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Easthampton, MA - a destination for food?

JunieB Jun 25, 2013 05:55 PM

I think Easthampton, population 16,262, is coming into its own in terms of restaurant choices. I no longer feel like I have to go out of town to get a good meal. I would like to hear what other hounds have to say about it, if there are any in this area! Do you have any special likes or dislikes? Are any of the restaurants particularly good with vegetarian choices? Here are a few of my favorites....

Coco - Open for dinner only, Wed - Sat. Google says they open at 5am but that is incorrect. Their menu changes a bit now and then but the ingredients are always fresh and treated with the utmost care; the sauces are delicate and delightful, and the atmosphere is great. If you dine upstairs, you need a reservation, but we've gotten to like the downstairs where you can just walk in any time, and order the same food as they serve upstairs. Their sparkling water is $3 and they keep it coming. Apps are $5 - $9 I think, and the entrees are around $12 - $15. My very favorite dish is the fried chicken served over a mild vinegar based coleslaw which is on a bed of pureed potatoes. The chicken is white meat, juicy, tender, and very crisp. The "gravy" is delicious! I also love the meatballs and all the ragu dishes have been great. The only dish I didn't care for was the braised pork, and that's because it was too fatty for me. I know some people like it but I have a problem with the texture of fat. They don't have a website but here's a Chowhound thread and they're on facebook.
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/801410

Silver Spoon - Best little diner! Serves breakfast and lunch until 2pm, 7 days a week. I love the rustic feel of the space - wood floors and booths, mugs lining a shelf that goes all around the wall. Very civic minded owner. My favorite dishes - the eggs benedict, their homemade wheat toast with any kind of eggs and sausage, cheeseburgers, fries, tuna salad, BLT, grilled cheese (my husband likes their omelets and pancakes). I guess you could say we've liked most everything we've tried there, except clam strips. We drive to Jake's, Look, Green Bean, and Sylvester's for breakfast and lunch. Silver Spoon is equally worth the drive! http://silverspooneasthampton.com/

Amy's - Took us several years of living here to finally try Amy's. They're open every day, except Monday, from 11:30am - 2:00am. The space is fairly large with a sports bar on one side and the restaurant on the other (a closed door between the two). It has never been too loud in the restaurant but we've never been there very late at night. Discovered they have THE BEST fried clam strips in the Valley - fresh and tender. Good fries and great tarter sauce but the coleslaw suffers a bit. The clam strip platter is HUGE so we now just order the appetizer portion for the two of us. I of course could eat the entire order by myself! Their twin sliders are good, as well as their French onion soup. I tried their pulled pork but can't remember the details about it. I think it was pretty good. They have several varieties of mac & cheese which I'm always tempted to order, but never have. We've also enjoyed the club sandwich, fish sandwich, and the chili. Try it - and visit White Square Books while you're there!
http://www.amysplace.biz/

Riff's Joint - Open 7 days a week until 10pm, in the space formerly occupied by Blue Moon grocery in Eastworks. Bad location, not much of an atmosphere but we enjoy take-out from time to time. We ate in the restaurant for lunch once and it was okay. Not sure what it would be like at night. Having lived in Philadelphia for several years, we know good cheese steaks and my husband says they're good here. I haven't been that adventurous yet. I like the Thai-Dyed noodles, the pulled pork egg rolls (kinda weird, I know), the burgers, and the avocado BLT. The only thing that I don't like, and it baffles me why they do it, is that every sandwich comes with TORTILLA CHIPS! To me, tortilla chips just don't go with sandwiches. You have to pay extra for fries which I resent when I'm being forced to pay for tortilla chips I don't want. They have a great looking selection of vegetarian offerings but I haven't tried them (except for the noodles) and I'm afraid to try the burritos because I'm afraid they would be a disappointment after living on the west coast and having access to the greatest burritos in the country.
http://www.riffsjoint.com/

