Friday, July 22, 2011

Local Burger, Northhampton, MA

#1 of 68 Restaurants in Northhampton.  But I don't know who that's according to...
More expensive than TripAdvisor said.  $51.54 for 4 burgers, 4 non-alcoholic drinks, 2 large fries (think before ordering two large fries...that was a lot of food), and a cole slaw.

That said, this was totally awesome!!!

Hand cut french fries were HOT and fresh and we gave them a 4.  The malt vinegar comes in a spray bottle...which was cool.  I love malt vinegar on fries.
We also had sweet potato fries...super HOT HOT with the skins on.  These came with a maple mustard sauce, which was unique and definitely upped the score on the sweet pot fries.  But not the best we've ever had.  3.5

The burgers.  Holy delicious.  We were trying to decide if these are the best burgers we have ever had:
Westhampton--cheddar, bacon, ranch, and BBQ 4.8
Local--double cheeseburger, mushrooms, peppers, onion, pickles, tomato, bacon...4.5
Bacon cheeseburger...4

Cole slaw was OK.
Bathrooms were clean...but the paper towel dispenser was broke and it could have been nicer in there.
And though I was fine with the temperature, half of us said: HOTTEST DAY OF THE YEAR, TURN UP THE A/C!

Local Burger and Fries on Urbanspoon

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Organic, Fair Trade Coffee

Dean's Beans in Orange, MA.  Just walk in, watch them roasting the coffee and then buy some coffee right out of the buckets.

We got a great value on a sampler with 6 4oz bags, including the 300 man march and good friends, cold beer and a  water buffalo.  (Papua and Sumatra.)

The Blind Pig - Athol, MA

We dropped in here just after the lunch rush for a quick meal and some beer.  There was only one person working the bar and the tables, but she was quick, efficient and friendly.  She knew everything about the local beers on tap and convinced me to try a beer from WormTown (Worcester) Brewery.  It was a quite delicious pale ale.

We had the Mezza Plate, which had a good selection of Middle Eastern Foods, including quite good Hummus.  We gave it a 3.0.

The Bart sandwich had horseradish, roast beef and melted cheese (can't remember what kind - what a great food blogger I am!) (-it was provolone you dumbass  -Char.) We gave it a 3.5.

The Monty's was a hot Turkey and Bacon sandwich, also a 3.5.

Service was excellent 4.0.

The surprise of the meal was when Charlotte bought a gift card for some co-workers.  It came with a very nice gift box that displayed  the card very elegantly.  There was no extra charge for this which we all agreed was a very nice and thoughtful touch to add to the experience.

We will definitely be back!

Magpie - Greenfield, MA - 2nd Visit

4 of us visited Magpie on Monday.  Of course, I had another glass of Prosecco: I just can't resist the 'friendly and elegant' bubbly drink in the summertime.

To start, we had the olives, mixed and pitted and we gave a 3.5.  We were not happy when the wait staff tried to take the dish away before we were done, but we managed to save them.
We also started with Melon and Prosciutto, which was very good despite the prosciutto snobs in our group and got a 3.5 as well.

Then, the worst happened, my Prosecco was taken by the staff with a few sips left in it that I was saving to have with my pizza.  I was stunned and appalled, but I didn't complain.  I hate to ruin my dinner with the stress and annoyance of own issues, I guess.

We ordered Lasagna Bolonase, which had huge pieces of short ribs in it and we gave it a 4.5.
We also had the Vegetarian Lasagna, which also got a 4.5.  I think our favorite foods there are the lasagnas, which are phenomenal.  Unfortunately, the staff did not wrap our lasagnas to go, as we asked, but perhaps we were not very clear.
The Margarita Pizza was OK.  It could have used giant pieces of garlic, or at least more garlic.  3
The Potato and Garlic Pizza also needed more garlic.  3

We had coffee which is strong, rich and delicious.  We thought that it was perhaps pressed, but they were actually Cafe Americanos.  4
The Honey Pie was fantastic: fresh baked pizza with honey, pineapple, and coconut.  Mmmm.  4
Birch Beer Float.  3.4

The food was very good.  We were disappointed in service.  The staff was not very talkative and they kept trying to take our food away before we were done with it.  They did not package all of our food to go...maybe partly our fault, but I would like staff to double check and make sure we didn't want it packaged before taking and tossing.

Bathrooms are always clean and neat.

Maybe Monday nights are not-so-good service nights.  But, yum.

Magpie Pizza on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Maple Creamies - Pumpkin Patch - Rt 30 - Bomoseen, VT

Thank God for willpower.  I drive by Pumpkin Patch at least 3 times a week and have to viciously fight with myself (and the wife) to avoid stopping every time.

