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Western Mass trip report

Joanie Nov 26, 2012 10:18 AM

We had a nice weekend in Lenox and various places along Rt. 2 and 9. First stop was Shady Glen in Turners Falls for a quick breakfast. This place had a great Yelp rating and it was perfectly fine but nothing too exciting. Okay pancakes and an egg/cheese/sausage breakfast sandwich on a bagel. They charge extra for home fries (as did a few places out that way). Friendly owner, okay service, prices typical. We then hit the Mass MOCA and walked around No. Adams, got an iced coffee at Brew Haha, split a subpar dog at the long standing, cool looking Jack's (I'm a sucker for a old vibe and cool sign but burgers seem to be the way to go there) and a stop at the townie bar The Mohawk where the choices of beer for A. were slim and people weren't so friendly. On the way thru Pittsfield, we got those baby dogs at Teo's which had a good snap. We went into Lenox for dinner on Fri. and started at the nice bar of Firefly's where they had some interesting beers for A., an okay pear martini for me and an excellent grilled Caesar salad. I asked for bread and they brought a nice grilled rustic bread, very good for about $11. We then decided on Nudel a block up Church St. (surprised there was no wait at any of these places on a weekend nite) and enjoyed ourselves sitting in front of the chefs. We split a veal sausage w/ some oat type stuff and a bowl of pasta w/ beans, sausage and pesto. I had seen another bowl of something and this wasn't what I'd seen earlier but it was good. I like their pricing where all apps, pasts and entrees have the same price. Some interesting wines and beers, nice people next to us offering advice along with the chef. They told us we might like Rumpy's across the street for a drink and that place had a fun vibe.

Sat. we walked around the Pleasant Valley Sanctuary then got breakfast at Shots in Lenox where the hot apple cider tasted great. The breakfast burrito w/ bacon, onions and mushrooms was tasty but the salsa served w/ it was too cold. A. got a bacon & cheese omelette and paid whatever extra for decent home fries. Nice kids working there. Couldn't resist going into the Patisserie on Church St. and grabbed a delicious coffee macaron. Their baked goods looked amazing as did the sandwiches. The snow was falling and there wasn't much to look at in Lenox so we went into Pittsfield later and got a nice vanilla muffin at Juice n Java on South St., walked around a bunch and tried hot dog place #3, the Hot Dog Ranch. Got two baby dogs w/ an order of tater tots. Dogs were decent but none of these blew me away, I liked the vibe of the place tho. Then after a bit more piddling around, we couldn't resist the Lantern on North St. with their awesome neon sign and the fact that they've been there for 83 years. I just had a couple bites of A.'s bacon cheeseburger which was flavorful but again, no wow factor. Really like the place in general tho. After regrouping and relaxing, we came back to Pittsfield and sat at the bar of Mission and had some nice wine and beer. Again I was surprised there weren't more people out at 8PM on a Sat. Unfortunately, the pulled pork tacos were dry and dull ($11) while the frisee salad w/ shrimp and scallops ($15) fared a little better. Best of all was the flourless choc cake w/ whipped cream. Played some pool at Casey's and stopped at Thistle n Mirth on West St. where most beers are $5. Not sure what I thought of that place, bad lighting for sure. The restaurant Brix two doors down is no longer, that had sounded good.

Sun. we drove back to Boston via Rt. 9 and while it was hard driving by Flo's Diner, I wanted to go to a new place so we got food at the Rt. 9 Diner in Hadley. Split a patty melt and tuna melt and both were quite good ($8.95 ea), served w/ fairly boring fries and I'm never a fan of the supermarket styled slaw. Tons of items to choose from, would like to return some time.

  1. l
    LADave Oct 18, 2013 12:19 AM

    If you get off the 'pike in Westfield and take Route 20 up into the Hilltowns, the Russell Inn is in -- where else -- downtown Russell. Their pizza is damned good. They have other Italian-American specialties I haven't gotten around to because I never get past pizza. Locals also swear by Four Main Street Bar & Grill in Huntington, about five miles further up the river.