Nini's - Open every day except Sunday, from 4pm until 9 or 10pm. They used to deliver and they were our favorite local pizza, but they no longer deliver. I still recommend the pizza. My husband and I went for dinner once during the holidays. I really liked it and we both enjoyed our meals very much, but for some reason my husband decided he didn't like the atmosphere and I haven't manged to get him back there yet. I'm working on it because I liked it and I'm curious to see if other dishes stand up to the test. They serve complimentary fresh baked bread that's pretty good. We both had salads and they were good. I think my husband had the caesar and I had the garden salad. We both really enjoyed our entrees - my husband had the Lasagna and I had the Rigatoni Bolognese. BTW - the very best Fettuccini Alfredo I have had in the Valley is at Joe's Cafe in N'hampton - excellent!
http://www.ninis-easthampton.com/

La Casita Azteca - Open 7 days, but they're one of those places that opens for lunch, closes around 3, and then opens again for dinner. Best to check hours before you go. This little place had its ups and downs but I think they've finally worked out most of the bugs in their operation. Initially the service was very spotty and they often were out of things on the menu. I often placed my order only to be told "we don't have that tonight." No way to run a restaurant, but people kept coming back, giving them another chance and today they're pretty popular. Outdoor seating in warm weather. I would say their food is authentic but it might not be the type of Mexican food you're used to. The cooking style is from the Oaxaca and southern regions of Mexico as opposed to the northern Tex-Mex style. I've enjoyed everything I've had there but I usually get enchiladas (I'm partial to suizas), tacos, burrito, or a combination plate. Go and experiment! Don't let one trip make up your mind for you. I think there's something for everyone here. Great looking vegetarian options, good chips and salsas.
http://www.lacasitaazteca.com/

Tandem Bagel Company - Open 7 days a week from 6am - 3pm. Although I can't with a good conscience call them a good bagel place, their sandwiches are pretty good. The bagels lack that chewy consistency that makes for a good bagel, but they're flavorful and they work well as bread for a sandwich. I have to admit the only thing I've had was an egg sandwich on a bagel but was very good. A salad passed by our table and it was large and looked great. The space is wonderful! An old railway station, painted white brick walls, including a fireplace, give it a very crisp, clean look and feel. Very pleasant. They're on the bike trail and have a bike up window. I will definitely go back and try some of their specials. Soup will have to wait a few months!
http://www.tandembagelco.com/

Tong Sing - Not sure what their hours are but they seem to always be open for dinner. I see lunch specials on their menu, so I assume they're open for lunch as well. This is a little jewel of a restaurant. They don't deliver and they don't have a website but they are definitely the best Chinese food in Easthampton. Possibly the only place we like better is China Garden in Hadley. We love the ginger chicken w/string beans, lo mein, egg rolls, soups, chicken with black bean sauce, and generally everything we've had from there. They have a couple of tables but we get take-out. I wish they delivered!
http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/205/10493...

We can get good pizza at Antonio's and Village Pizza and there are other pizza joints that we haven't tried. Glory of India moved in on Union St. a while back but I don't care for it. When I want good Indian food I will make the drive to Pintu's in Springfield. People also like Apollo Grill. I've had good lunches there but my husband and I didn't like their dinners. Maybe we should try them again - or maybe not. We haven't tried Popcorn Noir but they look enticing. We'll have to try it sometime. We've tried Captain Jack's several times and have never enjoyed it, but I wouldn't tell people to stay away because I know other people do like it. Oh, and Mt. Tom's Ice Cream - how could I forget!! Great homemade ice cream and milkshakes! Cute old fashioned candy jars with all kinds of candy, but we go there for the ice cream.

So, there you have it. Not bad for such a small town, huh? I hope some other people will chime in with their thoughts on Easthampton eateries!

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    faith RE: JunieB Jun 25, 2013 10:12 PM

    thanks for the detailed reviews JunieB! I want to thank all the hounds here in Southern Mass. I was reading your comments even before I moved out here from Minneapolis in 2011...

    never tried Silver Spoon since I'm vegetarian and diner type places don't usually have much veg. food.

    I'm thinking you meant 'Ginger Garden' in Hadley, not 'China Garden'...nice to get a rec. on Ginger Garden since it hasn't gotten the greatest reviews on yelp. but I liked what I got at Taste of Amherst from them.

    I tried Popcorn Noir and was extremely underwhelmed . always liked the creative look of their menu, but in practice, it was really not great.

    My feeling is that Coco is better on the meat dishes. had the eggplant rollatini and it was just ok. lots of people do love the fried brussels sprouts there. they tend to keep the same veg. entree (the only one on their small menu) for months at a time, which is not super enticing to me. wish they would post their menu online. they don't even put it on facebook. and they don't have a website. so you have to call to find out the menu, or just go. I don't understand that.