Simply put, you must try the Maple Creamie Ice Cream cones there.  They are absolutely delicious.

Say "Hi!" to Tom and Marissa, and pick up whatever you need there (beer?)

I'm suddenly hungry for Maple Ice Cream!

Pumpkin Patch Pizza and Country Store (Take-Out ONLY) on Urbanspoon

Table 24 - Rutland, VT - Third Visit

Brought more of the clan to the restaurant.  Five of us this time, including the two picky teenage eaters and our most sophisticated palate (read oldest): Steve.

Amanda was our waitress again (she's the one who would bathe in the Jerk Chicken Fondue - which I can understand).  She was her usual helpful, friendly, funny self.  When we were torn between two wines (despite her accurate descriptions) she brought a sample of each for us to try.  The wine was 24% off - the Wine Wednesday Special.

For our meal we had a combination of appetizers and lunches.  We forced ourselves to have the Fondue again and also had the Seared Ahi and Tomato Fennel Soup.  As good as the Fondue was, the Tomato Fennel Soup took the prize.  Steve called it the best tomato soup he had ever had.  We also had the Carne Asada Salad, a huge salad with a great cut of beef, cooked perfectly and sliced on top.  It was delicious (though picky me says too many tortilla chips.)  We also had the Veggie Seasonal Plate, which came with more Very Wild Rice which is fast becoming a favorite.  The teens had Cheeseburger and The Uzarski (5 cheese Mac and Cheese.)  The boy teen even had Sweet Potato Fries with it.  They both loved there meals (and so did we!)

Jerk Chicken Fondue: 4.5
Tomato Fennel Soup: 5.0
Sweet Po Fries: 3.5
Cheeseburger: 4.0
Carne Asada Salad: 3.5
Veggie Seasonal Plate: 4.0
Seared Ahi: 4.0 (perfect presentation with pickled ginger and wasabi)
Uzarski: 4.0

Believe it or not, we have only had lunch there so far.  I guess we HAVE to go back for dinner.  Oh the trials of food blogging!

Table 24 on Urbanspoon

Jackson's on the River - Middlebury, VT

I promised a flurry of posts, but it's turned into more of a trickle (mixed metaphor, anyone?).

Anyway, most of the clan headed to Middlebury for lunch and we decided to try Jackson's, a new (to us) restaurant on the river in downtown Middlebury.  It was a little off the beaten path, down Bakery Lane with a confusing entryway.  But it was worth finding.

The food was quite good and the view was excellent.  The service was quick and attentive, though the waitress could have been more knowledgeable on the type of BBQ sauce and the style of the house beer (she guessed - incorrectly.)  I'm giving them a mulligan on the pulled pork sandwich since I live in South Carolina most of the year.  It had cheese and a unique tomatoey sauce.  Just not my style.

We had:

BBQ sandwich with fries - mulligan on s'wich - fries were good, standard fries, delivered hot
Turkey Panini with almond pesto - 3.0 (couldn't really taste pesto, but still good)
Ceasar Salad - 3.0
Mussels - 3.5
Borscht - 4.0 (Steve's first taste worried him, but it turned out to be excellent.)
Cheeseburger with VT cheddar - 4.0

This was a great choice for riverfront dining.  Staff was friendly and the service was prompt.  Tripadvisor rates them the 7th of 15 Middlebury restaurants, but we've eaten at two rated higher (including #1) and Jackson's was better than both!

Jackson's by the River on Urbanspoon

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Birdseye Diner - Castleton, VT 3rd visit

Way behind on entries so there's going to be a flurry of them today.

Our third time at Birdseye confirmed them as a great place for quick, friendly, inexpensive, high quality diner style food with a twist.

Today we had Fried clams (the special) and the Cajun Veggie Burger.  The clams were good, but we all know that they are just a carrier for the cocktail sauce, which was excellent.  They came with a decent tartar sauce, but then she brought fresh made, super horseradishy delicious cocktail sauce.   Throw in their always good fresh cut fries, and you have a winner.  3 for the clams, 4 for the fries, 4.5 for the cocktail sauce.

The veggie burger was good (3) and the substituted sweet potato fries were great (4).  You paid extra for the sweet potato fries, but, like the regular fries, there were a ton.

Overall a great meal and a great value.

Birdseye Diner on Urbanspoon

Friday, July 8, 2011

Mag Pie, Greenfield, MA

We had planned on the Hope and Olive for my birthday celebration, but they seemed to be celebrating themselves by taking the week off for vacation.  So, we headed to MagPie down the street (owned by the same people).  Yum.  Yum.  Yum.

Good, fresh food.
Unique dishes.
And just plain Yummilicious!