    1 Reply
    1. re: LADave
      b
      Berheenia Oct 19, 2013 09:35 AM

      Russell also has a bakery, the Bread Basket, that has one of the best carrot cakes I've ever eaten. I have only had this cake at a local coffee hour but per the business card they have sandwiches and canned goods too.

    2. b
      Berheenia Oct 14, 2013 12:33 PM

      This post is from 2012 but few people give a report as good as Joanie. After 3 months here we are still looking around. Today we went to the Hot Dog Ranch in Pittsfield and agree "nice vibe" | Got two baby dogs w/ an order of tater tots. . Better dogs than Teo's IMHO. More like New York System and no heartburn- a big plus. They are a Patriots bar too so we will be back. Lots of interesting game day nibbles.
      Our recent find in Pittsfield is Maria's European Delight (it was not there at the time of Joanie's trip). They have bread and pastry that they bring in from Greenpoint Brooklyn NY that is incredible and tons of Polish meats. We tried fresh kielbasa which we boiled and grilled like a brat (fabulous) and want to try the stuffed cabbage on our next visit. They also make sandwiches to order and there are a few tables.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Berheenia
        Joanie Oct 25, 2013 06:22 AM

        Thanks for the props Berheenia. I was just in the Greenpoint section of Brooklyn and had tasty Polish food at Krolewskie Jadlo on Manhattan Ave. "White borscht" was great for those of us who don't like beets. Will try Maria's if I make my way back to western Mass.

      2. t
        taos Dec 27, 2012 03:04 PM

        Ate at the Route 9 diner in the summer of 2008. It was quite possibly the worst restaurant meal I've eaten in at least 20 years. Surprised you liked it.

        2 Replies
        1. re: taos
          Joanie Dec 28, 2012 06:23 AM

          Well, like I said, the sandwiches were quite good, the sides not so much. Nice service, good prices, good sandwich, nothing to complain about. And 4 years is a while ago, things could have changed.

          1. re: Joanie
            m
            magiesmom Dec 28, 2012 06:45 AM

            I don't think they've changed for the better.
            It's too bad, so many good places to eat in the area, unfortunate to miss them in favor of the mediocre ones.

        2. g
          gourmaniac Dec 20, 2012 01:28 PM

          Nice to see a report from you Joanie. Always enjoy them. I did the hot dog thing in Pittsfield/ North Adams and would concur. I did prefer Jacks to Teos and a couple of other Pittsfield places. The dog and the burger were both tasty/greasy but not a revelation. The prices were amazingly low. It felt like the 70s.

          1. digga Dec 18, 2012 02:54 PM

            Another fun report, as usual, Joanie! I love fueling up at Brew Haha pre-Mass MoCA ('cos I know I'm going to be in there for hours...it's my and my hubby's fave museum ANYWHERE). Their veggie bagel sandwiches are delicious and I love the chill vibe.

            We ate at Firefly this past summer with my parents. Definitely not a good place to take them....we sat in the loud, dingy-ish dining room in the back and the food was nothing to write home about. We'd love to try Nudel on our next trip out west and Mission is another place on our radar...probably not until June 2013, when we attend Solid Sound at Mass MOCA (as a music lover, do you ever attend?). But I do hope we can get out there this winter....love W. Mass in the wintertime (People's Pint, Hope and Olive, Dirty Truth, etc.). People are just cooler out west.

            1 Reply
            1. re: digga
              Joanie Dec 19, 2012 05:29 AM

              Hey Digga, I hope Mission is better for you than it was for us. Nice feel to the place but the food was all right not not great. I do have to get to Greenfield tho.

              As far as that festival, not sure if you know my show at all but Americana and indie rock aren't what I do best, haha.

            2. s
              skshrews Dec 16, 2012 04:52 PM

              You were lucky you weren't at Nudel on the weekend,when opening is practically a riot scene.

              I've seen serious yuppie pouting with people being turned away <10 minutes after opening.