    Agree on Glory of India not being great. I thought it was weird that they had Italian stuff on the menu. Asked the owner why, he said it was for kids who are picky and don't want Indian food. I asked how the Italian stuff was selling, he said it was popular. I just had to ask if he made his own alfredo sauce, he said yes. but then told me he uses...American Cheese!!! in it. Ay yi yi! and bye bye.

    Riff's Joint- I got a delivery once, had to try the homemade black bean burger. Wasn't that thrilled with it. It seems like it's hard to make a good homemade veggie burger that isn't...mushy. Might be better ordered in the restaurant.

    Funny that you are saying Joe's in Noho has the best alfredo! people seem to love that place, it just seems like so not a foodie kind of place from the way it looks...but I haven't given it much of a chance , got a pizza once and didn't think it was that great. Might be another place that is more oriented to meat eaters...

    Will have to try Tong Sing if I am in the area. I live in Amherst now so end up at Amherst Chinese usually.

    And too bad there isn't good Indian food around, I agree about Pintu's being the closest good one.

    I liked what I got at Casita Azteca - guacamole, enchiladas.. despite the somewhat chaotic vibe of the people working there.

    always liked Antonio's for a slice of pizza, love pineapple on pizza (but vegetarian , no ham etc) and they would kindly just add pineapple to their broccoli slice for me,no extra charge...yummy!

    that's about it!

    10 Replies
    1. re: faith
      JunieB RE: faith Jun 26, 2013 05:04 AM

      Thanks for the additional comments. I think you are right on the money with everything you said. I did indeed mean Ginger Garden.

      I agree with your assessment of Coco. They originally said they don't publish their menu because it changes too often, but it really doesn't! They could certainly put it on facebook at least. They did when they were only serving lunch. I like their food but it is not a place I would recommend for vegetarian. They should try to beef up their veg offerings. We know a guy who eats there nearly every night. I would get a little tired of their menu if I went that often!

      You're right about the vegetarian options at Silver Spoon. They do have a veggie burger but I've never tried it. I wonder why it is so hard to make a good veggie burger. I tried making my own once, and it was a dismal failure. It looked great in the magazine picture but was all mush! I seem to remember trying one at Local Burger and it was pretty good.

      We used to eat at Amherst Chinese, especially when we had a group of people, but the owner was found abusing his farm workers, housing them in subpar housing and not paying them. The Gazette ran a series of articles about him and each one just got worse, so we don't patronize his restaurant anymore.

      Joe's Cafe was another place we kept avoiding, like you, because of the way it looked. We finally ate there last year. I would not call them a foodie place, but then there are very few places around here I would call foodie places! Joe's serves the best plain Italian food I have had in the Valley, and that's not to say it's great, but it's pretty good. If you ever go back try the Alfredo - seriously! And my husband often gets the eggplant parm. It's a whopper of a serving and he can only eat about half of it, but he really likes it.

      Too bad about Popcorn Noir. The female part of that team has won competitions so I was hoping the food would be good. Oh well, unfortunately I'm used to being disappointed with food in the Valley.

      1. re: JunieB
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        faith RE: JunieB Jun 26, 2013 08:53 PM

        I know, winning that contest ought to translate to some pretty good food! but....maybe she only does well if someone is going to pay her $25, 000, lol!

        I have heard that about Amherst Chinese, and don't like hearing it. (abuse of farm workers). wonder what the status is at this point. there doesn't seem to be anything else that is healthy-ish Chinese around though...in Amherst.. oh well, back to Miss Saigon! oh right, Ginger Garden...will have to go there.

        thanks for clearing up the traffic directions, I am a non-driver and somewhat illiterate in giving directions esp. now that I don't live in Ehamp any more and things have shifted around with the bridge replacement.

        1. re: faith
          JunieB RE: faith Jun 28, 2013 11:42 AM

          faith, just read in today's Gazette that a new Asian restaurant is opening at 27 S. Pleasant in Amherst in late July - Oriental Flavor. No details, just the chef's name, Gui Dong Lang. Hope it's good!!