I had a glass of De Faveri Prosecco to start...I mean, really, who can resist a glass of sparkling wine that's 'elegant and friendly' on their birthday!?!

We started with Baked Figs--goat cheese and drizzled with balsamic.  Easily a Four!!

Vegetable Lasagna 4 1/2 (again, easily)
Artichoke and Pesto Pizza  4

For dessert (it was my birthday for Pete's sake!)
Coffee...which was fresh pressed and dark and yummy, by the way.
Chocolate Fudge, umm, bottom Thing.  Oh my...four and a half.
Birch Beer Float...Paul gave it a four, but I'm not sure he even had time to taste it it was gone so fast...

MagPie is Totally a FOUR, if not higher...might be pushing 4.5.

Now, I am hungry...

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Depot 62 Cafe, Middlebury, VT

It's a strange place, tucked into a furniture store with wood fired pizzas and salads.  I wasn't sure it was open at first: there was a chef's jacket flung over the 'Entrance This Way' sign and a handful of garbage bags outside the entrance.  Inside were five or six fire extinguishers and for a moment, I thought it was under renovations.  But we continued inside and were seated at the set tables between the furniture for sale.

The waitress was very nice, if seeming a bit quiet.  We ordered a pair of salad and soup.

The salads were fresh and yummy...except the tomatoes, which are out of season, so we must forgive.  Soup was fresh and homemade, though we thought we ordered lentil and got potato.  Oh, well, it was still delicious.

We gave the food a four.  The place a 3 1/2.  Interesting.

Oh, the bathroom was clean...that's usually a good sign for the state of a restaurant's kitchen!!!  If they can't be bothered to clean what the customer SEES, jeepers, what do the places we DON'T see look like!  Eek.

Panarello's Ludlow, VT

LOVE the instant food.  You sit down (and they let you in even if you've had a hard weekend and you're kinda grungy and wearing jeans and a farm T-shirt).  Anyway, as I was saying, you sit down and after you've settled in with your menu instantly oils and olives and bread appear!  Yum.  This is an added blessing when you are starving because you've been working all weekend.

WE went to eat there on Friday night.  There was a Wedding Rehearsal Dinner going on upstairs, which was entertaining to listen too, but did slow down our service and took the attention of our waiter from our table.  But the food was wonderful, as it was a few years ago when we stopped (that year, we had the BEST service I have ever had at a restaurant and I was a waitress for many years: I know what it is to be an awesome waitstaff...and she was IT).  Again, anyway, Friday night we ate:

FLAT Iron Steak (medium rare) with blue cheese butter and polenta on the side.  I gave it 3 1/2 to 4.  (though I never did get a steak knife and never had the chance to ask for one).
Paul had the short ribs, which he gave a 4 and I agree.  Delicious.

WE skipped dessert for getting on the road again.  We enjoyed ourselves.  The food was great and with our check came a bowlful of Walnuts in the shell and a nutcracker...yum.  There is certainly not a limit to food coming to the table at Panarello's!  I like that!  We give the place a 4 1/2 overall.  We would like to eat there again when the waitstaff attention is on us...not a party upstairs, but that is my only complaint.

Panarello's on Urbanspoon

Monday, July 4, 2011

4th of July Jello Jiggler shots

These are delicious, good looking, alcoholic jello shots without the stupid cups.

2 pkgs each of Pina Colada, Strawberry and Blue Raspberry Jello
3 ozs each Malibu Rum, Rum and Vodka (any good liquor will do)
1.5 cups water
3/4 cup Coconut Water (may use just water)
3 ice cubes

Boil 3/4 cup of the water in 4 cup measuring cup, add Strawberry jello mix and stir for 2 minutes.  Add 3 oz rum and ice cube.  Stir until ice melts (takes seconds) then quickly pour into a 9x13 glass baking dish (line with plastic wrap and spray with PAM first.)  Let set in the fridge for 2 hrs.

Repeat with Pina Colada mix except use Coconut Water and Malibu Rum.  Pour on top of Red Layer.

Repeat with Blue Raspberry Jello mix and vodka.  Pour on top of white layer.  Let set in fridge.  Cut.  Eat. Enjoy.  You can cut into fancy shapes like stars, or serve them in a bowl like the picture.

Cinqo Gringos - Hydeville, VT

I'm almost glad this place was a bit of a disappointment.  I was beginning to feel like Rachel Ray on 40$/day - everything's so delicious!

Not to say that the food was bad.  The steak on the steak burrito was pretty good, but the overall food quality was way too similar to Taco Bell.  The burritos looked exactly like a grilled stuffed buriito.

The owner claims he had never heard of Five Guys when he decided on the name...