how local their ingredients are, but Tom Ellis, the owner/chef loves to talk and I am sure he could advise you on the phone. The food is certainly worthy of the trip.
        www.berkshireeagle.com/dining/ci_2908292

        1. i_eat_a_lot_of_ice_cream RE: i_eat_a_lot_of_ice_cream Aug 26, 2010 06:36 AM

          Just got back from a gloomy five days in the Berkshires, and while the weather was pretty horrible, we had a great time. Much of that was due to all the great food we ate so I thought I'd report back!

          Guido's in Pittsfield- LOVE this place. While some of the stuff is a bit pricey, the small selection is excellent and as someone who was sniffing out great locally made treats, Guido's couldn't have made it easier. Locally made/grown food is labeled prominently as such. We picked up a ton of goodies for our picnic at Tanglewood, including Rawson Brook Farm goat cheese, Berkshire Bark chocolate, and a little Dutch Desserts tart (they sell these at our farmers' markets in Westchester too-- yum!). They have an impressive selection of eggs, milk, butter, and yogurt from local dairies... I tried goat's milk for the first time, along with sheep's milk yogurt from Old Chatham.

          Dottie's in Pittsfield- We were smitten with their simple lunch sandwiches on hearty bread.

          Chocolate Springs in Lenox- While we thought the treats were yummy (bon bon, cookies, and a few other treats), the counter service was terrible and kept us from returning.

          Cakewalk in Lee- We had a peanut butter brownie here to put all other brownies to shame: a fudgy brownie covered in a layer of peanut butter and then topped with chocolate frosting.

          Route 7 Grill in Great Barrington- This is an excellent casual dinner choice, though it was quite far from us. They have a fun BBQ based menu with lots of interesting beers and source much of their food from local farms. We thought the service was fine, but we were there early, and it seemed to be getting more hectic as the night went on.

          SoCo Creamery in Great Barrington- We absolutely loved SoCo. The ice cream is really creamy and the flavors true. We loved the dirty chocolate (chocolate truffle), the Elvis (banana with peanut butter and honey), espresso cookie, and coconut. From my research, it seems like they are the only true "microcreamery" in the area, but I may be wrong.

          Mezze in Williamstown- Another excellent dinner choice, but this time on the fancier side. We couldn't decide which we liked better, this or Route 7. They are both so different yet have the same philosophy of making the most of the bounty of the area. This would be perfect for a special occasion dinner. It's a gorgeous location and the interior is warm and inviting. We appreciated the diverse price points on the menu and managed to have a superb meal there without breaking the bank. Our meal included an heirloom tomato and canteloupe salad with mozzarella, rolls with olive oil for dipping, bistro steak, tagliatelle with sausage, beet pasta with blue cheese, poached egg on an heirloom bean salad, a fantastic blueberry/peach cobbler, and an adorable ice cream tasting menu with three different ice cream treats, all homemade. This meal was fabulous from all angles-- food, atmosphere, service.

          Mary's Carrot Cake in Pittsfield- Another cute bakery, offering mostly, yep, carrot cake in different forms, which was moist and delicious and chock full of nuts, pineapple, and other goodies. A slice is $3 and well worth it, but a 12" cake for $60? I'd rather make it myself.

          Pho Saigon in Lee- We stopped by Lee on our way home to try out Salmon Run, but with a long wait there, we wandered around and found this place, which turned out to be a great choice. This little Vietnamese spot is staffed by the sweetest family. The main waitress/hostess who is running the show is a hoot and most of the customers seemed to be regulars, whom she knew by name. She was very helpful with our ordering (it was my first time eating Vietnamese food) and the food was flavorful and filling.

          Anyway, we ate a ton of great food in the area and I would make a special trip back for many of the places we visited. We didn't get to a farmers' market this time, but I still feel like we got a good sampling of the region!

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          Route 7 Grill
          999 Main St, Great Barrington, MA 01230

          Chocolate Springs Cafe
          55 Pittsfield Rd Ste 3, Lenox, MA 01240

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