          1. re: JunieB
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            faith RE: JunieB Jun 28, 2013 01:47 PM

            thanks! will see how it unfolds...

            1. re: faith
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              bauskern RE: faith Jun 30, 2013 05:41 PM

              By coincidence,I had lunch at AmChi today . . . .I've eaten there for many years and never heard the story about the workers? I ate at Apollo Grill several years ago,and thought the food was very good. Have been to Silver Spoon a few times -- typical diner food, better than many places, certainly big portions. . . I've just always found the interior to be very dark. For going out to breakfast on the weekend, I would probably recommend Elmer's in Ashfield as better quality food. (And certainly a brighter, prettier interior.) But if I lived in E'hampton, Silver Spoon would probably be my go-to breakfast joint.

              1. re: faith
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                faith RE: faith Jul 20, 2013 07:30 PM

                looks like the new 'Oriental Flavors' is getting close to opening in Amherst Center. Noticed the owner's name on a sign hanging up about the construction etc. Didn't sound like an Asian owner from his name. Saw someone inside arranging tables.

                1. re: faith
                  JunieB RE: faith Jul 21, 2013 07:11 AM

                  Thanks for the update. That would kind of suck if the owner isn't Asian. I sure hope it isn't that guy that owns Spoleto and all those other mediocre restaurants around here. lol
                  I tried searching the web to see if I could find anything out but there's nothing out there. I guess we'll just have to wait and see if it's good. You might be the first to know when it opens, so keep us in the loop!

                  1. re: JunieB
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                    faith RE: JunieB Jul 21, 2013 09:58 PM

                    haha guess we'll know if they are the Spoleto owners if, like Glory of India, they throw a few Italian dishes on the menu! I think the owner's last name is something like Michelson.

            2. re: faith
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              fatheryod RE: faith Aug 3, 2013 07:59 PM

              for healthy chinese i recommend great wall in florence. it's quite solid. be sure to get the gourmet menu. the gourmet menu at butterfly in hadley is pretty good. the homemade dumplings and the sichuan style plates are especially good.

              1. re: fatheryod
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                faith RE: fatheryod Aug 3, 2013 08:07 PM

                thanks fatheryod....I've never been there and the menu looks promising ....by the way, went to Oriental Flavors...looks like people are liking it judging from the yelp reviews. but as a vegetarian, I have to say there isn't much on their menu for me. and they are having opening week issues like not having certain things (like seasonal veggies) available. found out the manager is a guy who worked at Amherst Chinese for years, wanted to start his own place.

        2. BerkshireTsarina RE: JunieB Jun 26, 2013 08:48 AM

          Thanks to both for the detailed descriptions. We're in N'hampton, so my questions for coming to E'hampton are about 1)construction problems, detours, etc. and 2) where to park. I'd be especially grateful for advice about both as to Amy's and La Casita Azteca.
          Where is Tong Sing? Is it the one next to the Rite-Aid in the middle of town?
          We like Ginger Garden a lot, FWIW.

          4 Replies
          1. re: BerkshireTsarina
            JunieB RE: BerkshireTsarina Jun 26, 2013 09:32 AM

            No, Tong Sing is on route 10. There is now a new traffic light at O'Neil street for the bridge detour. Go past it to the next light at Florence road. Go just past the light and turn right into a little strip mall with a Dunkin Donuts in it - just before the Mobil station. Tong Sing is approx. 5 doors down from the Dairy Mart (or something like that). (If you pass McDonald's on the left and CVS on the right you've gone too far.)

            Construction is no big deal except around rush hour, or what amounts to a rush hour around here! Just turn left on O'Neil (new light there) follow it around (it will turn into Pleasant St.) to the little circle in Easthampton, go around the circle, stay in the left lane and turn left at the light onto Union street, by the Big E's grocery store. Go to the next light and turn left onto Cottage street. Mt. Tom's Ice Cream, La Casita Azteca, and Amy's are all on the right side of the street (in that order). You can usually park on the street. There's parking behind La Casita but you need to turn before the restaurant. There's also a tiny little parking lot on the left side of the street right across from Amy's. Parking isn't usually a problem but Cottage street is very narrow.

            Let us know what you think if you venture down this way!

