|Bimini the dolphin at Atlantis' Dolphin Cay|
Anyways. To start with, I had an absolutely amazing vacation and my brain is still totally in the Bahamas. But I'm slowly getting back into the Western Mass state of mind and out of Vacation Brain and I really hope this tan lasts because, dang, I look goooood.
|Ready for a night on the town!|
The vacation was a graduation present for my brother and me--he graduated high school the year I graduated college, but financial stuff made it so the trip couldn't happen until now (two years later). My mom, stepdad, brother and I spent last week at the Atlantis Resort on Paradise Island in Nassau, Bahamas. It was absolutely gorgeous and if you have any chance of going, definitely do! We explored the resort, sunned on the gorgeous beach, played in the pool, enjoyed the on-site water park as well as the ten huge aquariums, and we even got to swim with dolphins! Not to mention the fantastic food I ate! Conch fritters are HEAVEN. I'll be posting about them soon!
|On our hotel room balcony. Isn't the view incredible?|
And I'm totally going to do a What I've Been Eating: Bahamas next. Seriously, uploading the pictures immediately after these! I just realized I'm waaay behind on posting all of the various delicious foods I've been taking pictures of. Why embarrass myself by taking pictures of every. friggin. thing. I eat if I'm not going to talk about them? Hehe.
This post will be crap-tastic phone pictures, as I do not have one of those fancy-pants smartphones with the impressive picture resolution, the next will be "nice camera" pictures, and then Bahama Food, yay!
I don't think I've ever mentioned Thai Blue Ginger here... But I'll mention it now. I've only ever sampled their lunch menu, but the fact that they let you order the lunchbox for takeout is fantastic. Salad, rice, main dish, and an appetizer. The peanut sauce is amazing, I could drink that stuff forever and be a happy lady. No idea what this place is like during non-lunchtime, but it's a great, inexpensive, and tasty lunch for sure. I usually get one of the curry dishes in the lunchbox, my favorite is the yellow curry because it has pineapple and I LOVE the burst of sweetness in the otherwise spicy curry. The portions are also decent and I can usually stretch this into two lunches.
Thai Blue Ginger, 298 Main Street, Greenfield, MA
My plate at my favorite sushi place, Zen, which I've talked about multiple times here so I'll keep it brief: if you missed out on their most recent special, the Pyramid Roll, you really did miss out. A combination of spicy fish and veggies with a delicious sauce drizzled over the top and shaped into an adorable yet hard-to-eat-because-it's-huge pyramid. It's my absolute favorite roll I've ever had there. Also shown is the crunch roll, another favorite of mine. I love Zen and in my opinion it's the best sushi in Western Mass. The fish is always fresh, the rolls are creative, and the overall ambiance of the restaurant and the friendliness of the staff is unmatched. If you haven't been there yet, and you love good sushi, check it out!
Zen, 41 Main Street, Northampton, Massachusetts
Another local favorite: the Duck Breast from Eclipse. Seriously delicious. This was from a dinner out with my mom, when we had a special Groupon deal for the restaurant. I LOVE Eclipse--next to Zen, it's my favorite restaurant in Downtown Northampton. It's pricey, so I reserve it for special occasions and when it's on Groupon or Pioneer Valley Deals I scoop up as many coupons as I can. The duck is so moist and tender and delicious, I can't get over how much it actually tastes like steak of some sort. This was the first place I ever ate duck, and the best duck I've had so far. Their menu changes with the seasons, so you can ensure it's always the freshest, tastiest food it can be.
Eclipse, 186 Main Street, Northampton, Massachusetts.
I tried the Doritos Loco Taco because I couldn't NOT try it. This was actually pre-surgery, in case you're wondering how I possibly stomached this monstrosity. I was actually heavily unimpressed, which is odd because Dorritos are my guilty-pleasure snack food and Taco Bell is my go-to for guilty pleasure fast food, and Doritos and Taco Bell seem like a match made in heaven. The dorrito flavor was barely there, and the taco was crazy soggy. I intend on trying it again when I work up the courage to risk it with my gallbladder-less digestive system, since I feel like the sogginess probably isn't a feature they usually have. Maybe some day when I know I won't be far from a bathroom...
