Wednesday, February 29, 2012

What I've Been Eating -- Western Mass

So, you guys know me by now. I disappear sometimes, it happens. Working full time, participating in community theater, apartment hunting, and trying to fit in a social life all interfere with me creating or experimenting with new recipes for you. And for me.

I also have been modeling in Bridal Shows! Lots of fun :)
It's sad, I know. But hang in there with me for a little longer and I promise this blog will be back, and how! I'll have my own kitchen, possibly my mom's Kitchen Aid mixer, and no money! So I'll have that cool Girl-on-a-Budget edge to my blog, woo-hoo! Yeah, that last part isn't quite SO thrilling, but overall I think I'll be one happy lady in my new kitchen and possibly my starter collection of cats. Plus I follow awesome blogs like Poor Girl Eats Well to guide me, so I'm sure I'll be just fine. :)

But, however busy I may be, you know I always find time for food. And though my usual "What I've Been Eating" posts tend to be saved for things like vacations, I thought I'd highlight good ol' Western Mass in this one. Mostly because, well, that's where I've been lately... The pictures are all taken with my phone, which only has a 2 megapixel camera. My Canon is just too big to lug around everywhere I'm afraid!

Bernie's Dining Depot--My family went here for dinner using a gift card my stepdad won. I've been here before and though I haven't gotten many things off the menu, you don't go to Bernie's for anything but the prime rib. It's seriously fantastic. I don't think you get the full experience of this steak from the picture alone. In fact, I know you don't. This thing was as wide as my FACE (that's big, I have a large head), and easily over an inch thick. And it was soo tender and juicy and came with a million sides--that they actually have to serve to you on the side because there's no room on the plate! This steak lasted me three dinners. And it costs under $20 for the meal. I highly suggest calling ahead though, especially on a weekend, because the wait can be hours and the prime rib has been known to sell out. Bernie's Dining Depot 749 James Street, Chicopee MA (413) 539-9268

I just thought this was pure genius and I had to share. I got Wendy's a lot during the play, mostly just baked potatoes but a few times a burger and fries, and one day THIS was in my bag when I asked for ketchup. YOU CAN SQUEEZE IT OR USE FOR DUNKING! Excellent. No mess, and I can dunk five fries at a time while balancing it on my knee and driving to rehearsal. Perfect!

I'm going to be honest with you, I can't remember if this is from where I think it's from. But I'm going to use this random picture I found on my phone to rave about another new favorite place (also I'm 75% sure this is actually where it's from): Second Street Bakery in Turners Falls. It's a bit of a drive for me on my lunch break, but when I can make it the soups and salads are just excellent. Fresh and homemade :) My only complaint is that it's only open for lunch, so I can never sneak over before play rehearsal for a soup and sandwich! And, as you can see, they have pastries. Ohhh do they have pastries. Tasty, tart lemon squares are my weakness, and chocolate eclairs even more so! I haven't even made a dent in all the delicious desserts they have to offer, but I'm definitely working on it and they've yet to disappoint. And they even do custom cakes and cupcakes and whatnot. Second Street Baking Company, 69 2nd Street, Turners Falls MA.

It's that time of year again! Shamrock Shake time! I actually prefer the chocolate shakes, but something about the Shamrock Shake is just nostalgic for me. My mom would get one for me as a special treat as soon as they appeared on the menu :) I am not really thrilled with the new cups though. I almost feel like the paper cup made it taste different... better... but I am a big fan of the whipped cream and cherry on top!

Smithsonian Cafe and Chowder House--I was so excited that the former owners of The Smithsonian (a great restaurant from my hometown) opened up a chowder house/cafe! I was having hard cravings for their Lobster Bisque and now I can fulfill them any time I'd like :) The place is set up mostly for take out, with a few tables and chairs if you'd like to eat there. There's a small breakfast and lunch menu, gourmet coffee, and some pastries. Oh! And the popovers! I had never had one before, and I believe I am hooked. Fluffy, flaky, warm, delicious popovers... perfect for sopping up soup. I hear their seafood chowder is legendary, and I'm kicking myself for not jumping on the 2 for $5 lobster salad rolls--I mean, can you even believe that? If you're going North on 91, go off the exit in Hatfield and have a bite. You won't be sorry! Smithsonian Cafe and Chowder House 1 West Street, Hatfield MA (413) 247-5157

Ohh Zen. How I love you. I will always love you. Whenever I meet a kindred sushi spirit, I take them here. Most locals will direct you to Osaka when you ask for the best sushi in town, but I know better. Osaka is okay, and their menu boasts many good rolls, but Zen just always tastes a bit fresher and more flavorful to me. Also I've never had to wait long for a table, and the staff is very friendly and helpful. There was even a time I could walk in and they'd know exactly what I was going to order, and are always enthusiastic about suggesting new rolls. I have converted non-believers, and even those who thought sushi was just something they did not like. I have yet to have better sushi, and I've even tried sushi on both coasts now. Nothing compares. Maybe it will just always have a special place in my heart, and no other sushi will taste quite as good no matter what. Who knows! The spicy tuna roll is fantastic, and most rolls I enjoy here contain spicy tuna in some respect. My one regret is that I like the sushi TOO much, that I've never sampled anything else on the menu! I assume it's all excellent though. And maybe some day I'll venture from my beloved sushi page and give it a try ;) Zen 41 Main Street, Northampton MA (413) 582-6888


  1. I love the post on Mass food! Love seeing what you're up to (and eating) as usual!

  2. I need that cream puff in my life. For real.

    And you look gorgeous in that dress!

  3. Haha, I totally relate with the beginning of your post: finding the time and money to keep it fresh is always a challenge!!

    Pretty pretty dress, btw!

  4. Glad to see that you're back to blogging, Bee! All of your eats look delicious - especially that sushi! :)

  5. Hi! New to following you. Happy to find another Western MA blogger! :) I'm also a huge fan of Zen and Bernies - definitely some of the best food around!

  6. I'm glad you're posting more often now, but I know how sad it can be to finish up a show. You should fill the void with lots of delicious cooking, and then send the finished products to me!