            1. re: JunieB
              BerkshireTsarina RE: JunieB Jun 26, 2013 12:44 PM

              Thanks JunieB. Are your directions from N'hampton heading south to E'hampton? I THINK so, but am not sure. I know the light at Florence Road, and the CVS, and the traffic circle in E'hampton, and even the Big E --- but am hazy on their relationship to each other.
              If the weather ever returns to some kind of normal, we'll try a run at lunchtime and check everything out.

              1. re: BerkshireTsarina
                JunieB RE: BerkshireTsarina Jun 26, 2013 01:30 PM

                Yes, route 10 from Northampton (by Smith) down to Easthampton. Tong Sing is about 3 miles straight down route 10.

                The bridge that is being replaced is just this side of the little rotary as you enter downtown Easthampton on route 10, so you now have to bypass that whole section between the CVS and downtown by turning left at O'Neil street where the new traffic light is. It's really easy. It's possibly changed a bit since you've been down here because there are some new buildings around the new light as well. Have you been to Captain Jack's? O'Neil is just before you get to Captain Jack's.

                I'm sure it will all come back to you once you drive down this way.

                1. re: JunieB
                  BerkshireTsarina RE: JunieB Jun 26, 2013 01:57 PM

                  Yes, the picture is now clear! Thanks again.

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            onthemove RE: JunieB Jul 23, 2013 04:18 AM

            Thanks for posting these reviews; they're very helpful for a newcomer to the area.

            Last week, my wife and I tried La Casita de Azteca and we were quite impressed. My wife is Mexican and I have spent a lot of time in Mexico. We are always on the look out for a menu that reflects the diversity of Mexican cuisine and a restaurant that uses fresh ingredients. La Casita scored on both accounts. The Chile Relleno de Veracruz was excellent. I've already forgotten what my wife had but she enjoyed it. The only downside is that we felt the prices were a bit high for the portion size. But perhaps that just describes the Valley, in general. We will be back.

            16 Replies
            1. re: onthemove
              JunieB RE: onthemove Jul 23, 2013 06:23 AM

              Welcome to the Valley! Yes, get used to prices. I really don't understand it either, but if it gives the workers a living wage and gives the restaurant money to reinvest in itself, I guess I won't complain too much, except to say prices around here are very close to Boston and NYC prices. La Casita certainly has made improvements to their space. Happy eating!

              1. re: JunieB
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                faith RE: JunieB Jul 23, 2013 10:56 AM

                haha try looking at Mama Iguana's menu in Northampton for some prices, then Casita will look good! $13 for veggie burrito!!

                1. re: faith
                  JunieB RE: faith Jul 23, 2013 02:32 PM

                  Just another reason to stay away from Mama Iguana's :)

                2. re: JunieB
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                  bauskern RE: JunieB Jul 23, 2013 04:14 PM

                  Having lived in both NYC and Boston, I would agree that while there are some places in the Valley that are certianly a little pricy, restaurant prices here in the Valley are nowhere near what you would pay in NYC. Not even close!

                  1. re: bauskern
                    JunieB RE: bauskern Jul 23, 2013 07:47 PM

                    Well that might be your experience but my husband grew up in Manhattan, his family lives there, and we eat there and Brooklyn all the time. We also eat in Boston on a regular basis - some of our favorites there are Bondir, Hungry Mother, Oleana, and Craigie On Main. For the two of us, and my husband doesn't drink, we spend around $150 to $175. We spend the same at the high end restaurants here in the Valley. Likewise when we get a burger, Chinese food, or grab a sandwich in Cambridge, we pay about the same as we pay here at Dirty Truth or Ginger Garden. Not much differnce at all. But yes, it does depend on where you eat. At Le Bernardin we can spend more like $400 or $500.. There are no Le Bernardins in the Valley!

                    1. re: JunieB
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                      bauskern RE: JunieB Jul 23, 2013 08:09 PM

                      Well, regarding Le Bernadin, that is certainly true! But there's no way that a restaurant like that could ever survive up here.

                      But I think you'd find that if you went to the NYC equivalent of say, the Gill Tavern or Hope & Olive, that their big city equivalents would tend to be more expensive (certainly the drinks would be more expensive!) There used to be a fabulous restaurant up in Greenfield in the old Lunt's Silversmiths [called the Artisan's Cafe], that had great food. We had guests join us from Boston, and they said, "If Boston had a restaurant like this at these prices, there would be a line extending out the door and down the block." And yet that restaurant only lasted about three years . . . the local economy just couldn't support it, even though the prices were very reasonable by big city standards.