On Thursdays, the 99 Restaurant has Trivia Night. It's really awesome fun, and the Macadamia Crusted Chicken on the $9.99 menu, paired with the house $3.99 Margarita is a perfect way to compliment the fun times while you try to win some Sox tickets! I, sadly, did not win tickets on this night, but I did win an awesome beer glass from Harpoon Brewery! Score.
When my friend suggested on my last Boston visit to check out Veggie Galaxy in Central Square, I was hesitant. A Vegetarian/Vegan diner? Really? How can that be good? Even a recovering vegetarian like myself was highly skeptical. Um, well, it totally can be good. In fact, it was awesome. My friend ordered the Vegan Monte Cristo and it was delicious--the perfect combo of savory and sweet and the tempeh bacon wasn't actually half bad. The vegan cheese sauce would have convinced me it was pure bovine had I not known better. Here I have a grilled cheese with tomato slices with a cup of roasted tomato soup--I don't think I've ever had such a great grilled cheese and tomato soup!* So. Good. We even got vegan desserts that you'd swear contained boatloads of cream but actually were made of tofu. If you're a vegetarian and in Boston, you NEED to go here. Hell, if you're a meat eater and in Boston you NEED to go here! The decor reminds me of Pizza Planet from Toy Story meets a 50s Diner, and you won't even miss the meat.
Veggie Galaxy, 450 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge MA.
Wendy's chili cheese fries... so much potential, yet so much fail. I was hoping they had thickened up their chili to make this work, but sadly this was not the case. I suppose it's good if you want a quick fix, but you must consume it even quicker than that because the watery chili will make the fries soggy and inedible very fast.
I... can't even remember what this is. It might be from the Chill and Grill in Hatfield, but I miss the old restaurant that was there so much that I doubt I could give an unbiased opinion about the new place. The food was only okay in my opinion, plus we ordered mostly pizza and that's a food I just can't stomach anymore... I suppose in a town where there are a grand total of three restaurants, the food isn't half bad. I'm never in my old hometown anymore though, so I don't think I'll be back there anytime soon.
Right before I left for vacation, I had lunch at Grub, the new sandwich shop in downtown Northampton. The buzz was good, and the fact that it's the sister shop to Bistro Les Gras (a new favorite of mine in the area), was even more incentive to go. And I was not disappointed! I ordered the banh mi and it was juicy and flavorful and the best banh mi I'd ever had. The juices and seasonings blended perfectly with the pickled veggies and soaked into the bread and was just divine. I love interesting sandwiches and little sandwich shops like this are right up my alley. My one dislike is that the bread was very hard, and therefore hard to chew. I think it was just the type of bread, because it certainly didn't taste stale, but perhaps next time I'll inquire as to if there is softer bread. Also, those pickles and pickled peppers are amazing! I appreciate the late-night menu, and I know I'll be stumbling in there post-bar-hopping often. I'm even tempted to try some of the vegetarian options, as they sound as delicious as the meat-eater ones!
Grub, 88 Pleasant Street, Northampton, Massachusetts.
Herrell's Ice Cream... I will always love you. I honestly have been ruined for other ice creams forever, growing up so close to the flagship store, because no other ice cream can hold a candle to Herrell's. Homemade, creamy amazingness with flavors that change daily and so so many options. A bit pricey, but I can usually curb a craving with a kiddie cone or kiddie sundae and save a few bucks. Shown here is a kiddie sundae with waffle cone pieces and sweet cream ice cream. Fun fact: the store owner's daughter was my roommate in college! Total coincidence and I am sure I annoyed the heck out of her with how much I gushed about her family's business. The occasional jar of hot fudge she brought home was always something I looked forward to--not to mention the fact she was an awesome person and one of my dearest friends from my college years. I remember once she asked me how to make a rootbeer float and I looked at her in shock. I will never forget it! And I will forever frequent Herrell's.
Herrell's Ice Cream, 8 Old South Street, Northampton, Massachusetts.
So that's the crappy-phone-pic roundup, kind of a harsh contrast to Sarah's AMAZING pics on her guest post, huh? But no worries! The next few posts will be much better, promise :)