Breakfast en route to Brattleboro, VT: Somewhere in Mass. off 91?
My mom and her friends are heading up to the Brattleboro Farmers' Market and would like to stop somewhere great for breakfast on the way up from Connecticut. Any ideas along the way in Mass. off 91? Thanks in advance!
I would second either Jakes or Esselon.
For comparison, Jakes is in the middle of downtown Northampton, in an old brick building. It has big windows that face the street in the front, with table service, and in the back is an old fashioned counter.
Esselon is a new(er) standalone building, right on Rt 9, about 5 minutes off 91. You stand in line to place your order, then they run the food out to your table. They have tables inside, and some open air on the side.
I prefer Jake's, but either is fine.
They are very different experiences. I have loved the new Jakes (the former was a classic diner) and really been surprised by the level of cooking. I think that Esselon does a bigger business, with more turnover, but I've never felt like the food tasted as *fresh* as at Jakes. Maybe it sits on a counter for some time before it travels from the kitchen to your table. But the coffee is possibly better at Esselon. If you travel a little further up 91 to Gfld, I think that Hope & Olive may do a weekend brunch; worth looking into that! They are great people. Also, Amanouz Cafe in Northampton (right on Main Street) does a breakfast that is really tasty, with very generous portions, and very friendly service. My last breakfast in Noho was at Amanouz, and it was delicious.
Agree about Esselon. Avoid on weekends! It's just too busy for anything to be hot and fresh. I went during the week and had a fantastic breakfast. I went on a Sunday and it was a complete disaster. I ordered an egg dish that came with "steamed Arugula." What they did was dump a pile of over-cooked, completely sopping wet green mush onto cold eggs. The whole dish just tasted of water. It was disgusting.
While I'm ranting about breakfasts...I had a similar disaster at Sylvester's. (Like Esselon, I had one decent breakfast there and another gross one.) I ordered "huevos con chorizos." First, the chorizos should have been called "salchichas." They were much more similar to hot dogs; completely bland and of poor quality. Now, I don't necessarily expect the chef to know the difference between chorizos and salchichas but I do expect him/her to serve something tasty. Second, he/she dumped literally a whole tub of sour cream on top of the cold eggs. I tried to scrape away as much as I could but I was still left with a dish just utterly smothered in sour cream. I like sour cream but this quantity was just gross.
I'll probably go back to both places but be more critical of the menu. Both these gross dishes were daily specials.