                      1. re: bauskern
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                        faith RE: bauskern Jul 23, 2013 08:20 PM

                        OK Junie, now that I have seen your figures for eating out, I am going to say that Casita Azteca isn't going to break the bank!

                        1. re: faith
                          JunieB RE: faith Jul 26, 2013 07:56 AM

                          Haha. Didn't mean for the conversation to go in that direction. Speaking of Mexican, and since you're new to the area, I'm sure you have heard of Mi Tiera, but have you heard of Hacienda del Sol or Sarape? They're both on Rt. 5 just past Springfield. Take 91 south to exit 46 (I think), turn right and you first come to Hacienda del Sol on the right. A couple of miles further is Sarape, also on the right, in a little building next to a laundromat or something like that. Hacienda del Sol is a large space with a large menu. Both are Tex-Mex, but authentic. Sarape is a small place with a smaller menu but equally good and maybe even better. And neither of them will break the bank! Also, don't let the cheeseburger on the menu at Hacienda del Sol put you off :)

                          1. re: JunieB
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                            onthemove RE: JunieB Jul 26, 2013 12:56 PM

                            Thanks! Sounds like a little far to go...but if we're in that area, it's good to know there are options. FWIW, we had some great Mexican at the Latino Market on Rte 9 in Hadley. They have a little taqueria like counter inside the store. The food was really good! There are only a couple of stools. Now we're curious about El Comalito in South Amherst and, of course, Mi Tierra.

                            But, true, we should probably start a new thread on Mexican food...

                            1. re: onthemove
                              JunieB RE: onthemove Jul 26, 2013 02:48 PM

                              I wasn't crazy about El Comalito but some people like it. A friend of mine said you should only go there for tacos. Wish I had known that before I went - I would have known what to order! Mi Tierra is pretty good. The menu is small but authentic. It's sort of like eating in their home. They started as a market and the guy's sister (I think) used to make tamales just on Saturday, and they were delicious. Eventually they opened the restaurant, but now they don't serve tamales! Try the yucca as an appetizer. I love it. They finally got Mexican Coke!

                              There have been some good threads about Mexican, mostly saying you can't get good Mexican food on the East Coast, but that's when the New England boards were all consolidated. Might be time to start a new one now that they segregated us! We like Mesa Verde in Greenfield for burritos. If you're used to West Coast burritos, no one around here wraps them in foil and I wish they would. I like eating a hand-held burrito.

                              1. re: JunieB
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                                faith RE: JunieB Jul 27, 2013 04:26 PM

                                I wasn't crazy about El Comalito either, but enjoyed the veggie burrito that I got. Something about the way the place is set up, leaves you feeling a bit awkward when you walk in, you are right up at a counter with people looking at you....yet there are tables....I know this isn't really conveying it...but it seems more like a takeout type place, kinda barebones. I ate my burrito outside on a picnic table they have. Just ate at 3 Stones in Brattleboro last night, really enjoyed that. it's 'Mayan-Mexican', with a very limited menu. had a veggie special of a huge veggie tamale with salad , rice and beans. everything is from scratch. not cheap but big portions. have to have a reservation on busy nights. any of you eaten there? also 'Oriental Flavors' in Amherst has a sign saying grand opening Tues July 30. nice enough interior (door was open so I walked in today but people were all back finishing work on the kitchen so no one saw me)...sign says 'dim sum and xiao ... something'. could be interesting with dim sum...esp. if there is vegetarian!

                                1. re: faith
                                  JunieB RE: faith Jul 27, 2013 07:46 PM

                                  I hear there's a really good Salvadoran restaurant in Springfield - El Salvador I think is the name. It gets rave reviews but I can't speak about it first hand because I haven't been there. I'm sure you can find threads about it on CH.

                                  Sorry to say I haven't tried 3 Stones. I've read mixed reviews. Have you tried any of the N'hampton vegetarian restaurants? People really like Bela. Paul & Elizabeth's has been in Thornes for years and years so they must be doing something right.

                                  Can't wait to hear about the new Asian restaurant. A good dim sum would be great, but almost too much to hope for.