              4 Replies
              1. re: skshrews
                Joanie Dec 17, 2012 04:25 AM

                "You were lucky you weren't at Nudel on the weekend,when opening is practically a riot scene."

                I was there on the weekend, it was a Fri. nite and as I said, we walked right in and sat at the counter at around 9:00. Not sure why people want to rush in at 5:30 or whenever they open but Lenox seems to be an early town, so later worked well for us.

                1. re: Joanie
                  t
                  terrierboy Dec 17, 2012 01:11 PM

                  It might be the permanent Lenox residents are a rapidly aging population. We live in N. Adams, and we have also noticed smaller crowds at some restaurants, not that we can afford to eat out much these days. We have enjoyed a couple meals at Espana in N. Adams.

                  1. re: terrierboy
                    l
                    Lenox637 Dec 18, 2012 03:18 PM

                    The permanent Lenox Residents are far from an aging population. Quite the contrary, we like to search out new and exciting restaurants and reserve Nudel for our goto backyard dinner spot.

                    1. re: Lenox637
                      t
                      terrierboy Dec 20, 2012 01:21 PM

                      I was speaking facetiously about the residents going to bed fairly early. I never gave a thought to the types of restaurants, etc. Clearly, Lenox supports plenty of restaurants. If only we could afford them....

              2. j
                jzzy55 Nov 28, 2012 04:37 PM

                Miss Flo Diner is more about its vintage look and local color than dining, unless you like two over easy with white toast and 1950s coffee. Rte 9 Diner in Hadley is nothing to write home about either. There are far better places to eat around the area than either of those.

                7 Replies
                1. re: jzzy55
                  h
                  hilltowner Nov 28, 2012 07:15 PM

                  Unless you're in the mood for diner food, in which case they are excellent. Often, two over easy with white bread is just right for breakfast.

                  1. re: jzzy55
                    Joanie Nov 29, 2012 04:28 AM

                    I wanted to eat at a real diner and have fond memories of Flo's. I don't go in expecting to be floored.

                    1. re: Joanie
                      m
                      magiesmom Nov 29, 2012 04:35 AM

                      I see that. But there are two excellent breakfast place in town where you can get really good versions of that and have much more sense of place ( green bean and Jake's). But they are not in railroad cars and are pricier.

                      1. re: magiesmom
                        j
                        jzzy55 Nov 29, 2012 06:57 AM

                        And of course Sylvester's. Over in Amherst Cushman Village Store has a great little cafe in the back, very snug. Bread Euphoria in Burgy is good for a caloric breakfast, too. Amanouz for a late breakfast/brunch. But agree, Magiesmom, these are not diners and a lot more money. I can't eat conventional breakfast food anymore (carbs, fats) so a place like Green Bean is a better option for me. Sometimes there are coupons on Northampton Deals, $10 coupon for $5. Makes Green Bean very affordable. I used to eat at the Miss Flo when I was in my early 20s with our good friends who lived here. But since I moved here myself 25 years ago I have been there only a few times. Just not my kind of food anymore. Nostalgic, yes. (And in truth I always remember the guy who was knocked out and left to die in the cold behind the diner during a bar fight...a real turnoff). It didn't happen in the Miss Flo, it was at the Silk City Tap, but they're connected and part of the same business. Ridiculous I know but...

                        1. re: jzzy55
                          m
                          magiesmom Nov 29, 2012 05:44 PM

                          I don't like Sylvesters much either.

                          1. re: magiesmom
                            j
                            jzzy55 Nov 29, 2012 06:19 PM

                            My family likes it. I find it OK.

                            1. re: jzzy55
                              m
                              magiesmom Nov 29, 2012 09:00 PM

                              it has gotten pretty boring, nothing terrible, nothing great. green bean is way better.
                              I do like the comfy booths at Sylvester's.

                  2. m
                    magiesmom Nov 26, 2012 06:11 PM

                    Shady Glen is great for fried chicken, very mediocre for breakfast. Too bad you missed the nearby and wonderful Wagon Wheel for breakfast. Interesting no line at Nudel , we'll go, as it is my fav.

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