                                  1. re: JunieB
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                                    faith RE: JunieB Jul 28, 2013 07:05 PM

                                    hi, hadn't heard of El Salvador...since I don't have a car, getting to Springfield from Amherst can be a lengthy bus ride.

                                    yes I have lived in Northampton and made the rounds. I love Paul and Elizabeth's...I love a dinner sized salad..and they do great ones. they have a 'double garden salad' for $8.50 or so! and it is huge...and not just boring mesclun out of a bag...lots of crunchy romaine, finely shredded cabbage, carrots, red peppers...etc. and they make their own excellent salad dressings. their desserts are exactly what I think dessert should be....on the healthier side. as in sucanat as a sweetener and some whole wheat flour in the pie crust. and the fruit isn't sweetened overly. result- perfect apple pie!! not everyone can pull off healthier cooking with delicious results, they can! great soups, love the broccoli saute....a huge pile of broccoli bright green, in a lovely roasted garlic-ginger sauce, over some brown rice. this is what chinese vegetarian food should be! yes I am biased to healthier food....and that place is great. I liked what I've had at Bela too, haven't been there many times. strange that there is a big sign about the cook being allergic to fragrances so no customers are allowed in with perfume...(fine with me I'm allergic too) but then you go downstairs to the bathroom, and there is a container of scented hand soap and a big sign ordering you to wash your hands!! lol . and was told the allergic cook picked out this hand soap. whatever!!!

                                    I like a lot of what Haymarket has too. love their 'sambar' South Indian soup. for like $3 or so, you can get a 'small' size, which is any other place's normal size soup bowl- it has a steamed rice patty and some lovely coconut chutney dolloped in there, in a lentil dal soup base....yum!!! very nice salads, sandwiches, entrees. all vegetarian menu and quite reasonably priced, nothing is over $9 or so.

                                    really liked a couple of meals at Lhasa the Tibetan place,then had some so-so stuff there so haven't been back. haven't been happy with either of the Indian places.

                                    that's my top picks for Northampton. occasionally get a jones for a pizza slice and my preference is Amore on Green Street. don't like Sam's at all, heavy crust, boring toppings. occasionally go to Thai Garden for pad thai, although with my dietary restrictions now...'pad thai please, no egg, no tofu, no sugar, no shrimp paste.....and lots of broccoli' haha but they will do it for me when I ask.

                                    that's it! by the way, went to the new Pintu's in W Springfield recently and found the environment unpleasant! no windows in there, it's like a tomb. and sat in a booth that had a spotlight overhead that was reminiscent of an interrogation room. they did turn it down on a dimmer when I complained but then I couldn't see the food . prices are too high for such a low income area. $15 for aloo gobi!! makes Indian House look cheap. but the food is good, I will say that.

                                  2. re: faith
                                    m
                                    Meijie RE: faith Oct 1, 2013 12:20 PM

                                    We tried a burrito and a tacos from El Comalito. The tacos were very good, burrito mediocre. It's a bit out of the way so won't be rushing back.

                                    Re: Oriental Flavors--that would be the xiao lung bao, or soup dumplings. There is a cult surrounding xlb on the internet and now you too can try them. I think the best ones I've had are somewhere in northern Jersey, but I am not really a connoisseur. I was very hungry and I liked the OF xlbs well enough! I like also that they have the rice porridge and the fried dough cruller (very good and something I crave once in a long while) and it's available all the time. It's traditional, basic breakfast food. You break little pieces and throw it on the porridge and it is half soft and half crispy as you spoon it up together. You have to insist that they bring both together if you want to try this; the kitchen tends to bring out whatever is ready. I must say the (vegetarian) porridge is not as mushy as it ought to be, but pretty tasty, if it is true that there is no MSG.
                                    It's more expensive and selection is smaller than dim sum in NYC but you can get it at night!!!

                              2. re: JunieB
                                b
                                bauskern RE: JunieB Jul 26, 2013 02:43 PM

                                Exit 46? In Connecticut?

                                1. re: bauskern
                                  JunieB RE: bauskern Jul 26, 2013 02:51 PM

                                  I'm not positive about the exit number, but yes, both restaurants are in Enfield. We live in Easthampton so it's an easy drive for us.

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